Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's... Alicia?!

Hey, remember my 40 before 40 checklist?

Item #11 was "Run the Disney World Princess Half-Marathon. In a tutu. And a tiara."

After reading the Runner's World article by Amby Burfoot describing his running of the 2500th Athens Marathon... in a Pheidippides costume, I was even more motivated to do something similar. I wanted to run in a costume. Maybe it appealed to my love of theatrics. Maybe it appealed to my dramatic flare. Maybe it appealed to my love of being the center of attention. Who knows? But I needed to check it off my list.

Enter: The Oddyssey Half-Marathon. A Philadelphia half that is touted as being developed by runners and for runners. Oh, and they encourage participants to run in costume.

I'll admit, at first I was intimidated by this race. I had contemplated running it during its inaugural 2010 event but chickened out. This year I felt I was in better shape, AND its beneficiary is Students Run Philly Style, so I took a chill pill and signed up.

A couple of things happened that encouraged me. The first was their campaign strategy. I was drawn to the mid-spring date (there aren't any other spring half-marathons in Philly that I know), and I knew I could hit the distance because of training for Broad St. Then, they marketed with a post card laying out a post-Broad St training plan! Brilliant! I read that thing and thought, "Hell! I can do this!"

Second, I wanted to show my students that I was serious about running enough to do non-SRPS events. Hmmm, there's probably some psychological problem there about needing to prove myself, but on to the next item.

Third, I needed my students to be involved in a fun event as on-lookers, and more importantly, to see running as fun! I convinced another team leader to run, too, and because we were running, our team volunteered to assist at water stations.

And because we committed to running in costume, they committed to volunteering in costume. And most did! Color me proud!

So as you can see I dressed up as Wonder WoMOM (the lesser known counterpart to Wonder Woman, a heroine who stands for last-minute, do-it-yourself-with-love-and-grace mothers everywhere)! I pieced the outfit together very carefully (read: done 2 nights before) using items from Party City & Michael's. I bought the running skirt & tank online; I spent more money than I initially wanted but felt the investment in running clothes as a base would go further than a costume. Note to self: using fabric glitter paint 2 days before event will not guarantee dry paint and will most likely smudge. Wonder WoMOM strikes again!
If I have not already mentioned it, this was the first half-marathon that I would be running completely solo. Sure, I knew other race-goers, and I shot the ish with them before the race started, but I had no buddy to stay the course with, no sidekick, if you will. I knew I could finish, but I won't lie, making this venture alone was mentally tough. Maybe it was a fear of truly going it alone, or perhaps it was my ego, but additionally the weekend coincided with my husband's surprise guy-family-only bachelor trip for his brother which totally bummed me out. I compensated by convincing my mother-in-law to drag my daughter to the finish line earlier than either of them would be coherent on a Sunday... just to see me run 13.1 miles... dressed as a homemade superhero. Selfish, really: I yearned to hear Liv yell, "Go, Mommy!"

Anyway, race day came with perfect running weather at the start: cool with low-ish humidity for Philly in May. It was pretty awesome seeing so many runners in costume. The route was a familiar Philly-route: Please Touch Museum area to West River Dr (Now: Martin Luther King Dr.) to Art Museum, loop back to Falls Bridge, loop back to Sweetbriar & Lemon Hill to Please Touch. The course was hilly at first, and Lemon Hill at the end was killer (thank you to the random runner who cheered me on, correcting my form and aiding my focus!). Internally, I found myself struggling around mile 7. I have a real tough time running loops, and West River Drive is my LEAST favorite Philadelphia running route. It just feels long to me. Thankfully, my students were volunteering, so the thought of seeing them kept me going. I won't lie; when I did finally see them, I got such an incredible swell of pride. The loud burst of cheers for me helped, too. They may never fully grasp how much they really helped me finish this race.

Overall I did well technically: I paced well and timed my sports beans right. I foolishly tied my key to my sneaker incorrectly, so the darn thing kept whacking my ankle, a painful distraction toward the end. I had quite the nasty bruise after that mishap. I didn't have a "lifetime" PR, but I did best my November 2010 Half-Marathon time, so this was, overall, my 2nd best 13.1 mile finish. Also, I realized I did not use nearly enough Body Glide for wearing a skirt. Um, no pictures there. This was the first time post-race that I went home and literally sat in an ice bath. Clothes on. Felt soooo good. Not sure if it was the ice bath or the fact that I was totally prepared for this race, but I did not hurt nearly as bad as the November half afterward. Yay!

The swag for the race was sweet! I enjoy the t-shirt because it doesn't read like a race tee, and it includes the phrase, "Catch Me If You Can! I conquered 13.1." There wasn't much in the packet pick-up (eh), but at the end of the race, I got a medal AND a pint glass. Post-race runners could get a free beer AND a free massage; neither of which I cashed in on so as to give my mother-in-law some reprieve. She did drag my kid out early on a Sunday, so I figured making her stand around while I drank a beer &/or waited for my massage was a bit much. That may have drawn the line -- no, took a running leap over the line of selfish... I'll live. At the end of the day, Liv loved running around in my medal. I got to hear her proclaim that I won (best part of being a running mom!). Frank got to see photos of me dressed as Wonder Woman. Everybody wins!

Official Results: 
Oddyssey Half-Marathon
Philadelphia, PA
May 22, 2011
CHIP: 2:25:53 GUN: 2:26:50

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!! Congrats!!! I love the picture of you finishing - your smile is perfect! That is a great pictures.

    This race sounds really interesting and I had never heard of it until now - thanks so much for sharing about it!


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