There’s no half (in my biased opinion) that can top Philly. I love this race. Philly does a fine job of putting on a fun and organized race, all the while maintaining a mom-and-pop-like feel (similar to the old Philly Distance Run days – oh, how I miss you). And the 4-deep spectators along Chestnut Street don’t hurt either.
Based on my 12K finish last week I figured I could maintain a 7:40-7:45 pace. But I also wanted to feel things out a bit too. Settle into whatever pace felt comfortable on that day and go from there.
It was freezing at the start. As soon as I checked my jacket and pants my whole body was trembling. I totally forgot to bring a trash bag (it really does keep you warm!).
The first mile was a little rough since my feet were numb and my muscles were tight from being so cold. Soon enough I settled into a pace that felt like HM pace. When I glanced at my Garmin I was around 7:45 pace. Perfect.
The middle miles were pretty uneventful. I enjoyed the crowds and kept my mind occupied by reading the signs. There’s an incline (can’t really call it a hill) around mile 7-8 and a legitimate hill right past the mile 9 marker. That’s it though. Contrary to what people say the Philly Half (and full – I ran it in 2008) is a flat course!
Around mile 10 I started doing the math. 3 more miles at x pace and maybe you can snag a 1:41. Holy shit! Could I really? I started repeating my favorite mantra. You can do anything for 3 miles. Repeat again at mile 11. You can do anything for 2 miles.
The finish line at the Philly Half is deceptive. You must go all the way around Eakins Oval and then down the Parkway a bit to even see the finish line. I forget this each year.
I headed down the Parkway – I still couldn’t see the finish line yet – and my Garmin said 1:41. I had no idea how close to 1:42 I was (after the 1-hour mark I don’t see seconds on my Garmin). I started sprinting – there was no way I was going to let 1:41 turn into 1:42.
A 4-minute PR from September.
A 6-minute PR from last year’s Philly Half.
After the race I did a quick wardrobe change and coffee run and headed back down to spectate. I got to see strong finishes by Megan and Kelly (nice job ladies!) and watch my sister kill her marathon time from March by 20 minutes. Congrats Karyn!!
Completely unrelated but check out this great interview with Kara Goucher. Ultramarathoner?!