The Philly Marathon holds a special place in my heart. This race is THE ONE. The one that inspired me to run.
In 2010, I cheered Victoria during her first full marathon and that was where I was officially bit by the running bug.
In 2011, I ran my first road race, the Rothman 8k, which is part of the weekend’s events with Brooke (and cheered Victoria the next day during the half).
2012 was a year of volunteering – I gave out heat wraps and medals – giving back to the running community that has provided me with so much.
2013 was a year of cheering Kyle at HER first marathon. Are you sensing a theme here?
And finally, in 2014, I ran the half, while Victoria ran the full.
This year I once again registered nice and early for the half. As the date drew closer I asked my dear friend, Chrissy, if she had any interest in joining me. Chrissy is newer to the running game and we had a lot of fun at the Broad Street 10 Miler in May. She and I have been friends since 3 grade and I always have a blast with her. After talking her into it (not difficult, for the record) we were ready to embrace the race!
The most important thing, besides the running, was what we were going to wear. Since we are from the Northeast and since we love coffee, hot chocolate, donuts, bagels, and everything else Dunkin’ Donuts has to offer… we settled on this!
We woke up bright and early on race day and made our way to… Dunkin’ Donuts. Because, you know, priorities.
Got the train to Philly and walked the mile or so to the start area. The goal was to meet up with Bonnie pre-race to give high fives, hugs, and pep talks.
But that’s not exactly how it played out.
There were security lines that seemed to go on for blocks, serpentine-ing around streets and buildings.
Since the Boston Marathon tragedy occurred, they’ve added security check points at the Philly Marathon. I sincerely appreciate and completely understand the efforts.
However, this was like nothing I’d seen before. I know recent events had an effect on this but there was a lack of communication, volunteers, and general knowledge for the runners waiting in line. Additionally a lot of people who were cheering were in this line and I think that made the quantity of people more than the checkers could handle swiftly.
We waited on the line for an hour, without seeing much movement. Once the clock struck 7am (the time the race was supposed to start), all of a sudden we moved at a fast pace, streaming through the gates. The first racers were off at 7:13.
That said, that was the only snafu that we encountered that day. Everything can’t be perfect, right? We still made it into the blue corral with plenty of time to spare. Sometimes being in the last corral has its benefits!
We danced our way up to the start line, jamming to songs like the Percolator and Murder She Wrote over the sound system. Kicking it old school!
Soon we crossed the start line and took off to the sounds of the Rocky theme. Obviously! We heard that often throughout the 13.1 miles and I pumped my arms over my head each time.
I think one of the (many) reasons I adore running in Philly because I know where we are at all times. It’s my own personal tour of Philly, via foot! We passed the church my friends recently got married in and then a bit later on, the Moshulu, where their reception was held. In October, Jay and I drove from point A to point B. Not so much on Sunday!
Chrissy and I were doing 1:1 intervals and keeping our eyes peeled for fun things. Like all the Dunkin’ Donuts along the course. I’m pretty sure we saw at least 6!
Instagram friend and fellow blue buddy Rachel found us and we got to see her several times throughout the race, which was awesome.
Running a course you know is also sort of a mixed blessing because you know what to expect… and where the huge hill is. We hit several smaller hills and Chrissy would ask me each time, “Is THIS it?” And my answer every time was, “No. But you’ll know when it is.”
And she did. Because it felt like it was never ever going to end. Once we finally got passed it, we resumed our 1:1 intervals throughout Fairmount Park.
I listened to an awesome pep talk that someone else was getting from their personal cheer squad. I decided that I too, needed a pep talk, which I voiced. An awesome man on the course did just that. You can always rely on fellow runners to pick you up!
After the rough uphill a bit early, there was a glorious, glorious downhill. Hurrah! At the bottom of the downhill was a cheer group that I was very much looking forward to.
Turn up your speakers and get ready to boogie!
Are they not freaking awesome?
From there, we knew we only had a few miles left. Our goal was to finish under 3 hours and we knew if we stay consistent with our intervals, we would achieve it!
I focused on my breathing and listening for the beep of Chrissy’s watch. We didn’t talk much the last couple of miles, we just wanted to get to this point.
Once we got passed that sign and saw the front of the Art Museum, it was go time. We started to pick up speed and crossed the finish line, hand in hand!
And then we got medaled. Which was when all the emotions hit.
And there might have been a few happy tears shed between the two of us.
We did it! Furthermore, we did it together and felt really accomplished about the entire experience.
Chrissy has told me a few times that I’m one of the reasons that she started running and I can’t even begin to tell you how special that makes me feel. I know what running does for me and to have her be able to experience that and feel so positive, it’s truly a blessing to be part of her journey.
We found Rachel again while waiting for the finish line snacks and goodies and it was great to be able to catch up with her and learn of her 32 minute PR. Freaking awesome! As was the warm chicken broth and rice that they give at the end of the line of goodies. I told the volunteers how excited I was for it and they seemed surprised. No way, man! The salt and the warmth is perfection.
On the train Chrissy and I took our banana phone picture, as is standard practice here!
We also rang our medals incessantly. I’m sure the other passengers loved us. No shame!
Once the Philadelphia Marathon weekend is complete, I feel like it’s the official start of Thanksgiving and holiday time. So, come at me, sides! My body is ready!
The Scoot a Doot Chicks hope you all have a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We’ll see you back around these parts on Friday.