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Christine races at the Philadelphia Marathon!

Below is Christine Garves recap of her marathon in Philadelphia!

Photos: http://orders.islandphoto.com/RACE/Proofs.aspx#26781860-00002-0004

I almost did not make this epic marathon because the day before I was to fly off, my juvenile delinquent dog, Naiche, broke out of his kennel and got into the rat bait trap. So after a drama filled day and a trip to the vet, Naiche was ok and Philly was on. I needed this trip to help me to refresh and recover from a stressful year. As Jesse advised me, this marathon was to be a long training run (which was a new concept to me).

So off I go to Philadelphia with the goal to finish (3:20 was in my mind) without dying at mile 13 and feeling fresh at the end. Keep in mind, this was the first marathon where I have went into without a taper so I was a little nervous.

Getting to my hotel was easy but to my surprise, it was a dump and I was not too keen on spending the next couple of days in a crap hole. But it was one in the morning and I was beat. So after a 2:00AM feast on ziti and garlic bread delivered to my little hole in Philly, off to sleep I went.


Saturday was a new day and after a 30 minute run to shake out the cobwebs in the legs, I board the train to Center City to see the city and pick up my race packet. It was a beautiful day and the the city was bustling with runners from all over. Picking up my race packet, I looked at my bib and #633 was my race number (which was a good sign... My last tempo interval workout... I was averaging 6:33 per mile pace). After a quick cruise around the expo and city, back to the roach hotel I go. Eating healthy (another new concept)  and watching a boat load of Forensic Files, I get my race stuff together and fall asleep at midnight.

Butt crack AM arrives and I am up and at em ready to run. At the train station I go with about 50 other runners from all over the country and world who were standing around smiling, taking pictures, and posting on Facebook. Cold and crisp, this was going to be a great day to run.

As we all migrated from the train stop to the starting line, the intensity of emotions from over 30 thousand people  was getting stronger as the sun was rising and the 7:00AM start was quickly approaching. I said a quick prayer and moved my butt to the corral. After some power packed words from the mayor, the national anthem belted out by a tenor opera singer, and a major fart bomb blown in my face, the gun was off and 26.2 glorious miles were awaiting me.

Jesse told me to start off slow and then finish strong... So I held myself back (and that was hard) and just stayed at 7:15 - 7:30 pace. I was hoping to stay at this pace the whole time with a strong finish at the end. But the course was going to smack me around and punish me like most marathons do. With a lot of turns, hills, bridges, and cambered roads, the course was letting me know who was in charge. So keeping with my nutrition plan of sucking down gels every 30 minutes and Gatorade at every other stop, I crossed the 1/2 in 1:37 (which is the slowest I have ever crossed the 1/2 way point). But I felt ok and did not feel like quitting. The miles were cranking by pretty quickly and I was slowing up to 7:30 - 7:45 miles up until mile 18. Feeling fatigued, I told myself I was not going to walk or quit. Pushing on into miles 19-20 was slowing up and could not wait until I hit the turnaround point. I was hoping for a second wind in the last 6 miles. But no... I slowed up and was hovering in the dreaded 8 min zone (8:00 - 8:50) in the last five miles. But I was damned that I was going to quit so I kept on chugging. Legs were hurting and I did a little walking at mile 25 and someone just kept yelling at me to start running... I was almost there. I am thinking to myself... "Shit... My legs are dead but damn it... Keep going!!!" So I managed to chug it in to the coveted finish line in a time of 3:24:56 for 26.56 miles. I was happy to cross the line and felt grateful that I finished. No regrets running this race and the sun was out and the skies were blue.

As I walked to get my medal and get my drop bag, Elton John's song went through my head and I felt that Philadelphia Freedom flowing through my blood.

Smiling people and an electric atmosphere at the finish gave me the energy to walk around and absorb the sites. People were texting me sending me congratulations on a job well done! Then my ass got tired and it was time to go back to the roach motel.

Thank you Jesse for coaching me. Thank you Dukes for all of your support

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