Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap – A Shiny New PR!

There was once a girl that had a huge goal of one day becoming a sub 3:30 marathoner! She knew it would take lots of hard work, dedication and determination & last Sunday Runday that girl’s dream came true!! 💙💛🦄 Just 8 weeks ago I made the final decision to run a fall marathon! After running Boston Marathon in April; I told myself I’d take the fall off from the marathon! After pushing through wind, pouring rain & freezing cold temps in Boston it took my body some time to recover. As the months went by; I felt better and better with each run and continued increasing my mileage. I kept my weekly miles between 6 & 7 miles and stuck with a longer weekend run. I was itching to run another marathon but deep inside I knew I promised myself I’d take the fall off. So I continued running for pure joy; running shorter distance races and just enjoying every moment of it. In early October; shortly after my 38th Birthday & after running a comfortable paced half in 1:43 in humid temps – I did it; I made the commitment to run a fall full marathon!
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I chose The Philadelphia Marathon! Only a 1 hour drive from where I live & a full that I’ve run two times before! I was feeling good & so excited to officially be training for my 15th marathon! I continued increasing my mileage; continued with my tempo runs etc. and just enjoyed every moment. On 10/15 I ran the Seaside Half in 1:44 just practicing pacing for the marathon. After I finished; my Dad said to me – “you looked like you were just running a comfortable race!” I felt amazing that day & it was just what I needed 6 weeks out from my 15th marathon!
Training continued; that next weekend I ran my 1st 20 mile of the training cycle at 8:06/mile pace.
long run 2
2 weeks later; my 2nd 20 miler of the training cycle in extremely windy
conditions with an overall pace of 7:57/mile.
long run
I was in shock; I have never hit sub 8:00/mile in a 20 mile run! It was officially taper time for me & this run was just what I needed going into it! For the next 2 weeks; I focused on allowing my body to recover! In the days leading up to the race; I focused on extra sleep, loading up on my carbs and all positive thoughts! The Friday before; hubby took the day off and went to the expo.
We picked up my race bib; I was so excited to be running Philly again!
They even had all the shirts displayed from previous years! I was so excited to see the race top displayed from the year that I ran it for the 1st time in my 2nd marathon in 2011′.
I packed a bunch of snacks with me for the trip, kept hydrating and made sure not too stay on my feet too long. After the expo; I grabbed lunch with hubby (more carbs) before heading home to rest & pack my race check in bag. After 10 hours of sleep; I spent Saturday resting with the exception of a shirt shake out run. I spent the day hydrating & carbing up for race day!
I went to sleep before 8:30pm and woke up at 3:55am on race day full of energy & soo ready to tackle my 15th marathon!! We arrived by 5:30am to Philly. We quickly found a lot to park that was just blocks from the start. It was chilly with temps around 33 degrees!
I wore a fleece zip up with a pair of fleece pants that I’d throw off prior to the race. I also had on “arm warmers” long socks that I cut to keep my arms warm.
before race
Before the start I used the restroom, took my gel and drank water before getting in my corral. I gave hubby a kiss, then he said “you are going to do amazing!”
I was filled with so much excitement and had a good feeling! I was going into this race with no nervousness, no pre-race jitters with the mindset of – this is another long run, you’ve got this!
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As I stood in my corral waiting for the race to start; I spotted fellow Tiux Ambassador & friend Christine! We had been trying to meet up all morning and with the crowds I wasn’t sure if I’d find her! I was so excited to see her! We lined up with the black corral & in minutes we were on our way! The crowd was amazing! Christine and I were chatting while taking in the positive energy of the spectators as the miles just flew by! We ran through the city streets & rolling hills completely full of energy enjoying every moment! Christine and I ran side by side for the 1st 8-9 miles before losing one another in the crowd. At mile 13.1; I looked down at my watch seeing 1:46. I was feeling fantastic and thought to myself; if I can hold this pace – I’ll finish in 3:32 earning myself a PR and another BQ! In the back of my mind; I knew after all it is a marathon & anything could happen over the next 13.1 miles! I continued running; staying completely in tune with my body – fueling along the way and just enjoying every single step! Shortly after; I heard the announcers cheering on the winners coming through the finish! I then passed my good friend & running buddy Steph who recently finished Chicago & NYC Marathons! I looked down at my watch at mile 15 & immediately knew that my time was quicker than the 15 miles I did in training! With 11 + miles to go – I knew anything could change at any time! The energy of the crowd was truly amazing & I was powering through the miles! At mile 20, I spotted Janelle! I heard her yelling “Go Mer Go” as I ran by I smiled and waved at her!! Minutes later as I approached mile 21; I saw Elizabeth who yelled to me! As we ran passed one another; we high fived & I yelled good job girl! At that moment I heard someone yell “Go 3:30 group go!” I looked up and there was the 3:30 pace group right in front of me! At this moment; my emotions overcame me but I had to stay calm. “Did I really catch up to the 3:30 group?” I couldn’t believe it! I stayed calm as I ran left passing the 3:30 group staying in complete tune with how my body was feeling! I looked down at my watch and said to myself “Mer, just 4.2 miles left – you’ve got this – let’s do this!” The final 4 miles were filled with slight inclines but at that moment – I was running on pure determination! I felt strong and I was on a mission! With every mile; I was running stronger and stronger! I looked down at my watch & knew that there was a good chance that today – I’d become a 3:30 marathoner! I stayed calm & controlled just putting one foot in front of the other! At mile 24; I heard “Mer” it was Gabby! I had no idea she was running this race! We said hello & good job and I kept on running! I knew the finish line was near & I knew I had a big PR! I pushed through the hills, took in all the energy from the crowd and could hear the announcer at the finish line!
I knew I was getting near & there it was! The finish was in sight! I looked down at my watch & couldn’t believe what I saw! As i ran closer; my pace became quicker and quicker!
With a smile from ear to ear and tears in my eyes – I crossed the finish line in 3:27:27!! I was officially a sub 3:30 marathoner!! I was completely beside myself and as I write this; I am crying happy tears! I went into this race with absolutely no pressure on myself! I had no time goal in my head! My friend Haley asked me a few days prior “What is your goal?” My reply was “to beat my fastest Philly; which was 3:34:03 in 2011”. Deep down running a sub 3:30 marathon has been a long term goal of mine but I never in my life imagined it would happen today!! I crossed the finish in complete shock! I kept looking at my watch to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! At that moment; all the tough training runs, all the times I pushed through the tears, all the times I stood up when I fell were all worth it! This moment was truly magical! Within minutes I found my husband! I ran over to him and cried on his shoulder as he said to me “you are freaking amazing my love – I am so proud of you!”
post race
I was freezing cold but at that moment nothing mattered – I felt a joy that I haven’t felt in years & I wanted to hold onto that feeling forever!
I turned on my phone that hubby had been holding while I ran and was so humbled by the number of texts, comments and messages from all of the kind souls that have supported me through it all!
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I’ve had some terrible races, had several days I’ve thought about giving up on running; questioned if I was too old? Not the runner I once was! This girl just crushed a 6 1/2 year old personal best by 6:07 qualifying for Boston for the 6th time, while running my 1st ever marathon with negative splits & I can honestly say I am PROUD! I immediately called my parents to tell them the news! They had been tracking me the whole race & were soo proud! They said “you were flying!” They asked how I felt and I said “AMAZING!” I knew my sister; my angel was right beside me through the whole race! I felt stronger & stronger with each mile! I felt energized throughout the whole race & my legs just kept powering through quicker and quicker with each mile! After the race; I saw that Christine who I had started the race with finished in 3:39!!! I was soo happy for her!! She ran a huge PR & BQ! I texted her and told her where I was! I said “meet me by baggage; I want to give you a huge Congratulations hug!” We took some pics and chatted about this amazing race!
christine and me
Such an incredible day for us both! We were both freezing so we hugged one another & she headed to go find her family and I found somewhere to quickly change into some warm clothes!
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After I changed; I saw Gabby who i had seen at mile 24! I asked how she did & she told me 3:28! This girl just ran an 11 minute PR after just running a marathon weeks ago! I was soo happy for & proud of her! We took some pics together before going to grab something to eat!
Gabby and me post race
gabby and me
Hubby and I found a little pub just blocks from the finish where we grabbed a bite to eat! After days of eating carbs – the 1st thing i wanted was chicken & a celebratory glass of wine of course!
After lunch; we took a walk around Philly through the Christmas Village!
xmas village
There was so much positive energy in the air and I was on Cloud 9!
We then decided to go to Franklin Institute!
Hubby asked “are you ok to go?” I said “oh yes, I’m on such a huge runners high!” So we headed inside and spent the next few hours in the planetarium and exploring all the awesome things there are to see in the Franklin Institute.
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We left Philly just before 5pm. All I could think as I left is how this would be a day that I would never forget!
Here I am 8 days later; still on Cloud 9 & I don’t think I’ll be coming down any time soon!
post marathon
There will be tough days; there will be days that you want to quit, days when you question why you are doing this – keep showing up & keep putting in the work!! In the end it is all worth it! There is no feeling like accomplishing something that you once thought was impossible! Dream. Believe. Achieve.

Thank you as always for following my journey & thank you all for your constant support!


Boston Marathon 2018 Race Recap

Well here I am 7 months later finally getting a chance to post this recap & I can say Boston Marathon definitely lived up to it’s expectations! I still don’t have the words to describe this day, but I can say that this race goes in the books as a day I will never forget for more reasons than one! Strong winds, pouring rain & freezing cold temps greeted us on the morning of April 16th! Hubby and I packed up the car early Friday morning; stopped off at my chiropractors office for one last adjustment before the bug day & hit the road! We were Boston Bound & I was so excited! This would be my 2nd Boston Marathon; 1st since running in 2013′. So many emotions as we drove up to Beantown! After years of trying to earn my ticket to Boston; in April of 2017′ – I finally ran my 5th BQ & that earned me my spot! I still remember getting the news & learning of the 3:23 cutoff). I headed to Boston this year with big goals in mind! I heard bad things about the weather, but refused to check! I refused to let that be the one thing that worried me all weekend! After a 4 1/2 hour drive; we arrived in Boston!! Our 1st stop was the finish line. I visited Boston in July while on vacation but prior to that my last time there was when I crossed the finish in 2013′. So many emotions as I stood there at the finish line. As I walked over to it; I got choked up.


After visiting the finish line; we headed to the expo! I couldn’t believe this was happening; as I picked up my race bib – I got choked up. So much hard work over the last five years brought me to this moment & I was so thankful. 💙💛 After picking up my bib; I took a walk around the expo – checking out everything & doing lots of shopping!


This time; I promised myself I’d purchase a lot so can remember this special event for years to come. We made lots of purchases and took lots of photos before heading over to our hotel to check in.


Saturday arrived & we were up early & off to Boston Common for the BAA 5k. I chose not to register for the 5k so that I could rest up for Monday, but my hubby ran! We arrived early & met up with friends who were also running! We took some pics before everyone headed over to the starting line for the start of the race! I stood there as thousands of people passed by; so excited for this amazing event! I quickly headed over to the finish line to watch from there hoping to see some friends crossing the finish line! While I was watching for hubby, I ran into Karen; a friend on Instagram! It was so awesome to finally meet her! Then I saw Jennifer & Jeff; they ran the race together! I stood by the fence cheering; watching for Damian & there he was!! I yelled, I cheered, I snapped photos & took a video of him as he crossed the finish line of his 7th 5k! I am so proud of him!


After the race; we met up with my friend Wayne! Wayne and I met at the 2013′ NYC Marathon & have kept in touch since! Wayne has played a huge role in my training and has helped me get to where I am now always offering advice! It was so great to see him & catch up after 5 years!  Saturday after the race; my brother & law and sister in law would be arriving in Boston to join us so we headed back to our hotel & waited for them to arrive! We had plans to visit the Sam Adams Brewery when they arrived so that’s exactly what we did! I am not a beer drinker, but I had to try some of the 26.2 Brew!


We checked out the souvenir shot before heading out & over to Heartbreak Run Company! This was on my list of places to check out while visiting. Such an awesome store & the staff was really kind! Of course we took some pics outside of the store!


After walking around for a bit, we headed back to our hotel to grab some dinner & continue carb loading! Sunday morning arrived, it was cold & windy! I headed outside for one last shakeout run before the big day! So many thoughts were going through my mind! So much excitement; I kept asking myself “am I really running Boston tomorrow?” “Is this a dream?” I finished up my shakeout run & headed inside to the hotel gym where Jess was working out! We chatted about our plans for the day & & about the nasty weather in the forecast for Marathon Monday. I headed up to my room & hubby and I decided to head out for a bit. I didn’t want to do much walking as I knew I needed to save my energy. We grabbed a bite to eat, visited the finish line one last time before the big day and met up with Kyla! Kyla and I have followed one another on Instagram for over 5 years! It was so amazing to finally meet her IRL! She is super sweet & so inspiring! We took lots of pics, chatted a bit & wished each other good luck! Before hubby and I headed back to our hotel; we took some pics, did a bit of shopping (I finally found the Boston Marathon hoodie I had been searching for all week) then we picked up ponchos because we knew there was lots of rain headed our way on Monday.


We arrived back to our hotel & met up with Jess and Mike for dinner. As I looked at the menu; I thought carbs, carbs, carbs! I had been carbing up the last few days – having packed many foods from home to avoid trying anything new! I decided to go with chicken & plain pasta with a side of Italian bread for dinner! After dinner, I headed up to my room to prepare for race day. I questioned my outfit of choice several times. With a forecast in the high 30’s/low 40’s with strong gale force winds & rain – I wondered if shorts and a tank top was a bad idea? Will I be warm enough? Am I putting myself at risk for hypothermia? Should I wear pants instead? Will I be uncomfortable running in pants? Will the heavy, wet clothes slow me down!? I had no idea what to do, but decided to go with the shorts, tank top, compression socks & hat and play it by ear! I had a hard time falling asleep that night! I felt completely full of energy; restless! Maybe it was all the carbs? Maybe it was my nerves? Maybe all the excitement? I finally managed to fall asleep; only getting about 5 hours of sleep today. I woke up feeling good; excited & ready to conquer whatever it was that mother nature threw our way! I got up, got dressed, kissed hubby good bye & headed downstairs to catch the shuttle to Boston Common where we would get picked up to be taken to Hopkinton! Upon arrival, I quickly headed over to meet Alisa (an IG friend who I’d finally get to meet IRL) at her hotel; it was pouring buckets, windy & freezing so we waited inside before taking an Uber to where we could catch the bus. We checked in our baggage & quickly hopped on the bus. While on the bus; I decided it would be a good idea to run in tights rather than shorts so I quickly threw them over my shorts! I wondered if all these layers; including a long sleeve top & a poncho would be too much but I figured if it was I would throw it off before I started!


We arrived to Hopkinton in about 30 minutes! It was pouring & we even saw a mix of snow! It was freezing, windy and just plain awful weatherwise!  As we walked over to the tents; all you saw were huge puddles & lots of mud everywhere!! It was like nothing I had ever seen before!! Every runner was in a poncho. Runners were sitting on plastic garbage bags, had garbage bags around their sneakers in an attempt to keep them dry – there was just mud everywhere!


We sat and waited under the muddy tent as it poured and mixed with snow! Finally our wave was called & we lined up in our corrals! We were all completely soaked & just laughing as we headed over in our soaking wet clothing, sneakers; almost all in ponchos! Within minutes we were off! Despite the strong winds, pouring rain and cold – I decided I was still going to give the PR a go! Maybe I could hold the pace; maybe I couldn’t but I promised myself – I was leaving it all out there! I started off strong – right on target! I was conquering those fierce winds & feeling fantastic holding between 8:00 – 8:10/mile for the first 13 – 15 miles. Around mile 15, my legs were starting to feel it from pushing through those 40 – 50mph winds. I was pushing but they weren’t powering through as fast! I kept pushing, some miles stronger than others! When I got to Heartbreak – my legs were just toast! I fought hard; refusing to stop, refusing to walk – I pushed through! Wind in my face, pouring rain & wowie quite the hill! I got to the top & just felt so proud of myself for not giving up!


As I ran the final miles of the race, I focused on keeping myself warm, staying in tune with my body & finishing strong! As I turned left onto Boylston, I threw off my poncho & sprinted to the finish of my 2nd Boston Marathon (14th marathon)! Arms in the air & tears in my eyes – I crossed in 3:42:42 running a 29:34 course PR!! 💙💛 It wasn’t the time I trained for but with the conditions that Mother Nature threw our way; how could I be upset? I just crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon!


I left Boston that day feeling proud; feeling like I left everything I had out there on the course & definitely put out a PR effort!




Before Boston I promised myself I’d take the fall off from marathons after running 8 marathons in the last 4 years, but I that definitely changed as last week! One week ago; I put my 15th marathon in the books!! Recap Coming soon!

Have you had to adjust your goals in a race?
Did you feel disappointed after or did you celebrate your achievement?
Thank you as always for following my journey!