Thursday, November 21, 2013

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

Since late Spring/early Summer I have had one singular focus when it came to running: my first sub 2:30 half in Philadelphia. Every single run. Every single gym session. Every single plank.  I came into this race with huge doubts and was even making contingency plans for a Spring half marathon. I really didn't think I was going to do it.

Then came Sunday. And this:

That's a 5:40 PR!

Getting to the race was incredibly easy....exit hotel at an ungodly hour of the morning and follow all of the other runners on the street to the start line. This is the largest race I've done and it was amazing to be in my hometown with 30,000 other runners.

There was a lot of communication from the race organizers that there would be security checkpoints to enter the starting area and to allot enough time to get through them. We were in line for approximately 3 minutes. We checked our bags and waited for the portopotties before walking around the art museum to our corral. I was assigned the Orange corral but moved back to the Blue (last) corral to stay with one of my friends as long as we could.

As we were listening to the waves before us being released I kept getting the sense that today was going to be my day. Each wave was released to its own song. We heard the Rocky theme, which got us all excited. Then the next wave got New York, New York, which pumped up my favorite New Yorker, Bang. The next wave got Sweet Caroline, which made my Boston-loving heart happy. Finally, our wave was released to Avicii's Wake Me Up which was designated our official Philly Road Trip Fist Pumping Song. We were psyched and ready to go.

Miles 1-3 (10:35, 10:29, 10:45)
These miles were pretty flat and I felt pretty strong from the onset. I was a bit shocked to see my first mile split. I made a mental note to slow down, but clearly, I was not very good at that. The course was super flat and the crowd support was amazing. By the time the 3rd mile beeped I knew I had to get serious about slowing down. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to keep up these paces through the whole race.

Miles 4-6 (11:16, 11:10, 11:11)
Around mile 4 I was having a little mental breakdown about keeping up the pace. In mile 4 I was able to slow down a little and was happy to see I was still above race pace. My effort was strong but doable. I focused at this point on making it to mile 6 where Melanie and Fran would be waiting for me. I struggled a little bit coming up South Street and back towards Independence Mall. I relied heavily on the crowd support. I was pretty excited  to see that I was still below race pace.  High fiving my friends gave me the boost I needed to head into the hills that were coming up.

So happy to see my friends!

Miles 7-10 (10:37, 11:30, 11:03, 12:23)
Mile 7 was a steady down hill and I let myself go down that one. I knew that mile 8 would be a steady incline for the entire mile. I was happy that I had banked quite a bit of time and that took some of the pressure off. Mile 8 was in University City and the drunken college students were pretty entertaining. This mile was tough, but I kept thinking off all of my runs in Umstead and I knew I could handle the hills in front of me. I was pretty psyched to see that this mile was only 10 seconds off of my goal pace. But I knew that the hill at the zoo was going to be harder so I put my music on and focused on getting through mile 10. I kept telling myself to get through this hill and it would be easy sailing until the end. The hill was steep and most of the people were around me were walking. I willed myself to make it through my intervals. I wasn't surprised to see my split on this mile.

Miles 11-13 (11:05, 11:14, 12:15)
Mile 11 was the reward for mile 10. It was scenic, downhill and fun. It was the funnest mile I have run in quite some time. Unfortunately my left hip,which had been nagging me since the first half of the race, was starting to get worse. I just had it in my mind to finish the race.  My Garmin 10 wasn't set up to show me my overall running time so throughout the whole race I had no idea where I stood in terms of PRing. I could see my interval timer and my pace but not my overall time. I had been trying to do the math and knew it was a possible sub-2:30 but I wasn't completely sure. I couldn't wait to cross the finish line and find out. The last mile was a complete struggle because my hip was so incredibly sore.

Mile 13.1 (9:32)
As we rounded the corner back to the art museum I turned off my music and soaked in the finish line atmosphere. There were people everywhere and I was so excited to finish. I saw Mel and Fran again at the finish and was so happy to be done. I threw my arms up at the finish line and looked at my watch to find out that I made my goal and crushed my previous half PR by nearly 6 minutes.

Pain face at the end.

I have worked so hard this summer and through a couple of injuries and I was so excited by my time. This was one of the best races I have ever run. It was so well organized, the course was spectacular, and the spectators were amazing. The fact that I PRed in a race in my hometown just made it all the more sweet.

The rest of the day was spent eating, napping and more eating. This was without a doubt one amazing weekend.


  1. So glad I was able to witness your PR, you were AWESOME!

    1. I was so happy to see you on the course and to be able to hang out with you afterwards! My fingers are crossed that I get into the Cherry Blossom again this year!

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  3. Huge congrats on your new PR! I ran Philly last year as my first full marathon and absolutely LOVED it. I completely agree- it is well run and the spectators are AWESOME!