Third time’s a charm in Philly

I am not sure I could ever find the right words to thank you for that picture. A picture that is as close as it can be to showing how much emotion I felt that day. It was my 3rd marathon of 2016 and my 3rd consecutive Philly marathon. (My first marathon ever being the Philly in 2014.)

Last year, I had tried to qualify for Boston at the Philly marathon and failed. At mile 18, I lost sight of my pace group and was pretty upset with my finishing time of 3:43 (needed 3:35). I tried again at a spring race and my time was even worse. I lost hope, telling everyone that maybe I'd try for Boston when I was in the next age bracket.

I ran another marathon in Vermont on my 26th birthday this past July and didn't recover so well from the intense elevation. Come October, I didn't think I would be able to run the Philadelphia Marathon and tried to switch to the half marathon. I soon realized I missed the deadline to switch and decided to do it anyway. I am SO happy I did!!

Going into that race, I had ZERO plan of trying to qualify for Boston. I wanted to hit under 3:40 if possible, but nothing more. I had even told a friend on the Tuesday before the race that I was never going to qualify and was giving up all hope for a good 10 years.

A few days later, I am doing Philly and felt great!! I didn't run with a pacer, but instead, I kept telling myself to go faster when I felt good and slower when I didn't. At mile 20, I had my slowest mile and had to make a decision to really go for it or not. Up until then, I was really trying to do just whatever felt right. I decided to go for it and am so happy I did. Coming in at 3:33:20 and gaining the qualification that I thought was beyond my reach.

That picture you took is a picture of someone who really didn't believe in herself and completely shocked herself with what her body is capable of.

I am thankful everyday for a body that can adapt and grow to do the unthinkable to even myself. Thank you again for capturing one of the best and proudest moments of my life. It brings so much happiness and joy (and maybe a few more tears) every time I look at it.

Susan Sidoriak