Race Recap: Philadelphia Marathon 2011

A photographer friend of mine, who shot the story I wrote about the Pocono Marathon, was in Philly this weekend shooting pre- and post-race things for Runner’s World. As I was about to head to the start, he went to snap some fotes of me, and I said, “Remember this face?” And this is the resulting picture:

NEVER BEEN FOXIER.

I was trying to mimic how I looked when he shot me at the end of Pocono, and that’s more or less how I looked at the end of Hartford this fall as well. That expression says, “Why did I put myself through that? I have been miserable for approximately three hours. I hate marathons and running and life.”

I hadn’t had an even remotely pleasant marathon since Big Sur, and I hadn’t come close to my PR of 3:43:23 all year. Both of these things were totally bumming me out.

I went into Philly with the primary goal of not being too completely miserable before at least mile 20 or so. I also really wanted a PR, but I wasn’t sure if those two goals could happen at the same time. (Especially since New York last fall, where I set my PR, was an incredibly unpleasant race after mile 18 or so. Still a little too early to consider dropping out.)

Well, the two goals could and did coexist. I ended up with a 3:41:30, and I never thought about quitting! The serious pain didn’t start until around 24.5 or so. I can push through a couple miles in serious pain. It felt a lot like my first marathon in Philly two years ago. I just did the whole thing much faster.

I found Bri–a friend from Philly who was shooting for a 3:50–just a couple miles into the race, and we ran together for a while. We did pretty consistent 8:40s, even through the hills. She wanted to slow down a little, so I took off around mile 12.

I was all alone (sob!) through the rest of the race, but I managed to pace myself pretty well (consistent 8:22s, mostly) through Manayunk and back toward the finish. I started picking it up (8:10s, 8:15s) after 22 or 23, and I was able to maintain that through to the chute, where I sprinted for the finish. (Once I could see the line, I perked right up and found some extra gas in the tank.)

I’m so happy to end the year on a high note. And I’ve learned some important things about marathoning in 2011:

– Two weeks is not enough time to recover from them. For me, anyway.

– “Save it, save it,” is a great mantra to use. Possibly straight through mile 22 or so, as I did. (Thanks, Jen!)

– Negative splits. Seriously. I never want to run a marathon any other way. (1:52:11 for my first half, which means the second was…1:49-something.) I was passing bitches left and right during the last 10K. It feels a lot better to do the passing than to get passed!

– If I want to qualify for Boston, which I do, I need to chip away at my time gradually. I can’t up and decide I will go for an eight-minute PR, because then I will crash and burn. And I need to strength-train consistently and run with people who are faster than I am.

– I miss half-marathons. I need to do more of those.

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About Meghan Loftus

http://meghanloftus.com/
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5 Responses to Race Recap: Philadelphia Marathon 2011

  1. Dana B says:

    Woo hoo! Congrats on your PR!

  2. herrsolera says:

    I couldn’t agree with your last point more. After three marathons in nine weeks, I want to go back to that glorious 1/2 distance (which I haven’t done since July). Congratulations on that epic PR and thanks for the wisdom. The only problem with negative splits is one’s desire to go fast and hard. Sure, you tell yourself to slow down … until you reach a mile marker and go “7:50 … dammit … maybe I can do this!” and then you die at mile 19.

    • mgloftus says:

      I am all too familiar with that. My main goal in Philly was to avoid doing that and feel decent the whole time, and I managed to succeed. I do kind of wonder if I could have gone just a smidge faster in the first half, but hey. Next time.

  3. Bri says:

    Great post Meghan! Thanks for keeping me consistent in the first half – it definitely made my race more enjoyable AND kept me from hitting the pain wall until about mile 22 (a personal best for me, considering it happened at mile 8 and 16 in my first two marathons).
    Congrats again on your race – here’s to many more successful and enjoyable marathons!

  4. Pingback: The #RWRunStreak begins! | Remember the H

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