Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

I'm so excited that I officially get to do a marathon race recap that I actually ran! 

It's so cool to actually say I'm a marathoner now. Man, I just can't even describe it. I've said I wanted to ran one my entire life and now I have and it's just .... surreal. 

I had a friend who equated it to childbirth (stick with me), and it's so true. In the middle of labor, you are probably thinking how awful and painful it is and that this will be your last child and then when you see that baby, all the pain is forgotten and all you can focus on is how much you love the baby. A marathon is the same way in that at about mile 20-26 you are asking God why in the world he would let you do this to yourself, but then when you cross the finish line, it's everything you could have dreamed and more. I'm addicted, and this is only the beginning. I'm going to be running these things for the rest of my life. I wanna be like 95 running a marathon.

This was mile 13 right after the halfway point when I was going 7:38 pace. I couldn't believe I felt good doing this pace but I did so I just kept going. So, let's begin: 

The start of the race is a gorgeous experience. All of the runners are corralled into their different areas ( I was in the black area). I was trying to look around and see someone that I thought looked experienced (such as a man that had on an Ironman finisher shirt on) and get behind them. The sun was just coming up, and I just took some deep breaths and prayed that my foot would not hurt ( I sprained a week and a half out) and that I would just finish. I had no expectations of time. I wanted that originally but I let it go because I didn't even know if my foot was going to let me finish. God had other plans... 

My feet felt like rocks for the first two miles because I had gotten stagnant in the morning, and it was so cold. I've never run on frozen feet so it was a weird sensation. At mile 2, I got a sharp pain in my foot and thought "Please no! Not this soon...." Tanner told me he was going to be at mile 6. I was looking for him and the roads had some dips in them just from wear and tear, and at mile 5, I rolled my ankle. I yelled a cuss word (sorry, it happened) but I was fine. It just scared more more than anything. 

Tanner jumped on the course at mile 6, hilariously, and ran with me for a minute asking me if I was okay and I told him that I was in pain but was just going to get comfortable with that level of pain and hope it didn't get worse. He told me my pace was fast and just to be careful with my pacing (he totally thought I would burn out lol). Shoot, I did too.

This course was mostly flat, but there were tons of little hills the first half and one massive hill at mile 10. I don't know why, but the way that my foot was in that position felt really good so I passed SO many people on the hills. I was like full steam ahead and then you have the down side once you get up the hill so then you are cruising. I went 7:24 that mile. In retrospect, #rookiemistake because it made me super winded for a good bit. However, I'm SO thankful that I was speedy in the beginning to make up for my ending, but it's also a catch 22 because maybe I hit the wall at the end because I went fast in the beginning 18, but who knows. It's all a learning game.

Mile 9-13 were fun just going through the city and people cheering on all the sides. It makes the time go by so fast, so I really don't remember much during this time. I was anticipating Tanner being at mile 13, so I just looked forward to that. He spotted me and yelled, and was able to get the pictures of me running. The picture below is hilarious. I felt awesome during this time. My foot pain was still the same, but I realized that it was probably going to stay about the same and I could deal with that.

Miles 13-16, I felt strong. I could tell that the aching in my legs was starting but it was fine and I was able to keep pace. My pace was all over the place in the beginning, and that's just inexperience in my opinion so I found a lady that I could tell has run many marathons and was looking at her clock so I knew I could pace behind her. After following her for about a mile, I let her know that I was pacing with her and I was a marathon newbie and if it was okay. She was the sweetest lady and encouraged me so much that I was doing incredible for my first marathon. If you look at my splits above, this is when I was the most consistent. There was another man that was running with us. We passed each other like 15 times during the race going back and forth, and ended up finishing basically at the same minute and it was super cool to bond with these people through the pain that was about to come.

Mile 16-18, I was just thinking how I was about to reach the point that I had never run before, and that scared me. That was basically my thoughts for the entire 2 miles.

Mile 18 was fine, but I lost pace with her. I couldn't really keep up, and I wanted to keep a pace that would allow me to finish. I told her my legs were aching really bad, and she said to take another gu so I did at the next water station. The issue was, Gatorade is normally given first then water. This station was different and they were all mixed, so I missed the water. I was honestly so upset because gu makes you super thirsty, so you will see my time was 8:06 this mile. This is where the pain started that I wasn't prepared for, and have never experienced. 

Mile 20-22, I would like to call the lost, dark miles. My pain in my legs was so awful, and it messed with my mind so much that I was like "I LITERALLY JUST CAN'T EVEN" #whitegirlprobz 

I decided I would walk for just a second to get my feet back, and so I did and this girl named Katilin that goes to UNC Med school (I found this out as we were running together), yells at me "COME ON COME ON, YOU'RE IN LINE FOR BOSTON. DONT' STOP. 6 miles, you can do this"

Want me to tell you my real thoughts? 

1. "Girl, I'm running a marathon here, can I have a hot second to walk" (Remember, my mind is unclear in these moments)

2. "I know I'm tougher than you, so why are you yelling at me?" (I'm so dang competitive, it's embarrassing)

3. "If you only knew about my foot you would think I'm less of a loser"

4. "I would never yell at someone I didn't know in a race."

5. "You are a God sent. Let's just freakin do this"

So, then we continued. I told her I was going to lose pace with her because I just didn't want to hold her back. That was at about 23.

Mile 23, there was a girl that had a sign "Make these last three miles your b***" and admitably, it inspired me. hahaha! 

THREE MILES. I AM GONNA FREAKIN MAKE BOSTON. GLORY TO GOD. SERIOUSLY! I knew by my time, as long as I didn't bonk, start walking and just kept moving, I would make it.

I must have gotten faster because I ran into Kaitlin again at mile 24, and she was like "Oh thank goodness, I needed some inspiration right now" and so we ran together some more. 

At 1.5 miles out, my phone said I was at 25 miles. I knew that I had run the long portion of the race or something and was confused on why but didn't care because either way, I was so close. You'll see I ran 0.5 mile further which actually added 4 minutes onto my time, but whatevs! haha

I hit the 25 mile mark by their standards, and I was like literally gritting my teeth. The people on the sides were saying things like "Katie, you are almost there. Don't give up now" My entire body felt like it was on fire, and my calves were like locking up. I had NOTHING in the tanks...at all. I ate some more candy (I ate lots of candy during the race and 3 gus).

I saw a clock that said 3:31 and I was 0.4 mile away from the finish from what I could tell. I started to panic. I did NOT work this hard to miss Boston ( I was so just delusional at this point because I KNEW that the clock was not right for me because I had started like 5 minutes after the guns went off just from the amount of people at the start and they clock that ). But, nevertheless it lit a cannon under me. I can't describe the pain but I was sprinting. I can't wait to see my finisher picture because that's when the tears began. 

I looked at my phone and Tanner was FREAKING OUT through text because he had gotten the text that I made Boston with a time of 3:27:53. It took me a long time to get to him because I had to walk through tons of people, and my walk was more....a waddle. This race official asked me if I was okay because I probably looked like I was dying as that's how I felt but I was crying with joy so he was like "woah, crazy lady on deck"

The best thing about this race was that normally I have recollections of all the thoughts that went through my mind and I have tons of topics that I cover in my head from my to-do list to my goals in life to prayers just because you get bored and pass the time, but this was different. I have no memories of thoughts other than mileage thoughts, calculations of where water stations are, calculations of if I was on track to make Boston, calculations of when I would see Tanner next, or calculations of how many minutes I could spare in the end if I lost steam.

I've never been so proud of myself in my life, and can't wait to do it again. Spoiler alert: Tanner and I are thinking about doing a 30 miler through the Adirondack Mountains on April 25th, his 27th birthday. We just want to finish so walk some, run some, and become ultra marathoners together! 

I'm hoping to run NYC Marathon next year, I'm looking into doing probably about 3 marathons next year (crazy I know). I have a half marathon scheduled for January, and in the meantime, you know I'll be lifting like crazy too!!! I love this life, and wouldn't have it any other way. My heart is so full.

With love and love of marathons,

Katie

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