Philadelphia Marathon – 2015

Finishing Time: 4:04:29

Training: For six months, 2 – 3 shorter runs during the week of 5 – 9 miles; 1 LSD run (long slow distance) on the weekends of 15 – 22 miles

Overall Recovery: Was quicker than expected though lots of soreness in my knees. I also slept for about four + hours after completing the race.


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I didn’t know my friend Allie, the photographer, would be taking pictures during the mari! You see pure excitement here. And delirium. Photo credit: Allie Volinsky

An account of the Philadelphia Marathon of November 2015 

I’LL BE HONEST, I don’t remember much about this race – mostly because it was four months ago. It was my second marathon and the night before I had trouble getting to bed early – I find that for distances 15 miles and more, I tend to get jittery and a bit nervous in anticipation the night before. Does that happen to you?

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Myself and Emily at the expo

Despite the nervous energy, every part of the marathon was fun, starting back with the Marathon Expo at the Convention Center. I love expos – the new running gear, the samples you get to try out new running foods (always stick with the Gu, kids! And make it chocolate or nothing!)

Marathon weekend is a blast and then before you know it, race day has arrived

BEFORE…

THE NIGHT BEFORE race day is extremely important, as you can imagine. The whole previous week, if I’ve been on top of myself, I’d be drinking lots of water, staying hydrated throughout the day.

I’ll be eating pasta and light foods that won’t mess with my system (unfortunately no Vietnamese or Indian food for me that whole week) and I’ll be going to bed early.

To quell my nervous energy, I usually watch funny vids on YouTube or continue a mindless Netflix series that serves as a distraction.

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Because organization makes me happy

It is not unusual for me to wake up once or so during the night before a race, but when my alarm goes off in the dark early morning, all my stuff is already laid out for me and I get ready to walk out the door.

My dad and I meet at my dad’s buddy, Andy’s place for a sip of some freshly brewed coffee and maybe half a bagel or muffin “because you’ve got to have a little fire burning in your stomach,” says Andy.

We walk to the start line by the Parkway and get ready in our selective corrals (the security over in which corral you start is nonexistent so we all stay together regardless of speed).

When the National Anthem is sung, the buzzer finally goes off and we cross that start line, my excitement is at a high. I sometimes feel the gears in my body settling in for a long, long run and I relax into the physical motions of what I’m doing.

DURING…

DURING THE RUN, our group of four will sometimes disperse. Some will fall back, some will take bathroom breaks. I try never to stop and cut my stride short because when I’m doing 26.2 miles, any pause or slow-down in stride makes it difficult for me to start back up again at a speed I’m happy with.

run

Sometimes I find that I’m running completely by myself and sometimes that’s nice. Other times I wish I had someone to talk to while running, other times I like to focus and listen to the swirling of my thoughts. I think about future events a lot when I run: where will I go eat after this which dim sum place should I try after this? Is my pace fast enough? What’s that shower going to feel like once I’m back home? (Answer: like the most beautiful thing you can imagine, possibly better than dim sum.)

Sometimes I try to focus on my muscles and the sensations that arise in my body. Just being mindful of the physical sensations I’m experiencing helps me to remain focused and  calmer.

FINISHING…

run2… is probably one of the best feelings in the world. When the crowds around the edges of the road start to thicken, you know you’re getting close to the end (and also there are signs).

When I have the Philadelphia Museum of Art in full view, I know I’m less than 1200 meters until the end of the race and all this physical soreness will be over soon. My vision starts to blur with tears from the wind I’m parting as I run harder than it feels like I’ve ever run in my life. My lungs are on fire, my name is on my bib and strangers are calling it, cheering. When the finish line is in view, nothing else matters but leaving everything, all my energy, all my problems, all my insecurities on the road in my dust.

And then you’re done and you become only a set of lungs, sucking in air until your heart rate returns to normal. You get a medal, a silvery police blanket (pictured) and recovery foods. You wait or meet up with the rest of your running group and cheer when everyone is finally all together again.

After a well-deserved congratulatory meal, it’s time to head home, take that glorious shower and then sleep sleep sleep until your body wakes you up again. But first, let me take a selfie:

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