I raced the B&A Trail Half Marathon as my 11th half marathon and this race was my goal race for winter training. My goal was to run an average 8:30 pace and to set a new PR. This race is mostly on the B&A Trail, a rails-to-trail paved trail in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The race is about 45 minutes from my house and was logistically easy. You start and finish at Severna Park High School, so there is tons of free parking, and you can wait inside the school before the start of the race. Real bathrooms (and warmth!) for the win! I love small races like this – easy to navigate and the Annapolis Striders clearly know what they are doing. I highly recommend this race if you are looking for a nice trail, a lowkey race and a good chance at a PR or BQ (there is a full marathon as well). Read on for my race recap!
Miles 1-3 (8:24/8:43/8:31)
Pamela and I started off with a fun moment – our friend and Oiselle teammate Jackie was right by the start and hopped in with us to cheer us on during the first bit of the race. I then heard my name and looked and saw Colleen – another friend and Oiselle teammate there cheering with her husband Ian. While I knew Jackie was going to be there, Colleen wasn’t sure she could make it, so that was an awesome surprise. Pamela, Jackie and Colleen are among my fellow local team leads for Oiselle, and these ladies all walk the walk. They are so supportive and so wonderful and honestly it was so great to be able to share this race with them. We saw Jackie, Colleen and Ian again a bit before we hopped on to the B&A Trail, where we would spend most of the race. My plan was to start a bit slow and then settle in. Each time Pamela and I would see Jackie, Colleen and Ian we would speed up – we literally had to remind ourselves to not get overly excited since we saw them multiple times on the course!
Miles 4-6 (8:37/8:34/8:27)
By this time, we’d settled into a groove on the trail. I knew there would be our only turnaround on the course a bit after mile 6 and as we approached it, I started preparing because there was also a bit of an incline after the turnaround. As it turned out, the hill wasn’t bad at all and I focused on keeping even effort and we got up it in no problem.
Miles 7-10 (8:20/8:32/8:18/8:27)
I’ve said before that in a half marathon, miles 8-11 are always the hardest for me and I expected this to be true during B&A. However, having Pamela there just chatting away really helped me to be distracted from those rough miles and honestly, we sailed through these miles doing quite well on our pacing and in fact, before I knew it, we were hitting mile 11. I kept asking Pamela if I had the PR in the bag because I couldn’t do math and she assured me that I did. We had figured out that if we hit mile 10 right around 1:25, we’d be in really good shape. We hit mile 10 almost exactly at 1:25 and so I felt really great about that.
Miles 11-13.1 (8:07/8:15/8:05/6:22 [.1])
Once we reached mile 11, I realized that I was just about 17 minutes away from a new PR. I stopped talking and started working as hard as I could. We started passing people that had been just ahead of us all race long and Pamela noted that we were going to run a negative split (where you run the second half of the race faster than the first half), which was pretty freaking exciting! At this point, it was hard and I was tired, but knew I was about to reach my goal, which was an amazing feeling. I dug deep and ran as fast as I could over those last miles and was SO happy to hop off the trail and see the high school back in sight.
I stole the picture below from Colleen – such a great group of gals – including Meghan, a teammate who is a med student in upstate New York and placed 3rd in her age group with a blazing fast 1:33:10!! Plus our awesome cheer squad and my amazing pacer.
Official time: 1:50:21 – this was a PR of 2 minutes and 21 seconds. I still can’t believe it! I’m especially proud of the negative split that I ran. Mile two was my slowest (and in looking at the elevation, mile two was a long gradual incline) and mile 13 was my fastest! I am planning on a post digging into my running stats over the past year as I figure out what my goals will be for my next marathon so look out for that if you are a data nerd like I am. 🙂
I’m really excited about how this race played out. I’m actually racing the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler this upcoming weekend and I’m hoping to PR that distance as well. However, I’m now officially not on a training plan until June and that is so glorious!
I want to thank you all for your positive comments and support. I read each and every comment on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I see each like and I’m truly grateful for this community of support. You all are amazing!
Have you ever raced with a friend?