Two weekends ago we traveled to Annapolis, MD. We made great time thanks to an early wake up call and as a result and we had a little time to kill before arriving in Annapolis so we toured the historical ships and submarine docked at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.
My friend, Irene, lives in the Annapolis area. We met in the Peace Corps and have been friends since. I haven’t seen her in over a year. She visited us last summer, but I hadn’t been down to Maryland since before Carlos was born. I received an email last winter from the Zooma race nation and spotted a half marathon on June 1, 2013 in Annapolis. My husband had never been to the area and I knew he would enjoy it too. Irene graciously extended an invitation for us to spend the weekend with her and even offered to shuttle me to the race early on Saturday morning.
After arriving to Irene’s we drove down to Annapolis so I could pick up my race packet at the Loew’s Hotel. The expo was small but had some interesting vendors. I picked up my bib, sampled some of the goodies on hand and bought a new T-shirt.
On Friday evening we had dinner at Paladar Latin Kitchen in Annapolis. The food was insanely delicious. We started with an order of their traditional guacamole served with different kinds of roasted chips like plantains and yucca. I really adore guacamole and this one did not disappoint. Irene and I were both eyeing the same dish so we decided to order two different meals and share. She had recommended the fish tacos, but I am always a little weary of eating fish the night before a race. We ordered Grilled Sweet Potato Soft Tacos. The description in the menu reads grilled sweet potatoes and hearts of palm with tomatillo salsa, pinto beans, scallions, cabbage and roasted garlic pasilla aioli. Irene was leaning towards this dish and though it sounded good I really wanted one of the specials of the night, a kale mushroom wrap with a side of pan seared spinach with raisins and pepitas. Both of us have a healthy addiction to kale, but honestly the tacos stole the show. We were doing all sorts of mmm, yum, oh my god, amazing…but it really was one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted.
I was up the next morning at 4:28 just two minutes before my alarm went off. I hopped up and started my pre-race preparations. I scored some Justin’s honey almond butter packets on sale at Target for fifty cents so I had one of those with a banana and a toasted English muffin. Irene drove me to Navy Stadium where we were going to start and finish the race. We got into town early so we didn’t have to sit in traffic and she was able to drop me off right next to the starting area. She returned home and I walked around the stadium to explore a little since I had about an hour’s time before the 7a.m. race start.
I am so used to running these races alone, but I have to admit seeing so many people taking photos of each other, laughing, talking and stretching together made me a bit envious. I had made an executive decision the night before that I didn’t want anyone at the finish line. I am still a bit apprehensive about having Carlos, in particular, at my races even though my logical brain tells me I’m being slightly irrational. It’s sad to think that in light of what happened in Boston road races are now experiencing heightened security just like airports after 9/11, but it is necessary. I would never want to feel that painstaking burden of regret for something terrible happening to my friends and family. We had received an email from the race organizers informing runners that there would be no bag check for safety reasons. It’s such an unfortunate world we live in today.
The race started promptly at 7a.m.
We set out around the stadium in a pack. It took about 5 minutes to break free. As we hit the streets of Annapolis the heat began to rise. With no shade cover I was sweating in no time. I was really excited about this race. I thought the course would be beautiful. I felt well trained for it and 13.1 is my favorite race distance. Well then came a seven night stretch at work, a week off from food journaling and weighing myself, lack of sleep and a list full of errands to do before our trip. I’m not making excuses for myself. I made the choice to work extra. I gave myself permission to take a week off from food journaling and weighing myself. Lack of sleep often comes with the territory of having a night shift job and raising a child. I am not recommending it though 99% of the time I am well rested, but on occasion it is a problem. My “to do” list was growing with end of school year tasks that cannot be put off.
A quick note about my diet. I gave myself a short break from the rigidity of food journaling, constant weighing and calorie counting. This does not mean I gave myself permission to eat crap. I ate healthily but also enjoyed a few treats on my trip this weekend.
I always go into a race with goals. This would be my third half marathon in 6 weeks. I set a PR with my first half marathon of 2013 in Plattsburgh, NY. My second half marathon on Mother’s Day was fantastic considering I had worked all night, but it was not a PR. I went through a mental dilemma following that race. What to do? I’m so close to a sub-2 hour half marathon time, but in running shaving off four minutes is not as easy as it might sound. After looking at the weather, appreciating the busyness of the week before the race and doing a serious reality check with myself I decided to just do my best as always, but not be too concerned with setting a PR.
This was a mental race for me from the start. I don’t know why I sometimes still get very negative with myself. I started running and felt good, but within the first mile I was actually telling myself things like “I’m just not feeling it today; it’s too hot to push myself; I screwed up this week by not food journaling; I feel so huge…” Oh wow the negative thoughts just started pouring into my brain. Somehow I shook myself out of it and managed to run a smooth race. The course was pretty in some parts, really dull in other parts, challenging with its up and down hills and repetitive turn arounds throughout.
We finished back at the stadium. I silently cursed as I ran up the last hill just before the finish line. That’s just cruel! I pushed with all I had left in me. I was pleasantly surprised to see the time clock reading 2:04. Not a PR, but not bad. Instead of medals we received necklaces. We also got yoga mats, water bottles and race shirts. Nice swag!
I walked around a bit to stretch and then set off in search of something to eat. In the meantime I got a text announcing my official race time, 2:02:43. My half marathon PR was 2:03:52 so this was fantastic. I felt like hugging someone. Instead I asked a woman nearby if she knew where I could get some water. We started chatting and she asked if I had heard the news the race organizer posted on Facebook. Um no?!
“Runners we are aware that due to misdirection on the course both the half marathon and 10K are about .25 miles short today. We know this is frustrating and we are so sorry this happened.”
Well this would explain my awesome time! While waiting for my friend to pick me up I vacillated between frustrated to feeling silly about being frustrated over something so insignificant to most of the world. In the end I brushed it off and chalked it up to a rather expensive long run.
I never pay much attention to my stats, but check this out.
I may not have set a PR, but this is pretty awesome!
After the race we went to Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Annapolis for breakfast. It was jammin’ with runners and tourists alike, but it was well worth the wait. While waiting for our table I made sure to get some race photos.
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying time with my friend Irene, another Peace Corps friend, Irene’s family and my family. It was relaxing and full of wonderful conversation. It was sad to leave so soon.
If you’ve made it this far thank you for sticking around. Also thank you for the encouraging comments lately. I appreciate them very much.