Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2009 Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

The wife and I got into Philly around 4 on Sat, and had just enough time to unpack and get ready for dinner with Paul & his wife. It was a nice dinner, as the 2 of us drove the wives crazy with talk of running and what marathons we have an interest in for 2010! We both decided to meet at 6:30am in the hotel lobby for the 2 block walk to the start. It was nice to have a hotel 2 blocks from the start/finish.. that meant no bathroom lines, and no gear drop off !

I had mapped out a route where our wives could see us 2-3 times during the race.

When I was at the expo on Friday, I was lucky enough to have the 3:40 pacer at the Clif booth. He assured me that they were going to run consistent miles. The other lucky break I got, was at the KT-Tape booth. They were taping runners up for free. When I explained of my hamstring issue, they taped it up. The tape will stay on for up to 5 days, and you can get it wet in the shower! (If you have issues that could use this, I would recommend it. I think it helped hold me together!).

When we got to the start, I headed over to the 3:40 group and Denise recognized me right away. It was nice to meet her. Seems we ran with the 3:50 group last year, and only realized it afterwards. She had her game face on, and I could tell she was going to have a great race. Turns out she did, with a BQ ! Myself.. not that confident, as I didn't know what to expect out of the left leg.

As we waited to get going, I got Mayor Nutter to acknowledge my FLYERS hat, when we were waiting for our wave to start. I will say he is a very approachable mayor and was high fiving anyone who had their hand up.

With the wave start, we were off and flying. We caught some of the 1/2 marathoners around mile 1, and it was tight running. When we were on Delaware Ave, a girl right in front of me ran right out of her shoe, almost causing a massive pileup!

My garmin had us at an 8:15 pace for the 1st few miles, and I was worried about the quick start.

I started the race in a long sleeve shirt, and hat. I had my wife waiting around mile 6 with a short sleeve tee, and my visor. It was a lot hotter than I expected. Last year it was 22 deg F at the start and this year it was around 44... big difference!

As we headed up Chestnut towards Drexel Univ and towards the zoo, I was shocked to see the 7:50's for a few miles. Again.. way too fast for my liking, and I was getting nervous as to when this would catch up with me. I happen to get next to our pacer around mile 8, and asked him if a few of these miles were too quick, and he said that we have a minute or so in the bank... not what I wanted to hear. I wanted nice even paced miles! The few times we were around our pace, where a couple of hills in the Fairmont Park section, other than that we were flying.

When we hit miles 12-15, and they were in the 7:50-8:08 range, I backed off the group.

I settled down to my pace around 8:35's, and was feeling ok, until mile 18-19, when the hammy had enough. It cramped and locked up on me right before we had an uphill (exit ramp) on the way into Manyunk. I had to stop, as I could move the leg. I said "F'ing hamstring", and a runner passing me encouraged me to stretch it out and I'll be fine. I did stretch it, and was able to continue on. At the time I had to stop, I had almost 2 mins in the bank, on the 3:40! I had picked up both a 3:40 & 3:45 pace band from Clif at the expo, and was keeping an eye on the times.

I was feeling the leg the rest of the way, and I am sure it was the fast miles that took it's toll.

When I was in Manyunk, I saw that the 3:40 group was only about a 1/4 mile or so in front of me. I knew a 3:40 was gone and tried for the 3:45. It was tough going, and I kept an eye on my pace, and felt it in the legs big time. I reminded me a lot of the last 10k from Philly last year. Long hard miles...
I walked thru a couple of the water stops to make sure I drank and stretch out the hammys. I had slowed to 9 min miles, and hung in there. I still had "time in the bank" for the 3:45. I figured I had about 5 mins around mile 22, leaving Manyunk.

When I hit the finish, my garmin had me at 3:49:59. I knew I had lost time in the last 10k, but I couldn't believe I had lost 10 minutes?!

Over the next couple of days, I had times posted on the website of 3:50:20, 3:44:59, back to 3:50:20, and finally 3:44:55. I know it's not a BQ time.. I'd need a 3:20 for that, it's very frustrating to put in the time and effort and not be sure of the result.
For the past few weeks, I can't even count on my garmin. It has died during runs, and as soon as I was done, the low battery was beeping, that after I had kept it charged overnight.

In talking with Progman, he even said he saw a posted time for me once at 3:43:xx, and put it in perspective.. we pay entry fees for the race to time us, and I should go with what has been official posted for me, which is a chip time of 3:44:55. It's a PR of about 10 mins.

This kind of confusion has damped the thrill of the race, as I don't want credit for a time I didn't run.

That said.. I am already looking towards 2010, and what marathons I might be interested in.
I think I will try my luck at the NYC lottery.
Here are some pics from the race.
Paul & I at the start.
About 20,000 of my closest friends!
Mayor Nutter acknowledging my hat & Bart Yasso.
And were off !
Independence Hall in the distance.
The Ben Franklin Bridge, as we head towards Delware Ave.The world famous TLA on South St.
Corner of Broad & Chestnut Streets.
Crowd shot on Chestnut St.
Some of the frat boys from Drexel Univ, hanging out.
Bunch of nuts in costumes in Fairmont Park.
Here's your race leader passing me as I'm around mile 15 or so.
Beer stop in Manyunk ! FYI.. it's Yuengling beer.
Heading out of Manyunk.
Post race with my wife!
Progman & I post race at the hotel, with our hard earned bling !
UPDATE 11/22/09
********* My time has changed again, on the website**********
It is now listed as 3:50:16, I have never heard of a time changing as much as mine has this week!
Hopefully they get it right, it's very frustrating.


Laurel said...

Great pics! I can't believe your PR with a bad hamstring AND taking all those pictures! You're amazing!

Sounds like a great race under the circumstances. Congrats on the PR!

Yasi said...

Great job Bill! Great PR. I'm in the lottery for NYC too! You should definitely go for it.

joyRuN said...

Awesome report, Bill! Can't believe your huge PR with all the pics & hammy issues - nicely done :)

Girl In Motion said...

Loved all the photos! Congrats on the PR, that's fabulous. What a pain about them not finalizing your time, a friend of mine thought she didn't BQ then they changed the time so it looked like she did BQ then they changed it back again. Horrible! Here's to a kick ass 2010 season with more PRs ahead.

Darrell said...

I could read the panic in your writing as you saw the time slipping away.

Really a bummer that you can't be sure of your real time. You are right you do expect at least that from a big race like Philly.

Great that you're looking towards 2010 already.

ShoreTurtle said...

Congratulations! I think that you should be proud of your 3:49:59. You were happy when you finished, right? Don't let the changing results (the web site lists 3:50 for you now) interfere with your sense of accomplishment.

Garmin issues are common (wrong distance measured, auto pause turning on, etc). I haven't encountered the Garmin adding time to a race. Did you forget to stop the Garmin when you finished? Or did you start it before the timing mats?

Maybe your finish photo with the finish time will give you a piece of mind.

Vava said...

Very nice report! And a great race, especially with your hamstring seizing up on you after that blazing start. Way to hold it together and tough it out right to the end. 10 minute PR - nothing to sneeze at, that's for sure! Amazing.


Morgan said...

Congrats! Great recap!!!! Love all the pics! How exciting!!!

Denise said...

Congrats on the big PR. I'm not sure how you held in there with the bad hamstring, sooo tough! And how the heck do you take pics on the run??

It was great to finally meet you!! Hope to see you again at a future race.

Progman2000 said...

Way to go dude - it was a good time!

Ted said...

Way to go dude ! The pictures was GREAT !!! The weather was also GREAT as well. You really rock this one. Congrats !!!

Rob Haney said...

Impressive times, brother. I just started running last year and did my first marathon this week. (Philly)
Ran into some problems with overhydration...won't make the same mistake again.

Dig your blog!


sneakersister said...

I thought I left a comment here for you already. Hmmm...

Congratulations on a huge PR!! I'd love to be able to PR by 10 minutes next time. I'd say you kicked butt, especially going into it with that hamstring issue.

2009 has been such a huge year for you! Can't wait to see what 2010 brings for you.

(And my word verification word for today is "tempo". How do you like that? :) )

sRod said...

Many congrats.

It does suck about the time still being an issue (you know my issues with that). When I ran the Flying Pig I ended up walking a lot and must have adding 15 or more minutes to my time. It kinda boggles the mind during the race because you swear you're running so slow, but walking is waaaay slower than running.