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Philadelphia Marathon - RunMarathon

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Philadelphia Marathon
Total Time = 3h 59m 10s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up around 5am, ate a bagel and got ready to go. We stayed pretty close to the start line, which was nice. We left the hotel around 6am and walked down to the start, drinking a 5 Hour Energy on the way. After a trip through the bathroom lines, I headed off to the green corral. My husband ran the half and was in the purple corral.
Event warmup:

Shivering! The race weather literally could not have been more perfect, but it was chilly waiting for the start.
  • 3h 59m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 08s  min/mile

The McMillan pace calculator says I should be able to run a 3:48 marathon, and I do nearly enough mileage to support that (60-70 mpw). My endurance must really suck, because there's no possible way I could have run this race any faster. I felt pretty confident going into race day that I had sub-4:00 in the bag, but really hoped to go under 3:55.

I started out at what felt like a ridiculously easy pace, right around 9-minute miles. I always forget going into a race that my watch is going to be shorter than the mile markers, and I forgot to turn off the auto-lap, so I wasn't going as fast as my watch indicated. I did some quick mental math to make sure I was at least staying under 9:09 pace at each mile marker.

I had to pee right from the beginning -- I need to learn how to get that under control -- but I didn't want to stop and wait in any of the lines. I knew miles 8-10ish had a lot of trees from running the race last year, so I waited until then and peeled off and went behind a line of trees accompanied by like, half of the men in the race. Hello, gentlemen.

The biggest hill in the race is at mile 9, so I just made sure I wasn't pushing it too hard. I think the downhill afterward was much harder on me than the uphill. I started feeling kind of mentally off in the stretch coming back toward the art museum to the halfway point. The tilted road is hard on my plantar fasciitis issues and that section just feels like it will never end.

I crossed the halfway point in 1:59:45 and immediately felt better heading out into Fairmount Park. The crowds had thinned out quite a bit and the second half of the course is really pretty. All of my miles were still between 8:55-9:05 according to my watch, so I was staying precisely on pace. I thought the little detour over the bridge was really difficult, randomly -- that mile was 9:20. However, the next mile was 8:45, so I made up for it.

I was still feeling OK when I hit the turnaround at mile 20. At this point I could tell that the last 10k was going to be painful, but I felt like I could probably still maintain my pace. And oh boy, did things start to hurt. I basically went into one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-gotta-keep-going survival mode. I was basically heaving instead of breathing and fighting the whole way, but still hitting my splits. The crowds in the last mile and a half are absolutely fantastic -- so many people shouting my name.

I crossed the finish line in 3:59:10 -- a negative split, a 6-minute PR, a 13-minute course PR, and my first sub-4 hour marathon. I was extremely happy and also extremely ready to lie down for several hours.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, really. I ran really even splits throughout, negative split by about 30 seconds and felt like I was going to die by the end, so I think I ran it to my full potential for that day.

Honestly, it may have been an off day or something. My last 20-miler was run at a 9:05 pace and felt significantly more comfortable than this. I'm not sure what happened, but I'll take my PR and move on.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked through the finish chute, got my medal and APPLE JUICE. I found my husband, who unfortunately fell apart in the half marathon and ran 20 minutes slower than his PR. We headed back to the hotel for quick showers and then out for burgers and beer, then took the train home to DC.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Uh, genetics?

Event comments:

This is a beautiful race and I always love visiting Philly. It's such an easy trip from DC and there are so many delicious and affordable places to eat. I don't think the race is as flat as they advertise it, but I'm also a flatlander, so grain of salt. The course is gorgeous and well-supported and the race itself is really well-organized. I may look to run it again next fall if I don't get into NYC.

Last updated: 2012-04-27 12:00 AM
03:59:10 | 26.2 miles | 09m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2012-11-21 1:23 PM

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Washington, DC
Subject: Philadelphia Marathon

2012-11-21 1:35 PM
in reply to: #4506396

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

Great job cracking 4 hours.

I agree though that the marathon is easy to have an "off day".  I nailed my first marathon, and my last 2 were way off from what my training indicated or McMillian predicted. 

2012-11-22 11:16 AM
in reply to: #4506396

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

Great job on cracking 4 hours, and on having the mental strength to do it through such even pacing. With all the training that you've done, you really deserved that PR.

I suspect that the difference between a comfortable-feeling 20-miler and a marathon at the same pace is, well, those extra 6 miles. That little extra really seems to make a world of difference. 

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