Sunday, November 25, 2012

Harry Loves a Runner

It was a week ago that I along with 33,000 runners completed the Philadelphia Marathon.  19 miles of running bliss preceded 7.2 miles of sheer agony thanks to my left knee deciding it didn't want to run the race anymore.  Luckily, my friends and family surrounded the course and cheered me on in pertinent moments forcing me to put on a smile and keep pushing forward.  My fur baby walked me down to the starting line, which was bustling with runners, spectators, and surprisingly a few other dogs.  The excitement caught hold of Harry and jumping, pulling, and leash tugging ensued.  Thankfully, runners are pretty casual and everyone Harry ran into was happy about a little mutt pouncing on their thighs to wish them good luck.

For anybody considering Philadelphia as a marathon on their list, be warned that it is deceivingly hilly.  Beginning at mile 7, runners ascend 34th Street to a plateau, then begin to ascend the Girard Street Bridge.  Once over the bridge, more hills await up to the Please Touch Museum and then down to West River drive.  And that's only the first half!  Having done the half before, I knew what to expect, but I didn't realize how much more I'd feel the second part of the race.  However, the crowds and city support make the race extremely rewarding - it's hard to get bored during the Philadelphia Marathon.

Training for this marathon I often never ran alone.  I had a reliable training buddy (my marathon mate), but when we didn't run together, I ran with Harry!  Remember when I mentioned Harry had some serious running form?  Well apparently he has endurance too and can throw down 6 miles without being exhausted for the remainder of the day.  Harry kept me motivated during my weekly mileage when working 60 hour weeks left me tired and depressed.  His final nudge of support was walking me down to the starting line and he greeted me with enthusiasm at home when I finished.  

Now that we're entering the holiday season, it's time to say that I'm so thankful I have such wonderful family and friends and such an awesome dog.  I can't wait to do my next a year or so.  With the rate that Harry is growing, I'm pretty sure at that point he'll have an increased need for speed and possibly a new level of endurance.  

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