As you can tell, my confidence has grown in the past month as has the strength in my running. Some have stated that marathon training makes you slower and the like. Well, if you came across this to read that the statement is true then please move along. I have just taken that statement in the past month and smashed into the pavement somewhere by the Art Museum in Philly. Today marked the first time I have taken down a PR in about 3 years!!! I forgot how good it feels to reap the benefits of hard work.
Anyway, this weekend I headed to Philly for the holiday. It just so happened the Philadelphia Distance Run coincided with the holiday. Perfect! I've run this race 4 times before and it's such a treat. My dad's friend has run every single race since it started and at the 30th anniversary made them VIPs. This meant he got 4 VIP passes to share with friends. Lucky for me my dad is good friends with him and I get to reap the benefits! Benefits include hanging in the same area as the elites pre-race (hello Ryan hall and Catherine the Great!), easy access to portapotties (including a sink to wash your hands) and an awesome spread of food post-race!
Before we get to the race, nyflygirl came down and got to enjoy the perks as well. We picked her up on Saturday and headed down to Philly to pick up our numbers at the Convention Center. One thing I am VERY disappointed about with the race is how overly corporate it has gotten. They actually CHARGED money to track runners this year. Ridiculous. It's one thing to force every runner to schlep to pick up their number but now you won't even let people know where their friends and family members are without shelling out more money? PLEASE! </rant> Anyway, the expo was pretty "eh" which made the wallets happy. Plus eye on the prize! My number was interesting, just take a look at those first three digits;)
Saturday night was spent carboloading up Rosh Hashanah style:) Chicken soup, turkey, meatballs, eggplant, greenbeans, mashed potatos:) So delicious and made me super ready for Sunday.
Sunday and 5am the alarm cries out on my phone. I had taken everything out the night before (old school TRD singlet, red shorts and Elixirs) so all I had to do was throw everything on. At 5am, you can't think about doing much else. I head downstairs and my dad tells me he hasn't heard movement from nyflygirl's room! I head in and sure enough, lights out and fast asleep until I flick the light on. I've never seen anyone dart out of bed at 5:15 as fast as she did! It was very cartoon like. 10 minutes later we were spreading White Chocolate Wonderful Peanutbutter from PB&Co on H&H Bagels. Out the door we go to meet my dad's friends to head down to the race! We get to the parking lot and my dad, being dad, sees his friend and sets the car next to him and parks. One itty-bitty issue. It was an isle, not a parking spot! Ha.
Upon arrival in Philly, we head to the start area and the VIP check-in. I saw Ryan Hall, Josh Cox, Catherine, etc. It was AMAZING! I had a guy that holds the AMERICAN record for so many distances right there. So cool! Anyway, now that I'm over my gushing of awesome runners, pre-race consisted of some tunes to get the head ready for the race. I had a very good vibe for this race which again is something I've lacked the past few years. Pre-game tunes consisted of playlists from now and 2005. I'm not superstitious:)
Around 7:20 we parted ways with my dad and his friends to get to the start. It was a gigantic clusterf***. Sure, they had seeded corrals and waves but it seemed that, unlike the NYRR, no one was really checking. Plus, 5 minutes before the start people were POURING into the corral to the point you could hardly move. I like that the NYRR says: you're late? To the back you go! These people know better as they've run more than a fair share of races. Tsk.
Nyflygirl and I were in the 3rd corral and you could tell we were both focused for this. As the time got closer, there wasn't a lot of talking but focusing going on. We both had our own race plans which is the way it should be. I knew what I wanted for my A plan which was a sub 1:40. I knew it would be tough but figured what the hell? I have 5 weeks to go. Plenty of time to give it a go today.
The wave start was fantastic as as the horn went I was able to get a quick release and immediately hit my stride. I knew within the first quarter mile on the Parkway it was going to be my day. A perfect day: sunny with temps in the low 50s to start the race. I forgot what it felt like to have perfect racing conditions (thanks, flygirl - remember this for the 25th). Immediately flygirl pulled way ahead and I had a feeling she was going to have an amazing day! As for me, my legs settled right into pacemaster zone. They just clicked and it didn't feel like all out effort but not easy. Just a good pace to fall into for 13.1.
As we hit the streets of Center City, I continued to just cruise. I was in the zone. People around me didn't matter. I just ran to my own drum and continued to cruise as some would speed up and some slowed down, I maintained. As we hit close to mile 5, I saw my dad and just said "I'm going to go for it!" I hadn't told him what my goals were but he knew what I was after. I could tell by the thumbs up and huge smile on his face. He's used to me not all out racing and giving it all I've got - especially the past few years. Again, I must say it felt so damn good to let it fly.
Onto the west drive we headed for the loop which I've become so familiar with. I LOVE this part of the race. I can totally just cruise and there's no turns to slow you down. I always seem to negative split this race because of this portion. No exception today. Around mile 10, I ran into a Front Runner that was doing her first PDR. I was hoping she'd latch on and we'd be able to use eachother to race towards the elusive 1:40. No dice so I just continued rolling along. As we hit the boathouses, my legs were feeling like toast and I could not wait to see that finishline. As that feeling hit, I reminded myself that this is what will happen 5 weeks from today. It's going to hurt but you're going to want it more. Keep at it. I knew sub-1:40 wasn't going to happen unless I ran a sub 7 mile but I knew I was due for a HUGE new shiny PR. Nothing to get upset about. As I hit the Parkway and the hairsharp 180 degree turn for the finish I saw my dad again and gave every ounce of energy pretending it was October 25. Crossing the finish line it felt amazing - 1:40:39!!! Holy crap. I didn't just tear up my PR, I took it and pounded it into the pavement in Philly. What an amazing day and amazing feeling to run well again. Two consecutive races, two amazing efforts.
As I met up with nyflygirl, I was so curious to hear how she did. I KNEW she kicked major a**. Sure enough, she did with a 1:37. Wowzers. You go girl! As she enjoyed a few beers, I went for a mimosa and cookie. YAY we earned that and then some.
Now, take a look at my splits:
Looking at them, it looks like I lost my 1:40 pretty early with the 7:45s. But ya know, it's ok. My "A" goal was to PR. "B" goal was sub 1:45. "C" goal was sub 1:47. Happy! Now it's time to focus on getting to the "match" portion of the training. It's so close and now is the time to keep things together and stay healthy. I'm really pumped from this performance and now know what I am capable of. The plan is to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing because it seems to be working just fine!