Let's see, we're only about seven weeks past when I ran the 2011 Broad Street Race. Oh well, better late than never, right?
I thought that I was going to breeze through this run like the swift winds of the, er, insert name of some windy part of the world here. All of my training runs had gone smoothly, and I had even run more than ten miles on one of them. Plus, now that I had one Broad Street and a half marathon under my belt, I thought I was in pretty good shape. I had finally bought some Gu and tried it out before my last training run (not bad, I thought, but then I also ate it before I ran). The only thing that worried me was that I didn't get all of my training runs in during the last week—but I figured that a few missed miles here and there wouldn't break me.
The reason I missed those runs was because at the time, I was working at the new job in Harrisburg, but still living in Wilmington. (For those of you not familiar with the geography, Harrisburg is two hours from Wilmington). So I was spending four hours a day in my car with Teri Gross and Fresh Air. (Yay Fresh Air! Boo long commute!) I didn't really think it was that big of a deal, though.
Cut to race day, and my sister and I are looking as pasty white Irish as ever (not quite ready for this first shot)
OK, this time we were both ready with the signature Rado thumbs up:
As we sat in the field warming up and trying not to inhale the stench of the porta-porties that had been overused by 30,000 nervous runners, I downed some Gu and some water and stretched. The race began and I got to high five Mayor Nutter (which was pretty awesome). I swiftly passed a lot of people by running on the median of Broad Street, which can be dangerous if you aren't paying attention. Luckily, I managed to not fall on my face.
This year, I had a fancy high-tech (har har) Ironman watch from Target so I knew roughly what my pace per mile was. I also planned out which water stops I would make so that I wasn't stopping at every single one (which I'm pretty sure was what happened last year). I was doing pretty well until I hit about mile 5, when I slowed down and started feeling cumbersome. "No problem!" I thought to myself. "I'll just pull out this trusty Gu and suddenly I will feel like Popeye after downing spinach." Um, no. Note to self: next time you want to change up your routine, try it in training. I could not suck down that Gu while I was running if my life had depended on it. It made my mouth dry and my teeth felt fuzzy from all of the sugar (vanilla flavoring, I'm looking at you). To me, there are few things worse than running in discomfort that calls attention to how much longer you have to run. In this case it was "How much longer until I can down some water and get this fake vanilla taste outta my mouth?" Which wasn't for another mile or so.
When I hit mile 9, I was feeling better and had gotten some water. At that point, I thought to myself "Yeah, self! You're close to the finish! Now is the time to rally and improve your time!" Except that the last mile of a ten mile race is not really when you should try and sprint, because that mile seems to take forever. I did try, but then I slowed down a bit to look at the Navy Destroyers that we ran by:
I probably mentioned this before, but last year I did not even notice that I ran by these things. I didn't even know they were there (despite the fact that the finish is always in the Navy Yard). It wasn't until my coworker, who also ran it, mentioned how cool it was to run by these huge ships. ("Ships? There were ships? In the Navy Yard?") So I was down to about the last quarter of a mile and Salt N Pepa's "Push It" was playing on my Shuffle. "Perfect! Time to sprint! Holy...what the... DAMN, a quarter mile is a long way to sprint! Oh crap, I'm gonna puke...slow down... no I'm not...ok, finish line...oh look, photographers, try not to look dead... yes, throw your arms up like Nixon, that will be funny... AHHHH, Finished!"
And straight into the refreshment tent. Thank you very much, Philly soft pretzels:
Overall, it was a tough run—tougher than I expected it to be. Whether that was from commuting and being tired, I'm not sure. It could have been from overestimating my abilities. I was happy that I finished with a time of 1:34:50, which was 9 minutes better than last year. I guess you could call it a PR (I still feel like too much of a fake runner to throw those terms around).
Yes, making goofy faces in front of a camera is a family trait.
So, what's next? Now that we've moved to Lancaster, I still have a small commute. I haven't yet tried to find a good place to run outside, though I am sure there must be some good places nearby. I've mostly been dreadmilling it for the last month or so, which is pretty boring, but it does get the job done in a pinch. I think that what I've realized is that I need races set on my calendar to train for—otherwise I'm perfectly happy to hop on the elliptical machine at the gym with the AC blasting. I always have a hard time motivating myself to run once I have gotten out of a rhythm, but once I get back into it, I remember why I do it. I think my next step is finding some shorter local races to train for. I've never done anything less than ten miles, so races less than that seem like they should be a cakewalk. (Look where that got me this time!)
All images (except the last three) are from the Independence Blue Cross Flickr set