Monday, May 7, 2012

Race Report: Broad Street 10 Miler, aka the Family Duel

Brother and me joking around at mile 1.
With very little warning, they started the race. No countdown, no "Ready, set, go." Just BAM! And we're off. Brother and sister fighting for the title of fastest 10 miler in the family. First mile flies by, we don't even notice the mile marker until we hear other runners talking about it. We see our family cheering wildly, decked out in Team Teal shirts and holding a reversible Brother/FiancĂ©e sign. We run side by side for the first few miles. Around three miles, there's a slight break and I'm losing, but I dig a bit deeper and catch up on the downhill. Can't get dropped just yet. Instead I make a slight move, and a gap opens. A mile later, we're back to side by side. One more move, and I'm alone in front. Around mile 5, we round City Hall (the only turns on the point to point course) and I think I see my competition fly by. Crap, I'm losing again and I didn't have a chance to keep up with that flash of speed. I hold my ground, keeping my eyes on my competition, and keep on ticking off the miles. Mile 6, more family cheering wildly. I can't make out what they're saying, but I think it's something about how I can catch up. The miles are taking their toll, I'm slowing from our original fast pace, but the gap isn't widening and I'm not fading back any further. Mile 9, Team Teal is out again. The Rocky theme song is playing, I'm almost there. About a quarter of a mile from the finish, there is an archway and people raise their hands to pose for photos. Suddenly, sprinting by on my right, is my actual competition. Whoever I've been keeping a careful eye on ahead is the wrong person. I answer back with my own surge, pass them back, and realize I've been leading the whole time. And we're so close. I see the finish up ahead, hold my lead, and win the family duel.

"Beet Teal"
A great race, a great story, and a great finish. Except it wasn't mine. That was my Brother's experience from Sunday's race. Mine was the experience of the person who was actually losing from mile 4 on, and who ended up losing the family competition. When Brother heard the cheering for me (I was 20 yards behind), he mistakenly thought they were telling him to go after me, since he saw another girl of my size and complexion run by in pink tank top. He didn't realize it wasn't me until my ill planned surge. I mistakenly thought the photo archway and people raising their arms was the finish and put on a sprint. (Having run this race before, Brother knew better.) I realized when I saw people continue running past the archway that it wasn't the finish, but it was too late. I wish I had the energy or will to Lopez Lomong it and keep pushing until the actual finish line, but I didn't. I'm not beating myself up too much though. I was purposefully and wisely taking it easy after Charlottesville, and there's no need to be in amazing shape right now. I was happy I was able to keep some resemblance of speed (my previous week's workout hinted otherwise) although my ten mile split from the half marathon I ran back in March was faster. Of course, I don't like losing, but Brother was more set on winning this competition and even made a shirt expressing his desire to beat me (see photo.) Personally I like when we work together more in races (he paced me at Boston and we ran a half together before that) but there's talk of a rematch this fall. (How lame is it when the loser says they don't like these duels?) It will be back at my favorite distance (the marathon) but back on his turf (Philadelphia.) I'm 2 for 2 in poor showings in Philly (I ran a disappointing half there in the fall of 2009), so I'm hoping the tables turn before this fall. 

The family: Team Teal members and Broad St. finishers.
Afterwards, we both agreed that the race validated what I've mentioned about the brain's powerful effect. When Brother thought he saw me run by at mile 5, he had a gut feeling it wasn't me, but his brain told him to ignore it. He convinced himself that was me and kept pushing. He heard our family cheering "Go Teal" but his mind turned it into "Go get Teal." When he did realize the actual situation, as I came sprinting by, he suddenly got both a surge of hope and a surge of power and was able hang onto the lead. For my part, I know I gave up after that archway. I settled for second family member. I could have attempted another sprint, but my heart wasn't in it, and so I lost. I may have had better times going into this duel, but he had more desire and so he got his win. No matter, I'll be back to my competitive self before too long, and certainly before November.

Dream big, 


  1. Great race, great stories! As a certified TeamTeal fanatic, I gotta give a HUGE shout out to the fearless fiance, who gets my personal award for Family Runner Who Had the Most Fun. He was all smiles at Mile 9, and there were very few people smiling at that point, especially when I shouted: "C'mon, just one more mile, 4 minutes to go!!!"

  2. Great story Teal! As the winning brother, I’ll vouch that your description was dead on. It read like you were in my head. Such sweet Victory! Despite the fact that you were resting and getting out of shape after your marathon while I designed a very specific training regiment (specifically to beat you), I’ll take the win. The clock is ticking fast on big brother’s claim that he can out run his little sister.

    I remember the first weekend of my Beat Teal training. It was about 2 months ago, you ran a half marathon and I ran a 5k, your pace for 13.1 was quicker than mine for 3.1, I told the guy I run with I was in a lot of trouble. I got myself in slightly better shape but I had come to terms with the knowledge that my youngest sister would lay claim to the title of Family’s Fastest. But then I read a recent Science Friday post and realized the mind, not the body controls the outcome. There was hope. Oh yeah, and then like an idiot, I thought you passed me and I spent half the race trying to run down some other woman with a pink top, but let’s go with the mind thing.

    It’s a lot more fun being the Team Teal pacer than being the solo member of Team Beat Teal. Maybe we can resume the brother-sister competition next year or maybe, if I can pace you through 25 miles this fall I’ll come from behind with a quarter mile left to go and we can pick up where we left off…