After the Phillies 5k, Kevin dropped me off at the Philly Convention Center so I could get my packet for the Philly Love Run – another race that I was supposed to do last year, but couldn’t because of my heel injury. I never realized how large the convention center was and had to wander around until I figured out where I was supposed to go. There was not a lot of people so I was able to get my packet fairly quickly – you also get a really nice tech shirt (which if you are ordering the women’s size – keep in mind they run very small) and a mug. I wandered around the rest of the expo, but there is never anything I need/want so I headed to my hotel for the night.
I really wanted to find the famous LOVE statue and noticed that my walk should take me right by it. I did have some trouble spotting it at first, but finally found it in a far corner of Love Park. I was really surprised at how small the statue was. For some reason I thought it was taller than the average person standing next to it…and while it was TALLER, it was raised up on a pedestal so people could stand under it and a lot smaller than I imagined. There was also a huge line that I didn’t feel like waiting in so I just strategically took photos which cropped the people out.
The next morning I checked my bag because I didn’t know if I would be back in time before check out. I walked onto the streets of Philly and was met with a beautiful sunrise as I joined the mass of people heading to the start line. I spotted Herbie the Love Bug and snapped a picture before taking my place in line with the other runners.
I had to laugh as they sent the first few waves of runners off and I kept waiting for fireworks to go off like they did for all the Disney races…I was bummed when there wasn’t any. My wave was the last to go and I was worried because I know I am a slow runner – and still not up to where I was last year at this time, but as long as I could maintain a 16 min mile I would be allowed to finish the course.
As we ran the first half through the streets it was like running in a wind tunnel. We looped by my hotel twice and I seriously considered going back in and calling it quits. I turned on some music and just focused on one foot in front of the other. I kept hearing people yelling “RUN FORREST RUN!!!” and had no idea what they were talking about until a guy dressed as Forrest Gump passed me while juggling bean bags in one hand and bouncing a ball on a ping-pong paddle in the other. (After doing some research I found out that it was Barry Goldmeier who apparently does this a lot!) Let’s just get this straight – this is something I would NEVER be able to do in a million years – I have ZERO balance or hand eye coordination – it’s amazing that I can actually walk – HA!
After looping back through the starting area we headed into Fairmount Park. The scenery here was very nice and there was several great views of Boathouse Row. After reaching mile marker 7 I knew there was a hill that everyone dreads – when I made it to the top a volunteer yelled “It’s all downhill from here!” This man was a liar. We continued going up, although not as steeply, to get to Strawberry Mansion where we turned around and THEN headed downhill. I was pretty pooped at this point so I was walking way more than I was running.
I’m not sure what mile I was at (I think right before 10) and the police went by asking everyone left on the course to move to the sidewalk. We were all very confused by this because it stated on the website that we had 3 1/2 hrs to finish the course and we had been running for less than 3 hours. We were allowed to keep going, but had to watch as they slowly started opening the road back up. When I got to the 2nd to last water stop they were dumping all the drinks – I quickly snagged one and continued on my way.
The last water stop was my favorite – they were all cheering and yelling for us even though we were at the back of the pack. They handed us drinks as they cheered and I appreciated that they weren’t cleaning up as we passed by. At some point right before passing Boathouse Row there were a few people dressed as bunnies (and one unicorn) who handed me an easter egg filled with jelly beans. I don’t typically eat jelly beans, but I gotta say – they tasted like straight up heaven. I shared with a girl who was next to me and we ended up finishing the race together. I made it just in time for the cut off. When I arrived and got my medal I noticed they were tearing everything down – there was a group of us wandering around looking for bananas or something (I stupidly didn’t eat dinner or breakfast – IDK why). We finally found the tent handing out post race snacks and they told me to take a few of the bags – wahoo! Sometimes being a slow runner has it’s perks!!
I found Kevin who was picking me up, went to the hotel to grab my bag – then we made a pit stop at Capriottis (MY FAV sub shop) – YUM!
If this would have been my first half I think I would have really panicked and been upset when we were asked to move to the sidewalk, but I just kept looking at the timing clocks and knew I was within pace to finish. There wasn’t a TON of support for back of the pack runners, but it WAS there – and those volunteers that were out there cheering us on were greatly appreciated!