First, let me say I LOVE THIS RACE! I did it in 2014 with two friends from work and really wanted to do it again this year. I also love country music, so when I found out that Miranda, Blake, AND Carrie were going to be at a festival together, I really wanted to do the festival. Problem is, they both fell on the same weekend. I told my friends that I was going to skip out on the race. Boo-hoo. Fast forward a couple months and the concert plans fell through. While it sucked that I’d miss out on an awesome concert, I was excited I could do the race!
Now, I’m not a 5K runner. I haven’t run one fast in several years, and I definitely prefer long distances. Because I’m in the midst of ultra-training, I figured I’d just go and have fun with my girlfriends and spend time in Charm City. As another exclamation: I LOVE BALTIMORE! Granted, I’ve always been there for races, to spend time with friends, or a Ravens game, but for some reason, I just feel at home in Baltimore. Maybe someday I’ll move there.
Saturday night I took the train up after work and stayed with my friend just outside of downtown. We had the perfect pre-race dinner of Royal Farms fried chicken and potato wedges. We put on a movie and both promptly fell asleep.
The next morning, we were up at 6:30 to drive downtown. Parking was super simple with Panda Parking and we just had to walk about half a mile to the start. It was a beautiful morning! The cloud formations were beautiful over the harbor.
Once we got to Rash Field, we met up with another friend and dropped our bags at bag check. The new friend asked us if bag check was secure, and we both said “Of course it’s secure! It’s just in boxes, but it’s fine; been doing this for years!”
The three of us made our way up to the start line and found our pace signs. With such a large race, they were really vocal about lining up with your pace group and I think for the most part, people did. I had two goals for the race: 1. have fun; and 2. run a little faster than I usually do. Pre-race photo:
A slight uphill for about half of this mile, also the most crowded.
Mile 2: 10:29
Downhill and turns! Still felt great. Mile markers were matching my Garmin.
Mile 3: 9:43
This mile also had some more downhill. I started to push the pace here both because of the downhill and the end. This mile passes the start line and then does a small out and back before turning onto the harbor.
Mile .19: 9:02
The last portion was right along the water. I pushed as hard as I could to finish up. About 10 yards from the end, I ran into my friend! We crossed the line together and gathered our goodies: water, medals, and roses.
We walked around the finish festival as we waited for our other friend to finish. We ate some great watermelon and got a free picture at the New Balance photo booth, then went to get my bag. Now, out of all my years racing, I’ve never lost my bag. The poor lady couldn’t find my bag in the right box and I started kicking myself for being cocky about how safe the bag check was…I went back to look for my bag and finally found it in different box. I have a bunch of tags from other races, so my guess is that it was in a box according to one of those numbers, not my BWC number. Phew!
After the race, we made our way over to Blue Moon Cafe. If you are ever in Baltimore, please eat there! It’s incredible. Just know that it’s a long wait to get in (potentially hours). Karma was on our side, though and we were sat at our table in 20 minutes. WHAT?? I ate the Sweet Baby Jesus and we shared a Captain Crunch French Toast. Nom, nom…
All in all it was just a good day. I hit both my goals and had a good time with friends. I’m looking forward to doing the race again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that…