Finishing Time: 1:53:35 – my PR (Personal Record)!
Training: For two to three months, 1 short run during the week of 5 miles; 1 LSD run on the weekends (long slow distance) of 10+ miles; and 3 varying types of interval training exercises designed by my running coach, Phil Clark spread out during the week.
Overall Recovery: Slight soreness in the knees immediately after the race and the ghost of soreness the following day. By the second day following the race, my body felt back to normal.
An Account of The Love Run of April 2016
SATURDAY MORNING, one day before race day: ominous gray skies and a late spring snowfall welcomed us with chilly arms and howling winds. Sidewalks were damp with gray-brown slush and the city’s buildings looked to be shivering under a fresh layer of cold snowy mist.
Thankfully, the day wore on and cleared itself up, and it became obvious that Saturday morning’s snowy scare would not effect Sunday’s running conditions. Any and all doubts quickly evaporated just like the snow itself: race day’s running conditions would be ideal.
And ideal they certainly were: A high of 49 degrees, low winds and sunny skies set the background for The Love Run’s third annual race organized by CGI Racing.
THE WEEK BEFORE The Love Run was a lot different than previous weeks before a big race for me. I had been following Coach Phil Clark‘s interval training plan that would enable me to run 7:30 minute miles. The interval training plan had me taking a rest week every 6 weeks – as it turned out, however, The Love Run fell right in the middle of week 6. I would have to cut my rest week short.
The night before the race, I made sure dinner consisted of pasta, salad and lots of water. Despite my tiredness from the day, I still managed to fall asleep much later than I wanted: at 1:00am! I woke up again at 6:15am to get ready for the half marathon still feeling tired but more excited than anything. (I find that what no one tells you is that the excitement of Race Day is the driving force that shakes off the tiredness and propels you out of bed – especially when you want to PR .)
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM held more significance for me than usual because my friend, Vanessa performed it! The Parkway was the quietest I’ve ever heard it during the singing, probably because she sounded so beautiful.
Once the buzzer sounded, it was time to take off! And another race begins.
Urban Runner Tip #1: If it’s colder than 50 degrees on race day, be sure to wear a sweater or a hoodie you can throw off during the race. That way you can stay warm in the corrals while you wait for the race to begin.
In the beginning, I started with my group that included by dad, his buddy Andy and my friend Lauren. Around mile 3, everyone started to splinter off into their own comfortable paces.
Looking to run in 7:30 minute miles, I surged ahead. Unfortunately for me, I had started too slow and was never fully able to speed up to a 7:30 mile pace. I had only been running my interval training plan for 5 weeks – I imagine it takes a little longer to achieve the consistent 7:30 mile pace for 13 miles too. Before this half marathon I’d only run five 7:30 minute miles consistently; perhaps that accounted for my pace as well.
FOR ME, the road to the finish line of a race is littered with self-doubt. I force myself to check my watch against the clocks set up at each mile marker and often find myself spiraling into a fervor of mental math: If I do this mile in 7:45 minutes compared to my last mile of 8 minutes with ten more miles to go, can I make it in under 1 hour and 45 minutes???
Thankfully, I was distracted once I hit mile 8 on the course. Unthankfully, it was because there was a hill. And then after that, another hill! Here’s a helpful graph courtesy of RunningPhilly that illustrates the hellishness of the elevation of hills:
IN MY EXPERIENCE, there are not many feelings in the world that compare to the realization that you’ve just run your fastest half-marathon.
It was overwhelming to receive my official race medal once I crossed the finish line and my legs shook in a way that told me I’d left everything I had on the road.
OVERALL, The Love Run proved to be a fantastic race indeed: awesome swag that included a sweet t-shirt and mug, and FREE race pics emailed to you practically the next day! Following the race, I was ready to shower, enjoy dim sum with my friends and then sleep for the next four hours. But first, let me take a selfie: