Approach to Philly
I flew to Philly in the morning, and then went to pick up my race packet. I felt anxious and a bit sad that Stuart was not with me, but I walked around a bit and chatted to a few people. Since I had no clue about what I was going to wear, I asked for some advice. In the end I wore something I bought at the expo, but more on that later. I promised myself no trawling around the expo for hours on end, so I left and had a short walk around the city centre. Philadelphia is simply stunning with it's beautiful Art Deco buildings.
After a quick lunch at the Reading Terminal Market, a wonderful indoor market with everything from Amish pickles to yummy Greek baklava dipped in honey, I went back to the hotel and decided to try on my race outfit to see if it was comfortable enough. On went my newly purchased CW-X Pro Tights after all, if they are good enough to be worn by cheetahs (minus the hole for the tail), they are good enough for me! OK, I was not just taken in by the publicity, but I had read about them on the Julie, the Hotlegs Runner's blog, and since I have some IT band issues after a long run, the idea of supporting those muscles and the quads seemed like a great idea. Dear all, let me say that was probably the best purchase I made this year. It was amazing, and yes, it did support my IT band very well.
|I had planned on wearing this.......|
but ended up wearing this other stuff instead..
I spent an almost sleepless night and was up at 4pm. I got to the Philadelphia Art Museum around 6:00am, as I was staying at the airport (and took the train in). What a beautiful morning! A bit nippy, but it promised to be warm.
Now I know what Rocky really saw from the steps of the PAM....
Was exciting, with a terrific atmosphere. My corral started at 7:30am, and was the last to go. The route passes through the Museum District, Chinatown, the Historic District, University District etc, and really showcases this stunning city. Philly is also very green with lovely shady areas, and hilly woods. I seemed to be trotting along at a decent pace, until I lost the group I was running with around mile 10, as I had to make a stop, and there was a 10 minute queue at the porta potties! Things moved along until mile 14 when an aching back suddenly seized up. I had to lie down on the ground and stretch it out until it loosened up a bit. My new tights really came into their own around mile 20. Usually my hips and the sides of my thighs are in agony, but they were fine in their new CW-X casing. My back started up again and I walked for a bit, then ran on until I needed to stop again. Miles 22 and 23 were a bit hard, and I felt like crying for no apparent reason. But I also felt rather happy, so no tears came. All I could do was call out to the others (who were doing the same to me), and tell them what an awesome job they were doing. It took my mind off things, and miles 24 and 25 were a slow jog. I had a bit of a walk at mile 26, and then ran about three quarters of a mile. When I finished, I had nothing left in the tank, and although I was feeling physically sick, it went hand in hand with another very cool feeling: I had completed something I had set my mind to. Perhaps not in the way I had originally imagined, but I did the business, and got the job done despite everything else that had been going on. It really was a great learning curve, even though it took me 6:15. At work no one asked for my time, but everyone asked me if I had finished.....
Thank you Fran, and yes I do wish you lived nearer, as I would have loved for you to have come to Philly (maybe another time.....) a shout out to Stefano, Yogi and Johann who never seemed to doubt that if I could do 20 miles I could do the marathon. A big thank you to Christina who helped me early on in my programme as I was suffering with some minor ailments....and thanks for keeping me on the programme on fb. Thank you for the good wishes Hungry Runner girl, Ole, Mary, Alan and Jenny. A very unexpected source of support came from a group of colleagues, ranging from Rachel who wanted to fly out with me to Philly (and then had a family crisis to attend to), to a few people who wrote me such sweet notes of encouragement (Indra, Eileen), the good wishes (Colleen, Irache,) finally to Kathy who rang me up to ask if I wanted a place on the MMRF team to run Boston next year (which I declined by the way).