Every year this race is very different even though most of the key elements are the same. Year one for me, back in 2014 bought a boring and hot course, 2015 brought a much needed revised course, 2016 brought the rain, and this year year 2017 brought great weather and all around great race. Along with it being the 4th year I ran this race, it was also the 4th year of me be a SMRF ambassador!
Hands down my favorite part of this race is the night away I get to spend with friends. Spring always seems to be so busy and this race that falls at the end of the May, is always the perfect time for a one-night getaway. As you can see our group has slightly changed from year to year but Laura has been toeing the line with me each year!
After last years rainfest we knew pretty much any weather would be an improvement but with a high of 68 for the day Saturday we knew it would be near perfect temperatures for us. We started our racecation with packet pick up at the school (quick, easy, in and out in minutes) and then an excellent dinner at Limoncellos in downtown St. Michaels. The restaurant was busy and had so many awesome choices on the menu. As we were getting near the end of our dinner a major rain and thunderstorm rolled through. It was pretty intense and we all agreed we were happy it was happening NOW so it would cool off and we could have a dry race on Saturday.
With a 7 am race start, our alarms went off early on Saturday. We stayed in Easton and headed to St. Michaels (about 15-20) minutes away around 6:00 am to ensure we found parking and had time to use the bathroom. If you plan to run this race I would highly recommend staying in Easton and book your room early! It is a very easy ride in and much more affordable then staying right in St. Michaels. As you drive into St. Michaels there are flaggers directing you to either park right at the school or on side streets throughout the town. We ended up parking on a side street that was only a block from the school which was perfect.
There were plenty of porta-potties and while the lines for them seemed long, they went very quick and we were able to make one last visit before getting in our corrals around 7:10 for the 7:15 start. While this is not a huge race the corrals do make the start much smoother. It total there were 4 corrals and then a separate start for the 5k. The course is narrow for most of the time so it is nice having some separation at the start. Laura and Kelly took off in wave 1 and Amy, Allison and myself waited for wave 3. Amy was pacing the 2:45 group and Allison and I had planned for a sub 2:41 finish (hoping for a PR for her). We had planned to stick to a 2:30 run/1:30 walk interval for the race. Once it was time for our wave to start we took off in perfect running weather.
We stuck to our plan from miles 1-6 and then we ended up switching it to 2:00 run/ 2:00 walk. We stayed with that for the remainder of the race which helped is stay somewhat consistent as we both started to get pretty tired. During the last 4-5 miles we had a lot of people ask us if our run/walk was planned and once we told them what we were doing they wondered what pace that averaged out to be and what time we would finish in. A few of them ended up joining in on our intervals for the last few miles which was fun. They did wonder what our average pace was and when we would finish but we really did not know what to tell them! We were just hoping for the sub 2:41 finish!
One awesome thing about the course was the frequency of the water stops! I did not check out the official race course map but it seemed like they had water and Gatorade around every mile and a half! Somehow our walk breaks lined up with the water stops which definitely helped us keep on track for our goal finish time.
The last mile felt really long but once I checked my time on my watch I knew we were going to finish in time for Allison to score a new PR! As we approached the finish I knew we were right around 2:35 even though the race clock said something more along the lines of 2:50ish I got a text with our official finish time of 2:35:01!
After the race we grabbed some Gatorade and water and hit the road to our motivation during the race: Rise Up in Easton. We were able to score an awesome breakfast and a coffee smoothie for our ride home which also included a stop to Bay Country Bakery for some donuts! We skipped the after party again this year (which I am sure is a lot of fun) but we were ready to head home and get back to our normal weekend mom duties.
Considering this is my 4th time running this race I do think this year has by far been the best. The weather truly was perfect, I was happy with my finish time and really enjoyed the night away! This year the race had a British theme and the shirts said “the town that fooled the British” with the British theme bib and medal to boot. I do need to crack the history books to better understand the theme but it was a cool change to the previous shirts and medals.
To check out more details or looking for information for next year check out http://www.runstm.com for more details! Be sure to check back here for a discount for next year as I hope to be part of the ambassador team again in 2018!