Survived! 5K report

January 21, 2023

Chip time: 25:48 – this would be an 8:18/mi pace BUT honestly I think the course was a tiny bit short (my Apple Watch has the stats below, and it has been pretty accurate on other races + splits!).

I won my age group which says more about the race (not very big) than it does about me, but it was still fun!

yes my heart rate gets higher than anyone suggests that it should at my age . . . not sure what — if anything — that means

On the “helping me” side –> I wore my super shoes (Nike alphafly)! I definitely feel like they helped. And they were more comfortable than they were when I first tried them.

On the “not helping” side –> it felt hot by the end (70F sunny + humid). (Though this was much better than the September 5K I ran.)

On the “not helping” side –> coming back from illness. However, I think I feel pretty recovered at this point.

According to Jack Daniels Running Formula (a book my husband is obsessed with and continually encourages me to delve into), this puts my “VDOT” — his measure of fitness/performance level — closest to 37. My prior 5K would have put me at 34 (though it was REALLY hot, so probably underestimate). I would love to get my VDOT closer to 40 by the end of the calendar year. If I can maintain it there and race a marathon well at age 45 (omg this is ~2.5 yrs away), I could qualify for Boston*. And that would be so, so cool.

I am SOOOO far away from this right now, but it also doesn’t seem so out of the realm that it’s impossible.

And I think I will enjoy trying regardless of the outcome (well, as long as I don’t get injured. Because I hope I still have a couple of decades of running left!)

*Qualifying time for age 45-49 women is a 3:50 and it based on age at time of the race


  • Reply Kamala January 21, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Hearty congratulations Sarah 🎊 👏 very happy for you ☺

  • Reply Amy O January 21, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Congrats! And if you ever run Boston, I’ll have to come cheer you on. Just don’t tell all my local friends who’ve run it that I never went to see—I’m a local who’s never been to the marathon before. 🤣

  • Reply Ali January 21, 2023 at 11:21 am

    What an awesome time! Congrats!!

    Fwiw, my Apple Watch has issues with distance and I have to reset once a year or so to factory settings, that resolves the issue).

  • Reply Paige January 21, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Congratulations! That’s an amazing time! I’m a newish runner and I’m wondering if you have any resources/tips on how to run faster? Thanks!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 11:31 am

      I like the formula of one tempo, one speed work, and one long run a week plus some easy runs. But i am no expert. I do recommend the Runners Connect training programs for a lower cost resource! Marathon training academy has lots it info and I love running podcasts that focus on training like rambling runner, runners connect, the planter runner, and another mother runner.

    • Reply Canuck January 21, 2023 at 1:26 pm

      If you’re getting started the Nike Run Club has been super helpful for me and I love having a coach’s voice in my ear encouraging me! It pushes me to try hard but also really encourages appropriate rest and pacing to keep it sustainable! Happy running!

    • Reply KT January 22, 2023 at 4:00 pm

      This is perhaps weird, but I find it reassuring that your HR data for this type of race is similar to mine! My husband (whose HR is crazy low) cannot believe mine gets that high. No ill effects and I train regularly. I’m 5’2” and ~50kg and told him I’m basically a mouse!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 22, 2023 at 4:10 pm

        Ha! Well we are definitely similar sized, but my ~6′ husband raced today and his HR went to the mid 180s too, so I guess it can happen to tall people too (and he is 6 yrs older, too).

        I bet you are like me and have a low resting HR (me = usually between 45-50).
        Today I wasn’t even going remotely fast and it was in the 170s when I started overheating.

  • Reply istudymemory January 21, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Congratulations! What a great race!

  • Reply Amy January 21, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    Awesome job! Congratulations! Who’s old and slow now 😂😂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 12:43 pm

      Lol still me … it’s all relative right??

  • Reply Amanda January 21, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    This is awesome! Congrats!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns January 21, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    I’d say you thrived instead of survived! Way to go, especially on the tail of being sick with nasty viruses! You should be super proud of yourself!!

  • Reply Megan January 21, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    This is a great goal! And I can offer n=1 of success story that makes me think you can do it. I ran a 3:48 marathon to qualify for Boston at age 45. It was a big stretch for me – previous and only marathon was 4:27. I spent a couple of years between those marathons getting faster (5ks and half marathons) and stronger (one ultra). FWIW, I used Run Less Run Faster as my training plan because I tend to be injury-prone.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 2:16 pm

      Amazing Megan! I’ve run a 3:48 marathon … but i was 29!!!!! So cool that you were able to ramp things up that much at a similar age!

  • Reply Elisabeth January 21, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Great job, Sarah. I hope this is the boost of confidence you need after the tough run earlier this week.
    My sister (in the 45-49 category) recently qualified for her first Boston marathon! I don’t have any distance running aspirations of my own, but it is thrilling to know people running in these big races!

  • Reply Claire January 21, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    Way to go, Sarah! I bet that you can qualify for Boston in a few years!

  • Reply coco January 21, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    huge congrats! that is awesome time!!! and I’m with you about qualifying for Boston for the next age group, that’s my plan too. do one marathon per year until 45 to qualify for Boston, ideally one of the 6 majors, then I might get the majors medal. again, just like you, I’m not obsessed about getting there, but enjoying more the process going there. 🙂

  • Reply Omdg January 21, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Great goal! You’re making me want to quit my job so I can pursue my athletic dreams. Screw research, lol. 😉

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 6:31 pm

      You could take a part time clinical job and dominate as a swimmer or triathlete I bet! If you wanted to 🙂

      • Reply Omdg January 21, 2023 at 6:56 pm

        Haha don’t tempt me. I just started swimming again and I love it so much!

  • Reply Lori C January 21, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    Way to go!! Placing in your AG is a great accomplishment! Qualifying for Boston is a fun goal and will keep you pursuing running for sure. I’ve run it and it’s an enjoyable course (I don’t think it’s as hard as people say but I have the benefit of living locally so I trained on the course). I ran it in 2012 in the record heat (85 I think??) and PRed, however that was 10+ years ago (?!?!) I am happy you have found your running groove again. I’m not there yet but I know I’ll eventually get back to it.

    • Reply Lori C January 21, 2023 at 6:21 pm

      I should clarify I did NOT qualify but will I likely ever! Lol. I’m content being slow.

  • Reply Jenn N January 21, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Wow amazing!!

  • Reply Chelsea January 21, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Remember for Boston that it’s your age *one the day of the Boston Marathon race day* not the race where you qualified, so you can aim to qualify when you are still 44.

    Interesting about the VDOT. I use a training program called VDOT and it estimates that measure, but I thought it was their proprietary take on VO2-max. I didn’t realize it was a real thing. Mine is about 43, which is humblingly “level 4” and at the 65th percentile for women my age who use that site, lol.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 8:49 pm

      My may birthday is not advantageous unless you can qualify over a year in advance!

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2023 at 10:26 pm

        (Just read that you can qualify up to 19 months in advance! Ok, good to know.)

        • Reply Chelsea January 23, 2023 at 7:30 am

          So the way I think it would work is:

          You turn 44 in May 2024. Registration for Boston 2025 will happen in September 2024. You BQ sometime in fall/winer 2024 (*after* September 2024) which will qualify you to register for Boston *2026*. You turn 45 in May 2025, you register for Boston in September 2025, you *run* Boston in April 2026. 🙂

          • Sarah Hart-Unger January 23, 2023 at 8:43 am

            YESSS. Love it. Except I feel like maybe a spring 2025 race? Bc fall marathon means summer training and … well, we will see!

  • Reply Anna January 22, 2023 at 7:03 am

    Congratulations! This is an inspiring story 🙂

  • Reply Doris January 22, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Very very nice! Congrats and very impressive! You prefer the Apple Watch over the Garmin now? I’m a long term Garmin user and really want to get the AW to put my phone down more, but the running capabilities have me hesitating.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 22, 2023 at 11:57 am

      I think it’s good enough for my purposes! I think the distances are accurate and you can now program custom workouts (repeats etc) in the workout app. If it were JUST for running i’d probably use garmin but I love having just one device.

  • Reply Elissa January 26, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    I love that you are thinking of something 2.5 years away. It really does inspire and encourage me.

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