On Sat. morning K and I met at the commuter lot in Northern Va. We were on our way to Philly for packet pick up day! K is from the Philly area so we were going to stop at her house first and then meet up with her friend Shannon and Lisa to head over to the expo center. We have an enjoyable ride to Philly and a short 3 plus hours later we have arrived at her house and I get to meet some of her family. Shannon comes over and we head to pick up Lisa and we are off to packet pickup.
I love expos. Normally I don't buy much but it is my first half marathon. So I pick up a shot glass souvenir and start to look at some nice t-shirts to remember the run and the shirt we got for running the race is a god awful orange and I hate orange. Well looks like no shirt in my size so I don't have to spend any extra money at Brooks.
Well we are off to experience all the booths and try all the samples. We are also on the hunt for a 13.1 car magnet. It is the one thing that I knew I was going to look to buy at the expo.
You have to get a picture with Rocky.
Rocky here I come!!
So we finish the Rocky steps and K tells me that I need to experience a Philly pretzel. And the only person to buy a pretzel from is The chief.
After the pretzels we head to Shannons for some pasta. I am not usually a pasta before the race person but I didn't want to get lost trying to go back to the hotel and eat by myself so pasta it is. The pasta was good. We eat and then head off to the hotel to meet Lucy and Dennis to give them their race packets. Packet exchange was a success. We then settle in for the night excited for our first 1/2 marathon. Out of our group, Lucy is the only one who has a half marathon under her belt. The rest of us would be half marathon virgins.
Well we plan to meet up at 7:30 with everyone. We are up and ready for race day. K is not feeling the best but she has a great game face on for the day.
We meet up with everyone and then walk to the start line..I am in corral 22, a.k.a. the slow peoples corral. I head back and wait for the race to begin. We slowly move up and as we approach the start line we see the elite runners go by...that right I haven't even started and the elite runners are already at mile 5 of the race!
We are off..I am running pretty good..feeling a bit tired but nothing too bad. I am trying to pass some people and weave around some of the walkers (I guess that is what you get when you start in corral 22) lol. I feel like I am running slow..and turns out that I am 4 or 5 mins off of my goal time..at the 5k mark I was feeling a little light headed and I was already starting to walk! What? Walk?? I can't walk at mile 3! But that is what I did..I walk a bit and then started to run again (although the pace I was keeping I am not sure I would really call it much of a run)
We are headed back towards the fountains and I see a man with a sign for me. I didn't think anyone was coming down to hold a sign for me, but turns out I was wrong. The guy had a sign that read "Hey complete stranger, I'm proud of you!" How nice, that gave me a little extra giddy up in my step :) I am now at the spot where I saw the elite athletes run and think I could just jump off the course and end my misery...but no, that man was proud of me. He wouldn't be proud if I quit..so off I continue..The nice thing about the race is they supplied a nice amount of water and Cytomax. It seemed it was about every 1.5 miles or so. So I couldn't complain about being thirsty. Although at one point I thought maybe I was drinking too much. Ugh..what a horrible race I am having!
So at this point I am run/walking and I am guessing I am barely at mile 5. I am now trying not to count down the miles because there are just too many left. We are now running along the river and it is shaded (which is nice..no hot sun beating down on me). I can see the people on the other side of the river running...but I see no bridge across..grrr. I keep running. I see a runner down and the medics are putting her on a backboard. I am feeling lucky that is not me. I am still feeling blah..thinking maybe it was that pasta (I know I should have went back to the hotel and had a burger...) but looking back it was not the pasta..but I wouldn't realize that till hours later.
So I am feeling like the bridge is never going to appear...I realize there is no quitting b/c either way I still have to make my way to the finish line to meet up with everyone and go back to the hotel. So I am trudging along. at around mile 8 I pass a double amputee man. Yes it took me till mile 8 to catch up with him. Well I guess if he can do it, I can too! Finally the bridge! Oh I have never been so happy to cross a bridge in all of my life! I am now making my way back to the finish, yeah!!! Every mile I feel a bit happier. We pass some cheerleaders dressed up as KISS with a sign that says if you walk we will kiss you. lol That made me giggle...free high fives from them.
Someone had a sign set up that read 13.1 miles = 5.5 doughnuts. That made me a bit depressed...all of this for 5.5 doughnuts? Ugh! At the ten mile mark I was so sad...I had a goal of 2hr 30 mins to finish..I know the first 1/2 you should just aim for finishing but I wanted that time! Well at 10 miles I was at 2 hrs and 20 mins. An entire 15 mins slower than my 10 mile usually is! I wanted to cry. At one point a lady asked if this was my first and if I had a goal..I told her to finish it. I already missed my time goal :(
Well finished the race at 3 hours and 4 mins. What a miserable time! Then went to find everyone at out meeting place. We were supposed to check out of the hotel at noon and it was going to pushing that by the time we walked the mile back. Found everyone and I ate a small bagel (think lenders type of bagel) and carried my banana. I could quite eat that banana yet (which is odd b/c usually I can't wait for food after a race). We head back to the hotel and K doesn't feel well...we stop for her once along the trek back. We get back to the hotel and neither one of us wants to move. I am going to head back with Lucy and Dennis while K sticks around to celebrate her dad's birthday. Seems K is not looking forward to that she just wants to crawl back into bed and sleep (not normal for K)
I head out with Lucy and and Dennis to experience a Philly Cheesesteak. And if you really want a Philly cheesesteak you need to go to either Pat's or Gino's. Since they are across the street from one another we head down...
Lucy can't wait to try some cheesesteak. I order and end up giving half mine to Dennis and throwing my 4 dollar fries away. Really not normal for me at all. I should be starving right about now. Instead I can't wait to go to sleep in the back of the car. We eat and head out. Turns out I am not a Geno's cheesesteak fan...I ended making Lucy pull over in Deleware 3 times on the ride back. Yep I picked up a stomach virus! I guess that now explains why I felt sluggish during the run and light headed at mile 3...And it turns out K was sick too..we both ended up calling off the next day. I am guessing that we caught something at the hotel. Can you pick up something that quick and get sick?? Well that is what I am thinking happened. Odd that we were both sick on the same day...
So I feel horrible about a horrible run, but a little better that the reason for the horrible run was a virus.
I now need a new 1/2 marathon to help redeem my horrible first experience. :)