Philly Half Marathon Race Recap
It happened. I successfully ran my first half marathon. Woo!
Let’s back it up.
On Saturday, Addy, her husband Justin, and our friend Will came to pick me up and we started our road trip to Philly. It was an easy drive and we arrived there in no time and headed straight to the expo.
We easily picked up our bibs and did a quick tour of the expo. It was SUPER crowded. We ducked our way out of there and headed across the street to the Reading Terminal Market to explore.
For those of you from D.C., the Reading Terminal Market is a jacked up Eastern Market and was filled with tons and tons of goodies – bakeries, sandwich shops, candy, etc. Again, it was very crowded in there but we made it to some seats in a diner and had a quick lunch. After lunch we decided we needed a sweet treat. Salted milk chocolate caramel anyone?
I may have also purchased a peanut butter, chocolate covered pretzel. Yes, yes I did and it was so good! We proceeded to wander around Philly a bit and just enjoyed the afternoon.
Will and I then headed to NJ for the night to stay with our friend Katie and her family. Her mom cooked up the most amazing pre-race meal of mushroom pasta, chicken and shrimp, green beans, salad and garlic bread. It was all SO good. We loaded up on our carbs, chowed down on some mini cupcakes and watched Wet Hot American Summer. And then suddenly it was 5:15am and time to get ready for the race.
After getting dressed, having a quick granola bar and cup of coffee my nerves really started to kick in. Katie’s Dad zipped us back to Philly to the start line and we said good-bye to Will (he was headed to a faster corral) and went to find Addy. My some miracle we immediately found Addy when we got into our corral (especially since her cell phone had died). We huddled together and waited for the 7:00am start.
Soon enough we were moving forward and could see the start line. And then, we were off! There were a ton of people and lots of spectators so it was a slow start but we were running. We tried to all stay together but Addy moved on after the first half mile and eventually Katie and I were separated around mile 4 or 5 (yes, I love my running buddy!). I felt like I was super excited the first 5 miles because I knew I was going to see my sister at mile 6. Sure enough around 6.2 I saw her on the left with her friends. I was so happy to have her in the crowd.
The first 7 miles of the race really flew by, even though my pace was all over the place. Around mile 7, the hills started to appear. Miles 7 – 10 were all hills but they were rolling and weren’t too bad except for the big hill at mile 9. During the hills I was definitely missing Katie by my side. Around mile 8, a woman took out her earphones and was asking me how many hills were left. I told her I thought we just did the last one. As we rounded the bend to see the biggest hill of all mile 9, we both started laughing and wished each other luck. I love the camaraderie of runners!
Once I pasted the 10 miles mark I thought to myself, “this is the longest you’ve ever run!” I also knew that I hadn’t trained past 10 miles so these last few miles were going to be a challenge. And oh boy they were. After coming down the big hill, the rest of the course was pretty flat with a few up and downs here and there. I felt like my legs were giving up on me. I was winded but my legs were just moving so slowly. I also felt really cold in my capris and short sleeve shirt. After sweating a ton during the first half of the race, I had cooled down so much. My thighs were frozen!
I kept thinking, I wish I was moving faster. And I really wanted to be moving faster but I just couldn’t. Everyone seemed to be speeding up and flying by and I felt like I was just getting slower and slower. The last 2.1 miles of the race were the hardest miles I’ve ever run in my life (yes, even including the triathlon). I kept trying to speed up, follow someone who passed me and envision the end but I just could not move faster. So then I just decided, slow and steady, take your time and get there when you can. I saw people walking or taking a break but I knew I would regret it if I stopped so I just kept going.
Just before mile 13 I heard my name and turned to see my sister again! I was so happy to see her and she totally gave me that extra edge I needed to finish strong. I think she could tell I was totally dying and it was great to have her support at that moment. Right as I saw the finish line, we split from the marathoners. I have no idea how those runners are able to mentally keep going after seeing so many people peel off toward the finish line. It’s really impressive. When I saw the finish line in sight, I finally was able to pick up my speed and power through. As I was speeding up I could hear the announcer talking about marathon runners who had finished and looked over to my left to see then speeding their way in. Truly amazing.
I was totally beaming after crossing the finish line and really wanted to just high five someone but was surrounded by strangers. I was also COLD. I grabbed a foil blanket, my medal, some Gatorade and some water and went to find the rest of the group. We all found each other in no time and were chatting about the race. Everyone did well!
I parted ways with Addy, Justin, Will and Katie and my sister and I headed back to the car before swinging by Katie’s parents house for my massive suitcase. We drove home to NJ and surprised my mom who was expecting me on Thursday morning. Seeing your mom scream with happiness in her PJs is pretty awesome. I spent the rest of the day relaxing after eating the second half of my peanut butter, chocolate covered pretzel, some sour gummies and a massive turkey sandwich from my hometown deli. My mom made me a huge pot of lemon soup for dinner and it totally hit the spot. I also tried to chug as much water as possible, threw my compression sleeves on and iced my knees.
This morning I am feeling sore. Pretty much all over. I might need to go to yoga tomorrow with my mom 🙂
Overall, I’m so glad I did the half marathon. I enjoyed the race, and even though the last 2.1 miles were really tough, it was a great race. My time was 2:23:57. I”ll take it for my first half!
Maybe there is another one in my future? We’ll see!