Monday, August 5, 2013

Baltimore BoMF Sneaks Come out At Night 15k Race Report

Subtitle: Longest race title ever.
Subtitle 2: 9 miles is a long way.

Quirky race distance like a 15k are so nice- instant PR! (forgive me if there are tons of 15k's in your town. I've never run one. I live in the sticks.) But also, a 15k? That's 3 5ks, or 1.5 10ks, but not quite a half marathon, so how the hell do I race it? This was also a nighttime race- weird in and of itself. It was on Friday evening, in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, which is... pretty hilly. The weather was pretty good- it was warm (80ish) and humid, but manageable.

 First, let's talk about what went great. The race was put on by Back On My Feet, an organization that I supported way back in 2011 when I ran Marine Corps. They're great, and I believe in what they stand for. A girl who works with my company volunteers with them almost every day. She runs with the folks in the program most mornings and fundraises at events and is generally awesome. When this race was coming up, she tried to see if our company would sponsor us, and they did. Basically, the stars aligned. Free race entry for an organization I think is great? I'm in. There was a "Corporate Challenge" to get teams of 3 people to each run a 5k, and Nick joined with 2 other speedy guys. I chose the 15k. The volunteers at packet pick-up were amazing. They were helpful with my confusing questions (my coworker picked up our shirts, and my last name has changed, and our company name may have changed and...). The location was also nice. I don't know how many people ran the race (last year they had about 350 runners) but parking was ample. They also had plenty of water and Gatorade set out before the race. And this is the shirt! You can't tell from the horrible picture, but it's a fluorescent yellow, Brooks, technical shirt. Women's sizing, too! A+

Everyone started at once, the 15k folks as well as the 3 x 5k relayers. I knew that a bunch of the people around me would be running way faster, so I needed to be conscious of them and not go out too fast. The course was 3 5k loops, which is great for the relay folks but a horrible mental hurdle for the 15k people. Here's what the course looked like according to my Garmin:

My favorite part is the far left, where the Garmin lost it and I off-roaded.

It basically went run up a hill, down a straightaway, around a cone, back up the straightaway, down a hill, repeat 3x, run around a lake, then do the whole thing again. That meant that I did those 3 little out and back loops 3 times each... 9 little out and back loops. Around a cone. Then the path around the lake was wide open and pretty, but mentally exhausting. I don't want to be able to see the whole course I'm running at all times! It makes me sad.

My splits are horribly embarrassing, but here we go:
7:15 (this is faster than I run mile repeats)
last 0.4: 9:15
Total: 1:16:57 / 8:16 pace

Who gives up during the last 0.4 miles of a 9 mile race? Seriously? I am ridiculous. Also, my first 5k was around 24 minutes I AM NOT SMART, DO NOT RACE LIKE ME. Obviously, I did not run a smart, restrained race, and I paid for it badly. I was so spent by the last lap, I didn't have any kick or really even any determination left in me. I saw Nick about half a mile from the finish and he yelled at me encouragingly. I contemplated giving him the finger but decided it would require way too much effort. It was really tough running a race surrounded by people running a 5k, although that is not a reasonable excuse for how my run went. Having speedy folks blow past you randomly is not easy on the ego. I immediately felt like death when I finished. I choked down a snocone, stretched, and fought my feeling of disappointment. The thing is, if I had only run at an average pace closer to 8:15 from the very beginning of the race, I would probably have finished feeling just as much like death, but at least I would have been proud of my finish. Instead of dragging myself to the finish line, I could have been happy with my performance. But no. Excitement got the best of me.

And then I won my age group! With an 8:16 average. I'm still waiting for race results to go up, but I'm pretty sure I must have been the only person in my age group if I was able to win it! Also, Nick's team WON as the fastest relay (they were beat by a solo runner though! amazing!). I was so proud of him, and he and his teammates enjoyed it and ran really well. Sidenote: I loved talking to his teammate beforehand, who casually (and humbly) talked about how he liked the Richmond Marathon and he negative split it. First half, 1:20, second half, 1:18. I actually heard the record scratchy noise in my head as my mind struggled to digest how fast this guy is. He's in his mid-40's and has an adorable family too, so I'm just generally jealous of his life.

I experienced serious stomach trouble for the rest of the night. Nick and I hung out and got our awards, then hurried to get dinner before everything closed. We got to Chipotle about an hour before closing. I forced myself to eat a burrito bowl with guacamole so my body would have some calories to work with. I told Nick I felt like I had run a marathon. I was just completely spent. 

The race, except for the sucky course, was perfectly done. The volunteers were abundant and amazing. Post-race refreshments were the best I'd ever seen (3 ice cream trucks! Little Debbies! Sno Cones!). Next year: run smarter.

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