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Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:


-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?


  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!  Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before. 
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.  In fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.  I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.


I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.


Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.  Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.  I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!  Then it occurred to me that I had two options.  1- allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.  I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together” and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far ahead of me.  This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral too late and got behind because of my disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.  But here they were just a little bit ahead.  I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.  I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.  I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!  And then I was there- running with the pace group 🙂  The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.  I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.  I was going to make it happen.  I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.  I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.  I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.  I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.  I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.  And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!  I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.  Still under an 11:00/pace and very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.  So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.  My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.  But I was not stopping.  No way.  I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.  I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!  I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.  Now I had to pee.  I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.  But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.  I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.  No friggen way.  So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.  Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.  And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.  I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.  The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW 🙂  Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.  Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!  I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.  In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.  Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.  I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!  I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail 😦  One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.  Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.  Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well 🙂
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.  The officers throughout the race are wonderful.  I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.  Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course. 
  • I am quite sore.  I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.  I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.  It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.  My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.  I smiled through writing this whole report.  This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.  2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.  Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.  This was the highlight of my year.  I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.  I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.  I know more than every that I made the right decision.  This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.  The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top 🙂


30 thoughts on “Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

  1. Hoorah, look at you Miss Speedy!!!! I am so very proud that you worked through all those issues and didn’t give in to walking – you are TOTALLY awesome!!! Smiling big time for you girl!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Congrats on the PR! That is super exciting!

    I think that you went into the race with the right mindset… just going to head out to cover the distance. It seems like when we get worked up over hitting time goals, that’s when it becomes harder to keep on pace!

    I’m so excited for you! I’ve got a huge goofy smile on my face I’m so happy for you!

  3. Awesome job! I love that you rocked a skirt! It was chilly. I would have been buried under layers and over dressed.

    Best of all, is that awesome smile you had in every photo. It really shows your joy! congrats!

  4. Congrats, Jill! You rocked that race!! I’ve used the ‘no pressure, just have fun’ race strategy to get PRs before too. It seems to keep my calm and usually have fewer nervous stomach issues. 🙂 I’m glad you surprised yourself and pulled out a PR.
    It’s incredible that you worked the night before and the night after the race! Your legs must be dead! Enjoy your week off from running.

  5. Congrats on the PR!! You did awesome even with hardly any sleep!! I think you totally had the right mindset going into this race and that certainly helped you run fast! Great job!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS!! You did awesome! The fact that you were able to get past your bathroom issues and keep a positive mental attitude throughout the whole race is amazing, so many other people would have given into the negative thoughts and had a bad race. You should be so proud of yourself- especially with a PR!

  7. Congratulations! I ran the race too and was in the Orange Corral as well! It was my worst race but only because I didn’t train well or enough.

    GO YOU!

  8. Wohoo! I’ve been waiting all day to read this report Jill as it hit my e-mail box during a meeting today.

    So happy for you and not to lay a big, “I told you so” on you – I knew you were going to run much better than you thought just due to the great outlook your “no trainig plan” training plan provided for you.

    Great, great stuff Jill. Next stop – 2:20 – which is ABSOLUTELY where you are headed next.

    Congrats Jill! Enjoy this one!

  9. seriously so cool you get your name on your bib. i’ve only had that once before. and CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i absolutely love how happy you look with your medal and what a great race you had 🙂 congratttts!

  10. Jill I’m almost crying, I’m so happy for you and so proud of you.
    You started this race with low expectations and decided just to have fun and look what happened: a PR! The pressure was gone before you even started and maybe that’s why you ran such an incredible fast race.

    Congratulations my dear blogger friend, you’ve just made my day because I’m sitting here with a big smile too!

  11. Great job! Not surprised you could pick up the pace after the sluggish start. That’s how to do it – run negative splits. You deserve every bit of praise coming at you.

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  13. Yay yay yay! I am smiling reading this. Congrats on the PR! What an amazing feat, especially after working so late the night before and feeling so awful at the start. You rock! 🙂

  14. Will I ever PR again?
    Oh, I hate that feeling. Don’t worry, I know you have another kickass year ahead of you, PRs abound.

    Yeah, you pretty much owned this race.
    How you go in all cool, no goal, and dominate. I’m sure there’s a lesson or two there. For all of us.

    I totally had you pinned at 2:30 Finish, but either way, I wasn’t gonna find you. They split up the finishing corral way too much.
    Cool shirt color by the way, I totally would have noticed it. Next time! And Congrats again!

  15. Congrats on a fantastic half marathon finish Jill! Wow, a four minute PR is huge…good for you:) It has been sometime since I PRd in the half marathon. I am happy for you:)

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