On September 19, 2010, I ran my fifth half marathon. I use run in the losest sense of the term. I guess I should just say that I completed my fifth half marathon.
Over Labor Day weekend I went camping in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It has been a tradition of ours for the last few years and we always get the same awesome campsite. I guess the combination of the cooler nights and the extended period of time outdoors did a number on me. I’ve had a cough since that weekend. I swear to this day that it is all allergy related and not a cold. I don’t feel sick, but I’ve got a tickle in my throat and on and off congestion.
Keeping that in mind, my only plan with this race was to start. I was hoping that, as has been the case in the past, I would not have a coughing fit once I got out there and started moving. I wasn’t trying to set a PR during this race and I wasn’t even sure that I would finish.
On race day I donned my TNT singlet since I was doing this race as a non-fundraising mentor and we headed out to Center City to get parking and get me to the start line. I made it over to the TNT tent to check in with everyone and then rushed over to the Art Museum steps to meet my WISH buddies who were doing the race. It was great to see them. I sometime run into Jen on Kelly Drive, but I only see them at races the rest of the year. We hung out for a bit before I went back to the TNT tent and then made my way to the corrals with some of my teammates.
Last year when I was in Corral 18 it was the last corral of the race. I was a bit disappointed to find that I was in that corral again, but then I was relieved to learn that there were 4 more corrals after it. The start went off without a hitch and I crossed the start line about 20 or so minutes into the race. I gave my boyfriend a copy of the course and I was hoping to see him several times throughout the race.
We made our way down the Ben Franklin Parkway and then turned south for a block before heading back west along JFK Street. I do like running in all of the familiar streets when I do the races in Philly. After a few more blocks we headed south again and then east on Market Street. I love the view there. City Hall is such an awesome sight! We continued around City Hall and down Market until we reached the Independence Hall area, then we headed north and back west through Chinatown.
I saw my boyfriend right at the 5K mark. He’s always cheering me on during these events! After we left Chinatown we made our way back towards the Art Museum and then down Kelly Drive. I was feeling surprisingly good at this point. Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last too long. Around mile 7 my right hamstring started tightening up. I tried to stretch it and relax, but not much helped. I just kept moving.
I was thankful to see my coach Leigh Anne along Kelly Drive. I was also surprised to see that the race had actual salt packets out on the course. I’ve never trained with just salt packets. I will often have pretzels while I train and that is usually enough salt for me. I did grab one and have a few licks, but I didn’t eat a whole packet. That’s just gross (but I might need to have one in my future training to give it a shot).
I was very happy when I reached the Falls Bridge and made my turn back towards the finish line. Of course this was only around mile 9. I did have one thing to look forward to. My friend Laurie was the captain of the final water stop. I knew she would be there waiting for me.
I can’t begin to explain how happy I was to see mile 10. That meant only a 5K left! I tried to run more, but the tightness in my hamstring had progressed up to my glutes. I wish that would mean that everything was getting firmer, but it really just meant that I was in more pain. A coach from the Lehigh or Scranton chapter of TNT joined me for about a half mile and then Laurie’s water stop was in sight!
Once I got near I wave my arms around and Laurie ran back to me and walked through the water stop with me. She asked how I was doing. My response: “My @$$ hurts!” Yup! I said that nice and loud too. (Hey I was in pain.) She gave me some encouraging words and then I was off on my own.
Just before mile 13, I saw the fall head coach Brian and he joined me for a little bit and then my coach from Broad Street, Tara joined us. It was then that I realized that I hadn’t seen my boyfriend since the 5K mark. One of the coaches (or maybe me, but I’m pretty sure it was Brian) suggested that I hit him for not being on the course cheering me on. Brian ran back to check on the rest of the team and Tara walked me as far a she could before the course officials made her turn around.
Having that last .1 miles be up hill was just cruel, but when I made it to the top of the hill, the finish line was in sight. I kicked it into high gear and passed a few people in their last few yards. I almost always find an extr bit of energy to run across the finish line.
After collecting my medal and goodies, I went to the TNT tent to check back in and then headed over to hear the band at the Finish Line stage. I called my boyfriend and found out that he had gone to dim sum in Chinatown. (!!!) He said he would make his way back to me and then we could head home. Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi tribute band, was performing and I caught their last song.
Overall I was happy with my performance considering that I wasn’t feeling 100% in the weeks leading up to the race. It wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst either. Before the race I told everyone that I thought this might be my last time doing this particular race, but I’m thinking that maybe I can be convinced to do this race again. We’ll see what the next year brings!
As a reminder, I’m training for the Walt Disney World Marathon with Team in Training. Please consider making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society on my behalf here.
Stay tuned this week for details on my Virtual 5k/10k/whateverK challenge!