Montgomery County Half Marathon, September 24, 2006: 2:38:15 (12:05 min/mile)
Phedippidations Worldwide Half (my own half marathon), October 14, 2006: 2:23:16 (10:56/mile)
Well, it all depends on how you look at it. Either I had a nine-second PR, or the highly unofficial time of 2:23:16 stands. Funny, when I set that time, it didn't seem so unofficial!
It was a great day today. Perfect weather, chilly, a bit windy, loads of sun, and a field of 15,000. I am happy to say I was not the 15,000th runner to cross the finish.
I was in corral 16 (there were 17) so it took a while to cross the mat. The race starts and ends at Eakins Oval, by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And of course the music at the start? Theme from Rocky, which for some strange reason, made me tear up.
The race was due to start at 7:45 and at 7:20 I was still in the car with the Number One Daughter and her boyfriend, and wouldn't you just know it, all of a sudden I had to see a man about a horse. WHY WHY WHY???
I will spare you the details. Let's just say I made it to my corral on time.
Miles 1-3 went by in a blur. I was wearing a great t-shirt, photos to come, and got a lot of comments on it. There were loads of spectators, but they were strangely quiet. It was odd. I actually tried to high-five a few kids but they were not interested. Later on I high-fived a couple of homeless guys, one of whom said something about me being a "hootchie mama." What's not to like about THAT?!
Number One Daughter and BoyFriend were at mile 4, where I stripped off my top layer as I heated up. They promised to be at mile 9, which seemed like a million miles away, but gave me something to look forward to, you know, other than crossing the finish line.
The course heads out of the city along the west side of the Schuykill River, crosses a bridge and heads down Kelly Drive, home of the famous Philadelphia Boathouse Row.
And there were the kids, waiting at mile 9, where they wanted to "talk to me about the car situation." The car was at mile 9. They wanted to know if I'd be up for a four-mile walk back to the car after the finish, or if one of them should skip the run and drive to the finish.
Ha ha ha ha. I managed to convey that I had no brain matter available at the moment. I just knew I wanted them both to run me in, so I said, no problems we'll hail a cab back. Despite the fact that none of us had any money. "Money in car!" I mumbled. And off we went!
My trusty coach had given me explicit instructions, to wit:
I believe you need to approach this totally as a supported training run. Your main objective here is Army Ten Miler. Don't shake your confidence by not making a goal. run easy the first ten miles, say, start at a 12:00 pace and see if you can sustain that or even improve it a bit and then have the BF help you bring it in. At the ten mile mark, the race is down to a 5K race left. Walk easily and purposefully through water stops and start running again. Don't be afraid to slow down, just don't start "plodding along". If you are "plodding", walk 100 yards to rest and collect yourself and then start to run again, faster than "plodding."Well, y'all know me. Wind me up, point me in the right direction, and tell me what to do.
Don't forget pacing. Try to stick on 12s, or 12:30s, or 11:30s.
Mile 1: 11:38
9: 14:03 (extended car discussion)
10: 12:34 (2:00 on the nose)
I only walked the water stops. Until mile 11 when I told BF that I had to walk for a minute. He said exactly the right thing to get me moving again: "If you stop now, your body will start shutting down and it will be really hard to start again." (I don't know if he actually talks in italics or not.) That got me going because I was REALLY getting sick of this running thing.
I must confess that I took my iPod Nano and I'm glad I did. I listened to music on and off. From mile 11 to the end, I belted out U2s "It's a Beautiful Day" (chorus only) about 20 times, much to the bemusement shock and horror of my companions. But see, it WAS a beautiful day, so I had to sing it.
We saw the 20k sign and I knew the end was near. I kept running.
I sprinted that last .1 in 1:08. I want to run a .1 mile race. I bet I'd be really fast.
We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand and if I screwed up that photo I'll be really mad!
After hanging around picking up various schwag and free food, we started hunting for a cab.
Curiously, there were no cabs in Philly. None. As in zero. We hung around the art museum for a while, then the BF said he would run back to get the car.
As in running. That thing that we had just finished. That thing the thought of which made me slightly nauseated.
While he ran back, NOD and I started walking along Boathouse Row, Kelly Dr. BF made it back to the car—a good four miles—in oh, about 30 minutes. He picked us up and we made a stop at his boathouse, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the nation.
Vesper Boat Club
Inside Vesper Boat Club
After a lovely fancy brunch, we headed back to NOD's place, where it suddenly dawned on me that I would have to drive 2 1/2 hours home to D.C. I'm smart like that.
Caff frappacino in hand, I hit the road and made it home in one piece.
It was a day to remember.