Monday, November 24, 2008

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

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%
Pace 9:45.1

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**

47 comments:

Chic Runner said...

Can't wait to see pictures! :) Great job on finishing and your report was very good and detailed! you all make me want to run a marathon, but seriously, your dedication is amazing, congrats!

Janice said...

17 marathons in 2008? that is great.. I hope to one day be able to find the time to accomplish something like that. maybe when the kids are bigger, much bigger. Good job, the body is a mystery, especially the female body

Julianne said...

2 marathons in 3 weeks is nuts but really amazing! And your time at Philly is fantastic! Congrats on finishing another marathon! Great race report, btw!!!

*aron* said...

congrats marci!!!!! you did amazing and added ANOTHER marathon finish to your list. you are so awesome! out of those 7, how many have been in the last 2 months? at least 3 right?! congrats again on a great race and a course PR!! cant wait for pics :)

Melanie said...

Congrats on an awesome time and a PR on the course! Can't wait to see the pics, and don't be hard on yourself, you had an amazing 2008, became a maniac, so you have a lot to be proud of!

Kim said...

Great job. You should be very proud.

What? You legs were tired? 7 marathons this year and your legs are tired? I can't imagine!

Can't wait to see pics.

Again...congrats on another GREAT race!

Blyfinn said...

I think my body would be drained after putting in the miles that you have over the last 5 or 6 weeks. you did great.

Sonia said...

Congrats Marci! Great effort, 7 marathon in a year is pretty outstanding and 5 within a 2 months period is totally insane. No wonder your body is tired!! I think you did great.

Hopefully next time you'll have your PB.

I was going to say you can't temp us with silly pics and not post them!

Marlene said...

Congratulations!!! It may not have been a PR, but sounds like a solid race. You have had a HUGE year. Is it time to relax now?? ;)

Can't wait for the pics!

Kaytie said...

Congrats on running Philly! I'm a regular reader, a fellow running blogger and one of the Hash House Harriers who was handing out beer. We had a blast, and I'm glad to hear it went as well as it did for you!

Kaytie
http://blogs.phillyburbs.com/blog.php/?p=36407&cat=0#comments

J said...

You did great! Probably the adrenaline and stuff from the back to back marathons pushed you to run faster but who really knows. Congrats on running a great race and finishing in such a good time when it was freezing out!

BeachRunner said...

Congrats! You ran an awesome race. You are a warrior. You really earned that Course PR. Well done homie!

Progman2000 said...

Great race report - congratulations!

Marcy said...

CONGRATS chica!! You did a fabulous job!

tfh said...

Seriously, for someone who has run as many marathons this year as you have, your time is awesome! I'm so impressed that you still have the enthusiasm and energy for such frequent marathons-- and it sounds like you're getting very intuitive about what your body can do on a particular day. Great job once again!

Cindy said...

that is an awesome number of marathons. i'm sorry you didn't PR, but be proud--you did great!!

Denise said...

GREAT job!! And 7 marathons in one year...that's amazing. I'm wondering if I'll ever do another!

SLB said...

Nice job, the thought of having to wear three layers sends shivers to my core though!

Good times considering this is #2!

Jess said...

Great job on the race, and you may be right, you just may have been tired: You've run 3 marathonsin less than 6 weeks. That's quite a feat!

Vava said...

Great report, and a terrific time all things considerd! Remember, the trip to Hamilton is a lot shorter than Philly, and maybe that explains the difference in the two results? Travelling takes a lot out of you without really letting you notice. Great stuff!

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Marcci you're amaing:) You rocked the race.Congrats! Seriously. Next time if its cold, wear your skirt on top of your compression tights:)

Really now, you should recover,k?

I still think all us local bloggers should run a 5k!

Xenia said...

Great job, Marci! I totally stalked you and Ted yesterday via the website. I was so happy when I saw that you had finished. Well done!

Runnergirl said...

Congratulations! Great job. Can't wait to see the pictures!

Blog My Runs.com said...

Congrats Marci... you did great & it will keep ya pushing for a better race days.

and Like you said though 4:15 is a very respectable time

Cheers \_/ \_/

CA said...

Where and when is your next marathon?

joyRuN said...

Congratulations on a great time!!

Awesome awesome race report - can't wait to see the pics! I feel like I missed so much on my race, that I've been relishing reliving it through everyone else's :)

7 marathons in a year is phenomenal!

Ted said...

7 marathons in one year is nothing to sneeze at. Congrats for getting the job done !!! Your post race report was E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T !!! Job well done. As a matter of fact, I was about 10 minutes behind you. We must have crossed path ! Funny - I brought GU with me. By the time I put GU gel shot in my mouth, it was almost frozen. Another thing.. I was desperate for a cup of water around 20-21 miles, I saw a guy handing me a cup and it was beer. I was disgusted and threw it out. All I want was WATER !!!!

Once again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

P.S. I did stop by Maggiano, but it was a full house.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I think you did fantastic especially since you run so many marathons so close together!

lilrunner N.D. said...

Way to go on the great finish!! It sure was cold out there which could have slowed you down. And its always so hard to not go out fast. You did great! I love this marathon and I enjoyed reading your report!! My favorite part is manuyunk!

Lily on the Road said...

OMG girl, that is amazing!!

You and Hubs ROCK...oh, I can hardly wait to see the pic's....

You ARE a Marathon Maniac!!!

Laura said...

Congrats to you both! I'm sorry I didn't get to come along but hopefully we'll meet at another race sometime soon.

Also, I agree that it's completely random/weird how some days you can just fly through a marathon and others you're slogging along. I heard a lot of people had trouble with Philly this year though - I think because of the freezing temps.

runjen said...

Wow! You are amazing!! I can not believe the # of marathons that you have completed this year. Very impressive.

SuperDave said...

Just incredible Marci! You are a "real" runner compared to me. I can't believe that this was your 7 marathon this year! phew...Philly sounds like a great place to run a marathon if a person can get over the cold. Are you going to take it easy for the rest of the year now?
It is definitely well deserved.
:)

Nikemom said...

Congrats! Looking forward to the pics. I agree with Chic Runner, I'm seriously thinking about doing the full Lincoln marathon in May. I keep bouncing back and forth. ;P

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Run Mommy said...

Fantastic Marci! I look forward to seeing picture - especially on the Rocky steps. :) Is this it for the season??

Nitmos said...

Well, Congratulations ona strong race. I've heard good things about Philly so now it is going on my list of 'to do'. & marathons in one year? Crazy. Great job!

X-Country2 said...

Great job! Congrats on the course PR! It sounds like a great race to have done.

The thought of a giant race like that scares the crap out of me, so just finding your way to the start is an accomplishment to me. :o)

Can't wait to see pics.

Laurel said...

Great job! I can't believe how many marathons you have run this year! You're my hero!!!

You ran a great race and it's a great time.

I can't believe you did the stairs afterwards. Haha, I wasn't brave enough for that one. I thought if I got up there, I would never get back down.

Can't wait to see the pictures!

RoadBunner said...

Congratulations on a great race!! I can't imagine running 7 marathons in one year! Sorry to hear it wasn't skirt weather :) Yes, definitely check out the Atalanta skirts. They have great pockets and wonderful customer service. Depends a little on if you're willing to try shorts under the skirts, though! Can't wait to see the pictures, too!

bill carter said...

OK, that was marathon #7 this year and that in and of itself is amazing. You definitely didn't have your best stuff, but I think you still had a great result. The marathon is never easy and you made it happen by being physically and mentally strong.

Congrats!

Nat said...

IT is what it is. You stuck with it, you ran the best race you could and that in itself is an accomplishment.

Congratulations!

Runner Leana said...

Marci, congratulations on your race! Your seventh marathon this year is nothing to sneeze at. Sorry you were a bit disappointed in your time, but I still think it is an amazing effort.

Looking forward to the pictures!

Girl on Top said...

Great job! I met Bart Yasso at the Atlanta Half/Marathon Expo. So weird to see someone on Runners World in real life!

MCM Mama said...

Great job! Especially considering you've run 7 this year! I'd love to run the Philly marathon some year.

FLYERS26 said...

Great job!
Philly was my 1st, and it was an awesome experience.

Meg said...

I'm late with this, but Congratulations!!! Philly's a great city and I was getting very jealous being there the week before the marathon. One day I want to run that one. It's so inspiring to hear how many marathons and ultras you've tackled!

Steve said...

Congrats on a great finish! I ran Philly this year, too, and it is now one of my favorites. It is a great race. Great detail in your post. The hot broth at the end was awesome! Just what was needed on a REALLY cold day.