2017 Frederick Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday was my second running of the Frederick Half Marathon. In 2015, I ran it as part of the Nut Job Challenge (5k Saturday night, half marathon Sunday morning).  Originally, I had planned this race as my sub-2 attempt, but I ended up shooting for, and making it, at the St. Luke’s Half two weeks prior.

On Saturday morning, my son and I headed up to Frederick in the rain to pick up my packet and do some adventuring in Maryland.  We arrived at the fairgrounds, found parking fairly quickly and went to pick up my bib (one building) and my race premium (another building).  After wandering around the small expo, we headed over to see the farmers market.  Puddle jumping was too tempting for my little buddy to resist, so I ushered us back to the car to continue our adventure.

The rain was slated to stop by 11 and I had hoped we’d make it to the South Mountain Creamery to learn about ice cream making on our way home.  Sadly, there was no end in site to the rain, so we headed over to Brunswick, Maryland to check out a small train museum.  My father-in-law loves model trains and has a huge set up in his basement, so Michael is quite familiar with watching trains.  This particular exhibit wound all the way through the third floor of the museum and followed the train from Union Station up through Maryland.

IMG_0347
The rain stopped long enough to check out the old caboose in Brunswick.

We headed home, still in the rain, and I went about gathering items for my “Flat Erin” for the race. Since the goal was to have fun, I really went all out for this one – channelling the character Poppy from the movie Trolls.

IMG_0348
Skirt: Sparkle Athletic, Headband: BAMR Bands, Shirt: Run Happy by Erin on Etsy.

Saturday morning at 5am, I met my friend Kim at a local Starbucks to head to Frederick for the 7am start.  I knew that it was an absurdly early hour to leave, but if we didn’t we would sit in massive traffic upon arrival into the small town.  Packing 4,000+ runners is never an easy feat and I did not want to be stressing for no reason.

We arrived in plenty of time, got organized, and met up with our friends for some silliness before the gun went off.  It was COLD out, so we spent our time being goofy and staying warm.

When we lined up for the starting line it was STILL COLD, but we seeded ourselves around the 2:20 pacer and off we went.

 

img_0357.jpg

It remained fairly cold and the sprinkles that had begun right before the national anthem turned into full out rain by mile 2.  The course was much hillier than I remembered or was expecting and my legs were super tired, but we were all about fun — so fun we had.  We chatted about everything and everything as the miles flew by.  I was not carrying water and had a bit too much before the start out of nerves, so we had to stop for me – which took over 5 minutes because two of the potties were just not OK for female use.  Before we knew it, we were at the final 2 mile stretch a crazy up hill climb back to the fairgrounds.

IMG_0359

We finished at 2:14 and change.  MUCH slower than 2 weeks prior for either of us, but as speed was not the intention – we focused on what a lovely catch up we had for 13.2 miles.  Shortly after crossing the finish line, we met up with two of our MRTT buddies and proudly showed off our new bling.  The wind was picking up and it was getting COLD, so Kim and I headed back to the warm car to trek home.

This year they offered the option of posting FREE photos directly to Facebook for finishers.   VERY COOL, but two caveats. They come posted with not just the race logo, but a full advertisement for the race on the bottom.  AND they post all your photos – even the ones you would never post yourself.  We have had a lot of laughs looking at one another’s pics and quickly deleting them before too many of our friends get a good look.

It was a fun race and one I’d do again, but not on tired legs after two weeks of racing. Overall – Frederick does a GREAT job of putting together an A+ race with a wonderful vibe!

Northface Endurance Challenge 10k Recap

As I planned out my race schedule for the spring in January, I decided I wanted to add a trail race to my schedule – just for a little variety.  Ragnar was off the table, but I liked the idea of testing out the Northface Endurance Challenge and settled on the 10k race.

Packet pickup was the least wonderful part of the experience. You had the option of going to a Northface store, the closest one being 17+ miles from the race site, or picking up the day before or day of the race (via a shuttle bus).  Because I HAVE TO have my packet before I run, I went to the closest store on my way to a client meeting.  It wasn’t TERRIBLE and I was pleasantly surprised by premium long sleeve, hooded tech shirt. From what I could gather, each race received a different color and they were gender specific.

18194263_10155138718313592_6700010157597647121_n.jpg

In my typical fashion, I laid out my “Flat Erin” the night before the race to post on social media and was pretty happy with how the shirt from my Etsy shop turned out!

IMG_0335.jpg

The morning of the race, Sunday, I headed to the shuttle location and met up with two of my amazing MRTT friends who were running the half-marathon.  Our races were held on the second of two race days – Saturday had been the 50 miler, 50k and full marathon. We hugged and photoed, but unfortunately my buddies started at a different location and we only had time to say hello before heading off on our respective busses.

IMG_0336.jpg

Upon boarding the bus to Algonkian Regional Park, I found a family from my neighborhood who were planning on running the 5k.  We chatted on our way to the park and while we waited for the race to start.  It was warm, but not nearly as bad as the day before had been.  And it was overcast, which actually made it quite pleasant.

The 10k started right on time at 8:00 am with several waves of runners.  I seeded myself in the middle of wave 3, knowing that I had not put in enough trail miles and didn’t want to hold anyone else up.  When we were released, we started out in a field, ran along a road, and onto the trail.  One water stop was there at about mile 2, just before heading into the more technical portions of the trail.  (And allowed for 2 stops from one location.)

I was surprised at how good my legs felt and how well I was navigating all the trees and limbs.  So good, in fact, that after we turned around I decided to see how I could do for the second half.  As we hit the paved portion of the route, I kicked it up and found myself passing several people along the way.  As I crossed the finish line, I realized that most folks around me looked quite a bit younger and maybe I placed in my age group.  Sure enough, after checking my time in the “hut”, I found out I had placed 3rd among women 40-44!  There were no age group awards (aside from 1st for each catagory) and no ceremony, but I’ll take it anyway.

Upon crossing the finish line we received a nice water bottle and attractive finisher’s medal.  Apparently the medal is the same for all races, with only the ribbon color changing.   Had I run 50 miles, I don’t know if I would have been pleased about that.  But I was happy to get a new addition to my medal rack.

IMG_0345

My favorite chiropractor’s office was giving out massages after the race and the line was short, so I chatted with Jane from Beyond Wellness while she got rid of some of the tension in my calves.  After some more water and a quick snack, I ran into my neighbors boarding the bus.  The son had placed 1st in his age group and the dad 2nd in his age group.  We chatted while we waited for the busses to arrive and return us to our cars.

I would definitely recommend this race as a nice, well organized trail option.  The mud was good for my legs and the nature good for my soul.  All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

IMG_0342.jpg