Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

by - Monday, November 21, 2011

I put off writing this blog post all day yesterday, thinking by this morning I would have a better idea of what to say about yesterday's race.

Family and friends race morning
Some friends and family who ran the race

But I've still got nothing.

I didn't have a ton of fun (mainly because I was in pain the whole time).

I didn't break any new time goals (in fact I finished slower than my last couple of races).

I ran with a friend, which I thought would be helpful in pushing me toward breaking the two hour mark, but in the end I think screwed me over. I felt guilty the entire time because my friend is so much faster than I am and I just felt like I was slowing us down.

in corral
In the corrals, probably the last time I smiled the whole race.

At the end of the day, it's my fault. I didn't run my own race. I let me friend set the pace and I tried to keep up. We started out slower than my goal pace, but probably still too fast for me.

My legs felt like deadweight for most of the race. I took a short walk break through the water stop between miles three and four and after that my legs felt a little looser, but they tightened up again not much later.

I couldn't even enjoy the spectators standing three and four deep along Chestnut Street because I was focusing on my crappy breathing, how sore and tired my legs were and how everything about this race felt wrong.

Spectators on Chestnut St.

I passed my dad somewhere after the 10K and seeing him perked me up a little bit (he also got some shots of great signs along Chestnut Street while trying to take pictures of me and my mom).

This one was my favorite: Hurry up Caitlin, it's your move in Words With Friends.
Also my mom is the one in the pink shirt and black tights.

By the time I got to mile seven I was angry. Angry at my friend for running the race with me when I wanted to run it by myself. Angry with myself for not being able to run my own race.

After the next water stop, I finally put on my music, tuned out everything around me, friend included, and tried to have fun.

The music was definitely helpful and gave me a small pick me up. I high-fived the Drexel frat boys and pushed up the big hill from mile seven to eight without a real problem. I felt strong through mile nine, but the wheels fell off when I was going up the steep hill between miles nine and ten.

I stopped to walk and take a Gu, but at that point, mentally I was over the race. My legs hurts, my ankle hurt and I just wanted to be done. I felt so defeated.

And I think a huge part of it was that I felt like I was failing in front of a friend.

If I go out and have a bad race when I'm running by myself, no one else knows.

But in this race, I felt like my crappy failure of a run was on display for my friend to see, and failing in front of a crowd sucks so much more than failing when no one is watching.

By miles 11 and 12, both of my quads were seizing horribly and I could feel the blisters on the bottom of my feet.

I somehow managed to enjoy the race for the last .1. I smiled coming down the hill, seeing the finish line and listening to the crowds. And I was happy to cross the finish line.

Medal and bib

My final time was 2:07:51.

I wish I had a mulligan to do this race over again. I would do so many things differently. I would listen to my music from the start. I would set my own pace. I would run by myself and run my own race and be happy with whatever the outcome because I know I gave my best.

Live and learn, I guess.

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