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!