I'm actually a bit ambivalent about the time (I concede that "a bit ambivalent" is duplicative). I ran 65:31 at Cherry Blossom last month, and Broad Street is a faster course, so I had some hopes of beating that time by a bit. On the other hand, I can honestly say that I ran the best race I had in me today, both mentally and physically..you really can't be too upset with that. And it's REALLY cool to be in a place in my running where I feel like 65:36 is a meh time.
Brian and I headed up to Philly on Saturday, and the first part of the weekend was a lot of fun. The trip up was uneventful (except for the highlight of a stop at Iron Hill Brewery in Delaware so I could carb-load on sweet potato fries...it's become a Philly race tradition for us). I had seen some horror stories on Facebook about the lines at the expo, but when we got there at about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon, it wasn't bad at all. I was in and out in 35 minutes, including a bit of obligatory shopping (Kinvara 2s on closeout for $50!). Then to the hotel, where we ended up with a great view of City Hall.
Rested for a few hours, and then we ventured out to Jersey for a catch-up dinner with our friends Sarah and Chris from the DC area, who were also in the area for Dracula's Ball. Pretty sad that we find it easier to get together with friends when we're all out of town together, but I was grateful for the opportunity. And dinner was great - I didn't want to say goodbye, but I had to get my sleep.
Getting up to the race start on Sunday was also pretty easy -- grabbed a cab around 7:00am, and was there by 7:15. As an aside, I've become a big fan of cabbing to the start of races, if it's a reasonable option. I invest a lot of time and effort in my running and racing, and the extra $15 I spent this morning to get to the start in a timely and relaxed way was a very wise investment, IMHO.
Warmed up by jogging around 2 miles, then headed over to the corral (I remembered last year they closed them really early). They were a bit more relaxed this year, so I stepped out again to do some drills before getting back in. Hung out for a bit, including getting to say hi to Melody. I felt the urge to whine about the weather (a bit hot and humid for my taste, reminiscent of what we had at the RNR half), but restrained myself for two reasons. 1) I couldn't control the weather, but I could control my attitude (and no whining is a big part of that), and 2) Melody had just run a kick ass race at Boston in ridiculous conditions -- no way I could whine to her with a straight face.
[and of course, she ran a really awesome race here as well]
Then we were off. I was definitely uncomfortable, with my breathing tight, but I just focused on relaxing and enjoying the course (including doing a few high-fives of kids -- more for myself than for them). And that was what I did for the whole race. Just maintain the correct effort level, and RELAX anytime I started to feel like I couldn't get enough air. A few times, I'd spot someone and want to chase them down, but resisted the urge. And as we got closer to the end of the race, I'd feel that same urge to push REALLY hard, but I just recalibrated and relaxed, reminding myself that the finish line would still be there for a few hours.
The mental focus issue was particularly challenging during the last mile, and especially when I could see the finish line. But I resisted the urge to charge at the finish line, and instead just focused on my rhythm, not looking at the clock until the very end. And once again, in trying really hard to relax and NOT kick, I kicked pretty hard, apparently.
Mile 1: 6:40
Mile 2: 6:40
Mile 3: 6:36
Mile 4: 6:40
Mile 5: 6:30
Mile 6: 6:41
Mile 7: 6:31
Mile 8: 6:25
Mile 9: 6:39 (I think mile marker 8 was slightly off - the Garmin shows 8 as short and 9 as long)
Mile 10: 6:16
Total time was 65:36 (6:34 pace).
Then...after the race was another adventure. Poor Brian left our hotel (4.5 miles from the start) at 8:15 am. Due to horrendous management by both SEPTA and the race management, it took Brian a ridiculous amount of time to take the subway to the nearest stop, about a mile from the finish line. And then there were NO shuttles from subway to the finish line (there were tons last year). About the time I finished, he gave up on waiting for a shuttle and walked to our pre-arranged meeting place, meeting me about 30 minutes post finish.
And then, of course, we just turned around and headed back. And it took us another 90+ minutes to get back to our hotel (again, just 4.5 miles -- we could have walked faster). It left a sour taste. Ah well.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the race. It's not what I wanted to run here (my heart sank a bit when I saw 65:xx on the finish timer), but it was the best race I had in me today, and that's something to be proud of. And, as was the case with RnR Half, a lesson to me that though I'm happiest racing in frigid conditions where I can kick ass, I can perform decently when the conditions aren't quite what I like, and hold my own against hot weather runners. Again, it's all about managing one's attitude and staying focused. And I did that really well today.
- Supposedly I was 67th female overall -- I'm disappointed by this, as I was hoping to crack the top 50 and get myself guaranteed entry for next year. But, a) after they correct bib-swappers, maybe the results will change and b) I can just plan on running faster at Army in the fall.
- Starting temp was 62, with dp in mid 50s. Not horrible by any means. I ran with a handheld bottle (pink, sigh) and though I didn't drink, I dowsed myself overhead with water regularly. Definitely helped.
- I was damn woozy at the end, and it took me about 20 minutes to catch my breath (seriously). Yup, gave it my all.
- 2 puffs of inhaler an hour before, and another 2 puffs 20 minutes before.
- I've got a year to figure out the finish line logistics for next year, to avoid a repeat of this year's issues.