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Philadelphia Marathon - RunMarathon


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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Philadelphia Marathon
50F / 10C
Overcast
Total Time = 3h 28m 52s
Overall Rank = 1336/10082
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 221/949
Pre-race routine:

I got up at 5 AM and ate a cliff bar, banana, ate some fresh strawberries and drank 2 cups of black coffee. If I had to do this over, I would have skipped the strawberries.
Event warmup:

Stretched some.
Run
  • 3h 28m 52s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 58s  min/mile
Comments:

I ran the Steamtown Marathon last year attempting to qualify for Boston, and squeaked in under the wire with a 3:15:27. Then the BAA changed the admission process and it turned out my time was not fast enough. This year the qualifying standards are more stringent, and for me I needed a sub 3:10. I'd run a 1:29:07 stand-alone half marathon six months ago, so why not go for a sub 3:10.

Just like last year, the event was well run and organized. The Philly organizers did a top notch job. I started in the maroon corral and when the US Troops counted us down and we started, I was across the mat in a few seconds.

The first three miles were through the heart of Philly, then down beside the Ben Franklin Bridge, and adjacent the Delaware River. I settled into a comfortable groove and was averaging a 7:00 flat pace.

Miles four through six bring you on a slight incline up through South Philly. The crowds were decent here and I hit the 10k mark in 44:10, 7:06 pace. I had about :50 seconds banked against my 3:10 pace wristband.

Mile seven is the first decent climb and real hill up 30th St. I stayed within myself and ran my own race up to the top. We then went down a nice downhill past the Philadelphia Zoo and made a left-hand turn into the picturesque park. The Hill at mile nine started sapping some energy from me and it was the first time I felt myself not holding my pace. I had a good idea at this point that my 'banked' time was gone. Exactly as my foot crossed the Mile ten flag, I was dead even with my 3:10 pace bracelet with a time of 1:12:28 - 7:14 avg. I was hoping this was a positive omen cause I knew I had a few nice downhills leaving the park. And sure enough by Mile eleven I was able to get :10 seconds back. But that's when my GI issues hit.

Around eleven and a half miles, the beautiful Schuylkill River to our left, my lower abdomen started gurgling. The strawberries, perhaps? I needed to find a port-a-potty, and quick!! This was very disheartening but I knew I had little control over the situation. I started seeing the signs that read "Marathoners Stay Left/ Half Marathoners Stay Right." At the same time a herd of runners came up behind me. I figured it was a bunch of half marathoners kicking hard for the last mile. Nope. It was the 3:10 pace group. I was instantly engulfed by thirty or so runners following a 3:10 sign surrounded in white and red balloons, bobbing up and down. I didn't even know there was a 3:10 pace group! Okay, here's my chance to just feed off the group around me. I buried my head and just let the group carry me along as I tried to ignore my worsening abdominal cramps. The cramps didn't let up and I had to let the group slip away. My sole focus was scanning up ahead for the nearest port-a-potty!

I passed the 13.1 halfway mark at 1:34:30; :30 seconds ahead of my pace band time of 1:35. The 3:10 pace group stayed right in front of me for the next two miles, the cramps went away temporarily and I still held on to my BQ hope. But then the cramps came back, and my pace for the last few miles was averaging 7:30's. UGH. Mile sixteen was an 8:45 mile due to my port-a-pit stop. The gig was officially up.

I resorted to Plan B, a sub 3:20, 8:00 pace. It sucked giving up the pace and my BQ dream but it just wasn't meant to be. I decided to make the best of it though. The same time I gave up the ghost my left groin that I aggravated a few weeks ago started complaining, and my quads started feeling sore. At mile nineteen my right hamstring started cramping and I thought, "Oh shitt, this may be a very long last 10k." But then I remembered my salt caps and I immediately swallowed two of them.

The last 10k was pretty much a death shuffle. I was in a decent amount of pain. Aerobically I was fine. I had plenty of energy because I took a gel every 45 minutes. But my groin was hurting and my legs in general were hurting. Badly. I walked three times. I had a few 8:45 miles, but mostly 9:30's with a 10:00+ mile at mile 25. I've had my fair share of road races and triathlons where I've finished strong, passing everyone; and many like this. I've always learned more from my dreadful finishes.

Finally I saw the 25-mile mark, and knew sub 3:20 was long gone, and I just needed to finish this thing up. So I buried my head and ran the entire last 1.2 miles and just let the roaring, supportive crowd carry me in. I was happy to see that finish line, and was even happier that I didn't have to sprint to beat anytime. As soon as I crossed the finish line I saw my wife and kids and all was perfect in the world. :)
What would you do differently?:

1.) Not eat strawberries on race morning.
2.) Not start a marathon with a nagging groin injury.
3.) Not let myself get this fat before an endurance event. I raced a solid 8 pounds above my average race weight.
4.) And most-importantly: Not fake marathon training! Despite a two-year consistent running base of roughly 2400 miles; that base just allowed me to finish the distance. It didn't attribute to any marathon-specific speed at 15+ miles. To race your best stand-alone marathon, Pfitz suggests base training for a month at around 25 to 30 miles per week, and then commencing an 18-week Marathon Program. Silly me had maybe five or six weeks of marathon-specific training, and a groin injury from building up my weekly mileage waaay too quickly. Of course I know better.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

What limited my ability to perform was a lack of marathon training. For me, I can't specifically train for Ironmans and Marathons. It just doesn't work for me. So my focus over the next few years will be Ironman triathlons, and when the time is right, I will set aside five to six-months for marathon-specific training, and I'm confident I'll be able to qualify for Boston.

Event comments:

I'll take the Philadelphia Marathon over the NYC Marathon any day. It's one of my favorite marathons. It's a tour through American history. It's picturesque. The course is fast. Just an awesome city and awesome race all around.




Last updated: 2011-05-16 12:00 AM
Running
03:28:52 | 26.2 miles | 07m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 221/949
Overall: 949/10082
Performance:
Course:
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2011-11-21 9:48 AM

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Subject: Philadelphia Marathon


2011-11-21 9:56 AM
in reply to: #3909948

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

I'm sorry it didn't go the way you had hoped, but that is an excellent race report. GI issues are the bane of all runners.And I'm glad you still think highly of Philly.

Between the porta-potty and the salt tablets, do you think you could have dehydrated and perhaps that's part of the reason for cramping?

2011-11-21 10:14 AM
in reply to: #3909965

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
BrianRunsPhilly - 2011-11-21 10:56 AM

I'm sorry it didn't go the way you had hoped, but that is an excellent race report. GI issues are the bane of all runners.And I'm glad you still think highly of Philly.

Between the porta-potty and the salt tablets, do you think you could have dehydrated and perhaps that's part of the reason for cramping?

I think it was the strawberries!  I'm making myself a promise to not eat berries before a race next time.    Regardless, I still would have fallen apart the last six or seven miles, for sure.

2011-11-21 10:44 AM
in reply to: #3909948

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TORONTO
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

With every race you learn a little more about yourself and how you can improve - This race was no different. 

It's a shame you were uncomfortable but you still finished a MARATHON in a really respectable time.  CONGRATS!!!

2011-11-21 1:21 PM
in reply to: #3909948

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
So in sum, you ran a sub-3:30 marathon, overcoming GI issues, groin cramps, bad berries, and less than ideal marathon training, finishing in the top 15% on a perfect fall day in the city of brotherly love. Yeah, I'd say it was a good day to be Bobby.
2011-11-21 1:39 PM
in reply to: #3909948

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WA
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

Sorry your day didn't go as planned. 

Congrats on a great time and finishing an IM & Marathon in one season.  That's huge!



2011-11-21 2:29 PM
in reply to: #3909948

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Expert
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Long Island, NY
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

Sooo....  Next year?

2011-11-21 5:30 PM
in reply to: #3909948

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Master
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Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
Guts my man, Guts.  You don't know what you can do unless you try.  You went for it.  That's how it's done.  You already know you can run a marathon, you laid it out there and went for the glory.  Respect.  I wish I saw  you out there.  I was in my own little daze
2011-11-21 7:26 PM
in reply to: #3910298

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon

yeats - 2011-11-21 2:21 PM So in sum, you ran a sub-3:30 marathon, overcoming GI issues, groin cramps, bad berries, and less than ideal marathon training, finishing in the top 15% on a perfect fall day in the city of brotherly love. Yeah, I'd say it was a good day to be Bobby.

Isn't there a thread on Body Glide?

Ugh, I'm tired, can't believe I stayed up to watch the Eagles. 

Where's the Aleve? Starting to feel sore

 

I ran the NJ Marathon this spring with someone who had GI problems and it was awful. I have no idea how you toughed this one out and still finished sub-3:30. That's some serious mental toughness.

2011-11-22 7:37 AM
in reply to: #3909948

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Veteran
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Richmond
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
Great job sucking it up and sticking to it through the end.  Nice race report too.
2011-11-22 9:12 AM
in reply to: #3910838

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
BrianRunsPhilly - 2011-11-21 8:26 PM

yeats - 2011-11-21 2:21 PM So in sum, you ran a sub-3:30 marathon, overcoming GI issues, groin cramps, bad berries, and less than ideal marathon training, finishing in the top 15% on a perfect fall day in the city of brotherly love. Yeah, I'd say it was a good day to be Bobby.

Isn't there a thread on Body Glide?

Ugh, I'm tired, can't believe I stayed up to watch the Eagles. 

Where's the Aleve? Starting to feel sore

 

I ran the NJ Marathon this spring with someone who had GI problems and it was awful. I have no idea how you toughed this one out and still finished sub-3:30. That's some serious mental toughness.

I think it's less mental toughness, and more-like insane idiocy!! 



2011-11-22 11:51 AM
in reply to: #3911445

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Marathon
Dream Chaser - 2011-11-22 10:12 AM
BrianRunsPhilly - 2011-11-21 8:26 PM

yeats - 2011-11-21 2:21 PM So in sum, you ran a sub-3:30 marathon, overcoming GI issues, groin cramps, bad berries, and less than ideal marathon training, finishing in the top 15% on a perfect fall day in the city of brotherly love. Yeah, I'd say it was a good day to be Bobby.

Isn't there a thread on Body Glide?

Ugh, I'm tired, can't believe I stayed up to watch the Eagles. 

Where's the Aleve? Starting to feel sore

 

I ran the NJ Marathon this spring with someone who had GI problems and it was awful. I have no idea how you toughed this one out and still finished sub-3:30. That's some serious mental toughness.

I think it's less mental toughness, and more-like insane idiocy!! 

Well, there's that too... But look at it this way: among the rest of us idiots, you just became the alpha idiot

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