I was really exited for this race weekend to come because race weekend 2012 was when I fell in love with running. I ran my first Philadelphia Half Marathon and I was hooked. I loved the thrill of the challenge and I couldn’t believe I did it that I wanted to do it again as soon as possible. That day changed my life.
It was a little bit stressful going to pick up my bib downtown because I was coming straight from a work meeting in Maryland and had to grab my bib quickly then head home on Friday afternoon. I was disappointed because I didn’t have any time to stay at the expo and look at the vendors which is something I usually enjoy doing when picking up bibs.
I got my bib and I am ready to go. This will be my 4th Philadelphia Half Marathon but my 5th time running a race that weekend. The difference this year is that the half and full marathons have both been running on Sunday, at least since I have been running them. But this year they changed the course of the half marathon and made the half on Saturday and kept the full on Sunday with a slight course modification. Where as the half had pretty much a HUGE change to it. It usually runs mostly through the city and this year it was running mostly in Fairmont Park (which made it a lot more hilly rather than flat).
I had a hard time deciding what I was going to wear for the race, mainly for my top. I was planning on wearing a red Lululemon long sleeve but I asked Cecily Tynan from Action News on Facebook Live what she would recommend and she said a tank top and shorts because it was going to be a high of 70 degrees on race day which is abnormal for mid-November. So since I usually run races in leggings because of chaffing and what not I decided to switch from a long-sleeve shirt to a t-shirt.
The hubby dropped me off at the start early in the morning, he decided to not run the race after the marathon because he had hurt his knee and didn’t want to risk injuring it more. So I ended up arriving at the start around 6:00am and went through security which was near the Art Museum.
I was in the Green Corral because in May when I signed up for the race I was hoping to go for a PR during the but I was expecting the old flat course and wasn’t injured at the time of signing up the race. So I had big plans for this day but I decided I would still start at the perspective corral and see what happens.
I love all the city views that you get wherever you are throughout the course of the race. You can always get great pictures of the skyline around the Art Museum. This was the city looks like at 6:00am.
I have figured out throughout my time racing that my body feels full and reacts well to bagels as my pre-race meal. So I ate an everything bagel about an hour before the start of the race to fill my stomach.
The Philadelphia Skyline in the dark. Not a bad view to look at right?
This is where the new finish line was located. Usually the start and the finish are in the same place but because of the newly designed course they were separate from each other. It was nice because you were able to clearly see it once you got around the Art Museum on Kelly Drive and sprint to the finish.
I was honestly a little nervous at the start. I hadn’t run anything longer than 5 miles since the Marine Corps Marathon 3 weeks prior but I knew that I could handle it. I was just getting myself stressed out for no reason. But I was excited to finally get the race started.
The weather was beautiful for the race. We started out running a little bit through downtown Philadelphia through Chinatown and around Independence Hall/Love Park, then headed back down toward the Art Museum down Martin Luther King Boulevard and then started the trek through Fairmont Park. The huge hill that is usually around mile 8 was at mile 5.5 this time around, I knew how to handle this hill so I kept pumping my arms to make myself stronger getting up it. I hate it when my running flow is halted due to LARGE hills.
Then we ran around the Please Touch Museum and back through the Strawberry Mansion area and there were a couple of HUGE hills there. Those hills I have never ran before at around mile 7-8 and I honestly don’t know how I was able to get up them. The plus side was that after you got up the hill you looped back around and that was all downhill (it was a turn around basically).
Then you headed back through the rest of the park and turned onto Kelly Drive which was the last mile. I had run that portion of the course so many times in various training cycles I knew exactly how to pace myself to finish. Once I reached the beginning of Boathouse Row I knew I could start to push it a lot more. The hubby was at the middle portion of Boathouse Row giving high fives and encouragement to runners so he decided to run to the finish with me. He kept on encouraging me to push harder and that I was doing so well. Once I got around the Art Museum and saw the finish I sprinted as fast as the could and crossed the finish line with a very exhausted smile.
After the race, the hubby did what he promised and took me to Pizza Hut to get a Large Pan Pizza (my favorite) and tradition post race meal.
Like my husband said to me, he couldn’t believe how well I did especially after running the Marine Corps Marathon 3 weeks earlier. It showed me that I have been making progress in the half distance and that when the conditions are right I really can surprise myself.