Monday, November 30, 2009

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon 2009

Well it has been over a week (I started this about 24 hours after I finished) since I was just finishing up the Philadelphia marathon. (I may have been done by this point but my brain isn't completely there yet). It was a very fun weekend and I had a great race. So here is my story....
Bob and I left on the train Fri morning to head down to Philly. I have to agree with Bob - this is a great way to least the going down part. I was able to do a great deal of school work along the way (while Bob took naps). We arrived in Philly mid-afternoon, heading to our hotel to drop off our stuff and head over to the expo. Along our walk to the expo we decided lunch was a necessity! Thank goodness for Bob's iphone which gave us a lift of restaurants in the area and also provided us with a map with directions from where we were standing to our destination. All though after a few times in the wrong direction we did have the conversation of "don't you know how to put yourself in the map?". This of course resulted in a look of "you've really lost it now" from Bob. We eventually made it to the expo and the great part was no one was there! Bob explained to one company how the could be more efficient in their display...he made such an impact they remembered him the next day. That night consisted of dinner and drinks with more friends and getting ready for Sunday.
Saturday was back to the expo to meet up with Laura and Katie and then off to kill sometime until Erin and the kido's arrived. We ended up on a duck tour of Philly, something I have never done! We went to see the Liberty bell with Erin and the kid's before going back to the hotel so the kid's could swim in the pool. After leaving them, it was time for a delicious dinner with Phil and Melissa. On our way back to the hotel we came across a guy in a living room with windows from ceiling to floor -hmmm interesting. And you won't appreciate the entertainment we found in this but Melissa and I will forever laugh at the pictures we took. It was time to go back to the hotel so we could all head to bed. AFter all the marathon was starting at 7am.
I managed to sleep well Saturday night, which is excellent since my alarm went off just before 5AM! It was time to get up, eat, get dressed and get ready to go. (oh yes the alarm originally went off at 2:22AM to call my brother and wish him a happy birthday...22 years in a row now I have either snuck in and woke him or called and woke him to wish him a happy birthday at the time he was born!). I met Bob, Melissa and Phil in the lobby to head over the start line which was walking distance from our hotel. It was a chilly start but the sun was coming up and it was time to get ready to go. Once at the start line there wasn't much we had to do other than use the bathrooms, check our bags and go to our corrals. Phil was great marathon support that morning putting up with all our craziness. Melissa had convinced her friend Jen to run the marathon as her first marathon ever, I met Jen as we headed to our corrals....who knew I was meeting someone I quickly would be come a friend with! As we headed off Jen and I stuck together, we often were back and forth every few miles but always re-connecting every few miles and getting to run together again. I caught Phil somewhere between miles 11-12 and handing off my fuel was annoying me! Come the halfway point I was feeling strong and still consistently keeping a 9:24min/mi pace! A lot of the race is a blur: I distinctly remember the orange slices on our way out to the 2nd out and back, during miles 18-20 I wanted to cry wondering why I was still doing this, then there were brownies in bite sizes given out at a water stop...those were the most amazing thing! I remember Jen coming up behind me at one point when I was struggling and she re-motivated me that there was 6 miles left! Jen and I ran the last 6 miles together, what a great experience. I learned at mile 25.5 that giving birth to 2 children is a hell of a lot easier than running a marathon....clearly Jen had not hit a runner's high yet!! As I crossed the finish I knew my time was below 4:25 but was dying to know the official time! I was ecstatic to discover I had set a new PR by 15 minutes of 4:23:38!!!!!
After stumbling back to the hotel, showers and phone calls to families it was food time with 8 of us! Of course there were several adult beverages to be consumed along the way. Next was the martini bar with the couches, stuffed hippo chairs, and the interigation window you could see through into the men's and women's bathrooms (yup Melissa and I got caught staring through it!). A few Philly cheese steaks later, Bob and I missed our train...he had a blonde moment (they are contagious) and mis-read the sign. We eventually made it home to Boston at 8:15 Monday morning.
It was an amazing weekend and yes my story is long. The marathon was a wonderful experience. My body responded better than I could have ever expected. Although part of the enjoyment is the entire weekend.
Enjoy! stay tuned for whatever I am up to next