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(Reprinted from Boomers and Beyond at CR and edited for you guys. Forgive me for not mentioning our get togethers since so much has already been said. Suffice to say I had a wonderful time hanging with all you guys.)<br><br>
I will always have a feeling of sentimentality towards the Philadelphia Marathon because I got my first BQ there in 2002. Needing a 3:30:59 I struggled through the last three miles and hung on in a nail biter finishing in a then-PR of 3:30:15. Ever since that day I've had the goal of going back and breaking 3:30. Last year after PR'ing with a 3:27:10 at the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon I went to Philadelphia six weeks later with the goals of going sub 3:30 and maybe getting a new PR. Neither happened as I hobbled along with a headcold finishing in 3:33. So this year I was back with same goal. Having run Mohawk Hudson again this year in 3:29:07 I felt ready especially since I ran more miles in the last six weeks and was free of any illness.<br><br>
DW, DD and myself drove down from Vermont on Friday. The expo was typical but in a new venue at Temple University. It was a bit out of the way but was across the street from a subway stop. The line to pick up my race number was long but that was the only complaint I have about the expo. At least there was enough room here for the crowds.<br><br>
Race day: The race was starting at 7AM this year, one hour early. This really sucked because it meant I would have to eat a very early breakfast. I got up at 4:30AM and made hotel room coffee. I tried to eat a muffin but could only get down half of it. I took a banana and a bottle of Gatorade in my car and drove to the start. In 2002 it was easy to find parking at the start. This time there was no place to park nearby and I drove around for 20 minutes before finding a spot almost 1/2 mile away.<br><br>
The weather: Philadelphia usually has great running weather this time of year. This morning it was in the high 30's and overcast with a breeze from the northwest. There was a prediction for light rain.<br><br>
Fashionista report: Yellow Mizuno Elixir's, yellow and white Gizmo socks, blue and black Race Ready Shorts, RRS boxer brief MUG, white tech tee shirt, white arm warmers from teamestrogen.com, day glow orange singlet on top of the shirt, white cool max cap, black True Value $1.89 gloves.<br><br>
I got to the start at 6:45 after leaving my warm clothes in the car. I kind of felt the need to do another #2 but there was not enough time so I figured I would just have to carry it with me. (Sorry, TMI!!!) I lined up midway between the 3:20 and 3:30 pace groups. The start was delayed fifteen minutes I believe because the police were towing a few cars that were parked on the course. Finally we were underway. It took 1:14 for me to reach the starting line and I hit my watch. The half marathoners were starting with us but they were kept on the other side of Ben Franklin Parkway running parallel to us for the first .5 mile. It was still pretty congested and I had to deal with the typical problems of too many slow people in front and too many fast people behind. The crowding eased up by mile 3.<br><br>
Mile 1 = 8:11<br>
Mile 2 = 7:49<br>
Mile 3 =7:48<br>
Mile 4 + 5 = 15:52<br><br>
It was a bit colder than optimum weather and the wind would be harsh for a bit and then we would be sheltered by the buildings for a bit. Usually by mile 5 I can tell if I'm going to have a good day but today I wasn't sure. The miles weren't going by effortlessly but I didn't feel strained either.<br><br>
Mile 6 = 7:52<br>
Mile 7 + 8 = 16:04<br>
Mile 9 = 7:46<br><br>
I started up the hill at Fairmont Park at my conservative uphill marathon pace. Just then the entire 3:30 pace group blew by me, about 100 runners strong. Dammit! I wasn't going to let them get ahead of me. I continued over the hill and kept on my pace but told myself not to let them get away.<br><br>
Mile 10 = 8:20 (uphill) Mile 10 split = 1:19:46.<br>
Mile 11 = 7:54<br>
Mile 12 = 7:54<br><br>
The 3:30 pace group had about 100 meters on me. I estimated they had just thrown down three 7:30 miles. Why, I don't know. Was the pacer trying to bank time? Big mistake, I thought. (This was Pacer Scott, I believe, not Chris).<br><br>
Mile 13 = 7:50<br>
.1 = :49 for 1:44:15 at the half. This meant I would need over a one minute negative split for a PR. I knew my dream goal of sub 3:25 wasn't going to happen. Miles 14 - 17 wound past the finish line then out and back near the Schuykill River. These miles were easy as I was either sheltered from the wind or had it at my back.<br><br>
Mile 14 = 7:52<br>
Mile 15 = 7:56<br>
Mile 16 = 7:53<br>
Mile 17 = 7:57<br><br>
Miles 18 - 21 north on Kelly Drive up the other side of the river were into the wind. The only good thing about this was that there might end up being a tailwind to the finish on the return leg. I used up a lot of energy from 18 - 21 trying to maintain pace. Mile 21 was up the long gradual hill into Manayunk with the turnaround heading for home.<br><br>
Mile 18 = 8:05<br>
Mile 19 = 8:09<br>
Mile 20 = 8:09 Mile 20 split = 2:39:30<br><br>
Okay, so I need a 47:40 final 10k to match my PR. That won't happen, but a 50:29 final 10k would get me under 3:30.<br><br>
Mile 21 = 8:06<br><br>
My legs were starting to get that dead feeling and I was about to start drifting into oblivion. I asked myself, what do you want to do: wimp out and feel bad for another year or go for it and feel sore for a few days? This was my last race of the year and my sixth marathon of 2007. It was time to leave it all out there.<br><br>
I could see the 3:30 pace group 60 meters in front of me. It was much smaller now as several runners had either fallen off the pace or moved ahead. I tried to shorten my stride and increase my turrnover rate. These are the two things that go away when I'm tired.<br><br>
Mile 22 = 7:51<br>
Mile 23 = 7:54<br>
Mile 24 = 7:54<br><br>
I was within fifty feet of the Clif Bar pacer guy holding his balloons. He was all alone. He had blown up his pace group with that early surge.<br><br>
Legs really hurting now but don't give in!<br><br>
Mile 25 = 8:01<br><br>
Finally I passed the pacer!<br><br>
Mile 26 = 8:04<br><br>
Keep pushing...<br><br>
.2 = 1:42<br><br>
Finish time 3:29:06. I did it! I beat my Philly demons and finally broke 3:30 here. The cold wasn't really a big factor but it did make me a bit uncomfortable and kept me pushing the pace to keep warm. So ultimately it was a good thing. Occasionally there was a very fine mist coming from the sky but it never rained.<br><br>
Some interesting tidbits:<br><br>
This was my third sub 3:30 marathon out of 22 and my 2nd in a row.<br>
I just ran 3:29:07 at the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon six weeks ago!<br><br>
My 10 mile split was 1:19:46. (7:59 pace)<br>
I ran miles 11 - 20 in 1:19:44. (7:59 pace)<br>
I ran the final 6.217 miles in 49:36 (7:59 pace)<br>
My half splits were: 1:44:15 and 1:44:51.<br><br>
So my pacing was unbelievably even. The only time I went off pace a bit was miles 10 - 13 when I tried to stay with the pace group's surge.<br><br>
Today two days later my thighs are very sore but not any more so than after Boston, so it was definitely worth the effort. I'm going to take it easy for a few weeks before gearing up for Boston again.
 

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I'm glad you joined us for the social gatherings. Sounds like you had a great race as well. Congratulations!
 

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Good job, Wu. Distance runners are weird. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Great Job, Good Doctor!!<br><br>
I enjoyed reading your race experience very much, as well as meeting you at the Post Race bash.<br><br>
Hope to see you again. After all, Vermont isn't that far away from Canada, is it? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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Great report as usual Walt. I can only dream...
 

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Awesome way to finish up the season, <b>Doctor Wu</b>! To close out with your best time of the year and do it at this race must've been very satisfying.<br><br>
It was really great to have met you in Philly this weekend, and I loved how you told the tale of your race and your experiences with the pace group after we left the food tent.
 

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Way to race <b>Doc Wu</b>! It was great meeting you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Congratulations on breaking 3:30. I was pulling for you during the entire race report <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> Good luck on going 3 in a row at sub-3:30
 

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Great meeting up again Walt, and an epic run. Hopefully next year I can be writing about how much I love the Marathon in Philly and how I set a BQ there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> -<br><br>
Seriously great running, here's to the next time.<br><br>
Liam
 

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Congrats - I love it when I am focussed enough to run even - A very hard thing to do. This will be a good year to run Boston - I am stoked to watch the Womens' Olympic Trials the day before!
 

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Awesome RR Dr Wu...Congratulations on a great race <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Congrats, Doctor Wu! It was great to read how you regained your focus and pushed yourself hard to your goal.<br><br>
Congratulations too on such a successful year.
 

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Great race and report <b>Dr Wu!</b> Those are some pretty consistent miles, I can only dream about running that consistently. Was great meeting you!
 

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Great racing <b>Dr. Wu</b>!! I can still see that huge smile on your face that you had on hours after finishing your marathon. I loved talking with you at the after-race party. Congrats again!!!
 

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Great job! I smiled with glee for you at the end of your report. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> I'm glad you didn't try to keep up with the 3:30 group and ran your own race. You're a wily runner.
 
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