I ran the Phillie half last weekend.
We walked around alot the day before, the expo, liberty bell, constitution hall, ben franklin's grave , had fun, nice family time for the most part (the rest being the 'normal' family stuff that must go along with the Father Knows Best version of life).
I woke up at around 430, got shaved, showered and dressed and stretched some. Then i walked down and across 11th to the WaWa for a donut and coffee, to get things moving. Back up for some more stretching and then about a mile walk down Ben Franklin Parkway to the start.
On the way over I met Marion and Christina from Sunrise Tri . Their dad Frank is my bicycle maven/monger and he had told me to look for them. I laughed at the thought of actualy finding them, but there they were! I also met up with Erin from RwP, a surprise! Correct Erin, you cannot hide with that orange singlet.
Saturn is a major sponsor for this race and does somethign nice at the start, a stretchign area with yoga mats and physio balls. Actually I suggested the balls last year and so glad to see they listened. Next year please properly inflate them. And I also suggested ropes or straps for stretch assistance.
So 15,000 runners went off around 7:30 and what a great crowd of runners and spectators. Great atmposphere, great city, a fun race.
I bought some of these sports beans at the expo, figured i'd give me a try on Sunday. Around mile 3 I opened a package, and found I really needed to walk to eat them, or else dump the whole bag in my bean hoel at once and probably choke. Anyway, as I walked down the sidewalk, an older gentlemen with an australian accent commented on the number of people running.
Yes, 15,000 this year, a good crowd Never seen such a big race Oh this is nothing New York Marathon will have over 30,000 this year No kidding thats amazing Yes its really a great time have you ever run in a race you shoudl try it Well I guess where I am from they have some short runs maybe i would Where are you from? Canada Oh you don't sound canadian Well I am originally from Australia but I moved many years ago.
A small pod of runners weaved up the sidewalk behind us and jostled my new friend as they passed us, and one of them offered a rude excuse me as they conitnued snaking through sidewalkers. If you are racing, and you shoose to use the sidewalk instead of the road where everyne else is running, fine, but should you be surprised that teh city goes about its regular business, buying donuts and coffee on a Sunday morning?
My temporary race walking partner asked me how long it would take me to finish today.
"Depends on how long I talk to you!" I said and we both laughed.
So you start to get the idea. Not a serious race, but enjoying myself.
Around mile 6 I really needed to stop and poop, and there were a bank of portosans there before we turned left and crossed the river. As I exited my potty I found a woman with a baby stroller, waiting there with a sort of befuddled look on her face. I told her the one i was just in had paper, if thats what she was wondering. No, she just didnt know what she was goign to do with the baby while she went in. I offered to watch the baby for her, if she was comfortable with that. After all, i did have a race number on and wasnt one of the disturbingly vocal homeless who youll see in the area.
"oh. but aren't you racing."
yeah but ya know, this is my second stop so far this morning, it wont really make much difference.
And it really only did take a minute, and having done my good deed for the day I felt an extra spring in my step as i rejoined the race.
Runnign up the west side of the Schuykil River I found myself back a little further in the pack than I would normally expect, at about 10:30 pace. I realized this is the spot i really liek to be, with the huffers and puffers, folks workign hard and enjoying themselves.
There are alot of cowbells on this race course. I noticed one guy in cycling gear with what I beleive to be the smallest cowbell ever. About 2 miles later I saw him again, obviously following someone who was about at my pace. about 15 minutes later, again. and at the bridge back over the river there he was with his tiny cowbell.
All along this section of the race Iwas followed, passed by, passed and was followed some more by two young women in matching red shirts, shorts and red compression socks. On their shirt backs one had "Soul" and the other has "Sisters". I picked this couple to keep me focused until I got to mile 11.
Arond mile 10.5 the guy with the mini cowbell appeared again, and appeared to be cheering on the soul sisters! I asked them if he knew that guy. Yeah, he is 'Sister''s husband. I commented that that was probably the smallest cowbell on the course, and I had given him a special nickname, "Tinkerbell". We had a good laugh, and then they told me about the bell's history, the many, many road races that bell had been rung at, by him, to cheer them on.
Thanks Soul Sisters and Tinkerbell, for gettign me to the race that started at 11 miles.
Now it was time to dig in and work. I ran mile 11 at around 8:50, mile 12 around 8:30 and the last mile somwhere around 8:15. Finished in 2:09, 1 minute faster than my adjusted projected finish.
Organizationaly the finish line here just sucks. Pudding with no spoons. Lines to empty water tables. Stacks of sports drink still in shrink wrap, some racers walkign off with whole cases on their shoulders. the greenest bananas in Pennsylvania.
Crocs is a sponsor and they do somethign great, foot ice baths! Highly reccomended. I hope next year they will have the full body ones.
After the race I ran easy back down to the hotel and met my family. They had actually seen me a couple of times on the course, although I never saw them. I showered and we walked down to south phillie to see Pat's and Geno's and have cheesesteak sandwhiches for lunch. This was a very logn walk from old city, but if you can do it i reccomend it, getting out and seeign some of the real city and people.
Pretty happy with the day considering I definitely wasn't racing.