Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

After 12 weeks of training, a few injuries and more swimming I've ever done in my life, Sunday I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon. And it was awesome.

I stayed in Philly with some girlfriends from college, and Saturday night we prepared an amazing feast of spaghetti, green beans and salad. This meal, plus a brownie for dessert, was the perfect fuel for the next morning.
Saturday night I couldn't sleep-- I was so nervous! Training has been a little bit less than stellar, and with my longest run only being 10 miles (stupid injury) I was feeling a bit unprepared. Nevertheless, the alarm went off at 5am and after the traditional toast and coffee, I was off to the start.
I don't think I was really prepared for how cold it was outside. I hadn't really brought much in terms of warmup gear and was super cold while waiting around for the start. After checking my one sweatshirt, I jumped into the bathroom lines just so I could huddle next to other runners for warmth.
As the sun began to rise, we lined up near the Rocky steps for the national anthem. A little after 7, we were off!

Mile 1: 9:46
Mile 2: 9:52
Mile 3: 9:42

My general strategy for this race was to have fun, not stop, and hopefully achieve one of the goals I made last week. The entire race I kept focusing on my favorite race mantra: In the first half, don't be an idiot. In the second half, don't be a wimp.

So for the first half, I kept it easy. The course was a little boring (a highway??) for the first few miles, then got more exciting as we headed into center city by all of the monuments. The crowd support was great, and the first half felt easy.

Mile 4: 9:50
Mile 5: 9:38
Mile 6: 9:18

At the half, I took a Gu and prepared to kick it into high gear for the second half. But then... hills. I like hills, even! And these were killer. Especially a long, winding uphill around mile 10.

Mile 7: 9:03
Mile 8: 9:53 (shoe came untied)
Mile 9: 9:23

I generally took a cup of gatorade and a cup of water at each station. I'm lucky that I generally don't have stomach problems, but I do get pretty thirsty!

After we passed the giant hill and the zoo, it was a downhill ride down MLK drive into the city. The scenery was pretty, but I was tired. I was happy that I didn't feel any injuries flaring up, but was ready to be done. All the while my Garmin was marking the course as being a little long (probably due to me weaving so much) and seeing the 12 mile marker about 0.25 miles further than my Garmin read really messed with me mentally.
Mile 10: 9:53
Mile 11: 9:21
Mile 12: 9:15
Mile 13: 9:08
Mile 0.35: 7:49 pace

I tried to power through for the last half. I wanted to PR so badly and knew I could if I kicked it up. I ran as hard as I could through the last half mile and crossed the line at 2:06:40.
It only took about 3 seconds to realize that it wasn't a PR but so. close! My National Half time was 2:06:33-- I was just seven seconds off. As PR-ing was my 'A' goal, I'd say I earned an 'A-' for this one.

After collecting my medal, post race food and gear, I hightailed it back to center city for some food. I found an awesome little diner on 5th street and demolished a plate of eggs, Nova lox and hashbrowns. So good!

I had to head back pretty quickly to catch a flight, but I loved my time in Philly. It's a pretty city, a fun race, and full of friendly people. When I was walking back to my friend's apartment, so many random passerby congratulated me on my race! Well done, Philly.

Can't wait for my next race! Thanks again, everyone, for all of your support :)


  1. Congrats on your almost PR! 7 seconds off is pretty darn close in my book! :) I love Philly, I'm so glad you had a good time. Hopefully I'll run that race... someday a lonnnnng time from now, haha!

  2. Congrats! The multiple goal approach is such an awesome way to approach a race of any distance -- definitely nothing wrong with an A-.


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