Best Race Weekend Ever–BRF 2013

I did it! On October 12, 2013, I ran the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon and completed the 13 races in 2013 challenge! I promised myself that I would celebrate my new lease in life by running 13 races, including my first half marathon.  I ended up running FOUR half marathons!

BRF2013 finisher medal

What made the weekend awesome was not just the fact that I completed the race but that I got to run it with my run boos! Since it was a race in our own backyard, literally, we planned the weekend in a way to run well and recover well.  The girls met at my house at 7am to carpool downtown.  We were able to park at my job and walk over to campus.  The Dean had a special breakfast for all of the runners in his office where we had a great view of the start of the marathon, team relay, and 5K races.  The joy in this is that we got to use real bathrooms before heading down to the staging area for the half marathon.  A race without seeing a port-a-potty is a blessing for me!

On our way to the staging area, we stopped to cheer on the 5K runners on their way to the finish line.  There were quite a few Black Girls Run ladies out there.  It was great to show support to other runners even before we started.

The good and the bad of the start/staging area was that it was sandwiched between the turnaround point for the full marathon/ marathon relay route.  This meant ducking through runners already in the zone to get to our corral.  I was afraid that we would either get run over or throw someone off their game.  Neither would have been good.  The good thing about this start area was that once we were situated we could cheer on the runners while waiting for our corral to start. 

We started out together as a group with the knowledge that we would eventually split up to our own paces.  That being said, we all ended within a short time of each other.  Two of my girlfriends were running their first half marathons.  One of them like me is a hysterrunner who had run Iron Girl, Frederick, and now Baltimore.  So she too is now a Titanium Girl who completed the Maryland Double.  

BRF Collage

I may be biased but this half marathon was the best one out of the four I have run.  There was crowd support throughout the race not just in the start and end areas.  Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood along the route had its own way of cheering and supporting us.  Because a part of the route runs around Lake Montebello and through our Twilight Tuesday route, it really was like running in our own backyard at one point! The great thing about this is that my two best friends stationed themselves to cheer at different points around the lake.  Then my husband and son were at the entrance/exit point. They ran with me from the lake for about a mile to coach  me on and keep me motivated.  Once they left me, the rest of the route really was all downhill.

The race food and fun afterwards was great.  But the thing that made this race weekend awesome is that afterwards we headed to the spa for ice baths and sauna time.  The day after I was sore but not as sore as I usually am.  Going to the spa after 13.1 miles was definitely one of my best ideas.

Have you had an awesome race weekend? How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

It’s RUNtober!!!

I woke up yesterday morning singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  It is one of my favorite months to run.  Last year, I spent most of the month of RUNtober on bed rest.  Not this year.  This month is going to be epic!  Why, you ask?  Because RUNtober is the start of Fall Running Season.  There are so many who have trained all summer for goal races in this month.  I’m one of them but before I tell you about that…

I ended September with Race #12. I ran the Run Wild for Autism 5K with my son through the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  Last year, this race was the last one I ran before my hysterectomy.  I ran it in PAIN.  This year, I ran an 11 miler on Saturday as a part of my half marathon training.  So I just had the goal of finishing for the 5K.  Since this was more for my son than for me, we were both fine with that.

Here we are before the race. What you can’t see is that we both took advantage of the free Starbucks coffee before the race started.  My son also had a couple of donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  Not the best pre-race meal but we actually had breakfast in the house before we got there.

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The race itself is simple with a few HILLS as the Zoo is in Druid Hill Park.  But, the majority of the race goes through the Zoo so you get to see it in a way that you don’t normally when you visit.  We ran past sleeping cheetahs and saw the penguins coming out of their home as they woke up.  Pretty cool.  The post-race activities are AWESOME and geared towards families, including of course those with autistic kids.  Zoo volunteers roam around the post-race area with live animals.  The best part as far as my son is concerned is that autistic families get to go to the zoo for FREE after the race.

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Now that you know how I ended September, let me tell you how I plan to celebrate RUNtober!  My goal race for this year – Race #13 of 2013 – is the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon on October 12th!  I am hoping to PR with this race.  My BRFs and I have been maintaining a 13 minute pace on our long slow runs.  Our ending strides have been in the 12 1/2 minute range so if we pull and push each other through I know a sub-three hour half marathon is possible for us.

Besides the half marathon, I plan to run 100 miles this month! I will be using the hashtag #RUNtober to document my runs on twitter (@doctornayaka) and dedicate my miles to end childhood obesity with the Saucony Run4Good app.  Feel free to do the same.  My crosstraining for September slipped a bit as I got my son settled and back to school.  Bikram Yoga and I are about to be reunited and it feels so good.

One more good thing about this awesome month – tonight I am going to meet my favorite Bad Ass Mother Runners – Sarah & Dimity!  I was featured on Another Mother Runner website in August.  It will be great to meet the brains behind the books and site in person.

How will you celebrate RUNtober?  Do you have a race planned this month? What do you like about Fall?

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!