Last weekend I ran the Baltimore Ten Miler. It’s a great course – challenging and pretty. I’ve run Baltimore races 4 times and in between I somehow keep forgetting how curvy and bodacious this city is – the hills surprise me every time.
So here’s how my day went:
5:00 am: Alarm goes off
6:31 am: I actually hear the alarm
7:30 am: Race start
Mind you, I live a good 45 minutes from the race venue. Add in 1 minute to brush teeth, 2 to put on clothes, 1 minute to grab all my gear and 8 minutes to park, and that puts me at the start line (after a 2 minute full-on sprint from the car) at 7:29:59. HOLY cow. Not the way I like to start a race. No coffee. No breakfast. No water.
Race day conditions started off pretty good, but as the race progressed the dewey morning turned into a fairly hot and humid second half of the race. Humidity is my nemesis. The Frederick half marathon taught me that. So by mile 5 on my Garmin, my average speed was 8:49 per mile but I was struggling. My face was bright red, and I was basically panting. So I put on the breaks and slowed it down a bit for the second half, knowing that there were some challenging hills ahead. In the end, I finished in 1:38. That’s 10 minutes faster than last year’s time, but much slower than I had hoped.
So I titled this entry “Race Every Mile” because around mile 7 it dawned on me that I messed up. I should have planned to start slower knowing it was a humid day and knowing that humidity robs me of speed if I don’t really focus on pacing. I should have been working the race plan mile by mile instead of running each mile as a separate race in itself. I could have finished much stronger if I had banked some stamina for that mile long hill around mile 7. And man, did I want a good finish line photo this year. But I’m pretty sure my face read “screw running I quit” instead of “Yeah! I kicked that course’s ASS” as I’d like.
So my lesson for myself is to plan better. Break the race into one mile segments and build on each one to finish strong. And smile when I cross the finish line, damn it.