I’ve had the Frederick Running Festival races on my radar for a while now. It’s managed by the same people that put on the Baltimore Running Festival and Baltimore 10 Miler, so I knew it would be a good event!
It’s also pretty convenient that a good friend from college lives just a few miles from the race site, so I didn’t have to get up quite as early on race day — Frederick, MD is about 75 miles away from my house. It was perfect!
The main race was the half marathon on Sunday May 6, but I couldn’t just leave it at that. They also put on a Twilight 5K at 6pm the night before. Runners could choose to do both races by signing up for the “Nut Job Challenge.” That’s my kind of challenge!
I figured I’d run the 5K easy. I even turned off the pace screen on my Garmin so I couldn’t be influenced by it. Well, the course was pretty flat, and I felt good! I was expecting something in the 30-minute range, but my legs thought otherwise.
That was fun! After the race I headed back to my friends’ house for dinner. We had a few hours to chat and catch up until I had to get myself to bed!
It was an easy ride to the race start, though I did get caught up in a bit of parking traffic. I actually went the wrong way (well, it still worked) when I forgot about a turn … but it worked in my favor. I was directed to a grass lot across the street from the start line — and my spot was just a few rows from the VIP parking.
I joined the crowd and walked past a few really long bathroom lines, thankful that I had extra time to use the facilities before I left by staying so close. But it’s always nice for one last visit … and then I stumbled upon a mysteriously short line for a (real!) restroom. Good race karma. I hoped the rest of my day would go well!
When I lined up at the start, I intentionally avoided the pacers. I just raced the week before and planned enjoying my 13.1-mile tour of Frederick. No clock-watching or stressing about pace. No worrying about keeping up with pace groups. I was going to take it easy and have fun!
I really did ignore Garmin pace, only glancing at it as I watched the miles tick by. Even so, I settled into a quick pace. A few miles in I caught up with the two-hour pacers — and I had started quite a bit behind them. It wasn’t long before I passed them, and never saw them again. I felt great, though, and was pretty sure I had another sub-2 coming.
The morning was in the mid 60s and gray, and we had some misty rain for the first few miles. It was humid, so the drizzle felt amazing, even if it did make the ground a little slick. It dried up after a little while, but stayed cloudy. I guess we were lucky — earlier forecasts called for sun and a high of 80 degrees!
There were rolling hills, but nothing too difficult. It was easier than last week’s Iron Girl course.
Well, that little steep uphill right near the end got people grumbling, but I was feeling pretty good. I knew I was finishing another amazing race!
After the hill we rounded a corner and finished around the race track.
Another strong finish! And while my race time is nearly two minutes slower than last week’s race, I was happy that the course distance was right. And actually, my Garmin average pace for distance covered was exactly the same for both races. I can’t believe I did on my own what the pacers helped me achieve last week!
It took 22 half marathons for me to break two hours, and then I did it again in race #23, seven days later. Woo-hoo!
The Frederick race partnered with Iron Girl to give a “Titanium Girl” medal to runners that ran both half marathons. So with the “Nut Job,” I got a lot of bling!
That was a nice event. The premium for the half marathon is a really cool jacket, plus I got a tech shirt for the 5K. I don’t know if I’ll go out there every year, but I’m sure I’ll be back!