Runner at Large

My whole life, I have viewed runners with a sense of awe. Now I am one of those, and I am extremely proud to be considered a runner.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Things I Learned...

Here I Am! 24 hours later, I feel like I've been beaten with board.

Broad Street was Sunday (for some of the best pictures, check out ShoreTurtle's blog, It was the quickest 10 miles I have ever run, but probably also the most painful.

My day started officially by heading out at 6:00. My plan was to eat a Cliff bar and coffee on the way down, then a second bar before starting, so I drank my coffee and ate my Cliff bar while heading down the Blue Route. Ted and I parked at the stadiums, then hopped on the subway for the trip up to Olney. They did not tell us which trains were express trains and which trains were local, so we crammed on the one looking like it was ready to go, and decided not to go over to the train that had pulled in for a seat or more room. After all, this was an express, right? Wrong. We stopped at every...single...freakin...stop up Broad Street. And I had my face in some guy's pit for the last three stops (I wanted so bad to be like "you are going to run 10 miles...can't you walk a mile up the street?"). We finally got off the train about 7:40 and made our way into the athetic fields were I was to meet up with Tom and Greg, two co-workers who talked me into this mess. I found them and then headed off to the porta-potties to wait for another half hour.

After that, it was time to head out to the start, and i decided I had too many nerves to risk eating the second Cliff bar (a decision I will come to regret). Ted left to me to head back to the start (for fear of being caught in the stampede...15,000 adrenaline-pumped people all facing the same direction will do that I guess) and I found Tom and Greg on the other side of Somerville (without realizing I had positioned myself in the 7-mile pace group).

The first three miles were great--the drum corps, the cheerleaders, the crowds, the adrenaline. At the beginning, the course runs underneath an overpass, and a drum corp sat underneath. The drums bounced off the overpass and the road and it was the most powerful sound...I admit I found myself choked up for a second! (wimp). By mile three, my blisters on my feet were starting to speak up, and by mile four, I had wished I had the Cliff bar.

Ted had taken the subway down to his father's in South Philly, and they were there to cheer me on as I went past the 8-mile mark. I tossed my shirt to Ted (which was wet with a combination of sweat and fire hydrants) and he later commented that for me to run in only my sports bra meant I was either very hot or very comfortable. I told him I was comfortable...we both know the truth. The temperature wasn't that warm, but the sun was strong and I was doing anything I could to help make myself more comfortable. I ran out of fuel by about the 8.5 mark (it really was before then, but not noticably until that point). I struggled to enter the Navy Yard, and pushed myself through. The announcer said it was "400 yards to the finish line!" and the cheering of the spectators was so powerful, but I did almost ask a spectator at one point where the friggin' finish line was already.

The support on the course from other runners is pretty amazing, too. Whenever I started to slump, someone was there to cheer me on (as they blew me away) and yes, at the time I was ready to poke their eyes out, but looking back that was very nice of them. My final chip time was 1:50:20, so I was doing about 11-minute miles. Not terrible....can't complain. Yesterday after the race I was swearing off anything beyond a 5K. Today I found myself analyzing small changes that would make a world of difference for when I do the half (this is such a sickness):

1) Eat more. I should have eaten the Cliff bar before starting, regardless of the nerves. I was fine when the race started, and knew I would be.
2) Power gels. I have never used power gels, and a race was not the time to start, but I think I'm going to use them on training runs to have during races. They seem to be very popular and I've heard good things.
3) New shoes. The poor tragic shoes must go back. After 20+ miles on them, they are still rubbing my arches horribly. Plus they are starting to rip in the back? I wonder if I got a faulty pair...
4) Just train better. I didn't exactly have the best pre-race training this time...with being a bit under the weather last weekend. I need to do more speedwork and just nail down on myself and train myself to push through the exhaustion instead of stopping. I need to focus in the upcoming weeks on dropping a few pounds and increasing my speed and endurance.

That's my analysis! Congrats to everyone who completed it--it amazes me just to see the array of people that run in races. I saw all shapes and sizes, including someone wearing denim cut offs...who beat me? I wonder the chafing problems that caused. (I also saw a juggler and a man in a chicken costume).

Philly Distance Run or bust....


At 8:20 AM, Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

Great recap! I agree, the drum corps was very cool. I'm glad that you didn't actually poke anyone's eyes out. Congratulations on your race.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Uptown Girl said...

Congrats on the race! I love this race...:) See you in September for the Philly Distance Run....sounds like you've learned a lot from this run to incorporate into future races.


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