Well, if you didn’t think so already, I have a medal that tells the world I am an offical “NUT JOB”. The Frederick Running Festival this weekend was a great success. The race promotors, Corrigan Sports, give participants the chance to earn an additional medal for running the 5K on Saturday and a Half-Marathon on Sunday morning. While I was a bit reluctant to run a race the night before my FIRST half-marathon, I wanted to run with my Almost Wife in a 5K. While I didn’t want to mess up my chances of finishing my first half marathon, I figured if I ran at her pace, I would be fine. I approached the 5K the night before as a “shake out” race since I had shut my training down for a few days prior.
Jenn and I ran at her pace for two miles before she got to the point where she had to walk. I am proud of her, but she needs to get on a more consistent training schedule if she is to finish these races without walking. While she hasn’t caught the running bug quite like I have, she enjoys the atmosphere of the races, so I know she will improve once she sets aside the time to train consistently. My original intention was to finish the 5K in whatever time it took Jenn. However after two miles I asked, “do you mind if I run this thing out?” I finished strong and Jenn came sprinting in about eight minutes later. I was very proud of her for going hard at the finish.
The next morning I got up at 4:30 and ate. We got to the fairgrounds at 5:45 and I anxiously awaited the start of my first half-marathon. I was excited to do my first race at this distance in what has become my adopted home city. Moving to the Frederick area was a great move for me and I’ve done things here that I may never have been able to do if I had stayed elsewhere. The people here are wonderful and when I think “home”, I think Frederick and Frederick County now.
As the announcer beckoned us out onto East Patrick Street for the start, I lined up conservatively at the 11 minute pace marker. The start was slow as the street was packed (there is no wider street in Frederick than E. Patrick) and I thought, “what a great event for the city!”
I was in the zone the whole race. Usually when I run, I need about a mile and half to feel warmed up and focused. Whether it was my warm up race the night before or what I do not know, but I felt good the whole race, rarely bothered to check my watch, and despite never having a wide open lane in front of me I never felt crowded or forced to zig zag. I didn’t even bother with water until around mile 6. I found the early water stops to be crowded, confused, and disorganized anyway, so I just found a lane and ran through them.
The middle of the race took me through some sections of town that I’ve never driven through. I am a consumate lover of real estate (even if I don’t own as much as I would like to), Frederick’s old sections has buildings that would rival any major city or DC insider enclave, only cheaper. My mind wandered as I looked at old architecture and dreamed.
Around mile nine, the mass of people began moving backwards as I moved forwards. Prior to that, I felt like the sea of people was going past me. I’ve got enough races under my belt now not to let that bother me, I just run MY race. Mile nine was where they really started dropping like flies. I had seen IV-Bags and EMTs as early as mile 4, but the number of walkers and sideline sitters increased dramatically at mile nine. At mile 11 I still felt great. My goal had been to run this race in under two hours and fifteen minutes (easy really, but when I set out to do this, I had no baseline). I was ahead of schedule. I was not greeted by a wall at mile 11. Mile thirteen and it’s bastard brother POINT 1 was by far the longest, hardest, stretch. I’ve done a good bit of hill running, and the hill at the end of the Frederick Half is NOTHING by Frederick County standards, but its location at the end of the race and the only thing between runners and the finish line (and beer) makes for a dramatic finish. I stayed in the zone while the carnage around me unfolded. I saw people throwing up, falling down, and giving up. I stayed the course as we wound through what is “Machinery Row” during the Great Frederick Fair. We hit the horse track and picked up the pace all the way to the finish. The track to the finish felt downhill for some reason, but it was a needed relief after the earlier incline. I crossed the finish line at 2 hours 6 minutes and some change.
What a great feeling! I’m a humble person, but I have not been this proud of myself in quite some time. My Almost Wife met me in the celebration village. Granted, my name wasn’t read on ESPN this morning and Mike and Mike in The Morning weren’t talking about my harrowing sub six minute destruction of my goal time, but it was a victory. As I have stated in other posts, this hobby has snowballed into other aspects of my life in a super positive way.
Here’s to looking forward to the next one!
The Corrigan folks did a great job with this event. I really got my money’s worth with this race experience. The 5K the night before was a little disorganized at the start due to the band playing over the announcer, but we figured it out, “run with the other people”…not that hard. If you are looking for a good, organized, race experience that is both personal yet grand, I highly recommend any event put on by Corrigan. If you are looking for a big race, in a small city, I hope to see you in Frederick next year! This town is a great weekend destination for the whole family.