Sunday (Race Day!)
My alarm went off at 4:45am. I was excited and very nervous, but didn’t have much time to think about it as I rushed to get ready. We had to be on the bus at 5:30am.
I ate my usual oatmeal and a banana and drank a cup of coffee. I also drank half a bottle of gatorade and some water before getting on the bus.
We got off the bus at the security check point around 5:45am. Luckily there was no line yet. I had read horror stories about the security lines at the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon so was mentally prepared to wait in line for hours. I was pleased we didn’t have to wait because it was freezing (30ish degrees and windy).
Mum and I went straight the the porta potties – again, there was no line.
Then we had an hour to wait. There were some empty tents and people were huddling inside them to stay warm. Though we had layers of throw away clothes, gloves and hand-warmers, it was much more comfortable in the tent.
We hung out chatting until 6:30am then decided to use the bathroom again one more time. What we hadn’t been able to see inside the tent was the growing line for the porta potties…it was long! But we still had half an hour before the first wave set off so we weren’t too worried.
Until it was 6:55am and we were still waiting. But the line seemed to start moving more quickly then so we waited our turn for the bathroom then hurried to find our corral. We took off our throwaway sweatpants and one of our sweaters (we each had two!).
We couldn’t see where the starting line was but could here the announcer releasing each wave of runners. It took about twenty minutes for our corral to reach the starting line. But suddenly we were off!
Miles 1 – 6.2 (10K)
We stuck to our plan of starting off slowly. My Garmin watch wasn’t accurate in the city so we were running by feel. Mum said she thought we were going too slow, but I was afraid to speed up and regret it later in the race.
We ended up running these miles slower than planned. Our 10K split pace was 9:55.
These miles were fun and easy. We enjoyed reading all the spectator signs and seeing our own cheering squad at mile 1 and mile 6. They were on both sides of the road!
We took water or gatorade from every aid station, and we ate our first energy gel at mile 6. So far so good!
Miles 6.2 – 13.1
The next few miles were pretty uneventful. But this was when we started to feel the wind. These miles also included the biggest hills of the race.
The course crossed over into University City. I enjoyed running past the very edge of the Penn campus and seeing my Freshman dorm!
We stopped at the porta potties at mile 8 because there wasn’t a line. Then it was up into Fairmont Park.
We took another energy gel at mile 10 and continued to drink water or gatorade at each aid station.
We planned to speed up during these miles. Our pace did improve, but the hills didn’t allow us to speed up as much as I’d hoped. We were also weaving around other runners which was awkward. It was difficult to get into a rhythm. Our half marathon split pace was 9:44.
26.2 miles is a long way, so this is a long post! Click over to Page 2 to read all about the second half of the Philadelphia Marathon!