26.2 miles in the books! November 22nd marked the day of the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon and the culmination of months of hard work and training. It was a great day for a run and I was lucky to have my family there for support every step of the way!
The day before: My family and I arrived in Philly on Saturday afternoon for the Expo at the convention center. We ran into some friends from home who were also running and picked up some neat freebies. I tasted the Carb BOOM! energy gels that would be out on the course and they are officially Tara Tested, Tara Approved. At this point I was really starting to get pumped up! We had the all-important pre-race dinner in Manayunk and I enjoyed pasta with grilled chicken and fresh local veggies.
Pre race: It was an early morning on Sunday, rising out of bed around 5:30 am. For breakfast I had a banana with peanut butter and a Clif bar, I tried to drink plenty of water the day before and continued to hydrate in the morning. My parents walked with me to the entrance of the starting area, which is we where we ran into the only problem I had with the race. Thousands of runners were waiting to get past the security check-points only 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the race. This debacle started to stress me out a little bit but I ended up weaseling my way through the crowd and making it to my corral in plenty of time.
The race: I felt pretty good throughout the entire race – being sure to fuel before I think I needed it. After I missed the first water stop, I tried to alternate between water and gatorade at each station that followed. I had my first Gu around mile 6, then a little taste of a apple cinnamon Carb BOOM energy gel a little after the 10 mile marker. Seeing my family around mile 14 was a huge boost! I was counting on the 1/2 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich my mom had for me, which I ate right away. I had my next Gu between miles 17-20 along with an orange slice given to me by an enthusiastic spectator. I got another endorphin boost at the turn around point in Manayunk where I saw my friend Raquel cheering me on! I cruised on and had my last Gu around mile 22-23, saving the best flavor – caramel macchiato – for last. This is where I saw my dad who had some water for me, and then further up my mom and brother ringing a cow bell and cheering. At this point I had caught up to the 4:00 hour pace group, stuck with them for a minute or two and then decided to push ahead. I gave it my all and finished in 3:57:53!
After: As soon as I crossed the finish line it hit me…ouch! Boy, were my legs sore. I hobbled through the corral to accept my medal and collect water along with post-race snacks. As I made my way to the family meeting area I nibbled on some of a soft pretzel and worked on rehydrating. I put on my Oofos sandals as soon as my family found me and we celebrated the big finish!
Philadelphia Marathon: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first marathon. Big thanks to my family and Raquel for coming out to cheer me on! I went into the race feeling very confident thanks to my coach Gigi and her unwavering support and motivation. I can safely say that I will not be a “one and done” marathoner – I anticipate many more crazy miles in my lifetime.