The third annual Charles Street 12 Miler aka Chuck12 was held in September…yes you will be seeing quite a few recaps over the next couple of weeks. I have fond memories of Charles Street as my college sits along that corridor. I’ve been wanting to sign up for this race for the past two years, but the August date always conflicted with other races or vacation. This year they moved the Chuck12 to the first weekend in September and I was free!
Charm City Run hosted packet pickup at their stores the week preceding the race. I really like their stores, but driving from DC to Annapolis or the Baltimore suburbs was less than desirable. Lucky for me they offered race day pickup at the starting area beginning at 6AM. I left DC and made the quick (no one is on the road at 4:30AM) drive up to Baltimore. Because the Chuck12 is a point to point race, I parked at the finish line at Power Plant Live.
When I entered the city there were tons of buses lined up along Pratt Street to take the runners to the Shops at Kenilworth. I caught the first bus at 5:30AM and took a little nap during the short ride to the start. The registration fee includes a $5.00 bus fee as there is no parking available for runners (although I did see some people parked there). If runners did not need the bus, the $5.00 was deducted from the registration fee.
There were tents set up and I picked up bib and shirt – easy peasy when you are on the first bus to arrive. Under Armour provided the shirts – they were long sleeved with a thermal like feel to it. Nice for winter…..too warm for race day. I stowed mine with my bag drop, but I saw a few people running with them on and they did not look very comfortable. September in Maryland = still humid!
The Chicago Marathon was a little over a month away and I had 14 miles scheduled for that weekend – I decided to run 2 miles ahead of the race. Because I was not familiar with the area and it was dark out, I ran around the parking lot. Afterwards I ran into Sarah and her fiancee Matthew and they reminded me that the course was net downhill…so be prepared for some rolling hills in the first half.
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
Since this was a training run I wasn’t look to “race” this race + it was my first 12 miler so an auto PR it would be.
- A – Average 11:30 min/mile
- B – Average 12:00 min/mile
- C – Average 12:30 min/mile
Bonus Goal: Run up all the hills!
Charles Street 12 Miler
All smiles before the race! Not sure if you can see, but I was sporting my Maryland flag headband.
Lining up for the national anthem. The people holding those huge signs were pace group leaders.
As I mentioned earlier, the Charles Street 12 Miler is a point to point race that starts at the Shops at Kenilworth and finishes at Power Plant Live ….oh so many senior year memories. Like the GW Parkway Classic, this is a net downhill race with several rolling hills.
The race started at 7:30AM and the first mile included…what do you know….a hill!
- Mile 1: 12:29 I owned that first hill!
- Mile 2: 11:53 What goes up…must come down…yess
- Mile 3: 12:35 Ughhh it is hot hot hot
Even though I was mentally prepared for the rolling hills, boy it still hurt! Running under the Towson Univeristy pedestrian bridge. The first waterstop was to the right and I moved immediately to the left. I had my own handheld and I did not want to get stuck behind the water jam.
The left turn I was waiting for…Charles Street!
Running along this stretch reminded me of college. When I was in school I never ran this stretch of Charles Street, but in the neighborhoods surrounding my school.
- Mile 4: 12:15 Alright not bad, I got this. Still running up those hills.
- Mile 5: 12:04 Nice split, Jennifer
- Mile 6: 12:22 Almost to my school…aww man, I don’t remember THIS hill
Right around mile 6 I started to run/walk the hills. Finally we reached a section I was very familiar with….no not Notre Dame of Maryland University.
I glanced over to my right and there was my freshman dorm! Lower Courtyard 4530-D! Yes I have an odd memory like that.
Freshmen-Junior years I would use to cross that bridge everyday to get to class. See that building to the left? I had my 8:00AM calculus class in there.
After I reached the top of that incline at Charles and Coldspring, I knew there would be a nice downhill to Johns Hopkins University.
- Mile 7: 12:31 Its okay, just run walk it
- Mile 8: 12:19 Yipee…downhill
- Mile 9: 12:41 My quads, my quads
Making a left turn by Hopkins.
A quick shot of Homewood Field. Loyola and Hopkins have a huge lacrosse rivalry dating back to 1921. Their annual match is referred to as the “Battle of Charles Street”. Hopkins has more wins, but Loyola has won the past three years 😉 Go Hounds!
We eventually got back to Charles Street and you could see the city skyline. So close..yet so far! It flattened out a bit, but my quads were trashed.
Downhill towards the other Washington Monument. Note: Cobblestone around the monument.
I reached Federal Hill (a little out and back) and secretly wished this was a 10 miler. It was humid! Mile 11 was a bit of a low point for me, I think there was more walking than running that mile. Then I saw two pace leaders who started behind me (they no longer had a group) pass me. Well that lit a fire under me.
- Mile 10: 12:43 Only two more miles
- Mile 11: 13:14 Man I don’t remember Federal Hill being this hilly <- on a normal day this portion is “flat”
- Mile 12: 12:27 Pick it up Jen, you just had a lousy split
We made a right turn along the Inner Harbor and I picked it up – the pace leaders were the ones in bright yellow/green. So happy to be on this stretch! The finish was less than a mile away.
Image: Chessie Photo
Almost there, less than 200 meters! This is what a tired Jen looks like!
Image: Chessie Photo
The finish line! I completed the race in 2:29:36 or 12:28 min/mile, meeting my “C” goal. Next time I’ll get those hills 🙂
Once I crossed the finish line I received my medal and headed towards the finisher’s village. It was definitely hopping!
I got in line and was handed this box – a cookie (meh), apple (yum), and a veggie wrap (meh). I gave away my beer vouchers. I thought.. they only served veggie wraps…that is cool. Apparently there were other types of wraps, but they were not marked or the volunteers did not know?
There was also a raffle, but I had to get back to DC in a jiffy because my friend Laurel was visiting. First a picture!
- It is, I repeat, it is….net downhill, but there nice stretches in which it is downhill.
- Need to work on those hills!
- Transportation was easy and there seemed to be plenty of buses.
- Nice swag and medal.
- Parking downtown was pricey. I did choose the parking garage closest to the finish line so that probably did it. I know there are less expensive (or free street parking) less than a mile away.
- Plenty of water stops, but I learned my lessons before and will also bring my handheld when it is warm out.
- Humid humid.
- I enjoyed running past the colleges (Goucher, Towson, Notre Dame Maryland, Loyola, Hopkins) and along the Inner Harbor.
- Thank you Baltimore City policy and all the volunteers for keeping the runners safe and fueled.
- 12 miler = unique distance.
- Seemed like everyone was having a great time after the race.
- Close to downtown Baltimore for some more walking, touring or brunching!
I’ve participated in the Baltimore Running Festival four times (5K x 1, 13.1M x 3) and this was a nice change in scenery . It gave runners a chance to explore the northern portions of the city. I would definitely run this race again and own those hills! Hopefully it will fit into my training schedule in 2016.