On Sunday, November 20th I toed the starting line of the Philadelphia Marathon excited to run my 11th marathon & 2nd Philadelphia Marathon!!
For days; I avoided watching the weather forecast knowing that was the one thing that would send me into a complete frenzy! Every time someone would ask “When is your marathon?” and I would reply with “Sunday!” I’d stop them before they could even say a word about the weather, but the expressions on their faces told me it wasn’t good! I stayed calm, knowing in my heart that I put in 16 weeks of the toughest training I had done in years. I trusted my training going into this race with the motto “everything I need is already inside.” A friend of mine saw the forecast and said to me “you are stronger than the weather, remember that!!” That was another motto I took with me that day as I ran the streets of Philadelphia! Going into this race – I had no pre-race jitters which is completely abnormal for me. I took my place in the black corral, made sure my shoe laces were tied tightly (something I always do before a race) and waited for our corral to start!! Although I didn’t watch the weather forecast; I could tell it was not going to be an easy race judging by the wind gusts! The temperature was around 42 degrees, which in my book is ideal marathon weather! Within minutes we were off! I knew I’d have to pace myself properly because I didn’t want the wind to tire me out! I maintained a pace of 8:15 for the 1st 10k running mostly throughout the city where the tall buildings blocked the wind. We then ran through the rolling hills of Philadelphia which I don’t remember from the last time I ran Philly! At the half marathon mark I was at 1:48:10 – averaging a pace of 8:16. Just before mile 14 we passed the art museum and we greeted by a huge crowd of spectators, cheering our names and giving us high 5’s!! I then spotted my husband and gave him a high 5 as he cheered “Go Mer Go!”
I was so excited to see him out there! At this point the wind really started to pick up as we headed into Fairmount park running along the Schuylkill River! I repeated to myself “I am stronger than the weather!” At this point not only was I conquering the wind but also the rolling hills in Fairmount Park. I held strong taking water and Gatorade at every single aid station. At the 30k mark my average pace was 8:18. I pushed through still feeling so strong despite the wind and the hills!! At mile 20 was the turnaround point & I wasn’t sure if the wind would calm down or pick up. At times I thought to myself “ok this is tolerable” but by the next minute I was thinking “am I going to blow away?” So unpredictable! I pushed through and kept repeating positive mantras in my head! Around mile 22; I spotted an Instagram runner friend; Bennett! I told him I was on target for a BQ! He said to me “you’ve got this!” Deep down; I knew I could do it! I felt so strong & if I could just push these final 4 miles the goal I’d been chasing for 4 years (running my 4th BQ) would finally become a reality!! I pushed through, some moments tougher than others as Bennett encouraged me to push through! We approached mile 26 and the crowds of spectators grew larger & larger! We were greeted by lots of smiles, motivational signs & encouraging words!!! I spotted the finish line; Bennett said to me “come on you’ve got this!”
I kicked the pace up running beside Bennett & crossed the finish line with a BQ; running my fastest marathon since 2012′!!! I am still on cloud 9! I can only imagine what I could’ve done in perfect weather conditions but I am completely ecstatic!! I not only accomplished my goal, but I earned myself another BQ!
Official time – 3:39:01!!! Almost 10 minutes faster than my March Marathon on a more challenging course!
Definitely a proud moment for me!!
2 Philadelphia marathons – 5 years apart – both BQ’s on the same exact date – 11/20!!
I am still on a runners high!
A huge thank you to my husband who puts up with the madness of marathon training; waking up early on weekends for races, carb loading with me etc. He is truly the best & I am so lucky to have him in my life! None of this would be possible without his support!
Thank you as always for following my journey!! Mere @meretherunner14