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.

Philadelphia Half Marathon 2016 Recap

I think I might need to break up with the Philadelphia half marathon race.

My heart hurts to feel it and it feels weird to even say it because I always told anyone who will listen just how much I adore the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. I’m not usually one to complain but I’m bummed. Even with a PR, I’m bummed.


I have a deep love for the Philadelphia Marathon which roots back to watching Victoria completing her first full in 2010. There’s been 6 straight years of being involved with the race in some shape or form.

This year brought a lot of changes to the Philadelphia Marathon; I know that I can tend to be resistant to change but I tried really hard to go into it with an open mind.


The train ride into the city at 5:40am. Chrissy participated in the 8k this year, which started at 10:45. She came in early with me so she could cheer for the half marathoners. The race began at 7:30.

The first change that was made was that the half and full marathons, which were usually both held at the same day and time were split. Which makes sense from a business standpoint. They added the Rocky Challenge, which is for those people who wanted to run both the half and the full races. Good on you, running all the miles folks!

The race weekend, once run by the City of Philadelphia, has been taken on by Philadelphia Parks and Rec (they manage the Broad Street Run as well). Communication prior to the race was a bit on the light side. People asked questions via email and Facebook, many went unanswered. I know there is a learning curve that comes along with these things but I was surprised that there wasn’t better communication, as this isn’t their first race rodeo.

The change that impacted me the most though was… they changed the half marathon course. I take issue with this because I know the old course and I really loved the old course.

I did not really love the new course. The old course is still run-able… as the first half of the marathon. It’s comprised of a nice mix of running through the city, through the streets near Drexel University, past the zoo, a small jaunt through Fairmount park, and finishing along the river in front of the art museum.

I knew the new course would be different but I wasn’t mentally prepared for just how different.


New this year is that they had shuttle buses from hotels to the start area. I didn’t utilize this because I stayed at home and took the train into the city but I’m thinking that was a benefit to those who took advantage of it.

The security check points were set up through which we all slowly filtered. I appreciate the efforts to keep us safe but I don’t understand why the Philadelphia race weekend has it and something like Broad Street, which has 40,000+ runners does not. I suppose Broad Street’s start line doesn’t really lend itself well to having check points?

Chrissy stared at an empty street near Love Park (currently under construction), waiting for all the runners!

Chrissy stared at an empty street near Love Park (currently under construction), waiting for all the runners!

I was in the blue corral, AKA, the last corral. I had big plans. I’ve been consistently training and I wanted to PR in a major way. I found my pal Christina and we caught up on each other’s lives while we wanted for our corral to start. The wheelchair start was 7:25, the elites started at 7:30, and our corral toed the line at 8:03.


The first mile was very congested but I was feeling great and happy to be running! I noticed there was a lot of construction within this mile, which didn’t help with the squeezed feeling. I looked for Chrissy at the spot we picked for her to cheer but missed her during the first mile. I knew we’d be coming back the street on the other side so I held out hope I would still be able to see her.


No big surprised that it felt a little squished with so many people!

I bobbed and weaved in the first two miles but after that I found a good spot and we all spread out. As I circled back around City Hall I knew I’d have the chance to see Chrissy and I wasn’t going to miss it. I hugged the right side of the road and found her! We blew kisses as I ran past and headed back toward the Art Museum.

Miles 1-5 were fantastic! Seeing City Fit Girls around mile 4 gave me a boost like you wouldn’t believe and I’m pretty sure I lost my mind when I saw them.


Running along the river was gorgeous. Boathouse Row is always beautiful and the fall foliage was in its prime. I continued with my 2:1 intervals and was exactly where I wanted to be pace-wise.

I took a GU gel at mile 5 and then heard someone in the crowd yell SCOOT A DOOT! I didn’t know it then but it was Kim, one of our buddies on Facebook and Instagram! It made me smile and I was still smiling, despite turning the corner and facing the first hill. I am no stranger to this hill; I’ve run it quite a few times in the past during races. It’s not my favorite but I was prepared for it and did the best I could.

Plus there was a sweet downhill that I knew was coming ahead so I focused on cruising down.

After that, it was pretty much uncharted territory for me as far as the course was concerned. There was a nice stretch of road and we all continued happily along our way.

Around mile 8 we turned to go up a hill and then it felt like we never stopped going uphill. It was hill.

After hill.

After hill.


From a race that was touted as a flat course in the past, it really wasn’t what I expected. I hustled up the hills as much as I could but I watched my time creep up on my miles and my expectation of a huge PR went down.

However, I did see Dimity McDowell from Another Mother Runner during one of those horrible hills and I was so happy to see her; I thought she might be a mirage. That interaction put a pep in my step for a short amount of time, because you know, I was on a steep hill.

Pretty sure you can tell EXACTLY where the hills were located, looking at this.

Pretty sure you can tell EXACTLY where the hills were located, looking at this.

I saw Christina a few times throughout the course and it helped to have a familiar face to look for in a sea of people. The last 3 miles were pure survival mode. I knew I wasn’t going to get the time goal I wanted, which was disheartening.

That said, as I was bopping along with my music and I realized that despite not getting the time that I wanted, I was still feeling really good. My legs didn’t hurt, I was still able to do my intervals, and I was grateful for a good day of running!

I finished a minute faster than my old PR (which was back at the 2014 Nike Women’s half) and while I know were it a different course, I might have gone faster, a PR IS A PR!


The finish line area was sort of a mess. I got my medal and then immediately started looking around for water and food. I finally asked a few fellow runners where to find it and they pointed off to the side where a tent was set up.

They had a great assortment of food for us, including the soft pretzels and chicken broth that I’ve grown accustomed to having after the race but no bags to put everything in.

I found Christina again after the race and we made plans to meet up and run soon, which I’ll be holding her to (it’s in the blog post so it must happen!).

I got to cheer Chrissy as she came across the 8k finish line and she felt really good! It was awesome to be there for her finish and to see many familiar faces from #run856 as they crossed the finish line.


Overall, this race wasn’t what I expected and that’s odd to say, coming from someone who has done the race multiple times. Even though there was a PR that was involved, the race wasn’t what I envisioned so I guess that’s why I’m a little whomp whomp regarding this race.

Maybe next year I’ll do the 8k again. Maybe I’ll get over my disappointment, train on hills, and try the half marathon again. Maybe I’ll get really crazy and run the full. I guess I’ll see where 2017 brings me!

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever had a good but disappointing race? I’m feeling really conflicted with my emotions.

What’s next? A local little fun run called The Light Run to look at holiday lights. My older child has agreed to do this one with me and I know we’ll be seeing a lot of friends there too. Yay!

Gonna Fly Now – 2015 Philadelphia Half Marathon


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!


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.


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.


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.

phillyhalf9 phillyhalf10

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

philly11 philly12

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.


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.


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!


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.

Full circle at the Philadelphia Marathon

Four years ago, I decided to run a marathon. One marathon.

After much deliberation,  I picked Philadelphia. My mother was raised there, my sister lived there. It was home. I ran the race and had the time of my life. I reached what I long thought was an unreachable goal.

Last weekend, I returned. And yep, it was well worth the wait.

As always, I stayed with Meri, who decided to run the Philadelphia half marathon after years of cheering and volunteering at the race.

We hit the expo midday Saturday, collected our goodies and connected with Dimity of Another Mother Runner. We even managed to leave without spending too much money. Huge success.

The day’s weekend’s highlight, however, was meeting friends old and new.

At high noon, we met with fellow running bloggers Karla, Jen and Katherine and my longtime friend Claudia at the Reading Terminal Market.


Katherine (left) Jen, Karla and Meri

We all gabbed like old pals for more than an hour…. and then we met up with broken chick Kyle, who planned to run Philadelphia Marathon with us until she sprained her ankle.

Kyle is thrilled to be in the land of grilled cheese

We three carb-loaded at our beloved Pop Shop in NJ before we all attempted to settle down on marathon eve. A great chat, lots of  laughter and race-morning planning filled our evening.

phlbibReady to go!

Fast forward to marathon morning. The 4 a.m. alarm woke us in time to catch the 5:40 train into Center City. We walked about a mile to the start area, where we dropped our bags and wished one another a great run and headed into our respective corrals.

Somehow, in a mass of 30,000 runners, I connected with my training partners Gary, Traci and Jen in the purple corral. We all planned to start together with the 4:15 pacer, but race our own races. While waiting, Gary met Justin, a man from Allentown who joined our running crew for the day. (More on him later)

With Gary, Traci and Jen (note the art museum behind us!)

Soon enough, we hit the road. The first few miles flew by and pretty soon Gary, Justin and I were all running as a well-oiled 10-minute-mile pacing team. I jabbered along much of the first half, pointing to landmarks and sharing stories. Running through Center City was fantastic, between Independence Hall, several bands and streets lined with cheering fans and volunteers.

The miles clicked by and I felt fantastic. My Garmin watch was acting up, clearly giving me false readings as I ran by skyscrapers, so I went by feel.  It totally paid off. Looking back at my stats, I ran a solid 10-minute-mile pace nearly the whole race. I slipped a bit in those last two miles.

I was feeling it Sunday. I powered up the hills at miles 7 and 9. I flew on the straightaways. I was in the groove.

At the half, I felt invincible. I spotted three cheering friends near the art museum and Boathouse Row. Childhood friend Kelly, who ran the half Sunday morning, waved me down and ran alongside me for a bit. Her words of encouragement carried me for miles.

I pulled ahead with a smile on my face. This was the race I’d been waiting for.

Around mile 20 in Manayunk, running pal Cynthia waved me down as I started to get the inkling that my legs felt heavy. Her smiling face motivated me to keep moving forward. (Thank you!)

I started to struggle around mile 21. Justin ran a bit ahead and I recall thinking how nice it was to see him get a surge of energy. It was that moment I knew he’d reach his own goal, no matter how hard those last few miles were.

Several times he circled back, checking to make sure I was holding my own. Thank you Justin!

We ran into Traci around mile 22-23 and the three of us pushed on together. I walked longer at each water stop, but didn’t throw in the towel, even though I desperately wanted to. My legs were on fire and my breathing was labored. I was doubting my training.

Then we approached the art museum and the  crowds carried us in. With a high five from Mayor Nutter, Traci and I crossed the finish line together at 4:25. We both PRed and were thrilled we were done. Justin waited for us on the other side and also ran his best time. Triple PR!

We each received a beautiful medal, rivaled only by the soft pretzel handed out in the runner food line.

Eventually, we found the rest of our group and started learning about everyone’s races. LOTS of PRs in our running group! I cannot wait to hear all about everyone’s adventures.

With Traci and Meri just after the full


 From left, I’m with Traci, Brittany, Charlotte, Aileen, Gary and our new pal  Justin

Philly is a tough course, but there really is nothing like it. I loved my first 26.2 in Philly for just that reason – it was my maiden marathon and showed me I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. Five years later, I completed a far different training cycle that included multiple missed runs, illnesses and other demands taking away from my training time. I went into the weekend feeling strong but told myself not to overshoot or stress over a goal time.

So I didn’t. And it paid off. Philly, you’re my city. Running the Philadelphia Marathon the second time is like coming home.

Did you run Philly? I want to hear all about your race! Ever meet a new running pal and run a race together?

Philadelphia Marathon’s biggest fan

My favorite race that I’ve never run? That would be the Philadelphia Marathon! I’ve cheered/volunteered for the past four years, since Vic ran her first marathon in 2010. Why so much love for a race I’ve never participated in? Well, it’s the race that made me WANT to run.

When I caught wind of Kyle’s plans to run Philly as her very first marathon, I swooped in (Eagles fans, that one was for you!) and said, “You’ll stay with me! I’ll make sure you get there and back and it’s going to be awesome and there will be signs and I’ll cheer and you’ll sleep at my house and have an amazing time.” I bossed my way right in and she, thankfully, was very receptive!

She arrived on Saturday and immediately my kids tried to talk her into roughhousing with them (she wisely declined). Instead, we went to dinner with Megan and her four year old at The Pop Shop for a little carb loading… for both of us. I mean, spectating takes a lot out of a girl and I needed to prepare!

Megan's 4 year old daughter is gearing up to be a professional photographer!

Megan’s 4 year old daughter is gearing up to be a professional photographer!

We headed home around 8 and got Kyle all tucked in by 9, with visions of finish lines dancing in her head. Our alarms were set for the heinous hour of 3:15 (her) and 3:30 (me) – hey, that extra 15 minutes does matter.

Who has two thumbs and is ready to run a marathon? THIS GIRL!

Who has two thumbs and is ready to run a marathon? THIS GIRL!

Out the door by 4am, we made our way to the train station and were quickly underway. To entertain her, I showed her the video that Bec, Cam, Jenn and I made during Hurricane Sandy. Because hey, what takes stress away more than watching people being silly for six and a half minutes? Nothing, that’s what!


This was my last sighting of pre-marathoner Kyle.

Following the swarms of other runners and spectators, we made our way to the start line. In past years I’ve walked Victoria right up to her corral but with the heightened security following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, I was only allowed to go so far before I had to send her on her way. We parted with a big hug and off she went to the security check point and to find the orange corral.

And off I went to find a Starbucks. Which, not surprising, I did… and then sadly realized it didn’t open until 6:30. It was only 5:30. So I hung out right outside for the next hour, watching runners walking to the start (okay, fine, I was eavesdropping!) and chatting with family members and friends who were hanging out waiting for Starbucks to open as well.


Pacers heading to the start

It was right around this time that I saw a yellow Team Athletic skirt and Team Lemon shirt walking by. I’m super bad at recognizing people from picture alone. I always play the, “Is that… nooooo. Well, it might be? Maybe?” game and wind up not saying anything at all. However, there was no mistaking Malinda from Twins Run in Our Family! So much fun to see her and wish her well during the marathon!

Malinda's tweet

Malinda’s tweet

While waiting for Starbucks to open, I also met Andrea. Andrea had run a marathon the previous day and her husband, Cooper, was doing the half before the Eagles game. Happy to have a friend, we stuck together waiting for Starbucks and then headed to our first spectating position, just in front of Love Park.

Spectating at the Philadelphia Marathon is pretty fantastic because the course is easy to navigate, even as a fan. Miles 1 and 6 are just a few blocks from each other so once fans see their runner go past mile 1 (or anywhere within that range, give or take a half mile), they can then cross the couple of blocks to see them after they’ve circled through Old City.

The chair athletes came just around the bend a little after the 7am with the Elites following behind.

So fast, they were blurs. Literally.

So fast, they were blurs. Literally.

I knew to look for Kyle in the orange corral but Andrea wasn’t sure which corral Cooper was starting in so we just kept our eyes peeled! Everyone was looking fresh in that mile and while I completely missed seeing Kyle, I did manage to catch a shot of Cooper!


Soon after orange passed and I realized that I wasn’t going to see Kyle, we decided to hunt her down by mile 6. We crossed the couple of blocks and waited for people to clear their cheering posts so we had prime spots.


I was holding my “May the course be with you” sign, which runners really seemed to be digging! It got high fives and smiles. Andrea had her cowbell and was ringing it as we cheered!

Again we saw Cooper, looking strong!


And AGAIN, I didn’t see Kyle. Thankfully, she saw me (or maybe she saw the sign) because she HIT ME as she went by. Love hurts, folks.

After that Andrea and I made another stop at a Starbucks for their bathroom and snacks before making our way toward the start/finish area. At this point we had to say our goodbyes as she was waiting for Cooper to finish his race and I was hiking out to miles 15/25 to catch the ever elusive Kyle.

The second part of the race was much quieter than the first, as the marathoners make the long trek to South Philly, visiting Manayunk before making their way back to the finish line in front of the art museum. I wanted to be out there to lend support, not only to Kyle but to other runners as well. My throat was already sore by this point (I might have been a tad bit too enthused during the first cheer zones) and my foot injury from the week prior was rearing its ugly… foot.


The sign says “Speeding triggers red light” – I bet that was for all the speedy runners!

Got Kyle’s half split just as I was a passing mile 14 (I think; they didn’t have mile markers at every mile) and stopped walking to cheer and search the crowd for her. Yet again, she found me.

Hello, I’m a horrible friend. Pleased to meet you. Awfully embarrassed!


Really, Meridith? Really?

I continued walking along because I knew that Cyanne was just up the way a few miles and we’d planned to meet up by mile 17. However, my heel was super cranky and I knew I’d regret adding additional miles to the day (I rounded out the day at 10 miles – should have just ran the half!) (Not really.) so instead I planted myself just before mile 25 and let Cyanne know I’d see her in a few weeks at the Ugly Sweater Run.

I was going to get the money shot of Kyle during the 24th mile! I spent a couple hours (that is not an exaggeration) searching for a little blonde in a white Alaska tank and capris.

While I was scanning, I saw Malinda again and got to cheer for her out on the course! I know so many other people who were running and yet somehow missed all of them – I was cheering for all of you, I promise.

By this time, my cheering was less vocal (because ouch), more smiling and blowing my whistle. I’d brought candy to hand out but at that point, no one wanted candy, they just wanted the finish line. Totally understandable.

And then… I saw KYLE.


Is it really her?


IT REALLY IS!!! It’s almost marathoner Kyle!

I shouted! I whooped with joy! KYLE! KYLE! I KNOW HER! I asked, “How are you feeling?”

“Like I’m dying!” she said, cheerfully.

I jumped onto the course with her and ran a couple of steps. “Water’s just ahead. Then mile 25. And then you’re done! AND WE CAN EAT ALL THE FOOD!” With that, I hopped off the course, she continued on toward the finish line; I hobbled over to the path to walk the rest of the way and meet her at the family meetup area.


The next time I saw her, she was a marathoner! Absolutely incredible and such an inspiration, this girl! Kyle ran to raise money and awareness for the Joyful Heart Foundation, which is why we (the Scoot a Doot Chicks) chose that particular wording. Here’s Kyle’s recap!

So why do I go every year to watch the Philadelphia Marathon? Well, as Katherine Switzer said, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” I haven’t lost my faith in human nature but watching the runners of the Philadelphia half and full marathons certainly reminds me to move into each day with a joyful heart and a grateful one.

Is there a race that you spectate at year after year? Have you ever watched a friend complete their first race, whether it be a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon? What fills your heart with joy?

Everybody’s talking all this stuff about me… A look back at the 2011 Rothman 8k – Philadelphia Marathon weekend

Right now, there’s a lot of talk in the running community centered around the Philadelphia Marathon. Just yesterday it was announced that the race, which is traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving, will be held earlier than normal, November 15th-17th.

This race, in particular, holds a very special place in my heart because it’s the one the gently lured me into running with its siren song.  Anyone who has been to a big race probably knows what I’m talking about… the song that makes you think, 26.2 doesn’t seem THAT far, maybe I should just start running RIGHT now.

I watched Victoria run her first marathon in Philadelphia in 2010.  A year later, I signed up for the Rothman 8k, while she ran the half.  Last year I worked as a volunteer the entire day.  I’d planned to run the half this year but now I’m waffling because the runDisney Wine and Dine is only a week prior.  If I eventually work my way up to a marathon, I’d like the Philadelphia Marathon to be my first.

I’d like to share my old race recap from my very first road because it seems relevant at the moment and this race has always treated me, and the racing community as a whole, very well.

This was the first time that Chicks Vic and Brooke met, which is always fun, because I love when worlds collide. Vic arrived on Thursday night and Brooke flew in on Friday morning.  Both of them were immediately friends (I wasn’t too worried about that) and super adorable. We hit the Philadelphia Marathon expo on Friday and picked up our t-shirts, bags, bibs and sparkly headbands for our Princess race in February.  All of which were absolutely essential.

Started getting (more) nervous on Friday night.  This was my first ever road race and I’d only started running earlier in the year.  My plan, which I had told the girls, was to finish in an hour.  Brooke’s plan, which she told Vic, was for us to finish in under an hour.  Ha!

Took the train in early Saturday morning and lined up.  Since Vic wasn’t running, she held all of our stuff and hung out with us until she needed to scoot to the “spectator” side.  We were toward the back of the pack when we started (no corrals, which was cool for a race of this size) and just sort of took it nice and easy.

The first three miles felt great and I was pretty happy throughout.  Saw Victoria around mile one, which was great and then we headed out to boat house row.  Brooke was chatting away and I was chiming in when I felt comfortable talking but mostly listened to her awesome stories.

Brooke had her Garmin and I wasn’t keep track of our time, which was a good thing.  The clocks along the route marked miles but it was about a minute faster than our actual time (which I didn’t realize because I’m silly and new to racing) so we were actually going faster than I thought.  Brooke took this selfie of us running and it makes me laugh every time I see it!

The turn around point was at mile three and there was a water station there.  Took a cup, drank nearly none of it and reminded myself that I was over half done.

But mile four was rough.  Brooke continued to entertain me, as did the juggling runner who was near us.

I think the reason I didn’t like mile four too much was because the road was sloped, the right side of my body was higher than my left.  So it felt uneven and… off.  I’m picky about my streets.

There was a stupid hill right near the end (hi, who put that there?) and I’m pretty sure that’s when I told Brooke that I felt like I was going to throw up.  She was concerned until I got over that, and the hill, and we booked it to the finish line.  I was pretty happy to see 58:35 and even happier still that it was OVER!

Overall, it was a great race.  I was so fortunate to run my first race with a great friend who was supportive of me AND to have a cheering friend on the sidelines!  This was the third time I’d ever run five miles in my life so the fact that it went so well, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

The Rothman 8k is a great race for beginners, like myself, or people who want to be involved in Philadelphia Marathon weekend but aren’t looking to run a half or full marathon.