Friday, September 19, 2014

The Philly Curse

This weekend, I take on the first of the season’s races: the Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Unfortunately, I don’t have such a great track record in Philly. I’ve bonked, I’ve lost, I’ve not even started.

Here is my score sheet for running in Philadelphia:

Six attempts to run in this city. Six different disappointments. What’s the deal, Philly? I grew up not far from you, I’ve got family in the area, I even carved a pumpkin in your honor. Can’t you cut a South Jersey girl some slack?

C'mon, Philly. Return the love.
When I signed up this year, at the beginning of the season, I had high hopes for reversing this Philly curse.

The beginning of the season is always a clean slate. Anything is possible. The calendar of races stretches out ahead like a perfectly crafted path of potential PRs; it might as well be full of rainbows and candy, there for the taking. From Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain all the way to the Candy Castle, it’s the Candy Land board of races. Everything will go perfectly! I will be faster than ever! PRs all around!

But then, you know, reality sets in. 

I had a couple of weeks where things were clicking; I was getting stronger and faster. Then I hit a rough patch (the Molasses Swamp?). I felt sluggish, had a couple of bad workouts, my hip tightened. My body needed a break so I gave it one. I took my scheduled recovery week even easier than planned, and by the following week my body felt 100% better.

But the damage to my head—to my confidence—was done. I don’t feel like I have the workouts under my belt just yet to really kill it at Philly. It is still early in the season, so maybe that’s okay. Maybe no Candy Cane Forest just yet. I'd be happy to just run comfortably strong for the whole race and not implode in the second half like I’ve done often lately, and always when in the City of Brotherly Love. I don’t really know what that will turn out to be, pace-wise and time-wise. The plan—or lack of one—is to try to ease into it, see how I feel, and try to pick it up in the second half. Hopefully the sluggishness of a few weeks ago is truly gone. If I can just run a strong, solid race, I feel like I'll break this curse. And I'll raise my arms in victory (however small) when I get back to the Art Museum, Rocky style.

[Photo courtesy of Susan Smith.]
You know what they say: the seventh time’s a charm... ?

Dream Big,


  1. You're in exactly the right place. Just google "2008 Phillies" if you have any question about that. Philly loves you!

  2. P.S. "It ain't how hard you can get hit. It's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." -- Rocky

  3. As someone who ran this race back when it was called the Philly Distance Run, at least it's flat and fast. One year I ran this race with my Dad, Grandpa, an African guy, who finished way ahead of us, in under an hour, set the world record for the distance. So I do think a fast time is possible. I'll be out there somewhere on the course, hoping to see you blast by at a high speed. Maybe the band playing Sweet Caroline, or some song like that, will also help. All the best, Garth

  4. I'll be rooting for you, Teal!! Hoping this is the year you'll break the curse! :) Keep us posted - we want to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly! (Hopefully you'll have a race report weighted more towards the "good"!)