Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia City Hall
     It was a beautiful semi warm Philadelphia morning, I took the 1 mile early 6 a.m. walk from my hotel to the race start.  On my way to my corral I walked past the famous "Rocky" museum steps from the movie, making a mental note to go back later and do the famous run up them.
From the gun start to my corral it took me about 30 more minutes before I actually made it to the start line, there were about 27,000 runners, both marathon and half marathon.

     Going into this race my mind was 100% on board and mentally ready to give another marathon a go.  However, my body only a few miles into it was screaming "Really, you're seriously going to make me run 26.2 miles again..."  My mind won that battle and I forced my legs and injured hip to try to forget they weren't done healing from the NYC Marathon 2 weeks prior.
     The race started through the beautiful downtown streets of Philadelphia, running past lots and lots of red brick buildings, likely most of them built in the late 1700"s, since Philly is one of the oldest cities in America.  Bricks and Columns you could tell they were old, but still had lots of character to them.
Betsy Ross House

     We came out of the city and then ran next to the beautiful and massive Delaware River for a bit before heading back into the city, and running through the historic district.  Passing Independence Hall and the Liberty bell and back up into different city streets.

     Crossing the Schullykill River, and heading into University City, passing quite a few college students and different fraternities.
I am going to mention I wasn't exactly loving running with all the half marathoners at this point.  There seemed to be quite a few first timers out there and in large groups.  It's great they were so many out for their first big race!   But when you have so many runners, and you have so few paying attention to where they are going.  In their large groups suddenly stopping when one of their group members things he/she has a cramp or wants to stop the group to complain about how it's so much harder than they thought it would be.  Well it get's a little annoying if you happen to be behind them and have to keep from running into them as they suddenly stop in the middle of the road. 

Benjamin Franklin Parkway Fountain
I am all for making your race fun, but I like to think of myself as a pretty courteous runner.  I see little bits of this happen here and there as I am running around the country.  But I'm not sure if it was bad luck or what, but I was REALLY thrilled when the half parted to finished and the full carried on.  I could finally relax and enjoy the race and not have to constantly pay attention so I didn't get slammed into:)

     By the half way point we had crossed another bridge over the river, and ran in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Famous by the Rocky Movie).
Up until this point I hadn't heard the movie soundtrack song, that I hear in almost every race, and I was really expecting it.
Luckily right past the museum near the bronzed Rocky statue I heard a guy playing it on his Trumpet, then again several times through the next few miles of the course.
Liberty Bell

     We were running right along side the Schulykill River and I must say it was beautiful.  Philadelphia loves arch bridges made of (of course) brick.  So pretty, some of them so old they are a blackish color with lots of green moss intertwined through them.
The river although large was pretty quiet for the most part, just a massive slow moving river lined by a trail way and road.  Beautiful maples and other tree's adorned in their fall colors, many still had most of their multi colored leaves.

     The course was fairly flat with gentle rolling hills that I probably wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't been having to force my tired legs to run up them.
I knew running so many marathon's a year would not be without their problems, and I knew that some would be more tiring than others since I don't really give myself time to recover.  But I was really struggling at this point.  I can honestly say this was the most tired I have ever been.  By mile 18 my hip bursitis was aching and I felt like my legs were carrying 50 pound weights, and my lungs were really, really tired at this point.
     Luckily I prepare mentally ahead of time for problems.  At this point in my running, being trained for

Independence Hall
the races isn't really an issue.  It's become a mostly mental racing now and I am getting pretty good with what I call self hypnosis.  I take all the pain and try to channel it into the back of my mind concentrating on other things or things around me so intently that the pain is buried back a bit further. Although I will admit the pain surfaces quite often, its just a matter of having enough things in my brain to concentrate on.  Maybe it's the wanna be writer in me, but I seem to be able to come up with plenty to think about.

     The last half of the Marathon was basically an out and back course.  Yup this is the time I look to the runners on the other side of the road from me and wish I was a 3 hour finisher:)
Then when it is my turn to be on the return, I look at the others and am very grateful I am not still on the outbound.
We made a turn in a small town ManaYuck, I remember the name because it was so odd.  But the town had lots and lots of cheer support out everyone was so friendly.
Actually the out and back, had lots of support along the way.  Great volunteers who were so friendly and more than willing to do anything they could to help that day.
     There were a several water stops that ran out of cups, my theory was the stop was for one side of the road but both sides were drinking.  This wasn't a problem when I was heading outbound, but when I was on the inbound toward the finish I was wishing that I could have had at least one more stop with water.
I did at one point let them just pour water into my hands and used my hands to cup it into my mouth.  It's one thing to be running tired, it's completely different to be dehydrated and I didn't want that to happen:)
Covered Bridge near Lancaster
AKA Kissing Bridge

     Passing a few fall's on the way back and back under some beautiful rocky and bridge archways, then to the parkway to the finish line.
I can't tell you how glad I was to see that finish line.  Normally the last .2 of the race is the worst.   But I was just so excited that I was able to finish and suffer through the pain (even if self inflicted) that the last stretch didn't seem to take as long as it normally does.
     I didn't hang around at the finish, I rarely do.  I still had a mile walk back to the hotel so I could take a shower and start working on some of the injuries.

     See because of the bursitis I had to keep my hip warm earlier in the race, because cold makes it a sheer pain that I almost can't run through.  I had bought a different brand of heat warmers and stuck them with their self adhesive to my hip and thigh.  BIG MISTAKE although I pulled them off around mile 10, the damage was done.  The tape was too sticky and it had already taken off most of my skin.  I hate open wounds, they are the most painful to clean up afterwards, especially in large area's...
Oh, well I amaze myself with the fact that even after 24 marathons I still make stupid mistakes...
Amish Horse and Buggy

     I had a great trip though!  Before the race I went to Lancaster, PA and took a few days visiting Amish Country.  Eating Dutch foods and touring some of the Amish communities.  It was beautiful just rolling green acre hills, beautiful large Amish farm houses.  Buggies and carriages being pulled by beautiful horses going right down the road, I saw dozens of them.  I enjoyed learning a bit more about the Amish culture too.
In Philadelphia visited Independence Hall and stood where the Constitution was signed, and next to the Liberty Bell and toured Betsy Ross's House.  I enjoyed learning and re-learning a little more about American History.
Despite the tired body, I had a GREAT race and enjoyed seeing parts of Pennsylvania, it is a beautiful state rich with early American history.
The room where the Constitution was signed
     Then of course because I didn't already inflict enough pain on myself during the race.  A shower and a few short hours after the marathon I went and ran (yes ran) up the famous Philadelphia Art Museum steps as Sylvester Stallone did in the movie "Rocky".  Then at the top I had to do the same victory pose for a picture:)
Philadelphia Art Museum Steps
I am in this picture, at the top although you can probably not see me as it was taken from the bottom looking up the stairs.

     I do have one more race planned for this year so time to relax and recover as much as possible before the next race in a few weeks:)

2 comments :

  1. You are my hero. Not only are your posts delightful, but once again I am revisiting history and the greatness that makes the East Coast amazing.

    What the half marathoners need is a big sign that says "Watch out, I stop often". I hope you are feeling better and have the time you need to recover.
    Lydia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Lydia, that was really kind of you to say!

    ReplyDelete

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