Philadelphia Marathon Recap-A Cold and Windy Race

Philadelphia Marathon Recap-A Cold and Windy Race

img_5606-1img_5451Marathons are difficult on their own. Running 26.2 miles is a challenge no matter what but when mother nature decides to throw in some sustained winds in 40 degree weather, it becomes brutal.

Race Day-Sunday, November 20 2016

Wake up-3:30 am

I had my alarm set for 3:30 so I had enough time to scarf down a bagel and a half, drink my coffee, shower and leave no later than 5 am. I did all that, and was out the door on time. In my hotel, I met a lady on the elevator who was also running, and we chatted for a bit. She was grabbing an Uber to the race area, and I told her I was walking (it wasn’t far) I got off the elevator, and there were a few others from my hotel running as well. As they were leaving, I left with them. I felt safer walking with other runners to the race site. From my hotel to the starting area, it was only a few blocks. The starting area was near the art museum (near those famous “Rocky Steps”. After I arrived, they had security checking bags and fuel belts before letting you through to the enclosed start area.

Start Area Waiting-6:00am

After I got through the security screening, I wandered around a bit. I tried to keep moving, because it was so cold, and I didn’t want my muscles to freeze up. I walked over toward the Rocky Balboa statue and took some pics before heading back to the tents. There was one tent that everyone was huddled in for warmth. After standing there a bit, I noticed there was a truck giving out complementary tea to everyone, so I grabbed an apple cider tea. After a few sips I figured I’d get in line for the porta potties, and good thing I did early enough;lines were already ridiculous (at least a 25 minute wait) We all stood in line struggling to keep warm. Many people jumping up and down, moving their legs, and there were volunteers handing out hats and gloves. After it got to be my turn, I headed back over to the heated tent and remained there until the corral line up. A lady sang the national anthem, then when she was finished literally everybody darted out of the tent. Corral line up was much different from NYC; We all lined up at the same time, just in different sections according to wave color. All runners were in the same corral, just separated. The first wave went off at approximately 7am, and from then on they were letting us go maybe every 5 minutes (maybe less) Before I knew it, the marathon had officially begun.

Running the Marathon

After I started running, my body began to finally warm up after standing for so long. My toes were thawing, and the only thing I shed were my gloves (and I’m so glad that was the only thing I threw away) Later on, the weather would prove that I still needed all my layers…

As we made our way past the first few miles, all was good. It was windy, but not too bad. Mile 4 I stopped to use the porta potties. I managed to run the first four miles without stopping to walk at all (like  I did in NYC) Continuing onward, there were some spectators, but absolutely nothing like I observed in NYC. There was not even close to being as many. I don’t recall which mile it was, but we came across a mini bridge that I remember as being one of the first hills of the race. I assumed the course was quite flat, however I was warmed about mile 8 being slightly tough. From that point on there were some rolling hills.

Mile 6-8, the wind was becoming a bit more sustained, and to make matters worse, we were running against it. Onward to the halfway mark, we were in the park, and boy was it windy at that point. I remember getting very frustrated every time the wind was blowing hard. Miles 14-20 were the toughest for me mentally. With the weather not showing any mercy, I knew things were not going to get any easier either, so all that was left to do is suck it up and press on.

Finally, I see the mile marker for mile 20. Many people say that mile 20 is really where the race begins, because many runners struggle both mentally and physically at this point, and if your training prepared you well then it will carry you through to the end. From mile 20 to 26.2, it was a struggle. My legs were hurting and going from walking to running hurt more than anything. Also at mile 20 in Manayunk was the turnaround point, so we looped back the way we came, and passed other runners behind us. After mile 22, I walked more than I ran. When I reached mile 23, I practically walked from that point to about mile 25 where I got my headphones out and relied on my music to get pumped to the end. Not going to lie, I had Eye Of the Tiger playing, and that was enough to mentally take the pain away until I crossed the finish line. I was starting to cry when I finally saw the finish, but I quickly stopped when I realized that sobbing was making me short of breath (LOL) I crossed the finish line, and there was my best friend awaiting me, taking pictures! All I thought when I finished, was “Soooooo glad this is over.”

The Philadelphia Marathon was a whole degree of difficulty I wasn’t prepared for coming into it. I expected more of a flatter course, and those hills sure surprised me. Running against the wind the whole time also made it difficult, but I made it. Running a marathon in those conditions teaches you about yourself when you’re able to push through the pain, weather conditions and the long distance. Philly definitely toughened me up to a whole new degree. Plus, I had only come off of the NYC Marathon two weeks prior, so my legs were not at 100 percent, but I somehow managed to pull this off.

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Rocky Balboa Statue

Four months ago, maimg_5743rathon training was just beginningimg_5754, and I had two big races on my agenda, now the season is over. It’s a bittersweet feeling because there is some time to relax in between training for the spring (which commences in January) but I just love doing these races. I’m proud that I pushed myself to complete both marathons despite the fact they were only 2 weeks apart. For now, all that is left is to this time fully recover, pick up on running and rebuilding my base for spring training.

-Caitlin

 

 

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