Welp, I’m back! It has been a little too long. I haven’t done a race recap in awhile, but I thought sharing this one would be important because it was my first marathon ever.
Let’s start with the day before. Travel/Expo Day. I live about 45 minutes North of center city Philadelphia, so it’s pretty easy getting in and out. My husband and I left in the early afternoon to head to check into our hotel.
We stayed at The Residence Inn. We were literally right next to city hall and it was amazing! How great are these views?? I was super excited.
We then walked over to the Expo at the Convention Center which was only 2 minutes away. I wish I took pictures of the Expo (I think I just shared them through Instagram and Snapchat 😦 ). I never have been to a big city expo and I literally felt like a little kid in a candy store. I. Was. In. Love. So many vendors and helpful volunteers. I picked up my bib and race packet and started to explore. I went to the Philadelphia Merchandise section first to pick up a jacket I pre ordered. They actually put a different jacket than the one I ordered in the bag and they didn’t have any more left. I was super upset (I know, I know silly) but the volunteers there were so wonderful that they gave an even more expensive finisher jacket with no extra cost AND a free Run Philly long sleeved shirt. They apologized over and over again even after they gave me those items. It was honestly the best expo service I’ve ever had. Kudos to you Philly!!!
I then got to try out the Normatec leg recovery. Super cool! I’m not sure how I felt about it that day. I think I would have to try it a couple more times before I actually make a decision. Oh, and they’re only like $1500 online if you want your own 😉
After some more shopping and spending more money than I should, my husband and I headed over to Chipotle for my usual pre race carb load! And took this lovely picture…Probably my favorite spot on Broad. Right near the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music!
*Nerd Alert* We headed back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the evening and of course watch the Harry Potter weekend! Great timing because I’m a huge Harry Potter fan! haha
Wake up was at 4:45 AM. I always bring my own breakfast; egg whites, peppers onions, some kind of protein, and sweet potatoes. I ate that quick, got dressed, and headed next door to a 7-eleven for coffee and extra snacks. The starting line was about a 1/2 mile from the hotel, but they had shuttle buses!! It made it so much easier and convenient and you could feel the excitement on the bus as we were heading over. Loved it!
It was still pretty dark and early when we got there, so we made sure to hit the port-o-potties before the line got long. Weather was COLD and WINDY. I made sure I was dressed appropriately, but just standing there was brutal.
Before I knew it, it was time to get lined up in the corrals. Race started at 7, but I think I crossed the starting line around 7:21. It was cold, so I knew it was going to take a long time to warm up. By mile 2, I started to feel ok and ready to run.
By mile 3, something just did not feel right. My hips and lower back hurt, my knee was bothering me. I did not feel 100%, not even 50%. I didn’t have to force myself to pull back, I wanted to go slow. I was worried because there was still 23 miles to go. At that point I knew I was just going to run by feel and not push it.
As I ran through the city, the spectators were AMAZING. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I gave so many high fives and smiles, even though it wasn’t my race and I was in pain. The spectators kept me going.
Mile 7-9 ish we ran through Drexel. Around that time the top of my left foot (where my previous stress fracture was) started to feel numb, tingly, and painful. I don’t know how to describe it, but I thought I broke it again. I almost stopped. I almost started crying. I honestly almost called my husband. I talked myself out of it and I didn’t stop, I kept going, pushing the thoughts past me, and the odd pain luckily went away.
Towards the half way point, I was miserable, I didn’t want to run, my back hurt, I could name all the complaints. At 13.1 we were back up to the Art Museum and I saw my husband. I ran towards him and stopped and frustratedly said “I feel like sh*t”. He gave me some encouraging words and then I went back into it.
Still made sure to smile at the cameras though!
The last trek of the marathon is up to Manayunk to the 20 miler mark and back. At that time, it seemed impossible and miserable, but I didn’t stop. I kept the pace easy and consistent. By mile 14, I was just so frustrated that I turned my Garmin off. I didn’t know if I had to poop, throw up, or eat something. At mile 15 or 16 I took a potty break (sorry TMI, you gotta go when you gotta go). Those last 4 miles or so to Manayunk turning point was brutal. The spectators once again was amazing, yelling my name, and cheering. They were also handing out beer! I’m not sure how people can drink some beer and run but people do it!
I almost cried at the 20 mile turn around, because I knew it was only 10k left. Still, I was struggling. The top of my foot was hurting again and my back was annoying the crap out of me. It was around 22 mile ish I ran into Racingto_26.2 !!(Regina) I never met her before in person and only have followed her through Instagram. It was literally a God send that I saw her at this point because I really needed a distraction and some encouragement. She was wonderful!! She helped push my pace for the next couple of miles and I am so so thankful.
Pushing it towards the end!
At mile 25 she ran ahead as I held back to catch my breath a little (haha) before I pushed it towards the end. A little after mile 25, I picked it back up. The spectators were increasing as I got closer to the finish line and I became more excited! Once I saw the finish line, I threw the water bottle I had on the ground and ran towards the finish line!
4 hours 18 minutes 58 seconds
I. Did. It.
I hurt so bad. I hugged the volunteers at the finish line and I may have cried a little. After I got my medal and a water bottle, I was so out of it and cold that I didn’t even check out all the food they had. I grabbed a soft pretzel and a banana and went to look for my husband.
I found him and hung out and talked with friends for a little bit, then headed back to the shuttle buses. We didn’t even get a picture together and I couldn’t find Regina afterwards! 😦 The weather was just so BRUTAL that I wanted to get out of the wind ASAP.
Afterwards, we ate a place called Good Dog for some burgers and beer. My stomach was still not right, but the beer hit the spot! We headed home afterwards and I just relaxed for the rest of the day.
This was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. With everything going on in the world right now, it was so nice to see people come together and support one another. That’s what makes running so great! Even though this wasn’t my best race or pacing, it’s only the beginning! I had SO much fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Right now, I’m recovering, enjoying some fitness classes, and will start with lower mileage on Monday. I have some fun 5k’s planned for December, but otherwise will take it easy. I already signed up for the Love Run Half Marathon in Philadelphia March 26th and I’m looking for a full marathon to do in the Spring. Any suggestions will be great!
Goals for Spring: half marathon time in 1:40’s, marathon time less than 4hrs, continue with fitness classes.
So there you have it. Excited for future training and to crush more goals! Thank you all for your love and support!!!
Run Jill Run