Baltimore Ten Miler


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.

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Start

I am way, way in the back of the pack someplace. This photo shows the start of the race.

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.

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Halfway

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Halfway

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Halfway

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.

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Finish

Baltimore Ten Miler 2011 Finish

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.