Broad Street is always a very fast course - point to point with essentially no turns, and net downhill. In years past, it's always been just a bit too warm and sticky for my tastes - not horrible, but not the type of weather I love. But this year was different. Starting temps in the upper 40s, and dry. Woo. I was excited.
And, my fitness felt like it had really been coming together the last week or so. I figured this was as good a chance as any to run a good 10 mile time, so I made sure to focus on rest in the week before - both quality sleep and really backing off on physical activity. Everything to set myself up for a good day.
But again, things don't always work out as you plan. I felt good on the warm-up and confident and relaxed on the starting line. But once the race started, I wasn't able to find a relaxed groove. I just felt stiff and my stride felt off, and by mile 3 I was starting to hate life. I spent the balance of the race working my tail off to stay relaxed and focused and positive (which I succeeded in).
I sucked down a gel just after the third mile, hoping that would perk me up. I'm not sure if it was the gel or something else, but I felt a bit better about a mile later. But I just never felt great - always stuck in a lower gear.
Looking at my splits later, my first mile was a bit on the fast side (I usually pace my races with a very slow start). But...the race also starts on a downhill, so this mile wasn't that bad. And I still negative split the race (33:13/32:45), so it's not like I went out too fast and blew up.
I think that it's as simple as this - we all have those wonderful days where your body feels like a fantastic machine working seamlessly, and the running seems effortless. We also all have days that are the opposite, where you can't quite seem to shift into gear. Sometimes the latter happens on race day. And that's really frustrating (especially when you've tapered and gotten a hotel and driven up there, etc, etc). But there's nothing to do except to run the best race you can that day. Which I did. I just wish my best race had been a bit better today.
Mile 1: 6:33
Mile 2: 6:36
Mile 3: 6:44
Mile 4: 6:44
Mile 5: 6:36
Mile 6: 6:42
Mile 7: 6:37
Mile 8: 6:27
Mile 9: 6:35
Mile 10: 6:24
- Weather was fantastic - temps in upper 40s to low 50s and dry. Wind was gusting from different directions, but I think we had a tailwind for a good deal of it.
- Stayed at the Holiday Inn Stadium (somewhat near the finish line). Though I normally wouldn't call a 1.5 mile walk "convenient", it was a lot easier to get back to the hotel then our experience in other years. One downside was the lack of restaurants in the area. We ended up eating at a South Philadelphia Chilis that served one of the worst steaks I think I've ever had.
- Trick to portapotties for this race - don't wait forever in line for one near the start; instead jog down the race course half a mile - quite a few on course with little lines.