After talking about it for a few months, I finally completed the 2014 Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon!
We got to Philadelphia on Friday night. We met up with our friend Lauren for a late dinner and then went to our other friends apartment to pass out. Fridays with work and travel always kill me.
The next morning I got up stupid early because my body hates sleep for some reason. We hung out at the apartment until 10:00am and then headed downtown to the marathon expo.
For some dumb reason the packet pick-up was at the back of the expo hall so we walked around confused for a few minutes. Once we got our packets we went to get our shirts and I must say I am a fan. Even though they are mens and women’s fitted the women’s is not too tight (like the Disney Princess) and I love that it is long sleeve.
After the expo we headed back to our friends apartment and went to get lunch. They had heard of a new sandwich place so we decided to head there. It’s called Blue Duck Sandwich Co. and it was so freaking delicious my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I got their signature sandwich the Blue Duck Sandwich. Shredded duck with a blueberry barbecue sauce and broccoli rabe! Noms
After lunch we ran some errands and walked more than I should have, but probably not as much as I walk before a Disney race. For dinner we went Italian. I am not the biggest on carbo-loading. I usually eat fish (like salmon) before a run and luckily they had salmon over pasta….perfect! We got to bed around 11:00pm that night.
The next morning we got up around 5:00am to get ready for the race. I am pretty good with morning runs now that I get up for Crossfit at ungodly hours all the time. My friend Kier offered to drop us off at the start so we didn’t have to take a cab which was awesome! We had coffee and bagels with peanut butter in the car on the way. We got to the start around 5:40am and went through some pretty menial security checkpoint.
After security we decided to stop by the porta-potties and I was a little annoyed that a bunch of them were still zip-tied shut. Luckily it was early so there weren’t any lines yet. It was COLD, but instead of bringing toss clothes we brought normal clothes to check before the race. It was still early so we went over by the UPS bag check and just sat down and stretched with the hundreds of other people in the lot. Around 6:15am we decided to stop by the porta-potties one more time before we checked our bags. The lines were crazy at this point. We were in line until 6:50am, but we got to see the sunrise waiting in line.
Next we stripped off our extra layers and checked our bags. Our attempt to get to our corral (orange) was a little annoying. We had to go in a huge circle and walk through a different corral to get there, but we made it in time for the National Anthem.
Then the waiting began. We were in the second to last corral so we had about a half hour wait until we started. My toes started to get really cold waiting, but there wasn’t much I could do except jump up and down which didn’t help much. We slowly made our way to the start and got to the start line about 28 minutes after the first runners started.
Cheryl and I both decided to run our own race, but we started out together. A little after mile 1 I realized I had to go to the bathroom (of course) so I started running faster and lost Cheryl. Around mile 2 I saw a bunch of porta-potties and the lines was HUGE! I couldn’t figure out why until I noticed some weren’t being used because they were still zip-tied! Girls were just popping squats everywhere and I knew the line would take a while so I jumped off line and kept going. The exact same situation happened at the next 4 stops for porta-potties!
I tried to enjoy the scenery as I was running (to keep my mind off having to go to the bathroom). The course is different than the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half. We ran down Arch Street, up to Race Street and down Columbus Boulevard by the water.
Then we headed up Front Street (where friendly neighbors were handing out tissues that were making a MESS on the street) to South Street. We turned back up toward Independence Hall and down Chestnut Street (past City Hall) to University City. After University City I finally spotted porta-potties with a semi-short line (only 10 people instead of 20) and I waited. It was a good 15 minutes, but I am glad I stopped.
Around this point is also when it really started to warm up. Now I was running past the Philadelphia Zoo and over by the Please Touch Museum (where we just did the Lemon Run). Around mile 10 we hit a HUGE uphill where I walked for the first time. Once we got to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive by the Schuylkill River I knew I was almost at the halfway point. I have decided I hate races that split. It makes so much more of an impact when you see the half marathoners veering off to the finish, knowing you still have a whole half marathon to finish!
When the half marathoners split off we were back in front of the Art Museum and then I was on the very familiar Kelly Drive.
The whole second half of the race is a giant out and back, which I also decided I hated. It might also be because I run Kelly Drive a lot so I know how much longer I have to go.
I passed Boathouse Row and started up Kelly Drive next to the Schuylkill River. At this point I started instituting a walk into my run. Every mile I would walk .1 and then run to the next mile marker. At the Falls Bridge I started realizing how they just kind of threw in miles wherever they could to make the race the right distance. We ran over the bridge to the other side, ran down the road a little and then turned around and ran back over the bridge to continue up the street we were just on….dumb.
After the bridge I was in new territory. Cheryl and I also cross the bridge when we run there, because we aren’t sure where the road/highways/bathrooms are past that. We ran on a highway onramp and then into Manayunk. I had to walk the hill that leads up to Manayunk and then down the other side. This was around mile 19 and I was definitely starting to feel my lack of training. I ran all of Main Street to the turnaround point and headed back. I was now officially on my way to the finish!
I saw Cheryl around mile 20 (she was at 19) and she said she was hurting, but I told her the time didn’t matter to keep pushing. I did not grab the free beer they were handing out. It looked like Yuengling and I am not a fan and who knows what that would have done to my stomach!
The run back along the Schuylkill was a lonely one. There were not many people cheering along the course anymore, and barely anyone still running towards Manayunk. Around mile 23 I had to start doing 2 walks (at every mile and half mile for .1) and that helped.
My original goal was to finish in under 5 hours. At mile 24 I realized I only had about 20 minutes left to make it. I stopped walking and pushed myself to the end. Unfortunately I came in at 5:01:02!
I would have hit my goal time had I not waited 15 minutes to go to the bathroom…lessons.
I crossed the finish line and got one of those dumb plastic sheet things and then my medal. I love when medals are cool and heavy :)
Then I got a cup of gatorade (even though I wanted a normal size bottle) and a bag with an apple juice cup, chips and two packets of peanut butter (with nothing to put it on). I walked a little further and grabbed a soft pretzel (they had bananas too) and headed off to get my bag. After I got my stuff I left and made my way to the curb to wait for Cheryl. I texted her to let her know where I was an she said she had a mile left.
About 20 minutes later she met me and proceeded to lay down and not want to get up.
She hates marathons. I am not sure how I keep convincing her to do them with me.
We both stretched and ate a little and then headed off to find an Uber to take us back to the apartment to shower. I had a few small blisters on my feet, but nothing too crazy.
After we showered we headed off to get a well deserved lunch at Chickie and Pete’s. I even had a beer :)
All in all it was a good race, but not one I would do again. I guess I am just so spoiled now from the Disney and Rock and Roll races. I expect there to be people cheering all along the course, and when it was just me and other runners for miles it was pretty lonely. I was also miffed with the ports-potty situation. These things are specifically placed along the course for people to use for the race. Why were they not open! Definitely something I am going to bring up in the pre-race survey.
When we got home I added my new medal to my medal rack and realized I need a new one. The top is all Disney races and the bottom one is every other race I have done. I even have an extender bar on it and it’s completely full which is awesome, but I need more room! I am thinking about getting one of these. Thoughts?
Hope everyone had a great weekend!