Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sole of the City 10k Race Review

Yesterday hubby and I ran the inaugural Sole of the City 10k in Baltimore, MD.  We run a lot of races in Baltimore, but I'd never run a 10k in Baltimore before.  When we signed up for this race it was going to be my first ever 10k, but then we signed up for the Hershey 10k the weekend before and this became my second 10k.  LOL!  Which is fine.  I was still looking forward to it.

I'll be honest.  I really wanted to run this race because of the swag.  Most races give a shirt away, either short or long sleeve.  But, this race upped the ante with a Under Armour jacket.  :-)  Since it was different I kinda wanted it.  Here's what it is and you tell me if you would run this race because of it.

 Full front
Front left logo - my apologies for it not being horizontal.  The photo was taken horizontally and saved horizontally, but it's not loading horizontally.
 Full back
 Higgy approves the jacket
 Close up of the back logo - apologies again...

So, now that we all agree that the jacket is well worth signing up for this race, let's move onto a race review.  The race started at 9:00 a.m., which is lovely for the non-morning person that I am.  I will admit though that with the mild winter we had and the early summerish temperatures we've been having that the temperature at the start worried me - 70 degrees.  This one might have been a bit better earlier in the morning just to have the cooler temperatures.  But, it was what it was and overall it wasn't too bad.

The race itself was a celebration of Charm City Run's 10th anniversary of being in the Baltimore area and opening their Baltimore store on McHenry Row (near Fort McHenry, the site where Francis Scott Key became inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner).  There were 2,700 runners, which made for quite a few people crowded at the start.  Maybe a few too many.  

There were lots of announcements at the beginning, most of which those of us at the back missed.  But, what we all heard and I'll admit to being awed at was the rendition of the National Anthem.  OMG.  The group who sang it was absolutely amazing.  They should sing the National Anthem for everything.  Yes, I know this is a race review, but if I skipped giving this group (who I have NO idea who they are) props it would be an incomplete review.  Hoping at some point to know who they are.

This week we heard the horn go off.  It took a several minutes to get to the front and it made me laugh that I wasn't moving and yet I could see lots of people already running.  Gotta find humor in being a back of the pack runner.  Eventually we all got past the start and headed into Baltimore for 6.2 miles (not 6.3 miles that I always say it is.  LOL!)

The race itself was good.  I was thrilled that the big hill we had to run up at last year's Baltimore Women's Classic we got to run down to start the race. Yea!  Then down Key Highway around the Inner Harbor.  It was fun to run around the actual Inner Harbor.  The looks of tourists and Baltimorians who were out for the morning was hysterical!  We ran around piers that I didn't even know existed.  LOL!  It was neat though.  And I was impressed with the number of volunteers around this area to help us know where to go.  It's helpful when you are towards the back of the pack to know you are going.

After all the piers we headed back on Lombard Street back towards Key Highway in the bus lanes.  Which was odd.  Lombard Street is one way and we were running the wrong way.  And there was lots of traffic!  I think due to us.  LOL!  We came back towards Key Highway and yes, we caused a traffic jam.  People were getting out of their cars because they weren't going anywhere.  It was kinda weird.

Once past Key Highway we were back into neighborhood areas and away from the Harbor.  This part of the race was much hillier than the Inner Harbor which was nice and flat.  It was challenging.  But it wasn't too bad for the most part.  And I give lots of credit to the police officers who were there keeping the traffic from running us over.  Traffic was not happy.

As we got close to the end, that fun hill that we got to run down on the way out?  Yea, we had to run up that hill.  Ugh.  I'll admit I didn't run the whole hill.  I ran half the hill, then walked the second half.  I decided I wanted to run across the finish line rather than walk across it.  And I did.  From that hill, it was a straight shot to the Finish Line and hubby was standing just out front so I saw him as I came in.

Here are some random splits, that probably only I care about.  LOL!

Half mile - 5:34 (last week it was 5:45)
Mile - 11:13 (huh??)
1.5 miles - 17:00 
3 miles - 30:21 (last week 30:08)
5 miles - 1:01:41 (Shamrock 8k was 1:01:51)
10k - 1:17:52 (one second faster than the Hershey 10k)

Crazy!  I tried really hard to do 5 miles under an hour, but it was not to be.  I didn't really try until 4.5 miles and only had 4 minutes and 30 seconds to do it, so it really wasn't happening, but I tried.  Ah well.

Positives: Swag!   National Anthem singers.  The backward course (compared to all the other Baltimore races who use basically the same course).  Running around the Inner Harbor itself.  Free beer at the end.  Setting a PR on a hilly course. A free post-race lunch.  A Dunkin Donuts right there!

Cons: Hilly course.  The big hill at the end of the course.  The water stops were odd (volunteers putting their hands in big coolers, and just not where I would have thought).  Only chicken available as the post race lunch (I don't eat chicken).

We only got one photo at this one, but I love it!


  1. Great report Chris! Congrats on a new PR!

  2. Loved reading about your race! You look great in this photo! So happy!!!

  3. YOU GUYS ROCK! Congrats - and TOTALLY worth the swag!

  4. Jill, we looked happy because it was before we knew about those hills! LOL!

  5. Did you notice if people were walking most of the course? I have arthritis at 42 and have friends that run it, but I want to join them if I can. Thanks!

  6. Hi! I am so slow that I'm usually at the back of the pack. There were people doing walk/run with more walking than running. It took me over an hour to run it, almost an hour and a half, so there are slower people out there. I checked the race results page and there are lots of people who finished around two hours, so it seems like there were lots of walkers too! I think you should go for it!! The jacket is nice and I think you will have a great time, especially since you have friends doing it. :)

  7. My wife thought it would be a waste of time to read your review. In truth, I found your review fascinating and extremely helpful as I am considering running the soul of the city this year, 2016. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write up the detailed review of the race, including information about where the hills fell.