Wow, this is so overdue! This was my second running of the Philadelphia Marathon on the 10 year anniversary of my first time and first marathon. It was just after 911 so the details of that run are vivid. I have clear memories of a changed and weary world as we all stood there, pre-race, for the national anthem. It felt a little like running this race was a tribute that moment and to the last ten years of pretty consistent running. It still proves to be the factor that keeps me sane and healthy and connected to a great group of people.
The best part of this marathon was the beautiful fall race day. Philadelphia was full of colorful foliage and crisp blue skies. The temperature was perfect. It’s amazing how much you come to appreciate that on race day. It’s like a gift. Philadelphia offers a great marathon course. There are a few hills but nothing too daunting. There is much to look at and the crowd was great. It was a good running day for me –all except miles 20-26 (3:43 finish). I know that what happens in those miles is the heart of the marathon, but I struggled with them unlike I had before. I was crawling. My running LDF Andrea met me at mile 20 and her calm talking and encouragement really helped me to keep going. I can’t help but think age has something to do with it, but after hearing other older runners talk about this (there was a Masters Runners Panel at the Expo), I am now inclined to think it is my training that needs adjustment. I plan to work more on this is the coming year and before another race.
Jean (we are pictured above with Bart) and I (minimally) participated in the Runner’s World Challenge which had some great perks. We loved meeting Bart of course and the other editors from Runner’s World on the shake out run the day before. Their infectious enthusiasm for running and positive energy is great for both beginners and enthusiasts. The pre-race bathroom, no line bag check, warm hang-out room in the Four Seasons Hotel near the start was totally worth the money. Jean did their post-race massage and post race fruit smoothy which sounded like heaven. I would recommend doing the Runner’s World Challenge for any race if it’s in your budget.
I spent the post race time with my family. Having them there to cheer me on was an added treat. I love our marathon travel adventures away with the girls, but sometimes it is so sweet to have your children there (especially as young adults/teens) to see you do something hard. Simple as that—there is so much power in that as a parent. My oldest son surprised me by taking the train up from DC. It was a great moment to see him standing there with my daughter. They were shooing me away when I screamed and stopped to give them a hug. ”Don’t stop mom, keep running” as if I might actually win or something. My youngest son (16) was waving a “Go Monica-we love you ” sign as I passed him and my husband a little while later. Precious snapshot moments that I will treasure more than any medal.
It feels so good to get back out there after the race with a leisurely attitude towards training, a job well done and a confidence that keeps us going. A few months back I bought a Living Social Hot Yoga (also called “Bikram Yoga“) deal for five classes, and as I promised myself, I have now started going after the marathon. It’s been so good! I had my third class today and I am starting to get hooked. The heat was a little overwhelming at first, but now I can see this as a huge compliment to running. This full stretch of the body may be the added element needed for my continued running through the years! Happy Running and Happy Holidays to all!