Monday, November 26, 2012

A Season Closer.. Philadelphia Marathon Race Report..

This is so overdue, and I only apologize a little bit; I've been too busy making cake-pops and drinking wine to write. And if that's wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Ahhhhhhhhhh, Philadelphia.

I took an incredible lackadaisical approach to this race; I felt that after the 50, I could pretty much conquer the world. Pffffffffffttt.. 26.2? I can do that in my sleep. About 48 hours before the race, reality bitch-slapped me. As much as this race wouldn't be a PR kinda race, I also needed to respect the distance. I also had a funky knee thing going on, that had limited by miles after Stone Cat. I needed to put down the wine bottle, pick up the water and Ibuprofen, and stop being a princess.

Sara and I ran a short shake-out around her house on Saturday (no knee pain!), and then headed to good ole Philly. We almost had to set-up a lemonade stand outside the car to pay for the tolls between the GW Bridge and the NJ Turnpike, but we decided scrounging around the car for coins was way more fun.

After we debated the race start time (I thought 8am.. I was *only* an hour off) and devoured the-best-oatmeal-sandwich-cookie-EVER from Whole Foods (I told you, lackadaisical..) we were lights out by 830pm.

Race morning was chilly, but we ended up driving there and parking less than .25 miles from the start. Here's a hint: if you grab a couple runners at your hotel who are the ridiculously long taxi line, they'll pay for your parking, AND you score good race karma. It's a win/win all around!

Okay, moving on to the actual race... 

If I had to make one complaint about this race, it's that the streets at the beginning are too narrow to accommodate the amount of runners. The marathoners and half-marathoners run together for the first 13 miles, and there are some sharp turns that can be dangerous if you're not paying attention. Case-in-point, we saw a girl sitting on a curb with a gash in her forehead and blood running out of her nose. When you have wall to wall people, it's really hard to see where that curb starts. Just a "heads-up" for anyone who would be using this as a "PR' race. BE CAREFUL!

The race for us was so much fun, but H-A-R-D. Way harder than it should have been, given the pace we were running, and our respective PR marathon times. This course is great, in that it's constantly keeps you engaged. The aforementioned turns, a great mix of hills, and a big out-and-back at the end to keep you distracted. Thank God, because we both had to dig for this one. I can't speak for her, but I was tired. I definitely managed to smile, laugh, and have a good time, but there were a few times when I went head down and just listened to the feet hitting the pavement around me.

I did have some knee pain, but it was easily contained by Ibuprofen that I scored from some guy and his wife who lived on course (didn't pack 'em..). I was fueled by my trusty Clif Bloks (purchased at expo the night before the race - didn't pack 'em..). There were no salt tablets, because surprise surprise, I forgot to bring those too. I paid a little for that, but luckily the temperatures were low to keep the effect minimal.

This was an emotional finish for us; Sara as her last "hurrah" before the baby, and me as a top-off to the 2012 season. My ultra training and her pregnancy coincided beautifully; we were both running slower than usual this year, and therefore were able to train/race a lot together.  We've had some great adventures this year, and this race capped it off perfectly.

I'm not sure what's next for me, although I do have my eye on a couple different races.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and is enjoying the off-season!


  1. Yay! Love this! I am so happy for you and this marathon and having it sort of be your culmination of races this year!! Love you!

  2. Glad to hear you had a nice time in Philly. Yeah, ridiculously crowded course for the first 13.1. Debating between sugarloaf and VCM myself.

    1. VCM was my first, so holds a special place in my heart.. BUT Sugarloaf is supposed to be stupid fast, which would be really fun ;-) If you end up signing up for Sugarloaf, DEFINITELY let me know!!

    2. "stupid fast" sounds good to me. I will certainly let you know if I sign up for that one. I was trying to find the elevation profile for the race but couldn't find anything.

    3. Here you go!

  3. CAKE POPS!!!

    OK, now I will go read the rest.

  4. Wow, just an "easy" race to top things off...funny how perspectives change ;)congrats on your amazing season!

  5. Sooo as you probably already know by now, I DIG your approach as a runner, you just run with such joy and passion and that makes ME want to run even more joyfully and passionately because of it. I LOVE how you two ran this race, with no pressure, just out there to make a memory together, a big last hurrah for BOTH of you even if for very different reasons. LOVE it. (and love YOU!)

  6. I love your attitude going into this. Didn't it make it more fun? I've heard great things about the race, but never anything about the crowded course. Thanks for the heads up! Hope you had a fabulous holiday my dear.

    And no pictures of the cake pops???