On Sunday, June 26th, I ran the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K, which is one of the largest women’s-only 5K’s on the east coast. It was the first 5K I ran in 2016 (and potentially the only one).
Packet Pickup: I went with my friend Beth to pick up our bibs the Wednesday before the race at a running store in the greater Baltimore area. Charm City Run has multiple locations, and bib pickup rotated throughout them during the week before the race. It was quick and easy – we had been emailed our numbers beforehand and we didn’t experience any lines!
Pre-Race: I was so exhausted the night before the race I didn’t even put out my typical “Flat-Sam”. Normally Beth is the one struggling to get going race morning, but that morning I was the one not wanting to get out of bed! I eventually got up, forced down 75% of a Pro Bar Base bar before Beth, her aunt + friend, and I were out the door! We got to Rash Field in plenty of time to use the porta johns (plenty, and very clean!) take selfies, and stretch!
Miles 0-1.5: I felt so strong the first half of the race. I went out rearing and ready to go, hitting the first mile in 9:04, despite the steep hill around the .7 mark. While the temperature wasn’t truly that high, the heat and lack of shade very quickly got to me.
Mile 1.5-3.1: I struggled in the second half of the race, taking frequent but short (15 second) walk breaks. One of the ladies running with us caught up to me and I basically said to myself that no one in my “group” was passing me and I kicked it back into gear. While I kept the short walk breaks, I got a huge side stitch from mile 2.25 to 2.75. Coming around a turnaround I saw the people in my group close behind me and I found it in myself to get over the cramp and just go. For the first time in forever, the competitive edge came out in me!
Finishing: Despite a strong first two miles (9:04, 9:20), I finished in 29:3o (9:30 avg). This was good for 21 of 109 in my age group and 293 of 2876 overall. I was hoping for, and working for a faster time. With how slow I’ve been training lately I was happy to have two strong miles and to stay as strong as possible until the end.
At the finish line we received water (from my horrible ex-roommate’s boyfriend, awkward) and ice cold towels. Considering how hot I felt, this was incredible! I grabbed a piece of watermelon and a bag of chips before heading to our group’s meeting spot. We hung around for just a little bit before heading back to make breakfast and mimosas. Lots of mimosas!
The Baltimore Women’s Classic was a really fun race experience. It is definitely crowded, as it is a large race of almost 3,000 people and for many of these people, it is their first 5K. Also, being in June, it is bound to be hot. I paid $40 for my registration and would do so again. Participants received a quality New Balance tech shirt, a beautiful medal, and a carnation!
What’s your trick for working through a cramp during a race?