My First Double Marathon Completed! Richmond and Philadelphia Marathon 2013

My First Double Marathon Completed! Richmond and Philadelphia

This past weekend I signed up to run Richmond Marathon on Saturday and Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. I was about as difficult as I thought it would, but challenges were different altogether.

My first marathon started off cold and wet as it started raining at mile 1. Not a good start. Gloomy for most of the day. I felt sleepy between mile 7 and 10 for my first marathon and the first time I ever thought about quitting a race. I toughed through it and made it through the race.

I had to wake up at 4:30am on Sunday after a long drive up to Philadelphia. Even though I was awake, I also thought about not showing up for the race and sleeping in as I was even more tired Sunday morning. I shook off those negative thoughts and prepared for my race. I had a much better time in the Philadelphia Marathon, even though I was still not sure how long it would take me the finish if I were to finish. I had to walk some parts of the race around miles 10 and 12 but after that, I was sure I was going to finish. I was glad I stuck through it and I had a strong finish as I was saving my legs for the last part of the race.

These two races definitely tested my fortitude and resolve in ways I never thought I had to. There was a bit of doubt in my mind as I didn’t properly train for these two races and this was the first time I did this. I believe next time around, I would feel much more confident about it. Overall, it was a good experience and I hope to use this experience and go for another double weekend sometime in the fall next year.

Here was a quick summary of the events this weekend:

Travel summary:

  • Friday: Direct flight US Airways BOS-RIC
  • Saturday: Drove RIC to PHL airport, 240 miles (~5 hours driving time)
  • Sunday: Wife drove: PHL to BOS: 325 miles (~6 hours driving time)

Weekend Summary:

Friday:

  • Got on a flight at 7pm direct BOS-RIC. Crazy lady next to me manage to smuggle a 24″ LCD monitor onto the plane and had it under the seat of a regional plane. I jokingly gave her a hard time during take off and landing. No AC outlets to have the biggest personal IFE ever.
  • Landed on time and got a pasta dinner at Applebee’s in the airport as this was the only thing open at 9:30pm. Food was pretty good and chicken was perfect. It took a while longer as they had to cook the chicken but well worth the wait.
  • Got to my room just about 10:45pm and got upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite. Didn’t really need though just for myself
  • Finally went to sleep around 12am

Saturday:

  • Woke up at 5am to get out the door at 6am so I could go back to the airport to pick up my rental car as I wanted to save a day in rental fees
  • Went to the wrong place as I thought there was free parking for the marathon, but they meant the Expo.
  • Finally got to Richmond downtown around 7am. I was forced to pay a $0.30 toll and didn’t have any change to used the rental car EZ-Pass. Not sure how much the fee would be but couldn’t back out and needed to get into city.
  • I finally found an open garage at 7:30am, before the 8am start. Cutting it really close. I was very lucky as it was almost equidistant from the start and finish lines. They were a total of about six blocks apart from each other.
  • It was a bit chilly before the race. I was shaking at times before the race
  • Got to the start line around 7:45am. It was pouring rain around 7am and by the time I walked to the start, the rain subsided.
  • Half marathoners started at 7:50am adjacent and before the marathoners. I got to see off the half runners off.
  • Full marathoners started at 8am (this was a great setup). Relatively small group of runners so passed the line a few minutes after 8am.
  • Started raining at mile 1. Lasted for about 20 minutes. Wasn’t bad but felt pretty cold. My hands didn’t warm up until the 5k mark.
  • Girl in mermaid costume asking us for clothes donations. Sign said “you look better topless than I do.” I would totally disagree there.
  • Felt sleepy around mile 7 or 8. Closed my eyes every now and then. Eventually felt more awake two miles later. Running the entire time.
  • My legs felt fine but I felt sleepy for the next few miles. Definitely not looking forward to running more the next day. Mentally tough to get through the next few miles. First thoughts about quitting I ever had, even though my legs were still going on strong.
  • The ground was wet and sky was gloomy all day. This limited the spectators on the course, but there were a few here and there that came out and cheered.
  • Ran through some not-so-nice areas of the city.
  • I must have ran by 4 Suntrust branches. Was dying to stop in and open an account for the Delta Skymiles Debit Card but didn’t have ID/CC with me.
  • The back half of the course was populated so there were generally bigger crowds in the back half.
  • They were giving out wet towels in the back half of the course. I used it to clean up my face and my legs. Didn’t need it this race as it was very cool and didn’t have a lot of sweat. But felt much better after.
  • The last two miles was in the city and quite a few 90 degree turns. Was hoping for a straighter finish.
  • The finish was downhill and difficult to run through as it was so steep.
  • My time was 5:20, a bit slower than I expected. I was saving my legs for tomorrow’s race
  • Got a slice of pizza and went straight to the massage tent. I made the cut as I was one of the last massages of the day. The tent was heated so took the opportunity to stretch before and after the massage.
  • Got to the car and drove off about 2:30pm. Need to drive 240 miles to PHL.
  • I made two stops to use the bathroom and also take a 20 minute nap. Even with coffee, I needed a nap to drive that much.
  • I got to PHL around 8pm, got lost near the airport finding a gas station, got dinner around 9:30pm and back in bed by midnight.

Sunday

  • ¬†Woke up at 4:30am to get into the Philadelphia by about 6am for the 7am start.
  • Left the hotel around 5:30am and got inside Philadelphia and a few blocks from the start by about 6am.
  • Took a 20 minute nap in the car and got to the start corral at 6:45am.
  • I was in the last (blue) corral and it didn’t start until 7:30am! Not sure what took so long. The half was mixed in with the full marathon runners.
  • The start was amazing. You run through the downtown area and see many of the major sights. It was amazing to see everyone running in the middle of Philadelphia
  • I ran a few miles with Al Emma, who was a 10 star marathon maniac. He got his 10 stars for running a marathon in 30 states in a year, all when he was above 70 years old! This was essentially his last marathon as he lives about an hour away.
  • I left Al around mile 9. The next parts of the course were scenic so the miles were easy to run. I walked a few uphills to save my legs
  • Around mile 12 I waked for about a mile as I was getting sleepy again. Managed to wake up a bit when the half marathoners left the course around mile 13 right in front of the Museum of Art.
  • The next half of the course was essentially an out and back course so I could see the marathoners finishing up the race. I was looking for Peter Lantin, whom I met at New Hampshire Marathon last year. Too bad he was gunning for a sub 4 so I couldn’t run with him. I saw him around mile 22 for him, or about mile 15 for me.
  • There were small rolling hills for the last half of the course. I walked one or two of the hills.
  • The sun had started to come out during this time. Luckily, it didn’t get too warm but good to see the sun again after a gloomy race in Richmond.
  • I saw Al a few times as there were shorter out and back sections to the course. He seemed to be only 10-20 minutes behind me so he was doing well. He said a 5:40 would be a great time for him.
  • There was a woman who was giving out cookies and brownies! Right on Main Street near mile 20 there was a bakery giving out brownies as well! They were in large chunks but he had a giant tub of it left. Those definitely helped. I also took M&M’s and pretzels from other people on the course.
  • The turnaround was at mile 20, which was a bit further than I expected. I walked the uphill before mile 21 and then ran the rest of the race. I figured I didn’t need to save my legs and if I did get injured, I was close enough to walk the rest of the race.
  • There were mainly coaches and other finished runners cheering us on the last 4 miles. The signs also got better.
  • I noticed the finishers walking the course had gold medals. I thought that they had won in their division. Turns out everyone gets gold finisher’s medals, which is awesome!
  • I stopped for a short bathroom break at mile 24. If I didn’t, I could have finish 5:20 to make it identical to Richmond.
  • I blew through the last mile or so at around 8 min/mile pace. I got there a bit too early for my friends and wife to see me finish.
  • Had lunch at a noodle house on 11th and Race street. I saw Peter there as well, which was a huge surprise. We quickly talked about our races.
  • We made it back to the car at 3:30, which meant we wouldn’t be home until about 10pm. It was a long drive.
  • Most of the drive was fine but there were major accidents on GWB so we had to re-route through Brooklyn. We drove within a few miles of my parent’s place in Brooklyn, but had no time to stop.
  • My wife drove most of the way and she was cruising once we got into Brooklyn. We managed to drive from Brooklyn to Boston in about 3.5 hours not counting rest stops, so that’s a very good time.
  • We got back around 11pm. We are still very tired.

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