For my third and final half of the season I ran the Philadelphia Half marathon. I was completely looking forward to running in the city of brotherly and sisterly endurance because I love Philly as if it were my second home.
The days leading up to the race were less than optimal for a couple reasons. 1) I taught Zumba the day before (and not just taught, left it all on the dance floor). 2) a couple of days before I ate some spicy food that did not sit well AT all and 3) I didn’t properly hydrate all weekend between Zumba, grocery shopping and traveling to Philly I didn’t inhale water like I normally do, I usually get around 80-100 oz of water leading up to a race and I got maybe 40oz.
I ended up having to travel alone because my babysitter pulled out last minute but it was okay because it was only 24 hours and I didn’t mind. The first thing I did was go straight to the expo to pick up my bib and of course check out the gear.
I bought just one more tech shirt that was just so cute and check out the vendors, I left bought dinner and headed to the hotel. I quickly realized why this hotel was one of the last ones to get sold out…it was just gross and about half a step above a motel. 🙁 this diva is NOT used to this at ALL! The Ramada center city is gross and disgusting and don’t ever stay there!!
Because I am
obviously a friendly person, I met someone else running the half in my elevator ride and in 10 seconds we decided to split a cab to the race in the morning. Easy peasy!
The great thing is was that he was fantastic company, he was from queens and knew Brooklyn well so we were able to chat it up the entire 90 minute (very cold) wait until it was time to run.
Right before race time I found my way to my corral and joined forces with my fellow BLACK GIRLS RUN! sisters. We all laughed, chatted and even chanted while we waited. It was just so amazing. We all got together and prayed right before too which was unforgettable. I did not know one girl there but by the time I left I felt like I gained a ton of new family members.
Finally it was time to run!! There were a lot of people on the streets! It was fantastic. The signs were hysterical, the people were so encouraging and the sights were awesome. It took me an insane long time to warm up, not sure why, but I got rid of my throwaway gloves way too early and suffered the next 3-4 miles balling my hands up because my hands were freezing!!
The coolest part of the race was definitely running down south street and chestnut street the crowd shouted for us, gave us high fives and offered all kinds of treats. There were live bands at every cheer zone and the hydration stations were very well placed. There were even some delicious clif shots at mile 10. That berry flavor has now permanently replaced my GU!!
I didn’t feel like myself so I walked a lot more than I normally did. I knew I would finish but I also knew it would not be a PR. I stopped to take pictures along the route because the sights were just so gorgeous!
There was a serious hill that many warned me about around mile 9. I had to stop and take a pic!
Finally with just .1 left it was time for the marathoners and half marathoners to split off. I wasn’t feeling too exhausted at the end like I was in Trenton but I did take in the sights of the people lined and clapping around me and was reminded again why I do this running thing. It was not for the cheers (although that helps–a lot) it was because it unites people on such a deep level. Professional runners to newborns like me can enjoy the same distance, the same finish line, the same joy. We can congratulate strangers and give knowing smiles to other runners.
Have you ever been to Philadelphia? Have you ever over done it on cross training before a race? Have you ever traveled alone?