A few Sundays ago I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia half-marathon. I ran this race last year for the first time and it didn’t go so well. I was dealing with a hamstring/piriformis injury and it made it hard to run fast. So I was hoping now that I had a sense of the course, my injury under control, and another year of training under my belt, I would kick some major a**. That unfortunately did not happen…
During the week leading up to the race I made sure to scale back my running, eat right, and tried to get as much sleep as possible. Getting enough sleep is usually a bit of a problem for me, but I’m working on this!
Monday started off with an 8 mile run. Tuesday followed with a morning speed workout with some of my Central Park Track Club (CPTC) teammates since I couldn’t make it to our evening track practice. We met at the Great Lawn in Central Park for some 800s. Our coach said that people who were running the Philly half could do 4-6 800s. I felt pretty good during the workout, but my legs were starting to feel a little fatigued so I only did 4. I figured I’d quit while I was ahead instead of pushing through 2 more and upsetting my legs. I totaled 7 miles for the day. Wednesday I ran 6 miles easy miles.
On a side note, Wednesday evening I had the privilege of attending the Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) Fashion Week after-party at Son Cubanos in Chelsea. I went with my friend Emily and we met up with Michelle. What a fun night-free wine, a free Oiselle t-shirt, and I got to meet some great peeps Ashley, Danielle, Beth, Abby, Meggie, Sarah Lesko, Kate Grace, and Lauren Fleshman! Meeting Lauren was the highlight of my night! She is so down to earth and awesome!
Me and Lauren Fleshman.
Let’s get back to it, shall we?! I took Thursday and Friday completely off. Rest days can be tough mentally, but I really wanted my legs to be fresh and it felt good to just relax. Friday night I took the train to Philly and met my brother Andrew and his fiancé Emily for dinner. It was great to see them! After dinner I took the train to Paoli, a town outside of Philly to stay with my friend Brooke and her fiancé Ruku. I was honored to be their first house guest and they were wonderful hosts!
Saturday morning I went for an easy 3.5 mile shakeout run around their neighborhood. The weather was beautiful and my legs felt fresh! I was feeling excited for the race. Brooke and Ruku took me to Target because I forgot to pack some
essentials underwear, oops! After Target, I took the train back to Philly, met Grace and checked into the hotel. Then we went to the race expo where we ran into a bunch of teammates and other friends from NYC.
Grace and I “breaking” the tape
After the expo we went back to the hotel, took a nap, then met some of our CPTC teammates for dinner at Serafina. We went there for dinner before the race last year too! It’s a good restaurant choice because they have gluten-free pasta for me, but my food came out wrong for the second year in a row. Oh well, they fixed it and all was fine. When we finished we went back to the hotel, laid out our race outfits, packed our bags, and went to sleep. I was surprised that I actually slept pretty well. Usually before races I’m up a million times, but not this time.
I woke up race morning feeling good. I didn’t even feel like I was racing. We ate breakfast in the room then Grace and I met some other teammates to drop off our baggage and do a 2 mile warm up. My legs felt good and I felt like I was in a good place mentally. I decided not to put too much pressure on myself so I wasn’t gunning for a pr, but rather was trying to feel good and run a strong race. I was hoping to run a 1:33 something, which seemed very doable based on my training.
I started off the race with my teammates Megan and Meredith. Our plan was to run the first 3 miles around 7:15 pace. We were successful, but with all the turns at the beginning of the race the effort felt harder than it should have. Once we hit mile 4 and the road became relatively straight and flat, we began to drop our pace a little to somewhere between 7:08-7:10. I was trying not to worry about pace and tried to focus on feel. A little after mile 6, Meredith pulled ahead, but I was still running with Megan. I wasn’t feeling bad, but I wasn’t feeling great either. Shortly after we reached mile 7, Megan picked up the pace and I tried to follow suit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay with her, but I kept trying to focus on putting one foot in front of the other and running my race. This worked for a few miles, but after I hit mile 10, I just sort of fell apart. I’m still not really sure what happened, but it became harder to pick up my legs and my miles became slower and slower. I used positive self talk and repeated my mantras to get me through the rest of the race, but I felt terrible. There seemed to be a disconnect between my mind and my legs and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make it better. After what seemed like an eternity, I crossed the finish line in 1:37:11, over 4 minutes slower than my pr (1:32:41).
After crossing the finish line I met up with a few teammates to add on the 5 miles I needed to get to 20 miles for the day, which was what my marathon plan called for. When we were done, we met some teammates and relaxed outside on the lawn. Even though I was pretty bummed, it was nice to be with my teammates and to celebrate their successes!
CPTC in Philly
Grace and I went back to the hotel, got our stuff ready, then went to brunch at Marathon Grille.
Tofu scramble with french fries! Mmm…
As we drove back to NYC, I couldn’t stop thinking about what went wrong during the race. Though I wasn’t trying to pr as I stated earlier, I definitely did not have the strong race I was hoping for and I was really frustrated! I thought I did all the right things to prepare for the race, my hamstring injury is better, and my training has been going well. But, that’s the thing about running, anything can happen on any given day no matter how much you prepare for a race. Sometimes races go well and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you know the reason why and sometimes you’re left pondering. For whatever reason (I still haven’t figured out why), Philly wasn’t my race, but as a good friend reminded me, my main goal is the New York City Marathon and that’s what I need to focus on. So I gave myself 2 days to be upset and then I put Philly behind me. I have much bigger things to focus on, like running a marathon in 4 1/2 weeks…eek!
How do you move on when a race doesn’t go the way you expect it to? Leave your comments below.