Long time no see!
I haven’t written since *ahem* August, but let’s ignore that fact for now and just dive straight into a race recap.
This year was my 4th time running Broad Street. It’s fun to do the same race year after year and make it a tradition. Back in mid-April was also my 4th time doing the 5k Run for Clean Air, and this weekend was also my 4th time volunteering for the Penn Relays. I’ll be graduating from Penn in 2 weeks (!), but I’ve loved being part of the running community in Philadelphia during my time here. Post-graduation plans TBA :)
Let’s start with the training leading up to the race, especially since we haven’t talked in awhile.
I had given up all time goals in 2015, and my only goal was to remain injury-free for an entire year. After two stress fractures in 2014, I just wanted to get back to doing what I loved.
I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2015 and finished in a fairly respectable 3:58:18. Then I took 25 days totally off to physically and mentally recover from what had been an 18 week training cycle.
I began running again at the end of December, trying to keep my weekly mileage consistently around 15-20 miles per week.
In February 2016, I ran the Feel the Love 5k at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, finishing in 23:57. Two months later, I ran 23:13 at the 5k for Clean Air, my second best time out of four years running that race.
After a year of avoiding putting pressure on myself to meet time goals, I honestly had forgotten just how fun it is to shoot for a goal. It’s a little bit scary but thrilling, and running hard to meet your goal feelings amazing.
I put my most recent 5k time (23:13) through the McMillan race predictor calculator and came out with a predicted 1:20:35 finish for a 10 mile race. I thought this sounded realistic and was also excited to hopefully get my second best time at Broad Street. I decided to aim for under 1:20. My times from the past 3 years were:
Spoiler alert: met the goal😉
Now we’re at race day. In case you’re unfamiliar, Broad Street is a 10 mile run that is just a straight shot down Broad Street, from North Philly to the midway point at City Hall to the end in the Navy Yard. My Garmin map from today shows as much:
Now let’s talk about the weather.
After weeks of beautiful spring weather in Philadelphia, we ended up with 50 degrees and raining for this weekend. I’ve never actually run a race in the rain before (despite coming close at the 2013 Peachtree, when there was 100% chance of rain but no actual rain), so I was apprehensive.
I looked online for how to dress for the weather and ended up with a tech fabric long-sleeved shirt, capri length tights, and a tech fabric baseball cap to wear while running the race. I brought a warm, fuzzy Northface, fleece-lined tights, and gloves to wear to the start and put in my gear check bag. I also had a thin, long-sleeved cotton shirt and a trash bag to wear over my outfit and then throw away at the start line.
Since I was going to listen to music, I put my phone in a plastic bag before putting it in my armband. Almost had a snafu when I was trying to plug my headphones in and realized I needed to tear through the plastic bag. I was glad I had enough time before the race started to get that sorted out.
Things I would have done differently with my outfit: bring a rain jacket instead of a regular jacket. Buy a real poncho with a hood instead of cutting a hole in a trash bag. Wear plastic grocery bags over my shoes until the start of the race. Not run through a giant puddle at mile 6…
I met my friends on campus at 6:15 AM, and we jumped on the subway to get to the start. We got to the start area right about 7 with enough time to go to the bathroom and check our bags. My boyfriend and I lined up in the orange corral (those with predicted finish times 1:15-1:22) just before 7:40 to get ready for the 8:00 start.
I was so cold standing in the corral for those 20 minutes before the start of the race.
I didn’t want to look at my Garmin too much while running because I recently read this article by Tina Muir and really liked what she had to say. The three sentences I think sum it up best are: “If you set a pace you thought you were capable of, and you were ready for MUCH faster, you would not want to slow down just so you hit that time you had in your head. No, you want to run the best you can. Your body does not know that number, all your body knows is how to run to the best you physically can, and the best your mind allows.”
However, since ignoring my watch isn’t something I’ve practiced, I just looked at my watch infrequently: miles 1, 2, and 5, then again 7, 9, and just before the finish. I had it set to the “finish time” feature so that I could see with a glance what my estimated finish time was and keep it below 1:20. I also put the distance in as 10.05 instead of 10 because I knew I wouldn’t run the course perfectly (yes, even though it’s a straight line, haha).
Early in the race, my estimated finish time was around 1:16, so I tried to reign it in a bit. After that though, the time was hovering right about 1:19:50, so I knew I was right where I wanted to be.
The hardest mile was probably between 6 and 7. It just felt so long. I also stepped in a huge puddle, which certainly didn’t help. However, I also witnessed a proposal right in the middle of the road in front of City Hall, which made me ridiculously happy. I think running proposals are adorable.
The race didn’t feel particularly difficult at any point. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I never felt like my legs or lungs couldn’t hold up.
When I saw the finish line, I opened my stride a little to finish faster. I was happy that I’d met my goal, but my overall happiness was pretty low given that I was soaking wet and absolutely freezing. I am definitely not one of those people who enjoys running in the rain.
Official time: 1:19:17
For fun, a comparison of four years running Broad Street:
I got a medal, a bag of food, and found my friends next to the Dunkin Donuts tent in the finish area. It had rained lightly but steadily all throughout the race, and it still wasn’t letting up. My boyfriend joined us soon after, we picked up our bags from gear check, and headed back to the subway to go home. My teeth chattered the whole way.
Now that I am home, fed, showered, in my pajamas and drinking some herbal coffee while writing this post in my bed, I’m pretty happy. It feels so great to set goals, work for them, and achieve them. I didn’t realize how much I missed having time goals. It will still be awhile before I can work my way down to my PRs again, but I know the day will come.
I’ll spend the rest of today celebrating my Broad Street victory (which will likely involve wine, cheese, and the new Game of Thrones episode tonight), then buckle down for one more week of final exams, then one more week until GRADUATION! I can’t wait.