On Monday, I mentioned I ran the Frostbite Fiver Miler, a local race in Ambler, PA. I've done this race a number of times and I really love it. It's well organized, has a great course that is just challenging enough in February, is hugely popular so lots of people racing and terrific volunteers, not to mention it has a killer post-race spread.
Another thing I love about this race is I can do a true apples-to-apples comparison of my performances each year and shoot for new, faster PRs. I ran it in 2012 in 42:28 (8:30 pace) and I ran it in 2013 in 40:51 (8:10 pace). This year, I had a pretty aggressive goal of around 38:30 (7:45 pace), but I really wanted to break into the 7 minute pace zone, even if that pace was 7:59.
And ... I did! My time was 39:35, which is a 7:55 pace. I was 275 of 1258 runners, 73 of 641 women and 19 of 147 in my age group. I will take those stats please and thank you!
My coach put together a race plan for me, which was to start out mile 1 around the pace I maintained last year (8:10), go a little faster in mile 2 and then around mile 2.5, just put the hammer down and really race. I knew the first mile thing would be next to impossible for me - I just cannot pull myself in at the beginning of a race. I tried ... I really did. I'll go over the splits soon.
A word about conditions: in past years, this race has been really cold, but the course was clear. This year's race was freakishly warm: I think it was probably around 45 around race time! The problem? It had rained a lot the day before and temps dipped below freezing over night. So the roads, sidewalks, everything were completely ice covered in the morning. The race organizers were on it and salted as much as they could and delayed the start of the race by about 20 minutes. They also stuck a ton of volunteers at the stubborn icy/slushy spots and those volunteers were great about making sure runners were aware of the conditions and directed runners to the safe areas. By the time we raced, there were very few slick spots, which was great. The only downside to the delay was my timing for pre-race fueling was thrown off a bit. I should have eaten more before the race. I went with my standard pre-race breakfast, but I probably should have eaten a few more snacks. Around mile 1, my tummy was growling. But for 5 miles, I knew I could motor through.
Now for the splits! Note: some of these are estimated because my Garmin was a good .1 mile fast, so the splits on my watch do not reflect my actual split time. Gah.
Mile 1: 7:41
Mile 2: 7:48
The first two miles are pretty easy. They are both more downhill than anything so you can really pick up some good speed. Obviously, I could not slow myself down and my fastest mile was mile 1. I remember thinking after mile 2 when I saw that split that I might want to slow down a little, since unlike a 5K, I still had a good deal of the race to go.
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:46
Mile 3 has a bunch of uphills so I slowed a bit. I was happy that my pace was in the 7s and I felt good and that I could maintain the pace I was running. I got a second wind in Mile 4. I started to get a little ahead of myself here - I was thinking how yes! I can totally hit my goal 7:45 pace!
Mile 5: 8:09
Womp womp womp. Here is where going out too fast bit me in the buttocks. Oh wow. I hit the Mile 4 sign and felt good. But then turned the corner to the last stretch and remembered the final mile is essentially one long gradual uphill to the finish. The climb is not that steep at all, but the increased effort that late in the race - in a race that I had been really racing hard - it caught up to me. I kept pushing and was not about to see anything but a 3 starting my final time. I pushed and pushed and crossed the finish very happy.
These pictures were taken with about a .1 mile to go. That's my fighting face. Oh, and I wasn't channeling my inner Bruce Jenner with the wrist bands. Those are my arm warmers rolled down. I also stuffed my gloves in them, so they are have bulges in them.
I walked away from the race feeling super proud and spent. I would have liked to be a little faster, especially on that final mile, but I am so thrilled I broke the 40:00 barrier. I'll race this one again in 2015 and will run it even faster.
Next race is the Philadelphia Love Run - a brand new half marathon at the end of March. I would love to beat my current PR of 1:50:50. Once that race is behind me, it's all triathlon, baby! I have three tris before Ironman: the same "Half-Lite" Devilman in May that I did last year and then two sprint tris (Upper Dublin and one I've not done but I hear is super hard: Black Bear). After Placid, I am definitely running the Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon and am pacing my friend Toya in her first half marathon and also running the Philadelphia Marathon and pacing my friend Heather in her first full! I'm nearly certain that I will register for the Steamtown Marathon in October too and try to qualify for Boston or at least come close. Racing and running are fun!
See you swoon,