Philadelphia Marathon Race Report
3:01:32 personal best
Did I qualify for Boston Marathon 2015? YES
Did I break my personal best of 3:08:35? YES
Did I beat my friend / rival Ross Snyder's PR of 3:04:37? YES
Did I have a negative split? NO
Did I break 3:00 hour? NO
Start: I felt confident as I got in my corral waiting for the start. I had done everything I thought possible to set myself up for my fastest marathon yet. I was excited to see my Breakaway teammates Keith Fitzgerald, Tony Salvi and Professor Craig Green as we inched up to the start line. Tony & Keith planned to run together at 6:40 pace (faster than my target pace of 6:50). I asked the professor if he wanted to run with me but he said he wasn't going all-out.
Mile 3: I felt great! I was about 10 seconds ahead of my pace. I tried my best to keep my speed in check.
Mile 6: Sucked down my first gel pack. I was about 15 seconds ahead of my pace. I was excited to see Coach Todd Lippin cheering for me in front of Breakaway shop. I had been a regular at Todd's weekly track workout. Todd was the singular person who helped me to get fast this year! He made me aware of my bad running form. He helped me to control my pace.
Mile 9: I had to pee! I was about 30 seconds ahead of my pace so I decided to go to a portable toilet.
Mile 10: this was the climb to the Please Touch Museum. I trained on this hill and I was ready. I kept my heart rate in check and still flew by many runners.
Mile 11: This was the first turnaround point on MLK Drive. I saw Keith & Tony still running together, looking fast & sexy in their Breakaway tops. Then I saw the 3:00 pace group balloons. They were a lot further ahead of me than I expected. This realization gave me a pause. Checked my Garmin to reassure myself that I was on pace. I repeated out loud one of Todd's sayings: "Never panic. Keep moving forward."
Halfway: I was happy to cross the midway mark right on pace 1:30:04. However, the push to stay on pace took a little air out of me. Mile by mile, it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to hold the 6:50 pace. I was closer to 6:55. I was well aware of my slowing pace and there was nothing I could do. I kept moving forward knowing that I was still on pace to be under 3:03 which was faster than my friend Ross Snyder's current personal best.
Mile 17: Falls Bridge messed up my Garmin signal & played with my head. My pace per mile for current mile went from under 7:00 to over 8:00. I kept moving forward, waving & hifiving triathlon friends from both Breakaway & T3.
Miles 19-21 in Manayunk: I kept picking my pace up when my feet started to slow down. It was a constant battle. Saw Keith coming back without Tony. 3:00 pace group went by. Tony was moving but not at the fast pace that I was used to seeing.
Finally, I reached the turnaround point in Manayunk. Mile 20. I was about 1/4 mile behind the 3:00 pace grimy at this point and decided to start a chase. I needed to run 6:40 pace for the next 6 miles to cross the finish line under 3:00 hours.
I saw Hayley Germack. Hayley was my training buddy for many long runs. Hayley had had a breakthrough year, running sub 3:30 at Ironman Lake Placid & winning a bunch of AG awards at various races.
Hayley was between the 3:05 & 3:10 pace groups and looked strong. As a motivation for myself, I told myself "That bitch better not pass me this time!"
Last 6 miles.
I didn't quite run 6:40 pace but I manage to stay under 7:00 on the way back to the Art Museum. I was steady as I passed a few runners including Tony. I struggled a little bit during mile 25, averaging 7:13. I rebounded in mile 26, averaging 6:54.
I definitely sprinted toward the finish line one I saw it. I did not puke this time. I got my finisher's medal, and a few minutes later, a hug from teammate Keith, who ran a personal best of 2:56:37.
Damn, my legs hurt. Despite my efforts to move around & stretch, my legs especially my quads started to tighten up. I got my warmup clothes & lined up to receive a complementary massage by Philly Massages. It aw a miracle! I started to be able to walk again.
I found my partner Dan, who took photos at Mile 26. He was waiting for my friend Ian Harding. Once I saw online that Ian already crossed the finish line, started to walk back. We met up with Ian & his girlfriend to go out for a post-race brunch.
Final words: it was a good race for me but not a perfect race. I already started discussing with Ross Snyder of what we could do to break 3 hours.