Sunday, December 6, 2015

Final Philly Thoughts

It has indeed taken me two weeks to complete my Philly Marathon musings!
I suppose since the most interesting part of the race report was part one, nobody minds.

Our trip to Philly was fast, too fast to be honest but with a big race week planned for January (plus work, plus a whole slew of other things!) we just didn't have the time or cash available for a more leisurely trip.

I had a few concerns leading up to race weekend. I have never flown to a race before and I didn't know how I would feel. (its a 45 minute flight as it turns out- totally worth it, saved us many hours in the car!) I also didn't have a ton of time to research anything about this race, and unlike Boston or NYCM there wasn't an overload of first hand info (meaning, personal accounts from bloggers and real people.)

As it turned out we had zero issues. We flew in to Philly (again let me say, totally worth it.) Flying from Portland was silly expensive, taking a flight from Logan was reasonable and still easy. We chose to drive to the South Shore the night before to see my family, and to shorten the drive for the following morning. The flights in both directions were on time, super short (as mentioned) and we both felt that it was a no brainer. 9 plus hour drive, or about 4 hours total travel time which includes the drive? Not a hard choice.
PLANES. I love PLANES. Flying, not so much. But planes, YESSSSS.
Upon arrival into Philly we figured out that taking the train into the city would be both cheap and easy ($8 per person, 30 minute trip.) To Uber it would have been about $45 one way and we didn't think that was a worthwhile way to spend our travel dollars.

My lucky Cheetah on the train. I am cool.
There are a ton (A TON) of lodging options in Philly, all decent, many in basically the same price point. As it turned out our hotel (The Hilton Garden Inn on Arch St at $195 a night) was conviniently located to both the train station AND the expo.
There are places to stay that are closer to the start line but at about 1.2 miles away we had decided that the walk would be something we could manage. (editors note: getting to the start was a piece of cake. Getting back to the hotel, with significant time restraints was tough. Doable, but tough. #sobrave)

We had about a half day to do some touristy things once we settled in. I have experienced the pain of doing TOO many touristy things the day before a big race (ahem, NYCM) so we had very, very few plans. With the number of interesting things to do in Philly (I would have loved to see more of the city, see a museum or two) it was a hard choice but a good one in the end.

We flew thru the expo (I've already mentioned that I was not blown away, it had the basics and not much else. HASHTAG spoiled by Boston, I admit it.) The plus of our swift exit was that we had time for a leisurely walk/shakeout run to scope out the start line.

Here's the basic expo, with all the basic stuff.
We enjoyed our wanderings to the start line and did a nice amount of looking around. The foot traffic was low and it was easy to get where we needed to go.

Whoot! Start line! And, more importantly, FINISH LINE.
Not shockingly, after we located where my corral was (black corral, very easy to find) we sprinted up the Art Museum steps and took the required fist pumping photos.

Obligatory shot!
It was a beautiful. beautiful day and while the weather was good enough to wait in line for a Rocky statue pic neither of us had the patience to do so.

So, we sat atop the steps and took in the view....
I hadn't made dinner reservations which I knew was a risky move. We (I) wanted something pretty generic and when we discovered a Maggiano's on our block we were sold. Remembering the crowds at the Boston location we showed up shockingly early to get on the wait list.
We spent our hour of waiting doing a few random things. Running to the CVS for some cough syrup for sick Eric. Checking out the Reading market which had everything you might ever want, EVER. It was quite the experience and hard to resist eating a huge variety of amazing looking foods.

When we ventured back to Maggiano's they had forgotten that we existed but fortunately rectified that within about 10 minutes or so. The good news was that we sat down at about 6:30 and we were out of there before 7:00. Pretty amazing, so amazing in fact that I can excuse the kind of sticky condition that my silverware was in and the rough shape that my meal looked to be in. It didn't kill me and damn, it was fast! (Boston location, you win!)
Going to Maggiano's is always fun pre Boston race because everyone there is a runner in a Boston jacket, pumped for the next day. It was exactly the same in Philly, right down to the Boston jacket fashion statement!

After dinner we went straight to bed. To not sleep. Hey- it makes getting up easier! Evidently Eric's cough was not going to be thwarted and he was a bit cough-y, and I can never sleep the night before a race anyway so we were awake for a while. Oh well! (and the cough waited to get me until post race- THANK HEAVENS!)

When I can't sleep I make Flat Sara's.
We got to the start pretty early, certainly before 6:00. While I didn't have any traffic issues getting through security the line promptly got a bit out of hand. From what I understand it took the later arriving runners almost an hour to get through. From my perspective, it was because they were letting "everyone" in and they did not have the staffing to support that. Yeah, it's awesome to have your cheering squad hang out with you pre race but it did clog things up a bit from what I could tell (safely, on the correct side of the fence....)

We all know the story from here. I run a race, book it (limpingly) back to the hotel, jump on a train, into a plane, into a car and make it home before dark!

I think the moral of the story is this: if you are a Mainer and want to do Philly weekend in the shortest amount of time possible this is a good way to do it. While we didn't get the tourist experience that would have been enjoyable I did what I went there to do with zero stress and that counts for a lot! We stayed under budget and I really enjoyed the tinnnnny bit of the city that we got to see. I would certainly enjoy exploring Philly in much more detail at some point. There are quite a few things there that interest me and I didn't even get to have a damn cheesesteak!!

If I manage to ever blog again I will discuss in depth my recovery (pretty easy) my re-entry into the world of running (not that I really left...) my strained calf muscle (wtf ouch) and the upcoming Dopey Challenge which might be more Dopey that Challenging for a variety of reasons to be discussed at a later time.


1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the Philly Marathon. It was my first but it's such an great race. It sounds like the perfect short weekend!!