Well another marathon is in the books! Although if you’ve read about my first marathon you know I don’t exactly count it as “my” first marathon since I was running with a friend. This year I got redemption! The conditions absolutely sucked since the temps dropped 30 degrees from a gorgeous Saturday to a blistering cold and 20-40 mph winds on Sunday for the Philly Marathon. Just lovely. But I still had fun and pretty much hit my goal! Now here’s the whole story…
I have a bad habit of generally being a few minutes late to everything… well showing up about 15 minutes late on race day proved to be a stressful start. Peed, stripped off my throwaway clothes, downed my bagel, and rushed into my corral with about 5 minutes before my race started. I started a race waterless which if you know what a hydration freak I am that’s pretty much blasphemous…. and I forgot to start my watch too. The only good thing about arriving late was I was spared waiting in the cold for too long. OK enough back story…. onto the Philly Marathon!
Mile 1? Mile 2 9:41 Mile 3 9:55 Mile 4: 10:18 Mile 5 10:06 Mile 6 10:03
My number one goal was to make sure I didn’t start too fast (aiming for running the race around 10min/mile roughly)… I tried my best to pace myself and just take in the views. I started my watch at mile 1 and settled into the race. I was super glad to finally take in some water at mile 2. By mile 3 I was struggling to take off my arm warmers that were underneath my two layers. It was freezing and the wind was insane so I actually ended up the two layers the entire race (plus gloves and an earwarmer). I’m sharing a weather pic here so you know I’m not exaggerating about how much it sucked. Miles 4 and 5 went smooth and I saw Pat at mile 6 (best supporter ever!) The first quarter of the race running through all the neighborhood surrounding center city is my favorite part! Plus the wind wasn’t too bad here except for the tunnels in between the large buildings.
Mile 7 9:53 Mile 8 10:05 Mile 9 9:44 Mile 10 10:02 Mile 11 10:02 Mile 12 9:34 Mile 13 9:54
Next we run into West Philly and got the first huge gust on wind thats stops you in your tracks on the bridge- damn that was like a slap in the face. Then more building so it lightened up a little… and then hit again while running up our first hill near the zoo. Then a down hill into Fairmount Park before a beastly uphill at mile 9… which I crushed! I didn’t stop and walk at all and pretty much kept at my inconsistent pace around 9:50-10:00 minutes/mile. We looped around Fairmount Park- past the Horticulture Center, Please Touch Museum and down to MLK heading towards the Art Museum. My mom called me around mile 12 which is why I think I picked up the pace so much- and she let me know the tracking text estimated a 4:25 finish for me which I was ecstatic about the possibility of crushing my 4:30 goal… spoiler: didn’t happen and failed on the negative splits!
Before I get to the second half- HUGE shout out to our volunteers who also had to deal with crappy conditions during the Philly Marathon and kept up such positive spirits- you guys kicked ass and we appreciate it sooooo much! And also a big shout out to our spectators that stood in the crappy weather after enjoying gorgeous temps and fall weather during the past week- you guys rock too!! And of course shoutout to Pat for being a great husband and spending Sunday morning dealing with the weather and running around several miles to see me at different spots to cheer me on (plus dealing with my abbreviated but stressful training schedule).
Mile 14 9:48 Mile 15 9:50 Mile 16 10:06 Mile 17 10:03
Rounding around the Art Museum and heading down Kelly Drive for the out and back to finish the second half. This is the road I did 90% of my long runs on so yes it’s and flat but it’s boring. Plus adding in that crazy wind made it 10x harder… my long runs maxed out at 17/18 so that was really when the pain set in and the race began to feel really difficult.
Mile 18 10:00 Mile 19 10:28 Mile 20 11:03
Heading into East Falls and Manayunk is definitely a pick me up as the crowd support here is amazing. Tons of signs and supporters, plus fun snacks being handed out including Swedish fish, candy, beer, brownies, etc. I told myself to just try to keep running but around mile 20 I started walking for the first time. Pat called around this time and I told him it really hurt already and I wasn’t sure how I’d get through the next 6 miles but he gave me a little pep talk and I resumed running. PS right after I started running again a road barrier blew across the street (from the insane wind) and almost knocked two guys right ahead of me over- I was super impressed with their hurdling ability!
Mile 21 10:51 Mile 22 11:25 Mile 23 10:09
These last few miles are back along the route we just ran and are lonely. This was so mentally hard for me… I let myself take a couple more walking breaks but then I would force myself to run and pick up the pace.
Mile 24 10:22 Mile 25 12:06 Mile 26: 10:46
I just kept chugging along taking a few walking breaks… I’m trying to estimate how much time my walking breaks added… I’d guess a few which is annoying because I would’ve hit my goal if I pushed myself a little harder to keep running. By mile 25 I was spent…. I was in so much pain I wanted to cry and was cursing myself for not training better (and making my runs longer), my breathing was fine (thanks endurance) but my quads hurt badly… and the blister forming in between my one of my big toes. I saw pat halfway through Mile 25 (after my longest walking break when I was debating just walking the rest of the race) so that gave me the strength I needed to finish that last mile and a half. As soon as I crossed over the 26 mile marker I attempted to break into a sprint (fail) but I finished the Philly Marathon strong.
That was an extremely hard fought race with all the wind- here’s some fun facts about running in the wind that amazed me: From Runner’s Connect: A “substantial” wind (i.e. one approximately equal to the pace you are running at) will set you back 12 seconds per mile with a headwind, and aid you by 6 seconds per mile with a tailwind.While a tailwind does aid performance significantly, you only “get back” about half of what you put into a headwind when you turn around and run with it at your back.
No freaking kidding… considering I was running roughly a 6mph pace (~10min/mile) that wind was definitely a factor in slowing my pace which really makes me want to do another marathon in hopefully better conditions and see what I can do. Plus you know… completing an actual training program along with it! That being said obviously my journey with the marathon is not done… I’d love to go sub 4:00 at some point in my life but I don’t know that I could accomplish that with my next marathon. I am especially proud of my Philly Marathon race given all the circumstances especially taking 6 months off of running earlier in the year. I’ll be talking about goals and thoughts for next year in a post coming to you soon!
What’s the hardest race you’ve ever run?? Have you ever run in 20-40 mph winds?