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. I checked in with Nora a few times to see how she felt but I was feeling comfortable and not wanting to chase a pace. Luckily she seemed to feel the same way and we made our way towards West Philly after being cheered on by Karen Campbell and Students Run Philly Style.
West Philly has all the hills. Long, gradual inclines like near Drexel’s Frat houses, and the steeper hill past the zoo. West Philly also has mile 8.5 where my sister, parents, husband and kids were waiting. That mile being downhill and having family was probably a good pace but it lead to what I think is the hardest hill on the course. Nora powered through it and was ahead of me so I just called to her that I was on my way when I got to the top and we kept it going. I remember just trying to stay relaxed and calm and not worry about pace. We were dumped out on to West River, saw the family again and headed for the half way point. Looking at my watch, I knew that it was a half marathon PR but I also knew we were supposed to pick up the pace after the half way mark and I was feeling unsure about what I would be able to do.