Last weekend was Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, and for me, the culmination of 6 months of training. I ran the half again this year, and it was a blast as usual! Many, many thanks to Enell for sponsoring me to run this year, and especially for offering a discount to my readers – from December 1-7, use the code RWC14 to get 15% off your purchase on their website.
This is one of my favorite weekends of the year, because although Philly does a great job with every race, the city really goes all out for marathon weekend. The fans are amazing, the expo is awesome, and the mayor actually high-fives everyone as the cross the start and finish lines. It’s just so much fun.
The Expo was really good, and there were lots of fun products plus some great deals to be had. I picked up a RooSport Pocket, which is a magnetic phone/key pocket that you can clip onto your tights. It’s actually a really cool little gadget – so cool that I decided to break the cardinal rule of racing, and use a brand new, untested piece of equipment on race day (spoiler alert, it was awesome).
But the best part of the Expo actually came afterwards at the very first Running With Curves meetup! Seven of us gathered for a pasta meal at Maggiano’s and it was amazing to meet everyone in person, after being friends online for months.
The morning started with a 4am wakeup call, and a 5am departure for the meetup point at the Sheraton in Philly. As usual, the lobby was packed but after a quick stop at the restroom I managed to find my group.
We spent a few minutes chatting and headed off for the race start, the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum. If it hadn’t been dark, I would have gotten a picture (or let’s be honest, if I hadn’t still been half asleep, I might have remembered). The lines at security were short and fast, and within minutes we were standing in front of the gear check vans watching the sun rise.
Recalling lessons learned last year, we waited until the first wave was lining up to run, before heading to the Port-a-Potties for one final pitstop. Because when you’re in the final wave of a 30,000-person race, you have plenty of time. Plen-ty. While everyone else is freaking out about finding their corral, the restroom queue disappears. We got in and out in with 15 minutes to spare, then joined the other 30,000 lunatics waiting to run.
I wasn’t expecting to run my fastest race, because my training sort of fell apart around mid-October. I wasn’t paying as much attention to my nutrition as I could have (i.e., there has been a lot more cake than kale in my life for the past few months), and I weigh a bit more than last year at this same time. To top it all off, I started having some pain in my right foot that prevented me from doing my longest training run, a 14-miler about 3 weeks out from race day. So instead of setting my sights on a personal record, I decided to go slow, have fun, and just enjoy the day.
The first half mile was actually really hard – my muscles weren’t warm enough and my legs felt like blocks of ice. But the fans made it fun, and the sun was shining, and after a few minutes my body got on board with the program and I kept up a nice, relaxing 14-minute mile pace for about 5 miles. I saw Sarah from Another Mother Runner, got a hug from Nellie, danced past the guy who blasts Michael Jackson at the corner of Race and 4th Streets every year (this year it was Wanna Be Starting Something when I passed him – one of my favorites), and saw a few women from the Valley Forge Galloway running group on Front St.
Unfortunately, my phone was safely tucked into my new RooSport Pocket so I didn’t get pictures of anything!
After running along the Delaware River for awhile, the course turned back into South Philly and then through Center City. Right around mile 6 is where things started to get more difficult – the mystery pain in my right foot (which I think is a result of weak ankles) started to appear and I spent a few minutes walking to see if I could get past it. Unfortunately, every time I started running again, the pain came back. I tried to white-knuckle my way through it, but by the time I hit Drexel and the BIG hill, I knew the race was pretty much over for me. I allowed myself a few minutes of mental tantrums, at which point I was passed by a man who must have been at least 80. That’s when I decided I could whine my way through the next 4 miles, or I could walk my ass off and still finish strong. Which is exactly what I did. At 13 miles I mustered everything I had so that I could RUN across the finish line and it felt great! Total time, 3:23. About 20 minutes slower than last year, but I finished, and had a great time.
After I got home and cleaned up, my husband took my out for fondue to celebrate:
My legs were unbelievably tired and sore for the rest of the day, but by Monday afternoon everything was back to normal. And despite telling myself that I’d stop running for a couple weeks to rest, I ended up running a couple miles on Thanksgiving morning. What can I say? I’m an addict!
After the Running With Curves Virtual 5K in January, my next scheduled race is the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philly on April 4th. I’m really looking forward to this one – the swag is legendary. Also, there are quite a few Running With Curves ladies that are registered as well, so it’s going to be a fun day.
Did you run in Philly last weekend? How was it?
Don’t forget – December 1-7 – get 15% off your purchase at Enell with the code RWC14!