I ran the Philadelphia Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon!

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So I’m back from Philadelphia and I’m proud to announce that I can now say to all of you…I have ran a 1/2 marathon!!

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This was without a doubt, the most gratifying experience in my life.  The sense of self-accomplishment is surreal and I am still in awe over the entire experience.  I can’t believe I did!!  I really did it!!  I told myself on December 3rd, 2009 that I was going to run a 1/2 marathon, and on Sunday September 19th, 2010 I did just that!

Before I go into all the details, I will lay out the basics.  As you all know from my previous posts, I really tried to not set any “standards” or time goals or even walking restrictions with myself.  I told myself over and over again that the goal was simply to FINISH and ENJOY the experience!  And I did those two things and then some!!  I mentioned how even though I wasn’t setting a time for myself, if I could finish somewhere around the 2:30 mark I would be overjoyed.  Well folks, here are my stats and my finishing time:

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My pace was definitely a bit slower than my normal 5K races and training runs but I still made my 2:30 mark!  And here’s the other amazing part…

I ran the entire thing!!  I didn’t have to stop or walk any of the race.  Well, there is the exception of the water/cytomax stations, which I would walk through but those were only for 10-20 seconds.  I was told that it was good to do this and I’m really glad I did.  And I stopped once at mile 5 to use the bathroom, because of course I had to pee!  Oh, and side note…thank you to the person who shit ON the toilet instead of IN the toilet. Classy!! (And no folks, I did not use that toilet. I decided to wait for another one to open up…theres another minute LOL)

So lets start from the beginning…I woke up at 6:00 in the morning.  Surprisingly I had slept pretty well the night before (thank you Coors Light).  The night before I had laid out all my race gear.

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Oh, and the day before the race we spotted these signs all over the city while we were out walking…they got me SO pumped!

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That morning I drank some water, some Gatorade and a little bit of coffee.  The night before I was chasing beers and water so I felt pretty hydrated and was just trying to drink for thirst.  I was ready to head out the door!

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I normally eat a bagel before any race and that was my plan but once we left we started walking with the crowd and I never made it to get a bagel.  I was very leary about running on an empty stomach but thankfully there were vendors with giant pretzels there so I ate 1/2 of one and 1/2 a banana.  I felt good! 

The line for the bathrooms was ridiculous!  But because I was aaaaalllllll the way in Corral #18, I had time to wait. :)  (the rest of these pictures come courtesy of Frankie)

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So yeah, it was just me and over 19,000 other runners.  Making my way through the crowd was surreal.  Seeing all the elite runner from Kenya and Ethiopia was awesome!  I couldnt believe I was going to be running the same streets as these people!!  Especially…RYAN HALL!!  For those of you who dont know who Ryan Hall is, he is an amazing American Runner who holds many records.  He won this race last year and was coming back to keep his reign, but unfortunately he had a tough run and came in 13th. 

But as I was making my way up the corrals I actually got to see Ryan Hall run by at the mile 5 mark.  And that right there people was the first moment where I really felt like a runner!  Like I deserved to be there and I deserve the right to call myself a runner!  Sadly, I didnt get any pictures of him since I wasnt holding a camera and Frankie didnt take any, but that moment of watching him run by will never leave my mind.  That moment right there was when I knew I had to rock this race!!

Of course…I still had about 20 minutes of waiting and walking up the corrals though…

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The woman you see behind me in the long sleeve shirt and white hat is Chris.  I met her at the beginning of the race in Corral 18.  And guess what people…

We ran the race together!

Honestly, if it wasnt for her I dont know if I would have kept going like I did.  We paced each other the whole time, stopped at the bathroom at the same time, water breaks at the same time…it wasnt until about mile 6 or 7 till we really realized this and realized how much we were helping each other out.  She told me she had just started running in January and we shared a few quick stories.  When we got closer we would give each other high 5’s and say “almost there!”  It was an amazing experience and I feel extremely blessed to have found someone like that in the sea of runners.  Her encouragement is what kept me going!  I really wish I got a picture with her afterwards though. :(  I think I found her name on the results sheet.  I would love to find a way to contact her and thank her again.  Some people really frown upon having a pace partner but I think we made it work!

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Well people, here is the boring part with no pictures, just my recap.

I ran the entire thing wireless!  No Nike+, or Ipod or phone. Nothing!  The only thing I held were my sunglasses and GU gels.  This kind of freaked me out since I run mostly with music, but I figured with the bands around the course and all of the people that all of that noise would be enough.  Plus, lately the music has been distracting me in my runs for some reason.  With that said though…the bands were kind of poorly spread out.  By the time we got to some bands they were already done and no one was playing music in between.  I know that the course was new and a different promoter took over and some of the news stories I read about the race expressed the same feelings I had.  I guess there are some kinks to work out before next year, but I was still good with no head phones.

So lets talk pace…11:35…thats pretty slow for me.  I average around 10:20 or less in races.  But for it being my first 1/2 marathon, and the first time running 13 miles in my life, I will take it!  I started out very slow (hence why my 5K time is about 3 minutes slower than normal) because I know I have a tendency to take off at the beginning.  I did this at the Paiges Butterfly 5K, where I finished good and PR’d but I lost a lot of steam by starting out at a 9 minute per mile pace.  I kept thinking about what my Dr. said about starting out slow and saving the speed for those last few miles.

Well folks, those last few miles were the toughest as you could expect.  There was no thought of speed, only thoughts of “omg, my legs are going to fall off!”. 

The first 3-4 miles went by pretty easily.  I was worried about my knee since it had been giving me problems lately but it wasn’t bothering me much.  My calves were a little tight but it didnt take long for them to loosen up.  The miles seemed to be very long though.  When we hit the 4 mile mark I thought to myself “what the shit? Only 4 miles down?!?!”  I really started to question if I was going to make it.  By mile 5 I was already thinking that I’m not even 1/2 way through the course yet.  Plus it was tough because I never really knew my time.  The clock that was running was for the start of the race and I had no idea how late I had started…it was almost a 1/2 hour later come to find out.  But I quickly got those thoughts out of my head and refocused on my surroundings and the runners around me. 

People were hooting and hollering and spectators were all over the streets.  We got to run along the river which was beautiful.  And it provided a nice cool breeze that was very much needed on the sunny and hot morning.  Overall though, we couldnt have been blessed with better running weather!

I really wish I had brought my phone with me to take some pictures throughout the course but it’s probably better that I didnt have the added distraction.

Then we got to miles 9-10.  Oh.my.god!  My legs were SCREAMING!!  When we would go through the water stops my legs didnt even want to walk.  I was getting really worried that I was going to have to walk into the finish line.  We were going pass more and more runners who were walking and it was kind of sad to see.  I started to get worried because a lot of these people looked a lot healthier and more fit than I appear.  But with the encouragement of Chris we told each other that we are not stopping and we are NOT walking!!  We’ve already ran 10 fucking miles, we ARE running these last 3!!

So that's what we did, and before we knew it the Art museum which was the backdrop to the finish line was right before us.

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I threw my arms up while I crossed the finish line and I almost started to cry.  But I didnt want to look like a dork so I refrained from sobbing like a girl. :)

Chris and I gave each other high 5’s and congratulated each other on running a great race!  We thanked each other for running together and went to get some water and a banana. 

I then made my way through the sea of people to find the two most important things…

1.) Frankie

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Tell me that picture isnt HOT right??  Can you tell I want to die??

And of course, #2.) BEER!

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I’m still on a high from the whole experience.  I couldn't be more proud of myself or ask for a better experience.  I got to have fun, feel proud and meet my goal!  Inside myself I knew I really wanted to 1.) run the whole thing 2.) run it at around 2:30 and 3.) finish and I managed to meet all of those expectations, even though the last one was all that really mattered. 

Of course I can sit here and think of things I could have done differently.  Maybe I should have picked up my pace mid way.  Or maybe I should have started out stronger.  Maybe I shouldnt have found a pace partner…did it hold me back??  FUCK ALL OF THAT!!  I ran an AWESOME first time 1/2 marathon!!  Not only did I meet all the goals I set for myself but I had a blast doing it.  I didnt injure myself and I got this awesome chunk of metal:

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I wouldnt change a thing about the way I ran this race!  If I had done things differently, who knows if I would have been able to finish.  I couldn’t be prouder or more happy with myself than I am at this moment.

It’s crazy and sad to see how many people didnt make it across the finish line.  Hopefully no one was severally injured though.  My hearts go out to them!  They are truly Rock Stars for going out there and giving all that they physically could! 

With that said…I’m sore as fuck!  Keep in mind people that the two days before the race we did A LOT of walking.  I have no clue on the mileage but it was a TON.  So between that and the race, my legs are shot.  Thank god I took this week off from work!

I want to say *THANK YOU* to every one here and on Twitter for all of your encouragement, support and cheers.  You guys really gave me the support I needed to get through this.  There were many times throughout the course that I thought of some of you and the things you have said.  I didn't want to let you guys down and I’m pretty damn sure I succeeded at not doing that.

I’m still waiting for the official pictures to be posted online.  Once those are up I will hopefully be able to share them with all of you.  Also in the next couple of days I will do a full post about the vacation in Philly and some of the things we did…like how we paid $43 to eat 1/2 a slice of bacon.  :/  

XOXO

17 comments:

  1. WOO WOO WOOO *waves fist in the air*....so excited and proud of you!! What a great recap! How wonderful that you met that woman who helped you along. So so so excited for you what an amazing accomplishment!

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  2. Congrats!! Finishing your first half marathon! I hope there are many more in your future!!!

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  3. Congratulations! This is just so amazing. So proud of you!

    And how freakin cute do you look in these photos?

    xx
    lesley

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  4. "Wow" with a capital "OW"... what an accomplishment!

    I josh around with you from time to time, but this is BIGTIME HUGE. I don't want to overstate things but you are America's Greatest Hero!

    Way to rock the casbah, Suzi. I couldn't be prouder of you.

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  5. Awesome stuff here! Congrats on your accomplishment.

    Though really, 43 dollars for 1/2 slice of bacon? We must know more.

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  6. I can not say it enough!! I am just so damn proud of you! And *i* was thinking about YOU during my measly 10 mile Sunday. You so effing ROCK!!!!

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  7. Rockstar! That's awesome! You've officially insprired me to look up the next racing event here in KC and get training!!! Thanks!

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  8. Congrats! Awesome recap! You did an amazing job!!!So proud of you :)

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  9. Big Congratulatory Hugs, Girlfriend. I am envious!

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  10. Way to go! And you look so good! Uber hot runner chick! I bet that was one of the best beers you've had in a while. :)

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  11. Fantabulous! As a newbie runner in Sweaty Singapore you are really inspiring me to keep moving :)

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  12. You inspire me! I'm so excited for you! You're pride and beaming happiness is contagious, so I have to thank you for that! You rock!

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  13. ROCK ON!! That is absolutely frickin' awesome! Congrats on finishing your first (of many?) 1/2 marathons, and double congrats for running the whole thing. That is a ton of people at that race, many more than were in my first 1/2 last month - of course that's one of the benefits of living in Alaska :) I'm registered to run the Vegas Rock n' Roll 1/2 in December, and I'm sure there will be similarly huge numbers of people there.

    Another big congrats, and just remember that no matter what happens after this, nobody can ever take this away from you!!!

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  14. I am so proud to know you!! Congratulations a million times. You really killed it! Great time!!! Really!! I'm so impressed! And girl, I gotta say, your arm tats are hot! :) Rock on!

    ~Dianasaur

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  15. Soooo awesome. I totally had the same problem around mile 9 or 10...a case of the DEAD LEGS. It was so hard to keep shuffling along. And BTW, I cried like a little girl when I went over the finish line, you are clearly more together than I am. What's up next for you? :o) A marathon in your future?

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  16. Suzi, I am SO PROUD OF YOU! I'm just sorry it took me so long to read this post. What you described is similar to the bike tours and I was so excited for you, I could imagine it all - the crowds, the music, meeting other people participating in the event, the feelings, the pride. You deserve that hunk of metal and that beer. thanks for sharing this with us. I loved reading it (just sorry you didn't make it to NYC that weekend). xoxoxo PS I can't believe you're only 26!

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