The alarm was set for 0400 hrs. when I woke up and looked at the clock it was 0345 hrs. I thought about going back to sleep for 15 mins, but decided I would rather get up now and eat than wait to hear my annoying alarm clock go off. I got up made a shake, drank it, and went back to sleep for another hour. I’ve been getting up early before long races and eating something, I think it helps to get something in my stomach and eating earlier gives it time to settle.
0515 hrs. I woke just before my alarm went off, I had a nightmare that I slept through my alarm and missed the race completely, thankfully it was only a dream. I got up got dressed, packed some clothes for after the race, and I was out the door to meet Elizabeth. We were going to ride to the race together since it was a point to point from Towson to Power Plant Live in downtown Baltimore. We arrived at the start line and immediately got in line for the bathrooms, let’s be honest that is pretty much what everyone does because you are going to have to go if you have hydrated properly. After we used the bathrooms, we warmed up a little and did a 5 min run near the start line. We ran into one of our friends Laura, we briefly chatted and made out way to the start line. I decided to use the bathroom one more time, and made it back to the start line just before the race started. I saw two of our other running friends Sarah and Lauren. I talked to them and they were planning on starting at a faster pace then I wanted to, so was Elizabeth. I wanted to use this run to simulate, the best I could, what I wanted to do in the marathon.
We were all at the front of the starting line around the 1:35 pace group, when the race started. Sarah, Lauren, and Elizabeth took off and I hung back and slowed down that first mile. My first mile was 8:17, still a bit faster than I wanted to be and it was uphill. I wanted to start around an 8:30 pace. The Charles St. 12 is an overall negative downhill race, the key word being ‘overall’, it is actually a pretty hilly course. Just after the first mile there was a water station, which I though was great this early in the race. The second mile was mostly downhill, and I ran it in 7:51. I remember thinking without a plan this race could get out of control quickly because of all the changes in elevation. I made a conscious effort to slow down a bit; I was feeling strong but I didn’t want to burn out and not have anything left for the end of the race.
At the end of mile 2 there was another water stop; I thought to myself this is great if there is a water stop approximately every mile. That was not the case. Mile 3 I slowed to 8:30 on a pretty steep climb and then my pace evened out around 8:15 a mile. Miles 3, 4, and 5 came and went without a water stop. I was getting pretty thirsty and even some other runners around me began to comment on the ‘now’ poor placement of the first two water stops, they were to close together. Finally around mile 6 there was a water and Gatorade stop. Just after the stop I heard someone from behind call my name, it was my friend Pat. I was surprised to see him, he had told me he wasn’t running the race, we ran together for a few miles and talked politics. He decided to slow his pace just a little but I was feeling strong so I pushed on. Normally, I would have hung back but I wanted to make sure I could keep the pace and feel good at the end. Now my pace was just below 8:10 a mile and I was still feeling strong.
The water stops picked again in frequency and were much better placed for the remainder of the race. In mile 8 my right shoe came untied twice which really annoyed me. I finally tucked in my laces, which I should have done earlier. After each time I stopped to tie them I sprinted back to where I was, I had noticed which runners were behind me. So while I didn’t lose any time I didn’t make up any either. At mile 9 there was a water stop at the bottom of a steep hill which followed a steep ascent, near the Washington Monument. I think it was poor placement of the water stop but that late in the race I’ll take water whenever I can get it.
With only 3 miles to go I though about really starting to push the pace, but I was also feeling like I could use a bathroom break so I decided to keep the pace the same and not pick it up to much. The rest of the course was downhill, from mile 10 I was pretty familiar with the terrain, since it was in downtown and I run a lot there. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a final climb in Federal Hill, some of those streets can be pretty steep. We ran through Fed Hill mid way through mile 10 and thankfully there were not any hills. All of mile 11 was along the promenade of the Inner Harbor which made for a great finish, after the final water stop at the mileage marker I decided to pick up the pace. Just before the finish line my Garmin 220 beeped, I looked down I had run a 7:44 mile, the fastest one of the race. I sprinted the remaining few hundred meters and crossed the finish line at 1:38:16 an 8:11 pace! That was PR! It was PR by default because I had never run that distance but I had also never run that long at that pace so it was a great feeling.
After quickly grabbing my medal, I saw Sarah and Elizabeth waiting for me, but I made my way to the bushes. I though I was going to vomit after my sprint. I didn’t and Elizabeth came over, and said ‘Let’s go get our beers!’. That’s the whole reason to run right, free beers at the end! We stood around and chatted for a little while and then decided to make our way back home, I was meeting Sarah and FKBT for brunch, Elizabeth had to work. We walked back and stopped at Lululemon, because well you just have to stop in when you walk by. I bought some boxers because I had forgotten to pack some; I used this as an excuse to finally buy the one thing I had been holding out on buying. I’m so glad I bought them they are super comfortable, no surprise there. But I digress.
I went back to Sarah’s apartment, showered and changed, our friend Theo, came back with us too and we went to brunch at Warehouse 518. Tim’s (FKBT) friend Aiden is the head waiter there and he took care of us! I have met him a few times and he is a pretty fun person and made sure to take care of Sarah and I since we just finished the 12 miler. It was great to catch up with Tim, I haven’t seen him much since he moved and it had been quite some time since Theo, Tim and I hung out together. Brunch was delicious! If you are in the Mt. Vernon area I recommend Warehouse 518!
Overall it was a great day with friends and we all PR’d, so we were all happy! It was a good way to judge where we are all at in our marathon training, though I think we all agreed we would have liked to run that extra 1.1 miles to see if we could have PR’d at the half distance. The Charles St. 12 is a race I will consider doing again next year.
Did you race this weekend? How did it go?
-Veggie Fueled Runner