Baltimore Half-Marathon Recap
Conservative Time Goal - 2:30
Ambitious Time Goal - 2:20
Actual Finish Time - 2:16:13 (!!!!)
The Baltimore Running Festival consists of several race options: Kids Fun Run, 5K, Marathon Relay, Half-Marathon, and Full Marathon. Downtown Baltimore was decorated with signs welcoming runners all over! Loved this one at Camden Yards!
As you know, I was running the half-marathon...but I had several friends who were running in the full marathon. The full started at 8:00, and the half started at 9:45. We had 2 different start lines, and the courses merged around mile 3 for the half and 16 for the full. The start corrals for the half were also along mile 9 of the marathon course, so those of us running the half were able to cheer on the full marathoners for awhile! My parents and I arrived at the start area in time to catch all 3 of my full marathon running friends at mile 9 - including my friend Jeremy, who earned a race entry by running the whole 26.2 in an iced coffee costume. HAHA!!
Everything I'd heard about this course involved one word - HILLY. My full marathon friend, Lauren, said she didn't think it was all that hilly though. And I have to say, I agree with her. I don't actually remember any hills from the course. There were some hills, but none that stick with me. I wouldn't use the word hilly to describe the course at all. However - because I'd read the word "hilly" so much, I made sure I trained every long run on serious York County hills. So, I guess my training paid off!
I was really worried about my hip and IT band going into the race. I'd rested Thursday and Friday, and my leg was feeling good - but I still remembered the pain of a few long runs, like the one I ended in tears. But - my leg held up great on race day!!! I had zero pain in it until around mile 10. I paused at mile 11 and stretched my IT band quickly and moved forward.
Overall, I LOVED this race. The spectators on the course were awesome - there were some really funny signs, people offering candy and beer, and lots of general cheering. The course was well marked, had plenty of water (and Gatorade - every 2 miles!) and great variety in the scenery.
The absolute best part of the race was the last 1/4 mile or so. We ran down Eutaw St. alongside Camden Yards (home of the Orioles) and finished right before M&T Bank Stadium (home of the Ravens). This entire section was FULL of people clapping and cheering.
I really almost lost it at this point. I knew I was well ahead of my "ambitious" goal time and I couldn't stop grinning. The people cheering, the finish line approaching, and knowing I'd run an awesome race - it was a GREAT feeling!!
This was a fantastic race. I'm already excited to do it again next year, and I've convinced some pals to join me! See you in 2014, Baltimore!!