Baltimore Women’s Classic is a huge deal in the Baltimore running community. It is a 5k race dedicated to promoting women’s health & fitness while increasing awareness of women’s health issues. A cause that is near and dear to my heart with my history with ovarian cysts & tumors.
Last year, Zack & I were visiting & apartment hunting the weekend before BWC, and moved about a month after it. I was bummed to miss it (yea I was researching races prior to our move… Most runners do that, right?! ) So I was super stoked to get to run the race this year.
True to form, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me on Saturday night. Pre-race jitters will forever haunt me. I have never raced without some sort of way of keeping my time. Even if that meant just iSmoothRun app running on my phone. However, coach J took my watch and made my promise not to cheat with an app… UFFF. He’s trying to train me to listen to my body…. I’m certain this added to the pre-race jitters… I fell asleep finally around 3:30.. Just in time to catch 2.5 hours of sleep before my alarm starting honking at me. (Seriously, I need to change that.)
We were out the door by 7 to head to the Rash Field. It was around 7:40 when I met up with Dianne on the steps and it was already over 80 degrees. It was going to be a scorcher…. Before we knew it we saw everyone making their way over to the starting line… We tried to move as close to the “front of the middle” as we could…. Ended up in between the 9 minute mile and 10 minute mile pace groups. The start was a lot more spread out than any other race I’ve run. I was able to start really movin’ right off the bat.
The course was gorgeous….The first mile went along the inner harbor. The harbor takes my breath away every time. Zack & I don’t get down there often enough. Typically only for races or baseball games…. heh. It’s unfortunate, because when we were first planning on moving down here, I fell madly in love with the inner harbor area.
The beauty of the course was quickly lost on me… IT WAS HOT Y’ALL.. I hit the first mile marker and still recognized most of the people around me so I knew I was keeping on pace more or less… I felt like crap, pretty much the entire race from that point. I wanted to stop moving for just a second. Just slow down for one minute… But I wouldn’t allow myself to. I knew that any chances of PRing were over if I slowed down for even 30 seconds. I kept repeating in my mind “I lived in Texas and Florida… I can handle some heat. This is nowhere near as bad as some of the temperatures I’ve dealt with hiking in the hill country“
The first water stop came up during the 2nd mile. I grabbed one & just kept moving. I ended up wearing more than I consumed, but I wasn’t upset about that. It felt amazing…. By the end of mile 2 the sun was in FULL FORCE and pretty much baking us alive. It was getting harder to breathe but I kept pushing through, breathing deep into my stomach. Basically doing yoga breath counts to keep it under control.
It was a bittersweet moment when I hit the 2 mile mark. I was so glad we only had a little over a mile left to go.. But at the exact same time all I could think was “oh my god that was only 2 miles?!” That third mile was cruel. It was the longest mile of my life! I was so thankful for the last water stop. I grabbed two cups.. Yeah, I was selfish. I pulled back a bit and slowed my pace ever so slightly so I could down the first cup. The second cup, went directly over my head and down my neck. Ohhhhh sweet relief. I refused to walk or slow down any more than I had so I held that pace until we made our way into the finishing chute. Then, out of nowhere my legs just started SPRINTING. That last .1 I was passing girls left & right. I looked up as I was about to cross the finish line and saw my clock time. 31:05!!!!!!!!!!! My arms went straight up and I had a huge grin on my face. Even with just clock time it was a 4 second PR…
30:50.4!!!!!!!!!!! PR BABY!!!
The finish line swag was the coolest I’ve experienced. (maybe I just haven’t been racing the right ones…) But, for a 5k I was immmmmpressed. We were immediately handed ice cold towels that were soaking in barrels of ice water. Then we were handed a rose!
I was certainly smiling & happy… But I sort of wanted to just lay down and die. I was so miserably hot, and my left calf muscle felt like it had been put through a meat shredder.
After laying in the grass, chugging a bottle of water and munching on a piece of watermelon the size of my face — I was more or less feeling good as new. I got up and wandered over to meet up with Dianne, Renee and Megan. Let me just take a moment to say — Dianne is a rockstar!!! Truly. Truly. Truly. She just had her appendix removed 2 weeks ago and still raced & did awesome today.
After chatting it up for quite some time Zack looked like he was about to die of a heat stroke, so we parted ways and headed home. I came home, stripped off my sweaty sports bra, collapsed into bed was out like a LIGHT. 4 hours later I woke up so discombobulated. Did I sleep through the race??!?!! I was in such a half-awake state I panicked that it was a dream and I missed the race. haha. oh exhaustion
All in all, it was an awesome race. It was HOT. It was TOUGH. but I fought my mental demons and PRed. I’m actually really super disappointed that I won’t be here for it next year. We’ll be in the last few weeks before our wedding so we’ll be back home for the summer… It was my favorite 5k so far, even if it was probably the most brutal 5k I’ve ever run.