I know I’ve run 2 races already, but this one just felt different. Honestly, everything about it was just good, right from jumpstreet. I finally have gotten the chance to go into the race with a solid regiment of training (unlike race #2) and a decent base of fitness and lack of first time jitters (unlike race #1).
It was just me and my awesome cousin Chris running this race. When I came across it, he was the first person I’ve thought of to reach out to and hit up to sign up with, because quite frankly he’s one of the biggest “phillies guys” I know, and we had been talking several times about running a race together. He’s the kind of guy who as soon as he found out what I was doing, he reached out to me immediately to offer support and see what he could do to help me out in my cause. (so as a result, all the pics below are of Chris and me). Thanks again for running with me today Chris, you really are the man.
Ok, onto the race. First a few random thoughts: 1) Like I said, I felt really, really good going in. 2) It was a crappy, freezing misty day but I couldn’t have given a shit. 3) Awesome as though it may be, it was a little weird just because this was the only time i’ve been down at the stadiums that early in the morning (with the exception of Wing Bowl**, which is quite possibly the polar opposite of what was going on today. Consequently, it could also be said that this is the first time I’ve been down there that early and sober)
Even through the cold, we got ourselves down to the stadiums, situated, got into the corral and ready to go. This was easily the biggest and most exciting race I’ve been a part of yet. 5,000 people does not sound all that big on paper (relatively speaking), but when I looked back and saw a huge sea of red t-shirt and spandex wearing runners, it looked pretty damn big alright. So after some local girl who was on American Idol a bunch of years ago sings the national anthem and the standard “thanks to all our sponsors” speeches, the gun goes off, and Chris and I set out. The course was super flat, and entirely familiar (due to extraordinary amounts of time spent tailgating before countless philly sports games in the past). I’m not sure if it was the size of the crowd, the adrenaline pumping, or the training kicking in, (or possibly a combination of everything) but things were just moving along great today. I held a great pace and was running strong. I do need to further improve on my pacing and also crowd control. I bumped into a ton of people. If that was you…sorry. I actually was keeping a close eye on my pace and was giving myself the green light to keep up the much faster pace, and then dialed it back to my normal pace when I felt like I had to. My goal was to run the entire race with no walking, and I just made sure that I had enough stamina to finish the entire race. You know what? It worked. Not only did I have enough in the tank to finish out the race and not walk at all, but I also had enough to sprint out the final stretch. When I uploaded the run from my watch, the fastest part of my run was that final stretch. Makes me feel pretty good that I was able to kick out the last .15 mile, and it was the fastest part of the whole damn run.
When I saw the clock at the finish line, it was pretty awesome. The realization that I had actually made some real progress in the way of time was fantastic. The one thing I really do love about this running stuff is not the running itself per se, but more the fact that I have consistently surprised myself with what I can do. It has (and continues to) do amazing things for my self-confidence. Makes me feel like I’m really accomplishing something here. Hell Yeah.
The “cool down” lap on the field was pretty awesome as well, they held us to the warning track but it was still a hell of a lot closer than I will ever get to being on the field at Citizen’s Bank Park (until I do this 5K again next year, that is).
Ok, now that this is over and I have finally hit my goals, it’s time to turn my sights to bigger and better. I have one more 5K scheduled for next month, the UCP 5K, and then at the end of May comes the Kennett Run 10K. As long as I keep up my training and stick to the plan, I will be ready and good to go by the time the race gets here. I’m feeling great and very anxious to keep it up and keep on moving forward.
I’m off to bed, feeling great and looking forward to a nice little sunday spent with Jenn and Tessa. Sunday with the girls…does not get much better than that.
Catch you all soon.
**For those of you reading this who are not Philly natives, the Wing Bowl is an annual event held by a local sports talk radio station that is a huge hot wing eating contest. It’s always held the friday before the super bowl and it routinely sells out the Wells Fargo Center. (the stadium that serves as home to both the Philadelphia Flyers and Sixers) Imagine 30,000 very drunk spectators all cramming into a stadium to watch 30 competitive eaters go to town on an ungodly number of hot wings for insanely nice cash and prizes…all at 7 am so it can be broadcast on the radio stations morning show. There’s SO much more I could go into about it, but if you really want to know, just google “wing bowl” and you’ll see what I mean.
…anyway, again, have a great rest of the weekend and I’ll catch you all next week.