Baltimore Half Marathon Race Recap in Photos (and a little extra...)
I felt like I prepped well for this half. I was well rested and hydrated and finished packing everything for the race by Friday afternoon, which alleviated some of my anxiety.
I woke up really early on Saturday morning, 5 a.m., which was far earlier than what I had planned. But I was pumped up, so I decided to get up and give myself a little time to chill out. I loved having a 9:45 start time! I had my coffee at 5 and had lots of time to hydrate before my hour before race cut off time; I decided to cut off my water an hour before the race so I would have enough time to... well... flush out. (Remember, my Thimblelina bladder...). I'm happy to say it worked like a charm! I didn't have any pee jitters through the race. In face, oddly enough, I didn't have too many jitters. I think it had a lot to do with my peaceful morning and not facing any traffic on the way in (it was odd... I think it was a good omen).
Omari, Erin and I met at Camden Yards with an hour to spare before the start. Here we are before we got all gross!
We started strong and I was feeling really relaxed and energetic while running. All three of us stayed together for about the first 1 1/2 miles. Omari and I left Erin (who also got a PR!) and I really pushed myself. I didn't even feel like I had gone too far after my first six miles. I was having a great time. I think those tights really helped. I was getting a lot of crowd support ("Crazy Legs", "Rainbow Bright", "Tie Dye Girl") and it was pushing me along.
After those first 6 miles, I started to feel energy draining from my legs. They definitely weren't feeling fresh (and understandably so!). But one of my goals was to finish with NOTHING left in my tank. So I pushed on without walking too much. I only walked at the water stops. (I can't seem to run and get the water in my mouth yet.) Each time I would start to slow up or if my breathing got out of control, Omari would talk me into speeding up or calming down my breathing. He really is a great running partner (especially given that he can finish these in a little over an hour and a half and he chooses to run with me to give me support).
By the time I got to mile 9, my hamstrings were on fire. Omari asked me not to look at my watch anymore (any runner knows how impossible that is.) I told him he was crazy, and he asked me, "Do you want that negative split?" So I trusted him and stopped looking at my watch. He told me to keep at his hip and given that he's about a foot taller than me, that was tough at points!
For the last three miles, we ran about a 10:00-10:30 mile, and he made me sprint the last half a mile. I thought I was going to collapse. My quads hurt so bad I was sure I was going to get a cramp at any moment (but I didn't). I told Omari I needed to stop; he told me no... so I punched him in the arm. Thankfully he forgives me. I really thought I wasn't going to make it. And then I saw my hubby D near the finish cheering for me. He made me so happy I wanted to cry, but instead I felt a little more wind pushing me (which was all metaphorical because somehow the wind, which was strong, never seemed to be at our back even when we looped back around. How is that even possible?). This is the picture D took; you can see Omari yelling that I'm not at his hip.
My form is horrible. But I'm still plowing through. In fact, I think I ran faster than I ever have to the finish line. I'm not even sure my legs touched the ground. I couldn't feel anything other than pain in my quads. I got through the finish line (alive) at 2:42:54 and I got a negative split. I was totally psyched. Can you tell? I shaved off 22 minutes from my last half marathon time.
And I LOVE that Omari is such a good friend that he always lets me run just a tad a head of him so it looks like I'm a bit faster. That's a good friend! Thanks, O!