Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Spring has officially sprung! This means running season is in full swing and I am woefully behind in race recaps - too many to count and three more races on the near horizon.

The weekend after Cherry Pit (4/10) was the Women's 5K by the Bay, the first in this year's Women's Distance Festival races. Having done well in the race in previous years, I was shooting for under 34 minutes, a new PR. I had essentially done this back in February at the Super Bowl 5K in Dundalk, but since it was not chip timed, my official time did not reflect my actual result. A cool, overcast morning was on my side, and my new, official 5K PR is 33:20.

The next weekend (4/16) was my last long run before the Country Music 1/2 in Nashville. For it, Katie and I decided to try out a 10 miler down in Waldorf, MD. The 10 miler was part of the St. Charles Running Festival. While technically an inaugural race, it was actually rebranded, having been a half marathon the year before. Katie and I were drawn to it, as the race management was being handled by Corrigan Sports, the same folks behind the Baltimore Ten Miler, and Frederick and Baltimore Running Festivals. With the proven track record, we decided to give it a try.

The day or so before the race I started looking at the weather forecast and really really worrying. The potential was there for heavy heavy rain and very strong wind gusts. This could get really nasty really quick. Katie remained positive, reminding me of the first 10 miler we did together, the Baltimore 10 in 2009, and how horrendous that weather was and the fact we pulled through smiling and laughing at the end. The problem with this forecast was this would April rather than June, and temps would be in the 40s.

We headed to Waldorf early in the morning, under gray skies and heavy winds. Parking was plentiful at Regency Furniture Stadium, the home of the Souther Maryland Blue Crabs minor league baseball team. This was a great venue for the race, which plenty of covered areas and indoor bathrooms for everyone to use, as well. The only drawback was the 1/2 mile or so walk from the stadium to the start, but hey, I've done worse before and it was a good warm up.

I had toyed back and forth about how hard I wanted to run this race, and decided with the forecast that I wanted to pace Katie and spend some quality time having fun with her. No sense taking the risk in slipping on a soggy course while chasing a PR. The course was described as flat, but as we all know, race organizers lie, and this was no exception. There were at least two pretty significant uphills.

The weather was on our side for the first 4 miles or so. The chilly wind we encountered when we got to Waldorf had died down and the temps were actually comfortable. And then the rains came. We were soaked by mile 8. We realized around mid point that Katie was on track for a PR for herself and we kept trucking. She was a trooper and did awesome, especially on a particularly nasty hilly in the late miles in which everyone else around us was walking.

The course went through some residential areas and then wound through some country roads. The highlight though, especially for this baseball loving girl, was that the finish line was on the baseball field, next to homeplate. Katie kept pushing as we got closer and closer to the stadium, and earned herself a new PR. We celebrated, and quickly got out of the rain and into dry clothes before finding some brunch. I got home and immediately threw all of my soggy clothes into the washing machine. They were so heavy from all of the water, that they threw the washing machine off balance and actually moved it when the spin cycle hit. Ha ha ha!

Overall, a fun race, despite the downpours, and one I would do again.

Coming up next - fun in Music City!