Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Report

My event started Saturday when I got to drop my kids off at their cousins so Mrs. Progman and I could head into the city (shout out to my brother in law & his wife on that one). We got into Philly around 1:00 which meant we had a couple of hours to kill at the marathon expo before checking into the hotel. I got to meet Esined from the RunnersWorld discussion forums at the NJ Marathon booth and got some valuable running info from him (he is one fast dude). I also got to meet 4 time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers and had him sign my race bib. The fact that my last name is Rogers led to a lengthy discussion, which ended with Bill suggesting we might be related (I told him it wasn’t evident from my race times). He also had valuable advice on achilles injuries – thank you to Boston Billy.

Race Day: I hooked up with Freehold running bud John C. to walk from the hotels to the starting line, which was a cool way to relax and discuss our strategies as well as plan our ’09 races (yikes). We ended up losing each other somewhere between the porta potties and baggage check, so I wouldn’t see him again until the finish line. I thought the marathon was exceptionally well managed at the start – it seemed a lot less chaotic to me than the Philadelphia Distance Run, although maybe it’s just that I’m more familiar with racing here now.

I totally forgot to check to see what corral I was officially placed in when I was at the expo, so I was one of those obnoxious people who just moved up to the front (pretty sure I ended up around corral #2 or #3). Judging by some of the people who were near me it didn’t look like I was the only one that did that. I sucked down a gel about 5 minutes before the start and then waited in the cold for Mayor Nutter to do his “3-2-1” start (apparently is was too cold for the horn).

I wasn’t expecting much from this race and figured I would coast for the first couple of miles and see how I felt. The one thing I had decided in advance is I wouldn’t look at the Garmin (that worked well in my last race). I would let it log my splits but would otherwise run by feel (I’m still holding a grudge against the Garmin after the Philadelphia Distance Run).

So I felt pretty good at the beginning of the race. Somewhere in the first mile I had the brilliant idea “hmmm, I feel pretty good, let me pick a pace I don’t think I can hold for 13.1 miles and go with that”, which is more-or-less what I did. Since the half marathoners and full marathoners started on seperate sides of the street, and I started close to the front, I had the luxury of watching the 3:10 and 3:20 marathon pace groups go past me, and then kind of ran with the 3:30 group for a while which was cool.

My splits (from the Garmin):

Mile 1 – 8:41
Mile 2 – 8:04
Mile 3 – 7:59
Mile 4 – 8:06
Mile 5 – 8:07
Mile 6 – 7:57
Mile 7 – 8:01
Mile 8 – 8:26
Mile 9 – 8:02
Mile 10 – 8:26
Mile 11 – 8:00
Mile 12 – 7:58
Mile 13 – 7:59
.1 – 7:33

1:47:42 (chip time)

672 of 5184 finishers

For some reason the 5 mile mark in a half marathon is where I start to fade mentally and think about how nice it would be to stop and take a nap – once I fight through that I usually get a decent second wind though. I did manage to see ShoreTurtle at the 1 & 6 mile marks thanks to his cowbell, and even managed to high five him on the second sighting (thanks man). The nicest bonus was a surprise appearance by my awesome wife Mrs. Progman at the finish line. I tried to convince her the night before to stay at the hotel because I knew the freezing temps would likely kill her, but she ventured out like a trooper and suprised me. She even saw me somewhere around the 6 mile mark (she was close to you ShoreTurtle), but was not expecting me to be running the pace I was so wasn’t prepared to try and get my attention. She did get some good pictures though.

Congrats to everyone who ran today – I am anxious to see the race reports!

The Philadelphia Art Museum is always impressive looking

Johnnie Sneakers and I at the finish

My ugly yellow hat coming into the finish

Some of the race leaders

Obviously pleased with the PR

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