We did it.
We started at an un-Godly hour, in the dark… walking the 1.5 miles from the hotel to the starting corrals. The Marriott had so many runners staying there that they had two full tables of bananas for us in the lobby this morning. (No pic of that, today!)
Here is a picture of Janet and Margaret as we walk to the start and evidence that we got to the right place:, and then a pic of us waiting – in the dark – before we loaded into our purple corral.
The logistics of this race were impressive and the planners had really thought of everything – except they missed the math on the ratio of porta-potty to runners – check out the sea of people trying to take care of business before the race:
Then, we loaded into our purple corral for runners hoping to finish between 4:15-4:30 hours. Here is pic of the sign, with balloons attached, that the PACER runner had to hold, above his head, for the entire marathon so that anyone trying to run a 4:15 pace could stay with him. Unbelievable athleticism:
(*BTW, I was aiming for about 4.5 hrs, so I didn’t stick with that guy, but stayed with the 4:30 pacer for while and she talked to the group while leading with a sign!)
We were glad to have our Goodwill outfits because we waited outside in the dark chilliness for a couple of hours before getting into the corral. Here’s a selfie shot (kind of silly since there were 30,000 people standing right there who could have taken a photo for us…) right before we shed our warm duds and started to run:
And then we were off! We stayed together for about 1 mile, and then started to separate – it was too crowded to stay three across and it was just easier to go off at our own paces.
Here’s how it went:
Miles 1-13: great music, great fans, I probably got high-fived by 100 people, including little kids, who were yelling my name and telling me I was great. Who doesn’t love that?
Mile 13:the half marathoners turned off here, and it was HARD to stay left to stick with the marathon – we could hear the cheering of the finish line and the announcer, but we went the other way to repeat the distance.
Miles 14-20: once we went left and went past the half way, we were committed, and headed up the Schuylkill river for an out and back, with great fans waiting for us. And the good thing about an out and back, is that those ahead of you pass you on the return, which meant that as Margaret came by, she high fived me! Janet and I bumped into each other at the mile 17 water stop and stayed together for a little while, and then split again.
Miles 20-26: these were really hard! I had kept a solid cruising speed that was similar to our training runs and I had been feeling good, but a mile 21, I started to get sloppy. I was kicking my ankles with my feet, my knee started to feel numb, the base of my neck was burning with fatigue, and I got stung by something on my left shoulder. I had been tracking toward a 4:35 finish, but picked up a lot of extra minutes in the last 6 miles. Still, I kept telling myself, “FORWARD motion – just keep going forward…“
Miles 26-26.2: the last .2 was the best because I was definitely out of gas, and then all of a sudden, my friend Julie yelled for me on my left, and then as I passed her, my daughter Ellie, a bunch of her friends, and Janet’s son, Conor, yelled from the right. I was so cheered and excited that before I knew it, I crossed the finish line!!!
Great inspiration on this race, including signs like this:
- Too bad Philippides didn’t die at mile 20
- Good luck, Roger – PS, I’m pregnant!
- Worst parade ever
- Embrace your pace
- There is a day you won’t be able to do this, but not today!
At the finish, Margaret and Janet and I found each other, and then we found our fan support!
Here are pics of the very important people who pulled us through to the finish with their love and cheering:
We headed back to the hotel and took care of ourselves – showers, ice baths, foam rollers, ibuprofen and … plain old ice therapy:
After getting cleaned up and refreshed, Maragaret had to leave us. So, Janet and I went out for nachos and margaritas, since that’s how this whole thing started, anyway. And then, because this is the last day I get to eat like a marathoner, I bought dessert from the Wawa market to bring to the hotel room:
And, finally, a victory picture of the three of us, at the finish line, proud of our accomplishment! (L to R: Janet, me, Margaret)
A friend of mine asked me today how I felt doing it – my reply, “I’ve never been so psyched about feeling so miserable.”
That about sums it up.
Thanks for reading through my journey with me!