During my training runs the week between the two races, I was experiencing pretty excruciating pain in my left knee that usually popped up around mile 3 or 4 of the run. That resulted in my having to walk or flat-out stop to stretch it out before continuing. On top of that, a persistent cold that I really haven’t been able to completely shake the past few weeks began to flare up again the Friday before the Broad Street Run.
Fortunately, I was able to fight off the cold, but all I could really do was rest and ice the knee…and hope I could get through the 10-mile run down Philadelphia’s Broad Street.
I knew I had to go better than an 8:59/mile pace to conquer the 1:30:00 mark, but I really didn’t know if I could maintain that with my knee in the shape it was in. Once again, around mile 4, I felt discomfort. But then I stumbled upon a temporary, in-race solution…by landing more on the back of my foot, it seemed to take stress off the knee. It was just a touch, but it was enough to relieve the pain enough to keep moving forward.
And I did…at a pace in the ballpark of 8:45/mile.
My Nike+ app was off by about two-tenths of a mile, but I did know that I started about 17 minutes after the elite runners started. So when I saw that the race clock said 1:18 and change at mile 7, I knew I just had to maintain my pace the final three miles to achieve my goal.
And I actually picked up the pace by a few seconds during the final three miles…finishing the 2017 Broad Street Run in a personal-best 1:27:03.
However, I nearly couldn’t walk back to my car, which was parked nearly a mile away from the finish area. About a third of the way of the way there, my knee tightened up so badly, that it was a struggle just to step up a curb. Just as I was reaching my car, it nearly gave out completely and I almost fell.
What turned out to be fortuitous was that I struck up a conversation with a fellow runner in my starting corral. I mentioned how my knee had tightened up and was causing me pain after running the marathon the week before. He said that he suffered from something similar – IT bands. I read about iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome when I got home from the Broad Street Run, and it sounds exactly like what I have been experiencing so I’m going with that diagnosis.
And that means I’m going to take a break from running for a week or two and gradually work my way back into a routine. I have a 5K at my alma mater on June 10, but that’s it for organized races in my immediate future.
Hopefully, by then, my knee will be OK because I’m announcing it here — now — that I am officially registered for my second-ever marathon…the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 19, 2017. It’s a couple of weeks after the Trenton Half-Marathon, which will serve as a nice marathon training run.
I just need to get the disappointment of my first marathon out of my head.
If you want to join me in registering for the Philadelphia Marathon — or the Philadelphia Half Marathon, Liberty Bell Challenge or Independence Challenge, use the link below to register:
Well, I finished last Sunday’s New Jersey Marathon, so I can now call myself a “marathoner.” However, I’m not at all happy about how it all went down.
During my longer training runs (16-, 18- and 20-milers), I went really slow…around 11:30-12:00/mile slow. I had also tried different forms of in-race nutrition/energy, such as gels and chopped-up Clif bars. Both didn’t sit well with me, so I learned about Sport Beans – carbs, energy and vitamins in jelly bean form. I figured that was something familiar to me so it might be easier to deal with. I only tried a few during a short tune-up run in the week prior to the marathon, and didn’t have an issue with them. The same did not hold true for the marathon…but I’ll get back to that later.
Here’s the good…I perfectly executed my plan for the first 18 miles of the race. I wanted to run around 9:30-9:40/mile for the first 10K and wound up right at 9:40/mile for a 59:59 initial 6.2 miles. I gradually began pulling back so I would have something left at the end (at least that was the plan). I hit the halfway point in a comfortable (for me) 2:14:00. Now, I completed the 2016 Trenton Half Marathon last November in 1:59:06, but I pushed it because I wanted to finish in under two hours. For the marathon, I figured I would cover 13.1 miles somewhere in the 2:10:00-2:20:00 ballpark. Again, I was right there. It was all going to plan.
Until around mile 18.
After the halfway point, I ripped open the pouch of Sport Beans and took 3 to 4 beans with some water. And everything was fine. So at mile 18, I decided to consume the rest of the beans – again with some water (as instructed by the packaging). Well, the same issues I had with gels and Clif bars reared its ugly head again…I couldn’t really get the beans down, which kept the water from going down properly. With each stride, I could feel the water sloshing around just below my chest and it was making me nauseous. I thought I could walk it off, but I wound up walking most of the next three miles.
What was really frustrating was that I wasn’t fatigued. I would’ve still been running if it weren’t making me feel sick. I mean, I would have probably been at a slow 10:30-11:00/mile pace at that point, but it still would have been better than a walker’s pace.
After reaching mile 21, I had enough of walking. I decided to get rid of the water the quickest way possible…I sat down on a curb just off roadway, stretched my legs out a bit and forced myself to throw up the excess water.
And I felt SOOOOOO much better after that. My legs had tightened up a bit, but after a few minutes, I was running again – albeit slowly. With about 1 1/2 miles left to go, I decided to give it all I had until I crossed the finish line…with a time of 5:14:25.
So, yeah, after a comfortable 2:14:00 first half, it took me 3:00:25 to complete the final 13.1 miles…I find that completely unacceptable.
After I finished, I immediately said to my wife and parents that I was never doing another marathon. By the next day, I was visiting the Philadelphia Marathon website and making plans to get the sour taste of this first marathon experience out of my mouth.
It’s apparent that I don’t have the digestive abilities to consume in-race nutrition in either solid or gel form. It just disrupts things for me. From now on, I’m just going to stick with a water/sport drink mixture.
During both group training runs, I ran with the slowest pace group (mostly between 11:30/mi and 12:30/mi pace). During my solo runs, I’m experimenting with some pacing tricks to improve my overall time, with mixed results.
I’ve basically resigned myself to the fact that I’ll likely be finishing somewhere between 4:30:00 and 5:00:00, depending on how things go. I mean, I’d love to surprise myself with a sub-4:30 time on race day, but the chances of that are slim at this point.
As a weather geek, I’ve been monitoring the GFS model runs for the past few days…rain is definitely a threat for coastal New Jersey, although the four model runs have it holding off until after the race or even into the following day, so I hope that trend continues. That said, it’s showing it to be a bit on the warm side, with temps already in the mid-60s by sunrise and going into the mid-80s by mid-afternoon. But, really, if it’s in the 60s/low-70s with overcast skies – with no rain – and a light sea breeze, that would be absolutely fantastic.
And then the following week will be the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philly. This will be my third Broad Street Run in four years. I’m hoping to finish that in less than 1:30:00. That’s right around where I’m at right now for a 10-mile run, so I should be able to achieve that.
Going into these longer-distance runs, I’ve made a conscious effort to go at a very slow pace. I’m more concerned at this point about covering the distance without struggling or discomfort. So both times on these group training runs, I’ve run with the slowest pace group (mostly between 11:30/mi and 12:30/mi pace).
You may recall that I went into this training last year with the goal of finishing in around 4 hours. I’ve since revised that to a more realistic 4:30:00 or less. But even that is probably way too optimistic. At this point, with a month to go before the marathon, if I can finish in less than 5 hours, I’ll be happy. Also, it gives me way more room to surprise myself with a better result.
Oh, and one more thing…I was selected in the entry lottery for a spot in this year’s 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philly, which takes place one week after the New Jersey Marathon. This will be my third Broad Street Run in four years. I’m hoping to finish that in less than 1:30:00. That’s right around where I’m at right now for a 10-mile run, so I should be able to achieve that.
Just thought I’d take the time to write a recap of my Broad Street Run experience this past Sunday, May 1.
Despite a cold, soaking rain, I managed to complete the 10-mile trek down Philadelphia’s famed Broad Street in 1:31:52 — amazingly four-plus minutes better than my only other Broad Street Run in 2014 (1:36:17). I say “amazingly” because I was in much better shape in 2014 than I am now, as I was training that year for the Broad Street Run, two triathlons (one sprint, one international) and my first half-marathon (Trenton, NJ).
Then again, I’ve always suspected that I held myself back too much during that first Broad Street Run because I felt too comfortable throughout the race. I hovered around 9:40 per mile during that ’14 BSR and when I got through the first mile this year at 9:07 per mile, I thought I went too hard too soon. I thought I had eased up considerably, but I was still at around 9:07-9:10 per mile after two miles — and I felt fine.
At that point, I said to myself, “Well, it’s miserable out here…it’s cold and wet…if I can wrap this up a few minutes sooner, the better, right?” So I kept going at that pace until mile 6. At that point, I definitely eased up a bit, but it still wasn’t by a whole lot. When I hit mile 7, though, and my Nike+ Running app told me my elapsed time was 1:02 and change, I realized that I had a legitimate shot to beat my 2014 time by a decent margin (considering my usual 5K time these days is around 28 minutes)…so I picked it up again and just kept going to the finish line.
So, in pretty bad weather, I had a pretty good run. And even better was the fact that I was raising money for the American Cancer Society, but I’m actually still a bit short of my goal. Fortunately, there’s still some time for you to help by making a donation here: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/bkelleyBSR2016
Now, though, I feel the need to discuss some of the bad (non-weather-related) parts of the day.
I know the Broad Street Run — with 40,000 runners — is a daunting event to pull off for the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the race organizer. But there are logistical issues that certainly need to be addressed.
The biggest issue is egress at key locations. They need to assign volunteers to areas where access in and out is crucial. Near the starting corrals, there is a walled schoolyard with just two access points (that I know of) — one off of Broad Street and another off Somerville Road near Broad. This is a staging area with porta-potties, water, etc. — where most of the 40,000 runners use the bathroom one last time before a 10-mile race that starts at 8 a.m. (for the elite runners in the field). At 7:45 a.m., I tried to get out of the schoolyard so I could get to my starting corral. Instead, I stood in the same spot for nearly 20 minutes at the gateway leading out to Broad Street. Nobody was moving. Runners and spectators were just standing there and nobody seemed interested in telling people to move so runners could get to the corrals. Finally, around 8:05 a.m., we started squeezing through and I did manage to get to my corral (gray) before its starting time. But those stressful moments didn’t need to happen. Fortunately, this seems to be an easy fix — assign a few, trained race volunteers to those access points so they can control pedestrian traffic flow. By 7:50 a.m., priority must be given to runners trying to get out of the schoolyard so they can reach their respective starting corrals in time.
There are other issues with egress just beyond the finish line at the Navy Yard, too. For instance, if you want to go all out at the end, good luck trying to stop without crashing into a horde of runners who apparently feel it’s a good idea to come to a dead stop about three feet after the stripe. Race staff needs to do a better job of keeping everyone moving through the straightaway beyond the finish line and herding everyone to the turn into the finishers’ area.
Again, I know this race is a challenge to pull off and, for the most part, it’s great. There are just some simple things that can be done to make it even better.
Oh, and one more thing…the Broad Street Run started in 1980. It is 2016. That made this year’s event the 37th running of the Broad Street Run (or 37th annual Broad Street Run). However, the announcer and some media outlets called it the “37th anniversary of the Broad Street Run.” Please look up the word and meaning of “anniversary” because it’s not the same as “annual.” The first anniversary of the Broad Street Run would have been in 1981, making this year the 36th anniversary of the Broad Street Run (or 2016-1980=36). This misunderstanding of the word led to “35th Anniversary” incorrectly making its way onto the 2014 medals, which I wrote about at the time.