My goals for the Broad Street Run changed a million times in the last month. Finally, last night, I said to Noah, "I don't want to do this anymore." I just didn't feel like it. I had tapered but did a lot of walking around that my legs felt heavy. My stomach was feeling weird. I had had enough of staying in on a Friday and Saturday when the weather was perfect just to save legs and eat pasta. What is the point of racing, dropping a minute here and there, in life? Gosh, I had whined nonstop for 24 hours, it seemed. Since I didn't think I would have a good race, I lowered my expectations to 1:12 or whatever time I end up with if I left everything out on the course. 1:12:57 was my best time here set a few years ago.
There was no real race strategy this time because I really didn't know how I would do. I just went out and ran -- going out hard as usual and slowing down when I start to run out of gas. Even though I wore a stop watch, I ran this race by feel, ignoring what the time on the clocks mean about my pace, but being aware the honest limits of my legs and lungs. And it worked wonderfully!
I saw Sharon at the starting line. She came over and we decided to run together. She was shooting for a sub-1:10, so that was close enough. We chatted a bit about stuff, and that helped me relax and warm up a bit. The weather was perfect except for the swirling wind -- sunny, 50 degrees. All that became nonfactors when the gun went off.
It took us 40 seconds to cross the starting line. (That's a PR!) We were around other 7 minute milers, but there was still a lot of sorting out to do. Sharon and I did our best of staying straight and not making major surges to get around people, taking an easy pace out the first mile in around 7 minutes. I was in a good mood, and was able to maintain conversation for the first two miles. Seeing that, we sped up to a pace where we're breathing out loud but not gasping for air. I felt comfortable and just tried to keep the legs turning over under me relaxed, using the energy of the crowds. Just like that, we got to City Hall, which is around mile 6. I think we've been doing 6:30 minute miles, so we're well under our goals. I just had a feeling that they won't come back to bite us.
After going around City Hall, my legs were starting to feel the heat of the pavement, and I started to tire and feel hungry. I ate the carboom then. Around here, Sharon decided to slow up, and I had to go alone. People around me were slowing down, and I was passing people one by one. By mile 7, I had had enough. I knew I couldn't keep up the pace all the way to the end, so I tried to slow down a little, just relax the pace and the legs, and regain some energy. I stopped for water at mile 8. From then on, it's like my regular run with Leah -- Oregon to Stadiums to Naval Yard. I know this section well, including the secret hills of these miles, but mostly I was trying to pull through. My legs were shot, my feet hurt, and my tummy wanted food. The pre-mature Rocky theme song sounded *before* mile 9. When I descended on the Naval Yard, with a quarter mile to go, I had no legs for a glorious 400 meter dash. The people around me were sprinting toward the finish and their energy just pulled me along. Finally, I crossed the finish line in 1:06:24 (gun/clock time). I didn't believe it at first, but looked down at my watch. 1:05:44 (net/chip). Wow... that's a PR.
I don't think I could've run a better race. I used all the energy I had in those 10 miles. I'm pretty sure I positive splitted, and even though I suffered in the second half of the race, I actually only lost a little time.
Sharon was half a minute behind and also PRed a lot. She was pleased with her race, so I was relieved I didn't cause her to mess up her pacing. We ran into Chris and Barbara and other Wanderers, and headed over to the barbecure/tailgate in FDR Park. It was pretty fun.
1. to Leah who came out to cheer for me, even though we didn't see each other. Just thinking about the people who support me got me to keep my feet moving in those later miles.
2. to Noah for running with me all season, encouraging me to take care of myself, to eat and drink during a race (I opened my own gel this time!), and just being such a good sport all the time.
3. to Mom and Betty for put up with my pickiness yesterday, buying me cereal and ice-cream, and driving me around all the time.