And that ladies and gentlemen, sums up my race today in Philly in a nutshell. I actually sat in my car Saturday morning and debated not going. Wingman is down in Florida and I would be going solo to Philly. I haven't been feeling all that well over the last ~2 months since I got my first cold the end of September. It seems like every run I've been on the last few weeks have been a chore. Do I really want to drive over 3 hours and feel like crap to run? I just figured it might motivate me to get the mileage in.
So fast forward to 5am this morning. The alarm goes off and I attempt to get out of bed. I wasn't feeling so hot and sat on the edge of the bed contemplating sitting this one out. No way. I didn't drive all the way to not do this race. So I got ready and started the walk down to the race. It was a little cold out this morning but nothing like last year. This year I wore a long sleeve running short with shorts. Last year I had to wear a jacket, gloves, and tights.
The gun went off and I started out. I wore my garmin GPS so I could keep track of my pace. My goal here was to get the mileage in. I had no time goal in mind. I found a nice rhythm early and tried to keep my pace in check. Right around mile 2 was a downhill section and I let it rip. In my head I was thinking ahead in the race to the cobblestone portion. I mean, who plans a marathon/half marathon course and has a street in there that is cobblestone? But my head/stomach brought me back the present. I was starting to taste the shot blocks I ate at the race start. I was also running behind this guy in a 'custom' shirt. It said "Jesus ran my race for me. This is just the victory lap." Huh? I tried to focus on anything other than my stomach. Nothing doing. I finally saw a port-a-john and made a pit stop.
I came out and there was an aid station. Grabbed some water and gatorade and continued on. Mile 4-8 were a blur for me. I just remember hoping that a lightening bolt would come down out of the sky and take me out. I actually debated bailing on the race and going back to my hotel. I wasn't too far from it. But I wasn't sure I could pull the plug on this one. I didn't think I could live with myself it I had a DNF. I mean, if I really had a medical issue I would certainly drop out and not lose sleep over it. But today I knew if I quit, it would eat away at me for a long time. I am not sure I could get to the marathon with the DNF cloud over my head. Every training run would remind me that I was a failure. So I had to dig down deep and do some serious HTFU!! For pete's sake, I was wearing my HTFU visor. Gotta live up to the words on my visor.
So by mile 8 I tried to pull it together. I was giving myself a pep talk. In my head, not out loud. Don't want people to think I am totally nuts. I got to mile 10 and thought, hey, only 3 more to go! Ugh, only 3 more to go. The good news is once you get into the park after the uphill at mile 9, the rest is downhill and flat. I kept plodding along, just wanted to keep my feet moving.
The race organizers changed the course up a little this year. The finish area is waaaaay too confusing. You have to run through a traffic circle and then down to the finish line (which is basically the starting line). Problem is, you have to follow signs because the marathon runners continue on course via the inner lane and the half marathon goes through the outer lane. Last year it was the opposite. Some marathon folks were darting in and out of the human traffic. I just wanted to get to the finish line safely. My time was ~3 minutes faster than last year. I think if I felt better during the race I could have shaved off ~6- minutes from last year, but it was not meant to be. The race shirt last year was cool. It was a long sleeve black dri-fit jersey that said "Kicked Asphalt". This year was lame - burgundy long sleeve dri-fit that said "Running Means..." Wow, what brainchild came up with that?
Once I crossed the line I got my medal and some food. I was feeling much better at this point but I was glad to not have to run anymore. I skipped the mylar blanket because I did not want to walk back to the hotel wearing it. I made the 1 mile walk of shame back to the hotel. I really didn't want to admit to people anything about this race. I had to ride the elevator with some woman from an english teacher's conference at the hotel. I was so dejected from my performance and now I was forced to relive it again. All I could think was "why didn't I take off my race number at the finish line?"
I got back to my room and just fell flat, face down on the bed. I was thinking about how I wanted to take a shower but couldn't muster the energy to get up. I called and left a message for Wingman. I did some easy range of motion on my legs so they would not tighten up on me. Took my shower, finished packing my bags and got the hell out of dodge!!
I made really good time coming home. There was no traffic on the roads. I actually got back in time to make a brief appearance at my cousin's baby shower. Almost makes it sound like I lead a busy life ;-)
When I get my pictures transferred, I will write up my visit to the Reading Terminal Market. Saw some scary things over there. I'll leave you with two words.....Turkey Scrapple.