The weekend started off shaky, only got about an hour of sleep Friday night, wasn't drinking enough water and carbs on Saturday, so I had a few worries about how the race would go. I took a sleeping pill at 7:30 on Saturday (I don't think you are supposed to do that the night before a race but I was desperate for some sleep) and didn't fall asleep till 9:30, then woke up early at 4:15. I laid in bed drowsing till my alarm went off at 6.
I had a bagel with peanut butter in two parts, half at 6am and half at 7am. Also had a little water and powerade. Then got dressed, got ready and left around 7:15. Luckily I realized within a block that I had forgotten my sunglasses. Hubby went back and got them for me and we were off to the start, about a mile from our hotel. There were lots of other runners walking over and the city was still pretty quiet so it was nice.
We checked our bags, found a section of porta potties that amazingly had no line, then got in our corral. They were interviewing Ryan Hall, the defending champ, over the loudspeaker. The race started at 8 and we were released around 8:20. Within the first mile we saw the elites coming back our way (the course went south, then turned around and went north past the starting line). We saw Ryan Hall! I just saw him for a few seconds but it was really cool. He was easy to pick out as the other leaders were all Kenyan or Ethiopian.
The first few miles went by pretty fast, I stopped to get some water at the 3-mile stop but only walked for a few seconds. We went through a tunnel after mile 4 and our Garmins lost the signal so they were about 1/4 mile off the rest of the race. I took brief water breaks about every 1-1.5 miles and gel breaks at 4, 7.5, and 11 miles, and tried to keep my walking to 1-2 mins. This seemed to work very well, I didn't hit "the wall" till around 11 miles. The course was BEAUTIFUL, it went down this treed, downhill road next to the Schuylkill River. It seemed we went a lot more downhill than uphill. It was also very shady until the last 2 miles.
The last 2 miles...were tough. I could feel myself running out of steam. I'd been fighting a foot cramp and a side ache for several miles, and my toes were hurting from slamming into the front of my shoes during all the downhill stretches. I was so tempted to take longer walk breaks and let everything rest for a few minutes but I could tell we were close to making 2:35 (this randomly became my goal sometime during the race). Hubby was very good, he wanted to run the whole time without stopping so he would slow his pace and stay close in front of me while I walked, then speed up when I caught up with him. He also helped me to avoid possible puke situations, which I am grateful for :)
After mile 13 there was a sharp incline to the finish, I was not expecting it! But knowing we were just a few hundred feet from the end was enough motivation to power up it and through the finish line. I had the BIGGEST smile on my face when I got my medal. We got our checked bags back and then made our way over to Reading Terminal Market, about 1.5 miles away. I got my mac and cheese from Delilah's and had a mini carrot cake. So good! Then we came back to the hotel to shower, put on compression sleeves, and wait for the official results :) My legs are tired but overall I feel good. Actually I feel great! We cut 16 mins off our last half-marathon time! And we successfully ran 2 half-marathons 2 weeks apart. Pretty good in my book.