With 8 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon, I finished my second Half-Marathon on Sunday, crossing the finish line in 2:00:53, a 50-second PR!
I had mixed feelings about this race. On the one hand, I ran a great race, but on the other hand, I felt terrible.
Saturday – I woke up and went for an easy 3 mile jog around my neighborhood before grabbing a quick bite to eat, quadruple checking that I had everything and headed to the train station to catch the train to Long Island. My best friend and former college roommate picked me up and we headed to the Race Expo to pick up my packet. The expo was…slightly depressing. The race directors had sent out so many e-mails promoting the expo and I wasn’t at all impressed. I was surprised that they had an expo at all for a Half-Marathon, but it was pretty lacking. The swag bag however was pretty awesome! On top of my race shirt (pink!) and a matching pink bag that said Diva’s Half-Marathon, I got tons of free samples, a coupon 5,000 miles on Spirit Airlines (hello boyfriend!), and a $500 gift card to Red Star! So I can get some running sunglasses!
We got back to my friend’s house and it was time to relax so we put on a movie that I brought (off my list, of course!) and watched the movie before another one of my old college roommates came over and we had a yummy pasta dinner and some pumpkin ice cream before I went to bed bright and early.
Sunday, Race Day – My alarm went off at 5:45 and I got dressed, grabbed a quick bite and headed out to the race. It was cold outside. It was about 40 degrees and it didn’t see like it was ever going to warm up. The 5k started at about 7:45 while I was stretching and we lined up shortly after. I lined up in the 8:01 – 9:00 corral but then they started telling everyone to move up and push forward so I actually started the race in the 6:01-7:00 corral which is not at all my pace but they were pushing everyone up so I didn’t have much of a choice. The gun went off and off we went. The race had about 3,000 women and the start tunnel was extremely narrow so I was practically walking through to the start line, but the group quickly spread out. I was running fast and I felt like it, but I was feeling pretty good. Miles 1 and 2 came up a lot sooner than I expected. Between Miles 2 and 3, I started to worry that I would crash early if I kept up the pace I was at, but I was still cold and anxious to warm up so I didn’t want to slow down. At Mile 3, I was at just over 24:00 and knew I had to slow down. I stopped off at the Porter Potty because I really had to pee and was able to get into a regular pace after that.
When we hit Mile 4, the wind started picking up. I wasn’t running against the wind, but it started to feel really cold. At Mile 5, my knee started bothering me but I saw my mom at the mile marker so that was exciting! Miles 5-8 were brutal. I was so cold and my muscles were tightening up. I was wearing capri length pants and a t-shirt and I thought I would be fine with that. The forecast had called for high 50s in the morning and it was definitely much colder than that. I had been taking Power Bar Energy Blasts through the race (my go-to fuel) and they weren’t sitting right with me. I started feeling really sick to my stomach and at Mile 7 I had to stop off and use the Porter Potty again. When I got back into the race, I was still cold but feeling much better. I was definitely running slow though and I could feel it. When I hit Mile 8, I saw my mom again and knew I wanted the race to be over. I thought to myself, I run 5 miles every Tuesday and Thursday and this is why, so that when I get to this point in the race, the last 5 seems easy. So I started to pick up the pace. By Mile 10, I was hurting again but feeling good. I knew at this point that I could finish and I knew I was close to the threshold of finishing in the same time I finished my last Half and that was not going to happen. I was going to PR no matter what. The last few miles had local high school cheerleaders at each mile cheering the runners along which was pretty cute. Just before Mile 12, they were passing out hot pink feather boas and tiaras. In the true cheesy spirit of the race, I donned my crown and my boa and I started to (excuse my French) haul ass.
Eying the finish line just after Mile 12!
I ran to that finish line like I had never run before and as soon as that line came into view, I sprinted like I was running for my life. As I crossed the finish line, I threw my arms up and nearly collapsed into one of the fire fighters that was handing out red roses and champagne. I proudly took my rose, my champagne and my 10 pound medal (it felt that heavy after the race!) and went over to where my mom, and three of my very closest friends were waiting for me at the finish line.
I felt pretty awful after the race but, at the same time, I felt great – how can you not feel great after that kind of accomplishment? When I ran Katie Lynch back in May, I had to stop and walk a few times and this time, I never did that. When I was at my lowest point in the race, I looked around and saw everyone around me walking and I was not going to do that. So I kept running. I had to stop twice but I never stopped running because I felt like I mentally could not continue to run.
It was a tough race since I never quite warmed up and my lesson learned is to bundle up for Philadelphia no matter what the forecast says so that if I need to throw away layers I can, but if I want them, I have them.
Now, I have 7 weeks to go until Philadelphia and I’m feeling pretty good. I have a lot of work ahead of me and my training is going to take on a new, more rigorous shape next week but I know I can handle it and I’m ready for whatever the elements throw at me. I had a great recovery run yesterday I have an 18 mile run planned for this weekend. I’ll be testing out some new fuel options and gearing up for the 3 hardest weeks of training before I start to taper down for the race.
I want to thank all of you for your support because you guys have been amazing. Thanks for following along and thanks for your words of encouragement. Keep ‘em coming because they keep me going!
If any of you are running Philadelphia, or if you know anyone running Philadelphia, drop me a note! I’d love to organize a Meet-Up the afternoon before the race!