Three Friends

Three Friends
Three Friends

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The 2013 Celtic Solstice 5-Mile Run

Subtitled, "Thank God it didn't sleet." At Druid Hill Park in Baltimore City.

I like to think the multi-colored potties are supposed to be a tribute to the multi-colored rowhouses around Druid Hill Park

This was my biggest (as in number of runners) so far. I have some crowd-anxiety, and I did not like being packed into the middle of 5,000 people ... growing more and more irritated as the start time of 0830 neared, and then passed. It turned out we were waiting for the pipers to pass through, and it was just as hard for them to get through 5,000 people as it was for us to stand there waiting! We did hear them coming, though, and they passed through quickly.

The pipers were also on the running route. The elder of the two walked it while piping, and the younger stood at the halfway point, playing Christmas carols. 

The Stieff Silver building in Baltimore City.

I wish I could take pictures and run at the same time! There were runners dressed as Santas, and lots of plaid and several kilts. Two women ran inside of gift-wrapped boxes with their arms poking through. I didn't dress up, but in retrospect I wish I had! I was so anxious about the weather (was supposed to sleet) I was trying to plan for rain or sleet, and didn't think about any of the sparkly fun skirts I bought just for events like this! Although I would have needed a plaid one to fit in.

The lady photobombing me is friends with the lady taking my picture. 

My finish time was 54:51. I'm not sure my Garmin functioned properly -- I looked at the graph, and it doesn't show where I stopped for water. Hmmm. 

Druid Hill Park, like all of Baltimore City, is very hilly. My Garmin tells me the route went up 404 feet, and dropped 414. The entire first half mile was uphill, pretty steep, but it was a there-and-back, so we got to charge back down that hill at the end. Most of the time, I was running in such a tight pack I couldn't tell if I was going up or down hill. It was like a stampeding herd. 

Doesn't this look like black coffee? Well ... it's not! Boordy's Vineyard employees were in the tent, dispensing generous servings of their wassail.  It was delicious and warmed me up for the long walk back to my car.

Post Wassail
Three-story rowhouses, from the rear

From an overpass

I'm glad I went out for this (I got a super technical shirt with a side zipper so cleverly hidden I didn't even see it till I was in the food line), but the crowd was really a bit much for me. It was difficult to maneuver on the park path, which is about 5 people wide, when there were thousands trying to get up to their running speed and the snow and ice prevented run-arounds. There were no corrals, and it wasn't even possible to line up according to your pace, which would have really helped -- we were all just crammed into this intersection, and it was a big bottleneck. I couldn't even run until I had actually crossed the start line.

On the plus side, the entire run was inside the park, so there were no cars to deal with. When we circled the lake, an older lady walked around us the opposite direction, yelling at us from what I presume was a Bible. I don't know what part she was reading, I just remember how grim and angry she was. Must have been Old Testament. Or Revelations. Anyway, it wasn't anything uplifting or encouraging, judging by her expression and tone! I was a bit irritated by her. We're just out there running, you know? We're not drinking and smashing bottles or watching strippers, we're just running. On a Saturday morning. Maybe she thought the Solstice part was pagan and was preaching against that. 

I don't have any more runs scheduled. There's a zombie run in March I've got my eye on, and the half marathon I'm hoping to do in April, but I haven't signed up for anything yet.

Merry Christmas!