My last race, the Philadelphia marathon was unique for me because not only did my sister and I train towards the same goal, but we ran most of the race together.  I generally prefer to race alone, running my own plan, removing the complications that can sometimes come from trying to stick with another racer.

So in the spirit of doing something new, here’s a side by side view of how we saw and ran the race.  I love reading race reports and this is no exception!  Below are the side by side introductions to each of our reports.

The Lead up to the race

Nora

For many long distance runners, including myself, the ultimate accomplishment is to qualify for and race the Boston Marathon.  Boston is the oldest, continuously running marathon in the U.S. and requires participants to post a qualifying time at a previous marathon (the only exception is raising a lot of money and running for charity).  The qualifying times vary by gender and age category.  My qualifying time is 3 hours and 40 minutes.  I’ve been quietly chipping away at this goal for a long time. More…

Marcy

The Boston Marathon has never been a big goal of mine.  If there’s any race I have dreamed of qualifying for, it would be Kona.  But after last year’s attack at the marathon, I, like many, dreamed of what it would be like to run it.  It didn’t take much (if any) convincing of my sister Nora to train with me for that goal.  As the Philly marathon approached, I could not have had greater anticipation for a  race if I tried.  I was feeling very anxious about trying to hit a new PR, qualify for Boston and I was anxious for my athletes  in the race, including Nora.  More…

The First 13

Nora

Weather conditions at the start of the race were near perfect.  It was about 50 degrees, overcast and no wind.  In the large corral, we positioned ourselves near the 1:50 half-marathon pace group.  If things went to plan, that would be close to our split for the half-marathon.  Marcy and I crossed the starting line together and pretty quickly fell into a consistent rhythm.    This is no easy feat considering the congestion during those first few miles and the numerous sharp turns in the course. However, the pace we settled into was a bit slower than our planned 8:30 pace.

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Marcy

Nora and I planned to run together as long as it made sense. The plan was to start running @ 8:30s and we settled into a pace that was pretty close.  The first few miles are always hard to pace though I thought we must have seeded ourselves well because I didn’t feel like there were hundreds of people to maneuver around.  There are so many turns through the first few miles and such big crowds running down Chestnut that there are a lot of distractions.  With water stops, miles were not going by at 8:30 but sometimes 8:40.

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The Second 13.1

Nora

I was feeling pretty good as we started the second half of the race, but I was starting to feel the wear and tear of the first 13.1 miles.  I knew we were well off our Boston goal pace, but again I didn’t focus on that too much.  The original plan was to pick up the pace after the halfway point.  I tried to do that and was probably successful for a mile or two.  But ultimately the mile splits kept coming in around the 8:40 mark.  Around mile 17 or 18 my feet felt like they were on fire — another sign of the increasing mileage.  I tried to put it out of my mind, but it was around this time I told Marcy that the current pace was all I had to give at the moment…that I would not be “picking it up” any time soon.

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Marcy

I have a love-hate relationship with the out and back that is the second half of the marathon.  I run this route fairly often and I know it well but it never feels quite as long as it does on race day.  Around mile 14 I started to have some serious doubts.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pick up the pace much and I was starting to wonder if I could hold on for 12 more miles.  I also remembered I don’t like running marathons ;-).  One trick I have learned though is to try really hard to stop any thoughts where I start to project how things are going to be bad in future miles of a race.  All I can control is the now and if something’s not OK now, it does NOT mean it won’t be OK later.

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