Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend, I packed up the family for a racecation to Philadelphia. My friends Vic and Mer over at Scootadoot always have a good time when they run this race weekend. So I decided to sign up for the half this year. It did not disappoint!

We stayed at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown. I chose this location because it was the closest hotel to the start. A bit pricey, but to me it was worth it. It was just a couple minute walk before I was within the secure area. It was also only a 15 minute walk to the Convention Center for the expo.

I picked up my bib and awesome race shirt on Saturday with no problems and even walked around the expo a bit to shop. I was able to do this because my kids and husband were kept occupied at the Kids Zone! I walked around super quickly and made my way back to them only to find that I had to wait for them to finish. They were making bandanas to wear to cheer me on! It was adorable.

Kids Zone for the win. The kids wore these at the finish line cheering for me.
Also on Saturday, we ate dinner with Alex's Lemonade Stand. It was really nice to meet other runners, especially Malinda Ann of Twins Run. I am proud to announce that I raised $3260 for ALSF to help fight childhood cancer. It was an amazing experience running for Team Lemon and I am so glad I did it.

Sunday morning came quickly. I never sleep well the night before a race. I am always worried I will oversleep. I got ready and was out the door. I arrived way too early. I want to say I was there by 5:30. I had heard nightmares of security being crazy at other races, so I didn't want to take any chances. Well I got there ahead of everyone else because there was no one in line at all. That did change though, the lines got pretty crazy I heard so I am glad I was there early. I was able to use a port-a-potty with no lines and sit on a bench and relax before heading over to the ALSF tent.

I waited at the tent a bit and finally decided I should head over to my corral at 6:30. From there, it was a 20 minute walk to the orange corral! It was the second last corral. There were tons of people still in line for the port-a-potties as I made my way back. I was surprised. The race ended up starting 15 minutes late. I am not sure if that was because of security lines or if the bit they said about having to tow a car off the course was really true. In any event, it got chilly waiting around. I had a throwaway shirt and gloves but the temperature had gone down to about 45 at race start compared to 52 when I left the hotel. It was fine to run in though, really comfortable actually. Just cold to wait in.

I ended up taking off my shrug and buff after two miles because I was too warm.

View from the orange corral waiting to start.
Once the race started, the corrals moved fairly quickly. I started about 23 minutes after the first corral. I was on my way.
Start Line
The slogan for race weekend was "Run Fast, Run Far, Run Philly!" Well let's just say I did all three. I ran fast, too fast in the beginning, I ran far - 13.1 miles is no joke, and I had such a great time running Philly!

I was trying to PR for the fourth time this year so I took zero pictures throughout the race. As I mentioned, I went out too fast. The adrenaline of the race got to me and somehow my first two miles were 9:55! Eeeep, I don't run that fast ever! I am more of an 11:00 minute mile girl. I was shooting for a 10:30 this time around. It was just easy to get swept up in the excitement. My GPS was acting whacky too. I think all the tall buildings were interfering. It would turn off and pause occasionally or tell me I was running 8:45. So toward the end of the race I wasn't depending on it too much. But I really should have.

We ran by Love Park, through some neighborhoods I didn't know, by Independence Hall, along some shops where the spectators were crowding the streets - they really should have been about 5 steps back on the curb, by Drexel University, up a hill, by the zoo, up a huge hill!!!!!, along the river, and then back to the art museum for the finish. I never felt too crowded and was able to run my own pace the whole race. That hill was crazy and I shuffled my way up it, but it definitely slowed me down after. I slowed too much, which is where I should have been paying attention to my watch more. My last couple miles were 11:00.

I hit the finish line at 2:21:20. I was off my PR by 1:40. I was disappointed, but only for a fleeting moment. This was my second fastest race ever! I had raised so much money for ALSF! And I got the most amazing medal ever! I could hear jingling when I finished and I wondered what it was. Turns out it was the medals!!! They ring!

So happy to have had an awesome race for Team Lemon with my family cheering me on!

Awesome race shirt.

We also got heat sheets, which for the first time after a race, I wore the entire time back to the hotel. The chicken broth with rice really hit the spot - it was nice and hot and salty goodness. The soft pretzel was also amazing! I liked that they had bags for us to load up on all the goodies - bananas, oranges, orange and apple juice, chips and cashews. It was really a great post race experience.

I met up with my family very easily after the 10 minute walk out of the finishers chute. The kids wanted to see the Rocky statue so we walked all the way back to the art museum and up the steps!! I think walking up and down the steps was a bigger feat than running 13 miles.

When in Philly, you must stand in Rocky's footsteps, right?
I highly recommend the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. I loved the race, the shirt, the medal, the post race goodies, everything about it really.


  1. Love reading this so much! Way to represent Team Lemon and do such an amazing job with fundraising for such an important and worthy cause. I truly wish we could have seen each other over the weekend but I suppose it wasn't meant to be this time. However it sounds like you had a truly amazing race! It's very easy to get swept up in the excitement of the first 2 miles, right? The music, the people, everything! ;) Can't wait to see you next time around! xo

    1. I missed seeing you too. I should have set up a time to meet you at expo. Next time we totally should. Thanks for introducing me to the race!

  2. What a great job! Glad you had so much fun celebrating all the money you raised! Maybe I'll have to brave the cold one day to hit this one with you and the Chicks.

  3. Great job Bonnie! You did an amazing job fundraising for Team Lemon! Sounds like you had an amazing time.

    This is on my list and it sounds like it hits some of my favorite spots in Philly. We are way overdue for a trip to Lew's home :) This woukd be a great way to do it.

    1. Thank you!! You definitely should run this one!

  4. You are a rockstar! Congrats on the fundraising and the run!