This weekend, I did the Baltimore 10 Miler, and it was ‘Triple H – hot, humid, hills’. The race starts and ends at Druid Hill Park in north Baltimore. I requested race day packet pick up, which I was granted. Packet pick up happens throughout the week prior to the race at Dicks Sporting Goods in the Baltimore area, which is really inconvenient to do on a weekday after work for me. My alarm went off at 3am and I was ready and out the door by 4am. We got to the park just before 6am after a stop for gas and caffeine, the limited race day packet pick up was supposed to end at 6:15 so we were right on time to make our way from the parking area to the start. The nice part about this race is that even though there can be some traffic surrounding the parking situation, it is in a park (also the home of the Baltimore Zoo) and so onsite parking is ample. There is none of the circling city blocks, paying and arm and a leg, parking stress that sometimes happens at races. The race didn’t start until 7:30 so I had plenty of time to go to the bathroom and get myself ready. I wished it was a 7am race because it was quite a bit of time to kill as it was already humid. Finally, 7:30 rolled around and having spent the last 20 minutes in the last minute bathroom line I didn’t get to line up at the start area based on anticipated pace and I just rolled in with the final of 3 waves of runners.
I really enjoy the 10 mile course. It’s an out and back, so the first half you power through the uphills and respect the downhills because those become the uphills of the second half. The first few mills felt strong and I was ahead of last year’s pace but I wanted to maintain that. The turnaround is Lake Montebello. Running around the lake is about a mile and a half and it’s my favorite part of running in Baltimore. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I love the lake, I enjoy all of Baltimore but the lake is just a great place to run. Exiting the lake park, I was mentally prepared for it to get hard and for my pace to slow, by that time it was getting hot and humid. The tough part never came though. Somehow I just kept running and based on my GPS watch, getting further and further ahead of last year’s pace. With about 2 and a half miles left, my music stopped and I was so happy about my pace, I didn’t want to slow enough to take my phone out and figure out why it paused itself. I ditched the headphones all together and tucked them into my shorts to keep them out of my way. The last mile and a half or so was mostly uphill and I noticed it get painfully silent. Lots of people were slowing to a walk but I was still comfortably running and I was clear that I was going to get a PR.
I crossed the finish line 7 minutes faster than last year’s Baltimore 10 Miler. I was so happy with that time. Baltimore is my running home. Its hands down my favorite place to run a race and I don’t anticipate that I’ll stop anytime soon.