Baltimore Half Marathon Recap
I don’t even know where to begin writing this recap. So let’s start chronologically at the beginning. Friday night I hurried home, grabbed the hubby and we hit the road post work to head to Baltimore. I snagged a Priceline hotel room for the night before the race to make both our lives easier. Turns out it was a solid investment. We made it to the hotel in about an hour and half, threw our stuff in the room and walked the .2 miles to the expo. Since we arrived at the expo at 8pm and the expo closes at 9pm, we could see booths beginning to wrap up or either shut down. We made our way downstairs, grabbed my bib and shirt. It was a quick easy procedure and well-marked.
The next morning I crawled out of bed at 7:25 for an 8:45 race start. That’s right. We were staying literally across the street from the starting line and I intended to use that to the fullest. It was actually really great being able to take my time, not have to use a porta-potty, and not head down to the start until 8:35. That still gave me plenty of time to take a few pics and kiss the hubby good-bye!
This is a city race. That was never more clear than when we first took off. We were running through a city. It also seems that not all the streets were totally vacated before the runners invaded. During mile 1 we literally ran through traffic. A few dozen cars found themselves in the middle of a foot race. They didn’t look thrilled… From here we made the trek over to Patterson Park. I only know this because it was lovely. Really this little park area was super cute. Unfortunately, since we were still in the beginning of a race stopping to take a photo would have been a challenge. I did witness a girl fall here, because she clipped the heel of another runner. (There were lots of race etiquette rules that I saw fly out the window during this race… but more about that in another post….)
The weather was perfect, the sun was out and there was a breeze that always seemed to hit at the right time. Leaving the pretty park area is where we had our first water stop. This is also where we met up with the full marathoners. The merge area was done very well. I chugged down water and had one of my strawberry cliff blocks. I find it’s easier on my stomach if I take one at a time over 20 or so minutes.
These middle miles kicked my butt. The hills were ferocious and I thought my legs were on fire. I did my very best to run them all but eventually I just said screw it. I’m not running this for time and just want to finish.
It was right around that moment when I started to really look around and see what I was running through. I saw a little girl squeaking out a “Hi” to runners as they passed from the third story of a townhouse. I saw a lot of other people struggling just as much as I was. Miles 3.5 – 6.5 were rough for me. Hills have a way of really bothering my knee and throwing me off my game. The strangest part is, I remember the course being hilly, I just didn’t remember how hilly.
Things finally started to level off when I got to the Lake, which is my fav part of the course. It beautiful and FLAT! I’m not that familiar with Baltimore, and quite frankly it is not one of my favorite cities. So a lot of the appeal of racing around some more well-known parts is lost on me. But I do appreciate how beautiful this part of the course is. I also love how the fuel station is at the far side of the lake… this year they had Salted Caramel Gu… (OMG YUM!)
After the lake the rest was a blur to me. I knew that I was close to 4 miles from done, so I just powered through. I took more photos and admired the cute little houses that I saw and enjoyed the high energy of the spectators that I saw.
At mile 12 when I felt like I was totally out of steam, my husband surprised me! He had walked from the finish line to give me an extra push to finish strong. He could tell from my texts the race wasn’t going as well as anticipated. I love having him at races. 🙂 It was just the push I needed to run most of the way in and kick it in to the finish.
The highlight of this race is the downhill finish into Camden Yards. It’s an amazing experience to see all the spectators and have the opportunity to finish the race through an iconic baseball stadium. I love this.
Overall I’m glad I completed the race to finally finish the King Crab Challenge and Maryland Double. I also did finish the race 12 min faster than in 2013. However, I think this may be my last Baltimore Half Marathon. I may have had a blast last year, but for some reason it just wasn’t as fun for me in 2014. If you are looking to do a well run race on a challenging course, I say give it a try!
Did you race this weekend? Do you have any race etiquette pet peeves? What do you think of hilly course? What’s the most difficult course you’ve done? What has been your favorite race finish thus far?