The week after a race is always tough. You’re coming down off of the highs of training and race day. You’re often sore and tired, and, if you’re anything like me, all you want is carbs, liquids, and sleep.
This week, in particular, has been brutal, but before we get there, we’re going back to race day!
Race day starts with one of my running quirks:
I always take a hot bath while sipping my first glass of water before a race.
My theory is that the hot water starts to warm my muscles up. In reality, I’m sure it does nothing, but that’s why its a quirk.
I made my new race day or long run breakfast: Warm Picky Bar with sliced bananas and a cup of coffee
Karen spent the night because I live so close to the race start, and it took an extra hour out of her race morning, so we chatted all morning while we got ready, and were pretty confident in our outfits, if not our running abilities.
While I live close to the race start, we were pretty far back in the corrals, and the set up for the start was a mess. It was really difficult to get through the front areas, and it wasn’t obvious where the corrals actually were, because the actual start to each corral was not where the stationary signs were positioned.
We did catch the Oiselle team ladies warming up.
Our corral ended up in a pretty great photo op location. There’s nothing like putting those scenes from Rocky in your head before a race.
After what seemed like forever, it was our turn to cross the start line.
In usual style for me, we went out a little bit faster than we should have, but kept with our planned 3:1 run/walk ratio. While my goal was to get a big PR, this was also just a training run for our Marathon training, so sticking to our plan was important. The first few miles were filled with spectators as we were running through the streets of Center City Philadelphia and the day was perfect with low humidity, mild temps, and sun shining.
As we hit mile 3, the first water stop, there were tables upon tables that were empty. No cups, no water, no volunteers. This meant that the couple of tables with all of those things were overwhelmed with runners, slowing everyone down more than normal. Unfortunately, for those of us who weren’t in the front half of the runners, this was the story over and over again. It’s disappointing that a race this big wouldn’t think about everyone.
We continued chatting and running, planning out our Fall, discussing possible WDW Marathon costumes, making fun of people we saw who looked ridiculous. You know, normal race stuff.
By about mile 6, we were on Kelly Drive, which is one of my favorite places to run, but instead of the trail, we were on the street. That road is horrifically slanted, and it started to kill my knees. Karen helped me to stay strong and slog on.
We crossed over the bridge that Chris had warned in his race preview would feel like the homestretch but was not even mile 9.
Pretty much right after that picture is where I started to crumble. My left knee and IT band were so tight that every step meant a stabbing sensation down my leg. I came very close to tears, but I didn’t want to give up (at least not there). I was outrageously thirsty (remember the hydration station issues? They continued, and got further apart that last few miles. Not optimal).
By mile 10 and 11, even the spectators were annoying to me. Although there were some groups of ladies who were so loud and high pitched, I’m honestly surprised no one attempted to run them over. Philly sports fans don’t discriminate by sport. Clearly.
I struggled those last few miles.
If it weren’t for Karen, I would have given up. She pushed me, and reminded me we could still hit my goal time, and so we went. I tried to push super hard at the end, but lost it, but ended up finishing with a big PR.
When we crossed, live tracking told us we crossed just under 2:30 (2:29:43 to be exact) but by the end of the day, it listed me as 2:30:54. I’m annoyed by the wide variation there, but those first 3 digits are still 2:30, it counts as 2:30. And it still means that I PR’d by 5 minutes, and completed my 7th half marathon faster than my 1st! I beat my Chicago time by more than 6 minutes. I was excited, and exhausted.
I was so tired I didn’t properly follow my recovery plan, and by crashing, I let my body’s weakened state fall victim to a cold. It took me down for most of the week, and I’m still recovering a week later.
Did anybody race this weekend? How did it go?
Bad race organization stories (Emma??)
Do you have a running buddy or sole sister who has gotten you through a tough race?