My original idea when I signed up for this Philadelphia Marathon 2014, was to make it as my 2014 race closure. I hadn’t ran road marathon race since 2011, and I had been going off road for almost 2 years. So I thought it would be intriguing to pounding my feet and joint on the pavement while wearing a buckle.
In reality, I didn’t get my buckle, my injuries got worse. I was really worry the day before the race, since my left calf blew off after The Wagathon X for a few days. I had knee pain on walking downstairs, and when I was walking from my apartment to the expo, my legs had discomfort on every step.
At the pre race dinner, Kino asked me what was my goal. I thought I was just want to finish, tho I would hate myself if I finished over 4 hrs.
The Gun Time
Before I went to bed, I did my pre race ritual. While I prep up my flat runner and KT tape on my knee, I played my race sequence in my head, and see what would be my strategy.
A few minutes before the gun time, I had stretched more than I usually did, I was nervous for the upcoming grueling hours, and anxious like a pig going into a slaughter-house. Although the starting line that full of runners, made it look like a pack of cattle going to a slaughter-house.
From the distance, I saw the 3:35 pacer, and I was thinking to tag along with this group. I didn’t know what happened, when I started to run, i felt great and had no pain. So I picked up my pace and I passed the 3:35 group immediately.
I wasn’t using any GPS watch, so I had no idea what was my pace or mileage. I used a regular watch just to time out my shot block intake. I also didn’t pay attention on the aid station since I had my Orange Mud single barrel with full of Tailwind goodness. I knew I was moving too fast, but I thought I could pull it off.
Somebody told me the course would be flat, but in reality, it had plenty hills. Not too crazy tho. I was really mindful on those hills, I could crunch the uphill, but I was really careful on the downhill. I was afraid I would bust my knee, which magically had no pain.
For the first half, we ran through many different neighborhoods. The crowds were awesome. It was a bit chill that morning, but they were out and cheered, it was like a block party. Kids waved their hand for hi-5. Bands and DJ were playing pretty cool jams. I saw some residents gave away cookies, oranges and banana.
Intruders In The Shoes
Somewhere before the half point, before we ran along the river, I started to run on the street side over the grass and dirt. It was easier to pass people on that’s side, and it seemed only me who was on that side.
And I paid the price dearly. A mile or two later, in each foot, I felt there was a pebble poking my hoof. In trail race, I would definitely stop at the aid station and took care of it. But I didn’t want to stop, I felt good and it was such a fast course. So I just braced myself and ignored them.
Beer On The Run
Right after I passed the half marathon point, I saw the 3:25 pacer a few hundreds away ahead of me. I did my math, and I thought I was on 3:15 finish time pace. I decided to slow down and kept the distance from the pacer so i would not get provoked.
The second half of the course was an out and back. It was kind of bummer that we have less crowds. It was a little quiet.
On the mile 17 or 18, we got off from the main road and run a short out and back. On the down hill, I was probably started to get tired and lost my focus. My strides had been sloppy for the last few minutes. At that downhill, I could feel the pinch on my front feet became tender. Every foot steps became pain, and every step I was a getting far away from that 3:25 pacer.
By the end of the out and back, we ran through a neighborhood with a serious awesomely crowd. Too bad I could not give back a smile to them anymore, since I was in pain in every step. I lost the pacer already, I was probably slowing down for a minute/mile less. Then the magic happened. A group of people passed around beer to runners. I was thinking heck yeah, I grab one and gulped it down. The beer did not ease the pain nor made me run faster. But it just a reminder that run suppose to be fun, if I did not enjoy it anymore what was the point.
So I looked up and tried my best to having fun, cheered back to the crowds that always lifted up our spirit. In one point I saw plenty NY-ers cheering on the side. Kwab, Sally, Tiger, Sky, and some more I believe since it was a blur.
Then I saw the mile 26 mark, suddenly I stirred up and looked at my watch, it said 3:24. I was surprised and disbelieve, in a way I pulled it off. I speeded up and tried to hit the finished line before 3:30. I made my PR with 3:26. I was beyond happy. Even though I found out I had blood blister on both foot later on, but the rest of the day I was too happy. I felt it was unreal. Me and my feet against the odd. Specially after my DNF in Pinhoti, it felt great that I finally I did good. (PS. All my photo looked horrible tho)
In Philadelphia, we redefine the experience of what a marathon should be. A beautiful course, an engaging atmosphere—it’s no wonder we’re consistently listed among the top ten courses in the country, recognized for our flat terrain, mellow weather and spirited fans.
Expect beautiful views through Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River and neighborhood crowds gathering on sidewalks in University City and Manayunk. Weave through the well-traveled streets of our historic district, passing sights familiar to Franklin, Washington and the rest of the gang, and end your race speeding towards the steps of the majestic Art Museum.
Digital splits are provided at the 10K, 13.1 mile and 30K marks along the course, and fluid stations and spectator overlooks are set up throughout the course.
Oh, that’s another thing: the fans. You’d better get ready for the crowds, because each year, thousands of spectators line the course eager to cheer on runners. There’s nothing we love more in this town than a champion…all 30,000 of them.