Sunday, May 3, 2015

Race Report: Broad Street Run (10 Miler)

I took Monday off and ran an easy 9 on Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday, I hit the track for some 3 x mile action (3:00 rest). The plan was to run 5:05, 4:55, 4:45, but I ended up running a tad faster than that - 5:00, 4:53, 4:43. My stomach felt fine and I went into the weekend with a bit more confidence. 8 miles.

On Thursday, I ran an easy 8 miles in the morning.

On Friday, I turned 35 years old. Also, I took the day off.

On Saturday, I ran a very easy 4.5 miles in North Bethesda. At noon, Katie and I drove to Philly, scooped up my race packet, then  headed off to North Whales, which is where we spent the night.

I didn't have a great night's sleep, but I woke up without issue at 5:15am then proceeded to down coffee and oatmeal. Katie dropped me off near the starting line around 6:35 and then I wandered over to the elite/seeded runner tent. After a 2-mile warm, which consisted of jumping over dead rats, broken glass bottles and an assortment of other trash, I found my way back to the tent and started shedding the layers.

I started on the left-hand side of the road, and had one of the lanes entirely to myself as the throngs of people began to make their way down Broad Street. The pace didn't feel quick, but I knew it was and I did my best to reel things back. There was about 2-3 runners vying for the lead and then a huge pack of what looked like two dozen runners in their wake. I found myself drifting off this pack knowing that the chase pack would hit the mile in 5:00. I teamed up with a taller runner from New Jersey. In fact, we ran so close to one another that our arms clipped each other a few times. He apologized and quipped that he had the entire road to run on, but instead was running into me. Never one to talk very much, I offered a "no worries" and a "half laugh" of sorts as a response. We hit the first mile in a tick under 5:10 (5:07 on my GPS, which is what I'll use throughout this post) and I felt quite good. The sun was blazing, but the temperature was cool. There was little, if any, wind. Together, the tall boy from Jersey and I ever so slowly crept up on the chase pack. Our second mile was noticeably faster (5:02), but, truthfully, I was trying to run by feel and simply stay competitive. Also, I wasn't looking at splits. By mile 3 (5:08), Jersey and I were in about 22nd or 24th place. We had passed a couple guys since the start, but no one had come up on us. Jersey would occasionally "raise the roof" with his arms when we passed a band playing the "Rocky" theme. Then he would surge. Like Apollo Creed, I slowly came back on him. He and I traded the lead a handful of times, which was great, because it really keeping me motivated and on my toes.

City Hall, which marks the symbolic halfway point, loomed ahead. I hit mile 5 (4th in 5:12, then a 5:10) a tick below 25:40, which was about 10-seconds faster than my pre-race plan. Jersey and I had caught another, shorter, runner, but this guy was much harder to shake. In the past, I'd expended too much energy running around City Hall, so this time I let Jersey and Shorty do the work. I took a quick glance at my GPS and it indicated I was running 5:04 pace, but, for some reason, I slowed down considerably before I hit mile 6 (5:28).  Jersey and Shorty slowly pulled away, but I quickly caught another runner so I knew I wasn't entirely caving to the pressure. I'd be lying if I said that the next couple of miles weren't rough, but unlike Cherry Blossom, in which I essentially capitulated to the pain, and much more so than Pikes Peek, I dug down deep and grinded ahead determined to not wuss out. Looking at my splits after the race, it was obviously I was slowing down, considerably, but I was still pressing ahead and gaining ground on my competition and, despite the pain and suffering I was experiencing, I still felt like I was making good time. By mile 7 (5:20), I had convinced myself that I only 15:00 left to race. I continued to gain ground, but I gained it ever...ever...ever so slowly. Someone at mile 8 (5:22) barked out that I was in 20th place. Just a stride or two ahead of me was 19th, which I soon caught. Mile 9 was just awful (5:25), but I set my sights on two more targets. I caught one of them at 9.5 miles and then made an all out assault on Shorty, the runner who stubbornly refused to fold 4 miles earlier. Enraged, like a wild fox with mange, I grinded after him. With 600m, or so, to go, Shorty took a look back. That's all I needed. I caught the young man with about 150m to go, but then he passed me back. We were both spent, but I saw him slack in his cadence, so I took one last lunge and passed him with only inched to spare. My time was a dismal 52:25 (5:16), but, as the aforementioned race report might suggest, I never gave up, which is something I've been trying to work on in races as of late, and I felt like I ran tough and competitive throughout. My time was also my fast 10-mile time in two years. Yes, I went out a little too fast, but I was really hoping to run sub-52 and thought I even had a 51:40, or so, in me. And, although I died, I wasn't passed by anyone all race, save for Jersey who I ran with early on. He later went on to record a sub-52:00 effort.

I shuffled a short cool down in the Phillies' parking lot, then beat feet for Maryland, my spring 2015 race season was over.

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