Better late than never, I’m back blogging and I want to share my experience at the 2015 Philadelphia Half Marathon.
It’s usually a 20 minute drive to the start line from my house and due to the pre-race jitters, I leave really early so I can park in my go-to garage and relax with my bagel and coffee. Although some people expressed disappointment with the length of the security lines, having walked through at 6:30, I experienced no issues whatsoever.
Having lost a few weeks due to IT Band issues during the summer months, I didn’t feel good about aiming for a PR in this race, therefore I moved back to the penultimate corral and set a goal to just have a good time. Coach Kristy recommended I take it easy during the first half, and if feeling okay, give it all I’ve got during the latter half.
Waiting at the corral was probably the worst part. Most of it was my damn fault – I didn’t dress properly for the temperature. I wore a short sleeved tech shirt and my Lululemon capris. Race morning temperatures were scheduled to be in the 40’s, but the wind was brutal, therefore with the wind chill, it felt like they were more in the 30’s. The race started a bit late and waiting in the cold just stiffened my body. My body was in so much pain before I even started and I contemplated leaving. A runner standing in front of me saw me shivering and offered me his space blanket, but once I saw he was wearing shorts and a sleeveless top, I politely declined.
First three miles were really crowded and I couldn’t slow down to maintain the pace Coach Kristy suggested for the first half, which was 11:50/mm. I was averaging 10:30/mm pace and even then I was pushed by a girl who seemed upset she couldn’t get by due to the crowded course. While I do understand her frustration, some runners went up on the sidewalk, an option she had and chose not to take, instead she pushed runners around. From what I witnessed, I wasn’t the only one.
There was a headwind that followed us throughout the course. The sun peeked between the clouds, yet the cold didn’t deter Philadelphians from coming out and supporting runners on the course. The city was awake and alive, one of my favorite things of running in my city. The screaming and cheering is music to my ears!
I kept my usual tried-and-true routine of fueling every 5K with gel (used Carb Boom Energy Gel) and hydrated frequently. I was still feeling pain in my joints from the cold wind, so aside from that, I was feeling okay for the most part. The hill past the Philadelphia Zoo, (you Philly runners know what I’m talking about) nearly killed me. It’s a steep hill and just downright mean. There’s nothing sweet about Sweetbriar Road. I walked the entire hill in order to avoid depleting glycogen stores. In fact, most of the runners I saw were actually walking it.
Reached the top and started to run again when tummy issues decided to strike. Past the Please Touch Museum was a fuel station which happened to have no gels, and I knew I’d be in trouble since I only carried two gels with me. Mile 10 was a beautiful downhill and at the start of 11, we were greeted by people dressed in costumes, dancing and cheering on. That was probably the highlight of my day! I was feeling tired and upon reaching mile 12, I looked at my Garmin and saw that my time was 2:27 and I knew I wasn’t going to PR.
Mile 13 is a slight uphill and I just gave it everything that I had in me. I crossed the finish line in 2:38; my goal was 2:35.
Running the Philadelphia Half is probably one of my favorite races, aside from the Broad Street Run. The medal is absolutely perfect, too! Many thanks to Coach Kristy at Run the Long Road Coaching for her guidance.
I’ve taken some time off to relax and take a break from training. I’ve spent time reading, spending time with family and friends and my pets but now I’m ready to get back into running and cross-training.
I have a giveaway coming up for the New Year, so stay tuned because it’s a pretty cool one 🙂
Hope you’re all doing well.