I think I’m still smiling from this race two days later. Philadelphia holds a lot of special memories for me and this race in particular was an old favorite from back in college. I knew it would be amazing to be back and I was looking forward to running well but running for fun, no time goals necessary for this experience.
Philly is the place I fell in love with running. In college, I began running with friends and together we trained for our first half marathon, the Philadelphia half, and I’ve been hooked ever since! Through grad school I lived in North Philly and often headed down Broad Street to Center City on my runs, and made a 3-4 mile loop.
Philly is the place where I had all my internships and had my first ‘real’ job after grad school. It’s where we got engaged and had our first apartment together in West Philly.
We got to stay with good friends (from our dating years in Philly) which made it even more special. Our kids had a blast together and it was so nice to catch up with them.
We got to Philly on Saturday and spent some time at the Expo and also at the Reading Terminal Market (where I had an awesome waitressing job through college at an Amish stand that paid my bills!) We picked up soft pretzels, had some ice cream, and got chocolates from a bakery to share with our friends.
The evening passed quickly with the kids playing outside together and we all had delicious homemade pizza together. (Allison also inspired me with her pickling and fermenting- she made some awesome water kefir and had batches of kombucha brewing as well. I need to get back on that!)
Sunday morning was cool and rainy, but thankfully it was a pretty light rain for most of the race. I layered up with a tee and shorts, arm warmers and my bright orange poncho to keep me warm and dry.
Allison dropped me off near the start and I did a 1/2 mile or so warm up. I had a few issues getting into the right corral as it’s now all colored based and I first thought I was pink, which put me at the very back. I didn’t think that could be right so I ventured to the front where I finally realized I was purple, and had to jump over the barrier to join my corral. But it all worked out.
This race flew by! There are so many people running together the entire time and so much to see running through the city. I was especially distracted as I was watching for key landmarks I used to know well (Diamond Street, Temple, Center City favorite spots, South Philly, etc.)
The first mile was my slowest because of the density of people. (The waves were great, but it’s hard not to notice 40,000 runners as you start!) I found myself weaving a lot to get settled into a steady pace. Mile one: 7:15
From there, I ran very consistently. I wasn’t worrying about my splits for a change. Miles 2-7: 7:02, 6:59, 6:59, 6:57, 7:04, 7:02
About mile 7, I was getting warm and ditched my hat. Not long after, I ditched my trusty orange poncho (so long, friend!) but I have to say, running felt a lot easier after that was gone.
It was about mile 7-8 that my energy dipped. My legs felt great but my stomach felt a little weird. The same thing happened in my half 2 weeks ago and I think I need to revisit my race morning fuel plan. Both mornings I had whole wheat toast (which I rarely eat anymore) with pb and both times it was closer to the race than what is ideal (two hours before, instead of three.) I think my system is not used to running on wheat, and wasn’t done digesting the fiber and fat.
I took out a pb gu that I had saved from fall training and ate a bit of it. I do think I felt better within a few minutes.
It was around this time that I realized a pr might be possible! I focused on keeping the final few miles steady and strong. Miles 8-10: 7:08, 7:02, 6:54
Final time: 1:10:34 (7:02 pace)
Yes!! My post-baby legs are back, I think! Can I still call them post-baby when she’s 20 months old?!
Regardless, it felt awesome to run strong and soak up everything I love about this city. And to surprise myself and shave a minute off my ten mile pr!
Post race was less awesome. I got cold fast. I somehow missed the HeatSheets they were passing out and managed to grab a clear poncho from a less than thrilled volunteer. I got my gear bag but could hardly get my cold fingers to cooperate to get my sweatshirt over my wet clothes.
I joined the group heading to the shuttle bus to take us the one mile to the subway station. All the buses turned left, but ours went straight. The poor volunteer had no idea where we were. There were some angry, very frustrated runners on our bus and we eventually all got off and walked the mile to the subway which was better for my legs anyway.
Thankfully the subway ride was smooth and warm. I refueled with a Philly soft pretzel and banana and my family met me at the station. That hot shower was amazing!!!
We celebrated with Pho before hitting the road home. All in all, a fantastic weekend!!
How you run a race in the rain?
Did you ever run a race ‘for fun’ and surprise yourself?