I'd like to pat myself on the back for posting this within the week of finishing the race (pat, pat). Unlike last year, when I waited six weeks or something.
I don't think I had any preconceived notions of how this race would go when I began, other than the vague hope that I would beat the time from my first year (1:43:48). I knew there was no way I'd beat last year's time (1:35:34) because last year, I did speed training. This year, I knew there was no way I would have the time or motivation to speed train since I've been spending two hours a day in the car bonding with NPR as I commute. (Good for knowledge of world news and playing along with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, bad for physical fitness). So I went back to the beginner training plan and added spinning classes into my crosstraining routine. I'd heard from a few people that spinning would really help me get faster, so I thought it might be the lazy runner's solution to getting faster without actually speed training. A long shot, but maybe worth the sore bum?
The beginning of the day was somewhat stressful. We decided to leave for the race later than we had in previous years (when I arrived three hours early and sat around worrying about whether I should get in line for the porta potties again). That, combined with closed parking lots thanks to the Sixers being in the playoffs, and we were stuck in traffic before we even got into the city.
Oh hi, Navy Yard. So close, yet so far away. We finally made it close-ish to the train station and I jumped out of the car as we sat in the traffic jam and headed down to Septa with the rest of the herd. The train was packed like a cattle car and slow moving, to boot. I sat there, trying not to be nervous, eating a Honey Stinger Waffle, and downing three preventative Advils. When the train finally arrived in North Philly, there wasn't really time to warm up, so I just got in my corral and tried not to bump into anyone as I stretched. It certainly could have been worse, but it was not my ideal race morning start.
I was only in my corral for about ten minutes when the gun went off. For the first mile, I made a concerted attempt to not go crazy with my pace. I only have a bobo Timex, so judging off that, I was going about 9:45. Not bad, ideally I'd like to be a bit faster, but it was ok. I felt good, and I was reminded how much I love running through Philly. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: watching little old ladies in their bathrobes and slippers come out to cheer you on is just a lot of fun. High-fiving little kids and Temple students as you run and feel the camaraderie of the runners—there's not much else like this. I imagine if I'd ever played sports when I was a kid and won a game or something, this is what it would have felt like. Unfortunately, I only ever won second place in the science fair and there was much less glory to that victory.
I saw my sister, her fiancee, and their dog around mile 5 and stopped for a quick picture, high fives, and an obligatory "What the hell," because she was supposed to be running with me and had to cancel because of a migraine. The miles went by really fast until about mile 7, which felt sluggish. I ate some energy chews at mile 5, and they must have kicked in around mile 8, because everything picked back up and I felt fine. I felt like I sprinted for the last mile or so. I couldn't believe how fast the race seemed to fly by, but it felt really good. Maybe that's where the spinning came in handy—with increasing my endurance for intense activity? Also, if you ever want to develop quadriceps like the Hulk, I'd recommend spinning and running. I'm pretty sure my thighs are bigger than my husband's (that sounds more freaky than it actually is).
I ran right by the Nacy Destroyers again without noticing them. I guess seeing them once was enough? I also guess this is really a testament to my running-focus-blinders. When I finally crossed the finish line, I ran into a wall of what seemed like the entirety of the 40,000 people running the race. With no place to cool down, I accepted my fate of sore as hell legs, got my medal, got my water, and most importantly, got my soft pretzel (nom). With a time of 1:40:22, I did beat my first year time. Definitely not as awesome as last year's PR, but I'm still happy with it.
Another year, another Broad Street. As ambivalent as I was about training this year, I'm really glad I did. I'm going to try to keep my training going through at least the fall this year. I know the only way to do that is to keep signing up for races. Otherwise, waking up at the crack of dawn to run in the summer heat—yeah—it would not happen without the threat of missing a training run. I've signed up for a 5K next month and I'm incorporating speed training back into my workouts, so we'll see how much it helps!