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.

1 comment:

  1. Great Job Tom. It is difficult to prepare for mental aspect of the first marathon. You can read about it and have others tell you about it but until you experience it, it's hard to realize it. Sounds like you did a great job of pulling yourself though it. With your determination you will adjust for the next one!

    Looking forward to reading about your races and training.