Baltimore Ten Miler6/18/2011
I ran the Baltimore Ten Miler on June 18th, 2011. This race goes from Baltimore's Druid Hill Park to Lake Montebello and back. This race did not go well, and I am very disappointed in how it turned out for me.
On my way to the race, I saw a neat pre-sunrise rainbow. There was a rain shower as I drove down I-95, and I noticed a reddish-tinged rainbow in the sky. This was a few minutes before sunsrise, with the sun's light hitting the raindrops from just below the horizon. That was a neat sight. I also stopped for gas at a station on Eastern Avenue. When I got out of the car to pump the gas, some guy with a mullet asked me if I wanted to buy some $25 pants for just $5. He had a couple of shopping carts full of junk alongside the gas station food mart building. I declined his offer, pumped my gas, and continued to the race site.
Parking was very tight. I sat in a long line from the I-83 exit toward the park. After about 20 minutes I gave up on that and drove to Mondawmin Mall. This mall had plenty of parking. It was about 3 blocks from the park, so the walk wasn't too bad. I got to the start area just in time to stand in the huge porta potty line. Once I finished there it was time to start the race.
I originally expected to run this 10 mile race in about 90 minutes. I have run a half marathon at a 9 minute/mile pace, so this should have been easy to repeat at the shorter distance. I put this on my registration form, so they assigned me to wave 2 for the start. However, my knee injury and long layoff significantly affected my fitness level (and my weight) so I knew beforehand that there was no way I was going to be able to run that fast. I took up a spot in wave 3 in anticipation of a 1:50 or so finish. As it turns out, even that was way too optimistic.
My right knee felt fine at the start of the race. The first couple of miles are mostly downhill, so I took it easy and tried to manage my pace at about 11 minute miles. I was a bit faster than that (as usual, again...) for the first 2 miles. I ran the first mile in 10:03 and the second in 10:05. I felt good and it was downhill, so I was not worried about being so far ahead of pace. I settled into an easier pace for the next two miles. Mile 3 was 10:44 and mile 4 was 10:52. These photos were taken between miles 4 and 5, on the first part of the Lake Montebello loop.
My knee started to bother me right before Lake Montebello. I slowed down a little, hoping that a slower pace would ease the pain. I ran mile 5 in 11:13. The pain got worse and worse, and around mile 6 it started locking up on me. I had to stop and walk and shake it out to get it working properly. My time for mile 6 was 12:06. This did not help much, and I had to walk more and more to keep the pain under control. It still hurt to walk on it, but I could only run a few hundred yards at most before it started locking again. I ended up walking most of the rest of the way back to the finish. I did mile 7 in 14:44, mile 8 in 15:10, mile 9 in 15:16, and mile 10 in 15:58. I did run when I could, mostly on the downhill sections, and I did run across the finish line. It was very demoralizing watching everyone pass by, including the 1:50, 1:55, and 2:00 pace groups.
There were people with funny signs out on the course. One loud group of girls had a big sign that said "Go Random Stranger Go!" Another person had a sign that said "You in the shorts- Nice legs!" There was a band at the halfway point alongside Lake Montebello. That was nice because their sound carried almost all the way around the lake, so we had music for about a mile and a half. They had another band at the finish for the post-race celebration. The start had a Lady Gaga song blasting over the speaker system.
I was very disappointed in my poor performance here. My official finishing time was 2:08:02, which is my worst time ever for a 10 mile race. I can attribute this to my knee injury, my lack of training, and the weight I had gained as a result of not being able to run much over the spring. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have run this race. Fortunately, as I type this report about 24 hours later, my knee does not hurt much more than it does on a regular basis, so I apparently did not do any lasting damage. This race also hammers home the point that until I get this knee problem resolved, I need to focus on shorter distances. It felt OK during a recent 5K, and I can handle my normal 4-5 mile runs at home without much trouble.