This year marked a first for me – running two longer distance events in the space of a week: the Philly Love Run half marathon on March 29th followed by the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K on April 4th. I spent several weeks leading up to these events feeling a lot of anxiety about being undertrained and possibly failing to finish one or both. It was painful.
A couple weeks out I decided enough was enough. Both races had clearly stated time limits on their websites (16 min mile for the half marathon and 15 min mile for the 15K) and there was the distinct possibility of getting picked up by the sweep van. But spending all my time worrying about it was making me crazy. I considered dropping out to eliminate the possibility of this happening. Whinona was in complete agreement with this plan.
That was a big red flag, because Whinona and I never, EVER, agree on anything.
And because I like to prove my inner mean girl wrong, I decided to go ahead with both events and have as much fun as possible. Instead of worrying about getting swept, it felt much better to focus on having fun while I was out on the course, enjoying the pleasure of running through Philly waving to spectators like a rock star (without having to worry about getting run over by a wayward taxi) and just letting it be easy.
So what does that mean? Running in a way that feels good to my body instead of trying to keep up with someone else’s pace, or even with myself from a prior event. And definitely letting go of the outcome and embracing the joy of the moment. If the sweep van needed to pick me up, so be it. Prior to that moment, I could either have fun, or suffer through the anxiety. Um, no thank you.
Suffering is always optional.
I pick fun.
With that attitude going in, both events turned out to be awesome! I finished the Philly Love Run half marathon in 3:25 (just under the time limit, yay!) and the 15K in 2:26 – which turned out to be about a 15:40 pace, well beyond the time limit. Despite being slower than the allowable pace, I didn’t get swept – nor did the 100 or so people behind me. I’m so glad I decided to show up for myself instead of hiding because I was afraid of failure.
Between the two, my favorite by far was the Hot Chocolate run. Because, well, chocolate:
Also, this hoodie:
And of course, this medal:
Even if the entire race had sucked, the bling was totally worth it. But fortunately, the entire day was a blast from beginning to end! The day was really cold and windy, but not quite as bad as last week’s half marathon (meaning it was above freezing), so I took a chance on capris instead of full-length running tights, and warmed up enough throughout the race that I was able to take off my jacket too.
The first order of business was cheering on my friend Nikki as she lined up for the 5K (at which point my bib blew away and I totally missed her starting her race as I chased it across the windy park).
Next I caught up with some local Running With Curves ladies for a group picture in front of the Art Museum before the 15K:
After the photo op, we dispersed for last minute Port-a-Potty visits and to find our corrals. This was a surprisingly large race and I was in corral T – the last one. I found one of my RWC girls (hey Debra!), and we spent the next 30 minutes chatting while we waited to cross over the start line.
The race officially started at 8am, but we didn’t cross the start until about 8:30 for this reason:
One of my favorite things about Philly races is the views. There’s always something amazing to look at – either historical monuments, a beautiful skyline, or the river.
I didn’t take too many other pictures along the way, because I was enjoying the day and also made lots of friends along the course. Usually I keep to myself when running a race, but for some reason I was chatty this morning, which gave me the opportunity to chat with several people. I even got a new recruit for the Running With Curves FB group (hey Pier!!!).
At 2:26, I crossed the finish line with Beth and Jean, and then we heard another RWC name called out moments later – turns out Ashley was running right behind us the whole time! So we got in a quick hug and then headed off to get our chocolate:
And the obligatory ‘biting the chocolate bar medal’ photo:
After the race, I found Nikki and we walked back to our car comparing race notes. She set a PR for her 5K!!!!! Then it was time for celebratory drinks and Mexican food in Chestnut Hill:
A huge thank-you to Enell for sponsoring me to run the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K – their literal and figurative support makes running easy!!! To learn more about the wonderful, life-changing sport bras they make, and get fitted for one of your own, visit www.Enell.com.