it occurred to me last night as i was preparing for another road race that i have some really strange habits, or superstitions of sorts, when it comes to race day. for instance:
- i’ve worn the same sports bra for every race this year. it’s because i know it works. and it’s my favorite. but i can’t imagine running a race in anything else.
- i will ultimately bring way too much pre/post race food. i always overpack for everything, so why should this be any different? this morning as i was UNpacking my bag, i discovered a larabar, a clif bar, extra sport beans, and a TJ’s fiberful bar. seriously, self?
- i will triple-check that i have everything, because i’m OCD.
- i will also go over everything the night before – course map, directions, parking situations, confirmation email, etc. i freak out A LOT and having this added stress the day-of is just NOT FUN.
- i ALWAYS have an english muffin/toast/bagel with peanut butter on it for breakfast. always. this is just for races though. when i was training for the half, i would always have steel cut oats with agave before my long runs.
and now, the recap.
this morning i ran the cooper-norcross run the bridge 10k here in philadelphia. i’d heard about this race a while ago, but didn’t commit to it until i found out one of my twitter/daily mile friends was running it as well. i was really just excited about the prospect of running over the ben franklin bridge! and then i remembered it has big hills, not my strongest area of running. oh well – challenge accepted!
OH! i failed to mention that i’ve been sick for the past 2 weeks, so i’ve barely trained. i was really going to rely on my base for this race, but even that was dwindling. so going into this, i was especially worried.
the race itself was very well organized. packet pickup was easy, they had a bag drop, some worthwhile sponsor booths, and even a post-race brunch! the only downside was that because all of the roads closed early prior to the race, i had to get there 1.5 hours early and then stand around in the cold. i met up with christa, and we walked to the start, on the new jersey side of the bridge. oh – i thought of another downside. i really think they should have had corrals of some sort. the race was decent, around 3000 or 4000 people. it would have benefited a lot of people to start strategically rather than in one giant mass, but oh well. can’t change it now!
we started up the bridge pretty slowly, averaging a 10:30 mile for most of it. that was pretty much my plan, just to gauge the incline and see if it was as difficult as i thought. luckily, it wasn’t! but we were still suck behind slow people, so it kind of sucked. but the downhill came quickly, and pretty soon we were 1.5 miles down! it was at this point that the elite runners were running past us on the other side, which was cool and encouraging, and everyone cheered for them.
the downhill was quick, and then we took the next uphill pretty fast. i couldn’t believe that the mile 2 split was something under 9:00, going up that big hill! the next downhill i could tell i was going too fast – my watch was having a hissy fit (i forgot to turn off the training beeps or whatever…oops). the end of the bridge part of the run was 3 miles, so we were already halfway done!
the rest of the course was pretty flat, and there were a lot of turns, which i think slowed us and a lot of other people down at points, especially when we’d go from 10 people across to 3 on a skinny sidewalk. i did love running along the waterfront and seeing the big ships – i wish it had lasted longer!
before i knew it, mile 5 came and went, and i knew i’d finish around 57:00 or so, which was ultimately my goal. i knew anything would be a PR, but i always have those personal goals that i’m OCD about getting. it’s too bad that i fell apart at 5.25 and had to mentally tell myself it would only be 9 minutes (or less!) and then it would be over. i kept thinking this with every step. it worked. i made it to the finish, at 56:33. but it came with a price – i wanted to um, toss some cookies right after i crossed the finish. luckily i was able to suppress that feeling after i got some more water in me.
overall, it was a fantastic race. great weather, a great running partner, and an easier course that i was expecting! i’ll probably do it again next year – it’s not every day they close down a major bridge for a bunch of nutty runners!
edited to add: upcoming races! come cheer me on, or run with me!