Sunday, December 20, 2009

Race Day, 11/22/09-The Philadelphia Marathon, Part III

I had just made the turn away from the finish line and started heading in the direction of mile 14. A woman appeared next to me and suddenly stated "Where the hell is the damn finish line?" I looked at her, and asked if she was doing to half marathon. She was. I told her she had missed the turn and needed to go back. I don't know how anyone could have missed it. There were so many signs and announcements. I guess she was pretty darned tired.

I left the yelling supporters and headed up a hill. Soon, I was in total quiet. I didn't see anyone. I was a bit nervous that I had somehow gotten off the race route, but I soon saw the sign for mile 14. I headed down a hill, then I was on a four lane highway running along the river. From there, the race was an out and back to a small town called Manayunk. I was seeing all the runners heading toward the finish, and hearing people say things like "Don't worry, you will be in Boston." I, however, would not be in Boston as I still had half a race to finish.

I was nearing mile 15 when I heard the ambulance. I never did see the person who needed the ambulance, but I did run past the emergency workers and volunteers. I was just happy it was not me needing medical attention. It was a long boring road out to Manayunk. There were not many spectators along this road, so it was harder to stay running. I did soon see our friends Gary, Kari, and Chris as they headed back to the museum. I still had miles to go.

The town of Manayunk was so cute. All of the local bars and restaurants were open and many had outdoor seating. People cheered us runners as they enjoyed their brunch. I saw several of my Galloway friends, including Eric who had run a marathon in Delaware the day before. He yelled so loud when he saw me, it really made me feel great.

I had been calling Bill all through the race giving me updates to my position. I called him again around mile 23 where I needed yet another rest stop (I swear I have never had to go during a training run, but I went twice in this race!) There was a man shouting at the runners "Pain is weakness leaving the body!" It is one of my favorite quotes, and I had to chuckle. I told him I must have a lot of weakness. A female runner next to me said that wasn't true or else I would no longer be running. She was right.

The miles from 23 to 26 went by so quickly. I was back at the museum, knowing that my goal was within reach. I saw my step brother, Jamie, waiting for me with a huge grin on his face. He ran with me and took a video of my finish. I saw my step mom, then Bill taking pictures right near the 26 mile marker. My dad, aunt, and uncle were there, too. By then, I knew there were no more walk breaks, so I just kept running. I finished in 5:54, beating my goal by 6 minutes. I was so happy to receive my medal - it is beautiful.

My family took such good care of me after the race. After all of the hugs and kisses, they went to get me water, broth, fruit and a famous Philly pretzel. I had my picture taken by the marathon sign, and even got to see my friend Hardin. It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I am so happy that I was able to share it with my family.

After a stop back at the hotel to clean up and a good bye to my family members, Bill and I head out in search of every runner's favorite post race refreshment, beer. We went to a bar called Monk's where we had some great Belgium beer and burgers. We later met our friends for dinner and we all celebrated a great race day by eating more food and drinking more beer.

I so enjoyed the Philadelphia Marathon. It was a great race in a wonderful city. The route was good, the people were wonderful, and there are so may things to do and see. I would recommend this race to anyone. Thank you, City of Brotherly Love. I had a fantastic time!

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