Philadelphia Marathon - 26.NEU Miles

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I ran the Philadelphia Marathon - 26.2 miles around my beautiful and blustery city - for the second time in my life last Sunday. I say this as less of a brag and more of a point of perspective. The last time I ran the marathon, it was 2013, I had just graduated from Monmouth University with a B.A. in Music Industry, I was still looking for a “real job” and learning to “adult,” and all around my 22nd year of life was just kicking my butt - post-undergrad #Millennials know what I’m talking about. This time I’m 25, college feels like eons ago, I have a (fun) crazy job at this amazing NEU start-up in my PHANtastic hometown, and I strive everyday to empower myself and those around me to not let life “bully” them into depression. My point here is lot has changed since 2013.

I had a lot of time to think about the changing winds of life on Sunday - because winds were 15-20 miles per hour that day - so here are my mile-by-mile, sometimes silly, sometimes outright insane, but finally enlightening thoughts from the day:

  • Mile 1 - “Breathe. You can do this. It’s just a marathon, right?...”
  • “IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE A THING GO RIGHT!…” 🎧
  • “5k down! I’ve run a bazillion of these things! Piece of cake…mmmm cake.” 🍰
  • “Hey, Chinatown! Mmmm...food.” 🍲🍱🍚 (Runners think about food a lot).
  • Mile 5 of the Philly Marathon is around Independence Hall. So, as the running yogi, I decided to stop for an homage stretch outside the birthplace of our great nation!
Philadelphia Marathon Mile 5
  • “ONLY 20 MORE MILES!!!” 😑
  • “Don’t push or pull, just go. Don’t push or pull, just go. Don’t push or pull, just go….” - this is running mantra I’ve been using for years, and it’s been a great way for me to calibrate my speeds on long runs like this.
  • “Just keep running, just keep running, what do we do we run, run run…” - this is running mantra, too.
  • “If cookies could talk, would I still eat them?” #TheRealQuestions
  • “Remember those who can’t run, walk, or move, and honor them with this run today.”
  • “I really want my Primo's Hoagie, right now.”
  • Mile 12 is on West River Drive and there are porta potties, so I took a bathroom break and a small stretch! #HippieToeShoes #VibramFiveFingers!
Philadelphia Marathon Mile 12
  • “I’m already halfway there...halfway there...halfway there…” Halfway to greatness is closer than I was this morning!
  • Mile 14 starts the long haul down East River Drive towards Manayunk, and it can only be described as crossing the River Styx. However, the upside is the elite runners (a.k.a. The REAL runners) are coming up Kelly Drive from “the Yunk” and you can high-five, fist-bump, and cheer them on to their finishes! Philadelphia Marathon even puts the runners names on their bibs so not only can you high-five some random stranger who’s haul-assing back to the finish line, but you can scream, “YEAH MARTRESE! YOU GOT THIS! GO CHRISTINA! YOU’RE SO CLOSE! GO DAVE! YOU ROCK! GET IT! GO AMANDA AND DOUG! YOU GUYS LOOK GREAT!”
  • Mile 15 starts the 100% mental race. My body died at mile 13. Now, it’s just me, my feet, and my willpower.
Philadelphia Marathon Mile 15
  • “Run fast for your mother run fast for your father. Run for your children for your sisters and brothers. Leave all your love and your longing behind you. Can't carry it with you if you want to survive.” Flo, giving me strength! 👐
  • “Just get to Manayunk. Just get to Manayunk. Just get to Manayunk.” There’s always a party happening down Main Street during the marathon, and the welcome there is just the pick-me-up you need!
  • “I hope my legs don’t explode.”
  • “GETTIN’ CRUNK IN THE YUNK!” Manayunk is also where my former History teacher, running guru and lifelong friend, Dave, lives. He runs AT LEAST one marathon a year and helped me train for my first marathon.
Philadelphia Marathon Mile 20
  • “ONLY 6 MORE MILES!!!”
  • “It doesn’t matter who you are today. The only thing that matters today is finishing this race. 26.2 miles don’t care if your red, blue, black, white, up, down, left, right, American, Ugandan, Korean, or otherwise. Either you finish or you don’t.
  • Mile 21’s thought made me think about Charlie Chaplin's speech at the end of the Great Dictator, especially this line, “Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural!...You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite..”
  • “Let. Us. All. Unite. 3 more miles. UNITE!”
  • “MY LEGS ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO EXPLODE!”
  • Like a lighthouse in my mental fog, at mile 26 I saw my mom and dad with their giant, bedazzled sign that says my name on it. I ran to my mom and gave her a giant hug and she hugged me tight and said exactly what I needed to hear, “You’re so close! You can do this! Finish!” I hugged my dad and ran off to the now-visible finish line!
  • .2 Crying like a hysterical crazy person, and full of so much hope for myself and all of humanity, I crossed the finish line of the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon.
Philadelphia Marathon Finish Line
As we close out 2016, a roller coaster of a year to say the least, I hope my realizations help you move towards a future full of strength, harmony, love, compassion, and NEU perspectives. Thank you for joining me on the journey through my phenomenal hometown.
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