Two days of leave left and today I actually woke my butt up at 5:30 am and made it down to Baltimore at 7:00 to run in the Baltimore Running Festival 5k. We all parked in the Camden Yards parking lot (for free!) and walked over to the Inner Harbor where the starting line was.
Everything was super well organized and I can see why people like this event so much. Everything was set up the way the organizers said it would be and everything started on time.
The event actually started on Thursday and Friday with a fitness expo at the convention center in downtown Baltimore. In order to streamline things on race day, all runners are required to pick up their race packet (bib, shirt and drink passes) at the expo on either Thursday or Friday. At first it was slightly inconvenient but going down the day before actually gave me an opportunity to figure out where the parking lots are and how to get back and forth from my vehicle to the starting line. So I actually appreciate them making me go down there. lol
So this morning, I retraced my steps to Camden Yards, taped my bib to my jacket (because they did not provide safety pins yesterday and I didn’t have any at home) and followed the masses to the starting line. (They did have safety pins available this morning at the bag checks.)
They had free bag checks for each of the races. The bottom of everyone’s bibs had a strip that you tear off and tie to your clear plastic bag and they keep everything safe for you while you’re running. For some reason I only checked the roll of tape I’d used (don’t know why), a mandarin orange and two drink strips that I had no intention of using. I’m sure they didn’t really examine my bag but if they had they would have laughed. I carried my phone, keys, chapstick, headphones and hand warmers in my coat pocket.
The waves were clearly marked and everyone seems to have grouped up correctly. The race started almost exactly on time with wave 1 going through the starting line, wave 2 moved up, waited maybe three minutes and then we started as well. The course was very, very flat with only the slightest of inclines here and there. I don’t remember looking around me very much but we ran through some very nice areas and all along the waterfront. Everything was clearly marked and there was a heavy police presence all along the course.
The atmosphere was pretty cool. Lots of people lined up with signs and cow bells and cheered everyone on. I was there alone (the hubs has work today) but everyone was super encouraging.
The race shirts were provided by Under Armor which makes sense since it is a Baltimore company – they are SUPER nice. Every race was officially timed and results were available immediately. They also provided free race photos which I am still waiting for (there were a HUGE number of competitors and it has only been an hour and a half or so since we all finished so I’m not surprised they aren’t ready yet). But the BEST part is the medal.
Maybe it’s the transplanted Marylander in me but I LOVE the fact that it is shaped like a crab. lol It’s solid, too, and I’m super proud of it even though it was just a three mile race.
My official chip time was 33:16 which is about average for me and more or less what I expected to do. The tips I got from the running coach REALLY helped because the race, while not entirely comfortable, was at no point difficult. I feel very confident that I’m going to start being able to run further. I did have a side stitch right there at the very, very end but since I was so close to the finish I just ran through it.
All in all, I’m super glad I did this and I will definitely participate again next year if I have the chance.