This race was added on as an afterthought. When I learned it was the end of the year celebration for Team Fight, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
Last year I did the 5K run as a pacer/Sherpa for a cancer survivor as part of the Cancer to 5K program. This year I signed up for the half marathon as a recovery run after the Half Full. This would be my first stand alone, non-flat half marathon. It would also be my fun run – no pressure, no expectations, no worries.
I had talked my neighbor John who just finished his 50th marathon at Boston this year into running it with me. I knew I could never keep up with him but he said let’s just go and run for the fun of it. He has run it many times and was not in search of a PR on this day.
Usually I have some type of plan leading up to a race – something about sleep/rest/nutrition, etc. This really was a go with the flow type of week.
It was so nice to sleep in race morning and just worry about my running shoes, Garmin and race belt.
Only goals I had were to enjoy the run and try to negative split it, no matter what the pace.
I had a great time hanging out with everyone at the Team Fight tent prerace. Walked over to the start and got in line literally less than one minute before gun time. I agree with Sharon’s comments about the start being disorganized. There were supposed to be corrals but there were no signs and no one paid attention to any of it. This was only a concern because the start was jam packed with runners of all paces and it made for a very slow and crowded first 1-2 miles. Lots of extra steps spent weaving around and passing people.
I had no idea what the course was like except to know that it was hilly. I promised myself and Johnny I would not look at my Garmin the first 2 miles, and I didn’t. At about mile 4 I said to John, how can you not love this? Beautiful weather, running through the city, lots of crowd support. We ran with some police officers who had these great Under Armour shirts that said “Baltimore Police Protect This House” They invited us to run with them next year (shirts would be included ). It was nice to be able to not only enjoy the scenery but to enjoy the other runners.
Johnny and I have opposite running styles. He attacks the hills and really recovers on the down hills (which is what I used to do). Ever since attending an Evolution Running clinic, I have been trying to keep my heart rate steady on the up hills and take advantage of the “free speed” on the down hills. The net result was I was made to go faster up the many hills to keep up with Johnny and I pulled him along on the down hills.
The wind picked up quite a bit around Lake Montebello…. so much so there were white caps on the lake. About half way around, I didn’t care how pretty it was, I was ready to be out of the wind. The wind continued to pick up for the duration of the race. The only time I didn’t notice the wind in the second half of the race was going up the challenging climb on 33rd street just before mile 10.
With just over a mile left, I realized if I kept up the pace, I might actually PR the distance by a few seconds. I made the mistake of saying that out loud and Johnny turned on the after burners.
I crossed the finish line feeling great! Really enjoyed the race, the course, running with Johnny, and the entire experience. I definitely met my goals of having fun and negative splitting the whole run. Almost every mile was faster than the previous one starting with a 9:29 first mile and ending with a 7:57 last mile.
Imagine my surprise when I realized I had PR’d over my time at the pancake flat Shamrock by just over one minute!
I highly recommend this if you are looking for a fun, challenging local end of the season half marathon!