Philadelphia √ (14 STATES COMPLETE)
The gem and I took this trip with my parents and had an amazing time.. I came home with a little more bling than expected. eeeek!!! so exciting!
We had arrived late Friday night, the gem and I walked around, had breakfast and headed off to the expo first thing on Saturday morning – it was an absolutely gorgeous morning and the weather was perfect!
The expo and packet pick-up was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center for two days before the race. We didn’t realize just how big the convention center was.. it spans across a couple blocks. We were unsure how to find the room we wanted so we just followed people who looked like runners (we can be quite the distinct breed the day before a race) and looked for the people carrying race bibs who had just come from the expo.
When we got to the right building there were people sending us in the right direction. There were no lines and no wait to pick up your bib, I got my bib and freebies and continued on.
Starting off with race merchandise we headed into the expo – we weren’t really sure if there was a method to the madness, but we didn’t feel like there was any rhyme or reason to the way the booths were set up – no isles and (to us) no easy flow.
Photo-ops were plenty as you walked through. Once Katelyn and I got there the gem and I walked through with her a second time and I took advantage of the photo stops and the free samples (including Krave jerky!) Naturally.
I had read a race recaps from prior years that if you had any sort of muscle or shape that the women’s cuts were small and could be a little awkward, so I indicated a men’s cut on my race registration and I sure am glad I did. The material of the shirt had very little give to it. I find them to be very comfortable tho and I love the vibrant blue color!
In addition to a long sleeve each runner also received a race mug – I thought this was a really cool addition to the typical swag and something I don’t have a lot of (like race tees). It was unique touch and seems to be great quality!
UHG! What happened to that gorgeous weather from yesterday. Race morning turned out to be significantly colder than the day before, but on a positive side the rain held out until after the race! Thank goodness!
We stayed in the Embassy Suites which was the PERFECT location – a short walk away from the race start (Art Museum) we left at 6:45am.
After the National Anthem we headed towards the corrals and did a brief warm-up on the way. (As with most races) people were in mixed corrals so we just found a spot towards the back and popped in line.
The first four miles were great! Through the city, there was lots to look at and some pretty cool sights to see.
We missed the first bathroom and Katelyn had to go so we eventually came to a port-o-john stop .. it seems everyone else had missed the first one too because the line was LONG – it significantly slowed us down, but we were not concerned at all about our times. We eventually went and as we got back on the course our biggest fear was coming to life THE RACE PICK-UP TRUCKS WERE VISIBLE BEHIND US!
We had a great laugh about it and had no problem inching our way up and (eventually) back to our pace.
After we passed Eakin’s Oval spectators thinned out and were virtually nonexistent.
We ran along the river /MLK Drive – where we eventually reached Fairmount Park which held some hills and an awkward turn around at The Strawberry Mansion – the inclusion of the little dirt driveway/turn around was an interesting course choice.
Oyy – I thought as we passed Mile 9 – This is always my worst mile mentally I noted to Katelyn – turns out, it is her worst too! We cheered each other on and passed the time with more chatting. WE MADE IT! Mentally strong and in a positive mindset!
Running back towards the Art Museum was pretty boring, there was a regatta going on along the river so there was brief sports of distraction, but had I been alone this would have been a mentally challenging stretch for sure!
I had forgotten my GPS watch at home and after the start I wasn’t concerned at all Katelyn and I had an amazing time and it was so great to just talk about life and enjoy the jog.
Security was tight and very prominent throughout the entire race – from police details, to helicopters around the main part of the race (through the center of the city).
After finally getting through the brutal out and back we headed towards our final stretch .. uphill! We started picking people we wanted to pass and pushed ourselves to reach them. When and if we passed them we picked off another person. The uphill started getting to our legs, but we heard the finish line, we saw those Rocky stairs and pressed on.
We started seeing runners and spectators with the mylar blankets and told each other that would be our reward at the end since we weren’t sure where we would be meeting/when we would be seeing our men.
The finish line was in sight and we pushed it a little harder – we then crossed the finish line together!
We walked towards the finisher’s chute and got our medals we walked towards the exit to head over to the waters – we couldn’t find any of the mylar sheets so we asked a volunteer, he informed us that they were gone ‘a while ago’. We were getting a little agitated at this point the cold was starting to bite and our muscles were getting tense.
We reached the snacks and water, but really couldn’t stop to enjoy them – we were freezing and needed to get to the boys. We grabbed a few items (including a personal fave, a large Philly soft pretzel) and walked towards the hotel.
We finally reconnected with the boys, got out jackets and headed back to out rooms to warm up and stretch.
We didn’t even get our beers .. I don’t even remember seeing or hearing where the tent for those were.
Such a great medal for this race – I love it, it was part of the reason this race caught my eye and I signed up for it.
The lack of heat blankets at the end was frustrating to both of us (when we walked by numerous spectators that had them wrapped around them OVER THEIR WARM COMFY COATS!) – a minor detail to some, but we were cold and feeling our muscles tense up. The monotony of the few miles back on the MLK were tough, but I am glad I had someone with me! I thought that overall this was a very well organized race – the expo and pre race communications were detailed and organized.