I had one goal going into this race: finish.
The past few weeks have been difficult. I finally got through my run/walk schedule to the point I could work back into running consistently, but around that time, I started getting a really weird pain in my hip/butt area. I think I may have overstretched it during a free hot yoga class I went to. I hadn’t been to a yoga class in awhile and was surprised at how flexible I was. Yeah… I don’t think I actually was that flexible. I went on two runs of around 4 miles each this past week, and both times my hip/butt started feeling tight about 15-20 minutes in. I was terrified I’d DNF Broad Street and was prepared to run it as slowly as I needed as long as I could finish.
Happy to be rocking the Penn singlet again. With Shalane Flanagan’s autograph for luck!
My friends and I met up at 6:45 to take the subway to the start line (free for Broad Street runners!). We got there just before 7:30 without any hassle (unlike last year, when we were packed like sardines onto the train). We used the potties, gear-checked, etc. Then the yearly fun of getting into our start corral. Three things I learned about Broad Street last year that I was trying to avoid:
- Huge crowds on Septa (avoided, success!)
- The schoolyard where all the port-a-potties are located only has one entrance/exit and there’s a bottleneck effect as people try to get in and out simultaneously (avoided, success!)
- The start line is chaotic and if you’re not there early enough you may not be able to get into your corral (avoided, success!)
One of my friends and I lined up on the border between the purple/orange corrals (I was purple – I predicted my time as something like 1:13 before I got a stress fracture). We didn’t have too long to wait before the race started.
Miles 1-4 (8:41, 8:55, 9:45, 8:15): High-fived Mayor Nutter! A must do at any Philly race (especially if you have photographic evidence of you ignoring him at the end of your first marathon).
My friend and I split up right after the start. I listened to music and tried to pay attention to how the pace felt. During mile 1, I kept it really easy but was surprised at how good I felt. For a minute or so I entertained the idea of running the whole 10 miles before chiding myself – you haven’t run more than 4 miles since February, don’t you dare.
At the end of mile 2, my left hip started to tighten up and my right foot started getting pins and needles. Uh-oh. I started walking once I hit 20 minutes and walked from 20-23 minutes, stopping for a bit to retie my shoe. I was the only person walking this early on and I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay to walk – I was just trying to get through the day without injuring myself.
I noticed my hip actually hurt more walking than running (I think taking smaller steps eased the pain?) so I started running again. I took my headphones out around this point because I wanted to hear the Temple band. Plus the crowds were thickening as we got closer to City Hall (about the midway point), and I just fed off their energy.
Miles 5-6 (8:09, 8:17): I was eagerly looking for my friends at this point. I knew a few people were coming to watch, and I figured this was probably where they’d be. I kept an eye out for them and kept running – I figured if I started walking, I’d probably find them immediately ;) I told myself I would run until I got to South Street and then take another walk break.
Miles 7-10 (8:31, 8:56, 7:33, 7:30): I never did find my friends, but I felt really good and figured I would just run until the end unless I started hurting. I walked through the water stops and left it at that. I’d been running by feel the whole race (with the intent on having it feel very easy) so I still felt really good and decided I’d pick it up for the last 2 miles. It was fun finishing the race with a lot of energy because the course was lined with people inside the Navy Yard and I was passing lots of other runners. I couldn’t believe when I finished and saw 1:24:46 on my watch!
My “best case scenario” for the day had been finishing under 1:30, so I was pretty thrilled. My time last year was 1:17:xx, but I remember being completely wiped out after that. Official time 1:24:43 (8:28 min/mile pace) with a serious negative split (9:08 at the 3 mile split, 8:44 at the 5 mile split, 8:40 at the 7 mile split, 8:28 at the finish) and feeling good throughout, just three weeks back from injury, is fine by me :)
All of my friends had really good races. Brunch afterwards at a place back on campus, and the rest of the day devoted to studying! There’s a calc 4 final calling my name tomorrow.