The green streets of Baltimore {Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5K Recap}

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Pretty intense right!?

This was my second year running the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k put on by the very best place ever, Charm City Run, and just like the last time I did this race (in 2014), there was so much green out there that I felt like everything else I looked at for the rest of the day had a green tint to it. Or that could have been the shot of Jameson I did at the finish line party. I’ve been pretending to be Irish a lot this week.

Anyway, this is one of those odd races that starts in the middle of the afternoon, but I have to admit that I was thankful for the extra sleep what with the time change and everything. My friend Suzanne showed up at my house mid-morning and we went to a local diner for a breakfast that I instantly regretted eating as soon as we got downtown and started warming up. Luckily we were early enough that I had a bit of time to digest my eggs and toast before the 1:15 start.

I already didn’t have much of a goal for the race when I got there, but after some rain moved through and my heel was giving me some issues, I decided that this one was mostly just going to be for fun. The first half mile or so is exclusively downhill and the street was VERY slick. As we waited for the air horn I discussed with people around me – some of whom appeared to already be pretty drunk and no offense, but I just don’t see the fun in running any kind of distance when you’re drunk – how stepping on manhole covers just then could lead to broken ankles. We heard the National Anthem and then we were off!

I’m not going to lie; as nice as that downhill start is it is also somewhat frustrating because literally 5,000 people run this race and Charles Street is super narrow right there. And EVERYONE wants to be in the front regardless of whether they are runners or walkers. I had better luck this time, but it was still a slow-go for a bit as I nearly tripped over groups of friends that were walking together.

The course is downhill to flat-ish, from Charles Street to Key Highway – which probably means nothing to most of the people who read my blog – then turns back toward downtown and ends at the Power Plant Live complex and an ENORMOUS green party (pictured above). I found a nice, comfortable pace for pretty much the whole thing and enjoyed the actual race part much more than before because I took the time to check out my surroundings. My favorite part was people watching after the turn around point…it’s like a huge party in the street and I could tell that everyone was having a blast. One of my least favorite things is whatever the heck happened with my GPS. I don’t know if it freaks out because of all the big buildings or if I’m really running longer than a 5K, but my distance has been longer both years I ran this race. And this year my first mile clocked in at around 5:55. I know mile 1 was my fastest, but I am fairly certain that it wasn’t 5-minute mile fast!

Even though I wasn’t killing myself, I still bested my 2014 time by about 30 seconds.

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My official chip time was 22:26. I took some green beads that a girl handed me at the finish line and it was time to find my friends and party!

This race is VERY popular and I saw many people that I knew. Because I didn’t have Betty last weekend I could actually hang out for awhile and man was it FUN! Live bands, a nice spread of snacks, beer (of course), and lots and lots of happy runners.

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I especially love how thrilled we look as compared to the miserable looking people behind us. My friend Jarrod’s watch also told him that he had run a sub-6 first mile. We like to think it’s true.

I remember being sort of grumpy after this one in the past – maybe because my dumba$$ decided that wearing a wool kilt would be a cool idea which it was NOT –  but after a MUCH better experience this time around I will definitely be signing up for this race next year. Charm City really is tops at organizing big events like this. Small annoyances aside, it really couldn’t have been a better day, despite the pouring rain that moved through as the party came to a close.

Did you run a St. Patrick’s Day race this year? How did it go? How do you feel about getting drunk before running?

I hope everyone had a very lucky day yesterday and that you all have a fantastic weekend!

xo,

Salt

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Calories Earned. Calories Burned. Fit Foodie 2016!

Yes! Once again I’ve been picked to be an Ambassador AGAIN for Cooking Light & Health’s Fit Foodie Race Weekend in Fairfax, VA!

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This year’s festivities are hosted by John Hancock. The life insurance company. Not to be confused with…

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…that guy or…

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…Will Smith as Hancock.

As in previous years the festivities will be held in the fantastically hip Mosaic District of Fairfax where as has become my tradition I will go to the Target post-race for a giant Starbucks. But there are also some changes this year such as the date – May 20 through 22 – when in previous years it was held in June and featured all the uncomfortable humidity that one might expect in the mid-Atlantic right around that time.

Some other new additions for 2016 include meet and greets with four-time Boston Marathon and NYC Marathon Champ “Boston Bill” Rogers and the winner of the 2015 Boston Marathon, Caroline Rotich and the the new John Hancock Vitality Village celebration featuring fitness and cooking demos and so much more. Speaking from experience, the food they give out after this race is DELICIOUS.

Another cool new thing is the introduction of a PREMIUM registration which will get you a participation tank top and a $5 donation to a Fit Foodie charity. Oh and for those you of who love race bling, everyone will receive a finisher’s medal this year!

So you want to join me (and some of my other favorite local bloggers) right? Here’s some registration info for you:

Fit Foodie 5K – Saturday, May 21
$35 until April 24, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
$45 until May 20, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
$55 on race day – May 21, 2016

Fit Foodie 5K Premium – Saturday, May 21
$55 until April 24, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
$65 until May 20, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.
$75 on race day – May 21, 2016

$35 to sign up for a race with some great swag and entrance into the post-race festival is really quite incredible, so if you are in the area (or not like I am and feel like traveling a bit) I encourage you to jump on that before the prices go up on April 24. Additionally I can sweeten the deal by offering you a discount code: RUNSALTRUN at check out for 10% off!

There will also be options to attend the entire Fit Foodie weekend! This includes entrance to the kick-off party on Friday night, the 5K and post-race shenanigans, the Sweat Session led by fitness pros and celebrity trainers plus a delicious, healthy brunch on Sunday. Or just the Sweat Session and brunch if you can’t make it Friday night. I’ll have more information on those as soon as registration opens up!

I hope to see some of you there!

xo,

Salt

How to Run 5K like an Athlete {Guest Post}

I don’t know if this is so much of a secret on here or not, but I absolutely LOVE the 5K distance. I also think that it gets sort of a bad rap sometimes. Because it’s a shorter race I’ve heard people snub it as “easier” and while it is a great place to start for people who want to tackle their first race, I can tell you from experience that there have only been two race distances where I have overexerted myself to near-vomit level…the marathon and the 5K. Both so challenging, but in completely different ways. 

Today’s guest post has some helpful tips for runners of all levels who want to prepare for their first 5K or shoot for a new PR!


Training for a 5K run requires motivation, dedication and a lot of hard work. Whether you are a seasoned runner with several races already under your belt or a complete novice, the journey to 5K fitness can be every bit as rewarding as the race itself. If you approach the big race with the attitude of a professional athlete, you’re likely to perform like one on the day.

Preparing for a 5K run involves far more than jogging three times a week; it should be a complete programme of health, fitness, nutrition and lifestyle changes. Athletes have to sacrifice many of their favourite foods and social activities in order to perform on race day, and you will need to do the same if you’re going to put in an athlete’s performance when the big day arrives.

Adopt the following four strategies in order to fine-tune your body for the challenge that lies ahead.

Adopt a 5K training plan that works for you

Too many people dive straight into a rigorous 5K training plan that was originally designed for seasoned athletes. At best, this course of action could lead to a lot of pain and disappointment; at worst, it could lead to serious injury.

Recognise from the outset what your strengths and weakness are, and give yourself enough time to gradually work on them. A Kiqplan coaching app, for instance, can help you in this regard, as it takes your personal information and activity data and designs a workout and nutrition programme tailored to your needs.

During long periods of exercise, you might experience pain or discomfort in very specific areas of your body, including in your hamstrings, calves and hip flexors. You should therefore develop a series of stretches designed to keep you supple and pain-free in those areas.

Condition your body for the challenge ahead

The average 5K race involves the use of your aerobic system for around 80 percent of a race and your anaerobic system for around 20 percent of the race. Anaerobic activity involves very high intensity activity that leaves you out of breath and experience a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. You will therefore need a training plan that develops both areas of your respiratory fitness.

Your training regime should include at least two ‘even speed’ runs every week. This is a session in which you should maintain a steady speed and exertion level throughout your run. You should also be performing ‘interval training’ two or three times per week, which involves five minutes of ‘steady speed’ running followed by a minute of intense activity – such as sprinting.

Try to dedicate a day to sprinting every week. Towards the end of your programme, you should be combining high-intensity running with distance. This might include running for a mile at a speed faster than you’re used to, resting for five minutes, and then completing another mile.

Fuel your body fully for training sessions

High-intensity training requires high levels of fat and carbohydrates. However, your body will probably already have sufficient stores of fat, so you should try to fuel your body with good carbohydrates as much as possible. Eating the normal recommended daily allowance of fat – around 20 percent of your daily calorie allowance – should be sufficient.

Good carbohydrates include whole wheat, whole grain and nuts. Brown toast, peanut butter, bananas and granola are all great foods for breakfast, as they provide energy that can be gradually unlocked throughout your morning training sessions. Other foods to load up on include lean meat, fibre-rich vegetables such as spinach, low-fat milk and egg whites.

Remember: this is not the time to diet. If you’re taking on a rigorous training regime, your body will naturally require more fuel.

Source the right equipment

The most important items of equipment you will need to prepare for a 5K run are running shoes. Rather than simply buy the cheapest pair of running shoes at your local sportswear store, visit a specialist running retailer, who will measure and assess your feet. For instance, you may be an over or underpronator, which could mean that a specific type of shoe will enhance your performance and keep your feet in food condition.

Decide on clothes you feel comfortable running in, but dress appropriately for the weather. And if you’re starting to get bored, don’t be afraid to plug yourself into your favourite tunes for some much-needed motivation.

Training for a 5K run should begin at least 12 weeks before the event. And if you want to compete like an athlete, you will need to take every aspect of your health, well-being and fitness very seriously indeed.


 

How do you feel about the 5K distance? Any tips of your own that you would like to share?

I hope everyone has a fabulous Tuesday!!

xo,

Salt