Sunday started early- 5 am. I wanted to give myself enough time to wake up, have coffee and breakfast, and get things ready for when Connor woke up. Coffee is a must before any morning run for me. Breakfast is always the same- a piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter and sliced banana.
My running buddy Alia picked me up at 6, and we were down to the start with more than enough time. The Oddyssey half marathon was a much smaller race than Broad St, so the lines to the port-a-potties weren't bad at all. We went twice before even starting, haha. Nerves were getting to us!
Since this was a much smaller race, things started out somewhat crowded but spaced out a lot once we got going. We both use a running app on our phones, and we were both very surprised when they told us we were going at a 7:15-7:30 pace. Neither of us felt like we were running very fast at all, but since both of our apps said the same, I believe it.
Around mile 2 there was a bathroom, and other runners said it was the only one for a few miles. We waited in line (which took much longer than expected), and kept going. Bathroom breaks were something that certainly affected our time. I'll just say that we both had babies this year...the pee breaks were necessary!
Some of the course took us along the MLK Drive and Kelly Drive, both locations that I frequently do my longer runs. That made me feel comfortable, since I already knew the terrain. It did surprise me that when we ventured into areas I didn't know, there were some serious hills. I guess I'm not familiar with them because I avoid those hills!
I knew Matt and Connor were stationed around mile 9, and it was such a great motivator to see them and know the race would be over pretty soon. We were both feeling really good at this point, and even Matt later commented that it seemed like we were just hanging out like normal, laughing and chatting as we ran. That's the great part about having someone to run with. Alia and I are a lot alike and can just talk about anything for awhile. That comes in handy when you're running 13 miles!
At this point, we were right before running over the Falls Bridge and back down MLK Drive to the Please Touch Museum (if you're familiar with Philly).
I did start to struggle a bit at mile 11. We drank some energy drinks and I ate a few energy beans. I'm not sure if that was it, but I started having a few cramps. Once we hit the mile 12 sign I felt better. What was one more mile, anyway. Well, that last mile was a freaking hill! Seriously, who would do that? It felt a bit daunting to come around the bend, see the big hill, and then see most people walking up it. Ugh.
Looking back at the race, I definitely felt prepared. There were some moments that I was feeling pretty tired, but I never had a "I can't do this anymore" feeling. To be honest, I don't think I'll do this particular race again next year. The hills weren't my favorite, and it was pretty expensive for a smaller race- $80.
Alia and I are now planning our next race- most likely the Philadelphia half marathon in November!