Since the race was in Philadelphia, we drove down the night before and stayed with our friends who live there. Megabus was a sponsor of the ODDyssey, so they were offering "free" bus services from the Sonesta Hotel to the start line and back after the race (you had to pay a $1.50 reservation fee, so I don't know why they said it was free). The buses were supposed to pick up from the hotel every 15 minutes, ending at 6:30. We reserved spots for the 6:15 bus so we would have a cushion of time in case something went wrong and it's a good thing we did.
We walked from the apartment to the hotel in the morning and when we got there, the line for the bus was wrapped all the way around the block. We waited and waited and didn't end up getting on a bus until 6:45. As you can probably imagine, I was really annoyed and anxious that we were going to miss the start of the race. By the time the bus arrived at the start line, the national anthem was already being sung, so we ran across the field and got in line quickly with the other runners. The one positive thing about waiting so long for the bus was that we got to use the nice hotel bathrooms instead of the porta potties at the start. ;)
The start of the race seemed to go smoothly and there was enough room that everyone seemed able to run at their own pace. There was slight congestion at one or two points, but nothing bad enough that I had to slow significantly or walk. The course itself through Fairmount Park was beautiful and it made me wish that I lived closer and could run there more often.
It wound up being a humid and sunny 73 degrees and by the time I hit half a mile, I was already damp with sweat. That had me worried because I've never run a half marathon in such warm weather, but the organizers had a lot of water stops (although not enough stops had Gatorade too, but I brought my own bottle with Nuun so at least I had something other than straight water).
The last half mile of the race was a ridiculous uphill section. I'm all for a challenge, but this was just cruel. I knew before we signed up that the hill was there, but I thought, "oh people are just babies, I run hills all the time, no big deal." This hill is a big deal. I did manage to muster up enough energy to keep up my run (barely), but the majority of people near me had started walking at this point.
I ended up finishing in 2:09:30 officially, and 2:05:47 according to my watch. I stopped once to stretch out my hips and once to use the restroom, so I definitely would have PRed if it weren't for that. I'm annoyed with myself that I wasted so much time, but I honestly didn't think I'd have any chance of running anywhere near my PR with it being so warm and humid.
I did learn some important lessons this weekend, though:
- Don't eat a slice of pizza the size of your head the night before your race. Half a slice would do.
- Don't wash that gigantic slice of pizza down with an equally huge strawberry Nutella crepe.
- Don't get 4 hours of sleep the night before your race.
- Don't wear flip flops to walk around the city the night before.
- Actually, just don't walk around the city the night before.
|A medal that doubles as a bottle opener... perfection.|