The Cetic Solstice 5 miler in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore is a fantastic race! Granted, the weather could not have been better for it this year and apparently that is not the norm, but I still loved every second of my experience in running this race on Saturday.
On Friday evening we braved the rush hour weekend special of traffic and made it to the Falls Road Running store just after the 6pm cut off time which they informed us was the end all be all but were happy to see them still open and handing out race packets. We picked up our shirts and numbers and headed to Little Italy for dinner. Stayed the night at my folks’ house where my mother made fun of me and my friends were amused by the pictures on the walls. (Yes I had a beard in essentially all of them). Woke at the crack of dawn and headed to Baltimore to find the race and after walking a quarter of the course found the starting line where the race was just about to go off. Just managed to get my chip and hop back up near the front of the line for the starting gun.
The race started off uphill, and when I say uphill I MEAN UPHILL; about 1/3 to ¾ of a mile up a steep hill and then a rolling course the rest of the way other then about a mile loop around a lake. The finish did include going down the big hill and for the first time I seemed to figure out how to run quickly and controlled down a steep hill instead of flailing and practically falling down it. I ended the race with long hard strides and finished in about the same per mile time as my previous race, maybe even slightly lower.
After the race we hang around for a while drinking our water, stretching and eating the boxes of grapes they were practically throwing at us at the food tents. The corner we found was so perfect that we never wanted to leave and actually ended up hearing part of the awards ceremony which I’ve never stayed around long enough to witness before. Afterwards a champions (at least of an eating contest) breakfast was had at a nice little dinner in Silver Spring and on home to recover; more from the eating then the running.
I will be running this race again; oh and the shirts kick ass!