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Philadelphia Half Marathon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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. emoticon

No complaints. It was a wonderful weekend! Oh, and I burned 7000+ calories for the day!!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    WAY TO GO!!!! I'm so proud of you! When I get back into race form, let's totally do a race together somewhere!
    2676 days ago

    How do you do it?! I love your descriptions of the events Cat. It makes me want to be there to shop with you (well, maybe even run one day?!). Love the Boat House Row. A pretzel sounds good right now ...

    2680 days ago
    Cat, it sounds like you had a great race and you make Philly sound wonderful. I need to put it on my list of places to visit one of these days.
    2693 days ago
    Looks lovely!! I've never been to Philly but your description of the race makes it seem so good, I might have to put it on my list! Congrats on finishing yet ANOTHER race - you're a racing maniac and I love it!
    2693 days ago
    You are an amazing woman! I wish I could take even an eyelash worth of credit.
    I am, as usual,, very proud of you. emoticon
    2698 days ago
    Great job Cat! I missed this blog.
    2701 days ago
    Sounds like Philly needs to be on my list, too! This was an awesome post and you made me feel as if I was there with you! Woohoo! Congrats on another great race and experience!
    2702 days ago
    That's terrific - love your pix too! Unfortunately my camera was MIA for the Trot...

    They were handing out coupons for $10 off our Dallas RNR Half in March, which I asked my boy to do w/me... He's undecided but I need to get myself registered before it sells out!

    Great job!
    2702 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/27/2010 9:49:41 AM
    Wow - that is awesome!!! You GO you rockstar! emoticon
    2705 days ago
    Philly is on my list! I love Boat House Row! So pretty! Where's the picture of the medal? emoticon How was HP?
    2705 days ago

    Cat, you are a rockstar! Congrats on yet another fabulous race. Good for you! Keep up the amazing journey!

    2706 days ago
    you are a machine!!! goood job!!
    2706 days ago
    emoticon You are on fire! I am amazed and in awe of your stamina and determination to compete in all these races. emoticon Like others beore me; I had last weekend off and wish I had realized you were doing the race. I would have definitely made it to cheer you on through the race. I grew up in the burbs outside of Philly and like to go back every once in a while. Loved the photos you took on course. Where's a shot of the bling you earned?? What's the next race on your agenda? Inquiring minds want to know. emoticon
    2706 days ago
    I wished I would of paid Attention!!! I actually had this weekend off and I could of run down to the city and cheered you on for a bit. I am def not a sterotypical South philly chick....LOL. I love to see Boat house row lit up.

    Congrats again on another race Cat!
    2706 days ago
    Amazing :) So excited to see you doing this! You rock!!
    2706 days ago
    What a wonderful experience and such beautiful scenery too! We visited Philadelphia a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing with us!
    2706 days ago
    I am so proud of are AMAZING!!! i'm glad you had of the bling, please!!!
    Love you!
    2706 days ago
  • MOM4407BECKY
    Sounds like a wonderful. How did you get all those wonderful pictures while you were walking. Amazing.
    2706 days ago
    Sounds wonderful (except for the stereotypically attired South Philly chick)!! Great photos, too!! Thanks for sharing! I'm so proud of you, Cat! What else is new?! LOL
    2706 days ago
    Beautiful pictures! It sound like you had a great time and the race support was awesome. I think I may need to put this on my list. I'm a PA native and I've heard great things about both the half and the full. I have a friend who was supposed to run the marathon but got a stomach bug on Friday. Sad for her.

    You're setting a blazing racing pace. What's next?
    2706 days ago
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