Category: Race all 50 states

Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon

Done, Half marathon #8.

On Friday I flew out to Baltimore to run another half marathon.  I was kind of iffy about it because I knew there were going to be hills.  Ugh, I dislike them very much.  Oh well, can’t always run a flat course just like in Chicago.

My flight got in at noon and my friend picked me up.  However, my luggage did not make it on the plane so the next flight out from Chicago would not arrive around 1:30.  No problem.  I filled out a report and was told that if I went back to pick up my luggage, Southwest would give me a $50 voucher.  Sweet.

My friend and I went to the expo.  As usual I bought stuff that I did not need.  I bought two shirts and another iFitness belt.  Well, what I really wanted was the one that holds the bib.  I already have a belt with two pouches but I thought it was a different belt for the bib holder.  Later on I found out all I needed were the two cords to hold the bib.  Sigh.  Do you need an iFitness belt?  If so, please contact me.

The day of the race it was cold in the morning.  The half marathon began at 9:45 which gave us plenty of time to get on the light rail, use the bathroom, and get some rest before the race.  I had a short sleeve on along with a long sleeve.  By the time the race began, it was kind of warm so I took it off and tied it around my waist.  I did not have a finish time goal.  All I wanted was to finish in time to get something to eat, shower, and be ready for a shuttle pick up at 1:40 to head back to the airport.


The course took us through some nice areas of Baltimore.  I ran close to John Hopkins and immediately thought of Henrietta Lacks.  If you get a chance, read her book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”.  One of my favorite parts of the course was running around Lake Montebello which was about 1 mile long and flat.  The race began and was immediately welcomed by hills.  I started off too fast with the rest of the runners.  When will I learn NOT to do that?  I walked through most of the hills.  I made a mental note to train for hills.  The nice thing is that whenever there are hills, there are always downhills.

Around mile 11 I had to run up a bridge.  Seriously?  Why are there hills/inclines towards the end of a race?  As I mentioned before, when there is a hill there is also a downhill.  I just wanted to be done with this race.  I looked at my watched and realized that I could still finish it in less than 2:30.

Mile 12 was another favorite part of mine.  There were so many people out there.  I swear that whole mile was filled with people.  It was great to see that towards the end of race.  I felt energized and motivated to keep on running.

My official finish time is 2:28:45.  I am very pleased with my time.  One day I will do a sub-2.

I did not like the area around the finish line.  I know.  So many people.  What did I expect?  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I could not move forward because there were so many people in front of me. The holdup?  Volunteers were handing out those heat sheets.  People please move.  I have an hour to shower and eat before my shuttle pick up.

Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon

Next race is Indiana on Saturday, October 20th.  Overall, this was a great half marathon.  Despite the hills, I did like the course and was pleased with the weather and my finish time.


Republic Bank Big Hit Half Marathon & Quarter Marathon, Louisville, KY

Done, state #7.

I have a few half marathons in mind that I want to do but am waiting till last minute to register. The reason? Just in case my IT band acts up. So far I’ve been able to run with minimal pain or no pain at all. The deadline to register for the Republic Bank Bit Hit Half Marathon was on Thursday. I had already filled out the form and was about to enter my credit card number when I decided to google a discount code. Thursday was my lucky day because I found a Groupon deal for half price race registration. I immediately purchased it and proceeded with my registration. Yippeeeee! Only $37 for the half marathon.

I arrived Saturday afternoon and called the hotel to arrange for a free pickup.  Someone arrived in 10 minutes.  Awesome.  Check-in was fast and the clerk on duty was nice enough to move me to a floor where it would be quieter.

After I unpacked, off I went to pick up my packet to Sluggers Field which was about 5 minute away.  However, I got lost because even though I am pretty good with directions/maps, I still couldn’t figure out whether to tun left or right on one of the streets.  Anyway, I made it and was out of there in about 15 minutes.  There wasn’t much of an expo.  I did study the map for a little bit and convinced myself that the course indeed was flat.


I went back to the hotel to rest and continue reading “Fifty Shades Darker”.  I stopped reading about 10 and decided to go to sleep.  However, around 2am I heard people in the hallway taking loud and running.  I got up annoyed and nicely told them (next door neighbors) to please keep it down.  Then around 4, I heard more people but this time they were at the end of the hall.  I stepped out too far into the hallway that I accidentally locked myself out.  I was even more annoyed.  I went downstairs to the front desk to get another key.

Race day was here.  I quickly changed and made my way downstairs for the free continental breakfast.  I am not a big fan of it but like it for the coffee and bagels the morning of a race.  The starting line close to Sluggers Field.  I saw another runner and asked him if I could walk with me.  It was still kind of dark and I did not want to walk alone.

My goal was 2:15.  I found the pace leader and realized that I had not turned on my Garmin.  It took a LONG time to find a satellite that by the time it did, most of the runners had crossed the starting line and I “lost” my pace leader.  I think I was one of the last ones to start.  I was not worried at all.  I found a comfortable pace and passed quite a few runners and walkers.

It was a perfect day for a race!  It was chilly but in a good way.  I was not cold nor hot at all.  There were a few inclines but nothing like the horrible course in Minneapolis.  There was very minimal crowd support but yet the race took us to some nice areas.  I did not run with my hydration pack but quickly realized that very few stations did not have Gatorade but it wasn’t that big of a deal (I always carry Gatorade in my pack).  I did like running without it.  Made me feel liberated.  I also ran without music.  This was my own fault.  I took my armband but forgot the headphones.  Again, no big deal.  I did not mind it all.

Mostly I felt OK during the race.  I ate a Gu at miles 4 and 8.  I had a good pace going until I finished mile 10.  I told myself that what was left was a 5K.  Easy right?  Wrong.  By then I was tired.  I looked at my watch and realized that I might meet my goal.  I kept going but struggled each mile.  There was a guy that was in front of me that I wanted to pass.  Miles 7-10 we kept passing each other.  When I got to mile 12 he was a long way ahead of me but it motivated me to keep on running.  The finish line was inside Sluggers Field and I was so happy when I saw it.  I stopped for a little bit to catch my breath and then just ran.  I looked at my watch and it was around 2:19.  Oh well, I was not going to meet my goal but maybe a PR?  I was so happy when I crossed the finish line.  I looked at my watch and saw 2:20:02.  I was pretty happy about it.

I did not realized I had sweat so much till I saw this picture.


My official finish time is 2:20!!  A 28 seconds PR!  Still a PR.  🙂

Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon in Bloomington, Minnesota

On Sunday I ran a half marathon in Minnesota. This makes state #6.  I chose this race because I heard positive things about these series of races, it would be a new state, and would consist of a one night trip.

I arrived in Bloomington around 11 am.  I did not want to pay $30 for a cab so I waited 40 minutes for the hotel shuttle.  While waiting I met another runner from Baltimore that was also running a race in each state.  On the way to the hotel, the shuttle made a stop at Mall of America.  I knew I had to make my way there soon.  I finally arrived at the hotel, checked in, and went to get some lunch.  After lunch I went to the expo for my bib.  The expo was small but with enough vendors.  I bought more headbands, a travel size foam roller, and a Brooks shirt.

After the expo I went to my room to rest.  I almost did not make it downstairs to get on the shuttle that was going to Mall of America.  I am so glad I did.  Impressive mall!  An amusement park inside the mall?  Roller coaster and ferris wheel?  Wow!  And let’s not forget the stores.  Almost every store featured in a magazine was in that mall.

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I was up at 5am on Sunday morning.  I ate a Cliff Bar, drank coffee, changed, and made my way down to the lobby.  Luckily the hotel was providing transportation to the starting line.  By this time it was about 68 degrees and HUMID!  Ready or not, off I went.

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All I can say is rolling hills galore!!  I’ve ran plenty of half marathons and this was by far the most difficult race ever!  I definitely struggled.  Around mile 2 there was this LONG hill.  I walked through most of it.  Once I reached the top, then it was down hill.  This was pretty much the whole course.  As soon as you were down hill, there was another hill to tackle.  I knew then that I was not going to get a finish time of 2:30 or better.  By then my goal was just to finish.  There were plenty of water stops and in some areas good crowd support.  About .5 before the finish line there was this LONG down hill that I felt like I was going to fall and roll my way down.  But then there was another small hill with a down hill and then the finish line.  Definitely not a good idea.


So what did I think about the race?  I hated the course.  I loved the goody bag.  So cute!  The shirt is nice.  The race was well organized.  Plenty of port-a-potties.  I liked the transportation to and from the hotel at the beginning and at the end of the race.  Will I do another WHM race?  Absolutely!  I am planning to do the one in Nashville on September 22.

Finish time was 2:49:25.  Definitely NOT my best time.  Actually, this is my worst time!  🙂  That’s OK.  I am glad I finished it instead of giving up.

What was your worst race?  When and why?