Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Philadelphia Marathon

The Philadelphia Marathon

I had a great week leading up the marathon and was lucky enough to have very hospitable friends Brian O. and Hollie K. put me up in their father's home just 30 minutes from the starting line in Philly and to drive me both ways from Ithaca. Thank you both so much!

Miles for the week: 47

Monday= Rest
Tuesday=easy 4 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Wednesday= 9.5 miles total (4 miles @ 5:51/mi. pace) around SUNY Cortland campus
Thursday= Rest
Friday= easy 5 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Saturday= easy 2.5 miles in Philly around Hollie's dad's neighborhood
Sunday= 26.2 miles in the awesome city of Philadelphia!

Despite my lengthy race season I felt very well rested for this race and knew Philly was notorious for being a fast course and Boston qualifier. I also knew it was going to be a frigid day but training for Boston the last two winters in Ithaca, NY has prepared me for days like Sunday.

I arrived at the starting line with about four layers of "throw away" clothes on that consisted of flannel pajama pants, sweat pants, and old sweatshirts. It was a cold morning but the sun was shining. I lined up at the very front and chatted briefly with Michael Wardian and a few others and it was a really nice feeling to actually "toe the starting line". This is the first time I have been able to get right up there but I knew once the race started that I would fall back a little and run my race.

We took off and made our way around downtown and I settled into a nice relaxed but quick pace. I saw Brian, Hollie, and Jess at about 10K and then laughed when I passed a fraternity house full of students screaming, playing music, and drinking beer at 8 am on a Sunday slurring words of encouragement in my face! It was indeed a fast course but not as flat as I had imagined. I mean it was nothing and actually kind of nice to break up the monotony. I reached the half marathon point in 1:21 and was feeling really good. As I headed out for the second half of the race I put in some nice surges and felt very strong. However, if I hear the "Rocky" song one more time I might just lose it!

Miles 17-20 I started to notice some normal fatigue setting in but ate some bananas, gels and drank lots of Gatorade. Right around mile 20 the lead woman passed me. I said to her, "take it home". At this point we were at a section where you could see runners coming at you on a long out and back section. I saw Laurie Cuomo from Ithaca and another friend of Hollie's Lauren, who was running her first marathon. I exchanged brief hello's but was really focused on maintaining my pace.

Without purpose at mile 23 I put in another surge and consequently came up beside the first place woman again. This time I said, "5K to go...let's do it" and I passed her. Moments later she passed me again and this time when she passed she said, "go, go, go, go". This was too funny because I ended up going by one more time as I was really pumping my arms and working hard this last little bit of the race. Finally, at about mile 25.8 or so I saw Brian and Hollie yelling at me and all of the sudden the woman was right next to me running stride for stride. At this point the crowd was going absolutely crazy, lined a few people deep on both sides. We both picked up the pace and were racing at exactly the same pace. It was so crazy! We turned the corner and could see the finish line about 20 yards out and I accidentally bumped her with my elbow. This threw me off and she scurried into the finish. I completely slowed down and let her have her glory for 1st place woman...she really deserved it! I finished in 2:44:05

Afterwards, she came up to me and gave me a hug. I found out that it was her first marathon and that she was from Ukraine. After I hugged her I said to this guy next to me, "wow that was intense...did you see that?" I explained what happened and when the man looked up at me I realized that it was Bart Yasso! He congratulated me and kind of laughed. I was very happy with the way I ran in Philly and my all around experience. I made my way through the chute, grabbed my medal, got a quick massage, ate some food and changed. Of course I had to make my way over to the infamous Rocky statue for a picture. What a fun weekend and what a way to wrap up the year!... PR!


From the time I could stand upright I was chasing soccer balls around with older children at the fields where my father...

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