I heard that Philly was flat but since this is a new race, who knew?
This was the course:
A post in a RW forum offered this about the course:
The course is incredibly flat and for a non-local will take you through the most scenic parts of the city, The parts along the river sometimes can be windy, but the side we are running on is a bit more protected with trees.
The water stations (7) seemed to fit in with my racing plan – walk every 2 miles (water stop) and GU every other water stop. (I hoped that they would not run out for the slower runners.)
When I signed up for this NEW race, who knew that it would be the largest half marathon in the country so far this year!!
I had never run a big race before (1500 racers was probably the largest.) There were supposed to be about 10,000 at this race.
It would have been really nice if the weather cooperated (especially for Adrienne & Heidi) and it were sunny and warm.
But it didn’t 😦 😦 😦
Anyway, we got up early & Andrea & I had what we ate yesterday for breakfast. It was really difficult to decide what to wear. It wasn’t that cold (40s) but it was windy and it was predicted to rain HARD so we would be getting wet. (The slower you are, the wetter you will be.)
I decided to wear a 3 layers: tank top, a long sleeve shirt & a wind breaker. I added capris under my skirt and also wore compression socks & a baseball cap. (I put dry clothes in my bag check bag.)
Then we all met in the lobby for a pre-race photo.
It was easy to find the race start…just followed the crowd. It was chilly & breezy but it was only raining slightly (Fingers were crossed.) I was wearing the $3 poncho that I bought at the expo trying to stay dry until the race began.
We arrived to a BIG crowd. But everything was very organized. We checked our bags, agreed on a post-race meeting spot and then it was time to line up. In the crowd, we all got separated except for me & Andrea who started around the 11 min. pace group. (I tossed my poncho in a trash can first….unfortunately others weren’t as considerate… plastic garbage bags were strewn all over the course for the few blocks.)
It took at least 6 minutes to get to the starting line. I wasn’t worried since I had my Garmin and the race was chip-timed.
The first four miles through the city streets and the Old City area flew by. There was great crowd support, and I was feeling good. We ran past all the sites that we learned about on the trolley tour. It was really neat.
The rain was still falling lightly. I was running faster than I would have liked but decided to stay with it. I knew that I would die cuz I always do.
My informal plan to to keep my pace under 11 (preferably close to 10:30) and walk through ALL the water stops. (My pace definitely slowed the 2nd half of the race).
From miles 4-5 we started to head back out past the start to Boathouse Row and toward Fairmount Park. I thought the whole course may be flat. I was wrong here! There was some hills in the park around mile 6, and then a pretty long one. I decided to run/walk it to save my energy for the rest of the race.
But it was starting to rain harder. Running into the wind with the rain in your face was crappy, but I was glad that my baseball cap mostly kept of the water out of my face. I put up the hood to keep my neck warm.
Around mile 7, Andrea caught up with me. We ran together for a bit but I know she is faster so she went on ahead.
After looping around the park, it was an out and back. You ran in a straight line along the river and then you turned around somewhere around 9 and went in a straight line back the way you came for miles 9-11.
On the way out, you got to see the faster runners. I kept looking for Lisa or Adrienne or Heidi. I didn’t see anyone (Lisa said she saw me.)
On the way back, I was happy to see lots of runners behind me.
During these miles, it started to downpour. I was already wet so I just accepted being soaked. What can you do?? But I was getting colder and colder. My hands & feet were now numb.
I was surprised on how many spectators and volunteers were on the sidelines cheering in this awful weather. It was nice!
All the water stops had water & Gatorade and one toward the end had Hammer gel. One had gummy bears.
The last few miles were tough. I was cold, wet and running out of gas. I tried to plod along and thought that the sooner I finished, the sooner I could get dry.
Believe it or not, there was a short hill before the finish line. UGH!!
I got through the finish line with nothing. My feet were too frozen to sprint. The clock said 2:27:00.
I quickly grabbed my medal and immediately saw Heidi and Kevin. They finished seconds just after me but started about a minute after before me.
We grabbed desperately-needed Mylar sheets and walked through the MUD to the food tent to grab our bag of goodies. There were lakes of mud that couldn’t be avoided.
The little food bags we received were pretty nice – Philly soft pretzel, a banana, some PB&J, Snyder’s potato chips and butterscotch krimpet Tastycakes. There was a tent with hot chocolate but we were too cold and wet so we instead waded through the mud (that felt like quick sand) to get our checked bags.
Eventually we did all thaw out after a LONG HOT shower and dry clothes. It was funny how many people I saw during the day and at the airport wearing their finisher medals.
Believe it or not, this was a 4 second PR!!! Woo Hoo!
mile 2- 9:39
mile 3 – 10:48 (water)
mile 4 – 10:19
mile 5 – 10:22 (water/gu)
mile 6 – 11:39 – hills!!
mile 7 – 10:45 (water)
mile 8 – 10:16
.23 – 9:42
So as you can see some of my miles (6, 9, 11, 12, 13) went over 11 min. My pace the first half was 10:36 but the second half, it was 11:10. I really need to work on my fitness level and not have positive splits.
My Goals were:
A: under 2:22:39
B: under 2:24:14
C: under 2:30:12
D: finish smiling and uninjured
I met them all except I don’t think I was smiling at the finish!
Here’s someone else even happier:
After the race, Andrea drove home, the couples took naps and I went out into the rain. I planned to visit the Barnes Foundation (I love Impressionist art). It was sold out so I had lunch there instead and then went to the Rodin museum.
This was my first big race. And besides the weather, I was very happy. I thought the race was very well-organized. I loved that you didn’t have to stand in line for anything. They had lots of volunteers-even in the horrendous weather. Plenty of water and clocks at every mile. It was a pretty great race and course and if I lived closer, I might do it again.
March 30th, 1962 holds the record for the most rainfall with about 1.16″.
Until March 30th, 2014 that is… And Yes we put that record to shame with rainfall accumulation of 3″. But it’s going to take a lot more than that to dampen our spirits and our goal to put on an unforgettable Inaugural Love Run.
As many of you gathered on the start line on Sunday, we were thinking “Wow now this is strong community of runners”. It’s hard enough to run 13.1 miles in ideal conditions but to do it in a monsoon…takes a very strong, motivated person. The mental courage it took all of you to step up to that line is something you should remember for the rest of your life.
You are in a small minority of people who could ever accomplish what you did this past Sunday at the Love Run.
**Last day! Don’t forget to enter my PocketFuel giveaway!
Happy Running! Ever run in a big race? Ever run a race in the rain?