- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
Despite lack of preparation, the race weekend was amazing. Don’t get me wrong, the race was brutal (more on that next), but I love Philly and getting to spend the weekend walking/running through the city with my family couldn’t have been better. We even had time to fit in a few rounds of “One Night: Ultimate Warewolf” (one of the greatest games ever imagined). And enjoy a couple of Dogfish Head’s new Sea Quench Ale, a new summer favorite of mine. Then came the running part.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that this race didn’t come all that easily after I’d only managed a five and a half mile run during training. I knew this race was going to be physically demanding so I also knew I had to be ready mentally to tell myself to keep going. Starting out, miles 1-3 flew by. Perhaps that was because my estimated finish was 1:45 when I signed up, so in keeping up with my corral I was flying through the early miles at a pace that would have been perfect had I been running a 5k. Nevertheless, I was feeling good, I felt my legs loosen up and I felt light on my feet. Miles 4 and 5 followed suit. Mile 4 was a gradual incline but I knew that meant I’d be coming right back down through mile 5 and my support crew was waiting at the bottom to cheer me on. Then began the out and back along the Schuylkill River which I had actually been looking forward to since the course map had come out. Although I had envisioned picturesque views of Boathouse Row, I very quickly became painfully aware that every step I took met another step coming back on the other side. Four miles out, four miles back.
As you can imagine, miles 6 through eight were particularly tough mentally. Although it wasn’t terribly hot, it definitely wasn’t cool, and the air was thick. I felt like I was pushing through the air which was not something my legs could manage. It was also around mile eight that I noticed how vastly different each mile had been emotionally. This could have been because I’d chosen to put the entire Black Parade album into my playlist to celebrate its 10th anniversary, but I had run the gamut from joyful, to dismal, to bitter, to almost numb. Some miles flew by and some seemed to go on for hours.
Mile 9 was a definite turning point both literally and figuratively. We literally were crossing the river to turn back towards the museum which meant every step I was taking was closer to the finish line as opposed to the last 4 miles leading me the wrong way. The finish line was beginning to feel within reach it was here that my legs really started to let me know they weren’t happy. Even my feet ached which was a sensation I’ve never really had mid-race. I’d walked through every aid station already to give myself a quick respite from the pounding of the asphalt but after mile 9 I started also walking and stretching for 10-20 yards at each mile marker. As I got to mile 11 and 12 I was becoming very aware of how close I’d be cutting it to the 2 hour mark.
As I crossed into mile 13 I glanced at my watch and saw I had just over 10 minutes to complete the last 1.1 mile, I thought that final tenth of a mile might kill me. Coincidentally, I had selected Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything For Love” as the last song in my playlist and it had queued up just before I’d crossed into mile 13. Now because I’d chosen the full version of the song I knew there was somewhere between 10 and 11 minutes left so I just had to finish before the end of the song and I’d be in under 2 hours. Better yet, if I got into the chute before Lorraine Crosby kicked in I knew I’d be golden. I can’t tell you how far into the song I actually got before crossing the finish line, by that time I was too enthralled by the crowd. What I can tell you is I came in at 1:59:24, a little too close for comfort.
I was exhausted after the race, but I still managed to snag a picture with Rocky, and we even ran up the art museum steps singing “Gonna Fly Now” the whole way. Now it’s time to set my sights on Brooklyn (which finishes uphill). I definitely have some training to do if I’m gonna continue the sub-2-hour streak.