This race almost didn’t happen. And no, it wasn’t because our area was hit with an ice storm the morning the race was originally scheduled for. That was easy to predict and the race organizers gave everyone plenty of notice when they (wisely) decided to postpone the race by a day. No, the reason I almost did not start today’s Inaugural Delaware Downhill 5K was that my CAR decided that it did not want to start!!
I think the race organizers made the right call by not holding the race Saturday.
As usual, I had my pre-race morning planned down to the minute. I woke up at 5:45, let Piper out, had a light breakfast of coffee, cereal, and a clementine, let Piper in, wiped the mud off Piper’s feet and belly for 3+ minutes (that I had not planned for, ha!), then foam rolled, stretched and read for a while before waking Matt up. The race started at 9:45 so I figured leaving the house at 8:25 sharp would give me plenty of time to get there and get warmed up. Until we went out to our (only) car, turned the key in the ignition, and the engine wouldn’t start!!
Let me back up and tell you about this race. It’s a DOWNHILL, point-to-point course with 230+ feet of elevation loss, meaning that a PR was going to be extremely possible. The race t-shirt was billed as an ugly sweater tech T (awesome), and today’s weather was PERFECT racing weather — mid-50s and overcast. I really, really wanted to run this race, so imagine how sad I was as Matt and I sat in the cold garage, paging through the car manual and trying to figure out what was wrong.
While Matt checked the car battery connections under the hood I posted a defeated message on my run club’s facebook page. No downhill race for me today, boo. But then Matt tried the car again (using the “two foot” method, apparently?) and after many terrible-sounding cranks IT STARTED!!! It was 8:55 and we had a 40 minute drive ahead of us.
We zoomed down to Delaware in record time. Matt dropped me off right by the start and I found my run club friends almost immediately. They had my bib and ugly sweater shirt for me (thanks, Lysa!!) and within minutes of arriving on site I was standing at the start line, utterly unwarmed-up but very grateful to be there.
Going into this race, my PR was 23:17, which is an average page of 7:29 per mile. With this in mind I figured I should start out fast but not too aggressively, maybe with a 7:20 split. But then the race started and I was swept up by the festive runners in costumes and gradual, wonderful downhill, and before I knew it mile one was over in 6:59. So much for my plan!
Although this course is net downhill, mile 2 was mostly flat and even had some short uphill sections. After my blazing fast first mile I was not expecting this lack of descent and I struggled through this mile just a bit. But I knew that there had to be significant elevation loss waiting for me in the final mile so I wasn’t too worried when the middle mile beeped by in 7:43.
Next to the Brandywine River after the race.
At the start of mile 3 I ran past a volunteer who helpfully told me “It’s all downhill from here.” He was right! The course turned into the parks along the Brandywine and before I knew it there was just a half mile separating me from a new PR. I pushed hard down the final hill and spotted the finish with several hundred yards to go. Mile 3 was over in 7:18, a good improvement over my second mile.
I knew I was on track to PR, but I thought I was going to be much closer to 23:00 and really wanted to break 23 if possible. I flew through the homestretch and crossed the line with an official chip time of 23:38… a 39 second PR!!!
I had never seen a “PR Bell” in person, but, as luck would have it, there was a bell at the Delaware Downhill! (I guess this wasn’t luck… the organizers probably knew that there would be a lot of personal records on their PR-friendly course.) I collected my 3rd place age group award and happily rang the bell. Although my morning didn’t quite go as planned, I am very thankful that I was able to make it to the race and get the chance earn a new PR on this super fast course. 22:38 is going to be really hard to beat on a regular course!
As for the car, we still don’t know what was wrong. Matt kept it idling the whole time we were in Delaware and only turned it off (and back on again, just to see what it would do) when we were safely home after the race. We’ll see how it’s doing when we head out to Matt’s parents’ house for dinner tonight. Wish us luck!
Miles since last post: 311.6
Days since last post: 104
2016 MILES: 1538.9
• December ’16: Jingle Elf 2M (12/2), Brian’s Run 5M (12/11)
• November ’16: Trinity 5K (11/5), 7 Summits Turkey Trot (11/24)
• October ’16: Run for the House 5K (10/1), True Blue 5K (10/16), Boo Run 5K (10/29)
• August ’16: Cure4Cam Rustin (8/18)
• June ’16: Media 5 Miler (6/17), Cure4Cam (6/20)
• May ’16: Media Mile (5/7) [1M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/13), Turtle Trot Trail 5K (5/15), Elwyn Max 5K (5/21)
• April ’16: Evolve IP 5K (4/2), Empower the Children 5K (4/17), Haverford Twilight Run (4/23) [5K PR Tie]
• March ’16: St. Agnes 5K (3/5), 3-2-1 Loop 10K (3/12) [10K PR], Pickle Run (3/19)
• February ’16: Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16: Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• November ’15: Trinity 5K (11/7), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/26) [5K PR]
• October ’15: BAAR 5K (10/3), Double OyVey 10K (10/25) [10K PR], Boo Run 5K (10/31)
• September ’15: Run-A-Muck Trail 5K (9/19)
• August ’15: Boxcar Mile (8/13), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/27)
• June ’15: Media 5 Mile (6/19)
• May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3) [10M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
• April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11) [10K PR], Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26) [5K PR]
• March ’15: Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
• February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
• January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
• December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5) [2M PR], Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7) [5M PR], Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1) [5K PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
• October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
• September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
• August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [5K PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18) [5M PR]
• June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
• May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [5K PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
• April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3), Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
• March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
• February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
• January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
• December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [5K PR]
• November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
• October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [5K PR]
• September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)