On Sunday I ran my first race of any substance since June 30th. I have done two races between June and now, a mile track race in August (coming back from plantar fasciitis) and the half marathon two weeks ago. Before Sunday, however, I hadn’t towed a starting line with the intentions of going as fast as my body would allow since June. Back to back injuries plagued my running so my racing went to zero (the joke is: I start working at a running store and get all the injuries…). It was also the first race that I am no longer running for Oiselle so that added another layer of “what should I wear?”.
Anyways I was nervous, excited and not really knowing what to expect. I had many goals for the race (in order):
Most importantly I needed to make it to the start in downtown Philadelphia without getting lost.
To start and finish the race uninjured.
My reach goal was to run around a 7 minute pace (I really had no idea if that was possible). When I ran the half, I was able to run an 8 minute conversational pace so I knew I would probably be disappointed if I couldn’t at least do that.
Past those goals I had no idea.
Anyways fast forward to the race…I got there without any issue (surprisingly since it was in downtown Philly). I signed up and sat in my car for about half an hour (since I was so early). The start of the race was absolutely freezing. I had originally wanted to race in arm warmers and a tank but ended up putting a long sleeve over that! After doing a 1.5 mile warmup, I headed to the start ready to go. After five minutes of standing around, we were off.
The first mile seemed to take forever. The first mile of the first race I’ve “raced” in quite some time. I was ready to call it quits after mile 1. I ran the first mile alarmingly fast and finished in 6:41. There was a brief thought of what if I magically strung a bunch of those along and ran a 6:41 average pace…but (lolololololX10 more lolz) that was quickly shattered by wind and by lack of training.
By mile 2 I found myself alone. It was a lonely and cold mile but I enjoyed seeing a part of Philly I had not before (6:55). We had pretty much all spread out.
By mile 3 I found myself battling with another female. I don’t know what place we were in but we played the leap frog game the rest of the race (6:58). She would pass me, I would pass her, back and forth, back and forth. It gave me motivation to keep trucking along though.
During miles 4-5, we went over a bridge. I’m not sure what bridge but it was really windy and I was really tired. They both tied as the slowest miles (7:15). I don’t remember much else other than it was cold, my legs hurt and my breathing was hard.
Around mile 6 I tried to regroup and dig into the energy I didn’t have. It was mentally easier for me to think the race was almost over since we were going back the way we came. I started to focus on finishing (7:07). It was a loop course so by this point we were going in the opposite direction.
It was around mile 7 with several leap frogs moves I just gunned it. I knew I would either regret that or not. Life is full of risks I guess….the wind was especially nasty at that mile and we were along side the water again. (7:00)
The final mile was just holding on for dear life. I stared at my garmin close to every quarter mile wishing the race was over. I reached mile 8 and could see the course turn towards the finish. (6:58)
I crossed the finish line in 59:05 (7:01 average pace). I reached my goal of an injury free race as well as my reach goal of 7 min pace so I am pleased. I ended up 4th female overall, 1st in my age group and 19th person. I was pleased but of course have the hunger to be back to peak shape (whatever that means).
Major take aways:
I ran well. I didn’t feel like I was in overdrive but I felt like I was working hard.
It was a later start time than I like (10am) and I found myself pretty hungry around midway through the race and after.
I’m happy with this race and I know it’s beginning my long journey to get back into racing shape.
I need to find someone to follow me around and take photos when there are no race photographers…
Questions for you:
What is the windiest race you have ever done?
This was rather windy and Shamrock half marathon has been windy a few times too.
What are some of the most unique race start times you’ve had?
I’e had college cross country races starting at 2pm and I have done Beat the Ball 5k which starts at 11:35 on New Year’s Eve!
This is awesome Hollie! You are back! “peak shape” is around the corner, I’m sure 🙂
Nice work!! You’re well on your way to a speedy Spring. Windy cold races are my least favorite race day conditions. I’ll take a hot race over that any day. Wish I could have seen which race outfit you ended up choosing.
Nice job- that’s an awesome fast race! A big congrats to you 🙂
Wind is tough for me, we get a lot of it around here since many races are right on the coast. The windiest I have ever seen was at the Smuttynose marathon in October of ’13- just incredible wind! Somehow, it ended up being a blessing as it basically pushed us for about 8 miles of the course. Fun!
Sometimes I think these races before you are back at peak firm are the most important – they show you where you are and help motivate you to get there! And these paces are still amazing! Congrats on a great race!
It shows the progression and that hard work is not wasted!
Good job at meeting ‘Goal #1’ – start and finish injury-free!
The oddest time for me? Well, Corning’s Red Baron Half Marathon (1st weekend in November) starts at 1:30 to help with temperature, and my 5K this weekend started at 4PM.
My high school xc races started anywhere from 10:00 am -6:30 pm. I’ve ran road races starting between 6:00 am -7:00 pm. I really don’t like racing in the evenings, I prefer starting between 6:00-8:00 am.
Well done for getting back there! Our races ALWAYS start either late morning or lunch time! It’s good in that you are awake for it, but bad because it takes up the entire day 🙁
Congratulations on getting to the race in Philly, meeting your pace goal and also placing in your age group :). You’re doing a great job recovering so far.
My windiest was pacing the Charleston half marathon last year. It is hard to race in the wind, but I was the 2:30 pacer so I had to run that pace and deal with the wind longer, which in a way was harder than if I was running for myself and could just finish.
I’d love to do a race with a fun start time! We have a lot of Thursday evening ones here in the summer.
The area where I live is notorious for windy races, but 2013 was the absolute worst. I was in decent shape, but the wind ruined all of the half marathons I ran that year. Typically, this year while I’ve been injured I had perfect, calm conditions for all my half marathons but I couldn’t take advantage of them. Typical!
You did so well! I think you’re truly making a comeback and this race is just the start of fantastic things to come for you in 2015 😀
Great job! I’m sure you’ll be back in “peak” shape in no time!
All good and positive takeaways–nice! My wave for tri Nationals started after 10a this year. Like you wrote, that’s a late start, and it makes figuring out what to eat tough. (Should I eat the banana an hour before or just wait and do a gel?)
The windiest race I have ever run was hands down the San Francisco Marathon – my visor blew off my head and into SF Bay at mile 7 on the Golden Gate Bridge! It was before the sun even came out/ the fog lifted, so it didn’t even get to be useful before it was swimming.
Cold and windy races are the worst. I’ll take 100% humidity ANY day.
Boom! Look at you…that’s snapping back really well, Hollie! I think it would take me a full year to what you have done in a couple of months. Good for you.
I know just that bridge, too, and that course in general. I love it there.
Wow, good job! That’s a great first race! Even though you sounded pretty miserable running almost the whole thing, haha. But you MADE IT! Yay!
Nice work – you’re definitely on the road to getting back into your peak. Wind sucks though – you’re trying so hard but it just works against you.
It is extremely hard to pace when you haven’t raced in awhile. You did a great job, and i think this a sign of even better things to come (just take it slow, ok?)
Windy races- anything at the oceanfront, without fail. It can be brutal. Also, the Patrick Henry half marathon I ran in a hurricane a few years ago.
I ran a 5k at Stanford when I was in college that started at 9 pm, so it was like midnight east coast time. I could NOT sleep afterwards.
Congrats on meeting your goals and running an amazing race! I almost signed up for this race — maybe next year if I’m still in Philly 🙂
I don’t think I’ve done any particularly windy races, but I did a 5k (BMRC midsummer night 5k series) over the summer in a huuuge downpour. It also had a pretty unique start time — 7:30pm.
Congratulations on the race! 🙂 Why did you decide not to run for Oiselle anymore?
We were both headed in different directions.
I was the leap-frogging female 😉 I was glad you pushed me too! It’s funny b/c I wrote practically the same sentence of “wanting 7 min miles but now knowing if it was possible” haha. I like your blog! I don’t race nearly as much as you do & I’m not as accomplished, but perhaps I will see you around 🙂
Congratulations, that sounds like a truly awesome an encouraging race!
I’ve never raced anything that distance before, it sounds like fun.
Without a doubt the most windy race I have run was the Moab half this past March. We were getting headwind gusts above 50mph coming around some of the canyons!
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