Loop Run (8.4 miles) 55:00/6:25 pace
Last year the Schukyill River Loop Run was my first “race” back after my stress fracture. The course itself goes around the Schukyill River, making for an odd distance. It’s a well known and beautiful route. If you are in Philadelphia it’s a route I would absolutely recommend running around. I had a great time in 2014 so I knew it was a race I wanted to do in 2015 too.
My husband and I arrived to the start around 9 and the race started at 10. It started later than I normally like but we warmed up and headed to the start. Since it was a longer race, we cut our warmup down to two miles.
The race went off without a hitch right at 10. I started off as fifth women overall. I was running in a pack with several men and women. Since it was in a local park there were people outside the race running too. We hit the first mile in 6:12.
During the second mile, one of my biggest fears came true. We ran through a pack of multiple geese. For those who don’t know, I am terrified of geese. I charged through and made it with no issues. During mile 2, I noticed the third and fourth place females close in front. I hit mile 2 in 6:18 and thought, well faster than my second mile in the 5k the day before. Different races with different goals…
During mile 3 I saw one of my coworkers running the opposite direction. I shouted hello. My calves started to feel sore and I wondered if I was going to regress and ride the pain train home. During the third mile I surged by the two females and became 3rd overall. I could see the second place women in front and had an overzealous goal to catch her. I hit the 5k in 19:20. It was nearly 30 seconds faster than my tempo the day before.
An 8.4 mile race is an interesting distance to race. I’ve also run several 15ks in upstate NY which is only .9 of a mile longer. The middle miles of these distances are tough. By the fourth mile I was tired but I knew I had a lot longer to go. There wasn’t anything noteable and I ran it in 6:23.
I hit the halfway point in 26:30. I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain that pace and made my goal to run around 54 minutes. It seemed reasonable. During the fifth mile we ran over the bridge and began running back to the start. It’s hard when you can see Philadelphia 4 miles away and you know you still have to run those 4 miles home. I ran the fifth mile in 6:31.
I hit the 10k in 39:25. Looking back that is about what I ran the 10k of the Philadelphia half too. It was a very different race, considering I ran my first 5k in 18:59 (In summary, I took that race out too fast and paid for it). I didn’t feel as drained at the loop run, despite doing a tempo run the day before.
During the 6th mile, I was passed by the two women I passed earlier. I couldn’t keep up with them and they blew right by but I focused on my own race. Mile 6 was my slowest and most mentally challenging mile. I ran it in 6:38.
Mile 7 was a blur, I was digging deep and just focusing on the end. I ran it in 6:23. The last .4 was spent weaving in and out of people walking to the boathouse. It was hard because I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted was to run around people. I powered to the finish and crossed in exactly 54:00. Not on purpose since I seem to have the ability to finish on even numbers.
To be honest I surprised myself. I thought I was just a mile or two from regressing to a 7+ minute pace but that never came. I’m pleased with how this race went.
Questions for you:
Have you ever run an odd distance? I’ve done this race, VA is for Lovers 14k and several 15ks.
Do you like loop runs, out and back or do you really care?