Sunday, November 22, 2009

Philly Half - Race Review

So, as you might know, I wasn't exactly properly trained for this half. But, since I had paid (and I paid as missed the PDR in September) I decided to do it anyway. I picked up my packet on Friday (along with packets for three friends - I looked a bit like a nut on the subway with four race bags!) and was a little saddened. I love the atmosphere of expos for big races - so many people, so much fun gear. And it is hard to go into a race knowing I won't be trying for my best.

But what happened this fall happened, and onto Sunday I went. After twenty minutes of circling for parking with my two NJ friends, we found a spot between two food trucks at the community college and walked to the start. 15 semi-stressful minutes later, we found the gear trucks and I was able to hand off bag #4 to another NJ friend! I got in the port-a-potty line, but then the start announcements began and I abandoned it.

It took about 15 minutes to move all the way up to the start. But off we went. Pretty thick crowd, lots of excitement. But, I still needed to pee! (Wasn't just on line for fun!) Three port-a-pottie stops later, I found one with only 3 people in I only lost 3 or 4 minutes for the stop. And off I went again.

I hit a grove at about a 10 min pace, about a minute slower than most of my halfs and over 90 seconds off my PR pace. I felt pretty good until about mile 4, when my hamstrings started getting tight. We were running all over Center City, so it was relatively entertaining, though I imagine I would have been more amused and remember more details if I wasn't a (more or less) local.

Around then, I started planning when I'd change to a walk-run plan. I was thinking 5 min run/1 min walk intervals. I decided I'd start after the half way point, which is roughly around the bridge crossing into West Philly. But then I decided I didn't want to run through Drexel with walk intervals on the off change one of my college kids saw me (I get a little irrational in races). They were all headed to their championships at this point, but I did pass their Club Sports Coordinator!

Somewhere in this region, my hip started hurting. I was considering starting the intervals when I hit an aid station, and the water and short walk to drink it motivated me along. I told myself that around mile 10, the 3/4 point, I'd start the run walk intervals. Then we hit the park, and this big hill. I assume it has a name, but I don't recall. It was long, but not as steep as I remembered from last year, so I somehow powered through it.

By this point, I was hungry. One of the side effects from poor training is a lack of fueling knowledge. Lucky me, the race volunteers were handing out Gu at the top! Too bad it was espresso. I did force down half a packet, and it helped.

Around this point, I starting thinking, 5k left, 5k left. Not exactly true, and when I hit the bottom of the downhill, my hip pain migrated to my back, and I pretty much hit a wall (who knew such existed in a half?). The downhill leading up to the mile 10 marker was a bit rejuvenating though, so I made it to mile 11 before actually beginning the 5 min/1 min intervals! Not bad for someone who's last real long run was 8 miles 4 weeks ago. The last couple of miles was tough with burning legs, but I made it. I even had a decent kick at the end.

According to my watch, I snuck in under 2:15, which is by far my worst half (of those I've run - Princess Charming and I run/walked a couple over the last year amid injuries). But, given the circumstances, a 10:16 pace is ok. And, I am telling myself it is a training run for my Jan. half - I PRd at the 3M in 2008, at 1:52. I'd love to beat that...


  1. i think thats a great time under the circumstances! Can't wait to hear how you do on the next!

  2. You made it a lot farther (and a lot faster) than I ever would have!