Monday, February 4, 2013

Second Half Marathon - Philly

When I first started running at the end of 2011 I got really excited and signed up for two half marathons one month apart.  After I finished my first half marathon (Baltimore), I really regretted having signed up for a second so close.  I had planned to run at Philly with my sister and brother-in-law but we almost didn't go.  We were all feeling tired from running and the thought of traveling and then running a race was almost too much for us.  I wasn't sure whether we were going to run it until about a week before the race.  We decided to just go ahead and do it and I'm really glad we did since it was a great and fun race in my old school town, I PR-ed, and we had an awesome post-race meal of cheesesteaks and fries (that was the main reason why I decided to run this race in the end).

So first stop when we arrived in Philly was picking up our race packets and then stopping by Reading Terminal Market for some awesome coffee (iced for me of course) and coconut macaroons.
We ended up staying in a hotel in Jersey so to give us enough time to race prep, drive over and find parking, and then make our way to the starting line, we had to wake up at 4am.  That's right.  Four freakin AM.  I was not a happy camper.  It was pitch black and very cold as we made our way from our pee stop at a nearby hotel to the starting area.  At that point I was wishing I hadn't decided to run Philly.  But that soon passed once we got to the starting area, it got lighter, and my excitement started to build.
Because Philly is such a big race and I'm a slowpoke, I spent a long time in the corrals and then slowly inching our way to the starting line.
Inch, inch, inch.  This is one of the things I love/hate about races.  I hate crowds and all these people bumping into you but having so many runners nearby is really inspiring and helps to build the excitement.

The course was awesome because I hadn't been back to Philly in several years and it was great to run through familiar spots, like South Street (felt so weird to see it totally empty and to just run down the street!).  I have become a pro at taking photos with my phone while running.  When the lighting is just right, then I get a pretty clear photo even though I'm bouncing while taking it.
This was the first race I'd run by myself because my sister ran the full marathon and my brother-in-law is much faster than me and so we didn't run together.  It was nice to run by myself but I had a hard time pacing myself.  Once I realized I could PR, I ended up pushing myself and was really sore afterwards.  I was also surprised to find that the end of the course had a huge hill because I had heard that Philly was a flat course.
Good thing I had an awesome cheesesteak and fries (from Pat's of course) to help me recover!  This was the best post-run meal ever!
I don't know when I'll run Philly again, but I'm so glad I did it last year! 

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