Friend: This is my friend Jess, she runs marathons. She's even won marathons.
Jess: I don't run marathons. I've actually never run a marathon.
Friend: No, you totally run marathons, you've done a ton of them, you even won a few, I know you did.
Jess: I've really never run a marathon, I do triathlons.
Friend: Oh, same thing.
I've had this conversation about 938792 times in the last several years. It's true, I've never run a marathon (okay I technically "did" a marathon at IMC but I would hardly call that "running" a marathon).
Anyway, last weekend I (stupidly) decided to do the Philadelphia Marathon. The race was sold out so I bought a bib off of a dude who was injured and couldn't run. I felt a little like a bandit but not really since I at least legitimately paid for it. Yes, I did my first marathon as a 33 year old doctor named Ping.
I flew into Newark on Friday and spent the night in a hotel and took the train into Philly on Saturday morning ... okay afternoon. I ended up walking way too much and probably eating all the wrong things.
Saturday night I stayed with my very dear friend Jon who was kind enough to give up his bed for me and my other dear friend Mimi who was running the half.
We woke up around 4:45 AM (1:45 Seattle time) ate a light breakfast and we were on our way.
Mimi and I parted ways around 6:40 so I could pee and line up and so she could find some safety pins.
I managed to find the 3:40 pace group (just follow the estrogen cloud). I had originally thought I could do 3:30 but I didn't want to be too ambitious on my first marathon. Also, I really didn't train very well for the race. I hadn't done a long run in about a month and hadn't been running much over 20 mpw for the months leading up to the race.
Kind of an aside but I've actually trained for an not run 3 or 4 marathons. This time I decided not to train for the marathon but still run it.
Anyway, we set off in the 3rd or 4th wave at around 7:06 AM. The pace felt easy and comfortable. It was a little tight since we were such a huge pace group and I was trying not to get annoyed with one particularly pushy girl ... I'll just call her "pushy."
I just focused on staying with our pacer although pushy liked to be closer to him than anyone, checking the mile splits she had written on her arm obsessively. Around mile 7 we went by a water station and pushy actually f'ing shoved me out of the way to get some water.
Running through the crowds at the half mark was a really nice boost. The pace group was ahead of schedule by about 40 seconds.
Around mile 14 or 15 pushy started to fade and we dropped her ... too bad so sad.
At mile 16 or 17 I started to get a cramp in my left quad. Run it off. By mile 19 my other quad was cramping as were my feet and my calves. Luckily there were people handing out beer on the side of the road. Yes, I took some ... and I took some more after the turnaround.
Little by little I started pulling away from the pace group. I just wanted this thing to be over and I didn't feel like I needed the pacer anymore.
Around mile 23 I realized I wasn't going to make it to the finish without a pit stop. I pulled into an utterly disgusting portapotty and when I came back out the 3:40 pace group was just coming by. I passed them again and rationalized myself through the last few miles ("just a lap around greenlake ... just a jog to the track and back ... just 4 times around the track ... just down to the grocery store and back")
Everything was cramping soooooo bad by the end. Check out my badass pain grimace.
I finished with a 3:38:34 chip time. I would have qualified for Boston if I hadn't been too irresponsible to register on time and actually run under my own name. I guess that's my punishment, if I want to run Boston, I have to do another damn marathon.
The walk back to Jon's house was about 10 blocks and took us roughly 45 minutes including two pit stops.
Jon was also my hero and got me 3 bags of ice and a big cup of tea for my incredibly painful ice bath.
I spent the next few days completely unable to walk. I had to take stairs backwards and was walking at about a 1 hour/mile pace.
I do want to do another one. Maybe next time I'll actually train for the bitch.
Mind The Gap
6 months ago