Of the six Broad Street Runs I've done, yesterday's offered by far the best running conditions I've ever experienced at the 10-mile race. It was slightly chilly - but not too chilly to run in shorts and short sleeves - and a strong wind was at our backs the whole time. Almost perfect conditions - perfect conditions would have probably included a little cloud cover, but since I didn't get sunburned, I'm not complaining.
Not that I was in perfect condition, either. Last year I was ready for this race. I had a few ten and thirteen mile runs under my belt going into that race, and while I didn't hit my goal of 70 minutes, I did set a new personal best.
So far this year, my running has been all stops and starts, with a few weeks of little or no running at all. For long runs the best I've been able to do has been some seven- and eight milers. Some of this was due to the cold weather and some of it was due to a busy schedule, but I think most of it was due to being burned out from running so many miles last year.
Whatever the reason, I set much more realistic goals for this year's race - I would have loved finishing in 80 minutes, liked 85 minutes, and (somewhat) gladly would have settled for 90 minutes. Those goals weren't even set until I had already started the race. On top of my low mileage so far this year, Saturday's pre-race warmup run (which was supposed to be a nice and easy three miles) didn't go well at all and was followed by a 1st Communion/Cinco De Mayo party (only in my neighborhood would they think to combine the two). So I wanted to see how I felt that first mile before setting goals.
I ended up going out pretty fast and surprising myself by staying around that pace mile after mile - even after my headphones decided to stop working around mile four. I had a little trouble around mile six where I had to shake some negative thoughts (I usually get these when I'm worn-down, but even when I'm doing so well?!?). A sports gel and a potty-less potty break around mile seven and I was back into the power of positive thinking and pretty much smiled my way into a 78:18 finish.
It might have been wind-assisted (there was even a new course - and
I think national - record set in the men's race), and it wasn't my best time at the distance, but it was still the best I've felt during a race in a long time. That's about the best I could hope for after such a poor start to my running this year.
[As I was happily finishing my race, someone else was getting put onto a stretcher - just past the finish line. It's always a scary scene when a stretcher is needed - pulled hamstrings and cramped calves rarely require being carted off - and this one had a sad ended. A 29-year-old man collapsed and died immediately after finishing the race - according to the race results, just 26 seconds before I had finished. They're still trying to figure out the cause of death.]