Sunday, September 8, 2013

NFL Back to Football Run Race Recap & Review

This past Wednesday, the NFL sponsored a 5k race in Baltimore, MD as part of their NFL Back to Football Run Series. This was the first one in Baltimore (home of the 2012 Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens!) and I was thrilled to be a part of it. The race boasted a finish on the 50 yard line, an Under Armour tech shirt, and a medal. Not too bad for $45. Running and the Ravens are basically my favorite hobbies/passions/obsessions, so this was pretty much heaven.

My friend Kelly, her dad, and her friend Lois and I met at Kelly's house and headed down to the stadium around 5:15 pm. They had warned us that certain streets would be closed and that you could only get to the stadium/start line from certain places. Well, there was so much traffic that we ended up parking in a nearby neighborhood and walking to the stadium. There was parking at the stadium but we just couldn't get there in time for a 7 pm start.

Once there, we got a few pictures and then tried to find some water- it was kind of hot and it was the end of the day. All the water coolers were empty and there were no cups. Oh well.

Kelly and me.

Starting line.

Me, Lois, and Kelly with Poe!

We lined up in "corrals" based on pace/finishing time. We all lined up together and agreed on a meeting spot at the end of the race- the 20 yard line on the field. Kelly was hoping for an under 30 finish, I was hoping for a nice and easy race after running 19.3 miles a few days before, Lois was running her first 5k so she'd get a PR either way, and Kelly's dad, Hank, was hoping to finish upright and strong :-)

Corral signs.

I ran into my beautiful running friend, Morgan!

Behind us- the corrals went up to an hour finishing time.

We are ready for this race!

There were awesome flames that shot up on both sides of the starting line.

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, was there to count us down- that was pretty neat. There were also former Ravens players there signing autographs and smiling for pictures. After a few minutes wait- about 5 minutes between each corral- we were off! We started running away from the stadium on a downhill- awesome :-) I did what I usually do in the first few minutes of a race- take it slow, figure out how I'm feeling, and determine what kind of a pace I'd like to keep. I ran the first 3 minutes and then walked for a minute and snapped some pictures. 

Running to catch the light rail! Just kidding :-P

Twilight runs are so beautiful, especially when surrounded by Ravens fans!

Another overpass...

Passing the stadium- probably my favorite picture of the race.

We ran through the streets of Baltimore, kind of circling the stadium. Since running 1:1's at the Boordy 5k, I decided to try that out again here. It was working beautifully. I was averaging somewhere between 10:30- 11:30 pace which is fantastic for me. The best part? I didn't even feel like I was working super hard to be there. This pace felt comfortable for me; something I wouldn't have been able to say a few years ago when I started running.

Before I knew it, we were running down a steep embankment and into the underbelly of the stadium. This part of the race- running through the tunnel and onto the field- was simply amazing. Running out of the same tunnel where your favorite team enters every Sunday? Unbelievable and awesome.

Coming back towards the stadium.

Random, decorated gate on our way to the tunnel.

Awesome. Just awesome.

Sorry for the blur- I was running and trying to take pics!

It was at this point in the race that I realized I was very close to breaking my newest 5k PR just set two weeks ago (33:55). I turned on whatever I had left, ran around that field as fast as I could, and finished strong. Final time: 34:20. I'll take it. Only 25 seconds off from a new PR. And after 19.3 miles of races and hours of Disney parks:-) 

Finished in my favorite place in the world!

The finish line!

Once finished, I found Lois (we ended up finishing at the same time) and we looked for Kelly. Race officials were pushing us off the field. You literally finished and then they were having everyone exit the field to wait in the stands. Kelly texted and we made our way up to find her- she has a wonderful new PR at 28:47! I am so proud of her!

Then we cheered Hank on while he finished. We made our way up to the free beer line- which was insane. We passed on the beer, stopped to take a quick pic with the Lombardi trophy, and then headed back to the car.

Lomardi- so cool.
My thoughts on this race- overall, not bad. It was a decent course, great volunteers, and you get to finish on the 50 yard line of an NFL stadium. I did not like having to leave the field so quickly, the ridiculously long line for beer, or the fact that they ran out of water before the race started. But I would definitely do it again.

My personal thoughts on this race- I'm pretty damn proud of myself for this one. I ran a great pace after a crazy amount of miles a few days prior. And I did it in a tutu! I also wore my new compression socks to this race. I had bought them about a month ago for recovery and I liked them so much, I decided to run in them. It was pretty cool. I'll probably wear them again, especially in cooler weather. Overall, I didn't have much pain or soreness in my legs. Just some slight pain in my foot and a little knee pain.

The Stats:

The course, my split times, and elevation/pace. I love Map My Run.

Love making new running friends and memories :-)


  1. Great post Sarah! It was great seeing you at the start! I agree that this race was a lot of fun and certainly a great way to kick off the NFL season. My only drawback was the fact that we ended on the sideline of the 50 yard line. The picture they used to advertise this event had the finish line ON the 50 yard line, not next to it. I was hoping for finishing literally ON the field, but I suppose next to it was good enough :)

    Happy Running!

  2. Ditto! I had hoped for more on-field time! Can't wait to see you at the Bmore 1/2 in just a few weeks :-)