Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

by Brenda Chroniak

The night before Philly I had an anxiety dream that I had to do a 4-hour training run—part of which I had to run through Brett and Theresa Johnston’s house—and halfway through this training run my legs just wouldn’t work and I was going in super slow motion, like running through molasses.

Ironically, that’s pretty much how Philly panned out for me (minus running through the Johnston home), so instead of talking about my run, I’ll review the race itself.

The course wasn’t quite as “flat and fast” as running lore has deemed it, but it was awesome. I feel like I covered almost every inch of the city and its surroundings on foot, and got a really neat running tour of Philly. From the downtown start, to the zoo, to the Drexel campus, to the river, you got a little bit of everything and at no point could you describe the course as “boring.” And even though there were plenty of false flats and small hills, at no point would I call it “hilly” and if anything, the climbs and descents saved your muscles from 26.2 of the same repetitive motion.

There were spectators every step of the way and having run Boston, the spectator bar is set pretty high for me, but I really enjoyed the Philly crowds. The Eagles drum line was t

here, the students were enthusiastic, the crowds were all supportive, and the signs people made were some of the most creative I’ve ever seen. Some favorites include:

- You trained longer than Kim Kardashian was married

- Chuck Norris hasn’t run a marathon

- This is still a good idea and you look amazing-ish (this sign was at mile 25 or so)

- Keep going! Don’t stop! (left) That’s what she said! (right)

- The guy behind you just turned into a zombie! Keep running!

- Run now. Cheesesteak later.

Of course, there was the standard “dudes handing out cups of beer to runners” water stop, and on the way out I thought “no effing way” but on the way back I seriously contemplated it. At that point my race was so far in the toilet, a beer would have at least been a tasty break from the pain-fest.

And then there was the guy around mile 23 or so wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said “I Hate Running.” When I passed him I thought “Me too, dude… meee toooo.”

The finisher shoot was non-chaotic, the finisher medal was pretty sweet, and because the entire street was lined with flags from every country, it made meeting friends and family easy (We met under Norway. In hindsight, maybe I should have chosen Kenya…).

All in all, I give Philly two thumbs up (because my thumbs are the only parts of my body that don’t hurt right now). Great race, great crowds, great support, and GREAT food after: We went to the Nodding Head brewery, where I can personally recommend every bite of the Grand Marnier French toast.

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