It’s important for me to write this today as I crossed the finish line at 9:24 am. This morning as I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am I was thinking to myself, yes I might be a little bit crazy, but I love every second of it. Breakfast consisted of toast with peanut butter and a few slices of banana on top with a cup of coffee. My normal routine when going out for a long run.
I checked the weather and kept debating on what I would wear to the race. My Mom who was also running with me had an array of choices with her. Jacket, long sleeves, short sleeves, or tank top. Well the tank top and short sleeve got ruled out. Eventually we both settled on long sleeve running shirts with a thin jacket over top. We took uber over to the Philadelphia Art Museum where the race starts and finishes. Since it poured yesterday the grassy areas completely turned to mud. After dropping of my bag at the gear tent we went to try to get warm in the merchandise tent. Only to cave in to buying a thin pair of gloves because we were much colder than we thought we would be.
8am start time, we are in our corral about 5 minutes prior. And finally we are off. 9.3 miles to conquer. Two years ago I ran this same race in Philadelphia and it was super windy. The course is pretty flat for the most part and its what runners call an out and back. You run out about 5.5 miles and there is a turn around point where you re-run your exact same path to get to the finish. Two years ago my pace was a 9:04 min/mile finishing in 1:24. I decided I would be happy with anything under that. I wanted to see some improvement.
I felt pretty confident with the milage as my last long run was 10.2 and I had some great workouts during the week and overall I felt stronger. As I started the race I wanted to pace myself. I have a tendency to go fast in the beginning and then lose steam toward the end of a race. I found myself running with the 9 min/mile pacer and feeling like this is way too slow. So I decided to move along. Ahead of me I could see the 8:30 pacer and thought…ugh can I really keep this up for 9.3 miles? Am I really ready for that? Self doubt crept in. 3 miles passed and still the 8:30 pacer was about a foot in front of me. Little do you know, but I usually listen to some crazy gangsta rap while I run. LOL! Yes you read that correctly. So focused on my motivation and with my music blasting I just kept running. By the time I was passing mile 5 the elite runners were passing us to head to the finish. These elite runner are just incredible. The top 10 all were running under a 6 min/mile!!!
At mile 7 I really stepped up my pace. I was now running shoulder to shoulder with the pacer. This guy had some great energy. It was definitely a huge help. The pacer was so encouraging to everyone running with him and we all talked about the chocolate we were looking forward to at the end of the race. At mile 8 I was able to pull ahead of the pacer. I kept focus on my breathing and pace. Not once did I look at my Garmin as I didn’t want to know. Getting closer and closer to the finish, I just thought to myself, you can not lose this momentum. You have come this far and the pacer is right behind you. Finally, rounding the corner and the finish was in front of me. 8:24 min/mile with a finish time of 1:18.