Race Recap: 2014 Inaugural Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon

I was really excited to try out the brand new Philadelphia Love Run this year.  I love to run an early season half marathon and in the past few years, I've run Rock & Roll USA (in Washington DC) and Caesar Rodney (in Wilmington DE) (Rodney is the toughest half I have ever done - bar none).   So when a local half popped up, I was very eager to try, since I dropped a mortgage payment on my IMLP registration and another on camp and another on upgrading my bike and another on our trip up there in a few weeks.  So a close to home race with no hotel was a big bonus in my book.  

The big bummer of this race is that one-third of our IMLP team could not race.  Bill and I did, but Amy could not.  She got a sinus infection and had chest congestion.  She wisely sat this one out, but not without some heartache.  That's the thing about running: if it's your soul sport, nothing can take away the sting of not being able to do it.  Even though you know it's the right decision and your rational brain agrees, "yes, sitting this race out is wise, because you have a lot more training to go and you need to get better and it is going to be cold and rainy which is not ideal at all if you are even close to sick," that emotional brain says "screw you and screw everyone.  I hate everyone and I want to run."  Amy showed up and cheered at mile 1 and mile 4 and was there at the finish.  With a Sprite.  That's the kind of friend she is.    

I'm not just saying this: I felt a little anxious about this race.  I know it sounds crazy given all the training that I am doing. But I usually have a very running focused training program for my half and full marathons.  I've been running a lot, but nothing over 10 miles.  Still ... I know my fitness has improved dramatically (or "dramastically" as one Jerry Springer once memorably said), so I felt confident in that regard going into this race.  

Our coach suggested this would be a good test of fitness.  He knows my predilection for going out too fast so he forbade me from doing so. "Races are won or lost in the first mile," he told me.  And I know he is right.  So I decided to force myself to chill the heck out in that first mile.  He told me my race plan was thus:  

mile 1: 8:30 pace. no faster.
mile 2-4: increase to 8:20-8:25
mile 5-7: increase to 8:20
mile 8-finish: do not look at watch.  race person to person.  really race.

Gulp.  OK.  Race day came and it was rain.  Not just spritzing.  Rain.  Hard rain.  I think miles 1-3 it was lightly raining.  Then it stopped from miles 3-10.  At mile 10, the skies opened and it poured buckets.  By the end of the race I had water sloshing around inside my shoes! But I had a mission and was going to PR this race.  Just like Matthew Wilder sang, "ain't nothin gonna break my stride, nobody's gonna slow me down, on no I got to keep on movin".  [you know that song is on my running playlist, right?]   

I did it!  I had a great race and I nabbed a new PR.  My finish time was 1:49:52!  I broke 1:50 and that is a full minute off my prior PR at the 2013 Philly Rock and Roll Half

That's an 8:22/mile pace.  I was 77th in my age group of 776 women aged 35-39; 448th among 4971 women and 1075th overall among 7031 runners.  YES!  

Here are my paces:

Mile 1:  8:43

Lookie there.  I managed to control my pace and even ran it slower than my coach suggested.  This is not an easy feat!  I am always so pumped up on adrenaline and excitement during the first mile.  I am very much like those deer that manage to get themselves inside of a store and cannot get out and freak out.  That's exactly what I'm like on mile 1.  Except not at this race.  

I will say: it was raining and there were a ton of people out cheering.  I always tear up when I see spectators.  It's an incredibly selfless thing on a good day in perfect conditions.  But that those people were standing in the rain and cheering on their loved ones?  I got choked up. 

Mile 2: 8:08
Mile 3: 8:21
Mile 4: 8:16

I kind of kept to the race plan. OK, actually, no I didn't.  I picked up the pace in these early miles quite  a bit.  I made myself slow down in the next few miles.  And the hill at mile 6 helped.

Mile 5: 8:25
Mile 6: 8:38
Mile 7: 8:10

Mile 5 I decided to slow myself down a bit, because I knew I had a lot more racing to do.  Mile 6 includes the big hill leading up to the Philly Please Touch Museum (this hill is part of the Philly Marathon course as well).  But hey -- my pace was still 8:38 with that hill. Not too shabby.  Mile 7 was all downhill - literally.  

Mile 8: 8:12
Mile 9: 8:18
Mile 10: 8:12
Mile 11: 8:19

Miles 8 through 11 were my racing miles.  I honestly never race people at races that I do.  I've always focused on myself, my pace, my own best time.  My coach told me to pick people off and not to look at my watch, so that's what I did.  I would focus on someone in front of me and say inside my head "I'm going to pass you" and then would.  I also made it my mission to pass anyone in a costume or a tutu. And I didn't look at my watch except when it beeped with my splits at each mile. 

Mile 12: 8:22
Mile 13: 8:24
Mile 13.1: 8:22

Yah.  Pace slowed here a bit.  I think it was the rain a bit and also at mile 12.5, I really felt the effects of my efforts.  But I knew based on my splits and the overall time that I could definitely beat my 1:50:50 PR and I could also break 1:50.  I was not about to let that slip away, so I made my mean face and pushed hard.  Here are shots Amy took of me finishing.  I'm in the middle in the white hat, red (formerly pink but red at that moment b/c it was soaked) top, white arm-warmers and shoes with neon pink laces.  

Couple of post scripts:

the course:  honestly, the course was not my favorite.  It was a lot of time spent on MLK Drive, and after awhile it was a little boring.  Of the three half marathon courses I've run in Philly, this course was my least favorite.

the gear:  more than pretty much any other race I've run ever, I really struggled with what to wear.  The temps were going to be in the 40s, but it was going to rain the whole time.  So I needed to be warm enough but not overheat.  And chafing would be a huge issue with the rain.  I ended up wearing, what was for me, the perfect combo of clothing:  SOAS arm warmers (made of wicking material so they did not chafe like cotton), Nike tank bra, Under Armor running short sleeved shirt, Nike shorts (made of wicking material), and light weight Balega socks.  I wore a trash bag as a poncho in the corral and that kept me warm and dry until the gun went off.

And there you go!  The next stand alone half marathon I'll do will be in September, where I'll pace my friend Toya on her very first half.  I'm so excited.  From here on out until that point, I'll be doing triathlon.

See you swoon,

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is really cute. I hope to run the Philly Love Run as my first ever half-marathon one day. Until then...miles to go!! #puntotallyintended