The Casual Runner

2015 Sole of the City 10K

Event: 2015 Sole of the City 10K

Event Date: April 18, 2015

Event Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Why I decided to run this race

Due to our Disney race schedule we’re missing a lot of my favorite local races this year.  So I looked for other local races that I’d always meant to do but hadn’t gotten around to.  The Sole of the City 10K is put on by one of my favorite running stores (Charm City Run) and I always have a good experience at the events they sponsor.  Plus, the 10K is part of a race series that I’m hoping to do next year, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get familiar with the course.

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I parked where my pants are born!  Wait…that sounds dirty somehow…

Getting there/the lead-up to the race

I didn’t exactly do a lot of prep for this race.  I’d arranged with my coach to fit the race into my training schedule, so the 10K took the place of the first of my two scheduled weekend long runs.  The night before the race my husband and I met up for happy hour and dinner with some of his colleagues to say good-bye to someone who was leaving the office and ended up having some wonderfully delicious (but not exactly runner-friendly) food and drink.  The next morning I threw on whatever clothes I happened to grab first, took no race fuel with me, and headed to the race.  I guess I could claim that I was “experimenting” with carrying less superfluous stuff with me during a race and just relying on what was provided, but really, I just didn’t do much planning for this race at all.

The race Expo

There was no expo for this race.  Instead, packet pick-up rotated between the various Charm City Run stores for the week leading up to it.  Unfortunately, my husband and I couldn’t get to any of the stores beforehand, so we arrived at the race early to get our bib and race premiums.  I’d hoped to pick up another tube of Body Glide while we were at the store, but we had to park farther away than expected and we didn’t have time to wait in the cashier line and still get back to the car to drop off our bags before the race.

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Perhaps black wasn’t a great choice for a sunny race forecast.

Swag review

Runners had the option of paying for the race premium when we registered.  My husband and I got the premium because, as I’ve mentioned before, a lot of the race swag for our local races is made by Under Armour and is therefore really good quality.  This race was no exception.  Men got a nice, thick dark blue sweatshirt, and women got a mid-weight mint green hoodie.

The gear

Although this was not a costume race and there was no specific theme, I felt drawn to have a little bit of a costume element.  So I wore my gray digitized camo Sparkle Skirt, a black Nike tank top, and my X-wing Fighter hat from Star Wars (in honor of the new teaser trailer that was released for the movie earlier that week).  For the rest of my gear I wore my black Under Armour capris, purple Bondi Band headband, black Adidas sports bra, Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Nathan handheld hydration bottle.

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Toeing the line under a huge American flag.

The pre-race

Because we had to pick up our bibs and shirts before the race, we didn’t have much time to enjoy the pre-race festivities.  The Green Turtle bar and restaurant was one of the sponsors, and it seems that some folks may have started the post-race celebration before the race started.  We did have time to visit the port-a-potties and watch the fire department hang the huge American flag over the starting line before the National Anthem played, and then we were off.

Along the course

I’m not from Maryland and I’ve often said that I’d prefer to live in DC over Baltimore.  And that’s still true.  But over the past few years I’ve come to appreciate Baltimore City and I enjoy running through it.  I mean, there are potholes in the streets and annoying hills, but there’s also history and fun architecture and a lovely view of the Inner Harbor.  I really love running in Baltimore despite the fact that the hills and the cobblestone streets slow me down a lot.

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Race Icon: Running through the Inner Harbor.

The course itself started in the Fort McHenry area, crossed into downtown, ran through Fells Point, curved back through the Inner Harbor, and brought us back to the Fort McHenry area.  It was a gorgeous day with sun and minimal wind…perfect for a run.

The only negative thing I’d say about the race is that we really could have used more than 2 water stops along the course.  I totally understand that the race is not as huge as, say, the Baltimore Marathon.  And therefore it’s probably not as easy to amass quite the same amount of support.  But it was the first really warm day we have had in months and there were a lot of us in need of more hydration because we were simply out of practice running in that kind of heat.  That said, the volunteers manning the water stops were really dedicated.  When we came through both stops they were obviously still recovering from a crowd of people who had wiped them out of water.  But the volunteers were not going to let the rest of us pass without support; they were filling cups as fast as possible, scooping water out of coolers like they were bailing water from a sinking ship.  Since I had decided to run without my usual hydration gear, I really needed the water and appreciated the volunteers’ hard work.

The SMOpinion

No SMOs for this race.  Sad face.

The post-race experience

The shopping center that houses Charm City Run and The Green Turtle basically turned into a street party as the runners crossed the finish line into the post-race celebration.  We grabbed our waters and bananas and sandwiches and walked past the cover band and the beer line to sit in some shade.

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Some cool scenery along the race course.

They were actually a decent band, so it was fun to listen to them while we snacked.  Behind The Green Turtle was another after party with a DJ, but we didn’t check it out.  We didn’t stay very long after we finished our snack since we were craving a burger and chocolate shake from our neighborhood burger joint.  But it seemed like everyone was having a good time.

Playlist Peak

I didn’t take my iPod with me since I was running with my husband.  But it’s not a Baltimore race without some spectator blasting “Good Morning, Baltimore” from a stereo!

Looking back now

I liked this race.  It’s a favorite of a lot of locals and I’d like to run it again next year.  And I expect I’ll run a better time now that I know where the hills are and I can prepare for them.  The lack of a SMO is a little disappointing, but I think I’ve just become spoiled by runDisney.  Charm City Run sponsors a race challenge: completing the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K, the Sole of the City 10K, and the Charles Street 12 earns you a special B3 medal.  I’d like to earn that next year.

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