Race Recap: The Love Run

I’m baaaaaaaaaaacccccckkkk! Sorry for the crickets here, guys…it’s been one of those weeks. But I’m excited to finally share my Philadelphia Love Run recap with all of you!

Todd and I spent the day Saturday visiting some attractions in South Jersey that I’ve never been to — the Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship New Jersey — before making our way into Philly in the mid-afternoon for CGI Racing’s The Love Run expo.

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The expo was held at Citizens Bank Park, and I should probably tell you that it was a pretty freakin’ COLD day. The temperatures were in the 40s, and it was super windy.

It was even cold for these guys!

It was even cold for these guys!

That being said, allow me to paint you this little picture: though there were a handful of vendors inside, and our mug and bib pick-up was indoors, the main expo area continued outside by the baseball field…where several vendors were attempting to sell their wares in the blustery cold.IMG_2120

As I’m sure you can imagine, people weren’t doing a whole lot of shopping. I knew the expo would be small — which it was — but the fact that it was also held outside on a chilly day meant that there weren’t many runners lingering around. We were there to get our race shirts and get the hell back inside.

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Well, okay, fine…I also grabbed a “Love Run” Bondiband and FINALLY broke down and invested in a Running Skirt (50 percent off!). I’ve been dying to try them, and their booth is always mobbed…so I felt this was my chance to get some one-on-one time with the skirts, try it on, and take it home to see if it works for me (it is one of my great missions in life to find a running skirt with shorts that do NOT ride up).

We stayed outside of Philly this time around to save some moolah, so we had an early dinner at the Cherry Hill Mall (gotta love California Pizza Kitchen) and got to bed early, since the race would start at 8am the next morning and we’d have to drive into the city.

Well, despite the fact that I got plenty of sleep, my foot hadn’t been bothering me much for the last couple of days, and I was actually feeling quite confident about the race, I woke up feeling…well…not quite right.

Little did I know that my monthly visitor would decide to make its grand appearance a few days early. I was scheduled to run 13.1 miles in an hour and a half, and here I was suddenly and unexpectedly hit with a wave of cramps and bloating and, let’s be honest…RAGE.

UGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I apologize in advance for the all of two male readers I probably have, but I have to tell you that I was PISSED AS HELL because I can never, ever run on the first day of my period. I trained so hard for this race, and here was something I couldn’t control being thrown in the mix to make it even harder for me. I knew I was in for a morning of agony, and that if it got bad enough, that I could might have to kiss my race goal good-bye. I popped a couple of pain killers because I was desperate — something I also never do before running — and hoped that maybe the cramping would subside.

I grumpily got dressed in my race outfit and soon it was time for us make the drive into Philly to get to the starting line, so we parked in our usual parking garage that charges about $9,000 per hour, wrapped ourselves up in some handy dandy throwaway blankets ($2.88 at Wal-mart…SCORE!), and walked to the starting line…but not without making a quick potty stop to use the “real” bathrooms at a Sheraton, of course!

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As per our usual race-day M.O, we JUST. MADE. IT., and just a minute or two after squeezing into the starting area, it was time to go!

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As you all know, this was my BIG HALF MARATHON for this season. After well over a year of struggling to finish a half in anything under 2:20, I really hoped that the last two months of pushing myself big time would pay off on the course that morning. I desperately wanted a good finish time to submit for corral placement for Wine & Dine, since my ridiculously old PR from TWO YEARS AGO of 2:03 finally expired…and beyond that, I really wanted to prove to myself that I was still capable of running the times I used to when I first started. You know, before I got all slow and tired from my incessant bouts of marathon training.

My ultimate goal? I wanted ANYTHING under a 2:05. That used to be my old “standard” half marathon time, and now that well over a year as passed since I’ve run anything even close to a 2:05 (or, hell, a 2:10 or 2:15), I really, really wanted it.

As you also probably know, my plan was also to *ATTEMPT* to negative split. I still had yet to successfully do it in a race, but with all of my recent practice on training runs, I thought I might just be able to pull it off. Todd and I had already agreed that we would both run our own race, so I immediately went out at a comfortable 9:30/mile pace, and made it my personal mission to stay there until the second half of the race, where I felt pretty confident that I could pick it up.

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Photo credit: chessiephoto.com

Well, the first few miles went swimmingly. The Advil I popped that morning seemed to be working, and physically, I felt pretty strong. There was lots of spectator support and even though there were some 10,000 runners, I felt I had ample room to run. It was fun running through the city and passing so many historical landmarks, and even thought I knew running by the Schuylkill River might not be quite as exciting, it was still pretty scenic.

It was a sunny, gorgeous day, and with temperatures hovering in the 30s, it was my PERFECT running weather. I was mostly on my own, because Todd goes out more conservatively than I do…I knew he was behind me, but I just wasn’t sure how far back at any given time.

I felt I had a 2:05 in the bag. In fact, I thought I might even be able to break 2:03 and PR. For a moment, I remember feeling REALLY ambitious and wondering if I might even have a sub-2 in me that morning.

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Photo credit: chessiephoto.com

I knew from reading fellow blogger recaps that there would be a hilly section of the course around mile 5, so I basically spent the first four miles being nervous about it. And I apparently had good reason to be…because the hill pretty much ate me alive. I had a feeling Todd would catch up with me on that hill — he did! — and unfortunately, it ended up costing me a little more time than I hoped it would. I had a tough time recovering afterwards, and since we still weren’t even halfway, that’s when I started to feel my usual negativity start to creep in. You know, of the “I can’t do this” variety.

I took a very brief walk break through one of the next water stops and my legs felt a little better. My pace picked back up to around a 9:20, and I willed myself to stop being a baby, get my head in the game, and to think positively. I passed the halfway mark and found myself feeling pretty good. That’s where Todd caught up to me again and told me he was going to “step on the gas now” which made me a little mad because I a little bit thought that I might actually beat him in this race. For the first time ever. Hahaha, silly me. ;)

We’re fortunate in that I’m only slightly slower than him, and our paces are so close that we can successfully train together…but even though I typically finish our long runs a little faster (and in better physical shape than he is, lol) he somehow ALWAYS manages to crush me during the actual race. I don’t know how he does it!

He took off and I felt jealous that races seem to come so easy to him and I hated the fact that I was a woman and had to deal with periods and that he was having a fine and dandy time that morning and could just magically pick up the pace whenever he wanted. Needless to say, I was grumpy again. So I gave myself a lecture about how it was important to run my own race and, once again, to stop being a little baby.

In mile 8, I discovered a bit more hilliness that I was NOT expecting. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I heard they may have changed the course a little bit from last year’s inaugural race…and, much to my dismay, it wasn’t as flat as I thought it would be. By mile 9, I found myself getting discouraged because my legs were a little tired from the rolling hills, even thought I was still feeling pretty comfortable in my pacing. I tried to push it just a little bit more, and hovered closer to 9:15 for awhile. My hope was that I’d break 9-minute miles in the last 5K, which is something I can typically do on shorter runs.

Then mile 11 came, and my pre-race womanly issues came back and hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly, my stomach really, really hurt, and that was on top of the fact that I was getting tired and my legs were heavy. I was THISCLOSE to packing it in. I wanted to walk until the cramping stopped. But I knew if I did, I’d NEVER recover, and I could kiss that 2:05 good-bye.

So I made a decision that maybe I wouldn’t be able to run as fast as I planned to for the rest of the race, but that I would still go as fast as I could. I fought through it and managed to drop to around a 9:05 by mile 12. With just one more mile to go, I wanted the agony to be over as quickly as possible, so I went as fast as my legs would carry me as we made our way back into the city. I knew there would be spectators and excitement and the glorious finish line to greet me, and I couldn’t wait.

As soon as I saw the finish line in the distance, I saw that the clock already read 2:05. I felt crushed and defeated, even though I couldn’t actually remember just how much time had passed before I crossed the starting line. Seeing my goal slip away, I pushed as hard as I could — just in case I still had a chance — and finally crossed the finish line.

…with a chip time of 2:04:15!!!!!!!

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Photo credit: Chessiephoto.com

I felt like crap afterwards, so I couldn’t properly bask in my accomplishment. It still frustrates me that I KNOW I could have performed even better and probably even PRed if I wasn’t menstrual, even despite the slightly hillier second half of the course. Also, I didn’t exactly negative split — my results clearly indicate a pretty solid 9:28 pace — but I’ll bet if the course was a little flatter I would have! ;)

Photo credit: chessiephoto.com

Photo credit: chessiephoto.com

On the other hand, I am overjoyed to know that I can still perform at the level I once did, even despite all the time that has passed and the fact that I had pretty much convinced myself that if I wanted to run marathons, then I could never be “fast” again. It was clearly a load of malarkey and an excuse I was telling myself to ignore the fact that I wasn’t training properly.IMG_2143

So, now I KNOW I have a PR in my (VERY) near future, and I KNOW that a sub-2 is within my reach. I also know there is a lot I need to work on, but I figure I have to be doing something right to go from running 2:20ish half marathons last year to running closer to 2:00 again!IMG_2151

Todd found me a couple of seconds after I crossed the finish line. He did AWESOME, by the way — 2:01:53 — and even though I still hate him a little bit for it (kidding!), I’m also super proud of him. Actually, I’m proud of both of us! We made quite a comeback from our performances in races as of late. IMG_2156(1)I know we stopped for a lot of pictures and all, but it took us seven hours to run the Walt Disney World Marathon just two months ago! It’s exciting to know that all of your hard work is paying off.

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Anyway, after we munched on whatever was in the post-race goodie bags (a “soft” pretzel that was harder than a rock, and a particularly yummy PB&J uncrustable), we spent the rest of the afternoon perusing some Philly landmarks.

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And, of course, there was no way I was leaving without a picture in front of the Love sign!

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¬†Overall, I would put this race in the “win” column. I did have to deal with some unpleasant issues that morning, but despite all of that, I still somehow managed to reach my sub 2:05 goal. Apparently, runDisney corral placement is a big motivator for me, haha. ;)

Have you ever run a race just to try to improve your corral placement for a future race? ;)

Has sickness/womanly issues ever affected your race performance?

 

Comments

  1. Congrats on your time! I imagine its almost even more gratifying getting it having gone through the woman issues that morning. haha Being a woman is quite awesome, right?
    I’m definitely trying to better my own race times for future runDisney placement…the further up, the better for sure! ;)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Ugh, I know you’re right!

      TOTALLY! The more time I have to stop for pictures and play with characters, the better, haha. ;)

  2. Congrats on making your goal! I let my monthly friend ruin my March half when she showed up AFTER I got in the corral. I’m glad you didn’t let the same happen to you!

    And that mile 5 hill. I know that hill. I hate that hill. It’s in the LAST mile of the ODDYssey half. I never want to see that hill again.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Jessica! UUUGGGGHHHHHHH…worst timing ever!

      Yeah, the hill killed me. I told myself I wouldn’t let it, but it totally got me. I made it up okay, but then when I didn’t recover as quickly as I wanted to, I got real, real mad, lol.

  3. Congrats on the sub 2:05! You’ve been working hard the past couple of months and I am glad your race reflected all that work. Great pictures in front of the Love sign and liberty bell.. speaking of… if the race ever had a “PR Bell” a Liberty PR Bell would be fun :D Ahhh women stuff…luckily I’ve been okay so far.

    • Jennifer says:

      Aw, thanks so much! It was REALLY nice to know that all of those training runs where I killed myself actually did pay off. LOL, a Liberty Bell PR bell would be AWESOME!

  4. Congrats-I am so excited for you!! I had a very similar experience at Princess-I woke up and just knew monthly friend was coming and actually packed supplies in my belt! I ended up using some of them just incase and took tyenol on the race course (which i never do!), I felt good when I was running and strong too but as soon as I stopped, I got so nauseous and felt so horrible!

    • Jennifer says:

      UGH…that is the worst! It always has to come at the LEAST convenient time! I hate being a woman sometimes, lol.

  5. Congrats!! You did amazing. When things go wrong in a race it’s easy to think “what if…” or “I could have if…” but really you should be proud of what you DID accomplish despite the setbacks (like your period, ugh)! You’re always such an inspiration!

    • Jennifer says:

      Aw, thanks, Kristina! That is SO me. I met my time goal, and yet I STILL spent the rest of the day whining that “I could have done better.” So annoying. I have GOT to break that habit!

  6. Congrats on a great race! You showed that monthly visitor who’s boss!

  7. christi in ma says:

    you get the best race photos!

    Would love to hear how you fare with your RunningSkirt. The two running skirts that don’t ride up on my thunder thighs – Athleta Relay Skort and SparkleSkirts Sparkle Tech Basic skirt – and the pockets are great! I have an Athleta skort for golf and those shorts stay in place too.

    • Jennifer says:

      Aw, thanks, Christi! Haha, I totally ham it up for the cameras, not gonna lie, lol.

      Thanks for the tips! I’m dying to try the SparkleSkirts tech basic — I’ve heard NOTHING but good reviews! I am desperate to find something that doesn’t ride up, it is ridiculously annoying and since I have larger thighs, as well, it’s really uncomfortable. I’ll definitely share my thoughts on the RunningSkirt…now I just need some warm weather to try it out! :)

  8. Very excited for you that you did so well in the race with all the obstacles. Next time you will get that PR!

  9. Great job on a great race despite the obstacles! Seriously running with your period sucks and it sucks you had to deal with that on race day. But awesome job! Looks like a fun race!

  10. Congrats!!! Way to pull through!! I’ve definitely raced with major cramps and it is a MAJOR bummer. So impressed that you were able to meet your goal anyway. Looks like you’re in great shape for a PR down the road!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Karla! Ugh, I know…it was the worst! It was horrible, so I must have been super motivated by that W&D corral placement, lol.

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] guys! Thanks so much for all the love on my recap of The Love Run last week! (See what I did [...]

  2. Summer Goals says:

    [...] also having a hard time sustaining the pace on my shorter runs that I was hitting when training for The Love Run a couple of months ago, which I’m chalking up to a.) lingering post-marathon fatigue combined [...]

  3. [...] harder just to keep it under 11. I remembered that it was just a few short weeks ago that I was successfully racing at a 9-minute mile in The Love Run, and here I was plodding along at a pace that was so much slower for me. I knew Todd was doing [...]

  4. [...] alert). I was feeling especially grateful that I damn near killed myself to score an almost-PR at The Love Run last spring to submit for corral placement for this [...]

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