Have you ever made the decision to run a race literally 7 hours beforehand?
That was me last weekend. At 12:30 am Sunday we had just finished watching a movie and I was about to head home when offhandedly I asked if I could borrow $2 because my run club was hosting a 10K in a few hours. Then I had to explain how insanely cheap it is for registration to their races if you’re a member. I love you, Baltimore Road Runners.
Fast forward what felt like about 15 minutes later and my alarm was going off. Armed with my 2 bucks and an enormous cup of coffee I headed to the NCR Trail at Sparks for the Too Hot to Trot 10K. I ran this race last year with my busted up foot. Contrary to what the name might suggest, it was not too hot to trot on that particular Sunday. Actually it was downright cool and when I first walked outside the other day I thought maybe we were going to luck out again.
There was a pretty standard turnout for a BRRC event with nearly 110 runners in the field. I paid my fee and headed down to the trail to warm up. It was definitely not too hot, but it was HUMID. I was sweating after only running a half mile.
2H2T is an out and back from the Sparks trail head almost all the way down to Paper Mill if you are familiar with the area, which most of you probably aren’t. It’s rail trail so pretty flat with packed dirt and gravel. This is also the trail that I will be running my marathon on in November and I’ll jump at any chance I can get to train there. I exchanged good luck wishes with my friend as the air horn blared and we were on our way just a little past the posted start time of 7:30 am. My goal for this race was to not pay too much attention to my pace and run however I was comfortable. I finished up my first mile in 7:15.
BRRC is full of some very fast folks and people took off quickly in the beginning. Until the other runners started to reach the turnaround point, I had no idea how many were up ahead of me. Mile 2 was uneventful. I paced myself behind one guy who I would actually end up following until around mile 5. Things were going consistently. My watch beeped 7:16.
During my third mile the leaders passed me going in the opposite direction and it was the men I would have expected to see out in front. It’s usually the same guys every time. Then one very fast woman who I see out at a lot of races went cruising by. My watch signaled mile 3 (7:17) and I could see the turnaround point up ahead. There was another woman who had been way out ahead of me at the start, but I had been gaining on her and as she rounded the cone I could see that she was the only other woman in front of me which was a very pleasant surprise. I hit the turn and shortly after that passed my friend who told me to “GO GET ‘EM!” I was starting to feel a little exhausted so it gave me a great extra boost. Mile 4: 7:15. Still consistent.
That’s where things started to fall apart a little bit, but luckily the same thing seemed to be happening to other people too. I passed the woman in 2nd place during mile 5 (7:24) and then I was too afraid to look over my shoulder to see if there was anyone else nearby. I was completely focused on holding on to second place. So focused that apparently I ran right by my friend who was out on the trail doing mile repeats and didn’t even see him.
Mile 6 (7:28) was a blur and I practically shouted for joy when I saw the time clock come into view; obviously because I was done, but also I could tell that I was going to PR! My time:
More than a minute off my previous 10K PR and I held on to second place. The woman who won was ahead of me by about 3 minutes. She’s amazing.
And I wished I had had a towel with me to dry off. I was SO sweaty and disgusting.
I absolutely love the woman who was the RD for this race. When she is in charge everything is so well organized and she always has such a great spread of refreshments set up for the runners. She even makes awards for the top finishers and I was so proud and happy to take one home!
I know I’ve said this over and over again on here, but BRRC races are just the best. Well organized, the field is normally small and so friendly, and the courses are always great (I LOVE running on the trail!) They have a great calendar on their website that lists all their events so if you can ever make it out for one I highly recommend it!
Especially if you were thinking about a fun fall marathon! The NCR Trail Marathon is the Baltimore Road Runners’ signature event! (And there’s a price increase on the 31st, so if you want to run with me sign up NOW!)
Have you ever made a last minute decision to run a race? Do you love the 10K distance as much as I do?