Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Philadelphia Distance Run, 2008.

Well folks, I did it!!


What a race. The weather was PERFECT, the course was beautiful and the race was very well organized. Because of all those factors and my pure awesomeness (LOL, we all know it was the cooler weather), I had a great run!


That's right!!! 2:04:22!!!

That's OVER FIVE minutes off my PR in Sarasota 18 months ago!! AND almost FOURTEEN minutes off my crappy Half Marathon in Miami in January (nightmare). Also, it's almost TWENTY minutes off my first Half Marathon in Miami in Jan/2007.

You know, for all my bitching and complaining, you would never know I am actually getting better.

The day started out fine. I took a bath last night, laid out my gear and drank some Tension Tamer Tea.


This ritual always helps to relax me a bit, but I still had a hard time falling asleep. I couldn't stop thinking about the race which led to weird dreams all night (something about Jeremy and his friend not helping me do dishes after I cooked for a huge party, then Jennifer Garner coming to my wedding...). Anyway, I ended up with about four hours of sleep.

When I finally woke up I was shocked at how cold it was outside. I think it was about 52 degrees, which I know for most people is not a big deal. But honestly, I think it may have gotten to 52 degrees TWICE in Miami last winter. And that was a nighttime low. Yeah, I was definitely wearing capris.

I ate a Cliff bar with some water and coffee and we headed out. We had no problems finding parking because there are a million lots downtown. We actually found one about 1/2 mile from the start. I was still freezing. I actually had on a light jacket and GLOVES! LOL, I am in for some serious shi%t in a a few months.

We got to the race with about an hour to spare. We wandered around and took a few pictures. We used the port-o-potties before the lines got out of control. By the way, if the door is RED, that means it's OCCUPIED!! Some douche tried to break his way into my potty while I was in there. He was jiggling on the door so hard I thought the whole thing was going to knock over! When I got out, Jeremy told me he was just walking along them all, wiggling all the doors trying to find one that was empty. Idiot.

About 20 minutes later, of course I had to go again, but the lines were suddenly 3 miles long! We ended up going into the woods to cop-a-squat. Isn't it funny in these situations how the trees seem to somehow get divided into a "men's"and "women's" section? Some girls played lookout for me and then I was good-to-go.

We lined up in the corrals. Everything was very well organized. In other races I have been to corrals have been kind of a joke. Pretty much anyone can go into any corral and it's no big deal. These were actually separated and your number indicated which one you were in. It seemed to work out well.

The mayor of Philadelphia said a few words, we heard the national anthem and we were off. The weather was perfect (low-mid 50's and sunny) and downtown Philly looked beautiful! There I was. Finally happy to be running again with 15,000 of my closest friends.

Immediately I noticed my achilles. Not really a "pain" but more like an irritation. I figured as long as it didn't get any worse, I could deal with it. I tried to press down on my big toe as little as possible. Normally, changing your running pattern on gameday would not be considered a good idea. But it actually worked for me and now after the race, my foot and achilles feel fine. Or at least no worse than they did before I ran.

In spite of this, I felt pretty good. My legs were nice and warm, I had zero wardrobe problems and I felt pretty strong. We started out down Ben Franklin Blvd and ran the first four miles through downtown. We ran through some of Philly's most charming Center City neighborhoods, past Rittenhouse Square and back up towards the Art Museum. It was a little difficult trying to manage my way around the other runners (it's been awhile since I ran a race) but pretty soon I managed to get my groove.

Around mile 5 we headed out on West River Drive which is the loop Jeremy and I run for our long runs on Saturdays. It felt good knowing there were no more surprises on the course since I already felt I have run this route a million times. The road widened and I found it hard to keep myself under control. I felt so good I just wanted to take off. Thank goodness Jeremy (and his common sense) were there to reel me in.

"Slow it down."

"We can speed up at mile 8 if you feel good."

"I said, slow down."

"No, not yet."

This was pretty much the extent of our race dialogue.

So I slowed it down a bit but still ran it a nice, steady, speedier pace. I know this ultimately helped me later on.

I took a GU at mile 6. Still felt good. Got a good burst of energy at mile 8. But after we stopped for a walk break at mile 9, I noticed the first onset of fatigue after we started to run again. It scared me a bit, but luckily it never really came back as bad as I feared.

I took another GU at mile 10 and tried to distract myself with songs in my head. At mile 11 I felt pretty good and made myself zone out into a "runners high" because it usually helps me if I can completely empty my mind. I remembered something someone once told me about how when you get tired, you should focus on a persons back in front of you and sort of use their energy to pull you along.

I started noticing peoples calves ( I have no idea why). I picked a girl in front of me with strong, muscular calves running a steady pace and I just focused on them. I emptied everything out of my head and focused on the energy of her legs pulling me along ( I know this sounds hokey, but it actually worked!). Pretty soon I was passing her and I found another runner, this time a guy and used him. Then I passed him, etc. This went on for over 10 minutes. It helped.

Mile 12 we were suddenly running face first into the sun. The temps weren't as hot as I am used to which is good, but the sun was definitely putting a damper on my runners high. For some reason though, I didn't slow down. It was really the first time I have run a race where I really pushed myself to stay as strong as I could. Even though I was doing this, I never felt like I was exhausted and I always felt like I could maybe go a little harder.

Until mile 12.

I always have problems with the last mile but this time it was for two reasons.

1. The first half of this mile was on a slight incline.

2. I saw some orange construction stuff up ahead that I mistakenly took for the finish line.

When I saw the orange I started booking it up the hill thinking "Why the hell would they put the finish at the top of this incline?" When I got to it and realized it wasn't the finish and I couldn't see it anywhere, I started to panic! I literally felt myself slow way down. I saw Jeremy turn around and give me the "You're kidding me" look. The one he always gives me the last mile of every race. Poor guy.

Finally, I saw the real finish and looked down at my watch. It was 2:03!!! Holy crap! I actually almost considered slowing down when I realized I had beat my PR by so much, then had to shake those thoughts out of my mind (I am so lazy sometimes). I said "O.K" to J and took off. Later he told me he got pissed cause he thought I was going to ditch him at the end. Haha. That's what you get for not helping me with the dishes in my dream, sucker!

So, 2:04:22 is our final chip time. And we did a pretty decent job with getting a negative split (no thanks to me, lol!)

Mile 1 - 9:37
Mile 2 - 9:46
Mile 3 - 10:01
Mile 4 - 10:09
Mile 5 - 8:26 - Um, no...
Mile 6 - 10:43 - Must have been a mile mix-up
Mile 7 - 9:36
Mile 8 - 9:24
Mile 9 - 9:28
Mile 10 - 9:15
(oops) - :42
Mile 11 - 9:14
Mile 12 - 9:17
Mile 13.1 - 9:28

Afterwards we wandered around, got our Liberty Bell medal ( I almost told the volunteer my medal had a crack in it, but refrained when I realized how lame that joke actually was) and got some refreshments. We took a million more pictures, ate breakfast at some dive diner in the city and now I am sitting on the couch, in my race shirt contemplating walking to main street for some beers.

Yes folks, life is good.

Here are some more pictures from my new favorite Half Marathon!

A view of City Hall in the morning.

Staying warm.


The Art Museum where Rocky ran up (Yes, they played the Rocky theme at the start).


Me, feeling like a badass.

Jeremy on top of the Art Museum steps.

My newest treasure (and an awful pic of me)


Either my feet are huge, or Sly had some tiny Chucks.

The finish from above.

We had to do it.


Miss SassyLaLa said...

Wow great job girl!


Marcy said...

Oh my gawd!! ROFLMAO! So much for "just" PR-ing dang girl you blew your old time away!! CONGRATS!!Def an awesome awesome race! Sub 2 is just around the corner for you!! Sweet!

Anonymous said...

You really rocked it! I am sure this is going to give you some great energy going in to the marathon!

The pictures are great too! Sounds like a wonderful day all around.

Lily on the Road said...

Laurel, that was one Awesome race and race report...Love all the pictures...

Glad you are kicking some serious butt down there and having fun while you're at it!

Runner Leana said...

Laurel, congratulations on your fantastic PR! I'm glad to hear the achilles didn't bother you during the race. Fantastic job!!

Tammy said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog...

Great job on the PR! You'll be sub-2:00 before you know it!

P.O.M. said...

That sounds like a great race! Your pics are always the best.

2:04 is my time girl. I swear every half marathon I run, I run it in 2:04. See, we are still twinsies.

Jess said...

Congrats on your new PR! That's an awesome medal!

Unknown said...

AWESOME AWESOME !!!!! I was reading other bloggies that ran in the same race as you did. TERRIFIC post race report !!! I had to laugh when you said that your medal has crack. ROFLMAO !!!! I have never ran in Philly and am looking forward to the Philly Marathon in a couple months. Wasn't that cool temperature awesome ??? CONGRATS on getting the job done.

N.D. said...

Your pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!!
I wish I took more. My mom took some and I'll never see them unless I continually stalk her for them. You did awesome, love the outfit, and jealous that you get to run with your husband. WAY TO GO!

Sonia said...

WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You totally ROCK!!!! I am so impressed by your running! And so jealous too!!

You did sooooooooooo well =) That sub 2h half is right at the door for you!!!

I do remember that t-shirt, I wear it all the time =) As for Jen Garner not showing up for your wedding what a bee-atch ;-)

Those Rocky pics just make me think of my dog and not the actual boxer lol

FLYERS26 said...

Great job! Nice to PR a race!
I also did this run.
You can check out my blog for my exprience.
I loved the crowd and energy they gave us. Good stuff!

How did I know that Marcy would be here? ROFLMAO

Christie said...

Great race report. Congrats on the PR!! Oh, and welcome to the Philadelphia area. I'm right across the river.

Marci said...

Great blog, I will bookmark and be back again. Congratulations on a great race!

BeachRunner said...

Congrats. What an awesome post and race report. Way to go you rockin "Type C" runner you.

Aron said...

CONGRATS!!!! an awesome race and a huge PR!!!

love the report and pics... i totally do the part too where i use people in front of me to pull me along - it works great!

again congrats on an awesome race!!

Before I'm 35 said...

Congratulations on the run! And I almost did a spit-take on my coffee when I finally got the "my medal has crack in it" joke ;)

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