Baltimore Running Festival 5k Recap

by Sara on October 24, 2016


I really didn’t want to write this recap.  I almost didn’t.  When I initially signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival it was because I had so much fun volunteering last year and wanted to be able to participate in some way.  Race day came and I was not as prepared as I had wanted to be and I was not even a little bit jazzed about my performance.  After the race I felt pretty terrible both physically and mentally.  I was tired, cold, and for a moment completely and utterly over running.

I figured I would let this race just disappear into the background never to be spoken of again.  Kind of like that sweater your grandmother gets you for christmas that you really WANT to like but every time you put it on it doesn’t feel like you.

Those are the feels I have over this 5k.  But as I sat fingers frozen over my keyboard with absolutely no idea what to write about I knew I had to write this recap.  I had to write it because it’s honest.  It’s real life.  And that’s what I’ve always wanted this blog to be about.  Sharing the good and the bad and not just the highlight reel.  So here we go.

Training for the race.

Last time we left off I had put together the most glorious training plan.  I was super proud. {I mean it was color coded.  How much better does it get.}  It incorporated all the things I was loving about fitness while not being too overwhelming and I was certain that in two short months I would whip myself into shape.


Training Plan Week One: Nailed It!

The first four weeks ran pretty smoothly.  I didn’t get in every planned workout but I was getting in enough and making modifications as I went along.  But then at the beginning of October the wheels started to fall off.  First it was our SCUBA certification where we had back to back dives on a Saturday and Sunday.  So no running.  And then my parents came to visit the next weekend.  No running.

But the biggest wrench, and the thing I’m still struggling to deal with, was work.  Work happened in a big giant ferocious way.  I hated it.  Which I realized is silly, running is not who I am and it wasn’t like I was going to PR this race so why was I so upset. Sometimes there are things that you have to do even though you want to kick and scream and say, “NO!!” with every fiber of your being.  This was one of those times.  I was being stubborn and selfish and just plain didn’t want something to come in and ruin the plan I had so perfectly laid out.

Adulting sucks.

The thing is after three weeks of early mornings and late nights at the office I realized I was beyond the point of getting to be in shape for this race.  I faced reality that this was just going to be another Saturday that I got up early and went for a run, I was going to have as much fun with it as I possibly could.

Race Day

Early.  Crack of dawn freaking early.  For a 5k.  That I haven’t trained for and didn’t feel remotely ready for.  So you can imagine that I was not exactly a ball of sunshine and excitement getting ready that morning.

I was excited at least that the race was close by and wouldn’t take long to drive to.  Ralph and I live on the other side of the city but it only took 15 minutes to get to the parking lot.  There was plenty of parking and imagine our surprise, REAL bathrooms.

All three races for the Baltimore Running Festival start and end around Camden Yards {the baseball stadium, home of the Orioles} / M&T Bank Stadium {football, home of the Ravens} and both concourses were open so that runners could use the bathrooms.

Once that was taken care of Ralph and I walked around a bit to find someplace to warm up.  Ralph, being in much better shape than me, went off on his own for a longer warm up and I opted for about a two minute jog followed by some agility work to kill time while I waited.  I already knew I would bring my headphones and play music while I ran so I sorted my songs into a suitable order and tried to convince myself this was a good idea.

It was a big race, but Ralph and I got lucky enough to squeeze in somewhere right at the beginning.  This was great for him and acceptable for me.  I knew that I would spend most of the race getting passed by people {I mean that in the least self depreciating way possible} because I was going to take my time and run my own race.

Do not go out too fast
Run a consistent pace/ consistent effort as the course allows
Hopefully run it in under 30 minutes {about a 10 minute mile}
Try to have fun
Don’t throw up at the end

Maybe it was good that I wasn’t really prepared for this race because it did actually feel good going into it with no pressure.  All I had to do was make it to the end and it would be a success.  I knew for certain I could run 3 miles so what could go wrong?

The race starts and immediately you are running up hill.  Ok this will eventually end and we will get to do a downhill right?  No, it keeps.  on.  going.  up.  hill.  My headphones which I neatly tucked under my jacket are pulling weird and I try to unzip my jacket to get them out.  In the process I break the zipper.  My headphones are now free but my jacket is stuck unzipped except at the very bottom.

We keep going uphill.  At this point I feel like a complete sloth like this is the slowest race I have ever run.  People keep passing me which is fine, I expected that, but I didn’t expect how it would make me feel.  It made me feel like I didn’t belong here.  That I was stupid for signing up and stupid for showing up.  This isn’t to knock anyone else abilities or to say that people running this pace didn’t deserve to be here, quite the contrary.  As I watched all the people around me I thought of how hard some of them must have trained to be running this race and how they were probably giving it their best effort.  And I was just out for a Saturday jog.

Despite all my negative thoughts I wasn’t about to give up so uphill I kept pushing.  Finally the 1 mile marker and for the first time I let myself check my watch.  9:10 pace.  Better than the 10 minute pace I had originally planned on so I happily kept going.

Somewhere in the second mile the course turned around and we finally started heading downhill.  Hallelujah.  I might actually survive this thing.  Now all I have to do is make it to mile marker 2, then through the last mile and then it’s over.

But I never saw a mile marker for 2 I just heard my watch beep and was pleased to see it flashed back at me another number in the 9 family.  Ok I can do this.  I can really get out of this thing alive.  All I had to do was hold on through another half mile and then I could start picking it up and make a break for the finish.

Reaching for the volume button on my headphones I turned up the tunes and smiled knowing I was almost done.  But of course it was too good to be true.  As we got closer to the finish I could feel that all to familiar feeling in my stomach.  It didn’t feel unsimilar to it being grabbed around the middle and being squeezed until it couldn’t get squeezed anymore.

It killed me but as I approached the finish I had to slow down.  I crossed the finish line not with the smile and excitement I had anticipated and promptly leaned over the railing and lost my breakfast.  {Oh wait, I didn’t actually eat breakfast.  Maybe that was my first problem}.


Feelings about this race. Thumbs Down.

I collected a medal and grabbed a bottle of water and made my way through the crowd to find Ralph.  The finish line empties into quite the celebration village but the last thing I felt like doing was celebrating.  Two things.  One, I ran such a terrible race why the hell did I get sick at the end.  I was embarrassed.  It’s one thing to puke running the time of your life.  When I ran a 1:53 half at Rock ‘N’ Roll Philly years ago I was riding such a high and I was so proud of my time I didn’t care about getting sick at the end.  This time I just felt dumb.  Two, I freaking slowed down at the end and one of the first things I told Ralph was if I knew I was going to get sick anyways I would have just ran as hard as I could.

So there it is.  My first 5k in over a year and it was a terrible failure.  And I’m not afraid to say it.


Training After a 1 Year Hiatus

by Sara on September 19, 2016


This is Ralph.  {The husband remember?}  Ralph has trained smart and consistently all summer.  He has a great aerobic base and can now begin to sharpen his running to prep for fall 5ks.  Ralph is going to kick this running season in the a$$.


This is Sara.  Sara hasn’t trained seriously for a race of any distance in just about a year.  She has been doing yoga, spinning, hiking and most recently weight lifting.  She has worked hard to achieve a steady work/life/fitness balance and is finally settling in to a consistent routine.  However she is NOT really in any kind of shape to be racing this fall.  {and yet she just decided to run a 5k in a few weeks.  She’s getting really good at selfies though that matters right?}

Don’t be like Sara.  Be like Ralph.  Run smart and consistently all year so that when fall comes around you aren’t suddenly cramming for all the races that are sure to pop up on your calendar.

Here’s the thing though.  There are probably more Sara’s than Ralph’s out there and right about now they’re looking for advice.  So from the girl who hasn’t had a training plan for anything in a very VERY long time I’m about to give you some of my best tips.

Take it Slow.
My weekly mileage is going to max out at a whopping 12 miles a week and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that.  You cannot expect to go from 0-100 in two or three weeks time so be sure to look at the time you have and make a realistic plan to accomplish your goal.

Be flexible.
I wrote out an insanely detailed training plan, and then five minutes later I promptly changed it.  And then before the night was over I had changed it again.  Be flexible, and listen to your body.  It’s cheesy but it’s true.  Maybe you thought you could handle more mileage or less rest days but when you try to execute your body says no.  Listen to it!

Cross training matters.
Ok so you can’t go straight into running four or five days a week but you can mix it up with cross training.  Ride a bike, take a spin class, swim, dance etc. just do something that’s NOT running.  Yes, you heard me, not running.  I’m so over the advice that the only way to get better at running is more running.  More running is not going to help you if you’re hurt again so go easy on your body and mix it up.  It might take a little longer to reach your goals but you will find you have less setbacks and that will benefit you more in the long run.

Be realistic about your goals.
With a little over a month to train for a 5k race, my only goal this time around is to build some steady mileage and let my body adapt to running again.  I have a very conservative plan in place and it includes about zero percent speed work.  I know I am not going to come close to my PR from years ago when I was training all the time.  And how could I expect that.  I’m just happy to be running pain and injury free and excited to see where this journey takes me.  If you haven’t been running in weeks or months come up with a realistic goal.  If you think you are setting your sights too high consider picking a new goal race.

So how was your summer, did you train like Ralph or did you train like me?


Training Again??

September 12, 2016

Last weekend I sat down and did something I haven’t done in over a year.  I made myself a training plan.  For a race. Um, Sara didn’t you just post about how running was not working out for you right now? Well yes.. Um, Sara haven’t you been preaching all summer, about how fitness has […]

Read more →

Fitting Into My College Jeans

September 6, 2016

Ten years ago when I was living in San Francisco for a summer I met a friend who introduced me to the world of designer denim.  Now, as someone going to school for fashion design you would think I would have discovered this a lot sooner in life but I liked fashion more for the ability […]

Read more →

Newport Liberty Half Marathon – Race Entry Giveaway

August 15, 2016

Dear Half Marathon, You were {are} a really beautiful thing you know.  I want you to know it’s not personal, I always loved you and you were by far my favorite distance.  It’s just not working out right now. I know you think I’m being unfaithful with all the time I’m spending in the gym. […]

Read more →

Make Excercise An Adventure

August 8, 2016

Over a fabulous brunch of crab eggs Benedict, avocado sandwiches, and plenty of orange crushes a friend and I chatted about our workout routines of late.  She assumed I was still running and spinning and lifting like crazy, and I had to break the news to her that intact I was doing very little structured […]

Read more →

Getting My ACSM CPT Certification

July 5, 2016

After many years of talking about it I am finally {FINALLY} a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine {ACSM}.  That sounds so fancy and official. Why ACSM Number one thing I looked at was other trainers and their certifications.  The ones I most respected had either ACSM or NASM although more […]

Read more →

A Lesson in Patience

June 22, 2016

Imagine this scenario for a minute.  You’re walking through work and you see a box of donuts leftover from yesterday sitting out in the kitchen.  They’re a bit stale but probably still delicious and just as you’re about to reach for one a co-worker pops in and says, “Hey I’m going out to get some […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Read more →