Continuing my race-a-weekend pace, I raced the Philadelphia half on Sunday. I had such a severe migraine the day before that I was unsure I'd race. I went to bed in the afternoon, slept through dinner, the night, and my 3 a.m. get up time, waking instead at 4:45 for a 5 a.m. departure! Yikes! I dashed around, and my poor mother drove me into the city at o-dark-hundred. I didn't even have time to get nervous, but I did start to feel excited when I saw Boat House Row.
I lined up with nearly 23,000 other runners next to the Art Museum, where Rocky famously ran up the steps.
Mayor Nutter greeted us at the start and made it clear that Philly is aiming to win the coveted Best Host City title this year. I was in the last corral (surprise), but the race was very organized (lots of port-o-loos at the start!), and my corral crossed that starting line 30 minutes after the first wave. Walking purposefully through Center City, the spectators were kind of done with the cheering and we looked sort of lame just walking or shuffling after the faster runners had dashed by. Still, I was stung when a stereotypically attired South Philly chick loudly complained in a nasal voice, "Look at them. They aren't even running!" I wanted to step off the course, grab her by her faux leopard lapels, and give her a shake!
Most of the spectators were super friendly. One man was handing out bananas. Down on the waterfront, I ran into some revolutionaries, dressed in period costumes. (Yeah. No idea, but they looked cool.) One of them was eating a famous Philly soft pretzel -- and he gave it to me! Sweet! Having not eaten either dinner or breakfast, I was really feeling the caloric expenditure!
The race route was fast, hilly, and scenic. We ran all on the waterfront,
up some beautiful old streets,
past Betsy Ross' little house,
past the Liberty Bell and City Hall, along some delightful shopping areas that made me want to peek in all the windows as I passed them, next to the zoo, through stunning Fairmount Park, and down along Boat House Row before finishing where we began.
Great race! The volunteers were amazing, there was great race support, even though I fell behind the pace car. Technically, the roads were open, but there police at every intersection, and they'd stop traffic so that I could cross. The sag vans never even hassled me. They were just there for runners who couldn't continue. The pacing monitors who were on bikes were super enthusiastic and encouraging, and even when they broke down water stations ahead of my arrival, there were always cups of water remaining for laggards like me.
When I crossed the finish line, I received a gorgeous medal - and in true South Philly fashion - it was wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting dinged or nicked. I've never seen that before, but it's a great idea! Most races offer a slice of orange or a piece of a bagel. In Philly, every person who crossed the line was greeted by a team of medics with trolley beds waiting. The medical tent was right across the line - along with more port-o-johnnies. We then received a BAG of food - including water, two bananas, and a Philly soft pretzel. WOOT!
The blues band playing just beyond the finish line was terrific, and I examined my many bloody blisters as I listened to them. My wonderful Philly friend met me at the finish line, gave me her coat because I was hypothermic, and then got the car and drove right to me so I wouldn't have to take another step.
Philadelphia really is the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love!
My friend I ate lunch and then headed over to the Four Seasons for massages. I so needed one, too! And then we were off to see the new Harry Potter film at the local IMAX.
No complaints. It was a wonderful weekend! Oh, and I burned 7000+ calories for the day!!!