I've needed the past week to recover and gain some perspective on my run in Philadelphia. The bottom-line is I had a great race. I enjoyed running with D; although at mile 17 I wasn't acting like it. At mile 16-ish I made a mental note to never run a marathon again. I decided that running 13.1 miles was good enough for me from that moment forward. However, as we closed in on the finish line, I knew that my days as a marathoner were far from over.
There is something so unforgettable about crossing the finish line of a marathon.
Words cannot explain it. You just have to experience it.
And to finish this race in an 8 minute PR. Well, that is just icing on the cake!
My official time at the Philadelphia Marathon:
D finished in 4:14:58 - I had an awesome final kick! (Read: he totally let me cross the finish line first.)
The race started with some inspiration words from the Philadelphia Mayor, who was awesome. We then heard the horn officially start the race and Rocky Theme Song was soon playing. The first half of the race went wonderfully. We enjoyed the sights of Philadelphia - South Philly looks like a great neighborhood. I totally missed running past the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We enjoyed the crowds on Chestnut Street and really enjoyed the Drexel University frat boys who cheered us on around mile 8. Most of them looked like they had yet to sleep that night. Their dedication to cheering on the runners was appreciated.
We then ran past the zoo and up a little hill (which did not compare to the monster hill on 13th Street I'm used to running). After the zoo we ran through Fairmont Park. It was a perfect fall day - perfect for running, perfect for being outdoors, perfect for spending time with your husband. At this point in the run, I was completely enjoying myself and was envisioning a great race.
After passing some of the most animated fans in the Park around mile 11, we were on pace to run a sub-4:10 marathon. I had dreams of having a killer second half and finishing under 4:05.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?
At the half-way point, we were at 2:02 - my second fastest half marathon EVER.
By mile 17 I was not feeling so good. We were passed by the 4:00 pace team that had started after us. And the pace leader had the most annoying voice EVER and she wouldn't stop talking. I slowed down just to let her pass us. Around the same time, I felt the strong urge to use a portapotty. Seriously, I just needed to go to the bathroom and there wasn't a restroom in sight. I saw several women run into the woods to relieve themselves, and although I knew I would have felt better if I had done the same, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I held it for the remaining 9.2 miles.
The last miles of the race were hard. At one point, I was running 11 minute miles. It was pathetic.
When we finally reached the turn around point (it was an out and back for the final 13 miles), my legs were tired, my bladder was full, I was missing the crowds of NYC.
BUT... I knew that I was going to run my fastest marathon ever. I just had to keep one foot in front of the other. It wasn't pretty, but we kept on moving forward.
Finally we saw the "MILE 25" sign. With each stride forward the noise from the crowd grew louder. Strangers started cheering me on by name; telling me the end was so near; encouraging me to run with a smile on my face.
I knew we were close when I spotted the museum. D grabbed my hand and held it.
We had done it. Marathon #3 TOGETHER was nearly in the books.
As we came down the hill with the finish line in sight, a mom ran over to the sidelines and grabbed her three or four year old son and they crossed the finish line together. I got a little teary-eyed; wishing K was there and able to run across the finish line with us.
We finished strong.
We grabbed some food and drinks, a free moisturizer sample, and our gear and walked back to our hotel. D secured us late check-out and we made the most of it. I took the longest and hottest shower of my life. And then I enjoyed watching the Steelers game!
We grabbed some pizza before heading home to DC.
All in all, it was a great race. But I have to admit that after running NYC and experiencing the city and the crowds, nothing can compare to it.
Here's to getting a spot in the 2011 NYC Marathon...