I Ran the 2008 Philadelphia Marathon

Marathon shoes, orig­i­nal­ly uploaded by Black­mail Is My Life.

23 weeks of train­ing came to fruition yes­ter­day as I com­plet­ed the Philadel­phia Marathon in 3:13:33. I ran through three pair of Puma sneak­ers, the last three I had from my Philebri­ty Fit Club win­nings. They served me well. I ran over 750 miles in the past six months, and they were with me every step of the way.

Want some high­lights? Of course you do!

  • It was crazy cold. I’ve read that it was 27 degrees at the start, but 19 with the wind chill. For con­text, con­sid­er this: the air horn that would’ve sig­naled the start froze! May­or Nut­ter had to count­down the start.
  • I ran most of the race behind a man who wore shorts, no shirt. Need I say more?
  • That crazy cold made for some crazy con­di­tions. The water was freez­ing on the street at the water sta­tions, mak­ing a dif­fi­cult run treach­er­ous. I tip-toed through them gin­ger­ly, fin­gers crossed. I did­n’t fall, so that tech­nique clear­ly worked.
  • The course map was wrong! I think peo­ple had an idea that we would­n’t be run­ning up South St. as it’s been torn up. We ran up Spruce instead, which meant run­ning across some Bel­gian block. How quaint! Sprain an ankle in a colo­nial style!
  • There are cars parked on the course. Peri­od­i­cal­ly the Clif pace run­ner would call for fans to step back off Chest­nut St., which would real­ly help, except they were actu­al­ly pro­tect­ing us from the cars parked on the course. I did­n’t see any­one wipe out on a hood of a parked vehi­cle, but it was def­i­nite­ly possible.
  • Speak­ing of wipe­outs I did­n’t stop to watch: I was run­ning in Fair­mount Park when sud­den­ly the pack part­ed and I saw a white flash in my periph­er­al vision. I iden­ti­fied it as a shoe. Its own­er was in hot pur­suit, div­ing back for it against the oncom­ing run­ners. Like I said, I did­n’t wait to see if he was tram­pled. I hope not.
  • The Clif bar pace guy was great, but: he ran the first half of the marathon behind pace, and then made up the dif­fer­ence in the sec­ond half. This was a dis­as­ter for a run­ner like myself, who needs to stick to one pace and run like a human metronome.
  • A half-marathon is a piece of cake. Every­one should do one. I was­n’t crow­ing like this in Sep­tem­ber when I ran my first, but now I think it’s safe to say that 13.1 miles just isn’t that far. It seems far, but if you take the time to pre­pare your­self, you can total­ly run this dis­tance. Think about it.
  • Run­ning fans make fun­ny signs. The fun­ni­est I remem­ber read­ing read: Bet U Wish U Taped Ur Nip­ples Today. I did­n’t, but I laughed any­way. I need­ed to laugh. I just fin­ished run­ning Lemon Hill.
  • Speak­ing of hills, Philadel­phia isn’t as flat as every­one says. It’s hard to visu­al­ize just where the course takes you, so the lit­tle hills here and there real­ly catch you by sur­prise. Fair­mount was tough; Lemon Hill was tougher; and that last lit­tle over­pass into Man­ayunk was the worst.
  • Every­thing you hear about the last 6.2 miles is true. I ran 20 mile train­ing runs three times. I was con­sis­tent­ly able to dig in and run the last four miles up to 20 sec­onds faster than my work­out pace. Not so on Sun­day. I sput­tered to 8 minute miles by mile 22. Should I have eat­en anoth­er gel? Maybe, but there was­n’t much left in the tank anyway.
  • Hav­ing said that, I think that I went out too fast. The adren­a­line was flow­ing and I felt great in those first sev­en miles. I cranked out a sub‑7 mile some­where in there. Did­n’t mean to, but I did. Did it hurt me? Prob­a­bly, but I still man­aged a 7:19/mile aver­age on the run.
  • Any­thing else? I’m already look­ing for­ward to next year’s marathon. I real­ly want­ed to qual­i­fy for Boston and I just missed it this year. I don’t feel bad­ly about it; I only spent six months train­ing for this one and I near­ly did it. I plan to rest, recov­er from this run, get some new sneak­ers (pos­si­bly Pearl Izu­mis), buy a run­ning jack­et, and stay frosty this win­ter. I hope I see you out there!
  • Last, but not least: I want to extend a spe­cial thanks to Ross and Bryan from Philadel­phia Run­ner. I can’t say enough how great these guys are and how wel­come I feel every time I walk into their stores. Their sup­port and encour­age­ment were won­der­ful. Ross even hand­ed me a water along the course!