It’s definitely time to blog: I now have FOUR PRs to recap!

I’ve been terrible about recapping races lately, but after today’s awesome 5K I have FOUR new personal bests to share. So without further ado, here they are!

Haverford Twilight 5K

April 22, 2017 | Haverford, PA | 41st overall, 8th F, 3rd AG (results)

This was my third year running this race and I really wanted it to be my best yet. Last year I tied my PR (23:17) on this course by running the first 2 miles really fast and dying in mile 3. I did not want to repeat that mistake this year, but somehow I still managed to start the race much faster than I planned. In fact, I was within seconds of duplicating my too-fast times from 2016. Whoops! Fortunately for me, I was much stronger this year and was able to run a 7:30 third mile (compared to 8:00 the previous year!!) which made all the difference. I crossed the finish line in 22:54, thrilled with my new sub-23 personal best.

(Technically I had run faster than 22:54 twice before, but both previous efforts were “asterisk” PRs. One was a point-to-point downhill course (22:38) and the other was majorly Piper-assisted (22:43). Therefore, I happily accepted this Haverford Twilight time as my “official” 5K PR.)

The Broad Street Run 

May 7, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA | 6838th overall (oh yeah!), 1627th F, 348th AG (results)

The mother of all Philly races. Two weeks after the Twilight 5K I joined 40,000 runners (see, that 6838th place looks better now) in a 10 mile run down Broad Street. I ran this race in 2015 and this time around my primary goal was to beat my previous PR of 1:23:54. My secondary goal was to go sub-1:20, but that ended up being a little too aggressive for the day. I started off on pace for a fast time, but at around mile 7 hit a wall and had to work reallllly hard to earn my new PR. I finished about 2 1/2 minutes faster than my 2015 time with a time of 1:21:28. Hurrah!

FranksWine Downhill Mile Road Race

August 24, 2017 | Wilmington, DE | 46th overall, 9th F, 3rd AG (results)

Usually I don’t race in August, but when I realized that the weather was going to be unseasonably cool and discovered that this race ended a block from my brother- and sister-in-laws’ place in Trolley Square, I figured it was meant to be. Matt and I parked at the finish line, jogged to the start, then proceeded to race the fastest mile of our lives. I felt completely in control the entire race, and happily watched my quarter mile splits tick by evenly. I sprinted at the finish and earned a new PR of 6:20, 26 seconds faster than my previous best at the Media Mile in 2016.

Pints in the Square 5K

September 9, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 17th overall, 2nd F!! (results)

This was today’s race and the PR that finally got me to write this recap. I hadn’t raced a 5K road race since the Twilight Run in April and I was interested to see what sort of shape I was in after a long summer of treadmill runs. With that in mind, my goal was more to run a strong race (low 23s?) rather than do anything crazy. But apparently my legs didn’t get that message.

A few minutes into the race I realized that the first place woman was not especially far ahead of me. It wasn’t time to get too excited about that – I still had 2.5 miles to go! – but this surprised me. Two more woman passed me during the first mile, but by the time I hit the halfway point I had decided that I really wanted to finish this race in the top 3.

During mile 2 I squeaked ahead of the 3rd place woman. I tried to look really strong while doing this, telling myself it would psych her out; no idea of that worked but it helped boost my confidence! As I began mile 3 I could see the 2nd place woman quite a ways ahead of me. At that point I got super corny and said to myself “I can either be the hunter or the hunted,” meaning that I could either run mile 3 like I was going to chase down that 2nd place woman, or I could run it scared and worried about who might be coming up on me.  I didn’t think I could actually catch 2nd place, but I chose the more optimistic approach and, for mile 3, I became the HUNTER!

And hunt I did. Ever so slowly I gained on her, inch by inch, turn by turn. I focused on her back and pushed with every stride. With a half mile to go she was still too far ahead for me to entertain the possibility of overtaking her, but I kept hunting. Finally, with the finish line in sight, I had pulled within 50 feet. There were two walkers on course and I made my move around them, swinging wide to the right and zooming towards the finish. I never looked to see how the other runner responded, I just sprinted as hard as I could.

Just before crossing the finish line (in 2nd place!!) I noticed the clock, ticking from 21:59 to 22:00. Wait, what??! I had been so focused on hunting that I had lost all sense of time. It was not until that exact moment that I realized I was on track to PR by nearly a minute. I bounded over the finish line and stopped my watch at 22:03, 51 seconds faster than my April PR!

Now, I have to admit that an hour later I learned that the runner I passed did technically beat me by chip time, but the race awards were given out based on gun time, so I think it’s fair to blog-brag about my 2nd place honors, don’t you? 😉

At the beer festival with our neighbor, Bob. (Photo by Roe!)

Following the race Matt and I met up with our neighbors at the craft beer festival portion of the event and, after a few hours of good beer and company, we returned home and I got right to work on this long-overdue post. It feels fantastic to finally catch up on my race recaps! Watch out world… I’m back and I am the HUNTER!  (I couldn’t resist!) 😄 Continue reading

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At last… My Broad Street Run Recap!

You can read about the days before the race here: Broad Street Run Part 1: The Pre-Race Build Up

BROAD STREET PART TWO: The Race!!

Me and my Broad Street Medal!

Going into Sunday’s 10 mile Broad Street Run I had three goals:

  1. Stay calm, slow and relaxed during the first mile. My Broad Street mantra: You can’t win a 10 mile race in the first mile, but you sure can lose it by going out WAY too fast!! (Going out too fast is my specialty)  😄
  2. Run faster than my wild-guess seed time of 1:25:00 (I had never actually run 10 miles without stopping before so I didn’t really know what I could do.)
  3. HAVE FUN!!!!

When the first runners began the race at 8AM I couldn’t even see the starting line. I was wedged between thousands of people in the green corral on Somerville Avenue. The corral had rapidly filled up in the 40 minutes before the race, with my personal space shrinking from having room to sit and stretch on the pavement to having barely enough space to take off my long-sleeved throwaway shirt. (I literally could not extend my arms out when I tried to take my shirt off due to the crowds… and then I had no where to throw it away so I just dropped it at my feet!) This wasn’t a problem though because everyone around me was just as excited and happy to run the race and we were all eager to get to the start line!

Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Organizing a race for 40,000 people is no easy task. I was in the green corral. Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Finally at 8:17 I shuffled through the start with my corral-mates. At that point I had been standing on pavement for over an hour and my lower legs and feet felt super tight. Almost immediately we passed a church congregation cheering us on with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Pope (I did a double-take!) and I settled in at a leisurely pace, being careful not to weave, dodge, or otherwise use up energy trying to move around people. I just went with the flow. The first mile beeped by… 8:51. WAY too slow!! Whoops. Well, at least I met Goal #1!! 🙂

With my first mile behind me my legs had started to loosen up and I picked up the pace a little. City Hall came into view (and was SO pretty in the morning sunlight!!) and miles 2-5 ticked by easily and surprisingly evenly in 8:09, 8:14, 8:15, 8:08. Before I knew it I was passing Girard Avenue and the crowds along the street were increasing with every step.

The crowds are such a special part of this race. Thousands of spectators lined Broad Street, with the bulk of them (as far as I remember, at least) packed into the 2 miles between Fairmount and Washington Avenues. The energy was amazing!!! People had funny signs, little kids were holding out their hands for high-fives, bands were playing on the sidewalks and City Hall kept looming closer and closer.

Miles 6 and 7 flew by. I zoomed around city hall (the only turns on the course) and got caught up in the excitement. My splits were something like 8:31, 8:19 (the tall buildings messed with my garmin a bit) but these miles were just a blur. There were so many people cheering and I was having a blast!!!

After City Hall I happened to look up at a street sign and realized that I was already at Catherine Street. Matt was planning to stand a block south at Christian so I started scanning the crowds for his green t-shirt. It’s a good thing I was looking for him because he had no idea what I was wearing (despite helping me with my flat selfie the day before 😀) and he didn’t see me. I spotted him without a problem and yelled a quick hello to Matt, his sister, her husband and their new baby boy before continuing south on Broad.

After hitting the 7 mile point I began to feel tired. The tall buildings and giant crowds of center city faded away and the course was straight, flat and in the direct sun. I had been grabbing sips of water at most water stops and dumping the rest of the cup over my head (definitely was a surprise when I did that with a gatorade by mistake! 😁) so I felt hydrated, but my left hip was getting tired. Still, I “only” had 3 miles left… I race that all the time! I pushed onward, focusing more on my music and less on the dwindling crowds. Miles 8-9 ticked by in 8:28 and 8:34.

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

In the last mile I finally passed by the stadiums and the Navy Yard sign swam into sight. Before the race everyone warned me that I’d still have 0.25 miles to go once I crossed through the Navy Yard gate so I knew that in theory, but MAN was that the longest quarter mile EVER!!! I just kept moving forward and finally, blissfully, passed under the giant Broad Street Run finish arch.  Woohoo!!!

Broad Street Stats

I completed the race in 1:23:54, a full minute faster than my seed time. My first mile (8:51) was by far my slowest and I finished strong with a final mile split of 8:25. Overall, I averaged a pace of 8:23 over 10 miles… a feat that I never thought I would be able to pull off. I was tired, hot, and very, very happy at the end of the race.  😄

6838th place never felt so good...

6863rd place never felt so good…!

All in all this was a very rewarding, exciting experience and I would definitely consider running Broad Street again. I loved getting dropped off at the start (thanks Matt!!!) and I think that I fed off the energy of the crowds rather than being overwhelmed by them. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to warm up, stretch, or go to the bathroom in the hour before the race started, but having the chance to run 10 miles down Broad Street with 40K runners and huge crowd support made it all worth it in the end!

Miles since last post: 63.1
Days since last post: 13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 618.2

 Past Races:

•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26)
•  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), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [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) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  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) [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) [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) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Broad Street Run Recap Part 1: The Build Up!

Last Sunday I ran my biggest, longest, straightest, and most exciting race to date… Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run!!  I wanted to write a recap immediately following the 10 mile race but life (aka crazy-busy days at work!!) got in the way of my blogging time and I’m just now getting a chance to share my Broad Street story.  Without further ado, here it is! (Well, half of it, at least!)

BROAD STREET PART ONE: The Pre-Race Build Up!

course-map2014 for mini appWith over 40,000 runners, the Broad Street Run is the nation’s largest 10 miler and its straight, net downhill route is one of the fastest courses in the county.  The point-to-point race starts in the Olney neighborhood of north Philadelphia and follows Broad Street south through the city, wrapping counter-clockwise around City Hall at around the 5.7 mile mark and eventually ending in south Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.

I have many friends and family members who have raced Broad Street (most notably my Uncle Rory who is one of six runners to complete it 36 years in a row!) and they all have their own Broad Street stories and opinions.  Sure, it’s insanely crowded, the port-a-potty lines are 45 minutes long, the logistics of parking your car 10 miles from the starting line can be challenging… but everyone agrees, if you’re a runner in the Philadelphia area you HAVE to run Broad Street at least once.  It’s a running spectacle, an opportunity to see the city from a unique perspective, a chance to run with 39,999 people for 10 miles down a single road… it’s a Philadelphia tradition!

I completely fell for the sentimental aspect of the race and decided in January that I definitely wanted to try to run Broad Street.  I signed up for the lottery (that’s right, they capped the race at 40,000 runners!) and found out that I got into the race in February.  I spent March and April increasing mileage, racing 5Ks and trail 10Ks and doing weekly speedwork on the track.  By the time the first weekend in May rolled around I felt relaxed, prepared and really, REALLY excited to run Broad Street!

Matt and I went to the Broad Street Expo at the Philly Convention Center on Friday night to pick up my race bib.  We wandered around a bit, I bought a tech shirt from my favorite running store, and then we enjoyed a nice Italian dinner at restaurant close to our house before calling it a night.

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

I kept Saturday similarly laid back, just doing a short shake out run on the treadmill and taking a flat selfie (a la Salt!) that Piper photobombed.  Then I took a nice lavender and epsom salt bath while reading bloggers’ recaps of prior Broad Street runs online.  I was excited and ready to go!

Broad Street Flat Selfie

My alarm went off at 3:50AM Sunday morning and, for once, I got to wake Piper up!  I enjoyed a nice breakfast of cereal, peanut butter toast and coffee and then read a book while stretching and foam rolling on the bedroom floor.  I woke Matt up at 5:40 and we were on the road at 6AM sharp.

Because Broad Street is a point-to-point course, runners typically park their cars in South Philly at the stadiums and then take a very crowded subway ride 10 miles north to the start.  This is, according to “everyone,” part of the Broad Street experience, but it’s one that I skipped on Sunday.  Matt generously agreed to drop me off at the starting line and it couldn’t have been easier.  We took local roads in from the western suburbs and, even with a stop for Matt to grab some coffee, we made it there in about 40 minutes.  I hopped out of the car and immediately found a huge bank of port-a-potties with only 10 or so people waiting – perfect!

By 7:20AM I was in my corral and ready  to go.  After months of training and build up I was just 40 minutes away from my first 10 mile race!!!

Read on… BROAD STREET PART TWO:  THE RACE!!