Baltimore Women’s Classic 2016: Race Recap

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!

20160626_073704Miles 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.

"Ohmygod I am running so fast wheee!"
“Ohmygod I am running so fast wheee!”

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!

Feeling good once the side stitch was over!
Feeling good once the side stitch was over!

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?

10 thoughts on “Baltimore Women’s Classic 2016: Race Recap

  1. Congratulations on a great race! The lack of shade and rising temps sound awful, but I guess that is to be expected with a summer race.

    Last year during a half marathon I was hit side stitches/cramps with about 2 miles left to go. It completely derailed my race as I was in so much pain I had to walk. After that race I read everything I could and finally found a method that works for me. If I can feel a side stitch coming on I slow down a bit and time my breathing so that I inhale/exhale as my left foot strikes the ground. I keep this up until the feeling passes. If the pain keeps building I start taking walk breaks and try to build back up to running consistently. Walk 1:00, run 1:00, walk 1:00, run 1:30, walk :45, run 2:00…and so on. Most of the time getting control of my breathing takes care of the problem, I only rarely have to resort to walk breaks.


    • I definitely asked for it when I signed up for this race! I’m glad I don’t have many more between now and the end of summer.

      Thanks for the advice! I do the inhale/exhale thing as well. I never thought of the increasing walk/run intervals to help as well. I will have to try that next time!


  2. I think all things considered (bad night’s sleep, warm temperatures…) you did remarkably well! Congrats on the race and placing 21 in your age group!

    Usually when I get a cramp or side stitch, I try to slow down and concentrate on very intentional breathing and cadence until the feeling goes away.


  3. Great race! When i get a cramp or side stitch i take a large breath and then exhale as much as possible! try and empty your lungs. A cramp is just caught air so you need to try and get rid of it. It takes practice to do this while running, especially racing but it’s worked for me almost 99% of the time


  4. That’s an awesome race photo! I think it would be worth buying – I’ve never had any look anywhere close to good. I don’t have a really good strategy for cramps. Usually I push on them to alleviate some of the pain quickly, but then I set a time goal when I think it will be gone by (ie, if I run 10 more minutes, I’ll feel better then). Just reminding myself it will go away helps enough to push through it.


  5. […] June: In June, I considered myself almost fully back from my hip/quad injury. It still felt wonky at times, but I was managing. I began running using Jeff Galloway intervals and by following a loose “heart rate” plan. I was able to build my miles back up in time to start marathon training. June included two fun races with friends, the Zooma Annapolis 10K  (1:04:30) and Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (29:30). […]


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