Monday, September 21, 2009

Streets of Philadelphia

Yesterday I ran the Philly Distance Run, which is really Philly's big race. I've run it before but not for several years. It now has a different course (I think) and is a megathon with almost 13000 runners. 
I really love this race and for several reasons. For one, it's in Philly. For those who don't know, I grew up about 12 miles out side of Philly in South Joisy. Back when Rocky was first running up the art museum steps, the Phillies were on their way to their first World Series, and William Penn was the highest thing in the skyline. My best friend, Tracy, also lives in Philly, so I've spent a fair amount of time there. It's a dirty, underdog kinda town.
It's also a flat and fast race who saw Ryan Hall and Catherine "The Great"Ndereba win. Of course they were long done by the time I finished. But anyway...
Loren and I drove down with Bea on Sat. We met up with Flo (blog famous Girl In Motion) and headed to the expo where we also met Kat, another Boston Bound Running Babe.
The morning of the race, Loren and I were up and out early. The race had a 7:45 start. With the crowd so big, it was going off in waves about 2 minutes apart. We were in the 2nd wave. We drove over to the start, beached the car in a lot and I needed to find a portapotty as my stomach felt like a cement mixer. 
The start was chaos. The lines for the bathroom possibly the worst I have ever see. I knew there was no way I could go run this thing without going to the bathroom. I'm standing in line, which I'm sure is going to take 15 minutes to get to the front of. My wave is going off in about 7. As I'm commiserating with those around me, a woman looks at my bib number. She says to me, oh man, you're starting soon! You should cut the line, just go to the front and ask if you can go since you have such a low number. 
So I did. I ran over to the line next to us. Just a note, I'd like to dedicate the rest of this story to Team SloHoMo, esp. Liz cause it totally made me think of you. 
I went of to this woman wearing a hospital gown to keep warm and said can I cut in front of you? Im in the 2nd wave and we're about to start. She just looks at me. Then says, oh what, you assume I'm a slow runner? I actually hadn't given it any thought. I couldn't see her number but she didn't looked like she was in any really hurry to get to the start. So I didn't even know what to say. Then she says CAUSE I AM! and starts laughing. So miss self described slow runner, thank you so much for letting me cut the line and wishing me luck. 
Loren and I then hurried to the start just in time for the national anthem (why do they do that at sporting events?) and for the first wave to get off. It was packed and crazy and chaotic. We actually got held til the 3rd wave but it didn't matter. Loren and I maybe ran the first 10 feet together and she was off. 
I felt good. Telling myself, keep it easy, not too fast. I ran my first mile in 7:34. I knew to go under 1:40 I'd have to average 7:38 pace. I was doing just that. I came through 5k in 23:36, averaging 7:35s.
Now I know when I go out to fast, even when I'm doing it. I know what that feels like. This did not feel like that. I felt great. The flat Philly streets were a nice change from the rolling hills of Central Park where I usually run. I was passed by a DC Front Runner and exchanged hellos. There was also, I'm pretty sure, a FRNY person ahead of me though I dont know who it was. 
This race was so big. As I was approaching mile 4, I could see people in wave 12 in their first mile.
I hit 10k in 47:18, 7:36 pace. So I was holding on. And still felt really good. I took a gel right after the 10k point. 
Then. I'm not sure what happened. It's not like it got harder, it didn't. My legs got heavy. I had no power. I didn't feel like oh my god I'm crashing! But it was like a slow slowdown. I just couldn't hold it. I think I ran outa fuel. I'm not really sure. By 10 miles, (1:17:08) I had slowed to 7:42 pace and just couldn't pick it up. I should have tried another gel but my stomach was still a bit twisted up. Maybe that was the problem, I really dont know.
At mile 11, this woman comes up to me and says Come on NY. I turn, and she's wearing a Reservoir Dogs singlet, another NYC team. I said ah, a familiar face. There were a lot of NYC team runners in this race. I know Loren ran a good part of the race around some Central Park people and a Warren Street guy. 
She says I'm trying for my first sub 1:40. I said me too but it's getting close. Yup, it's going to hurt she says. I tried to stay with her and I just couldn't. I was slowing down. I think I ran that mile in 8 minutes. 
A guy behind me says hey Ironwoman, how you doing. I dont know if I had talked to him earlier. I have the periodic symbol for iron (FE 26) tattooed on the back on my right arm. It's the tattoo I get asked the most about. I gave the universal hand wave for so so and kept trying to grind it out. 
I saw Loren, who was done, right before the mile 13 marker. I just shook my head. My last mile was by far the slowest at 8:10. I did manage to find a little something for that last .1 which I ran in 44 seconds. 
I finished in 1:42:02.
While this is a really big PR, by about 90 seconds, I fully admit to being a bit disappointed. I was totally on pace. I felt great. There was just a little something missing. On the plus side, besides it being a big PR, I am fully confident that I can go under 1:40. 
There are a few shout outs I want to give:
1. RayK who was off in Queen running a half and also in the Race for the Sub 1:40, ran a 1:40:31
2. Sharon, for running Queens on her BIRTHDAY!!!
3. Flo for her great 1:33:51 PR (and people Flo is 4748. This woman is a serious force)
4. Danielle, my childhood friend for finishing her first half yesterday
5.Kat who ran a PR of 1:45
6. and mostly, Loren who PRed by 2.5 minutes with a blistering 1:32:55 placing 13th in our age group out of 1100. 120th woman out of 6394. Loren's had a great running career and it's great to see her excited (even if she'll sorta deny it). This was Loren's 2nd half marathon and she totally surprised herself. She didn't surprise me. I figured that was about what she'd run. I'm totally proud of her.
Of course, my foot was killing me for the rest of the day (UGH) but is actually feeling much better today. Im not sore, just a little tired. I haven't fully decided on what I'll do this week yet. I am looking forward to the weeks post NYC marathon when I can take some time off from running completely and hopefully get 100% healthy.


Girl In Motion said...

Loved the report! Sorry to hear it didn't go exactly as planned but damn girl, you did great with that hugeass PR and not even feeling fine throughout! Really had a fun time with you guys this weekend and about that Loren...she didn't even look mildly winded at the end, like she'd just taken a little walk. Crazy girl.

Here's to you getting your foot back in order asap so you can rock NY!!

One minor correction on my shoutout (thanks, woman), I'm an even more decrepit 48 now.

DogPound said...

ah well I'll make sure to correct your age!

Kat said...

It was so great meeting you, speedy Loren and Bea (what a cutie!). Girl that is an awesome PR especially with all the foot crap you've been dealing with lately! Sub 1:40 (and more) will be waiting for you when you kick this bursitis.


L.A. Runner said...

Yeah, cut yourself some slack- 90 seconds- that's solid! Like you said in your post, you're good for even faster than that, so don't lose hope! Congrats on an AWESOME improvement and GREAT race!

Also, what's the deal behind the iron tattoo? (I'm hooked on tattoos, can you tell?)

DogPound said...

I got the iron tattoo after my 2nd ironman

Mir said...

Sorry to hear about the disappointing last miles of the race, but you still held on for a great PR! It sounds like you just had an off day. I'm simply amazed at how awesome you're doing despite the foot difficulties.

jaysummer4 said...

Still, a solid PR.
And room to improve for motivation for the next one.
Good luck.