Friday, November 16, 2012

The Philadelphia Marathon: My first Love in the Marathon

Many runners in NJ/PA/NY, have sought the big city excitement of a road marathon when they decide to run their first.  The idea of running with thousands of other runners and having thousands of spectators cheering for you is an enticing thought to the newbie.  I'm not going to bullshit you, that was part of the draw for me too.
I may have yapped about this story in part before but, I have to give credit to a guy I've known a long time and did a fair bit of running with, Mike Daigeaun, he suggested Philly, as it was his first as well, and he was also running it that yr coincidentally, two weeks after a bad run in the NYC marathon(Daigeaun does stuff like that). He gave a great pitch, I was sold.  So, I twisted the Mike Dixon's arm, and convinced him that this is how we would qualify for Boston.
I was so focused on the idea of getting to Boston that I didn't think much about Philly being a chance at a great experience, and truth be told, I've had a BLAST in Philly a bunch of times, with or without a marathon! Boston's nice too, but in 2006, what the heck did I know? I'd never really spent much time in either place. So I've run seven marathons now, and I think back on the two that I ran in Philly, and I appreciate the city and the event more today than I did on the day of either race.
Fun in Philly!
 I wanted to run a fast course, and blaze through some streets where you'd otherwise normally be run over by a bus.  I wanted to see how I could place among a lot of runners, of course-qualify for Boston, I wanted to see what "hitting the wall" felt like. Philly provided ample opportunity for all of this. I face planted into the wall...yes, I did.

Today, I was working at the marathon expo, selling discounted running apparel, accessories, and shoes.  I was also at the NYC expo a couple weeks ago(too bad about that whole thing eh?)  And, I suddenly realized, how much I enjoy being around runners who are excited about their "big race".  It is very meaningful in the lives of each of them.  I like hearing people telling me, "It's my first, I'm excited...and nervous."
Now, I like to pick on Eagles' fans a bit when they lose, and I like seeing the Devils beat the Flyers, I don't give a damn about basketball...but I like Philadelphia for the sort of place that it is.  I enjoy the murals and mosaics you find alongside random buildings in the city. Most of the buildings aren't obnoxiously huge, has good bars with great beers! There are a whole bunch of historic things there, and I don't feel lost in the frenzy of consumerism there so badly. You really won't notice a whole lot of that stuff unless you studied up on where everything is, and that's why I am more excited about being there to see it again(now knowing the city better). Philadelphia, is a cool city with a lot of character.

 It will always be the city I ran my first marathon, and I so I'm excited to go see my teammates Ken Walsh and James Lothian run it this Sunday.  These guys are going for a sub 3hr run, and I'm looking forward to seeing them do it! I was born in NYC, but I Love Philadelphia, and I probably always will.