Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

This was a great race.  Corrigan Sports, in my opinion, always does an excellent job with their events.  The course is great.  It’s a lake to lake tour of nothern Baltimore, starting by Druid Park Lake and going over to Lake Montebello and back.  Not the most scenic course, but definitely a good tour of the city.  All that being said, this was not a great race for me for a couple of different reasons, which I’ll get into later.

Race day weather was good.  Temperatures were in the sixties, but there was some humidity in the air.  It was also overcast for first half of the race, which always helps.  They started the race at 7:30 and had 4 waves.  I hung out in the 3rd wave behind the 2 hour pace group knowing that I wanted to be within 10 minutes of them.

Getting ready to cross the starting line.

I had previewed the course and had run part of it during the Baltimore Half in the fall, so I knew where the hills were going to be.  Right away, we started on a flat that led to a long downhill run, nearly a mile.  The first few miles wound through Druid Hill Park, over to Johns Hopkins University, and then eastbound on 28th street.  Back in 2003, I actually worked at an Enterprise Rent A Car down the street, so I was very familiar with these streets.  The 2nd & 3rd miles went from 28th Street, to north on Greenmount, then east on 33rd.  There were rolling hills and by the 3 mile mark, it was pretty much a downhill until Lake Montebello where it flattens out for the 4th & 5th miles.  What comes down must go back up though.

I pushed through the sixth mile, which was primarily back uphill and I think it took a lot out of me because the 7th mile was my worst mile in a long time.  Mentally I was torn between “I can’t run anymore” and “Damnit Sara you can do this!”  The sun had made its way out from behind the clouds at this point, so it was a little warmer and my legs were tired.  By the 8th mile I had redeemed myself a bit but then we reached the dreaded hill at mile 9.  What was a delightful downhill in the beginning was a monster at the end.  I thought that final hill at the Frederick Half was a dream crusher…that was until I met this one.  Mile 9 of the Baltimore 10 Miler is officially my worst mile EVER!

I miraculously made it to the top – I didn’t bother running any of it.  I wanted to save my energy for the 10th and final mile.  The last mile actually approaches the finish, but you have to loop around another part of the park to finish the mile.  It’s such a tease to see the finish line and have to see it from afar.  I did make it though – high fived Blue the Crab as I crossed, and enjoyed the fact that I did finish.

On the other side of the finish line, there was a cold wet towel waiting for me (whoever thought of providing this deserves sainthood.)  There was also water, chips, orange wedges, bananas, and watermelon.

I couldn’t wait.

After cooling off and eating my snacks I got in line for my medal and premium.  Not everyone got a medal though.  As a King Crab Challenger, there was a medal offered only to King Crab Challenge participants (to go on the awesome medal display that I will pick up at the Baltimore Half in October.)  The Baltimore 10 was the second leg of the King Crab Challenge, just one more race to go!  The premium is really nice too – a red heathered pullover, with thumbholes AND zippered pockets!  Oh the things that get us runners excited.


I also ran into this lovely lady.  Amber from PB & PRs!  If any of you other bloggers out there are signed up for Charles Street 12 – we need to have a blogger after party!

Overall this is a great race.  I want to do it again.  I love running in Baltimore.  Even though it is not my hometown, I’ve basically lived here since I started college in 1998 and it’s my hometown now.  Corrigan Sports Enterprises also organizes the Frederick Half and the Baltimore Running Festival and I’ve had nothing but great experiences at all their races.  This race is no exception, from the communication before the race, the packet pick up, to the Race Village & post race festival.  I’ll be back for you Baltimore 10 Miler!!!

After the race, I raced back home because is was show week at Charlotte’s Little Gym class.  She got to show off her favorite skills and they showed us what skills they were working on.  She just switched from the Mommy & Me class a few months ago and it has made a world of difference.  She’s doing so much more on the balance beam and her donkey kicks are insane.  I’m so proud of her.  She even got a medal too.


Now to cover something a little less exciting, my flaws in running this race.  Hills.  You cannot run in Baltimore if you do not train on hills.  My neighborhood loop is hilly, but I never run more than 5-6 miles in my neighborhood.  My long runs are typically done on the the flat NCR Trail which is minutes from my house.  It’s just more convenient.  The hilly area to run is not nearly as convenient, so unless I’m meeting a group there, I never go there.  This summer I signed up for the half marathon training group at Charm City Run again so I will be running more hills in preparation for the Baltimore Half.


I also know that I am not as mentally strong as I would like to be.  This race really highlighted that for me.  Maybe it was the hills, maybe it was the heat during the second half of the race, maybe it was the “just barely enough” training I had done in my own mind.  Either way, I definitely got in my own head and allowed myself to walk too much during this race.  This is something I want to work on this summer.  I have my little mantras that I chant to myself, but I need a little more mental training.  So I’m going to work on that.  Conveniently enough, the new issue of Runners World has an article on this topic to get me started.


What are your pitfalls and how do you work through them?  Did you run or race this weekend?  What is your favorite finish line goody?









Race Recap – Sole of the City 10K

This was my first time running Sole of the City and the race did not disappoint.  Charm City Run events never do.  Sole of the City was the 2nd leg of the B3 Challenge.  The first was the Shamrock 5K last month the last will be the Charles Street 12 in September.  The premium they give out is just awesome.  This year it was an Under Armour all weather hoodie.  It’s lightweight and the color is divine – it’s a pretty shade of blue/green with the Sole of the City logo on the back and the Charm City Run logo on the front.


This race was especially fun because my cousin Michelle was running it too and it was her first race ever!  She just started running in January and is doing awesome.


A before race snapshot.

The day before, I was at the conference I had organized so I spent most of the day on my feet.  My dogs were so tired!  Plus my knee was twinging!  I was actually really nervous to run.  Friday night I took an Epsom salt bath and taped my knee as a precautionary measure.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  I feel asleep at about 8:30 Friday night.

The race day weather was predicted to be beautiful and HOT.  Not 90 degrees hot, but in the 70s.  The last time I ran in the 70s?  Probably last August…I’m not lying (or at least it felt that way).  The race was starting at 9AM so it’s a little later than your typical race so I knew it was going to be a warm one.  I had to dig around in my closet to find some sunscreen and made the realization that I don’t have any good sports face sunscreen.  (Got some on Sunday – summer running season I’m coming for you!)

We met up at around 7 to head downtown.  I’m a big fan of getting to races early.  I’d rather get some parking and have time to go to the bathroom and sit and relax a bit than be stressed about parking and having time to pee.  With downtown races, parking can be so questionable.  You just don’t know.  We got a parking space in the lot right behind the start / finish area and we even had time to do a little shopping at Charm City Run.  Our race bibs conveniently had a coupon on the back.  I bought a new Under Armour tank that I may debut at Frederick (it will be tested first though, don’t worry.)


At about 8:45 we made our way to the start line and this was the crowd behind us.  We even got a chance to meet the Green Turtle!


We stood around waiting for the official start chatting, then it was go time.  Michelle has been doing really well pacewise so I told her to just run her race and we’d meet up at the end.  I was really afraid of starting to fast so I kept it steady.  The first mile or so was flat with some downhills.  Most of the race was flat up until the last mile or so.  There were two water stops, one just after mile 2 that I couldn’t wait for.  Then the next one was right after mile 4 – which I don’t think they were prepared.  When I got there, the cups were scarce and they were pouring water out of the jugs into the coolers, but not fast enough.  People were just grabbing cups and dipping into the water (kinda gross, but it was hot!).  Michelle said that she’s pretty sure she grabbed a used cup to drink from.

I had thought about bringing my handheld bottle with me then decided against it, thinking that the water stops would be enough.  I regret that decision only because it was so hot.  It would have been nice to be able to take a sip when I needed it on such a hot day.  I’m thinking that in future 10Ks, my handheld will be going with me.

The last mile was all uphill pretty much, I ended up walking more than I wanted.  Frankly in the 5th and 6th miles I fell off the rails a bit.  So I didn’t PR, but it wasn’t my worst 10K, but I got in my own way a bit.  Which is something I’m working on.

When I crossed the finish line, I got my water and got into the food line.  Got my goodies then went to meet up with Michelle outside of World of Beer.  A beer sounded realllllly good about then so we went and sat down and enjoyed a Summer Shandy (or two) and I ordered my giant pretzel.

Charm City Run events are always a blast and so well organized.  I’m definitely keeping this race on my list for next year.


What’s your post race food of choice?  Are there any races that you repeat year after year?



Sara and the Blustery 5K (Kelly’s Shamrock 5K Recap)

I am so behind in my posts.  I haven’t felt like getting on the computer after work, especially since Charlotte isn’t going to bed until after 8 nowadays.  By the time she is asleep, I have little time to myself and I’m usually just beat.  I’ve got to catch up on my posts!  So you might see a few more than usual from me this week.  Not a bad thing.


So last Sunday (the 15th) I ran the first race of the Charm City Run B3 Challenge, the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K.  This was my first time running the race and it was a great time.  The forecast was predicting temperatures in the 50s,  which we got.  Along with it, we also got a lot of gusty wind.  I had no idea what to wear.  With temps in the 50s, I was going to wear my short sleeve neon green shirt.  With the wind, I just didn’t know what to expect.  I ended up wearing my Brooks fleece jacket over top, but at times I wished I had gone with a windbreaker.

I had pre-purchased parking at a garage lose to the finish line, because you just never know.  My friend Nichelle went with me.  We walked to the finish area to check her bag and use the facilities.  No lines at either.  Which of course was probably because we were there pretty early.

After we got ourselves bibbed and time chipped up, we started walking towards the starting line which was about a half mile away.  It wasn’t a bad walk, except for the blustery wind.  It was freezing!  In the sun it felt good, in the shade of the buildings it felt 30 degrees.

We got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare and stood around people watching and jogging in place.  Lots of festive runners.  I kinda felt out of place in my plain capris and red jacket.  Not enough planning on my part.


This was before we started – you can see everyone in their neon green race shirt.


Eventually the race began and it was on a very nice downhill down Charles Street.  I wish I had taken a picture, but as you go downhill as you look ahead, all you can see is a sea of neon green runners – it’s a really cool sight to behold.  I know how tricky a downhill start can be so I tried to hold back a bit.  I knew a majority of the race was flat so I figured I’d try to maintain my downhill pace for the remainder.  The first mile chirped in at 11:34.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to maintain that.  I mean, I’m a 12 min/mile runner.  Or so I thought when I started.

Once I got started running I started to warm up, so I unzipped my jacket.  No sooner than when I would unzip, there would be a gust that would just blow right into my jacket and I’d have to zip up again.  It was quite annoying.


Did anyone else have these 45s and storybooks growing up? We had a whole bunch of them and would play them on our little Fisher Price record player.

The rest of the race looped down Light Street to Key Highway. There was a turnaround at some point on Key Highway and then a water stop.  I took a brief drink of water then picked back up.  The race continued back to Light Street then onto Pratt.  I knew the finish line was close. So I kept pushing.  My watch said I was still in the 11s which I just couldn’t believe.

I made the turn onto Market Street towards the finish line and just gave it all I got.  My official finish time was 36:55.  A one minute improvement over my last 5K and an average pace of 11:55.

After getting my time chip snipped off my shoes I was able to get a bottle of water, some pretzels, chips, a granola bar and a banana.  It was really crowded in the area where the beer line was, so we couldn’t figure out where to get in line for our free beer.  No big deal since I had left my ID in my car.  They had a band playing 90s & early 2000s covers – they were really good.  So we ate our snacks and listened to music for a bit before I had to head back home.  Overall I think the race was really well organized and fun.  Next year, if the weather is nicer, I want to convince Brian to bring Charlotte down so we can watch the parade together afterwards.

I wanted to talk about my pacing for a minute.  My Garmin actually had me at 11:40/mile at the end.  Doesn’t matter if the official time and the Garmin time don’t match, I’m just happy there was an 11 in front.  It did get me thinking though, did I push myself hard enough?  I typically do my long runs at about 12:30 and my speed training and tempo runs have been in the mid 11s down to a pace in the high 10s.  In my tempo runs I’ve been holding faster paces, so I wonder if I held myself back in the race because I don’t typically see those numbers on a regular run.  My next timed 5K is in June at the Baltimore Women’s Classic so I’m going to try and push harder.  It’s a vastly different course, with hills and such, but my goal is going to be to beat this one.


Does anyone else have trouble running shorter distances as far as pacing goes?  Do you have any fun races coming up?