Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Race Recap: Rothman Institute 8k

The weekend before Thanksgiving, C and I packed up the car, picked up my friend, Caity, and ventured north up to Philadelphia. The reason for the road trip? To see my sweet friend, Lizzy, and run the Rothman Institute 8k!

After running the May Day 5k together, the three of us decided we wanted to do another race together, and we used the opportunity to find one up near Lizzy so that we had a reason (not that we need one! Promise) to visit. We registered for the Rothman Institute 8k, which is part of the Philadelphia Marathon weekend, back in May, and I’ll admit, it kind of fell off my radar until November. It wasn’t that I forgot about it, there was just so much else going on that it slipped to the back of my mind! Caity and I threw together a carpool plan, though, and with C as our chauffeur, made the (relatively) easy drive up 95 to the City of Brotherly Love.

We got in late Friday night, and the race was set to start at 7:30 AM on Saturday (why so early, Rothman people?!) so we went to bed pretty soon after. C headed out with Lizzy’s fiance and some friends for a few drinks at a bar nearby, and us girls hit the hay. Other than some minor 2 AM excitement (C may or may not have gotten lost at a bar… he maintains that he knew where he was the whole time and was, therefore, not lost), we slept like rocks until our alarms went off on Saturday morning!


Ready to run!
Lizzy was the sweetest host, and had coffee, bagels, and bananas ready for our pre-race meal. Exactly what the doctor ordered! After dressing (in a LOT of layers – it was freezing! …literally), we headed for the starting line, which was a few blocks from Lizzy’s apartment. We got there with just enough spare time to shed our top layers, check our bag, and find a good spot in the middle of the crowd. Before we knew it, the gun went off and off we ran!
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Pros and Cons

Pro: The route was really nice. It was scenic – we ran along the river, past the Rocky steps, and around a number of other little landmarks. It was mostly flat, and the road was plenty wide.

Pro: This was my first race with my new Garmin Forerunner 10, and I LOVED it. It was so handy to see my distance and pace and keep myself on track. Plus, I felt like a “real runner” – except for when I realized I’d forgotten my sunglasses, and had to run glaring into the sun for half the race. Rookie mistake!

Pro: No back pain! I was a bit sore the next day, but it was more like “I haven’t used those muscles” sore, not “ow, that hurts” sore. Success!

Con: The race started so early, and there were no other events afterwards, so I’m not sure why. Could have had an 8 or even 8:30 AM start-time, and I think it would have been fine, plus a bit warmer. Meh. I’m not a race planner, I’ll leave that to the experts.

Con: This race was, like I mentioned, part of the Philadelphia Marathon weekend, and it was the day before the half and full marathons. My issue here was that it sort of felt like the 8k was an after-thought – things weren’t exactly fully set up, there was no medical tent (as far as I could find, and we searched), and it didn’t seem like it was quite a “big deal” since the “real” race was the next day. Perhaps I’m just being whiny, but I wanted to feel important, too!

Con: Everything after the finish line was completely disorganized. Water felt like it was a mile away, and the fruit, power bars, and other goodies were even farther away. I walked the whole way down and got my snacks, but Lizzy and Caity missed them, because they didn’t realize where they needed to go. There was no one directing traffic, and not even a sign or anything saying where to go. It was rather confusing, especially after the finish line at the Wicked 10k was so organized. Boo to that!
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Lizzy, Caity, and I ran together for the first 3.5 miles or so, and then Caity and I decided we wanted to push ourselves and see if we could get under 50 minutes. We got a nice burst of speed… and then I sped off even more. I felt really, really, good, and I really felt like I could push myself hard for that last mile. I crossed the finish line at around 52 minutes, and I was a little disappointed, until I looked at my Garmin. I’d forgotten about the lag time from the start – my watch said I was more like 49 minutes! When the official results came in, they were even better:

48:58!

My previous 8k time was over 30 seconds slower, and I had actually trained for that one (that was my first official race of this year/first time "being a runner" – training was necessary!). In this case, I hadn’t trained, I was just coming off an injury, and I’d generally been doing very little running or exercise at all. I’m pretty pleased that I was able to shave a few seconds off my previous time, even with all those barriers in my way! Plus, my back felt good, and I felt fantastic while I was running – a huge improvement over the terrible run I’d had the weekend before. For every bad run, there’s a good run waiting! Lucky for me, my good run came just in time for a race.

Horrible picture... but the Rocky steps are behind us! The sun was so bright. Fail.

HOORAY!
After us three girls all finished, we met up with C, Lizzy’s fiance, and their friends, and headed off to find breakfast. The Philly dwellers took us to an amazing bagel joint called Spread, where we got incredible bagel, egg, and bacon sandwiches – the PERFECT post-race meal! That and another cup of coffee, and I was a happy, happy camper.

The rest of our quick trip to Philly involved impromptu afternoon naps, followed by showers and a visit to Reading Terminal Market.

Lizzy, Caity, and me

We chowed down on delicious, legit Philly cheese steaks. So good, and worth every greasy, carb-loaded bite. Yum!




After lunch, we piled back into the car and hit the road. We were back home by about 6:30 that night, having spent under 24 hours on our whirlwind trip to Philadelphia. We had a blast, though, and are already talking about next year – I think we’re all on pace to do the half marathon, and then maybe we can participate in a “real” race! Ha.

Philadelphia skyline as we headed home
I’m officially two weeks out from my first half marathon. This 8k was my last race before The Big One, and I’m so happy that it went so well – it gave me just the push and motivation to feel ready for the half. The countdown is on: December 9 is right around the corner!

1 comment :

Anna said...

Congrats on the 8k--awesome time!! It's a great distance for a fun race, long enough and short enough. So exciting that your half is coming up so soon--that reminds I better get in gear for my own!