Monday, November 23, 2009

Philadelphia Marathon Report 11/22/09

I DID IT!! I ran my first full marathon. 26.2 miles of fun ... well most of em. Here is my recap.

So after 6 months of training I headed down to the expo Friday night to officially start the race weekend. I got my bib and shirt and race gloves. I had originally registered to finish 4:30-5:00 but planned on trying to run with the 4:15 pace group so I got a corral change completed. I loved they had our names printed on our bibs as I had planned on wearing my name for race encouragement anyway.

Saturday was a day of rest and relaxation. I went to bed around 8:30 PM as I planned on getting up by 4AM. I woke up around midnight wide away thinking of the race ahead. I was able to fall back asleep and before I knew it the alarm was going off and it was time to start my pre long run / race routine. I wore Zensah compression sleeves to help with the calf cramping I had had during some longer runs ... compression gear top and bottom, thin tights and a long sleeve tech shirt. Temps were in the 40's.

At 5 AM I headed out the door to head downtown for my first full marathon. I was surprisingly very calm and felt ready. By 6 AM I had parked and walked to the Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Art Museum where I met up with my marathon training club for some pictures and last minute encouragement. I trained with USA Fit (Philly) which is a great program around the country to prepare you for your first marathon.

Race start time was 7 AM. It was a chilly morning and I had some throw away clothes on to keep warm until the start. I found my pace group (4:15) and soon enough we were on our way! I ran the first half though though Center City Philadelphia about 2 mins. ahead of pace. About mile 5 our pace leader got tripped and fell pretty hard. She didn't rejoin us until mile 9 or so right when we were hitting the only hills on the course.

I hit the half at 2:06 and was feeling pretty good. I saw my family and was ready to hit the out and back of the second half along the Schuylkill river to Manyunk. About mile 16 I felt nauseated and a headache started brewing. I slowed down a bit and watched my pace group pull away. I was OK with this and decided at that point I just wanted to beat Oprah! (4:29:20)

From there the race totally became mental for me. My legs were feeling heavy and I was not feeling to bad anymore except the headache tried to push on alone. The crowds were great and I did appreciate hearing my name and encouraging words. By mile 18 the head totally took over. I was watching people walking and talked myself into doing the same. I tried to keep it short though and did walk run for a while. I wasn't timing anything, just running till my head said stop and then walked till I felt I could go again. Around mile 23 I was at my worst but was on a very familiar part of the course. I knew mentally how much further I had to go. What landmarks were coming and I was ready to give it all I could to get in and finish as strong as I could and pull some negative splits. I came across the 4:30 pace group and heard them saying they would finish at 4:29. I was ready to pull it in. (more on this later) I went from a 12:58 pace to a 10:32 during mile 26. I was able to run that last mile totally zoned out being pushed by the crowds cheers and cowbells. My finish was officially 4:35:43 - Not making the 4:29 as hoping because DUH TOM ... you started before them!! LOL. I told you I was zoned out not thinking clearly. So I didn't beat Oprah and I'm ok with that. I finished my first full marathon. It's done. I'm a marathon finisher. I FELT AMAZING! My body was ok. I could walk. My head was pounding. But I was happy. I met up with my family for pictures and it started to sink in that the grief I went through getting to the finished was 90% mental. I need to work on that before my March Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.

Thanks for reading.