Dave, if you thought my pre Broad Street post was “Self fellatio“, just wait until you read this.
The week leading up to the race was bad. I slept a lot, hydrated like hell, and ate healthy(ish), but my legs felt horrible. Every run felt like something was wrong. When I mentioned this to Jeff he said my body realized it was race week so it was preserving itself, which seemingly turned out to be true. There was a lot of ‘trust the training‘ mantra going on.
That aside, Mike slept over the night before and we talked strategy. We both thought 5:20s would be a good pace to start at, hoping to hit half way somewhere between 26:30 – 27:00 then let it fly or go up in flames.
I woke up at 5:45am, chugged water, ate a banana, drank ~12oz of coffee, then Palm and I hit the mile long jog for the subway. I thought I felt good, but who ever knows.
Between the adrenaline and the downhill, it’s hard to know how fast you’re going at the start. Despite aiming for 5:15 – 5:20, we hit the first mile in 5:10 and felt super smooth… but maybe let’s ease up.
Mile two was 5:16. Still feeling smooth and trying to not get carried away.
Mile three was 5:21. Mile four was 5:20. Mile five was 5:19.
Mike and I were working together. Our 5 mile split was 26:26, which is a PR for me. But out of nowhere I thought might be cooked. For a full minute I genuinely felt like I was blowing up. Then a minute or so later it vanished, and I felt strong again. It was time to start pushing.
Mile six was 5:14. Mile seven was 5:15. Mile eight was 5:15. Mile nine was 5:13.
With a mile left, Mike and I were still stride for stride. We fist bumped knowing we had sub 53 in the bag. I told him that if he felt good he should go, which he did.
I hung on, trying my best to maintain pace, then kicked a little until about 200m left. At that point I was riggin’ up hard and didn’t care if the final was 52:40 or 52:45, I just wanted to soak in the finish. Mile ten was 5:22 for a final time of 52:45 and 51st overall, with Mike ahead at 52:36.
Post Race Thoughts
Let the self-fellatio begin (it hasn’t yet?).
A day later and I still can’t believe it. For the past two months I’ve visualized the race over and over and I kept coming back to: “I want to think I can run 5:20s the whole way (53:20), but that just feels like a bit of a stretch. I should be happy with anything under 54:00“.
Here are some thoughts:
- This was the best race of my life – The training was awesome, I felt great, our splits were perfect, the time and overall place were better than I imagined… everything just went right and I finally feel like I’ve surpassed my college peak 12 years later (despite it not being in the 5k).
- Mike and I worked together super well – Every step for the first 9 miles we were communicating; how we felt, if we should move up or hold back, encouragement, etc. It made the whole experience way more doable knowing we were going through it together.
- It’s hard for me to put 52:45 into perspective – 52:45 doesn’t feel real. It feels like a fluke somehow. 53:30 would feel believable, this feels too fast. The course is obviously super fast, but my last 10k (the ‘flat’ miles) was faster than my 10k track PR. Some of the guys I beat are really good runners, guys I never felt like I belonged with and had never beaten before. Am I now catapulted into this new tier of runner?
- I couldn’t have done this without the coach – I know he simply wrote a plan and I followed it, but I never would’ve done what he wrote and it held me accountable. I was super skeptical at first, assuming I’d get injured, but the training was fun and varied, he answered all my questions quickly, and was supportive for all the races.
- I’m not sure there’s more in the tank for Broad – I knew after 2018 I could run faster. I knew after last year I could run faster. After today, I’m not actually sure I could run any faster. Despite all the optimism of the last two years, I never thought I’d have a PR at Broad in the 52s. So unless I think I’m in significantly better shape, this is probably it for my serious Broad Street attempts.
- What’s next – After the half I’m taking some down time. The past few months went as well as I could’ve hoped, but I don’t think it’s something I can maintain season after season. At the very least this secured a real marathon attempt, be it this year or next. Assuming this was worth a ~71:30 half (that’s what my coach says!), I’d like to think a mid-to-low 2:30 marathon is possible. We’ll see.
Shout out to all the other good performances and volunteers along the way. This is the most fun race of the year because of the field and the support. Ian would be pissed if I didn’t mention his 57:45 despite wearing AirPods the whole time.