Philly Half Marathon – Top 10 in AG – Woot!

For future athletic reference – 13.1 miles is a long way to run at a 6:20 pace. Which is why my body made the decision this morning it was going to run it at a more ‘gentlemanly’ 6:36 pace. My legs no longer feel as though it was very gentlemanly pace – they’re sore already.

Here’s the recap of the day:

I went to bed around 9PM – a side effect from being up at 6AM Saturday morning, this gave me tons of sleep and I was up before my alarm clock at 5AM. I ate my breakfast of champions – banana, Snickers energy bar & a Propel – and then headed out the door. In a rare moment of pure genius I decided not to check out of the hotel. Actually, to be truthful – I was just too lazy and decided the automated system would automatically check me out eventually. This turned out great though for getting a hot shower after the race (cause I was pretty darned cold).

They used these new ‘chips’ for this race. They’re actually pieces of paper that have an RFID tag built into them. You simply put it through a shoe lace and off ya go. It didn’t move or brush up against my leg – so all was good. And it’s simply disposable afterwards. Although with the tag on me, I kinda felt like an item waiting to be scanned over a checkout machine. Check it out:


I was a bit confused by what to wear given the weather conditions. It was advertised as mid-30’s with light rain. That’s a bit in the weird zone of clothing options. I ended up wearing standard running shorts, a long sleeve tech shirt and then a singlet over the top of that – figuring that if I got really hot I could toss the long sleeve and just go singlet. I also had a ski hat on, and a pair of $2 clothes I got at the expo. I tossed the gloves at mile 2-3, and the remainder of the clothing worked pretty well. At a few points I did temporary consider tossing the shirt. But I only decided against it because taking the shirt out from under my singlet while running was going to be rather challenging.



I found a spot at the front of the starting line – way closer than I ever dared venture in previous races. I was maybe 10yards back from the starting line. Yet amazingly, like every other race, there were people who insisted on walking ‘from the front’. Seriously.

Once I got past them, I was off on a scenic tour of Philly. It really is a nice course, lots of stuff to look at. The spectator support is pretty good on the downtown side of the river. I started off my first mile with a 6:40 pace (as planned), and then dropped it down to a 6:10 pace for the second pace (wee faster than planned) and then stabilized to a 6:20-6:30 pace for quite a while. Between mile 9 and 10 I slowed a bit due to a large hill – someone had said the course was pancake flat – they lie! There were actually a number of rollers along the way, each one of them chipping away a little bit at my pace.

I never quite stabilized on a 6:20 pace (my goal pace) and despite doing more mental math on the run than you can imagine, there was simply no way I was going to finish in 1:23:00. Actually, there was one point at mile 9 where the math worked out in my favor…and then I realized I worked the math wrong.

I ended up checking out the finish line in a time of 1:26:31 – or a 6:36/mile average. So while I didn’t hit my goal time, I did PR by 12 minutes over my last half-marathon back in March. And shaved off 23 minutes over a year ago. I’ve got until around June 1st to get it down to 1:23 – so plenty of time. I think I can do that by February/March.

The other really good piece of news is my place. I finished 63rd overall out of all half-marathon finishers (4325 peoples). And more importantly – I managed to crack top 10 in my age group (M25-29) with 9th place. That’s assuming they don’t change the results…again.

So all in all – a good day.

Finishers medal:


The finish line area:


A lot of port-o-potties (they actually had two full lengths like this):


And finally – the winner of the marathon, about 100 yards from the finish:



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  1. Great job and congrats on the new kick ass PR! Top ten in your age group is awesome.

  2. Awesome run!!! I was going ti watch, but the prediction of rain made a warm be and cup of coffee more appealing. I KNOW THAT ONE HILL WELL, as I qualified for Boston on this Philadelphia course. Keep up the good running!



  3. Awesome job! And shaving off 23 minutes in a year is pretty dang impressive too! I was happy with shaving off 9!

  4. Wow, this is really impressive, well done. Hope one day I’ll run a 1/2 marathon in that pace!


  5. TJ

    that is one smokin half, even if you didn’t hit your goal.

  6. Great job!!!! That’s an awesome performace.

  7. Great race! Crazy speed! Well done!!! GREAT PR!!

  8. awesome race! congrats, and thanks for standing around in the cold to take pics!