Dance Moms –> 5K

January 20, 2024

Dance Class

I survived!! It was super hard for me (not physically, but the memorization aspect!) and I was reminded that I have no talent in this arena. Ha!! But it was still kind of fun. Most of the ladies there had dance backgrounds and were ROCKING IT. Seriously it was impressive to watch! It felt like many of them were learning to memorize a poem their native tongue, and I was learning one in a totally unfamiliar language. Honestly though, it didn’t matter. I’m still glad I went! I do not plan on signing up to learn the parent dance mostly because I think it would be a bit stressful AND take up time I would rather devote to other things, but maybe another year.

(It also gave me huge appreciation for A jumping into dance this year, not to mention how quickly she memorizes/picks things up compared to me!!)

I was home by 8:30 — thankfully the class did not last until 9 as initially advertised! — and went to bed before 10 because I had a 5K this morning!

5K Race Report

The quick version since I need to take G to piano soon 🙂

I went into this race with lowish expectations because I did not taper at all — I asked my coach and he preferred I just ‘run through’ this one since I’m really targeting a half marathon in a month. I wore AlphaFlys (the original version) and ate a bit at home at ~6 AM (1/2 bagel with pb) and then took a caffeinated GU liquid endurance (these are my preferred gel) 5 min before go time.

I did a ~2 mi warmup. It was 60F and sunny which felt really nice. Then I met up with 2 of my running friends — the super fast friend I’ve mentioned a bunch and another girl who comes to our Mon/Wed runs quite often! This (along with the promise of rare good weather for a local race . . . ) was what motivated me to sign up in the first place.

During the race itself, I wasn’t exactly sure how to pace myself. I thought maybe 7:30 would be about right. My PR was set in 2010 in Durham NC — I ran 22:47 at age 29 (well, almost 30).

The race was small and had a ton of teens, as it was to honor the death of a local teen who died during ROTC training (it was a tragic story, and his family set up this 5K to help fund a scholarship in his name).

We set off and I felt really good! I waved to my fast friend as she went around the turnaround. My watch told me my first mile was 7:21. I was happy with that and didn’t feel super out of breath, so I tried to keep it steady for mile 2. 7:18. By the end of mile 2, I told myself okay — just 2 songs left at this pace. I didn’t let myself look at my watch because I kept promising myself it would be a ‘treat’ when the second song ended (mind games, haha). Mile 3 was 7:15 and by then I was like okay, I feel pretty done now. I could see the finish and did the last part at 7:03 (well, according to my watch). I actually kept going past the finish chute because my watch said 3.07 and I wanted the PR to count for strava and it STILL failed (3.1 on my watch but I guess that still wasn’t long enough to satisfy the app! Ahh well, it was a “2 mi PR” according to my watch anyway.)

I wish I had heart rate data but it didn’t pick up – was on cadence lock the whole time, meaning it was matching to my steps rather than my actual HR. Ahh well. But even though I was working hard, I was smiling at the end and not feeling terrible and that made me happy.

PR (lifetime!) –> 22:30 chip time / 22:36 gun time, 7:16/mi pace

It was a tiiiiiiny race so I got 2nd overall! 1st (shown below) was my awesome fast friend who hopefully will not kill me for posting this. She has been a huge inspiration in my running journey and it was fun to be in a pic with her.

If you look closely at my upper R leg (left in the picture as you look at it), you can still see the bump/swollen area from my accident! But I think it’s just like . . calcified tissue at this point? It doesn’t impact my strength or stride and (SO GRATEFUL) I am running pain free.

Very glad I signed up for this (rather spur-of-the-moment) race! Hopefully more PRs to come! I know I am at an age where I will not see improvement for all that long so I am really trying to enjoy it now.


  • Reply Svetlana Zenkin January 20, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Congratulations! It’s refreshing and inspiring to hear. I just turned 40, and I don’t love all the “it’s all downhill from here” rhetoric that’s often in vogue, especially among women. Small race or not, running a 7:16-min mile avg is pretty awesome!

    • Reply Omdg January 21, 2024 at 7:54 am

      You may not love it but the rhetoric is here for a reason! Says she who injured her shoulder reaching for a glass of water the other day.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2024 at 9:15 am

        I’m sorry about your shoulder 🙁 Injury sucks and can be SO random too. And you’re right we do get more vulnerable to these occurrences as we age. But every path is different and i HATE the “just you wait” trope in general (with aging but with parenting too!). I do 100% know at some point I won’t be able to run as well or stay injury free forever, but I don’t see a reason to assume total devastation at a predefined point.

        • Reply omdg January 21, 2024 at 12:19 pm

          If I recall correctly, you defended Gwinne not terribly long ago when I said I found her “just you wait” trope about having a teenager off putting. Maybe it’s just me? Please don’t answer that. I think I’ll just solve the problem by not reading anymore. I doubt anyone will miss me.

          • Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2024 at 12:40 pm

            I didn’t mean to defend or not defend anyone. And I would miss you. Even though you didn’t request a reply, want you to know that. That said , it’s always a reader’s choice to decide what to read or where to comment. I do respect that.

  • Reply Elisabeth January 20, 2024 at 3:22 pm

    Congratulations, Sara! Awesome job, especially post injury.

  • Reply JGold January 20, 2024 at 3:29 pm


  • Reply Elaine Sanderson January 20, 2024 at 4:36 pm

    Amazing effort! Congratulations!

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns January 20, 2024 at 5:19 pm

    Congrats! You are so fast!! And I can see the injury area but I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t zoomed in on my phone!

  • Reply Claire January 20, 2024 at 7:03 pm

    Way to go!

  • Reply Chelsea January 20, 2024 at 8:38 pm

    Woohoo! Awesome job!

  • Reply coco January 20, 2024 at 10:04 pm

    congratulations for the outstanding performance!!!!! how inspiring to see that we can run faster even older!!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 21, 2024 at 7:42 am

      thank you!! I think the true will be the same for you. I think if one can stay injury free during the ‘higher volume’ approach it really does have some amazing physiological effects.

  • Reply Molly January 21, 2024 at 8:43 am

    I’m so happy for you! Sounds like a great race and so fun to medal with friends!

  • Reply Elisabeth January 21, 2024 at 6:11 pm

    Woo hoo. Go Sarah. This is awesome <3

  • Reply Kristie January 21, 2024 at 10:04 pm

    What an awesome performance! So rewarding to see things come together on race day, even a spur-of -the-moment one. Wishing you a month of health and good training as you go into your half!

    I ran the 3M half marathon in Austin today and was reminded yet again of how much I love this sport, for the friends and the challenges and the reminder that we can do hard things.

  • Reply Irene January 22, 2024 at 2:40 pm

    Wow I’m a few days behind on my blog reading but CONGRATS!!! So cool to see you enjoying this success as you ramp up your running. I’m very happy for you!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 22, 2024 at 3:05 pm

      thank you!!

  • Reply Elissa February 13, 2024 at 3:19 pm

    Congrats on your race and PR!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.