I have successfully completed all my planned 1/2 marathons for the fall season. This past Sunday November, 21, 2010 I finished my third of three planned halves in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This gives me a total of 6 states I have run a half marathon in: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. I have also run full in Florida (Disney).
There were 27,000 participants for the Philadelphia 1/2 and full marathons. The 2 events started together in wave style format. So although the race 'started" at 7:00 AM, I didn't hear the horn go off for my heat until 7:30. It was a very energized crowd. This was a beautiful run, and really it could not have been better weather. It was around 38 at 7, and warmed up to around 55 during the day. There was a very slight breeze and it was nice and sunny.
How did I wind up doing the Philadelphia half?? Well I am a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and there is a national conference every year that takes place the week before Thanksgiving. This year the convention was taking place in Philadelphia. I had 2 graduate students who completed research and were accepted to be presenters. As their mentor this means that TU would pay for my trip to go as well. My colleague then told me they had their run on Sunday. So then I weighed the pros and cons of flying home late Saturday night and running the Route 66 in Tulsa with my run group, or taking a chance and running the 1/2 in Philadelphia and staying there one extra day. So I decided to try Philly.
I had psyched myself up that the course was going to be very hilly. I think I just associated Pennsylvania with the Appalachian Mountains. After putting over 20,000 steps on my pedometer Thursday, Friday and Saturday between conference sessions and sight seeing, I knew that it was going to be a pretty flat course. This made me feel more calm and relaxed. Here's a little about the course:
It started right by the Rocky statue at the Museum of Art. It was amazing it was very well organized and didn't feel like a herd of cattle in their given corrals dazed and confused. Everyone was very helpful and I had no problems finding my back of the pack starting area. At each wave send off they played the theme from Rocky. I managed to drop my driver's license at the start while I was getting my phone out of my pouch to take some pictures. I randomly here a lady yelling my name...I was so confused. So finally I"m like I'm right here...well she had found my license. So kind.
We headed down Ben Franklin Blvd...a very busy and well traveled street..they had closed the whole thing for this event...it's 6 lanes wide. Talk about having plenty of room to move and navigate through people. We headed through the "downtown" district..lots of hotels, by the Love statue, around a fountain, by Reading Market, by the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall. This got us all the way to the Delaware River...we then followed the river for a bit then headed back towards the Museum of Art. On the way back we went by China Town, "Jeweler's District", the Philadelphia Zoo...a large park I don't remember the name of and finally onto a road very similar to Riverside in Tulsa. It followed the Delaware River and led back to the Museum of Art.
This was my worst 1/2 marathon ever. The course was fantastic, and the weather was great. I just wasn't mentally or physically in the game. At about mile 6, I had really bad stomach pains. Every time I tried to run, I thought I would hurl. So I decided to try to walk my quick walk pace, that didn't last long because then my knee that had been giving me a few issues started feeling not so good. So at about mile 7, I decided to approach the run as a walking tour of parts of Philly that I hadn't yet seen. My finish time was around 3:18. I was very glad to have finished. The crowd at the finish line had to be around at least 5000 people. I would highly recommend this run to anyone. Although in November the conditions in Philly, I would imagine would be quite variable. It was a nice flat fast course, with only 1 pretty noteworthy hill that had a huge reward downhill on the other side.
I am now going to take a running hiatus. Don't get me wrong I'm still gonna head out and run/walk, walk/walk, who knows. I am ready to be out of "training" mode for a bit.
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