How to Cheer at the Philadelphia Marathon

The Philly Marathon is this coming weekend and I have cheered at this race more than any other. I was recently chatting with a few folks that will be cheering for friends and family this year and trying to explain my location strategies for maximum viewing potential.

While I was drawing with my fingers on the table and explaining my route, I thought it might be easier if I just wrote a blog post! And here we are!

source (with added stars from me)

When I’m cheering, it’s usually for a friend staying with me, so I end up being there super early to escort them to the starting area.

If time is on your side and you’re chilling on the streets of Philadelphia (please sing along with me), my suggestion is to visit the Starbucks located at 16th and Arch Street. It opens at 6:30, which is a half hour before the elites begin and leaves you plenty of time to grab something yummy before staking out your spot on the street.

Make sure you’re standing near cool people, get comfy (dress for the weather and have comfortable shoes on), and get ready to CHEER!

I start off right by the purple star, just past LOVE Park. There’s some construction in the area but you should be able to grab a prime spot to catch your runner just after they hit the mile mark of the marathon.

Cheering for Victoria during mile 1 in 2012 (this was when the half and full were on the same day/course)

I like telling my runner what side of the street I’ll be on so they know where to look for me. For the first area, I like being on the runner’s right. That way I can easily cross through to my next cheer zone AND I don’t have to run across the street in front of athletes.

Also, remember that this is a big race with lots of corrals. Tracking your runner is always a great way to know where they are on the course. You can also look at their bibs for corral placement so you know that when you see your runner’s corral color, you know it time to look for them in earnest.

Swoop, the Eagles mascot cheered with us too!

Mile one you’ll see lots of smiles and everyone is looking strong! As both a spectator and someone who’s run the half course I can tell you that the energy here is fantastic.

After your runner passes, you can cut through the couple of blocks to line up with the yellow star. I usually walk down a bit so that I’m just past the 10k mark.

You can hang anywhere from miles 5.5 to just before 7 and it’s minimal walking so you do you!

Cheering for Kyle in 2013

The crowds are THICK in this area, sometimes a few people deep. Bring a bright sign, a cowbell, and your best yelling voice. While you’re waiting for your runner, you can cheer on other runners because they’ve got their names on their bibs. Show them what the city of brotherly and sisterly love is all about!

Brooke made this sign in 2011

After you see your runner during this stretch, you have a couple of different options. If you’d like, you can go shopping for a bit. Depending on how speedy your runner is, you might have some time to get some food before they come through the finish line.

Or, if you’re crazy, like I know many of you are… you can make the long trek to cheer for the runners along Kelly Drive (red star).

This is where the course gets a bit quieter. It’s hard to get out there and cheer and there’s nothing that’s too accessible for a cheerer. BUT THAT DOESN’T SCARE YOU, DOES IT?

No. I didn’t think so.

So what you’re going to want to do is head toward the finish line… and just keep walking. That’s right, keep on going. The marathoners are doing it and that means that you are too, if you want to cheer for them.

When I was cheering in 2013 my Fitbit informed me that from start to finish, I traveled 10 miles. TEN. This isn’t for the faint of heart! A lot of people bring/rent bikes to cheer, by the way, and that’s always a great option.

This section of the course is an out and back so if you’d like, you can see your runner on the way out, cross the street (safely) and see them on the way back too. Or, if you’re like me, your runner can see YOU as they run by.

Try really hard not to be like me.

Thankfully I caught her on the way back, at around mile 24.

Runners at this point might be in survival mode. I usually adjust my cheering to fit the situation. If someone looks like they’re hurting, I’m more subtle in my cheering. If someone is looking strong, I’ll tell them just that. That stretch of road can feel like forever to a runner so I always want to be compassionate.

If you station yourself at mile 24, then you miss out on seeing your runner cross the finish. I *just* missed Kyle! Sure, I could have run there but I didn’t. Having experienced both, I think that I’d rather see my runner come across the finish line (or be right before it).

But honestly, I think that anything you do, you can’t lose because your runner will just be so happy to see you every single time. It really does make a difference that you’re out there, supporting them!

2010 Vic’s a marathoner!

2013 Kyle’s a marathoner!

I’m still trying to see if I’ll be able to make it into the city this Sunday to cheer on those running the marathon, but if not, I’ll be hooting and hollering from here. Guaranteed!

What races do you like to cheer at? Have you ever done the Philadelphia Marathon? (Or any marathon? Not me!) BibRave Pro buddy, Joe, is running his first this weekend!

Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series Race Expo Philadelphia 2017

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia 2017 race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

The 2017 Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll half marathon is tomorrow; the 5k/10k are happening this morning in mere moments. While thousands of runners will be pounding the pavement today and tomorrow, they’ll also visit the Health and Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The expo is free and open to the public so I was able to bring my parents along for the ride into Philadelphia with me. Besides visiting the expo, we also went to Reading Terminal (which is a must do if you’re visiting Philly!).

If you’ve never been to a Rock ‘n Roll expo before, here’s a small taste of what you can expect.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Signs, signs, everywhere signs. Rock ‘n Roll is great with expo signage.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Ready. Set. Rock.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Check in is first. With waiver in hand, you’re able to quickly find the line that matches your corral/bib number. Make sure to bring your identification with you because they will be checking!

If you aren’t able to make it to the expo, you can have a friend pick it up. The friend is able to pick up two packets for “free”, after that there is a $20 charge per packet. There is no mail option, but with more race series having that option, it’s something I know many would appreciate.

Within this section you’re able to visit the corral change area if you feel like you might be able to run faster than the time you originally estimated. I swung by there to move up one corral. I didn’t need to provide any type of proof of time, it was easy.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Mullet crew – party in the back! Holla!

Section 2 was supposed to hold the t-shirts, bags, and runner tracking.

Unfortunately, the t-shirts got held up on their way to the expo and weren’t there when I arrived when the doors opened. That took me by surprised and we stopped to chat with a volunteer to get the scoop.

She offered a few options: stay until 2pm when the shirts were expected to arrive (no dice, had to be home for the kids), come back to the expo tomorrow (a pricey venture from NJ), OR we could pick it up after the race on Sunday. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The Rock ‘n Roll series is usually terrific with communications, but the email regarding this was sent at 11:15 am so we were already in Philadelphia. I know that they aren’t set up for separate shirt distribution at the race so it will be interesting to see how they pull that together. I’ll keep you posted after tomorrow.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

What am I doing here? “Running” for chocolate milk and beer and a medal (and my shirt too).

Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series sets up huge black curtains, so you have to follow their pattern throughout the room and their sponsored vendors area. It’s a good flow and if you’re looking to buy additional race merchandise, you have ample opportunity.

Buy it here, buy it there, you can buy it everywhere!

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

I stopped by here to grab a pace bracelet. I probably won’t stick with a team since I do intervals but I’m always grateful not to have to do running math.

The Rock ‘n Roll expos are bigger than most and there’s many booths and information along the way. Some pertain to me, some do not… but I love looking around and browsing.

Rock 'n Roll Philly Expo

Bringing my parents with me means lots of pictures OF me. I took a moment to write my name on the large signing wall.

I am pumped for running through Philly tomorrow morning. Not so much for the early wake up time but I’m hoping it stays cool and I’m planning on wearing my hydration pack so that I don’t melt. I’m running solo so I’m ready to run by feel – if I feel great, I’ll push it. But if not, I’ll just enjoy the sights and sounds that the Rock ‘n Roll course has to offer!

Keep rocking!

City Fit Girls Fit Retreat PHL

Every August, some of my favorite local fitness peeps, the City Fit Girls hosts their annual Fit Retreat.

I attended in 2015 and was bummed that I had to skip last year’s event (although I was in Germany, so I suppose that’s a good reason).

2015 City Fit Girls Fit Retreat – held at a makerspace in Fishtown, Philly

This year the stars aligned once again! Tickets sell out fast; when they went on sale in May, I quickly purchased mine. The Fit Retreat has both VIP and General Admission tickets – I opted for the VIP ticket which cost $53.50 this year.

There was a FitRetreat pre-party held on Friday evening with a workout followed by a party at Philadelphia Runner. Those who attended the pre-party were able to pick up their event tank tops and entry wristbands. I was not able to make the Friday night pre-party but I was looking forward to waking up bright and early to spend a Saturday getting sweaty!

A few Run856 friends and I traveled to Philly from South Jersey; we met up and shared a Lyft together which worked out perfectly. We had a group message going so we reminded each other to bring our yoga mats, towels, water bottles, change of clothes, and other little things I might have otherwise forgotten at 7am when my brain is on autopilot. Thank goodness for them!

I am IN LOVE with this year’s tank!

Fit Retreat has grown in size, even from two years ago. This year’s Fit Retreat hosted close to 200 attendees (in 2015 it was around 150) and was held at Independence Live! on Market Street. The location has rotated in the past and it’s fun to see where each year’s event will be held. The doors opened a little past 8am and we all eagerly entered the space.

We were able to peruse the schedule of events prior to the day and I made a list of the classes I wanted to attend. Because of space restrictions, some of the classes were limited so we needed to sign up for those pronto. The workouts were split into 45 minutes sessions in the morning, with the afternoon being a bit more low-key and conversation based.

There was a light breakfast provided by Melanie’s Medleys (YUM), various vendors had booths, and we were welcomed by the founders of City Fit Girls – Kiera and Takia.

Kiera kicking things off.

My morning consisted of The BPM Bootcamp, which was a combination class of AMRAPS (As Many Reps As Possible) and Tabata (which is time based. Example: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 4 rounds). This was a high energy workout and reminded me a lot of the things I do with my personal trainer twice a week.

Jen was my buddy for the morning and we tried some new to us moves (including a downward dog push-up). She and I were hooting and hollering the entire workout. Sweat was flying all over the place! It was great!

The space we had for this and the next session was a bit challenging because there was a desk right smack in the middle of the space. The BPM ladies (Shoshana and Erin) got creative by getting on top of the desk!

BPM came to an end and the rest of our Jersey crew joined our area for Barre with Megan. While not as high energy as the first session, this was intense! We focused on working our legs, core, and hip flexors. I’m pretty sure my muscles were screaming the entire 45 minutes. Holding and pulsing is a big part of barre work and while we didn’t have an actual barre that we were working with, the workout was just as challenging as the barre classes I’ve taken!

Speaking of challenging: throughout the day off the instructors and motivators called attention to doing what you, yourself, are capable of. At a retreat like this, there are so many different fitness levels and rather than worrying about the person beside you, you can and should modify and do what feels good for you.

After barre, Jen, Brandi, and I joined 27 others in Double Shot [Abs + Butt] which I’m sure you can probably guess worked our… Abs and Butt! The ladies from Freehouse Fitness led us through exercises like lunges, squats, twists, band squeezes, and more.

My abs and glutes were already shaking from the earlier workouts but I did my best to show no mercy and try my absolute hardest! I could feel the blood pumping through my veins.

The floor under our mats was really hard and weirdly textured (which you can see in the picture) so that didn’t feel particularly good. Next year I might want to bring a thicker mat or even double up on my yoga mats!

After the third session it was time for… DRINKS! The ladies of City Fit Girls acknowledge and embrace the fact that many of us enjoy a nice drink or two after a couple hours of working out. This year there was not only mimosas but also lemon shrub. I’d never had lemon shrub before but now that I have, I might need to track it down. It was delicious and garnished with mint. Nice and refreshing!

From there it was lunch time and while the line was long and the space a bit squishy, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and living high off the endorphins from the morning’s multiple work outs. The food (catered by Chef Joy Parham) was delicious breakfast tacos! I love breakfast and I love tacos so this was a no-brainer. And there was GUACAMOLE. SO GOOD.

After a dance party with DJ G33K, we all split off into our afternoon sessions.

My afternoon was geared toward the empowerment side of my well-being. I chose to spend the first session with Melissa Alam and learning about brand building. I recently helped establish the nonprofit Bullock Garden Project, Inc. and I knew that I’d pick up tips and tricks for marketing in regards to that and Scoot a Doot, as well. It was great to hear not only Melissa’s ideas but also some of my peers input as well!

My final session was with City Fit Girls founder, Kiera Smalls, regarding Body Positivity. This was an emotional session and one in which I felt a strong connection with my fellow attendees. The time flew by and I was so grateful to end the day’s journey surrounded by the women that chose to be a part of this session.

Without a doubt, the City Fit Girls Fit Retreat is one of my favorite days of the year – it ranks right up there with my birthday and the first day of school. I’m already looking forward to next August! Until then, train hard, brunch harder!

A Tale of Three Race Shirts

Once upon a time, in the spring of 2014, a brand spanking newly turned 37 year old Meridith registered for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. Registration opened on her birthday, April Fool’s Day, and she was bound and determined to run in the November race (at the cheapest rate possible).

She clicked her way through the registration questions and when she got to the shirt size option, she swiftly chose the “large” without a second thought.

November came to pass and Meridith and Victoria were excited to go to the Convention Center for the expo. They both waited in line for their bibs, then their shirts. The blue large shirt was larger than Meridith expected it to be; it was boxy and seemed to have more material than necessary. She was bummed that it was ill-fitting but she rationalized, “Better too big than too small.” (She and Victoria had their share of too small shirts at the Nike Women’s Half.)

Hanging at the expo – Vic, Kyle, and Meridith

After running the race, she knew she would be returning so she filed away the shirt information in her mind so she would make a more fitting choice the following year.

The spring of 2015 arrived and with it, so did Meridith’s birthday and the registration for the Philly races. Armed with the knowledge she gained in November, she confidently clicked on the “medium” option for her shirt choice. She totally had the shirt game figured out! 10 points for Gryffindor!

Except… no.

She wailed in dismay (because she’s nothing if not dramatic) when she picked up her black shirt at the expo with her friend, Chrissy. The race had changed shirt companies and now the medium looked like it might fit her 6 year old child. Maybe.

Could she exchange sizes? No. She could not. (She asked.)

But the race was great and although she was sad she would never get to wear the race shirt in public (she’d post a picture but this is a family show and then we’d be getting all sorts of spammy comments), she vowed that she would finally make the correct choice in 2016.

This year the half marathon registration did not open on her birthday which goes along with the changes made to the race. A few weeks later, the freshly turned 39 year old Meridith registered for this year’s half. She anxiously clicked through the preliminary questions before arriving to the most important question of all: her shirt size.

She paused, thoughtfully, and then clicked the “extra large” option. And hoped for the best.

At the expo she watched as other racers picked up their shirts. “My chest will never fit in this shirt!” they exclaimed. She found her very short XL line and received her red shirt. And looked at it, doubtfully.

Would it fit?

Yes, yes it does! The sleeves are a bit long and the length is shorter than she likes but it does fit.

Meridith and her 2016 shirt lived happily ever after (while her 2015 and 2014 shirts were banished to the back of the closet).

Do you have a tale of woe when it comes to a race shirt? Meridith would love to hear it and empathize with you.

Falling Into Fall Racing

What is it about fall that makes me want to run all the races?

Maybe it’s the lack of summer races (and ahem, summer training). Maybe it’s all this talk about PSL. Maybe it’s because these two handsome boys started school this week.

2nd and 6th graders in the house!

2nd and 6th graders in the house!

I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not the weather.

Because at the moment it is nearly 100 degrees. One zero zero. I’m making such a face right now, Mother Nature.

I’m working under the assumption that eventually Mother Nature will work things out and when she does, I’m going to be ready for fall racing! And in the meanwhile, I will try to remember my sunscreen.

acbeach5mile

At the beginning of this week, I was signed up for just two. Run the Bridge 10k and the Philly half marathon (which, by the way, is having a screaming deal TODAY ONLY 12pm-8pm with pricing from way back in April when registration opened. Use coupon codes PM16FULL or PM16HALF).

And now I’m up to four!

I’ll be doing a 5k at my son’s school to later this month and the 10k in Atlantic City next month. #cantstopwontstop

Using the City Fit Girls plan that we used in the winter/spring, my training buddy, Chrissy and I are preparing to tackle all the fall races (or at least the ones I can afford)!

We thought it would be cooler by the ocean. We thought wrong.

We thought it would be cooler by the ocean. We thought wrong.

The first run back after not running all that much was exactly what we expected it to be: awful. It wasn’t fun, it was hot, and I’m pretty sure I was dripping sweat all over the boardwalk.

That said, I’m so glad that we did it. There’s always going to be that first run back and more than likely, it’s not going to be great. But it’s behind us now and we can move forward!

2016 has been pretty good to me as far as being injury free and I’m pretty stoked about that fact because it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that. However, I do have some time goals that I would like to hit and I’m hoping that the fall is when I’m able to accomplish them.

Clear skies ahead!

Clear skies ahead!

What do you have planned for the fall? Any tips for me as I head into the longer runs?

Philly’s Broad Street Run – It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

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But I wasn’t snoring! I was running 10 miles.

This year’s Broad Street Run was unlike years past. Back in 2013 I wrote, If Broad Street Were Easy, It Would Be Called Your Mom.

Last year I talked my reluctant runner of a husband into running with me and my childhood pals.

But this time? This time it was all about reminding myself that I have it within me to do difficult things. We all need that reminder occasionally.

So, here are a couple of facts about my race.

My goal was to hit under 2 hours.

I did not achieve that goal.

Were it a different day, weather wise, I have no doubt that I could and would have. But it wasn’t a different day.

It rained. A LOT.

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Rain. All the rain.

That was the disappointing part. Whomp whomp, poor me.

However, I DID HIT A PERSONAL BEST!

My best time before this year at Broad Street was back in 2013 and that was in 2:04:48. This year I finished in 2:03:35. Not too shabby!

The race is point to point, starting near Central High School and finishing right inside the Navy Yard. As such, I always park at the nearby stadiums and take the Broad Street line (free on race day with a bib). This year I traveled in solo and planned to run alone, but knew that I would be very lonely leading up to the race.

And that’s where two rays of sunshine came through! I met up with Jenna and Julie, two of my fellow Team runDisney pals. Since all three of us were traveling to the start line solo, we decided it would be great if we could meet up prior and keep one another company.

Only the finest plastic ponchos will do for Broad Street.

Jenna, Julie, and myself. Only the finest plastic ponchos will do for Broad Street.

Arriving at the parking lot at 6:30, I soon found Julie (and her parents) and from there we met Jenna. The trains were one right after the other so we were able to jump right on and head to our corral.

The rain only seemed to worsen as we traveled underground and when we emerged from the stairwell, we quickly realized that there was no way to easily move around the sea of ponchos and umbrellas. Our plan was to meet up with other friends for a group picture but it was a no way, no how situation.

broadstreetrain

Waiting for the race to start was pretty miserable. Being in the last corral on a beautiful day isn’t bad. Being in the last corral in the rain is exactly what you’d imagine. Socks and shoes quickly get soaked, you get poked by umbrellas, and you can’t really hear people when you have plastic surrounding your head.

But it is a heck of a lot better with friends. You can laugh at yourself, question your sanity, and realize that you’re surrounded by other people who are literally just as crazy as you are. Plus, I kept reminding myself how the kids handled the rain during the Color-A-Thon.

broadstreetpink

Eventually we started inching our way up to the start. I ate my first Gu as we shuffled forward. I had my phone in a plastic baggie, in my Spibelt, under layers of clothes so I knew I wouldn’t be taking pictures on the course. It was survival mode, and by that I meant both myself and my phone.

From the get-go I knew that I would run the first mile straight and then fall into my 1:1 intervals. As such, I said goodbye to Jenna and Julie and set out to get it accomplished. We crossed the start line 57 minutes after the race started.

Fun fact, the winner this year finished in 48 minutes. We were still at the start line when he crossed the finish. Crazy!

The first mile was not as fast as it could have been. I usually bank my time to give myself a cushion for later on. However, my muscles were cold and stiff from standing in the rain for over an hour.

My pace was consistent throughout the race. In fact, I hit the 5 mile mark at 1:01:30. My 5 mile race a week before was 1:01:48. I tried desperately to pick up the pace the second half the race to keep the under 2 hour dream alive. I was running faster but walking slower during my walking intervals.

Oh, and I was sporting my poncho the entire race. At some point it spun around so that my hood was in the front and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it around. My mind apparently just stopped working and I really couldn’t figure it out so I left it.

Blame it on the rain that was fallin’, fallin’.

I have no pictures at the finish line so you’ll just have to trust me when I say, I was very happy it was over.

medalandbeer

And happier still after I changed out of my wet clothes and got a beer in my hand!

Let’s talk some other good stuff… I was blown away by the amount of support that was out there. The people of Philly really do love to love and the amount of people that lined the streets with cowbells, pots and spoons, signs, and even children doling out the high fives was still more than I’ve seen at other races on bright and sunny days. There were bands playing and the amount of people at City Hall was comparable to the other two years I’ve done this race.

Just as impressive were the volunteers who were out there getting it done like it wasn’t even raining. They cheered loudly as we came through. At mile 7ish there was a volunteer chanting “Don’t stop, get it, get it!” over and over and the enthusiasm was contagious.

It. Was. Awesome.

Not everything is going to be easy and this race was a good reminder of that fact. Attitude has much to do with success and while I didn’t hit my exact goal, I’m very proud that I got out there, ran in the rain, and gained a shiny new PR!

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I can and I will.

What’s really exciting for me is when I returned home from my race, my 11 year old told me he wanted to start running with me again. That is a really big deal! It’s been nearly a year since we’ve run together and while I do this for myself, I also do it to be a good example for my children. Needless to say, I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Gonna Fly Now – 2015 Philadelphia Half Marathon

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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!

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Flat us, practicing holding hands.

We woke up bright and early on race day and made our way to… Dunkin’ Donuts. Because, you know, priorities.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.”

Now?

Now?

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.

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Jokers to the left, clowns to the right?

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.

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And there might have been a few happy tears shed between the two of us.

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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.

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This medal is the BEST. It rings!

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.

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Momentum Jewelry helped me keep my CAN DO attitude!

On the train Chrissy and I took our banana phone picture, as is standard practice here!

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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.