The highlight of the race was definitely the company I kept. Jess, Melody, and Stacey, who are all half marathoners (!) ran the race, too. We drove to Philly on Friday night to pick up our packets and we met up with Kristi and her friend Kyla for dinner. We ate at The Continental and then went back to Kristi's for (surprise) birthday cupcakes for me!
Of course, I didn't sleep much that night. Jess and I shared a futon, and spent two hours catching up on a month (or more) of conversation. This is what makes our friendship tick. We live an hour away and neither one of us are much for phone calls, so once every other month we end up at a retreat or something together that involves chatting far into the night. I love it!
The morning of the race I was pretty tired and probably what seemed to be nervous/grumpy. I had to tell everyone that I don't like talking before 8 am, haha! Right, Lauren? I wasn't sure what to eat before the race - I certainly didn't want to risk too much liquid, especially coffee. I went with a small amount of oatmeal and a banana - it was the perfect thing.
The race was super crowded. I don't have anything to compare it to, but there were hundreds, if not thousands, of runners. Who knows. We got to the starting line around 8:30 am, after waiting in line for the porta-potties. Half an hour before the race started, this was our spot (see below). My best guess is we were more than halfway towards the front of the crowd.
9:00 am came and went, and the race didn't start. It finally got going around 9:15, and the officials let a wave of people go every few minutes. We officially got going at 9:27 and got doused with a bunch of pink powder.
The starting line was a dousy. Too many walkers and people trying to get to the powder, I had to weave and push to get through. I was kind of worried about getting trampled.
After a few twists and turns through the parking lot of Citizen's Bank Park, and a yellow and orange color station, we were running up the road and towards the Eagle's Stadium. At this point, a police officer told me, "Only two miles to go!."
Holy crap, I thought. I was exhausted. I couldn't believe I had only made it one mile so far. I was so discouraged by all the people walking and passing me, and the family with several kids under five who seemed to be moving faster than I was. At that point, still in unbelief, I pulled out my phone to check out the Run Keeper app, and realized that when I shoved it in my pocket at the starting line, I accidently turned the tracking off.
"Activity starting," my phone chirped at me. Boo. So much for getting an official time and baseline for my first 5k. Run or Dye prides itself on being laid back, which means untimes, which, as it turns out, is a total bummer and let-down.
About a block later, another runner passed me, and I hear their Run Keeper shout, "Distance, two miles, time, thirty minutes." The laughed, seeming a little disgusted at thier 15:00 minute/mile time, but chalked it up to pushing a stroller. I knew they started after me, because I never noticed them in the crowd, so I figured I was either going about 15:00 min/mile, or even slower. So much for breaking my personal record.
We lapped around the football stadium and at that point stadium workers were standing along the course watching us and smoking. YES. SMOKING. Seriously? I was already hot, tired, and breathing heavy. I did not need a good dose of Marlboro, too. How inconsiderate!
I was just done. The course felt longer than three miles, running in the middle of a bunch of black pavement and in the hottest conditions I've ever ran it was making me miserable, I was discouraged by not having my run keeper being accurate and the amount of walkers who kept passing me, and disappointed that all the color stations were crammed in the first mile. In fact, at this point, my shirt was still practically white.
Then, off in the distance I could see green stuff in the air. "It's the finish line," a walker near me said to someone else. At that point, I put my butt in gear. The girls infront of me with "Outlaw," written on their butts needed to eat my dust. They were walking/running and kept getting in front of me the entire race. I passed them with a vengence.
I turned left into the finish line of green powder. My running buddies attacked me with more powder and chased me to the finish line. Too many casual walkers and onlookers crowded the end of the race, and I screamed, "Move!"
I got to the end and peeled off my too-tight skirt. I may or may not have uttered some distasteful language. I asked Jess approximately one million times what time we started and what time it was now. Someone brought me two bottles of water. I was finished!
I'm glad I did it, and mostly hit my goal, but overall the race was kind of disappointing. The color stations were lame, poorly manned, running out of color, and congested with people rolling on the ground and being stupid. The miles or kilometers were not marked at all making it really frustrating. People were smoking on the course.
I did get a free shirt and bag and have a wonderful time with my girlfriends. Last night I found myself researching local runs - I'm ready to do another, more formal one. I think it would be fun to have Herb and other family/friends along the course to cheer me on. I'm kind of bummed that my first race was lame.
But, it's done, and I did it. :)