For the uninitiated, an LBRR is a Long Boring Race Report. It’s an occasional things runners do, to describe/discuss their experiences while racing. I have yet to see one done in realtime, but I imagine we will at some point.
This report is about the Schuylkill River Loop Race, the oldest continuously held race in Philadelphia. This is the fourth time I’ve done this race, and the second time that it has been really windy. I’m talking about stand you upright, not thinking you’re moving anywhere headwind. Of course, with the schizophrenic wind conditions around the Loop, any headwind could suddenly change to a tailwind.
The race started out interesting, as we had to dodge whatever walk was going on in front of the Art Museum. I almost knocked over someone who was taking a picture, but too stupid to look after taking the picture and before moving. Shortly after that, we headed out onto the path along MLK Drive. I fell into pace with two other people (one guy and the first woman) and we were running together, but not running together. It’s a difficult concept to explain if you aren’t a runner, but basically we were running at the same pace, but not talking to each other. I think the guy kept trying to lose me. But since he cut me off badly within the first half mile, I was kinda pissed.
There were supposed to be mile markers for us on the course, but I didn’t see them. I only saw the people setting up the water stops for the walk. Anyway, the three of us kept together through at least mile 2.5 and were covering (at my attempt to do math while I run – a dangerous thing) at about a 6:35-6:40 pace. I hadn’t been racing that fast for this distance (8.4 miles) for quite some time. So I was a bit worried about the speed, but felt really good. This just goes to show how much better you can run when you run with other people.
It was somewhere around this point in the race (near Montgomery Drive) that we finally started gaining back on some of the people in front of us. There were two guys ahead of us, with a small distance between them. We swept up the first guy and he came along, we then swept up the second guy. I thought he held on for a little while, but we eventually dropped him. The good thing about this group was that we were all sort of taking turns in the lead, in an unspoken agreement to try to handle the wind better.
I started fading a little bit when we hit Falls Bridge. I could feel them pulling away from me, and I got hit with a nasty headwind blast just as we were heading up the last little rise to the bridge. I thought I would be stuck in no man’s land behind this group. I managed to catch up to hat guy for a little while, and then went by him as we approached mile 6 (which was the only marked mile on the course). He then caught me back around the John Kelly statue and stayed just out of reach for the rest of the race. I couldn’t catch him, but he didn’t get that much farther ahead of me.
Some other guy came from out of nowhere to pass me just after we cross the far end of Boathouse Row, within the last quarter mile. I had nothing to try to surge to keep up with him. And didn’t really care about the place – I was very happy with the time. About a 56:45 (I had a slight finger malfunction on the watch buttons). Not a PR for this race, but one of the better races that I’ve run by staying with a group for that long.