Charles Street 12 2015 Race Recap

The Charles Street 12 was held over Labor Day weekend this year, after being held in early August the two previous years. I think we were all hopeful for cooler temps for this race with it being closer to fall, but the Baltimore summer humidity still lingered. Otherwise, it was a great event once again! I ran this race last year and you can read my recap here. This time around I felt like I was in much different shape than last year (partly due to having been sick, also partly because I have already started marathon training) but it still went really well.

charles st 12 race recap

Race Highlights

  • I ran a 1:33:43 (2 seconds slower than last year), 7:49 pace
  • 137th/1859, 10th in 30-39 female age group
  • It’s net downhill, but still really challenging
  • I knew a ton of people running this race, but only saw a few…more on that later
  • It was once again such an organized event, especially for one including a lot of confusing logistics
  • Fueling: I ate oatmeal and a banana at 5:15, and a honey stinger waffle at 7:00. On the course I took two Hammergels at miles 4.5 and 10.
  • It was 73 degrees at the start, with 83% humidity, but there was cloud cover and a breeze


Ok, so now for some race details.

Race Logistics

Last year was a little simpler because we were living down in the city where the race finished, so we didn’t need a car. This year we had to drive downtown and park in a garage, and then take a shuttle to the start. (It’s a point to point course starting north of Baltimore and finishing in the city near the Inner Harbor.)

early morning chuck 12

We were up around 4:45 and out the door at 5:45. This got us to the garage a little after 6, and on a shuttle by about 6:25. 

bus stop

There were so many busses waiting to take runners up to the start, so it was nice that we didn’t have to wait very long!

When we go up to the starting area we warmed up and used the bathroom before heading to the start line. 

start line

The race started right on time, and I was right around the 1:35 pacers, so there was enough room to run at a comfortable pace immediately without being boxed in. However, the first few miles involve some of the tougher hills, so I didn’t want to start out too fast. chuck 12The miles flew by as they did last year, although my legs felt rather heavy the whole time. The downhills felt great, while the uphills were a bit of a struggle, and I still coughed quite a bit out on the course. 


About halfway through I felt a blister forming on my little toe of my left foot, which was really annoying. It was also so humid that my sunglasses kept fogging up. These were more just little “annoyances” though, that I can’t really complain about. chuck 12

I remembered from last year how tough the last 2 miles felt- they were rather flat, but felt hard after our legs were trashed from the first 10 miles of hills. It was just as much of struggle this year. Luckily, the last mile is along the harbor and there is a ton of crowd support and lots of photographers, so that mile goes by pretty quickly. 

chuck 12

There were once again boxed lunches at the finish along with a free beer, of course!

post race

I also ran into my PT who I was working with last winter/spring- it was great to be able to give him a positive update and tell him I was just able to run a tough 12 mile race at almost the same pace as last year!

Race Performance

After struggling through my 10k last weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this race. While the course is net downhill, it is still very challenging. The meds I took this week were helping, but my chest was still not 100% and I still had a cough. 

My coach recommended I go into the race with Plan A- to run a 7:50 pace (but start out slower as I warmed up and dealt with the initial hills). Plan B was to run goal marathon pace (~8:20). 

I was able to hold the 7:50 pace (7:49 to be exact!) although my splits were far from even due to the hills. But effort-wise, it was right on track. 


Most of this race was a mental challenge, I think because I haven’t run this pace in a while. As I was sick for most of August, I have rarely been running faster than a 9 minute mile. I was pleasantly surprised that I still had this in me and being sick wasn’t as big of a setback as it could have been. 

garmin finish time

Do you know how annoyed it made me that I stopped my watch at 11.99?!

If I had known I was so close to a PR, I probably could have cut 3 seconds off my time. However, getting  through those last 2 miles was such a struggle that all I did was try to hold on to my pace and push hard at the end. I have to admit I was annoyed when I realized how close I came, but got over it pretty quickly when I realized how well I did considering all the other factors. 

finish line

Running Friends

As I said, I knew alot of people doing this race (I think close to 20 between friends from blogging, instagram, and work. I figured I would run into a bunch of those people, but didn’t see as many as I would have liked. 

I saw Sarah and Lauren briefly before the race started, and then didn’t realize it but I was standing right behind Amanda when I started the race! I got to hang out with Salt for a bit at the finish, and then met up with a friend from work. Meredith also came over to say hi- it was great to meet her after we have been following each other on instagram for awhile now! (and we were both sick leading up to the race). 


Congrats to everyone else who ran! Especially Amber and Amanda who both placed 3rd in their age groups! I know there were also a lot of PRs at this race, so awesome job everyone!!

Rob shaved over a minute off his time, and we realized he has improved his times in every race he has run this year compared to last year. When I figure out his secret I will let you know..we are thinking it involves a generous amount of alcohol and unlimited rest days. 

Overall, a great race and fun event! If you are going to make the trip to Baltimore for a race, I would highly recommend this one. Now, it’s time to get focused on building mileage for marathon training!

When you are racing, do you look at your watch to figure out if you can PR?

Have you ever run a 12 mile race?

Are there are similar race events where you live?

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32 responses on Charles Street 12 2015 Race Recap

  1. Awesome job on this race! I think you did amazing. We don’t have 12 mile races that I know of but there’s a 10 mile race in Long Beach that I ran last year. I am happy to see that you had the hammer gels and that you like them since they are my new thing. Maybe I need to consider two for the half in a few weeks? We will need to discuss.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…WIAW – Yesterday’s MealsMy Profile

    1. I would say at least 2 gels! I tried to plan mine around the water stops, but ideally I would take one every 35 minutes or so I think. But it also depends on what you have been doing, and what works best for you. Also, if you are drinking a sports drink then you wouldn’t need as many carbs from gels.

  2. Great work! I hate when I can feel a blister coming… seriously so freaking annoying. But way to grin and bear it. PS I love that running picture of you–so badass! You ran a great time, and you speed is definitely back. I think running a 12 miler would be kind of a mind-f. LIke, not a half marathon…. but not a ten miler. I’m not sure how I would do!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Easier Health with Zarbees Natural Vitamin Drink Mix (Giveaway)My Profile

  3. I missed my half marathon PR by seconds this summer, and it was SO annoying. Like you, I wasn’t even shooting to run a great race but at the finish when I saw I was so close I was pret-ty irritated (funny how that happens sometimes). STILL! I can’t believe you ran so well when you were still sick! Congrats! Just think of how awesome you would’ve done if you were healthy!
    Annie R recently posted…MANTRAS AREN’T JUST FOR RUNNINGMy Profile

  4. Nice to finally meet you! I try to limit my ‘I know you from your blog and/or Instagram’ stalkings but since we had recently chatted I figured it wasn’t too weird.

    Great time on such a challenging course. I loved this years race so much more than last – maybe because I knew what to expect this time around. Oh and possibly because I won the grand prize Under Armour raffle and am going to San Francisco in May to run Bay to Breakers :-)

  5. Amazing race!! There is really nothing better than showing yourself that you still have strength/speed in you after being sick or sidelined.
    I totally look at my watch to see if a PR is possible. But if it’s still early in the race, I try not to get my hopes up in case something happens! It’s really hard not to get excited though!!
    Grace @ Diary of a Running Snail recently posted…Sweat Pink Ambassador & Why It’s Important to MeMy Profile

  6. Congratulations, Lisa!! What a great race! Considering what you’ve been through lately, this is definitely a win and great practice for your upcoming race in Tulsa; I think you did really well. I’m so glad you were able to see so many running friends while you were there; that always makes it really fun, to me. I definitely have an idea in my head about what my PR time is and how close I am about mid-way through the race and close the end; I can’t always make it, but it’s nice to know where I stand. Way to go!!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Tuesday Intro – The Unraveling of Mercy LouisMy Profile

  7. My splits were relatively consistent for the middle miles but all over the place at the beginning/end. I struggled more in mile 11 than I have in a long time. I didn’t think about the fact that my legs were trashed, but you’re absolutely right. Great job coming so close to a PR especially after being sick!!
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Labor Day WeekendMy Profile

  8. I have never run a 12 mile race! That’s a tricky distance. Net downhills can be very deceiving because we end up going too fast, and our legs get trashed from the pounding. That’s my experience anyway. Congrats on a great race and I love your race photos! Check out those leg muscles! WOWZAS!
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: The StealMy Profile

  9. I’ve never run a 12 mile race. I do look at my watch probably too much, but I have not really mastered knowing what pace I am running. It is always nice to see friendly faces at races (i’m a poet) because the crowds can be so overwhelming. Glad you had a great race.
    heather recently posted…Who knew? WednesdayMy Profile

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