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I Ran the Philly Distance Run

When I ran the Philadel­phia Dis­tance Run last year, it was a tremen­dous relief just to be able to run at all. I’d spent the bet­ter part of a month suf­fer­ing from seri­ous ten­dini­tis in my right ankle and had­n’t even been able to run the week before the race. For­tu­nate­ly, the rest did me good and I was able to run. I fin­ished with 7:58 splits. I ran about half a minute faster than I expect­ed to run and felt great about it.

This year I haven’t had any of those set­backs, but I was still uncer­tain about my goals for this race. Should I take it easy and treat it as a prac­tice run? Should I push myself and try to hit the 7:15 pace I need to qual­i­fy for Boston in Novem­ber? I met up with Kris­ten ear­ly yes­ter­day morn­ing think­ing that I’d do the for­mer. My mind was made up, or so I thought. I did­n’t want to be dis­ap­point­ed if I tried to hit marathon pace and failed. This was a fail­safe.

Wrong. After wish Kris­ten luck, I took off like a shot. The race atmos­phere and the beau­ti­ful weath­er real­ly got me going. The new wave start was great, too. I did­n’t feel trapped while run­ning down the 6th St. cat­tle chute like I did last year. Sud­den­ly I found myself cruis­ing through the first five miles at about a 7:05 pace. I felt great! But would it last?

I held a 7:05 through the rest of the race, even though my Garmin Fore­run­ner crapped out when it reached its stor­age lim­it some­where around mile 11. (It’s a long sto­ry, and Garmin’s Mac sup­port looks very bad in it.) Helen cheered me just as I was com­ing into the fin­ish and I was done. I ran 13.1 miles in 1:32:38, about ten min­utes faster than I ran the same race last year.

The great thing about the Philly Dis­tance Run is that it comes at the exact halfway point in my marathon train­ing. Last year it told me that I was mak­ing good progress after over­com­ing some set­backs. This year it pos­es a ques­tion: how much faster can I run between now and the marathon?

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