Baltimore Running Festival Recap

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.

Spin class - cross training for the baltimore running festival

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.

Goals:
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}.

After finishing the Baltimore Running Festival 5k

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.

How to be Relentless

by Sara on April 6, 2016

The

I have a new favorite mantra these days.  “Relentless”

This mantra has gotten me through some rough days at work, through tough times in life, and through some pretty challenging workouts.  I may be handing out advice right now but having the attitude and strength to break past my old {totally self imposed} limits was not born overnight. It all came from one little comment on this post, like a seed planted deep in the back of my mind.  Over time, the more I nurture the idea the more it flourishes.  I’m still no expert but I’m getting better, and heres just a few of the things that got me there.

It’s not supposed to be easy.

This is probably the number one place where you’ve gone wrong in the past.  Things get hard.  Harder than you thought they could be, probably because you’re pushing yourself to levels you’ve never been.  At times it feels impossible and that impossible feeling is meant to hold down and a lot of people just quit.  Don’t quit.  Know that it’s supposed to be hard, take a break, do something that refreshes your mind and body and get back at it.

Remember it’s ok to fail {at the little things}.

Maybe fail is a strong word.  But it’s worth mentioning.  When things don’t go the way you planned it feels like a failure.  It feels like you should stop investing energy in whatever you’re doing but it’s not true.  So what if you thought you were going to run 4 mile repeats at 7 minute pace and you could only do 2.  If hadn’t tried to run that fast you’d never know what your limits were.  The point is to learn from your failures, adjust your plan and keep going.  Next time you’ll try for 3 repeats and you’ll keep trying until you achieve it.

Keep a list or journal.

Write down one thing every day that was awesome.  Or something you learned.  Or something you could improve on.  Read this over and over when you have bad days to remind you that sometimes things DO go well.  Write down great workouts or that time you hit a 1 rep max and how good it felt.  Then be prepared to put in the work to get to the next level.

Work smarter not harder.

I live by this.  Sometimes things feel harder because you’re making them harder.  Are you trying to loose weight but it’s just not working?  Try out some new types of exercise and maybe you’ll find something you enjoy so much you want to do it more.  Running so many miles but not getting any faster?  Try running less and cross training more, you’d be surprised what the change can do for you.

Get a rockin’ playlist.

Remember the little playlist from this gem?  Take the time to put together a list of tunes that will get you feeling good about yourself no matter what.  When you have a bad workout or a bad week, whip it out and remember that nothing can hold you down.

Ok your turn, when things get really tough how do you remind yourself to be relentless?

 

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