Sunday, September 21, 2008

Philadelphia Distance Run Sept. 21, 2008

OH MAN! What an awesome day! Great Weather, great competitor's, and I had a great time & results.
I will say, that in the days leading up to this run, I was on the nervous side. I mean, running alone is one thing, but being surrounded by 15,000 is something else.
I want to thank a running friend of Shoreturtle's, I met back in July, Bill. We kept in touch via emails, and carpooled together to the race. Sure was nice to have a buddy there, to talk to, and keep the nerves at bay.
I got on the road around 5:15am, picked up Bill, and headed to Philly. We were in Philly and walking to the starting area at Eakins Oval by 6:30am. It was a cool morning, a total 360 from last Sunday's Heat & Humidity! The runners where just starting to arrive, and I was lucky enough to hit the port-a-pots without a line..(more on that in a bit!).
We headed up the steps of the Art Museum, to relax, look for some Runner's World discussion board runner's I post with in the marathon training page. I didn't meet up with anyone, until right before the start. I wanted to hit the bathroom one last time, before heading to my corral start, when Progman2000 , recognized me, from my Flyers visor. I never saw him after that, and hope he did great. He was well at the end of a long line for the port-a-pots. Well, needing to go myself, and not wanting to wait in those lines, I found 2 with no line, inside the ING VIP section! SO, I hopped the makeshift fence, designed to keep us regular Joe's out. I was spotted by other runners, and next thing I knew, there were about 10 runners or so, hopping the fence to go. A ING rep, went to get security, I think, and I was lucky enough to get into the potty, before she got back.
The start was amazing. I was in Corral #9, I guess almost a 1/2 mile from the starting line. It was quite a site, to see the mass of humanity in front of me. They started the wheelchair athletes 1st, followed by the elite runners, and then us. I would guess it was almost 4 minutes or more, from the gun, to the time I actually crossed the starting line. It was stop and go for the first 1/2 mile or so, and it started to thin out after that.
I took the advise of Progman, and others, and ran the race without my Ipod. For the most part I was glad I did. The crowd was amazing, the cheering & cowbells sure pumped you up. It was also pretty cool, to have a different type of band around most mile marks. There were your typical cover bands, to the big band lounge acts, to one's playing only original music. Again, it was very cool, and kept ya motivated.
I thought it pretty funny, to be running along side a runner in a Steeler's Rothlesberger jersey as we passed the Eagles pep band around the 2 mile mark.
I was checking my time, and noticed I was moving along at a pretty good clip. I ran mile 1 in 8:41, mile 2 in 8:48, mile 3 in 8:24 & mile 4 in 8:10! I wanted to be closer to 9:30/miles in the early going, but felt good, and again, the crowd got you moving. I was a bit nervous after I saw my 4Th mile split. I sure didn't want to burn out early. I was really shocked at the 4Th mile, I knew I was moving, but sure didn't want to be going that fast. Oh boy.. I was sure I would pay for this fast pace.
The 4Th - 7Th miles, where I think the toughest of the race. By the 5Th mile, the course took you away from the crowds. You ran along a part of the course, where the Schuykill river was on your right, and the Schuykill Expressway was on your left. This is where I could have used my trusty Ipod. Not many spectators, and I was sure the early pace would catch up to me here. I did slow a bit, but still was keeping a good pace. Mile 5 8:31 & Mile 6 in 8:41. There was a slight uphill in the 7Th mile, and that got you back into the crowds a bit. Mile 7 was the slowest of my run at 8:48.
I was still feeling really good, and the thought of doing this race under 2 hours, was starting to become a real goal.
Miles 8 & 9, I kept the pace steady, rolling off 8:36 & 8:42 miles. At the 9Th mile, I was thinking how fast this run was going, and I just had to hold it together for a little more than 4 miles.
My goal before the run, was to try and stay at a steady 9- 9:30 min mile pace, until around the 10Th mile, and push it the last 5k, and see where I end up. That strategy went out the window after the 1st few miles. I did push it the last few miles, rattling off 8:29 for the 10Th, 8:21 for the 11Th, and 8:16 for mile 12.
With only 1.1 miles to go, I gave it all I had, and killed it, with a 7:58, for mile 13. I knew I was moving, but had no idea it was that good, until I checked the Garmin after the race.
Coming up to the finish, they crowd was so amazing, it was indescribable, how it pumped you, and got you to move. When I hit that 13Th mile mark, and turned the corner, and saw the finish, it was amazing.
The clock time read 1:57:28, and I knew my chip time had to be under that!
My Garmin read 1:53:19 for 13:37 miles, and after checking the website, my official chip time was 1:53:13 ! 8:39 min/mile avg.
I finished 4211 overall, and 3013 in the men's, and 437, in my 40-44 age group.

I did meet one other blogger after the race. After I got my bag I checked, I ran into Fllij, who keeps up the Philly Marathon posts on the RWOL discussion board. She also recognized me from my FLYERS visor. It was nice to meet her.

It was just a great day/run and I would encourage everyone who runs to try one of these large races. I am sure you will have as great an experience as I did.

I can't imagine I can run this pace for 26.2 miles, but I have 9 more weeks of training to get me to the finish, and that's my main goal for the marathon!


Blyfinn said...

Awesome run! I love the races that seem just like everything goes great!

Darrell said...

Wow, what an incredible race you ran. You sure smoked that 9:30 pace you had planned. Sub 2:00 is a nice way to finish a half and is really great prep for the full.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job! You are going to rock that marathon, with how strong you are running!

Progman2000 said...

Way to go man, you rocked it! LOL at your pacing strategy, start out at 9:30 - yeah right! Funny how all the best laid pacing plans go out the window when the gun goes off! You did a great job of holding it together and finishing with a great time though. I hear you about that one stretch on the Schykill, that was kind of a drag - I was groaning in my head there too but felt much better after the 10k mark. I looked for you at the finish but, needless to say with 15,000 people, missed you (I was eye-balling those ING potties too but didn't have the balls to hop the fence!). We will have to meet up on another run prior to Philly, I am dying to talk live to someone else who is training for it.

Way to rock the PDR dude!

joyRuN said...

Nicely done! LMAO - your slowest pace was my fastest :)

Didn't know about the super-secret port-a-potties - I was still in line when the race started!

Erin Leigh said...

You rocked it!!! Glad you had such a great time with it!!!

Jill said...

It was nice to meet you! You did so great! Look at those splits, they are so even. My 4th mile was super fast too (8:12). Not sure what that was about!


ShoreTurtle said...

Congrats on a good race. The lonely miles along the river during the race are good prep for the marathon.

I did the same thing when I ran the PDR in '06. I planned to run it at my marathon pace and I ended up racing it instead. It's all good.

Vava said...

Amazing! What a great race you had, and a terrific report. Your splits are fantastic and I think with 9 more weeks of training, and the weather sure to be nice and cool by then, a sub 4:00 marathon is more than doable. Well done! I've never raced and can't wait to experience running in a crowd like that. Also, I have to find a picture of myself to post on my blog so that people can recognize me at future races (boy, am I getting ahead of myself!!!). Your Flyers visor is great for ID purposes for sure. Thanks for this post!

BeachRunner said...

Awesome job. What a great race and pace for you. Congrats.

Kudos on your move to hop the fence and pee, VIP style. Nicely done all around.

Ted said...

LOL at BR's comment... I hate Port a Potties. I'd usually find the closest tree. TERRRRRRRRIFIC Post Race Report. Now that you have a taste of what it is like to complete the half. Now, you are going to have to do a lot of planning for the FULL marathon. As for me, I still haven't figure it out yet.

Congrats on getting the job done !! Hat off to you !!!

mrjwhit~ said...

Nice work. Great blog, too.

Laurel said...

Wow! Great run!!! Your time is awesome! Was this your first half?

I love your pictures too. I didn't even see the table with the trophies on it. They are so cute!

And the port-o-potties were hilarious. There was NO line when we first got there, then 10 minutes later there was a million people in line! I guess everyone has the pre-race bladder jitters. I didn't wait the second time, just found a bush. LOL!

You're going to do great at the Philly Marathon. I'll be there too!

ncrunner12 said...

There's nothing better then a race where everything goes smooth... Great job!

SuperDave said...

So your goal was under 2 hours and you finished in 1:53 and change. Awesome!!
I would love to be able to run in a race were their was a big cheering crowd. Sounds like you had fun too..ZOOM ZOOM!

Marcy said...

OMG!! Congrats! What an awesome awesome race ;D ;D