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<span style="font-family:Arial;">Ok, everyone is probably sick of Philly race reports by now, but bear with me through one more. Although, I’ll tell you up front that this report really isn’t about me, it’s about those that I was pacing (Lora and Dave) – their stories are infinitely more interesting that what you’ll read here. Ok, and it's waaay too long.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;"><b>Background</b>: I left Hartford, CT on Friday afternoon hoping to beat NYC rush hour traffic. However, within minutes of beginning my journey somebody decided that it’d be fun to drive their car into a stream just off the interstate. A lengthy delay followed and I was rather late in arriving in Stamford to pick up <b>Litchfield Hills</b>. We hit NYC at 5pm – right in the middle of rush hour. Ugh. After an hour or more of sitting on the Cross Bronx Expressway and the GW Bridge, we finally started making good time through New Jersey and arrived in Philly around 8pm.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">If you’ve already read the other reports, I’m not sure that I can add much to the description of the weekend festivities. Let me say that this entire group, bar none, is simply amazing. Friday night saw about half of the group together for dinner and drinks and that was followed up with about a dozen runners participating in the Shwetty Balls run on Saturday afternoon and the full gathering the next night at the carbo-loading dinner. Funny note about the SB run – I couldn’t find a place to change so I ended up just changing in my car while parked on the side of Ben Franklin Boulevard. That might have been the fastest that I’ve ever changed my clothes. I was just waiting for the police to pass by and issue me a citation for public lewdness. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">At this point I should also hand out a few thank yous. First to <b>Theia</b> – she and Andrew were the most gracious hosts ever. Thanks again for opening up your home to me. And to <b>Beaker</b> for organizing the post-race party and the Bobmann fund. To <b>PhastTom</b> for organizing the Theia collection fund and the SB run. To <b>Jill</b> for the KR shirt efforts. <b>Bobmann</b> for the Philly Phantasy league. And <b>LL</b> and <b>Maria</b> for the use of showers post-run (and to all the others who offered). And thanks to all of the KR peeps who were there. It was truly a pleasure to either meet you or to see you again.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">(Man, this is getting long already.)</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;"><b>Race Day</b>: I woke up at some ungodly hour, forced down a banana, bagel, coffee and water and proceeded to head to the start. I arrived at 6am – plenty of time to meet up with those who I was pacing, right? Yeah, right. Tried calling Lora a few times, but she didn’t pick up her cell. Okaaaay…. After scouting out the rest of the starting area, I decided that a trip to the porta-potty was a necessity – besides, I had 30 minutes until the start of the race - plenty of time to find everyone. The porty-potty lines were incredibly slow. WTF? Are you taking a shower in there? I’m now nervous b/c I know it’s going to be close. I call Lora a few more times with no luck. I strip off all of my outer layers and change into my race shoes while waiting in line. Finally, my turn arrives and I now have 10 minutes until the race starts, so I jog off to the start with my bag in tow. The plan, you see, was to let Lora’s family hold my bag rather than checking it. I arrive at the 4:00 pacer area. There are only about, oh, 80 bajillion people here. I start to panic. How am I ever gong to find Lora and Dave? I start pushing my way through the crowd and finally find Dave five minutes before the race is to start. He hasn’t seen Lora and there is nobody to watch my bag. I now decide that I need to check the bag, so I sprint back toward the Art Museum where I run into <b>Mr.Theia</b>. I mutter something completely incoherent and hand him my bag and the baggage claim ticket, say thanks and sprint back to the corral. Still no Lora. Wait!!! It’s a Lora cheering sign. There she is. No, wait again, it’s her sister. Where’s Lora? Over on the other side of the corral. Ok. – I plough through the corral again (about the fifth time – these people hate me) and finally find Lora at 6:58. Dave is there with her. Whew!!</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">We’re off!! Holy carp this course is crowded!! Are all races like this? The first part of the race takes you through downtown Philly and there are wall-to-wall people. They are driving me bat-shit crazy b/c there isn’t even one iota of racing etiquette being observed. So, I’m trying to push my way through the crowds while maintaining as straight a course as possible. Ugh. This continues on for the first few miles. Lots of checking my watch to make sure the pace is correct and checking with Lora and Dave to see how they feel. Lora asks me if I’ll hold her strap-on while she takes off her shirt around mile two. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> After three miles were about 30 seconds off of a four hour pace.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">Miles 3-6 are largely the same – lots of crowds and lots of incredibly rude runners. The worst is when they stop in the middle of the road at water stops. The most egregious was at the four mile water stop where the entire road was blocked off. Arrggh!! This ain’t happy hour people – it’s a road race – drink on the run!! It was so bad at this particular water stop that people were running behind the tables on either side of the road. A complete disaster. Somewhere during this stretch I may have “accidentally” hit the elbows of a few people who were standing and drinking in the middle of the street and thereby causing their drink to spill down the front of their shirt. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> This makes me chuckle to myself. Despite it all, we manage to keep our pace and after six miles we’re still only about 30 seconds off the pace.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">The streets begin to open up around this point so there’s more room to maneuver. There are a couple of nice downhill portions here and we make up a little time. By mile 9 we’re only 5 seconds off of our pace. Soon thereafter Lora spies a porta potty and tells me that she must use it. We send Dave on ahead of us. I’m not concerned – we can spare a minute or two. Unfortunately, there are three people in line in front of Lora and they did not share our urgency. It was like they were reading the freakin’ newspaper in there or something. Almost four minutes later we’re back out on the road. This is a downhill section of the course in Fairmount (Fairmont?) Park. We make up a little time in each of the next several miles. We find Dave again around mile 11 as he must have slowed to wait for us and now we’re headed back to the Art Museum and the half-way point. During this stretch Lora tells me that she has a stitch and needs to slow a bit. We’re about 2 minutes behind schedule at this point but I start to theorize that, once Lora sees her sister, she’ll get a second wind. In the meantime Dave tells us that he’s hurting and drops back a bit. Unfortunately, we never see him again (he ends up only 1 minute behind us at the finish though). I also realize at this point that, while I’ve been concentrating on Lora and Dave, I haven’t been paying attention to my race at all. I’ve only taken water once and still have all of my gels. Oops. I immediately take a gel and a water and wonder how much that mistake will cost me later.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">We are now approaching the Art Museum. I’m looking for 30s peeps as well as Lora’s family. The crowds here are amazing. We manage to spot her parents and they are cheering like crazy. We hit the half in just under 2:03. Lora’s sister Aimee joins us here and we make the turn out toward Manayunk. It is hillier than I thought it would be and Lora is not happy – even with my charming self and her sister running with her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Sad"> Mile 14 is slow, but 15, with a downhill, is much better. Around mile 15 my knee starts to feel a little off – there is some throbbing under my kneecap and I start to wonder now if I’ll be able to finish. You see, I hadn’t run much in the past three months – only one run over 12 miles since August and I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up after mile 20, but mile 15? Not good. During mile 16 we see Lora’s friend Dave(?) coming the other way. That guy is fast. At this point my brain is having trouble doing the calculations to see if we’re still on pace. It takes me almost the whole mile, but I determine that we’re about four minutes back. Aimee now decides that she’s had enough fun and heads back to the finish as Lora and I press on toward Manayunk.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">I only kept track of our splits for the next mile or two. We were keeping a very consistent pace of about 9:15/mile – just barely over the four hour standard, but we weren’t making up any time either. It was now apparent to me that a sub-four was not happening today, so I instead focused on managing the race to make it as comfortable and fun for Lora as possible over the last eight miles. During this stretch we saw Pacer, Notey (with Tom – huh, what?), Bob and LL as they were making their way back to the finish. I knew that this was going to be a bit of a challenge because the course had a series of little rollers all the way out to mile 20 and therefore, they continued until mile 22 on the return. Lora really didn’t appreciate the uphills much (actually, she didn’t like the downhills much either, so she was an equal opportunity hater <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">). I tried to help her up one hill by taking her hand and leading her up the hill in the hopes that it would remove some of the psychological burden of running the hill. I apparently went a little too fast for her because she told me that she was going to hurl at the top. Oops, sorry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Sad"> I noticed around mile 20 that my knee pain had subsided, so that was good news. On the negative side, I forgot to take any water or gels for the last five miles. Blah. This could still get ugly – for me, for her or for both of us.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">We’re now on the return leg of the out and back to Manayunk. We have a few more pit stops so that Lora can stretch. At mile 22 Lora has her only crisis of confidence. She tells me that maybe she’s not cut out to be a marathoner. I remind her that she has just run 22 miles faster than she ever has in her life, that she’s on pace for a HUUUGE PR and that it’s supposed to hurt at this point of the race. Of course, I just made that up on the spot – I really don’t know if any of that is true at this point, so I start to calculate her finish time again. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)"> Ok, it’s now a projected 4:07 – whew!!</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">The next few miles I’m focused on two things – (1) maintaining our pace so that I don’t turn myself into a liar and (2) making sure that Lora is comfortable. I begin to tell her stories again. I check on her every tenth of a mile to she that she’s running well . One thing that I found remarkable is that her form never really broke down the entire race. Lora breaks the news to me at mile 24 that she’s not really listening to my stories. Hah, I'v distracted her just long enough. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> Over the last few miles I’m beginning to tighten up due to a lack of hydration and I’m now looking forward to the finish as much as I imagine she is.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">Now I start to worry that Lora’s not going to be happy with her time. Oops, there’s the race photographer! Smile pretty for the camera. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> Where was I? Oh yes, I’m tightening up a little more, but now I’m positive that I’ll make it to the finish without a problem. The crowds are getting bigger and Lora looks like she’s feeling pretty good. We now approach the last half mile and the crowds are larger than any I’ve ever seen. So, what happens? We sprint in tothe finish, right? Nope. Lora stops to stretch. At mile 25.9!!! No, no, no, no!!!! This may have been the only time I chided Lora during the entire race because she looked almost apologetic. We start up again. There’s mile 26. There’s a cheering and sobbing <b>Solarmommy</b>. Then <b>Solarsister</b> Aimee. Then <b>PhastTom</b> telling me that he thought I could still take her if I started kicking now. And then something truly amazing – a roar from the crowd. It was the whole 30s crew and they were LOUD!! That's something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I point them out to Lora as we turn toward the finish line. We cross, arms raised, in 4:08:20.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">Whew, I guess I’m not a liar after all.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;"><b>Post-script</b>: This was the third marathon that I’ve ever run and I think that I’ve learned a valuable lesson from each of them. The first taught me that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to. The second taught me that I could run a marathon well. This marathon taught me that helping another to meet their goal is the most rewarding experience of all.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">Congratulations Lora.</span>
 

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Freaking awesome. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy">
 

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Geez - everyone is saying how awesome you are and all that, did they not miss this:<br>
Joking aside, a very cool thing you did for a friend.
 

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Nothing I say here can do justice for what you did for me on Sunday. Thank you for giving your perspective on the day, and for having such patience with me for those 4 hours, 8 minutes, and 20 seconds. (ok, and maybe for those couple freak-outs before the race day, too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)"> )You are an amazing runner and an even better friend.
 

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Wait -- let me get this straight:<br>
1) you almost make me puke<br>
2) you tell me pace and PR stuff that may not be accurate<br>
3) you elbow me out of the way so you can get a good pic by the photographer around mile 24 (ok, that's not really what happened)<br>
4) you scold me for stretching at the approach to the finish, when I was simply bowing to the enthusiastic crowds (ok, I made that up, too)<br><br>
What a race! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br><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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<br>
That was my favorite part of a great RR.
 

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CoachT,<br><br>
I've paced two people to PR's in a marathon and it is a very rewarding act. Lora will never forget. Neither will you.<br><br>
your pal,<br><br>
oache
 

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<b>Trevor</b> I dont know what else I can say that hasnt already been said. Great job, great race and a great report. I so envy you for getting to spend 4 hours and 8 minutes with the lovely <b>Solar <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy">.</b> It was a pleasure to meet you this weekend and am looking foward to the next meet up.
 

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Absolutely Fantastic Race Report.<br><br><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#C0C0C0;">I may have cried a little at the end but I'll never admit it.</span></span><br><br>
Solid Days Work, Sir. We are truly lucky to have you among us.
 

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You da man!<br>
Seriously, what a great thing, you continue to inspire me and be a great motivational leader on the 30's board, Thanks for all you do!!
 

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Wow, T-Rev, that was definitely worth the read! You are a good man, Charlie Brown! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> I don't know if I'm more impressed with the unselfishness you showed or the fact that you ran a marathon with very little training while totally fudging up hydration. Damned fine effort, sir! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_salut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="salute">
 

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<b>Trev</b>, you're awesome! Great job, especially knowing your pre-race training issues. And you top that off by (inadvertently) deciding to screw up your hydration & nutrition during the race itself and still finish the 26.2!<br><br>
And that satisfaction knowing that you helped out a friend accomplish something great is to me something that is both hard to top and is longer lasting. You did a good thing, sir, and I salute you for doing it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_salut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="salute">
 

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I need to get me a pacer. Possibly just for getting to the store and back, but whatever. You did something so very very cool - great job!
 

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<b>Trevor</b>: You had me in tears too. Or maybe the heat in here today is just really dry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> I should look into that.<br><br>
In all seriousness, though - outstanding run, great job pacing and it was awesome to finally meet you.<br><br>
And what's this hydration thing? Are you talking about drinking beer again?<br><br>
Plus the picture of you guys from Lora's RR in the chute is outstanding. Really captures the whole thing.<br><br>
Congrats and a great job.
 

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You're awesome, man! Great work.
 
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