Philidelphia Half Marathon - Race Recap

I raced the Philadelphia Half Marathon last week.

It was a great race, well organized, perfect weather.  I'd totally do it again!

Here are my race results

Not too bad.  I PR'd again!  My time from the Buffalo Half was 1:39:25 (7:35 pace)

I finished this race at 1:38:32 (7:30)

A 1:35 finish would put me at a 7:15 pace... next time!

I'm still learning about racing each distance.  It's a fine balance between pushing yourself, because it's a race, and not extending yourself too much, because you want to finish the race!!!

I think I didn't push hard enough for this particular race.  I had plenty in the tank at the finish.


Let's go back to the beginning...

I decided to race a half marathon this fall.  My goal for this year was to race another marathon in the fall.  Training proved to be tricky... fall is so busy with my photography!

I figured I could handle a half and wanted to train to PR. 

I did, but not as much as I'd hoped, I guess you reap what you sew.  A few weeks ago I thought I'd might not hit it, I've not been as diligent in my training as I could've been. 

Philly is a big city, tons of people, and this is a big race!

I got my registration email and information before we left.  The goal time I wrote down was 1:35.  That put me in the maroon coral.  Well, that coral is the second coral, just after the seeded and elite runners!  Yikes!  I'd never done corals before, this made me anxious!  I reassured myself all would be well!  *note* after the race my conclusion is that corals are the bomb!  It was so nice running with people in my range, not having to dodge or run around other runners, plus it totally pushed me, I want to be like these runners!

We hit the race expo on Saturday and man was it packed!  Seriously... SOOOO many people!  I was a woman on a mission... get packet, get my family out of there!  My little E was crying he couldn't see us for a minute and thought he was lost!

It took me 15 minutes or so to get my bib and shirt... that convention center is huge!

I got a shirt that fits me... thank you, I have enough man shirts!  We also got a clear bag, used for gear at the race and some other little prizes.

I chose this race because of location.  After deciding not to do a fall marathon I wanted to choose a race closer to me.  I'm glad they weren't all sold out, and I'm glad my family agreed to come cheer me on!

Saturday we made our plans.  On our way out of the city I found the race booklet that was in my bag.  All of my questions were answered there.  The exit we'd taken to get into the city would be closed race morning... find an alternate route.  There was info on security checkpoints, gear check, they said you could arrive at 5am... I thought I'd just show up a few minutes early, but no... this is a big event.  I decided to give myself an hour, but NOT two!  Matt and I decided on where he'd be to cheer, so we could watch for each other.

I ate light Saturday night, because I ate a larger lunch.  I had soup and salad.

Sunday morning I was up at 5 to get ready.  I ate a quarter of a bagel and drank a chocolate milk.

How do I say this politely... my GI system was up and running too!!!  This was a huge relief to me because if you've followed my marathon training at all GI stuff is my arch nemesis!

I chose to wear capri's, with my compression sleeves.  I was so anxious about my top.  I didn't really know how cold it would be.  I hate being cold!  I do warm up as I run, but I'd rather run warm than cold.  Last minute I decided to go with my lightest long sleeve top and just layered up.  I wore my jacket to the race and checked it.  Glad I had it while I waited, glad I checked it and ran w/o it.  I was plenty warm.  I also chose to run w/ no belt, no camera.  The race had clifshots at mile 10.  I went with that.  I'd get calories from the Gatorade along the way.

My greatest anxiety was all of the unknowns.  Do I really need two hours to get through security for this race?  How do I get to my coral?  What is the weather going to do?  It's all of the stuff prior to the running that made me nervous!

As we arrived down town we saw the flood of runners walking to the start/finish area.  Matt got me close to the start, then headed out to park.  I walked a couple of blocks and went right through security no problem!

I stood in line to piddle.  Totally had a full bladder, not normal for me!  I ran hydrated!

The nice three ladies in front of me let me go ahead of them, so glad... my time was running out!

I only had about 10 minutes as I heard the announcer telling us all how things were going to go down.  As my coral was right at the front I wanted to get in there to be ready.   First I had to drop my gear, which was all the way at the back, away from the start.  Nice.  I ran there.

It's a pretty sweet set up, they have a ton of UPS trucks, in letter order.  You find your truck and give them your stuff. 

I could not for the life of me figure out how to get into my coral!  I was getting anxious!

My safety was seeing a small group of 'maroon coral' girls making their way through the crowd.  I got in right behind them and followed them to the front!

As I was standing there waiting the guys behind me were chatting and one of them mentioned how he just can't get under the 7/mile... he was talking about the marathon btw!  7/mile for a marathon... what was I doing in this coral?!!!

I stood next to a gal running the full.  She was aiming for a 3:30 finish.  That is what my goal time is for the full too.  I sort of felt like a looser only running the half!

We listened to the National Anthem, always chokes me up a bit.

They started the wheeled athletes, then us!  There were so many of us!  It was relatively quiet, but still an exciting start!

Here is the course map...

I wanted to start slow... I normally run the first mile the fastest.  I did a good job of tempering my pace, maybe a little too slow!  I heard a guy behind me say we were at 7:15 at the half.  I hadn't checked my Garmin.  I slowed just a bit, nice and easy!

Here are my numbers via my Garmin...

Mile 1.... wished I'd ran it at least @ 7:30.

After .5 miles my eyes darted as I watched for Matt and the kids... jog stroller, look for that.

We saw each other!  I waved as I passed and they cheered!

It seriously means the world to me!  I love having them all there!

Matt didn't want to carry around my big camera so he tried taking pics with the small one, which just doesn't have the shutter speed!  I have one photo of me... and it's a blur!  That's fine!

Mile 2... love the cheering spectators, as I turned the corner of 4th and Race street I took a deep breath  Someone was blasting 'Of Monsters and Men'.  I love good music.  Great moment.  I love running!

Mile 3... fewer spectators here, more quiet along the water.  Pretty.  Checking out all the runners around me, taking note of who is who.  I actually got some liquid along here.  My throat was dry.  I thought I'd drink @ 5, but sooner is fine too.

Mile 4... right around here is where I heard my name called out for the first time.  It was a little surprising, but totally fabulous!  I told the guy behind me that I didn't know the man who cheered for me... but I loved it! 

This was a wonderful part of the race for me!  I'm sure I looked like a goon running with a huge smile on my face, but it was making me laugh, and very happy!  I'm so glad my our names were on these bibs.  It feels really good having people call you out by name to cheer you on!

Mile 5... loved the streets between mile 4 and 5.  People were out cheering, cute city street homes.  Watching my time here, telling myself to stay right at 7:30.  See my mistake was that I kept telling myself to stay at 7:30 instead of just letting myself go!  Trying to pace myself so I had enough.  My plan was to then bust it out the last three miles.  I'd have been better to just go with the 7:20 pace I was feeling... oh well.

Mile 6... this street was lined with spectators and I was running near a guy who kept calling out 'let me hear you Philidelphia', 'cheer us on'.  The crowds would scream and yell!  It was quite electrifying.  Again, with my smiling face, people cheering my name... my eyes were darting again for my cute fam... I saw them... E saw me first.  I slapped high 5's to G and Matt.

Now I'm on my own for the rest of the race, I'd see them at the end.  Well, not really on my own, I had all of these lovely cheerleaders!

Mile 7... passed a hand cycler.  Cheered for her, amazing to push yourself with your arms for 13 miles.  Also along this stretch were some college folk.  They had their own hydration station, they were offering beer!!!  A male runner in front of me totally took it and chugged!  Hilarious!  I wonder how that affected his performance?  I also hydrated here.  It's nice to run w/o anything around my waist, but I tell you I really appreciate having a bottle to shoot liquid into my mouth vs. a cup.  I don't love slowing down for the half and trying to drink on the run is messy.

Mile 8... this is what I'd planned for in my head.  I knew mile 8 was a hill.  I was ready for this hill and ran it pretty well.  It didn't feel as hard as the second hill, which I hadn't really planned for.  I kept waiting to see the zoo, but never did.  I went with the downhill, felt good.  Didn't hold back.

Mile 9... don't really remember this mile... maybe because I ran it so fast!  Kidding...  I do remember it started getting green, park-like.

Mile 10... here is where the other hill hit.  I pushed up the last 3/4 of it with a guy who raced the half holding the American flag.  We didn't talk, just ran side by side up the hill.  It was cool.  I saw a gal walking up the hill, and for a minute wanted to walk.  I had to count to 10 a few times because the last little bit was hurting!  The down hill felt good and I passed a few runners!

I got a cliffshot here.  I slowed to gulp it down along w/ some G-rade, actually stopped for just a minute.  Nice museum!  Just before we hit this mile the guy behind me saw family cheering for him.  They yelled that whoever he was with was way ahead of him.  That pissed him off and I heard about it as I was running! :)

I was there, mile 10.  I wanted to run the last 3 strong, faster than a 7:30. 

Mile 11... I guess not!  At the turn around there were some fun cheerleaders, all dressed up.  We were running along the river now and they were dividing us up halfs to the R, full to the L.  I tried to kick it up a notch and did for a minute, then I guess got distracted!  I looked at my watch to see I'd slowed a little... get back on it!

Mile 12... still going.  I could see the bridge, the art gallery, the finish just a mile up!  There were no spectators at this point, just us runners and our breath.  I was tiring, but still pushing for a strong finish.

Mile 13...  the end of this race has just a little uphill!  Push, push!  I knew Matt was there somewhere, but I didn't even try to find him!  I focused on passing the girl in front of me... and did then finished the .1.

Yahoo!  It was a good finish.

There were those warming blankets, medals, drinks, food, gear pickup, a changing tent, then an exit which led to a family meeting area separated by alphabet.

I walked through and got my stuff.  I thought about changing, but was excited to see my fam.  I got there and there was no one there!  I waited and stretched then walked around.

Finally I saw my cute fam heading toward me.  M had G-rade and chocolate milk for me... tasted so good!  I started to freeze so ran to change before we walked back to the car. 

G had given me a hard time the day before, he didn't want to be there, but he actually was a great cheerleader and proud of his momma!  Q and O were mostly just hanging out E and G were excited by the running.

M stopped at the fountain on his way back to the finish.

This is where they stood, although I'm not pictured here.

Me and my team...

Our walk back to the car.

M did have to try 2 garages to get a spot, but they didn't have to walk very far.  It was a well executed plan, gotta say!

This race got me all fired up.  I want to drop these last 10 lbs and have an even better year next year! 

Thank you Philly.  I loved racing your city!  I hope to return again for either distance.

Here is my bib, medal and tee.