The Casual Runner

2016 Charles Street 12 (Miler)

Event: 2016 Charles Street 12
Event Date: September 3, 2016
Event Location: Baltimore, Maryland

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Why I Decided to Run This Race

Charles Street was one of my first distance races after I started running so it holds a special place in my heart.  I missed it last year because it is the same weekend as the Disneyland Half Marathon, so I wanted to be sure to run it this year.

You can go ahead and check out my thoughts on the 2014 Charles Street 12, go ahead, I don’t mind, I’ll wait.

Getting There/the Lead-up to the Race

I had hoped to have had a good training season and be better prepared for the hills.  But over the summer my training completely fell apart.  Since I had run the race before I was confident I could still finish within the time limit, but I knew it would be tight.

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The Race Expo

As in previous years, packet pickup rotated between several Charm City Run stores in and around Baltimore.  I had to leave work a little early to get to the Columbia, Maryland location on time but it was pretty convenient.  The store did have a few racks of discounted items, but there was no expo to speak of.

Swag Review

Once again all runners got an item from Under Armour as the race premium.  This year women got a lightweight purple long-sleeve half-zip jacket.  I didn’t see what men got since my husband decided not to run this year, but it was probably something similar.

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The Gear

The weather has been hot and humid all summer, but the morning of the race was a little cooler because a storm was moving into the area.  Despite this, it was still too hot for me to wear anything more than a tank top.  As for my skirt, I picked one that seemed to fit the theme of “street” best: a diamond plate print.  As a side note, I got more compliments for my skirt during this race than I think I have ever gotten other than for full costumes.  I guess it’s because the print was so metal… (Ba-dum-bum-ching!  I’m so punny!  And yes, I’m pretty proud of that one.)

The gear: Purple Bondi Band headband, pink Nike tank top, pink Adidas sports bra, diamond plate print SparkleSkirt with built-in shorts, Injinji socks, New Balance 860v6 shoes with custom orthotics, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss timer, and UltrAspire Astral hydration vest.

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The Pre-Race

The race is a point-to-point course so I parked at the end and took a bus to the starting line in north Baltimore.  The starting line is staged in the parking lot of a mall but they also open the main lobby of the mall to runners so we can hang out and use real bathrooms.  I had to apply a little more Body Glide to a spot I missed so I went straight to the bathroom and then grabbed an inside table to eat a little snack before the race.

A few minutes before the race was scheduled to start they herded us all up to the road to line up.  I knew I would be bringing up the back of the pack so I positioned myself at the very end.  A live singer performed the National Anthem; she did a pretty good job, but she kept changing keys when she tried to reach the high notes which drove me a little crazy.  But then they released us and we were on our way!

Along the Course

In theory the entire race follows Charles Street, a historic street through Baltimore.  But in reality we don’t get on Charles Street until several miles into the race.  The beginning has a lot of uphill, which I had a hard time settling into, but I eventually did find a rhythm and get into my pace.

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What really freaked me out was that the sweeper bus followed me the entire way.  OK, so technically it was keeping pace with those of us at the end who were stretched out over about a quarter mile, but it was still right there with me for the majority of the race starting shortly after the first turn.  I don’t think they were sweeping people at the beginning, rather I think they were just following for safety to make sure no one tried to drive through when there still runners on the course.  But it still threw me off my game because the group I was running with was behind pace and they certainly could have used that as a reason to pull us off the course.

Since my training was not where I wanted it to be I knew it would be unlikely that I would run the whole race.  Instead, my goals were just to finish and to try to keep passing people the whole time.  And I’m happy to report that I succeeded in both cases.  Even once I started walking I kept my pace up and reeled people in one at a time until the very end.

For more details on this race, check out my thoughts on the 2014 Charles Street 12.

The SMOpinion

The medal was one of the plainer SMOs I’ve received.  But at least they are upping their game with the ribbon…it’s not just a solid color this year.

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The Post-Race Experience

I was literally one of the last people to finish.  In fact, I was so late coming in to the after party at Power Plant Live that there was no one in line for beer!  I could have walked right up to grab my free beer with no wait!  I was also pleased that they still had snack boxes available even for us back of the packers.

I sat for a few minutes in the after party listening to the band playing pretty good covers of rock and alternative songs until my legs recovered enough to drive.  I still had to do my laundry for a cross-country road trip that my husband and dogs would be embarking on within the following days so I needed to get home.

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Looking Back Now

I like this race a lot but now that I’ve done it three times it might be time to look for other races unless I need it to complete the B3 Challenge (completing the St. Patrick’s 5K, the Sole of the City 10K, and the Charles Street 12 in the same year).  And if I do it again I really need to make sure my training is in good shape before I sign up because I don’t want to have to walk it again.  img_20160903_105903087

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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