Race Recap

Frederick Half Marathon Race Recap

Amazing photo my friend took at the finish

After a long hiatus it seems as though we are returning to racing in person! I say this after having two in person races in just over a month. With the ten-mile race last month I made a variety of rookie mistakes. Things I knew better about doing or not doing. I didn’t taper, heck I didn’t even cut back my miles leading up to the race and somehow I expected to have fresh legs. I didn’t hydrate nearly enough before, during or after the race. So this time around I made a conscious effort BEFORE the race to do ALL THE RIGHT THINGS. I legitimately tapered, cutting back my mileage the week to ten days before the race. Ask any runner what one of the hardest things is about racing…it’s the taper. I made sure to hydrate nearly all week and eliminated wine. I wanted to feel my best to have my best race.

In racing there are things you can control and things that are beyond your control. The Frederick Running Festival was supposed to happen in May. Due to Covid restrictions that were still in place at that time it wasn’t possible for the race to happen then, so it got bumped to July. Maryland in July doesn’t really offer the very best conditions for racing. The heat and humidity have the ability to be debilitating. After the June ten miler, when I was clearly overheated and dehydrated, I knew I couldn’t control the weather but I could control how I made the most of the weather.

I invested in a new hydration vest for starters. It was lighter weight and had flasks in the front of the vest. I found this much more comfortable to wear and more breathable. This also allowed me to carry significantly more water. Further, the ease of the straws almost forced me to drink more along the route. Not going to lie, we got incredibly lucky with the weather. I say that but it was still 70 with 93% humidity at the 6:30 AM start time. So while better than what it could have been it was still a bit toasty. I’d rather run in the 30 degree weather any day of the week!

This was my first half marathon in person race since February of 2020, so 17 months. In that time I’ve been doing a lot of distance running and heck ran my first Marathon. But, let me tell you something- the more races I run, the more pressure I put on myself for a faster or better time. It’s really unrealistic because so much goes into a race time including the course, conditions. Unless you are comparing apples to apples you can’t make a true comparison. I set myself up all week to have a slower race. Heck, I even told my cheering section- hubby and two boys that I was expecting to a slower race and just wanted to finish. Anyone who knows me know that I could have said that over and over again until the cows come home and deep down I’m still competitive with myself and possibly set unreasonable expectations.

Is it possible to race without a flat lay?? Missing from this photo my hydration vest and Huma Gels.

We stayed over in Frederick the night before, which cut down on travel time on race day. Since my oldest son’s friend’s father was also running we all made a weekend of it. It’s been fun to share racing with someone else and the kids and spouses have each other as they wait for us to finish.

Let’s review my previous in person half marathons. My first, was the Baltimore Half in October of 2019. Truly my goal was to finish- but really my goal was for a sub two time. I managed that with time to spare finishing 1:58:18. The weather conditions were ideal, crisp Fall day and the adrenaline of having never run a half marathon before. Up next was the Disney Princess Half Marathon. The weather was unseasonable cool in Florida in February 2020. My kind of weather. There I had a finish of 1:54:34. That time included a very unfortunate need to go to the bathroom which easily added two minutes to my time. So what was I really going to be happy with for this Half Marathon. As much as I said time didn’t matter, it did. I still needed to come in under 2 hours to be satisfied.

I knew that I needed to slow my 8:30 a mile pace down a bit to accommodate for the heat and humidity. But in traditional fashion I took the first 3-4 miles too fast. The course was relatively flat, there was a light rain that would turn into even crazier humidity- think you can see the air kind of humidity and there was the excitement of an in person race. By about mile five however, I was overheated and questioning my sanity. Why exactly did I think running long races was a good idea?? I needed to get out of my head about time and focus on finishing. There is something to be said for knowing that your husband and kids are at the finish line waiting for you. Ask them, they want nothing more than to see me finish and couldn’t care less how long it takes me to run. I am my own worst enemy.

I needed this long run in a bad way. Tapering came at a particularly stressful time. Wednesday before the race, I was offered the job I had applied for a few months back. This was great news and I was super excited. However, it was a quick turn around and I was starting Monday. As in the day after the race and five days after being offered the job. The logistics of making sure the boys were covered and I was going to have the flexibility for drop off and pick up- days off that I needed etcetera were completely stressing me out. So yes, I needed 13.1 miles to run, think and settle myself down.

Running longer races is like riding a roller coaster. So much excitement to start, then usually a questioning of sanity, followed by a I do this for those that can’t, to really three miles to go to I’VE GOT THIS! On this hot day in Frederick I was very grateful for the folks who were handing out bottles of water. While I had plenty to drink I appreciated being able to pour some over my head to cool my internal temperature. As with every race, I dug deep, I channeled my why and I pushed to the end. Interestingly enough the end of the race was on the horse track at the Frederick Fairgrounds. It was literally like running in wet sand to finish-but as is my tradition I called to say I was heading into the back side of the Fairgrounds and that I would see them soon. I finished in 1:56:46. So basically right in the middle of my two previous times. Given the heat and humidity this was definitely a win. And you know what I felt way better after I finished, a good run was truly what I needed.

How do the number shake out? 323/1412 total runners. Not too shabby. 13/91 woman in the 40-44 age range. Overall a very solid run with lots learned along the way. 1) the new hydration vest is a total win, 2) I truly need to keep my pace slower as I prepare to begin training for the NYC Marathon and 3) there’s nothing quite like the runner’s high when you finish a race!

Coming soon- How July was my lowest mileage month and I’m OK with that and Going Back to Work- still making the time to exercise each morning!