Two weeks ago, I ran my first half marathon: the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon. It was tough, but a lot of fun!
I finished in 2:01:58, running at a 9:19 min/mile pace. I had a goal to finish it in 2 hours, but just missed it after having to stop a couple times to stretch because of a bad leg cramp. I’ll reach it next time!
I trained using Hal Higdon’s 12 week Novice 2 Half Marathon Training Program. I would definitely recommend it.
At the beginning of the program, I printed a calendar template and filled it out according to the program. I marked down how much I was supposed to run each day, and which days I was supposed to rest or cross train. I followed the plan pretty consistently, except for the last two weeks when I skipped some due to achilles pain. Despite that, I felt prepared for race day, although a bit nervous.
The race began with a wave start at the Inner Harbor and looped around the city (including my favorite, a run around Lake Montebello), and ended with a downhill run through Camden Yards with a finish line in front of M&T Stadium.
There were a lot of hills throughout, something I was not fully prepared for. I knew it was hilly, but wasn’t expecting so many. Most were gradual and slow, while some were steep and quick. Luckily, the last two miles or so were mostly down hill, which made for an enjoyable finish.
The crowd was great. The half marathon joins the marathon at around the 3 mile mark, so there were lots of people watching and cheering throughout the race. The crowd waved funny signs (“If Donald Trump can run, so can you”), played loud music (including two guys dressed up as tigers dancing to “Eye of the Tiger”) and handed out lots of drinks and food (shots of Natty Boh, swedish fish, water etc.). It made the whole course enjoyable.
Despite my leg cramping at the 10 mile mark, I really enjoyed my first half marathon. I definitely recommend Hal’s training program and the BRF race. I felt prepared for race day and especially because I was nervous, appreciated the fun atmosphere and how well organized everything was. However, make sure you train for the hills!