By this time last week we had already logged 5 or so miles through Charm City. While we signed up to run 16.2 miles, we ended up running 19.5 and ended with even more after looking at our total steps for the day!
We packed up and headed to Baltimore right after work on Friday afternoon. After a few stops and some traffic we safely arrived at our downtown hotel. Our first stop was the expo. Since we did not get there until 7:00ish and it closed at 8:00 it was not that busy which was nice. We picked up our Baltimoron-a-thon bib and shirts and checked out the booths. We stopped for a few photo opps as you can see above and even made an awesome foot note at the Mazada booth. You could pick your color and what it said. Mine said “Run and be Happy”!
After the expo we headed to our dinner reservation at TEN TEN which was over near Harbor East. We ate, laughed and enjoyed our delicious meals. I went with my standard pre-race burger, Amy had a few appetizers as her meal and Kelly settled for the Shrimp Risotto.
After dinner we went back to our hotel to get things ready for the morning. Since we were staying so close to the 5k start (7:30) start we did not have to get up overly early (even though we did anyway). We mapped out our plan for tomorrow and decided how we would try and get out total of 20 miles in for the day. As usual I did not sleep very well but that is normal pre-race sleeping for me. We saw the temps would only be around 50, while that is not cold, that is not what we have been used to so far this fall. We all debated about what would should wear but all settled for some kind of long sleeve top and shorts. Around 6:45 we walked over to the start line of the 5k to find Lacee! She was live broadcasting in the morning and then planning to join us for the half. We chit chatted and grab a quick picture and then we set out for our first mile of the day before the 5k.
I felt like I have finally reached official runner status. This was my first time in my running career, which started in 2008, that I had run a warm up mile before a race. We ran around Camden yards and M&T Bank stadium and finished back near the start. Shortly after we started the 5k which was PACKED! So many people were running it it made for a very tight and slow start. We were perfectly happy with that considering we knew we had quite a few miles still ahead of us for the day. Amy and I took on the role of Happiness Ambassadors and just pumped people up along the way, gave high fives and literally smiled and laughed through the entire race. We also found a lot of change!
After the 5k we all met up and decided to log a few more miles to help us reach our 20 for the day. We awkwardly ran with our medals, water bottles and any snacks we had picked up after the 5k finish but we ended up logging a few more miles before going back to the hotel to change for the half.
We knew it would be getting warmer as the day went on so we all changed into tanks and shorts for the half. I must say this was the most perfect running temperature I have ever experienced at a race. It truly was PERFECT. Light breeze at times, sunshine and just the perfect temp. After changing we ran a little bit more before finding Lacee at the Half Marathon start which was right at the Inner Harbor. We ended up starting at the back of wave 1 which meant right at 9:45 we were off and running.
The course is one that I do not find easy at all mainly because it includes hills and I live in completely flat land here in Delaware. We had initially decided we would just run with no specific plan, but after about 2 miles in Amy was having severe foot pain so we opted to go to our old standby method of 3 minutes run/ 1 minute walk. This helps us keep our miles steady and provide us with a short rest break. The course runs by a few different neighborhoods through Charm City, by Patterson Park and around Lake Montebello. After the lake we finish up through some more parts of Baltimore where I have no clue where I am at but then finally you see Camden Yards and you know you are almost there. One thing I do love about this race is how much crowd support there is on the course. There are so many people out there with fun things like Mimosas, Beer, candy and funny signs. I was super pumped to snag my favorite candy around mile 2 or 3 (Goetzes Carmel Cremes) which I ended up using as fuel throughout the race- who would have figured that??
Poor Amy was a trooper the entire race. Her foot was killing her but she continued to push on regardless. She kept telling herself “do it for the crab”. We ended up fishing around 2:31 or so which was not bad considering we stopped at one point for a shoe readjustment and stuck to our 3:1 interval.
After the race we celebrated finishing our miles for the day. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the post race finishers village.
While the races, the medals and all the miles were a great part of the day, the best part was our awesome, well-deserved brunch afterwards. Since we had to head to the Hampden area to take Lacee to her car, we decided on brunch at The Food Market. It was THE BEST.
After what seemed like the longest drive home ever from Baltimore I was so happy and content with our girls running weekend. I was happy to know we checked off a 19.5 training day and half marathon #17 (I think?). As for a Baltimore Running Festival appearance in the future- maybe but not necessarily next year. After participating in this event for the 5th year I can tell you it is EXTREMELY well organized and that medal… worth every mile.
Have you ever run extra miles at a race to accompany your training schedule? Did you run the Baltimore Running Festival this year? How cool is the crab medal??