Friday, October 18, 2013

Baltimore Running Festival

After lunch last Friday Sidney, Jack, and I headed to Baltimore for the running festival. It's only about an hour drive but I knew it would be easier if we stayed in the city and I thought we could turn it into a family adventure! It didn't go as planned but we still had fun!

We checked into our hotel and immediately headed to the expo. It was just like any other expo and we didn't linger too long. All 3 of us got really nice tech shirts. Even Jack which really impressed me and I can't wait for him to wear it!

At the Baltimore Convention Center

We left the expo and went straight to the inner harbor. I had hoped to take Jack to one of the museums but we got there a bit later than I had expected. We walked around the shops and then decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.  Did I mention it was pouring? Not ideal for walking around the harbor but we made the best of it!

Dinner was great although a little pricey. There was a Noodles n' Company and looking back we should have just gone there. I've made up my mind that if we ever travel for another race and go out to dinner, it will be someplace quick and relatively inexpensive! Good thing I really enjoyed what I got (Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw, beans, and corn bread):

Luckily it had stopped raining by the time we were done and we walked back to the hotel. We went to bed at a reasonable time and I set my alarm for 6am.

I wasn't nervous at all for this race despite not feeling adequately trained. I was more nervous for the timing of it all. The races were scheduled so that we were all able to run at different times. Sidney ran the 5K at 8:20 while I stayed with Jack, then Jack ran the kids run at 9:20, then we all walked to my half marathon start at 9:45. It was weird to start so late!

We enjoyed the hotel's breakfast then made our way to the start of the 5K. The marathon start was at 8 and at the same place as the 5K. When we got there and were waiting around with the crowd, I felt the energy and said to Sidney, "This is why I race. I love it!" The energy and anticipation is awesome. I wish I could bottle it up!

Sidney got in line and Jack and I walked a bit down so we could hopefully see Sidney as he got started. It was so different to be on that side of the start line. But I loved it and was so excited to be able to watch Sidney run for once! We're either running together or he's watching me. This was also the first race he's done where he wasn't pushing Jack. So it was extra special!

We made our way to the finish line and were able to see daddy as he finished! For some reason I can't find his results when I search. I need to contact them about that. But Sidney said he received an e-mail that he finished in 28:33. If that's right, then he finished 5 seconds faster than my fastest 5K! Unbelievable! He also got his first medal for all his hard work. He's been teasing me about this for a long time since Jack and I have both gotten medals and I'm glad he finally has one of his own!

We immediately got Jack to his starting line to wait for the kids run to begin. It actually seemed like a longer distance than most of the other kids runs we've done but Jack did great! He started out very fast and a little more than halfway into it, started to slow down. In order to keep him motivated I pointed to the clocks and told him that that was the finish line and he just had to make it a little more. He kept going and never stopped! He earned a well deserved medal as well but we weren't able to enjoy any of the other perks of the kids zone. They had an inflatable slide and basketball hoops and Jack really wanted to go over to them. Unfortunately we had to hurry to get to the start of my half and couldn't stay.

Every race had the same finish but the half marathon had a completely different start and we had to book it to get there in time. Once we got there I said my goodbyes and ended up starting around 10am. They went back to the hotel to hang out and then waited in the lobby for me. They latest we could check out was 1pm so they weren't able to see me at the finish. I ended up getting back to the hotel at 1:45.

This race was tough. I had no idea it was going to be as hilly as it was and it took a lot out of me. I sprained my ankle about a month ago and missed a bit of training because of it. The week before the race I set out to do a 10 mile run and stopped after 8 because my feet hurt so much.

We did have some great weather though! We were expecting rain but it stayed dry until after I finished. It was overcast and cool. I wore a pull-over and stopped at mile 4 to take it off. It was ideal conditions! It always takes me a couple miles to warm up and I was feeling stronger between miles 4-6. At mile 7 they were giving out UTZ potato chips and I grabbed a bag and walked while eating them. I never walk! I don't even stop to drink or have a GU. But I walked and I was okay with it. Once I finished with the chips I started running again. My legs were sore and my feet were killing me! When I got to mile 8, which is all I had been able to do the week before, I kept pushing even though the last thing I wanted to do was run another 5 miles and I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to. I did stop again to fill my water bottle at one of the water stops and then kept going.

Just when I thought we were done with hills we came upon a bridge. I actually started talking to myself. I got a little cuckoo! It was all mental at that point and if I had been relying on my physical abilities alone, I would have definitely stopped. Somehow I'm able to push through the pain, the mental blocks, and just keep going. I almost cried when I crossed the finish line! And I did what I always do, despite the fatigue, because I just don't know any other way- I sprinted the last 2/10 or so.

I did not go into this race hoping for a PR. I was just hoping to finish right around 2:45 and just finishing at all is a great accomplishment. I ended up with a time of 2:39:50. I can live with that! :)

This was by far the toughest race I've ever done. Not only was it a challenging course, but I was sore and fatigued and coming off of a recent injury. I'm so proud of myself for what I accomplished! The best part is I earned myself 2 medals. I ran the Frederick half back in May and that combined with the Baltimore half earned me the Maryland Double medal!

I sent the Maryland medal to my running buddy Mickey and I'm so glad I was able to earn it for her!

I have a mud run on November 2nd- my first obstacle race! After that I'll just be trying to survive the winter and looking forward to spring. I'm definitely doing the Frederick half again next May and I'm looking forward to planning out my 2014 race schedule, which will be a lot lighter than this year has been. My wallet just can't handle another packed racing year! I'll definitely be focusing more on the free races my running club offers throughout the year!