What an awesome day for a road race! Thanks to my brother Nick and his girlfriend Katie I was able to stay close to the race start last night. This meant no driving and looking for a parking spot and no getting up really early to take SEPTA into the city. I awoke at around 6:15 and ate a breakfast of two bananas and a package of GU chomps. Then it was a short walk with Katie to the starting line at 22nd and the Parkway.
There was a large field for the race and it was amazing to see the sea of humanity converging on the Ben Franklin Parkway. I quickly found corral #4, stretched a bit, and waited for the start. I was excited as this would be my first race in Philadelphia since my high school cross-country days at Belmont Plateau. It would also be my first road race in Philly!
Surprisingly, I was not very nervous for the start of the race. Having never run a half-marathon before I had no idea what to expect as far as a finishing time. I had entered my expected finish time as 1:40:00 but thought that I had an outside chance at breaking 1:30:00. When it was time for my corral to start I felt really good. I went out at an easy pace and quickly started to pass other runners. Why do people always get too far up at the starting line of a race? The first 5k went really well and I was surprised to see that despite how good I felt, my 5k time was similar to the time I ran in the Fitger's 5k this past spring! Believe it or not my second 5k went even faster. Wow, I really felt strong.
I just glided along the course, slowly reeling in other runners and felt really awesome until mile 12. Finally I started to feel like I had run most of my 13.1 miles. Despite being tired at the end I still a bit of kick left in me and ran hard the last quarter mile. It didn't hurt that I saw on my watch I was on pace to break 1:30:00! When I crossed the finish line my watch read 1: 29:27 and when the official results were posted I had run 1:29:26. I was really proud of myself. I feel that this was the best race I've ever run and I don't think I will ever run another race as well as this one!