This Sunday was the Philly Distance Run. This was my 3rd time running the PDR and my 3rd HM.
My goals going in were to PR and run 1:15.
My wife also ran this race as her first HM with a local friend - Alexis. Both got their goal with and both PR'd with a 1:55. I am so excited and proud of them both!
This race was not going to be a goal race for me. That said, I hurt my back early last week on a work all-nighter and ended up trying to balance enough rest to get my back in shape with a couple fast workouts to be ready for a HM.
Based on last years race, I also had some sub-goals - I wanted to get out quicker than I have in the past, stay focused through the middle miles, and get into a pack for the last 3-4 miles.
My plan this year was to go out at low 5:40 pace and give myself the chance to run a 1:15 low and have a chance at a 14 if everything went well. I went out on plan - 5k around 17:40 and 10k at 35:30.
Around mile 3 or 4 I picked out a guy about 30 seconds ahead of me that I knew from some local 5ks. His stride is unmistakeable. I made it my mission to keep my eyes locked on him and try to reel him in over the next couple miles. Last year I struggled to keep focus in miles 6-8.
The plan worked and around mile 8 I caught the guy. Looking at my splits now, it was as much him slowing down as it was me keeping up. We said our hellos and ran together a bit. He asked how I was doing and by 8 I knew I was getting tight.
I hung with a decent-sized pack from 8-10. 10 mile was about 57:30 - about 25 seconds off my 10 mile PR. A cool moment - as we came up the hill towards the Falls Bridge I looked off to my right and coming off the bridge and down Kelly Drive was the lead pack, and in the mile or so I could see between us all, all the chase packs. Very cool.
At the 10 mile mark I knew that I would need a sub-17:30 5k to get close to 1:14 high. With the rising sun and the heat, I was beginning to cramp up (hamstrings, back, shoulders), and I knew my chances weren't great. As the last 5k played out it became a battle to hang on for a PR. Every mile went by felt a little slower and while I knew I had some time in the bank, I knew it was slipping away.
That said I was running as fast as I could. Between the heat and the fast early pace, it was taking it's toll. I saw a lot of low 1:teens guys ripping off shirts, a few dropping out and a few slowing to a walk. That was surprising.
I was dry-mouthed and couldn't get enough water down in the water stops to change that.
Unlike last year, there wasn't a lot of horse-trading in the last few miles. I was in a small pack of guys that strung out as we got close to the finish and didn't swap any places for the last mile or 2.
Finish was 1:15:50 - a PR by about 25 seconds.
Overall I was really happy with the results. I ran according to plan - given better conditions I think there was a little more there, but it was easily the hardest I've run a HM.
My splits were: 5:40,5:40,5:44,5:42,4:56,6:33,(mile 5 was obviously off so probably 5:44, 5:45), 5:46, 5:49, 5:47, 5:49, 5:55, 5:54, 5:55
So what did I learn? Well, I ran the perfect race plan for 2007. :) I knew it was warming up faster than I thought by mile 1 or 2 but kept with the plan. By the time the 10K came around at that pace - there weren't many options left - I was committed. It was a struggle to hang on and PR but I was glad i did.
Overall: 1:15:50, 118th overall, 15th AG.
The PDR has always been a fun race - it's a great fun, fast race. It was great to see so many KR people there.
Some photos from Jen's husband Matt:
Me at mile 5 or so, feeling pretty good:
Then again, around 20K. As Matt said, I looked a little better at 5 miles: