My eighth marathon is in the books. Sunday was a picture perfect running day, and Mama Dish and I had a great time running our respective races.
Despite one MAJOR fail, (NO soft pretzels at the finish line) I think it was a fabulous race. Here’s my Top 10 list:
10. Clif Bar gel stops. Once I realized I lost TWO of my four gels during the first few miles (darn safety pins) the kind folks handing out gels at several points during the race were a sight for sore eyes.
9. Dogs. There seemed to be an unusual amount of dogs out with their cheering owners. Some barked, and some looked confused as to why so many crazy humans were all chasing each other and why aren’t we allowed to join too???
8. Adorable signs. I saw a man… standing alone… holding a stuffed hippo, which was holding a sign that said, “Stay Strong Stacy.” If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is.
7. The Drexel Greek Crowd. As we ran through Drexel’s campus, we passed several frat houses. Wouldn’t you know there were guys and gals outside cheering. Some looked a little hungover. A few were (still?) drinking. But God love ‘em they were out there at 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Extra credit for all of you.
6. The Cheer Zone at Mile 11. This group of people blasting music was no ordinary cheer section. There was a man dressed as a unicorn, women in sequined cocktail dresses, and I think I high-fived a man with giant stuffed crab claws. No bopping and clapping here. These people were dancing as if they were in a night club. Booty shaking = energy boost.
5. The 4:30 pace group. The middle miles were a struggle for me. By mile 17 I was all over the road… flying, then shuffling. I was having trouble concentrating and I was getting frustrated. Then, I saw a runner holding that 4:30 sign with a few people in tow. I’ve never run with a pace group before, but when I saw him it became my goal to stay with him. And I did, all the way to the end. While I did not finish in 4:30, having someone to pace me and keep me steady was a Godsend. Thanks, Joe.
4. Yuengling in Manayunk. Manayunk is one of the most interesting parts of the course, and there’s lots of people out cheering. As is tradition, people here set up their own beer stations, ready to hand out shots of beer as if it was water. Most decline. Normally I would, but in a moment of weakness I grabbed one, and down the hatch it went. Probably not the best idea, but it tasted good all the same.
3. Snickers at Mile 22. A young girl handed me something. At first I thought it was a mirage. A fun size Snickers? Couldn’t be! Oh, but it was. And it was the most delicious Snickers bar I’ve ever eaten.
2. NYC Would-be Marathoners. I saw several runners with their New York Marathon bibs pinned to their backs, along with messages saying, “Thanks, Philly.” The Philadelphia Marathon opened up 3,000 spots to runners registered for New York after the race was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. It was a nice gesture, and it made me happy to see it did not go unappreciated.
1. The finish line. Never gets old.
Taken moments after crossing the finish line in 4:39.
The medal isn’t too shabby, either.