Two weeks, seriously, how has it been 2 weeks since I ran the Philadelphia Marathon already?! But yes it has been 2 weeks, and when in the past I have slowed down my running, thanks to the Runner’s World Run Streak – I have been running at least a mile a day since Nov 30 (I missed 2 days, but have been on a literal streak since the 30th).
But this is supposed to be about the marathon, right?! So I arrived in Philly on Saturday afternoon and went to the Expo to get my bib and walk around. I was in need of sunglasses because one of the lenses in my Oakley’s I got at the NYC Marathon Expo last year is damaged and won’t fit back in the glasses, and I haven’t gotten a replacement yet. So I found some that worked just fine, stayed in place. I also got some Nuun, taking advantage of the special of buying 2 tubes and getting a water bottle. I haven’t used them yet, but will for my next training (which will hopefully be for the NYC Half Marathon, I put in for the lottery and will hear on Thursday). The rest of the day in Philly included some eating (Reading Market, shopping (of course a stop at Anthro), and of course a run up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps – then a carb and protein dinner, and sleep.
Race Day: I got up and got ready. I decided on a last minute outfit change because I was worried about the temp. When I 1st ran Philly I was warm, but of course it was seasonably warm, so I planned on crop pants and a t-shirt. Last minute on Saturday night, after putting the bib on my T, I worried I would be too cold (they were predicting 30s and 40s) so I moved the bib to my crop pants and added a mid-weight fleece long sleeve thinking if I got too hot I could remove. This was a great decision, I was very comfortable through most of the race, moving between sleeves down or rolled up, various heights of for the zipper – but I never got to the point that I took it off (a few times I was about to, and then I would get a chill). My long run meal of choice is a toasted english muffin with all natural peanut butter – so I brought one with me. What I didn’t have was coffee. I should have ordered room service, but I didn’t and the line at Dunkin’ was just too long, so yes I ran a whole marathon without coffee.
I walked to the Race Start early, so I had plenty of time to walk around, visit the port-a-potties (and each time the line wasn’t bad so good job Philly), eat a banana and my gel, etc. etc.
It seemed late to start, and from my corral I didn’t get underway until 7:30, leaving me plenty of time for a last minute PaP visit and still catch up to my corral before starting. The first half of the race is always fun – there is so much crowd support, and great signs. I had a fast start, I am not good at pacing myself, I’m just not; and I didn’t stop for water or to have my gel until mile 7. There was a water station at Mile 5, and normally I would have stopped and had a gel but I knew my crew was waiting around mile 6 on the right side, so I stayed to the right – and missed the station because mile 5 is pretty tight and I would have cut off a lot of people. So I did not put myself in the best situation. Then once I passed 7 I got a terrible stitch in my side which really impacted me once we got to the zoo – I had to stop and talk more times then I normally would have. I really gave thought to what I should do before mile 13 – push through or head to the finish (spoiler alert, I choose to push through).
The second half I had my moments of anger, frustration, wondering why I was doing this, thinking it might be my last marathon even though I am in NYC for 2016. But when I let myself think about it, I was really happy with how it was going, especially compared to my time in Philly 2 years ago (my 1st marathon). I felt especially happy when I was at mile 19 and there were still orange wedges (when I ran in 2014 and got to 19 I saw all the rinds but there weren’t any oranges left so I took it as a sign of doing so much better – even if logic says they probably just had plenty more oranges). As I was running up the mile 20 hill I was losing steam again and my Mom’s song came on my mix – Moms and their perfect timing and all.
Now around this time, I got a text about my progress and it projected my finish time at 5+ hours, the same as my 2014 run. I looked at my Garmin wondering how I could have miscalculated to wrong. I didn’t want to think I was closing in on 4:30, but deep in my brain I thought (knew) I was. To see something like this when you are now over the wall did let some wind out of my sails. Yes, I don’t run for time, I run to finish, but I can’t totally turn off the goal oriented personality in me. It was definitely playing mind games with me, but I finally got past that too and just ran (and walked).
So I told you I finished, what was my time? 4:32:11 – leaving me at first so excited and proud of myself, then I was like “of course you were right all along” on my time, but then my goal mind went to “if only you hadn’t run so fast to start and then had to keep stopping for those stitches you might have actually run a 4:30. And that thought creeps in sometimes, but mostly I am so happy and proud of the run and my new marathon PR. Also to note at the finish: Yes I did High 5 Mayor Nutter, and the bell in the medal really works.
Overall, another great experience in Philly. The course, the people, the volunteers – everything was great. Thanks Philly!!