Well if I were to grade myself based on criteria I set before the race, I guess I would give myself a C-. In retrospect though, I think I may have given the race a B+ effort. Read on and I will explain.
This was my second time running the Philadelphia Marathon. Last year I found it to be a lot of fun because its a great course with varied terrain and scenery, great crowd support and a fun destination. These reasons and others drew me back for round two, and once again, Philly didn't disappoint. Its a kick ass-phalt event!
The weather forecast was ominous for Philly Marathon. The night before I went to bed I checked on final time and it was supposed to be -4C at the start, and a high of 4C at the finish. I decided begrudgingly that it was not skirt weather and settled for compression tights, and three layers on top. I was glad I did, it was cold!
Hubs and I had travelled down to Philly with a group of running friend and we had a really nice pasta dinner at a place called Maggiano's. Travelling with running friends makes the race all that more enjoyable, IMO. We had an early dinner and had finished eating by 5:30 and went back to the hotel to rest up until the morning. I slept O.K. tossing throughout the night, probably banked about 4-5 hours.
Race morning came and we walked to the Museum of Art. It was extremely crowded, so I stood in line at the porta potties while Hubs took our bags to the bag drop. One neat thing was that Bart Yasso from Runner's World was one of the race announcers. Lots of inspirational advice and encouragement was provided, and of course, fellow runner's camaraderie.
We stood in line in our start corral listening to the Rocky theme music which got us all pumped up. It was nice and warm being huddled with all of the other runners. I lined up between the 4:00 and the 4:15 pace bunny, because I didn't want to go out too fast.
Famous last words. Hubs and I took off and we immediately began running about a 3:50 marathon pace. I kept trying to slow us down, but we would relax, and I would look down and sure enough, our pace had crept back up.
The first half of the course went smooth. My legs felt fantastic, and I glided along. There was a large uphill around 10 miles, but I seemed to handle it OK. There was also a small cobblestone section which was scary to run over, but just past that was the best cheering section ever. Hundreds of people lined up with cow bells, music and whistles. I felt empowered and inspired, Philadelphians rock! I started to wonder, maybe today was the day to go under 4 hours? I crossed the halfway point at 2 hours, 1 minute. I was thankful when the half marathoners peeled off to the finish line, it meant more road space!
Past the halfway point, I started to have doubts about sub 4 hours. My legs were fine, but I just kind of felt exhausted. Tired. Pooped. Nada. Zilch. At the 14K point there was a huge hill that I made the mistake of stuffing a GU in my mouth before I crept up. I was halfway up the hill with the GU in my mouth still beginning to choke (running uphill and eating not a good combo) so I walked and finished the GU off. A little defeated that I had to walk, I told myself, so what, you walked, now run girl, RUN! So run I did, down a nice long downhill and settled back into a 5:41 min/km pace.
The next few miles went OK. We were running along the river towards the warehouse district called Manayunk. This section is often where runner's wall can occur. It an out and back loop. But the out is a long gradual uphill. This section is fun to run though, and there is beer at mile 17/21 and brownies and great crowd support. I didn't have either, my stomach just didn't feel like it.
By the 20 mile turnaround, I was tired. I knew I was off pace, but also knew depending on how much I could hold on for those last 6 miles, would depend on whether or not I would get a PR. I kept running interspersed with short walk breaks.
I struggled and pushed, but a PR just wasn't in the cards for me. I crossed the finish line at 4:15:38 (official time). Certainly a respectable time, but I was disappointed. How was it possible that I ran Hamilton faster (4:09:20) in a back to back marathon, and then after three weeks rest, I couldn't do the same. The body is a mystery sometimes. I think I was just overall tired. This was my seventh marathon this year, and my third best time, and a PR for this course, so I'll take it.
Afterwards Hubs and I got our picture taken, had hot broth and a pretzel (awesome post race treat), and ran up the Rocky steps and took a few silly pictures.
Final Race Stats:
Clock Time 04:22:56
Chip Time 04:15:38
Overall Place 4121/7231
Gender Place 1337/2986
Division Place 239/504
Age Grade 53.7%
Congratulations to all finishers, and I look forward to reading all of the reports. Thanks for reading!
** I didn't bring my camera USB cable to upload pictures so I will edit this post on Tuesday to include pictures**