Monday, November 21, 2011

race recap: phila half marathon 2011

i did it!! i completed my first half marathon! it was a tough race but looking back, i loved it because it was the most physically challenging thing i have done. the race started at 7am, so shawn dropped me off around 6am.  i had an hour to kill. it was dark out, and i was cold..what to do for an hour before race time? so i figured i would pee...then i headed over towards to fountains in front of the art museum where there was a group doing some yoga & stretching.  but that was over by 6:20! so...pee again? ok! by now, more people had arrived so i had a short wait in line. afterwards, i headed to find my corral.  i had signed up with an anticipated finish time of 1:45, placing me in the black corral - it was set up to be the wheel chair racers, the elite, maroon corral, then black.  so i started out towards the front of the pack, which was good & bad. i had trained hard in the sense that i had run  A LOT. but not hard in the sense that i had really pushed myself to run those miles at a fast pace. being place in the 1:45 corral was something that i thought would be out of reach, but at the same time it could also be great motivation.

about 15 minutes before the race started i looked at my garmin & realized it was frozen. it was stuck on 6:05 am:(  i don't know how to restart it without plugging it in to charge so i started freaking out.  but, i decided not to focus on that & just concentrate on running. i knew that there would be mile markers along the way, so these was not the end of the world.
(i took these before we started)
and before i knew it, it was time ... & i was off! i was immediately surprised with the racers that i was running with.  they were fast, realllly fast!  this was a completely different class of runners from the broad street run. these were real runners. i was scared, i'm not going to sugar coat it..i thought i was doomed! but in what felt like 10-15 minutes we were already at mile marker 3. because my garmin was not working, i really had no way to track my mileage besides the mile markers along the road. i can usually figure my miles out by the number of songs that play...but i couldn't even focus on my music, i was just trying to keep up with the runners around me! when i saw mile marker 3 i was thinking, "ok, i got this!"

but, i was tired already. and it was only mile 3...then 4 came and went...around mile 5 i felt like i needed my gel.  i only packed one (figuring i would need it around mile 8..wrong!) so i listened to my body & took it.  i knew they were offering one around mile 9-10.

the whole time during miles 4 & 5 i was keeping my eyes PEELED for shawn & chris (shawn's best man)...turning corners, it was hard to search the crowds so i focused on the run banking on the fact that they were looking for me & would scream my name as i went by.  and then i heard it... ALLLLLLLLLLLISONNNNNN!! seeing them gave me a much needed boost!! i felt a smile that lasted a few miles.....that is until we headed towards drexel and the slight incline started.  and this was when i started hating myself.....and just when i thought it couldn't get any worse - it did. and if i thought i hated myself before, well now, i literally wanted to die.

and i'm not exaggerating. i was hating life, questioning why i would ever want to pay money to torture myself, wishing i could fast forward time & be out somewhere sippin' on something yummy & be done with this hell!  at this point i was around mile 9-10 and we were near the phila zoo & please touch museum.  i had to pee.  i was hurting.  i was dead tired, i couldn't catch my breath, i could feel my heart pounding. but i pushed through it. i don't know how. but i just kept going and then it was sweet relief, because there was a light decline and the rest of the race i just kind of coasted through. i took the cliff shot they offered around mile 10, i definitely felt like i needed it after those hills.

the last two miles of the course, i was pretty familiar with.  they were part of the end of the kelly drive loop that i had run many times during my training. and before i knew it i could hear mayor michael nutter cheering on the half marathoners approaching the finish line.  i could see the clock & it said 1:47.  could it be true? could i have really run that fast? and then i sprinted.  i put everything i had left into getting there as fast as i could.  i thought, ok i didn't make 1:45, but I HAVE to make it under 1:50.  there were not many people coming through the finish line at the same time as me, so i was able to have my moment & high five the mayor (which i'm still pretty excited about! i am easily star struck, what can i say?) i tracked down shawn & we high fived & fist pounded...that's how we do;)

and then he took these extrememly dorky & over excited photos of me:

(hello bean pole in the back)

post race, i showered and we were about to head out the door for celebrations when i remembered to check my official results online:

Allison Libby #21131

Philadelphia, PA
Age: 26 Gender: F
DistanceHALF MAR
Clock Time01:46:28
Chip Time01:46:20
Overall Place967 / 9413
Gender Place318 / 5898
Division Place96 / 1459
Age Grade61.9%
it was at this time that i started jumping up & down with excitement! i was wayyyyyyyy closer to my goal than i ever thought i could be. this was the fastest i have ever run for that distance.  as i mentioned, i trained hard in that i had logged a lot of miles but i have never really focused on my time. knowing that i can average a mile at that pace really changes my future race goals! i wish my garmin had been working because then i could see my actual splits, the % incline & calories burned..but whaddya gone do!

and then we celebrated!

running the philadelphia half marathon was one of my biggest goals & it feels so good to have accomplished something that i trained so hard for.  now, it's onto bigger & better goals!!



  1. I am so extremely proud of you! I often wonder why people pay money to torture themselves, but reading this I can see why. I truly think you are so awesome, and know you worked so hard at accomplishing this whats next? I can't wait to hear about your next journey!