It’s Memorial Day Weekend – woo hoo, a day off of work! How did I celebrate this pivotal weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer? I ran a half marathon.
To be fair, I did not realize the race fell on Memorial Day Weekend. However, it turned out to be the perfect weekend for a nice, long run.
Much like my experience with Broad Street, I didn’t really train for this race like I should have. I never ran more than 10 miles (twice), and I only ran a handful of times in the past month for various reasons. Whoops.
So I didn’t have especially high hopes for this run. My plan was to finish it, and maybe to finish it without walking.
My friend, Alex, (remember her from Broad Street?), and I signed up for the race together. The ODDyssey Half Marathon was created as a great way for people to transition from training for the Broad Street run, right into a half marathon.
The course was predominantly in Fairmount Park (Philadelphia), beginning on the Memorial Hall Green (by the Please Touch Museum), and it went around the Belmont Plateau before nearing the stunning Schuylkill River along West River Drive, and ending back at Memorial Hall.
Best of all, the race encouraged costumes – hence the ODD in ODDyssey. So, Alex and I got ourselves some kick ass tutus – easy to run in and super cute – just what a girl wants.
On half marathon eve, we traveled into the city to procure our race packets at Lululemon, where I was disappointed in the nonexistence of 13.1 stickers. Boo. Then we proceeded to drink vodka smoothies, watch Family Guy, and play Rock Band. And, Alex was smart enough to go to bed before midnight. My bad.
We left by 5:30am, my stomach full of water and a peanut butter sandwich. Parking was ridiculously easy, and then came the long wait. This was the first annual race, so there were obvious kinks to work out. My parents arrived to be my official spectators and we passed the time by staring at people’s costumes.
Yes, there were plenty of (lame) people sans costume. I’m going to be honest, those people make me sad. Way to take yourself too seriously. Even a few of the top 10 runners ran disgustingly fast while wearing a costume. I’ll even take the people who wore little more than brightly colored arm bands with matching hair ties.
Some of my favorites included the older dude in the kilt, the gingerbread man being “chased” by the baker, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, the group of devils, the girls dressed like Lady Gaga, the guy who literally juggled the entire race, and the girls dressed like Hawaiians. Watching people run by in costumes really made the race go by a lot faster.
In the first 3 miles I saw my parents a handful of times, thanks to the set up of the course. I was really excited to have them there to cheer for me – it makes a big difference when someone cares that you cross the finish line. But, after that, we ventured down by the river and the amount of spectators dropped considerably. There were a few, here and there, but it was a lot of self motivation and motivation from other racers – I especially enjoyed those who yelled “Go Tutus!”
Around mile 5 I departed from Alex and proceeded to lose track of what mile I was on. I really had no idea. I just listened to my music, and laughed at people’s costumes. The course looped back so you could see those behind/in front of you various times. This was both motivating and unmotivating, but it really gave you the chance to see everyone in the race.
Running in Fairmount Park and by the river was really fun. The weather was gorgeous (the sun waited awhile to come out, thankfully), and the sights were gorgeous. A couple times I wanted to vom thanks to the fishy smell emanating from the river, but thankfully I pushed on.
Finally I saw a mile marker at mile 10 and was surprised at how good I felt. Everything went well until mile 12 when everyone around me sped up considerably. Then it happened – a small hill. And then? A mega hill that was almost the entire last half mile of the race.
Seriously? Seriously? That is cruel. I actually enjoy running hills, but this one was killer, and after running 12.5 miles, I considered walking. Instead, I cursed a lot in my head and trudged forward. At the top I entered the spectator zone and finished at 2 hours and 3 minutes.
I was pleased with how I did. The race was fun and well timed after Broad Street. I’m proud of myself and excited to do another one! Though, it’ll be hard to top a race that allowed me to wear a tutu and a hair bow.
This is the smallest race I’ve ever done, and it was incredibly different from Broad Street. Going from 30,000 people to less than 1,000 is both good and bad. But, all in all, I loved every minute of it.
A special thanks to my parents for coming to watch me. Having someone there to cheer for me was awesome, and it was definitely something I missed at my last race. It made all the difference in the world.
I forgive you for making me walk all over Philadelphia and Longwood Gardens. I’m sure you just wanted me to prove my physical fitness even more. Score one for Sarah.
So, there you have it. I’m an official half marathoner. I just need my sticker.
– Sarah #2