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Baltimore Running Festival - Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Baltimore, Maryland
United States
Baltimore Running Festival
60F / 16C
Total Time = 1h 50m 23s
Overall Rank = 1063/8038
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 100/427
Pre-race routine:

This is my "A" running race of the year and pretty much ends the competitive season for me. Since my triathlon in August I have focused pretty much solely on improving my time for this race, including doing miserable workouts such as descending mile repeats, 500M sprints, stair running, and peaking at 35 miles/week.

Race plan was to coast the first 4 miles @ 8:10, survive the climb to mile 6.5, then mash the Lake Montebello loop, hang on miles 8-10, then hammer the final 5K (that's what all the speed work was for). Dream time of 1:45, hoping to crush my previous PR of 1:53:54 set in 2008.

I live ten minutes from the start of this race, so I get to sleep in my own bed, eat breakfast at home, etc., etc.

Really tapered for this race, with days off Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday before the race. Friday's dinner was a quick night out at Dave&Buster's; I had make your own chicken tacos. Fairly benign food for me. Had a big beer (of course!) and headed own. Had a glass of wine once we got home and drank lots of water before bed. Slept well for 7 hours, wasn't nervous at all, but bolted awake at 4:30 a.m. and stayed that way. Ate an English muffin, 1/2 Zone bar, handful of grapes, and coffee for breakfast at about 5:30 a.m.

Legs felt great...wasn't tired at all. Ready to go.
Event warmup:

Watched the marathoners start at 8:00 a.m. on TV. then drove down to the race at about 8:15 because we like to watch the crazy elite 5Kers run. They run the 5K faster than I sprint. Had a friend who ran a PR 29:30 (great job, Amy!).

Starting to jog around at about 9 a.m., stretching, etc. Found a spot inside the Sheraton hotel to stretch out my hips, core, hamstrings, etc. Drank a full 24-ounce Gatorade beforehand (might not have been a good idea...more on that later!). Kissed the wife and daughter and off to the starting line!
  • 1h 50m 23s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 26s  min/mile

Race plan was designed around a 1:46 finish, so I had to maintain an 8-min-mile pace as long as possible, survive the uphills, and mash the final downhill 5K.

Miles 0-3: Focused on managing HR (through PRE). Got chicked at Mile 1 by a woman who was on the news because she did Kona (in like 10:30 or something) two weeks ago and was doing the HM for the heck of it. Needless to say never saw her again. :-)
24:00 at this point, perfect pace. Side note: Hard to believe this my 5K race pace in March.

Mile 4: Joined the Marathoners. Starting uphill but still pretty flat; maintained pace at 8:10, great fan support by the neighborhood folks (high-five teams, people playing drums, etc.).

Mile 5: Up to Johns Hopkins, tried hard to keep the HR/PRE down and maintain some sort of pace. More-or-less successful but glutes, groin, and hamstrings are getting a little tight. Didn't remember seeing the mile marker but figured about 8:20.

Mile 6: Almost all uphill, tried to keep an 8:30 pace but just couldn't do it and wanted to keep down the HR. Ran it at 9:15, stopped at the aid station to drink water and stretch hamstrings and glutes. 49:45 so far, a little behind where I wanted to be but I'll mash miles 6.5-8 to make up for it.

Mile 7: Uphill first 1/3 mile was miserable, tough headwind and legs were really tightening up. Steep downhill 1/3 I used to get the HR down. Last 1/3 started to mash the Montebello loop. Was very hard to get legs going quickly on the flat..would only get worse.

Mile 8: Mashing the Montebello mile, ran this pretty hard, focused on turnover speed and running the tangents. Waved to the WBAL news helicopter. 1:06 at this point, not going to make 1:45, but still can hit 1:48.

Mile 9: The Miserable Mile. Uphill almost the whole way, felt awful, got passed by like 100 runners. Stopped at the aid station to drink some water and stretch legs that were no longer speaking to me.

Mile 10: Recovered some here and was able to pick up the pace. TONS of cheering fans here plus lots of "unauthorized" course aid: gummi bears, soda, ICE COLD BEER!!! (should've just quit and joined them...). Got to the 10-mile mark at 1:23:24. Downhill 5K in 25:00 would get me to 1:48 and change.

Mile 11: Time to mash the final 5K. No, really, legs, time to mash the final 5K! No response. Thankfully this mile is downhill so I don't die. Finished my 24-ounce Gatorade I've been sipping from the whole race. Abs/stomach are starting to cramp up now. Great, now 75% of the muscles in my body hurt instead of just 50%. Managed to keep at 8:00 pace through this mile but that was misleading because it's all downhill.

Mile 12: Up the bridge pass the mile 11 mark, stopped to stretch. Down the steep hill on the other side. Stopped to stretch. Shuffled up the 1/2 mile incline past the Meyerhoff and U of B area (toughest hill on the course). Made the left onto Eutaw Street and up the hill to mile marker 12. Ran this in about 9:15, every step is miserable, I just want to fall down. Oh, and it's time to kick the mile downhill to the finish.

Mile 13: You can see the everything in front of you. It's downhill. There are thousands of fans screaming. Legs are beginning to respond...slightly. Left leg is almost useless because groin/hip area are so stiff. I normally have a very strong kick at races, but not today. It was a struggle to just to maintain race pace through this stretch. Came down through Camden Yards to the thousands of screaming fans on the 1/4 finish. Saw my daughter with her sign and waved to her and the wife; smiled and pretended to be enjoying myself. Hit 1:50 about 100 yards from finish but just didn't have the kick to make it. Strided out the finish at 1:50:23, PR by over 3 1/2 minutes and just fine considering how I felt the final 5 miles.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure what caused the cramping/stiffness. Never really experienced it before, but I'm guessing my hydration/nutrition had something to do with. I gotta figure this out if I ever hope to go long distance in the triathlons.

I gave everything I had, and it was a great day out there with great race support from the fans and volunteers.
Post race
Warm down:

Limped around the recovery area. Drank some Gatorade endurance and some water. Didn't eat anything (I usually can't eat for 15-30 minutes after a race). Found the girls and limped more noticeably to the car about 3/4 mile away. Drove home, took a hot bath (legs started to un-cramp). At a turkey sandwich and a beer for lunch.

Shortly after, my stomach went haywire and I spend the rest of the afternoon into the evening double-over with cramps and GI distress on the couch. Couldn't eat anything until about 6:30 when I had some chicken soup and crackers. Fell asleep at 9 p.m. while watching the Phillies game (glad I didn't watch the whole thing...ugh!). Slept almost 9 hours and feel MUCH better this morning as I type this.

Event comments:

The plan was right, the execution was right, but the legs just didn't have it for a dream race. 1:50:23 is a PR by quite a bit, so I can't be disappointed. I was hoping for something in the 1:47 or 1:48 range but miles 3-6.5 wore me out, and mile 9 crushed me. Combined with having no kick, I think the 1:50 was great.

I have a feeling something is wrong with my hydration/nutrition plan. I drank one full 24-ounce Gatorade in the hour before the race, plus one during the race. I also had probably 16-20 oz. of aid station water throughout the race. So, that's about 48 oz. of liquid throughout a 2-hour race, but maybe I had too much to begin with. I had no such troubles on my training runs, or the 2-hour triathlon I did, or the 10K I did three weeks ago. Maybe an electrolyte problem? Gotta figure this before I do longer tri's next season.

On an ending note, I LOVE this race. The fan support throughout the course is awesome, even in the less-advantaged neighborhoods where they are offering water bottles they bought themselves. The finish through Camden Yards to M&T Bank stadium with thousands of cheering fans can't be beat. The size of this race is perfect (22K runners). You feel like you're in a big city race like NYC or Boston, but it's manageable (in theory I could leave my house at 9:00 a.m. and be there in time for the 9:45 start). There are five different races (full marathon, half marathon, 4-person relay marathon, the 5K, and a kid's run), so everyone can participate in the fun.

Last updated: 2010-09-27 12:00 AM
01:50:23 | 13.1 miles | 08m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 100/427
Overall: 1063/8038
Performance: Good
I don't use the lap function on my watch and don't wear my Garmin/HR thing during races, so my laps aren't exact, but: 1: 7:50 2: 8:15 3: 7:55 4: 8:10 5: not sure, missed the marker daydreaming or something, probably 8:20 6: 9:15 (tough uphill mile) - 49:45 at this point 7: 8:45 (1/2 uphill-really tough into big headwind, 1/2 downhill) 8: 7:45 (the Montebello Mile, ran this pretty hard)- 1:06 to here 9: 9:15 (the Miserable Mile, see comments) 10: 8:30 (lots of crowds cheering - great stretch of race) - 1:23:45 to here 11: 8:00 (falling downhill) 12: 9:15 (I Don't Wanna Be Here Mile) 13.1: 9:30 (what kick?)
Course: Course: Miles 0-3: Rolling hills, one tough hill up Pratt Street to Patterson Park through mile marker 2, downhill mile 3. Band at the end playing Black Eyed Peas "I've Got a Feelin'". We join the Marathon course here. Miles 3-6.5: Gradually increasing hill, culminating with fairly steep climb around Clifton Park (crazy headwind from mile 6.25 to mile 6.5 today). Miles 6.5-8: Steep downhill followed by 1.3 mile loop around flat Lake Montebello Miles 8-10: Mile 9 uphill, Mile 10 rolling with huge neighborhood crowds Mile 10-11: Downhill, start of finishing 5K Mile 11-12: Up a bridge, down a bridge, uphill another 1/2 mile Mile 12-13.1: Downhill finish through Camden Yards to M&T Bank stadium; thousands of cheering spectators
Keeping cool Average Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %-2%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-10-17 7:21 AM

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: Baltimore Running Festival - Half Marathon

2010-10-17 5:18 PM
in reply to: #3156247

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Gloucestershire, England
Subject: RE: Baltimore Running Festival - Half Marathon
Great report.  Well done on the race and PR.    It's a tough course and the wind didn't do anyone any favours. 

I'm no coach but I wonder whether you are over hydrating ?  You took on a lot of fluids before and during the race.  Just wondering.  By contrast I had a 17oz bottle of water in the hour before and then took a couple of small sips at each aid station - maybe 10-12oz total.    Difficult to know what's right though and I guess it is significantly condition dependent ...

2010-10-17 8:04 PM
in reply to: #3156763

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Baltimore Running Festival - Half Marathon

I think I'm with you on the over-hydration.  I was just so used to the training this summer where I was running in 90+ degree weather that I probably over-compensated, and then went I started feeling bad I started slamming aid station water when I shouldn't have been.  Lesson learned...pretty hard to dehydrate in a HM in 60 degree weather.

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