After having read the awesome race report that my hero, Joe, wrote about his finishing the full marathon as well, I finally got motivated to write mine. After all, we know that all adventures are doomed to be forgotten without some sort of a follow-up description… Here’s mine, if you’re curious.
I’m not entirely sure exactly how to start my report! If I had to name just one over-arching theme of the marathon, it’d probably be, simply, the word ‘solo’. I was very solo.
I woke up around 5:30am that day, and was rarin’ to go! The night before, I had gotten all the stuff I thought I needed all lined up and ready to quickly change into, eat, do, and then leave. So I did that. Then, I hopped on my commuter/touring bike with my spare clothes on to keep me warm, and was off. But! I realized, a mile down the road, that I had forgotten to put on my Garmin gps watch, which was needed to help me keep perfect pace! Fortunately, I had plenty of time, so I steered ’round and recovered it easily at my apartment, which (might I add) it pretty much on the course.
The overall description of my race: mainly just survival. Feel free to follow along with my synopsis along my Garmin Connect Stats, too. Here we go:
My bib number was 904 – very small! I registered with hopes of finishing in 3:10, so I was put in the first corral. This was really fun. I started the marathon and decided that I’d try to keep up with the 3:10 pace leader for as long as possible. Now, I should mention here that my plan for the marathon was to keep my first 3 miles at an 8-min pace, so that I could be sure not to injure myself (which usually happens in the first 3 miles). So, running at the 7-min pace was well, really risking things!
For the first 12ish miles, I kept up with the 3:10 pace leader, which felt so amazing. Often, we’d be running at closer to a 6:30 pace, which was great. But, the hills came (at 34th street and then heading up to memorial hall) and I had a very difficult time keeping up with the pace. So by the time I was headed down to west river drive to finish out the 13 miles, I had begun to drop my pace to about 8:30. Alll alone by this point.
I didn’t ever have a problem with my ankles or with temperature or anything else. That was really great! But, what I did have problems with was keeping up a fast speed, past the point when I had finished with the hills. SO, I just chugged along at my own pace, got passed a lot, but kept running.
By the time I was at mile 18, I was really feeling things. I wanted to stop or take a break by that point, but instead chose to use other means of motivating myself: food! I had become very hungry and was picturing myself eating all kinds of things. I could taste the gel packs in my mouth from miles before those stations!
In manayunk, around mile 19-22, I was running but walking up the hilly portions for no longer than a minute. And when I got to water stations, I would get a water, stop after the table, drink it, and then get back to running. While in manayunk, I actually managed to get a mini-cup of lager and a bag of snyders thin pretzels! As soon as I left manayunk though, the eating was over.
The final stretch, down Kelly drive, was hard. But, not as hard as the way to Manayunk, because I kept close to the middle. While I ran at my slow pace, I would cheer on the people who were headed the other direction! This made me think less about my own pain, which was nice.
I made it to the final stretch where I could see the finish line and by that point, I had trouble just managing to keep running instead of walking! My savior just a half mile from the finish? Someone was giving out gummy bears! So in that final bit, I was happily chomping down candy. And I finished the race running.
Nother final tidbit: I got a high five from Mayor Nutter at the finish line. That’s really swell that he does that.