Weekend Recap: Staycation

This weekend was fun and BUSY. My bff since first grade came to visit from New York and we had a blast with a mini-Baltimore staycation. We did a staycation in DC last summer, and followed the same pattern this year by choosing a hotel with a rooftop pool. Backing up a bit, Friday night was low key with a frozen chicken parm meal from Trinacria. Saturday morning I woke up early for a mani/pedi followed by my favorite gyro salad for lunch at Samos before picking up my visiting bff from the bus station.

Then the real fun began as we checked into our room at the Hyatt Regency. This hotel was definitely a bit of a splurge, but worth it for the outdoor pool and location. We quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool deck to post up for the afternoon. The pool was small but perfect for our needs and surrounded by lots of comfy couches and lounge chairs. The view of the harbor was awesome and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the sunshine alternating between soaking in the pool, laying out and sipping bay breezes.

After a few hours by the pool we were craving Mexican food and ended up at Blue Agave for guac and enchiladas. Following dinner we ended up back on the Hyatt pool deck for s’mores at the fire pit! We bought a s’mores kit at the front desk complete with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and a long stick for marshmallow roasting. It was a gorgeous night and we has a blast acting like kids and setting our marshmallows on fire. I can’t remember the last time I had a s’more and it was delicious.

Saturday morning we woke up early for the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k.  I ran the race last year and was excited to participate again. It was another great experience and we enjoyed the supportive, inspiring feeling that comes from a women-only race. It was a HOT morning and we certainly worked up a sweat during the race. After the race we went back to the hotel for much-needed showers and checked out before post-race refueling brunch at Metropolitan. I ordered a croissant sandwich with egg, cheese and turkey sausage that hit the spot!

To cap off the weekend with more eating, we got carry out pasta from Grano. You choose your noodle and you choose your sauce. Hello drool-worthy spaghetti Bolognese, house salad and bread with olive oil.

 

What was the highlight of your weekend? Have you ever done a staycation?

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Baltimore Running Festival Weekend

Baltimore Running Festival festivities started off on Thursday with a visit to the expo to pick up my race packet and register for that evening’s .05k sponsored by 98 Rock. The .05k was set up at Power Plant Live, complete with bibs, inflatable start and finish lines and a water station half way through. Everyone who participated was super into it which added to the fun and it was a hilarious event! You can see pictures from the race on the 98 Rock’s instagram. Afterward, Burnt Sienna, a cover band based out of Philadelphia, performed and they were fantastic! They played everything from the Killers to Queen to Imagine Dragons to The Weekend.

Burnt Sienna Band

Friday night we went to Brendali for dinner and enjoyed a tasty chicken parm before laying low the rest of the night and catching up on the Mindy Project. Brendali was PACKED and we witnessed many groups turned away if they didn’t have a reservation, we lucked out and beat the rush but definitely remembering to make a res next time.

Saturday was the 5k which was a blast (probably even more fun than the .05k Thursday! :D). I walked over to the start in time to see the marathoners begin which was really cool. It was fun to run a 5k that was part of a larger festival because it certainly makes the race seem more momentous: the expo, the crowd at the start, the medals, the celebration village at the end – all things that you don’t typically see when it’s just a 5k.  The weather was perfect for running and the course was great – slightly uphill for the first half and slightly downhill for the second half – my time was 34:57 (11:15 min/mi) which may not sound impressive but is really good for me (almost 2 minutes faster than the Baltimore Women’s Classic that I ran in June). Adam met me at the finish and we walked to Starbucks for breakfast and cheered on the half marathon runners at their start. It was inspiring to see runners all over our neighborhood and everyone was friendly and full of encouragement.

5k medal post race starbucks

Saturday afternoon was spent in Virginia at a friend’s pig roast. She and her family go all out for this annual event with moon bounces and face painting for kids, a ton of food and drinks and this year they even added a coat drive for charity! It was great to catch up with friends and we had a blast watching all of the kids go crazy running around the backyard.

fall pig roast

The weekend was rounded out with a lazy Sunday – brunch with family, football and grocery shopping.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Baltimore Running Festival – Oct 17

I’ve heard from multiple people lately that registrations are down for the upcoming Baltimore Running Festival, possibly due to the unrest that occurred in the city this spring. The race organizers have made a major push over the last few days and are encouraging runners to share their Bmore pride and tell neighbors and friends about the race. Well, as a very proud Baltimorean and first time runner of the 5k, I wanted to give you a few reasons to sign up for one of the races that are part of this awesome event!

  1. Something for everyone –  the festival includes a marathon, half marathon, team relay (5.9-7.1 miles), 5k and kid’s fun run. And everyone – from marathoners to kiddos – gets an Under Armour shirt and a medal.
  2. Great gear – If your free race t-shirt isn’t enough, you can also order this baller Bmore Pride t-shirt for just $20 and the proceeds go to local charities. I just ordered mine and can’t wait to rock it around town.                        bmore pride baltimore running festival
  3. Support your friends – back in 2009, a friend of mine ran the Baltimore marathon and we had an amazing time cheering her on and looking out for her at various spots on the course. The way the events are timed allows 5k runners to finish and then go back to support the runners of longer races still on the course. I love the camaraderie of race day and cheering on the talented runners! And a girl from my honor’s frat in college actually won the women’s division of the marathon last year which is crazy! She is incredible! running festival
  4. Give to charity – a lot of runners use the race as a way to raise funds for charity. My friend Jamie is running the relay and raising money for the Cool Kids Campaign. Donate money to support Jamie’s team here and learn more about the organization that helps support pediatric cancer patients here. The race also supports a number of other charity groups.              running marathon baltimore
  5. Explore a different side of Baltimore – the city is not defined by the events you saw on TV this past spring. The race brings locals and visitors together for a weekend of fun activities and the marathon course takes you from the beautiful Inner Harbor through the city to the Maryland Zoo (so cool!!) and Druid Hill Park. I’ve run two races in Baltimore, the Baltimore Women’s Classic and the Ravens 5k and I have been super impressed by how supportive everyone was along the course. Running through residential areas meant people out on their stoops waving, smiling and cheering and providing an extra boost of encouragement to runners. I expect runners will be pleasantly surprised by the local support they’ll receive on race day. Other weekend events include a health and fitness expo and a kickoff event on Thursday the 15th at Power Plant Live with live music and drink specials. And if you’re coming into the city for the race and are looking for places to eat you can check out our restaurant recommendations!

 

Baltimore Running Festival

Saturday, October 17

Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay and 5k

Register Now! 

Picking Up the Pace

This past Sunday I woke up early, laced up my sneakers and walked over to Rash Field for the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “runner” but I actually enjoy running/jogging and it’s usually my preferred form of exercise.

anchorman gif

I have participated in a couple of 5k fun runs/walks before, but this was my first time running a real race. My goal was not ambitious – just to finish and try to hit around the 36 min mark (12 minute miles). I met up with a friend who has run quite a few races at varying distances and as a first-timer it was nice to have someone more experienced around to make me feel more at ease. There was a huge crowd of women milling around when we arrived and we had a little trouble finding the starting point, but eventually navigated through the crowds to Key Highway and before long the race began.

The first mile was very slow as the crowd was still bunched up and it wasn’t until we turned off of Key Highway that the path freed up some. The second mile felt great and the third mile felt rough, but the whole experience was pretty amazing! All of the women who were running near me were so nice and supportive and I was impressed with the number of people who were along the course cheering us on and shouting encouragement. After the race, I collected my medal and a fresh rose at the finish line, snacked on some fresh watermelon and half a blueberry bagel and left feeling like I accomplished something before 9am. For those of you keeping score at home, my time at 36:47 which I know is slow, but made me really happy!

Baltimore womens classic 2

Baltimore Womens Classic 3

For others out there who are interested in running in Baltimore, there are a ton of great resources. Charm City Run has brick and mortar running/walking store locations in addition to hosting races, evening workouts and training groups. They are hosting a run to Fort McHenry on Saturday in honor of the 4th of July and encouraging participants to where red, white and blue! I just might have to go to that and I also have my eye on a couple of their upcoming races:

8/16 5k Trail Run at Boordy Vineyards – An evening race followed by wine tasting, cheese and live music? Sign me up! But really, I’m signing up – who is running this with me?

9/9 Ravens 5k – Another evening race around M&T Bank Stadium followed by a post-race tailgate. Sounds like a great way to kickoff football season.

Other upcoming races:

9/5 Night time Color Run – Jeanette and I did a daytime color run in 2013 and had a blast, I can only imagine it’s even crazier at night. If you don’t like getting dirty and covered in colorful powder this is not the race for you. It took a couple days to scrub off all of the color.

10/31 KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5k – A race at Oriole Park and around the Harbor on Halloween – costumes encouraged 🙂

There are also some great Baltimore running blogs. Even though I tap out at about 3 miles and will never be training for longer races, I like reading about running workouts along with diet and health tips:

Running Out of Wine – Lisa lives in Baltimore, has run a ton of races (including 5 marathons) and also loves wine (which is the part of the blog that I relate too).

Run Salt Run – Lauren aka Salt shares about running and mommy-dom in Baltimore.

There are also local running groups if you are looking for some extra motivation and other Baltimore locals to run with:

Federal Hill Runners – These guys meet every Monday at 6:30 at Federal Hill Fitness for a 4.7 mile run. It is free and they welcome people of all speeds though they encourage you to bring a similarly paced buddy if you’re slower than 9 min miles.

Baltimore Road Runners Club – This group has an annual membership fee ($22 for young(ish) peeps), races, training programs and social events like a summer picnic.

If you have other good running resources please share them in the comments! 

Are you a runner? What is your favorite race you have run?