Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Race Recap: Philadelphia Half Marathon a.k.a. Crash and Run

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
As you know, when I set out on my mission to start running, I had no intentions of running any more than a 5K. It was a reasonable goal. I had something to prove to myself and I was successful. I never planned to run any further. That having been said, thanks to some pretty amazing coaches and the support and encouragement of some incredible friends, I found myself wanting to tackle a half marathon. 

This past weekend, I did just that. Naturally, the road to a half marathon was not without its challenges and I mean that both literally and figuratively. 

So let me get the bad part out of the way. I had promised myself that I would deliver the good and bad on my misadventures. Well, here it goes. In route to the hotel in Center City, with my ever amazing BF by my side playing navigator, I managed to run a red light. I was disoriented and despite trying to stay aware of the fact that lights were set up differently in Philly compared to Baltimore, I missed it. On my way through the intersection, I was hit driver's side rear axle. I am happy to report that no one was hurt - short of my pride. Tawanda, my Honda CRV, did not fair as well and will very possibly be totaled. I am working through all that mess at present and holding onto my faith that everything will work out for the best in the end. 

Ok...enough with the bad...let's move on to the good parts.   We were not far from the hotel when it happened and we were able to schlep our stuff over to the hotel, check in, go to the room - where the emotional breakdown ensued briefly - and then head to the expo. 

Much like the Army Ten Miler, I overestimated my finish time and stuck myself in a corral that wasn't appropriate for my average pace (around 10:30/M rather than the 14:00/M that I based my race entry on - what can I say...I know I can at least walk that fast) Philadelphia is far more forgiving though, and I was able to bump myself up two corrals from blue to purple. Yay me! My anticipated and desired finish time for this race was 2:20 and based on me running my "Happy Pace." 

The usual cast of characters were at the expo including All Whites, the egg white company. I keep trying to win a year of free egg whites to no avail. I considered buying a few things but given my morning, I felt it was in my best interest to curb my spending in anticipation of a possible car payment in my future. Ya hear that, All Whites?  I need a year of free egg whites! I know...pity isn't going to increase my odds of having my name drawn, but it can't hurt.

So let's get to the important part; the race. 

I spent the week ensuring that I was properly hydrated and watching what I ate. I made sure that I had a pre-race dinner that had the appropriate carbs in it. I also stalked the weather so I would be prepared as far as my clothing choice. Boy did we luck out. The weather was perfect. The high for the day was in the low 60s which gave way for a somewhat chilly morning. Perfect! Of course, my OCD side insisted that I be there early to get through security and into my corral. Yeah...I was in my corral an hour and a half before I needed to be. I have issues. The time passed by quickly though and before I knew it my corral was at the start - Nike App engaged and off I went. 

Of all the longer runs I have taken, this one was by far one of the easiest. I felt prepared, I felt good, and I had my BF awaiting my arrival at the finish - a huge motivator. The miles seemed to fly by. Somewhere between miles four and five we turned down South Street which was a literal run down memory lane. Shortly after mile five we hit Chestnut and passed the street where our hotel was. The BF was there cheering me on. Throughout the race, I received cheers delivered via my Nike App on behalf of the friends that were cheering me on via facebook. Each time I'd get a little teary - I'm a sap like that. 

Philadelphia is well known for being the "City of Brotherly Love" and they did not fail to deliver. The streets were lined with hundreds and hundreds of people cheering the runners on. It was an endless stream of support that carried you the distance. Philly needs to show Maryland how it's done. It was phenomenal. Among my favorite supporters was a young man wearing a huge number one foam finger. As runners passed he'd read the names on their bibs and shout that they were number one. I was tickled to receive a "Theresa is number one" as I passed. It is the little things - you know? 

Anyway, miles six through nine were a breeze and some time there after I noticed that we started to climb - uphill that is. I honestly do not recall the specific mile it began but I can only assume that it was near or in Fairmount Park. My mantra for the entirety of the climb and the later decent was, "Blue Ridge Mountain Half, Blue Ridge Mountain Half." At one point, I was actually saying it out loud...and I didn't care. 

Although my music continued to play on, my Nike App had stopped counting the miles - or so I thought. I had also lost track of what mile marker I had passed, so it goes without saying that I was surprised when I came up on the signs telling the full marathon runners to stay left and half to stay right. 

Seriously, could I be in the home stretch already? Yes, yes I was. 

The sign directing me to the finish was just ahead and in the distance I could hear the larger crowd. I increased my pace, bobbed and weaved through other runners, and upon rounding the corner I saw the actual finish. I was elated. I made it and crossed the finish in tears. Yeah...my pictures are gonna look awful. I don't care though. 

    Lessons Learned: 

    1. We got a room close to the start/finish of the race and extended checkout. I had a nice warm up heading to the start and actually facilitated the recovery process with a walk to our late breakfast and then to the hotel where I got to take a shower before we departed. I aim to do that for future races.
    2. Rather than be under fueled, like I was for Army Ten, I packed a couple granola bars that I ate on the way to the race start.
    3. Next time that I have a race arrival time that is before sunrise, I am going to bring one of my little key chain flashlights so I can see in the spot-a-pot. Dark spot-a-pot equals risky business.  
    4. Wearing my ankle brace for short runs is great but on longer runs it gets to be a bit uncomfortable.  I'll be going back to KT Tape in the future.

    I now know I am capable of conquering a half marathon...next goal Blue Ridge Half Marathon. Oh, and Blue Ridge finally announced today on facebook the official change they made to the half course - they added Peakwood for a total of 3,600 feet of elevation change - it was 2,528 feet. The best comment made on their facebook page following the announcement inquired as to whether or not there would be a "defibrillator stop on Peakwood." Good question...I may need it. 
    7 comments on "Race Recap: Philadelphia Half Marathon a.k.a. Crash and Run"
    1. Congrats on what is sure to be your first half marathon of many more!!! Way to go!

    2. Thank you, Kristen! I am already planning my next race(s). I think I'm still glowing. haha

    3. WTG!!! I ran this past weekend too! My recap will be up on Monday!
      It was mile 7.5 then 9 that the 2 hills started climbing! I was prepared for the first, but didn't know about the second... which was more of a climb. The downhill felt good though right?

      1. Thank you, Carolyn. The downhill definitely felt good and that first hill didn't seem to really have a down hill it seemed to have a flat that went into hill two. Or maybe hill two was just enough of a beast to overshadow the down hill. Either way, I am totally running it again next year. I loved that race.

      2. I think you are right, not really a down hill on that first one.
        Here is my recap... http://www.ccmcafeeperspective.com/2013/11/philidelphia-half-marathon-race-recap.html

    4. Congratulations. I too learn a lot with every race and run :)

    5. Thank you, Patty. Running is a process and with every run I learn more about it and about myself.