I’m officially a marathoner! Can’t quite believe the Philadelphia Marathon is over as I’ve been thinking about it all year! I’m proud to have finished it, but a little sad that it’s over. The whole weekend was amazing so I’m excited to share my experience with you.
First order of business on Saturday was a 2 mile shakeout run. It was a very easy and uneventful two miles – exactly what I was hoping for! Maintaining a slowish pace was quite challenging as my legs were anxious to run after so much rest during the taper. But I took that as a good sign I’d be fresh for Sunday’s race.
After my run I packed up all the necessities for the weekend and headed down to Philadelphia with Matt and my grandparents (they came over from England to see us race!). It’s just over two hours drive to Philly from where we live in Northern NJ, but I was pleased to sit and relax in the car for that time.
The Race Expo
When we arrived in the city, we parked and went straight to the race expo. As this is the first big race I’ve ever entered, this was my first race expo!
Packet pickup was really easy. I was picking up Mum’s packet too so I brought a copy of her driver’s license like the instructions said online. But it turned out to be unnecessary. No one looked at our IDs.
After getting our packets and bibs, we were sent to the next set of tables to get our race shirts. The shirts were red, long sleeve tech shirts with the course map on the back and the race slogan (“The right to go your distance”) and “Philadelphia Marathon 2016” on the front. They were available in both men’s and women’s cuts.
Our bibs had a small tab with our shirt size that was torn off when we received the shirt. I guess these were the shirt sizes we chose when we registered for the race. However, Matt’s said a men’s small but he always wears a medium. I don’t know why we would have requested a small upon registration.
There was a table for shirt size exchanges so Matt asked if he could exchange for a bigger size. Unfortunately they only had men’s XL. Way too big. So he stuck with the small. But lesson learned – make sure you enter the correct shirt size when you register for a race!
A little aside about Matt here – I’m not sure if I mentioned this last week, but he decided not to run the marathon. He’s been fighting knee pain since week #2 of training. He did make it through a 20 mile long run, but hurt his knees even more in the process.
A week before the race Matt couldn’t even run a mile without pain. Trying to run 26.2 miles would have been stupid. He was really disappointed as he was preparing for this race all year too. But I’m confident he’s going to finish a marathon next year once he gives his knees time to recover.
Anyway, as races don’t give refunds, Matt picked up his packet. He says he might never wear the race shirt as he didn’t actually run the race. Maybe it’s a good thing he got a men’s small – I might end up wearing it!
Okay, back to the expo….
Once we’d picked up the essentials, we looked around the expo. They had some really nice “official race merchandise” but it was all quite expensive. I did buy myself a 26.2 magnet for my car! I currently have a 13.1 magnet so that definitely needs to be replaced ASAP!
We walked around and looked at some of the vendors. I was really pleased to grab a free bag of Herr’s pretzels because we’d skipped lunch. Not the best idea the day before a marathon!
After the expo, we went to the hotel and hung out (aka sat down and hydrated) until my parents and sister arrived. Then it was time for dinner.
I made reservations a few weeks ago at Marathon Grill (seemed appropriate!). And I was pleased I had – it was really busy!
They had a special $20 three course dinner deal especially for race weekend – caesar salad, your choice of entree, and a dessert. I chose pasta bolognese and an ice cream sundae. Everything was delicious!
After dinner, we went straight back to the hotel to get ready for the morning. Once I’d done everything I could think of to make race day morning run smoothly, it was time to get to bed. My alarm was set for 4:45am on Sunday.
I hadn’t intended to split this race recap into two posts, but this one is getting a little long and I don’t want to leave anything out! I’ll be back tomorrow with details from race day!