First, Congrats to all who finished today! Awesome, just awesome to have accomplished this feat.
Oh man, what a day!
It started out cold, 25deg at the start, but thankfully NO WIND!
I got to the start about 15 mins before the gun, and settled in to a corral (not my assigned), a bit behind the 3:50 group.
We took off in the 2nd wave, behind the elites. The stagger start was awesome. It freed up the 1st miles, so you weren't tripping over runners. Much better start than the PDR back in Sept.
The nite before, I sat down in our hotel, and went over the best places to see my wife, her sister & husband. I had them set up at the 1st & 6th miles, around the 14-15th mile, and the finish.
I took my camera to the start, and handed it back to her, when I saw them at mile 1. I also saw Shoreturtle just about a block past them!
The start was quick, and I hooked up with the 3:50 pace group at about the 2 mile mark.
This was very smart on my behalf, because I felt like passing them, and knew if I did, it would kill me later!
I hung with them for the majority of the race. Let me tell ya, Pacer Dan was awesome. He encouraged us at just the right time, held us back at the hills, and on the downside of the hills. Hanging with that group was a good call! The 1st half seemed like it went by really quick. One scary part, was down around South St, when we had to run on cobblestones! All I could think of was turning an ankle.
Another scary part of the course was just about every water station. With the cold temps,and the majority of the stations in the shade, they were very icy. I saw workers throwing down rock salt, to help us out. Luckily I saw no one go down.
It was awesome to see my wife around the 6th mile mark, just like we planned. I started the race, with a sleeveless jacket, and handed it off to her. Just before I saw her, I saw Turtle cheering us on!
The course was on Chestnut for quite awhile, and as we headed past the Drexel frat houses, it was cool to see those maniacs cheering us on, while pounding the beers.
This course was pretty flat and fast, but there were a few hills. There was a nice hill around the 10 mile mark, in Fairmount Park. Again, it was great to run with a pacer & group, to pull you up the hill. There was one nutty spectator, who was loud and full of energy, cheering us on! Man I wish I had his energy. I saw him again on the 2nd half, and he was just as loud!
We cruised into the Art Museum area, and the 1/2 marathon point and Dan was telling us to relax, and not to let the crowd speed you up. It was hard to do, because the crowd was awesome. It felt like the Phils parade, only this time I was in it!
As we exited the museum area, we had another hill to climb, around mile 14-15. This was a tough one!It was long and curvy. We killed it, and settled down to knock off the miles before we hit Manyunk! What a awesome crowd they had! When we 1st got into Manyunk, there was a table set up on the right side of the road, what looked like a water station, but it was actually a Yuengling beer station! I'm sure runners where stopping there, but honestly, it smelled like bar, like spilled beer on a cement floor, not very good.
It was very tight, with runners on both sides of the road, coming and going. The music was jamming, and I can't tell you how the crowd helped push us along.
There were regular spectators offering us orange slices, and another spot had brownies.
At the turnaround point, mile 20, I started to feel it in the legs, soreness, and a bit of tightness in the hammys. At one of the water stops, I had come out right next to our Pacer, so I felt the urge to crack a joke, from the movie Forest Gump, I said Lt.Dan you have legs! He probably thought I was an ass, but that's what I do best. Stupid jokes at the wackiest times. I tell ya, I needed a new pair of legs at this point.
Sticking with the 3:50 group was getting harder and harder, and I finally let them go at mile 23.
The legs were failing, and I couldn't hold on to the 8:36/37 pace they kept. I fell back to a 9:00 mile, and knew I would be ok, if I could hold that for the last 3.2 miles.
I kept thinking back to my training runs, and picking runs of that mileage, to convince myself of how little I had left to go.
Mile 24, the legs were really starting to die, and I ran a 9:31. I could feel them cramping. I kept saying only 2.2 miles to go, thinking about how easy a 2 mile run is. Well, it's not easy after running 24, I am here to tell you. I had to walk a bit. Mile 25 was a killer, the legs wanted no part of going any further. To top it off, I was running into a bit of headwind, coming off the river. It was also one of the coldest parts of the course, with the shade and breeze off the river. Mile 25 was in the books at 10:15. Ouch! Only 1.2 miles to go, a run around my neighborhood I was telling myself. Again, it was a walk/run mile for me. You could see the crowd growing, the closer I was getting to the finish.
I have never felt pain like I did for this mile. It seemed like an eternity.I mean the muscles on my shins were cramping, the thighs & hamstrings where cramping. I saw people around me dropping like flies, walking like zombies. One runner collapsed, and the spectators covered him quickly with their jackets, until medical personnel arrived.
I saw a spectator with the BEST SIGN:
"Quitting is not an option, unless you are the NY Mets!"
Sorry Beachrunner, it was an awesome sign!
Well, I got mile 26 down in 10:50, and let the crowd carry me to the finish.
It got real narrow past mile 26, and they were right on top of you. I needed that to finish.
When I turned the last corner, and saw the finish line, it was an awesome site. I first saw my sister in law, and a little past her, I saw my wife & brother in law!
I raised my arms as I crossed the finish line. I had done it! I had completed a marathon.
After I crossed, they were handing us cups of water, which I grabbed, and headed over for a victory hug from my wife. It was an awesome feeling, even as bad as I felt.
What started back in May, when I signed up, was over! I knew from the clock time, that I had finished under 4 hours, which was my goal I kept to myself. For most of the marathon, I thought that a sub 3:50 was possible, but those last few miles dashed that!
Funny, my garmin had me running 26.5 miles! Guess I should have cut a few corners.
I have a ton of pictures that we took, that I will post later.
The legs are still real sore, and I walk like Fred Sanford.
I have a nice blister on my left heel.
I'm sure I'll sleep good tonite.
Chip Time: 3:54:32
Clock Time: 4:01:04
2701 out of 7230 finishers
1984 out of 4245 male finishers
272 in my age division.
Garmin Time: 3:54:25 (8:50 min/mile avg)