Showing posts with label 5K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5K. Show all posts

Castaway Cay 5K - What to know before your run!

We're fresh off our latest Disney Cruise Line vacation in January 2020 and during our sailing on the Disney Dream we made a stop at Disney's Castaway Cay - a private island paradise in the Bahamas!  This island has it all. . .sun, sand, crystal clear water, food, a kids club, and much more.  But running friends will be happy to know that there is a FREE, yes you read that right, FREE 5K run available on every stop at Disney's Castaway Cay.  This was my second time participating in the run, but while many things remained the same, a few have changed and it's important to note what you need to know before you run.

It's a fun run, not a race - If you're a regular reader here, you know my deep love of runDisney races.  Alas, this is not considered a runDisney race.  In fact, it's considered an "onboard activity" for cruise guests.  When you are planning all of your cruise activities on the Disney Cruise Line website you can "register" for the race.  Once on board, stop by guest services and pick up a waiver that will need to be completed before the race.  Or, you can walk up to the race start and get the waiver to fill out.  Trade your completed waiver for a bib and you are good to go.  The start is a simple "1, 2, 3. . .Go!" announcement and there is no chip timing - just a simple clock at the start finish area.  

But you do get a medal! - The other thing you probably know about me is that I care about the bling. . .deeply.  All finishers in this fun run will get a fun rubber medal.  Yes it's only rubber, but it has a cute ribbon and a fun design to commemorate your accomplishment.  I mean, you ran on a cruise vacation while most people on cruises only run to the buffet line!  Wear it proudly and be sure to stop by and see the characters around the island after your run for some pictures showing off your bling.

Getting off the ship - So this was a change from the last time I ran this particular event and the guest services staff told me it started just a few months ago.  In the past, runners would receive a "shore excursion" ticket the night before and meet in a specified lounge around 7:45.  As soon as the ship was cleared, the runners disembarked first together as a group to take the nearly 10 minute walk to the start line.  That's in the past now.  Runners just meet up at the start line which means that you have to join the pack of people exiting the ship when it's cleared at 8:30 and make your way very quickly to the starting point near the bike rentals.  I have to say, I was not a fan of this change. . .even if I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes!

This run is for everyone - You will find serious runners here who go all out and others who are 100% walkers just looking to stretch their legs with some exercise and take home a unique cruise souvenir.  I know sometimes we all find ourselves being self-conscious with our abilities, but don't be nervous about joining this fun run.  The course is a super simple out and back and the island terrain means you will encounter no elevation change whatsoever.

Speaking of the island - Regardless of what time of year you run, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Even with an 8:50AM start time, you are running on an island. . .in the Bahamas.  It's hot and oftentimes it humid.  The sun is intense most days too.  Even the walkers in this event want to take hydration very seriously.  Think about it in the days leading up and drink plenty of water on board.  Along the course of the fun run, you pass a water aid station 4 times - take advantage of it!  I saw a lot of people stretching out cramps along the way.

The Castaway Cay 5K is truly a family fun event that casual and serious runners will want to check out on your Disney Cruise Line vacation.  Kids as young as 10 may participate.  If you need a space to check-in younger children while you run, Disney has a kids club, Scuttle's Cove, on the island which is open as you make your way to the run.

You may also want to pack some extra money for the race apparel that you'll find at the finish line! There is a cute collection of hats, tanks, tees, and long sleeve shirts along with pins and much, much more to further commemorate your fun run on the island.  I picked up a Castaway Cay 5K hat to bring home as my cruise souvenir and something I can use on cold training days to remind me of the island vibes this run leaves you feeling!  Enjoy the scenery, the fun, and the bling. . .then enjoy the sun, sand, and drinks!


I'm a Baltimoron!

Under Armour Race Premiums - Yes, please!
Everyone knows runners can be a little crazy.  And those of you who know me, probably know that I love my race bling.  So when the time came to sign up for my 2016 racing schedule, I decided to go all out.  Those of you who have been following my blog, have seen race recaps from the first two legs of the King Crab Challenge.  In May, I completed the Nut Job Challenge at the Frederick Running Festival which included a 5K on Saturday night and a half-marathon on Sunday morning.  Just 3 weeks later, I ran the hot, hilly, and humid Baltimore 10 miler.  The final part of the King Crab Challenge came with completing the Baltimore half-marathon last weekend.  I decided to take the Baltimore Running Festival one step further and signed up for the Baltimoronathon - a 5K and a half-marathon with start times just two hours apart.

The hubs and I sporting our 5K medals
I was excited to have my husband join me for this race weekend.  We decided to get a hotel room in the city the night before so that we wouldn't have to get too early of a start on Saturday morning.  Our hotel, the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, happened to be just a few steps from the start line for the 5K - perfect!  Just a few days before the race, I convinced my husband to sign up for the 5K as well.  After a light breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, we headed down to the start line for a 7:30AM start.  Since I knew I was tackling two races in the same day, I decided to take it easy on the 5K and walked most of it with my husband.  The 5K course is almost entirely uphill the first half and then turns around to go downhill the second half.  We added some jogging in to the second half of the race, which helped to loosen me up for the half.  We finished the 5K in about 47 minutes, collected our bling, and headed back to the Hilton lobby to meet up with my friends who were going to be running the half.

So much bling!
The half was slated to start at 9:45AM, so we started heading down to Inner Harbor for the start around 9:15.  The Baltimore Running Festival also features a marathon that day.  Along the way to the start, we were able to cheer for the marathon runners passing by and were keeping a look out for a friend who was completing the full.  The start of the half is right next to the Inner Harbor and features self-seeded waves.  My speedier friends headed off in Wave 2 and I lingered back to the end of Wave 3 of 5.  I don't know why, especially after the Baltimore 10 miler, but I was surprised how hilly the course was - particularly the opening miles.  Despite the hills, I felt really good the 5-6 miles.  It typically takes me a few miles to hit my groove on a long run, but I think the 5K earlier took care of that for me.  Around mile 7 the course flattened out and circled Lake Montebello where a DJ kept runners dancing and smiling as they entered and left the lake.  The Lake Montebello portion and 33rd Street, mirrored a few miles of the Baltimore 10 miler.  However, while that race ended with a large uphill portion back into Druid Hill Park, the Baltimore Half Marathon finished with a downhill run to finish through Eutaw Street and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  I'm really glad the race finished downhill, because by about mile 11, I was dragging and needed all the help I could get.  I finished the race with a smile and collected my bling!  That day, I earned my 5K, half-marathon, and Baltimoronathon medals.  I also was able to collect my Maryland Double medal for finishing the Frederick and Baltimore Half Marathons.  And the King Crab Challenge award this year was a fleece blanket.  My training had been a little lax for this half, so my goal was to finish in under 3 hours, and I clocked in at 2:57.  

The spoils from my 2016 race season!
So for those of you thinking about the Baltimore Running Festival - I would definitely recommend it!  The race is well supported - both officially by Corrigan and unofficially by the people of Baltimore.  The residents and spectators who come out to cheer runners along the course offered high fives, music, costumes and some pretty funny signs.  The Baltimoronathon was certainly an added unique challenge.  Now it's on to the next race - runDisney's Wine and Dine 10K on November 5th!

Happy Running, Friends!

It's All About the Bling

One of the things that sets runDisney races apart from all others in my book is the amazing bling.  When it comes to Disney races, rather it's been a plastic medallion, a rubber medal, or the real deal, I've always been proud of and impressed by the medals. You can count on fun designs that are themed around each race and part of the fun is waiting for the big reveals leading up to the races.

And now that bling is even blingier (yeah. . .that's probably not a word).  Gone are the days of rubber medals for 5K races in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  runDisney released today new medal designs for the Disneyland 5K, Mickey's Holiday 5K, and the Captain America 5K - all of which are coming up this fall.  Check out the new shiny designs below in this image from runDisney.

Image from www.instagram.com/rundisney
I'm glad to see runDisney adding real medals for 5K finishers.  While I know a medal for a 5K is a rare occurrence, when you shell out $75 plus Active fees to run, you deserve a little bling with your t-shirt and your memories.  I don't know about you, but these medals make me wish I had a runDisney 5K on my race plan soon!

2016 Frederick Nut Job Challenge Recap

This past weekend, I crossed a big item off my bucket list - I completed my first half-marathon.  And not only did I run the 13.1 miles on Sunday afternoon, but I turned out to be a complete Nut Job by adding the 5K race on Saturday evening.  While the pain is still fresh in my legs and joints, I've already started reflecting on the lessons learned from this race experience.  I can tell you that there will me more posts to follow on the emotional highs of this past weekend, but for now I'm just going to stick to the basics of a race recap.

Frederick Twilight 5K - The Frederick Running Festival kicks off on Saturday evening with a 5K race.  The race begins on the track at the Frederick Fairgrounds.  It's a well attended event and features a variety of elite runners as well as plenty of first timers.  The course is a fairly flat out and back course that runs along some back open roads.  There is not much shade and not much to look at, but the course goes by pretty quickly.  There is a water stop in the middle of the road around 1.25 miles and then you pass it again coming back not far before the 2 mile mark.  I ran this race beck in 2014 and not much has changed.  Participants are treated to a fun after-party featuring music and beverages (of the adult variety).  While there is no race "bling" for the 5K, it is the first step in earning your status as a Nut Job.  I didn't particularly care about time for the 5K as I wanted to keep my legs fresh for Sunday morning.  I a pair of women who were having a great time jogging along and enjoyed listening to their funny stories and banter.  The three of us also cheered on a 5 year old who was struggling to get through the last mile.  He was adorable, dressed as Superman and running with his dad.  I had a group of friends with me who were running this as well and after some time on the infield of the fairgrounds celebrating, we returned to one of their houses in Frederick for a delicious Italian dinner and to crash before the half in the morning.

Frederick Half-Marathon - Luckily with staying close by in downtown Frederick, we didn't have to get up too early on Sunday morning.  My friend Ali is an awesome host and had a spread of bagels, peanut butter, coffee, and bananas ready for any quick fuel-ups that the runners staying at her house wanted.  We left the house at 6:15 and made it to the start by 6:30AM.  I had my game plan going into the race and knew that I wanted to stick with it - I didn't want anyone else to dictate my race to me.  I have been training my long runs using run/walk intervals as I've increased run distances.  I jogged the first 5 minutes to get through the bottleneck at the start and then settled into my 60/60 intervals.  Compared to many other courses in Maryland, the half is relatively flat with the exception of a long, steady uphill between miles 11 and 12.  The course is very scenic as it weaves through historic downtown Frederick.  Miles 8 - 10 were run through a quaint neighborhood where many supporters came out playing music, blowing bubbles, and high-fiving runners.  The course was well supported with water, gatorade, and bathrooms around every 2-3 miles.  Throughout the race, my splits were amazingly even - settling in right around 13 min/mile from mile 1 to mile 13.  I crossed the finish line in 2:53 and felt elated. . .followed immediately by exhaustion!  My body was spent and I was not sad when a carload of my friends wanted to head back to shower rather quickly rather than hanging around.  But there was time to pose with my bling before leaving!

Will I be back for more half-marathons?  Absolutely!  I think it's a great distance to challenge you mentally and physically while not overwhelming you.  Will I complete more challenges again?  Probably. . .I'm a slave to the bling!!  The Frederick Half was the first part of the King Crab Challenge and the Maryland Double with the Baltimore 10-miler in June and the Baltimore Half in October completing those challenges.  Can't wait for more race excitement this year!

One more way runDisney can take all my money. . .

It's no secret that I love the magic of a runDisney race.  About the only thing that has saved me from going broke running several a year is the fact that each race requires paying for flights and other vacation necessities in addition to the cost of the races.  But what if runDisney created a way for me to run races and earn cute bling without the expense of a Florida trip?  Well, they just did. . .

Image from www.rundisney.com
Welcome to the era of runDisney virtual races!  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of virtual races, it's very simple and, some might argue, a little silly.  You pay a race entry fee and in return typically receive a bib and a medal.  Some races allow you to purchase shirts at an extra cost.  Then you run the race distance - on the treadmill, around your neighborhood, with friends, or alone.  You can connect with other runners via social media who are doing the same race in their own city and show each other support.  There's no fanfare, no crowds, no other runners - just you, the pavement, and a medal at the end.

runDisney has just announced their first virtual race series.  The series is made up of three different 5K races.  You can purchase each one separately or pay a combined "challenge" package where you complete all three.  Like typical virtual races, you'll receive a race bib and a medal in the mail - all with an adorable Mickey theme.  The races in this inaugural series include theming around Mickey's famous yellow shoes, red shorts, and white gloves.  Races cost $39 each or $142 for the entire series. This is a steep price compared to most virtual races, but is a bargain price compared to the typical runDisney 5K.

As for me, I'm debating whether or not to sign up for one of these races.  While the lure of runDisney bling always calls to me as a siren song, my favorite parts of the runDisney experience are the characters and the camaraderie among my fellow runners.  But if I know the runDisney community, it will be buzzing with excitement and encouragement for all runners out there tackling these virtual races.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Go ahead and take all money runDisney. . .

OCMD St. Patty's Day Boardwalk 5K Recap

This past weekend I ran the St. Patty's Day Boardwalk 5K in Ocean City, Maryland for the first time. Like you would expect from a St. Patrick's Day race, leprechauns and green costumes dotted the course as runners and walkers alike were out for a good time.  And I didn't do this race by myself - my mom signed up for this event as her very first 5K!  Prior to heading into town for the run, I grabbed a bagel from the shop down the street and, wouldn't you know, the bagel had the luck of the Irish with it.

Race day morning was perfect weather for a 5K by the beach - it was in the low 50s and overcast.  The 5K begins and ends at Shenanigan's on 4th Street and the Boardwalk.  There was a DJ outside of the restaurant getting the crowd energized before the start of the race and even a roaming leprechaun around for pictures and high fives.  Even the water they were handing out was in the St. Patrick's Day spirit and was dyed green.

One of my favorite things about running at the beach would be the flat terrain.  When compared to the hills that I run on at home, I feel like I'm just cruising along during these races.  After beginning at 4th Street, the race course started heading South to the pier and then around the tram stop at the inlet.  After making the turn, the course took runners north on the boardwalk to 16th Street where there was once again a 180 degree turnaround and then back south to end at 4th Street.  Running along the Ocean City boardwalk was beautiful with the sand and the water creating the perfect backdrop!  I've been training for my half-marathon using my run/walk intervals at home so I did that for the 5K - 90 seconds running, 60 seconds walking - and finished with a pace of 11:53 minutes per mile.  I felt good at the end of the race and hope that I can keep that kind of pace for my first half-marathon in less than 2 months.


At the end of the race, all finishers received a ribbon and each runner received a free drink.  If you head to the beach to run this race, be sure to stick around town afterwards for the St. Patrick's Day parade which takes place the same day as the run and begins at noon.  The parade runs from 61st Street to 45th Street along Coastal Highway.  While I didn't quite find a pot of gold that day, I did find a good time and festive event!  

Lumiere invites you to "Be Our Guest" for a Wine & Dine Challenge!

Big menu changes to Wine and Dine Weekend!
Now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as runDisney proudly presents. . .your new challenge!

runDisney announced major changes to the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon weekend today after rumors have been swirling for some time and registration was pushed back two weeks.  So what has changed?  Just about everything.  While Wine and Dine weekend has always been a unique event for runDisney, it now takes on a much more traditional race weekend look.  Mickey's Holiday 5K (notice the change from Jingle Jungle 5K??) has been pushed to Friday which means that the race expo will now open on Thursday.  Also on Friday, an additional day of Kid's Races have been added.  

Brand new for 2016 - the Wine and Dine 10K!  Join Chef Remy from Ratatouille for an all new 10K race on Saturday morning.  Since the weekend has added a 10K race, a new challenge is also on the menu of appetizing races.  Lumiere's Two-Course Challenge invites runners to finish the 10K on Saturday and the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon.  Runners who complete both races and had registered for the challenge will receive a special finisher medallion for the challenge.  And the runDisney changes didn't stop there.  In addition to adding the 10K and the challenge, the start time of the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon was moved to 5:30AM on Sunday morning.  This half-marathon was the last nighttime race left standing on the runDisney calendar after the Tower of Terror 10-miler and the Expedition Everest Challenge both disappeared in recent years so this news was controversial to say the least in the runDisney community.

While reaction to the changes has been mixed, I'm willing to guess that the new challenge and 10K will sell out very quickly and we'll once again see all races that weekend reach capacity, even if the half-marathon itself doesn't sell out in under 30 minutes again!  Even though this year will certainly be a very different experience, check out my coverage of the events from last year for a taste of Wine and Dine weekend.  Bon Appetite!

Registering for Wine and Dine Weekend
Wine and Dine Expo 2015
Jingle Jungle 5K 2015
Wine and Dine Half-Marathon (well. . .not really a half-marathon) 2015

"March"-ing Into Racing Season!

With the turn of the calendar, the beginning of daylight savings time, and the change in temperature, signs of spring are certainly springing up all around the Mid-Atlantic.  Another sure sign that spring is in the air?  Running calendars are once again blooming with races.  I've been spending the winter months training at Planet Fitness on a treadmill, but am now venturing back outside to prepare for upcoming events.  Here's a sneak peek at my racing calendar to kick off the season.

2014 and 2015 were a blast! Can't wait to see what 2016 brings!!
March 12 - OCMD St. Patty's Day Boardwalk 5K - I'll be kicking off the 2016 racing season with a race that I'm excited to be running with my mom.  My mom will be celebrating her birthday on March 18 and this will be her first ever 5K!  It should be a great time in Ocean City, MD and I'm looking forward to what should be a fast, flat course.

May 7 & 8 - Frederick Running Festival - This will be my first half-marathon as my runDisney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon only turned out to be half of a half.  In Frederick, I'll be an official "nut job" - running the Twilight 5K on Saturday night and the half-marathon on Sunday morning.  This is also the first leg of the Maryland Double and the King Crab Challenge.  I'm a bundle of emotions thinking about my first half-marathon - nervous, excited, anxious!

June 4 - Baltimore 10-miler - This race is the second part of the King Crab Challenge.  It looks to be a fun race through Baltimore and running through the Maryland Zoo.  I'm also hoping that this race will give me a good proof of time for any future races.

It looks to be an exciting couple of months.  I'm hoping that things go well with my training schedule as work tends to get busier in the Spring and the little ones at home are keeping me hopping more quickly then Peter Cottontail delivering Easter eggs!  Keep following along for updates on training and race recaps as each one is completed.

runDisney Wine & Dine 2015 Expo


A runDisney race weekend begins with a visit to the expo.  For the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend, the expo began on Friday and continued through Saturday afternoon.  Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the expo is home to packet pick-up, official runDisney merchandise, and major damage to my credit card with all of the great shopping!  Here are a few things I learned at my first runDisney expo.

Bring your patience - One thing that you'll be sure to do is wait in line.  From the time we arrived to pick up our bibs, long lines stretched throughout the field house.  Bibs for the Half-Marathon and 5K were separated on opposite sides of the complex.  Following the wait in each of those lines, the lines for official merchandise and pre-purchased commemorative items awaited.  All told, it was a very long morning with lots of crowds.  Be prepared with a good attitude and your best Disney spirit to survive!

New Balance Shoes - Beginning in 2013, runDisney and New Balance have partnered to offer exclusive shoes for runDisney expos.  These shoes are only available for purchase during each expo and are immensely popular.  In an effort to minimize lines for these very popular shoes, New Balance utilizes a virtual queue.  Beginning at 6AM on the morning of the expo, you can enter your bib number and contact information and New Balance will assign you a time to arrive to their booth for shoe pick-up.  In the virtual queue you can reserve one pair of shoes and you can purchase a second if you're interested at the expo.  I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth this whole process went.  In fact, I was even able to access my return time about 15 minutes early. . .and I walked away with two great pairs of New Balance shoes!


Official Merchandise - At ESPN Wide World of Sports, there were two runDisney official merchandise booths - one inside of each field house.  Lines were long, crowds were big, and cast members tried to restock shelves as quickly as they could to keep up with popular demand.  I arrived at the expo around 10:15 on the first day and was able to grab what I was interested in for official merchandise - an "I Did It!" shirt.  I also picked up a headband and could have maxed out my credit card on all the great items if I didn't exercise some serious restraint.  Just a reminder that the official merchandise booth is Disney operated so you can use Disney gift cards to purchase items and you also can grab your Chase Disney Visa discount of 10% off $50 or more.


For the best selection on any items that you would like to purchase at the expo, you'll want to arrive early on the first day.  However, this is also where you will find the largest crowds.  Come prepared with a large amount of patience (and maybe a sizable wallet as well!) and you'll be sure to have a successful kick-off to your runDisney race weekend!


Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K 2015

As part of the November 2015 Wine and Dine Half-Marathon weekend, runDisney also hosted Kid's Races and a 5K.  Since we were making the journey to Florida for the half, my friend Craig and I decided to participate in Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K as well.  This made for a busy day of running as the 5K was scheduled for 7AM on Saturday morning and the half-marathon was set to begin at 10PM that same night.  Since this was going to be my first half-marathon, I wanted to save my energy and my legs so we opted to take it easy on the 5K.  We stopped at all but one character picture along the course and jogged between the characters.  The 5K is also considered a fun run by runDisney and is not timed.

Race gear ready to go.
The course is entirely contained to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  We arrived at the course around 5:45AM and there were already several thousand people gathered.  Since we had about an hour to wait until we had to get into our corral, we joined the incredibly long line to wait for a picture with Mickey and Minnie.  Well, after an hour wait and lots of conversation with the friendly folks around us in line, we still never made it to Mickey and Minnie and now it was time to head to Corral A for the start of the race.  All morning long, the DJ entertained us with great music and now the announcers were taking over to welcome Mickey and Minnie to the starting line for the race to begin!

Waiting in the longest line ever to hopefully see Mickey and Minnie.

Ready, Set, Go!
With a little Disney magic, flurries fell in Central Florida and we were underway.  The "flurries" didn't do much to help the weather that day as the sun was rising with the start of the race and it was already in the low 70s with sweltering humidity.  The course began looping around the parking lots of Animal Kingdom and you were almost a mile in as you entered the theme park.  Once inside the park, runners raced towards the Tree of Life and followed the path to the left traveling towards Africa.  Flick from A Bug's Life was greeting runners just inside the Oasis, but we kept moving.  We did make our first character stop in Africa to say hi to Rafiki and Timon.  All of the characters along the course were decked out in their Christmas attire to usher in the holiday season.

Rafiki and Timon were waiting to say "hi" in Africa!
We then entered a backstage area behind Harambe and passed through to Asia where we found Baloo and King Louie.  The rest of the course alternated back and forth between backstage and public theme park areas.  We passed three more character stops including Chip & Dale, Pluto, and Donald Duck with Santa Goofy.  The race used the same finish line that had been our starting point.  Christmas Mickey and Minnie were on hand to greet finishers for pictures, but we didn't want to face the long lines again and were anxious to go back to our hotel for a shower and a big breakfast!

King Louie and Baloo

Chip & Dale

A big smile for Pluto!

Merry Christmas with Donald and Goofy!
Even though Disney didn't time the race, my Garmin watch at has clocked in at a finish time at about 1:20 - that's right. . .well over an hour for a 5K!  Along the course, we waited in line at 5 character stops and took one bathroom break.  I didn't care at all how fast the run was as it was by far the absolute best 5K experience I've ever had!  If you're looking to enjoy the fun of runDisney, but aren't a serious runner - don't be afraid to to sign up for the 5K.  It's accessible to runners and walkers alike and will be sure to provide a fun morning that you won't soon forget!

Back at the hotel sporting my new runDisney bling.

The Baltimore Running Festival - 2015 5K Race

I was back and forth in the weeks leading up to The Baltimore Running Festival on whether or not to sign up for the 5K race.  Ultimately, I decided to register for two main reasons.  I hadn't raced since May 2014 when I became pregnant with my second child and I was in need of a "big time" race feel prior to the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.  The Baltimore Running Festival 5K was a great experience and I was so happy that I made the decision to join the fun!


If you're unfamiliar with race day, Baltimore features a Kids Fun Run, 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon.  This means that over 20,000 runners descend upon Charm City and take to the streets of Baltimore.  Race organizers highly recommend public transportation, but that's not a good option from where I live in Maryland.  The good news is that there is plenty of free parking in the lots surround M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  

The 5K shared a start line with the marathon runners so I spent the morning with friends who were going to be running the marathon.  The marathon runners began at 8:00AM and then those of us running the 5K started at 8:20AM.  The start of the race was well organized and featured music, the mayor of Baltimore, and much more!  I was glad for the chance to start a busy race as that was quite the experience.  I know that I'm not one of the fastest runners out there so I was hanging out towards the back of the start.  I was shocked how much bobbing and weaving had to take place over the first half mile until the crowd thinned out a little bit.  

The first mile and half was up Camden street and featured mostly uphill terrain.  I had planned to run this race at my half marathon pace and kept to that plan during this part of the race.  I've been training using Galloway intervals of 30:30, so it was a "choppy" 5K.  After the block turnaround, the race proceeded onto Eutaw Street and it was truly "all downhill from here!"  At this point, I was feeling like I had too much energy (is there such a thing??) and really felt silly running such short intervals in a 5K so I picked up the pace and ran the rest of the way in.  The finish of the race takes you through the Eutaw Street gates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and into the parking lot of M&T Bank Stadium.  


One of the best aspects of the race was the tremendous support from the people of Baltimore.  There were citizens literally everywhere along the course cheering us on, waving signs, and playing music in the streets.  It was great to see the city come together for such a fantastic purpose.    Between the well organized race, nice expo, great support, and bling for a 5K race, the Baltimore Running Festival  was a fantastic way to re-enter the wonderful world of racing!

Why B-less When You Can B-more?

www.thebaltimoremarathon.com
This week marks the 15th anniversary of the Baltimore Running Festival and I'm excited to be joining the fun for the first time.  The big day includes a 5K, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, and Full Marathon which are all preceded be an expo spanning two days at M&T Bank Stadium - Home of the Baltimore Ravens.  I'll be running the 5K on Saturday morning as a "big race" tune up for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon next month.  The last time I ran a large scale race was back in May 2014 during the Frederick Running Festival and Baltimore promises to be even bigger.  Hopefully the field of roughly 4,500 5K runners will begin to slightly prepare me for the almost 15,000 runners I'll be joining in Orlando in November.

If you're interested in following along with the festival activities this week, check out #BaltRunFest, #RunHon, and #RunforPride on social media.  I'll be sharing pictures and tweets throughout the week @dsnyrunrgrl and here on the blog too!