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Philly Marathon splits, photos, details, and what’s next.


My race reports tend to be more on the “inside my head” side and skimpy on the actual details, so I figured, with a week off from running and a strong desire to procrastinate my homework, now is the perfect time to add in a few more of the banal details I never think to share. Also, I want to stretch this post-race happy feeling out for as long as possible.



What I Ate:

  • Breakfast: Four pieces of cinnamon-raisin toast with jam at 4:30am, along with green tea.
  • Two Clif Shot Bloks at the starting line.
  • During the race: 4 raspberry Clif gels — 1 each at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20. It’s rare that I manage to take these with water, but I’ve never had problems taking them straight up. I also drank water at about every other stop. Had a few sips of Gatorade as well, but mostly water.

Riveting stuff.



Race Photos: 

Apparently I smiled and waved at the camera. I would pretend this was some kind of stochastic event of the arms and cheeks, but it happened again.

Vacant smile but at least without the wave this time. Probably thinking about nunataks.

No more smiling probably means this is the last 10K and I’m spelunking in my inner-focus cave.  I certainly don’t look like the kind of girl who has any business mixing it up with the 3-hour mark here, but… books and covers and whatever.




Shoes: Saucony ProGrid Ride. I got these back in July and they have at least 1000 miles on them. I noticed as I was eating my pre-race breakfast that the right shoe has a hole in the pinky toe area. My feet got really beat up and blistered during the race — a lot more so than they have in the past when I’ve raced in Brooks Ghosts. I don’t think I would try to stretch the Sauconys this thin again.

Spandex: Underarmour that I’ve been wearing since my sophomore year in college six years ago. I wore longs because I was concerned about my hamstring acting up, and I figured it would have a better chance of surviving if I didn’t start out with cold leg muscles. Who knows if this theory holds water. I didn’t feel overheated at all.

Shirt: Tech shirt from the 2011 SeaCoast Relay in Juneau! My team won the whole thing that year. I liked knowing I had a piece of Alaska with me along for the ride.

Armwarmers: Constructed from $1 pair of CVS men’s tube socks. (Thank you, Tracy, for this idea.)

Gloves: Also CVS.

Hat: This is my college rowing hat. I run in a brimmed cap in the rain to cut down on the precipitation getting into my face, and I run in a hat in the sun to cut down on the… sun. I guess the only time I don’t wear a hat is if I’m running after dark and it’s not raining.

Ear warmer: One of those REI buff things, I think. I got it as a gift! I hate having cold ears, and ended up wearing it the entire time.

Watch: Timex. I got it in Atlanta in 2009.

I figured I would shed the gloves and arm warmers a few miles in, but I completely forgot about them. I probably would have been fine without them, but I was also fine with them, so here I am looking absurdly overdressed.

**I just reread this “Attire” section and am drooling on the table with boredom. No daily fitness fashion page is forthcoming. 




I do not race with a Garmin if there are going to be mile markers along the course. The 2nd & 3rd mile markers were a little off, so I must have averaged something around 6:49 for those miles. I also missed a few of the markers.

1 6:42
2 7:34
3 6:04
4 6:53
5 6:55
6 6:54
7  —
8 13:45
9 7:10
10 7:08
11 6:46
12 6:47
13 6:56
14 6:51
15 6:57
16 6:59
17 6:59
18 6:59
19 7:03
20 7:03
21  —
22 14:11
23 7:05
24 7:03
25 7:10
26 7:19
0.2 1:29
Avg. 6:58

Total Time: 3:02:42

So, my last mile was my slowest, and my last 0.2 was at 7:25 pace. Positive split aside, I think I meted out my effort level appropriately and began semi-dying at the correct point. Someday I hope to have the maturity and experience to run a marathon with a much stronger finish and a negative split that still reflects my fitness gains, but when I took it out aggressively in those first couple miles, I knew that this would probably be a positive split race for me — I wanted an honest shot at finding out my current fitness level, and I feel like I achieved this.



What’s next:

My first week post-“peak race.”

So far I’ve been spending it reveling in my nine minute PR and being inspired by race reports from girls who ran the same course much faster and far more intelligently than I did.

I’m following my usual post-marathon recovery schedule: luxuriating in a week completely off from running (and well, anything remotely resembling exercise aside from walking to class/work/the Thanksgiving dinner table). Second week back, I might test things out with a few short easy jogs. It shakes out perfectly that this two-week break happens to coincide with holiday travel and the crush of end-of-semester projects and tests.

Based on my past few marathons, I imagine that by the third week, I’ll be feeling good enough to introduce more regular running into my routine,  and by the fourth and fifth weeks, if no aches or pains crop up and if I want to, I’ll likely approach my “normal” volume of 70+ mpw.

I do think that the body can become accustomed to almost anything, so when I see others jumping right back into their typical volume after running marathons, I have to figure… maybe that works for them?

As for me, I don’t race very often, so the races I do sign up for are all important to me. Philly was a big peak marathon, I put in the highest volume and intensity of training I’ve ever done for running, and I’m satisfied with my performance. Those three factors considered, it is indubitably time for a rest.

In fact, I feel like I shouldn’t even think about my next goal races very much yet – I’d rather give myself a month to recover and swing back to normal before picking out any races.

I have been thinking about what event I want to focus on this spring. I liked my pattern last year of training for a goal marathon and then a goal 10K a few months later. I also like the idea of training for the 10K because the time and energy commitment of the 70-80 mpw range feels natural and manageable – whereas those 100+ marathon prep weeks, while also satisfying and enjoyable, are much more of a reach and a stretch for me and seem to require a lot more ancillary maintenance activity (consistent myrtl routine and attention to my hips/lower back/glutes/core). And yeah, I know I maybe don’t have to be running triple digits in order to have a great marathon, but those weeks gave me so much confidence. And let’s be honest, they probably WERE the main reason I had a great marathon.

On Monday, I briefly considered rashly signing up for something small and flat and (if windless) fast like Hyannis or Ocean Drive this spring. I could gun for 2:59 and maybe even win… but I have the feeling this would turn into a case of “too much, too soon.” Right now, as much as I’d like to take a stab at it, I don’t see myself shooting for another marathon PR until next fall. I like the idea of taking a long rebuilding “quiet period” and letting my legs continue to accumulate miles, hopefully with some faster training ( for 8-15K races) peppered in there to provide a different kind of stimulus before I build back into the more gluttonous range I’ve enjoyed chasing in my last two marathon build-ups.

I guess this all serves to underscore the fact that I should wait until after my break/rebuilding period to assess my racing aspirations for the next couple months (and years).

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/21/2012 10:30

    Congrats on your PR. Spectacular time!!!

    Not only are you a very talented ted runner, the descriptions of your races are great always too. A combinated not often seen on the internets.

    I went to Drexel, so of course I’m highly biased by the familiarity of the course too, but the Philly marathon has always been my favorite marathon. I love the energy in Manayunk once you reach the most difficult miles.

    Keep riding that race high, you earned it!

    • 11/22/2012 04:33

      Yes! Manayunk had such a good vibe. So cool that you went to Drexel… I like your blog name… I lived in Atlanta for a year after college!

  2. 11/21/2012 12:17

    Tube socks as arm warmers! But how did you make it through the race without cuffins?? Haha. JK.

    One of the things that fascinates me about so many high performing runners is the ability to wear shoes for 1000+ miles. Am I throwing mine out too soon? (maybe) Am I too heavy? (don’t answer that) Do I actually have a biomechanical reason for needing new shoes when my old ones don’t feel squishy any more around 400m? (probably not)

    Great report, and I love that we get to put a face to the runner finally!

    • 11/22/2012 04:39

      I should probably subtract 5 minutes from my time just for the obstacle of not having cuffins & wunder unders.

      Wish I knew the answer to the shoe question. I think I took the shoes I raced in a liiiittle too far — I’ve never had feet so blistery after a 20+ mile run… but sometimes I wonder if there’s some kind of shoe company marketing trick related to the “replace after 300-500 miles” thing?

  3. 11/21/2012 15:23

    How cold was it? I’m surprised someone who lived in Alaska could wear that much without overheating if it wasn’t cold enough to snow – especially going SO FUCKING FAST. (Should I call you a bitch now? Kidding! Fuck, I say that too often.)

    That said: I think your hamstring theory is a smart one. My insistence in wearing shorts until its 25 or lower lead to a pulled hamstring which took years to NOT get all tight in weird in the cold.

    • 11/22/2012 04:46

      NWS says the low for the day was 37* at 6:18am, and the high was 52* just after noon, which lands the race temps squarely in the 40s…not nearly cold enough to merit all the clothing I had on.

      I wonder if the reason I stayed cool and forgot about the arm warmers is that I got sweaty from all my clothes = lots of evaporative cooling from the running-induced headwind?

  4. 11/21/2012 16:49

    Brilliant race, I always positive split too, I just don’t want to take chances late, you know? And I like tights for marathons, too. Definitely less cramping.

    • 11/22/2012 04:47

      Ah, this makes me feel less weird. I was very happy with the tights. I remember having COLD legs through the first 8 miles of Louisiana and I didn’t feel as in tune with my leg turnover there as I would have liked.

  5. 11/21/2012 17:27

    I don’t think I wear that much in the depths of winter, but it obviously works for you. Congrats again!

  6. 11/21/2012 19:24

    All sounds like a good plan to me! I love your smiley race photos. Happy Thanksgiving & enjoy the recovery time.

  7. 11/23/2012 02:30

    Good photos! Yes, you make it look cold but keeping the hammys warm makes sense. AR just wears running skirts in the snow to show off 😉

    You didn’t have a huge positive split — the last mile being the slowest (not by much) to my mind just shows that you ran it all out. I like your plans for the future. Definitely deserve a decent break and re-build after such a preparation and huge PB.

    Now I’m off to the shop to buy some cinnamon-raisin toast (but I’ll stick with my Earl Grey tea to wash it down).

  8. 11/27/2012 09:53

    I always love seeing the details from long races like a marathon – especially from runners who are much faster than me. Positive split or not, your miles were still pretty consistent. I have never once been able to negative split a marathon (even(ish) splits were as close as I could get). I know the idea is great in theory…I just don’t know how people can continue to pick up their pace as the race goes on. Which means I’m clearly doing things wrong.

    Congrats again on your huge PR! And enjoy your well-deserved break!

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