Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

What a day.  What a day.

Ran the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon this morning in a personal record of 3:03:05.  So there's that.

I made my barbecue pizza last night and was in bed by 8:00pm.  Woke up at 4:00am and out the door by 4:30.  Due to the bombings at the Boston Marathon last spring, security had been enhanced and runners were advised to arrive at the course by 5am.  To be honest, security was an absolute joke.  There were multiple security checkpoints, some for runners and some for spectators - why the arbitrary divide when we were all headed right back to the same place?  Once past the checkpoint I could have easily had someone pass me something over the fence.  If someone wanted to do some harm today, the security measures in place wouldn't have stopped them.  While they may have made people feel safer, in truth they were nothing but an inconvenience.

Once close to my corral we sat around for 40 minutes waiting for the race to start.  I took the time to apply bodyglide, tape, and stretch.

Applying Bodyglide at 6:45am.

It was a bit warmer than what I'm used to this morning.  This was my first time opting for just a short sleeved shirt during the race.  It was a cool, slightly humid morning with light breezes, but shortly after I finished the sun came out and the temps picked up.

I started in the maroon corral, right behind the elites.  My plan was to mimic my training in which I started off slow and then built myself up to race pace after a few miles.  Instead, I got caught up in the excitement of the crowd and the pace of the runners around me and ran the first mile in 6:40.  I had the 3:00 pace group in view and rather than back off on the pace, I decided to just go with it as long as I felt ok.

The first half went like this, and I passed the halfway point in 1:29:22 - a half marathon PR - still feeling ok.  I saw Stevie and my dad at the beginning, and Alicia and Brian around mile 6, but missed everyone at mile 13.

I really started to struggle at the 18 mile mark.  The 3:00 pace group started to pull away, and the strain was too much to keep up.  I had gone up to then thinking I was capable of running a BQ, maybe even sub 3, but I started to lose faith at this point.  I picked the pace back up around mile 21.  My friend Tahsin was supposed to meet me at mile 24 to run the rest of the way in, and that's really what carried me that far. Unfortunately Tahsin wasn't there and I knew I had to finish on my own.

Around mile 26 I vaguely heard Stevie and friends call my name as I passed, but I was completely in the zone and could barely acknowledge them.  The finish line never appears when you think it should, and I started to fear I wouldn't make it in time.  Instead I dug deep and managed to finish almost 2 full minutes below the BQ time for my age and gender.

Team Sparteheimer post race.

I openly cried in Stevie's arms when I saw her after hobbling to our meeting point.  I drank some chicken broth, Gatotrade and water and started to feel better, and got a few pictures with everyone.That's where I saw that in addition to signs, she'd made T-shirts for everyone.

Some of the mile splits I drew on my arms.

The shirts Stevie made for everyone.

Stevie and me post race.
One of my favorite signs from the course said: "No Mud.  No Color.  ALL Heart."

Regarding the course, Philly loves to boast that it is a great place to PR due to its flat and fast course (I have now run Philly 5 times and set a PR every time), but others like to complain that it isn't quite as flat as advertised.  Indeed, the hills got to me quite a bit this year.  In other years I barely noticed them, but this year they were a large mental struggle.

I'm lucky in that I never had to stop for the bathroom, nor did I hit the wall in any way.  In past marathons I've felt spasms shoot through my calves or quads, but nothing like that today.  Just overall fatigue.

We stood around the finishing area for awhile taking pictures and swapping stories, laughs, and hugs. Before long some of us headed back to our place where we drank celebratory Jägerbombs, then drank beer and ate pizza all afternoon.

Celebratory drinks.

20th anniversary medal.

I'm naturally sore as hell right now, and will be sad when the day comes to an end and I have to take off my medal.  For now I am in incredibly high spirits.

Thanks to everyone.  The support means more than you know.


  1. I told you a little down time would not hurt your fitness, actually it probably even helped you recover and get stronger. Congrats!
    - Joe from Florida

  2. Great job, congratulations! Also congratulations on your support crew!
    Happy recovery :)

  3. Thanks for reading and sticking with me guys!

  4. What a day indeed! Way to go Scott. Glad we could be out there for you.

  5. Wow, great work!! I was actually nervous opening your post bc I wanted you to get the BQ so bad. Hurray that you did! Very inspiring.

  6. THIS IS SCOTTICUS!! Congrats young sir!! Every time I would drive around Collingswood I would see you Running away!! YOU TRAINED YOUR ASS OFF AND YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU ACHIEVED!! I'M PROUD OF YOU BROTHER!!

  7. Well done!!! I couldn't be happier for you even if I knew you! Awesome work :-D

  8. Dad, Bryon, Christina, Jim and Ailsa, thanks a million for your comments. You guys rock.

  9. Great time!!!! Congrats to you! Great race!
    This was my first time running the half... I may do the full next year!
    And, yes I agree, security was comical... and there was no way I planned on arriving at 5am!


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