Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Recap - PR, babayyyy!

Last Sunday, I raced in the Philadelphia Marathon and I achieved things I didn't think were possible: a sub-3:50 marathon and a marathon race I actually enjoyed! That is getting ahead a bit, so let's start from the beginning. **Warning: there is a section about public urination that goes awry, so if you're not good with that, then this might not be your favorite race report.**

The past 18 weeks, I have trained harder and more consistently than I ever have for a marathon. I followed Pftiz's 18/55 plan (18 weeks, peaking with 55 miles in a week). I actually put in nearly every mile I had planned and I put in quality miles. I raced a the Philadelphia RnR Half Marathon and PRed it by 8 minutes, so I felt good going into this race. Even so, I hadn't had any previous marathons go well, so I was still nervous. 

I woke up Sunday, race day, from stress dreams about work. I kept dreaming I was consistently messing up and being scolded, which meant I woke up a bit distraught and frustrated. I tried to get past that while I got ready. I had laid everything out, so I just had to get into my running clothes, eat breakfast, and head out the door with my mom (in town for my race) and boyfriend. I did, like normal, use the restroom at home, hoping that was all I would need. This comes in to play later. 

We got to the race and it was still dark and I was getting really excited and nervous! I felt the need to go to the bathroom yet again (odd, I felt, but I had just drank a lot of water on the car ride there), so I waited in line and went again. I then met up with my lovely Back on My Feet friends. I was so proud to be rocking BOMF gear and to be racing alongside some amazing friends, especially those running either a half or full marathon for the first time. 

My outfit also included a homemade tutu. I loved running in costume for the Marine Corps Marathon last year, so I knew adding something fun to my race gear was needed. I saw some folks in tutus at the Mind the Ducks 12 Hour race, so I knew I wanted to make one to wear. I adored wearing it and cannot wait to wear it in other races! I think it was my good luck charm!

Holy tutu! Is it big enough?!
After meeting up with some BOMF friends, I headed to my corral to find the 3:50 pace group. I was aiming for that time, so I had planned on running with them as much as I could and hopefully passing them toward the end. I am so happy I chose to run with them because it allowed me to not have to constantly check my pace; I just had to stick with the guy with the balloons and I was fine. I realized around now I had to go to the bathroom yet again. What was up with me? I was hoping it was just nerves. 

The race finally started a bit past 7 am and we were off! I will say I was extremely frustrated the first 5ish miles with a lot of the racers ahead of me. If you don't plan on keeping the pace of the corral you stand in, don't be in it. Don't be in the corral with the 3:30-3:59 racers when you plan on walking within the first two miles of the race. It didn't help that the first few miles are though Center City with more narrow streets. 

By the time we got to my alma mater Drexel University, the crowds weren't nearly as bad. Around then, my need to pee was getting pretty bad. Just past the first major hill on the course is wall of trees that many males use to pee in. I decided this was my chance to go to the bathroom without waiting in a line for a porta-potty. Let's just say I didn't do a great job of it and ended up with wet shorts and underwear (super gross, I know!). What I would have paid to be a male for just 30 seconds! I then had to sprint up and catch the pace group, which was not fun. Lucky for me, my shorts dried out within a few miles, but I did not love those few miles with gross shorts!

Soon enough, we were at the half way point and I was truly happy. The first half didn't feel forced and I felt like I had plenty of energy. Before the race, I put on a temporary tattoo I got from (awesome site!) that really helped me focus on being happy throughout the race. Anytime I was starting to not enjoy running, I'd look down at my forearm and remember today was a day to be happy and appreciate what I was doing. 

I still have it on my arm and I love looking at it!
Only around mile 17 was when tiredness set in. I knew I had only single digit miles left, but that didn't mean it was going to be easy. I focused on staying with the pacer, even if that meant having to sprint after him after every water break. Soon enough, we were in Manayunk, where the fans were amazing, and we just had to head back to the Art Museum!!

As the miles slowly ticked away, the miles became harder and harder (duh!), but I knew 3:50 was in my reach and I refused to allow the pace group get ahead of me. With just a few miles left, I felt myself slowly pulling away from the pace group and although my stomach was starting to feel nauseous, I kept pushing. The end felt like it took forever to get to, but finally, I was pushing (albiet, not sprinting, because that was out of the question) one step in front of the other to the finish. I crossed the finish by high-fiving Bart Yasso, famous runner, and Philly's Mayor Nutter. My finish time? 3:48:50. I felt like death by the end, but I was so happy to have that time be mine! I worked hard, raced smart (for once!), and because of it, I cut 12 minutes off my previous PR.

Now it's time to rest up since I've got another marathon in 3 days. Ack!! 


  1. AMAZING! You rock! I hope you have a great thanksgiving!!!

  2. Thanks, lady! Happy Turkey day to you, too!!