26.2 Reasons Philadelphia is Better than Honolulu

Philly Marathon logo 2012

OK, so most people would agree that Philadelphia is not actually better than Honolulu. Honolulu is on most people’s bucket list. How about 26.2 reasons why I am genuinely happy that I am running the Philadelphia Marathon instead of the Honolulu Marathon?

Here is the back story behind this post: Dimity and Sarah chose the Philadelphia Marathon before they announced the AMR 26Strong contest so I knew, if I won, we’d be in Philly on Nov. 23. I’ve been there twice before.

We were all registered when Saucony and Competitor Magazine decided to offer all 13 teams a trip to run the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 14. I immediately wanted to go! Alison, my fellow AMR trainee, was uncertain. She is a teacher and it would be hard for her to get time off to go all the way to Hawaii. Dimity, to her credit, was willing to hear me out on going but once the details came, it was clear it was not possible. December 14 is not a great time to be away from home. We’d have to fly out on a Friday and return on a Monday. 24 hours of travel for 48 hours on the ground, 5 of them running a marathon, with a 6 hour time difference? Maybe, if I was 20 years younger or did not have to come back to NC and be a parent! But, alas, I am 42 (43 at race time) and my kids are not really going to cut me some slack. So, we all four agreed to stick with Philly so, in the spirit of positivity, here is my list:

1. Cheesesteaks. I really, really like cheesesteaks.

2. It is within driving distance. Not being stuck on a long plane ride after running a marathon will be a plus. I am also not a big fan of flying, in general, and I will be flying to Montreal in September and to Anaheim in January.

3. AMR Tribe support. It sounds like we’ll have our own cheering section of Bad Ass Mother Runners running the race and in the crowd!

4. My husband gets to come with me without having to buy a $1000 plane ticket.

5. You can’t do this in Honolulu:

6. I love Bruce Springsteen and he has that great song about Philadelphia. Actually, that song is probably not the best for marathon training – “I was bruised and battered, I did not my own face”. Well, let’s hope I still recognize myself. The battered and bruised thing might happen, if this training is any indication of what it is like to stay on your feet for that long.

7. Philadelphia is flat. Flat is good.

8. Average temperature in November in the City of Brotherly Love: 53 degrees, no humidity. Average temperature in Honolulu in November: 78 degrees and 1000% humidity! While 78 degrees sounds great for laying out on the beach, it sounds hard for running 26.2 miles.

9. I get to run past the Liberty Bell. There is no Liberty Bell in Honolulu. There are 13 miles of the run course along the Pacific Ocean in Honolulu but where is the history lesson in that? I’ll have to look up some fun facts about the Liberty Bell to entertain Dimity while we’re running.

Independence Hall: Liberty Bell

10. Cheesesteaks. Did I mention my love of cheesesteaks?

11. Allegedly, it is always sunny in Philadelphia.

12. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia. There was no star for Hawaii.

13. We also get to run by the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Dimity is in trouble because I have the entire preamble to the Constitution memorized. No, I did not learn it in law school. It was School House Rock and I know it to a catchy tune. That should be good for at least one mile’s worth of distraction.

14. Philadelphia is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the country. Being chased by ghosts might make me run faster!

15. There are more than 400 craft beer brewers in Philadelphia. I love beer even more than cheesesteaks. I wonder how many I can try before we leave town? Do you think there will be beer at the water stops?

16. Mustard was invented in Philadelphia in 1768. I really like mustard. Mayo can be outlawed, as far as I am concerned. They only have Kona coffee, pineapples and Macadamia nuts in Hawaii. Who am I kidding? Kona is the best coffee I’ve ever had. I do like mustard, for real, though.

17. Philly is on the East coast. There will be no 6 hour time lag to get used to like there would be in Hawaii. (Thank you, Alison, for the correction).

18. The fact that we are taking a car instead of flying means I can pack as much running apparel and gear as I want and I can buy as much stuff as I want at the race expo. My requirement to be completely over-prepared for every possible race day scenario, will be satisfied. I don’t travel light, at all, and a car equals packing FREEDOM!!

19. The marathon is sponsored by Gore-Tex. This means we won’t get wet during the race, right? (See #11, above).

20. The Philadelphia Marathon is ranked one of the top 10 courses in the country and 30,000 runners run in this race. That makes for an exciting atmosphere. It also means it is highly unlikely that I will come in dead last, always a concern when you know going into it that you are looking at 5 plus hours of racing.

21. The Philadelphia Marathon is a Boston qualifier. That means other runners will be chasing their dreams. I’ll just be trying to finish in an upright position. It is important to have goals!

22. There is a Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. We’ll see a lot of this road during the race, because, apparently, it is a part of a really long loop. We’ll run down it for the last time at mile 25.7. I’ll have to stop for a picture, if I am still alive by then.

23. Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the United States. That will make for a lot of crowd support. I fully expect to see some funny signs.

24. Soft pretzels are a big deal in Philadelphia. Carb loading, anyone?

Four fresh soft pretzels, ready to be pulled apart and chawed on

25. Philadelphia is also known for Scrapple. I will not be partaking in that local treat. If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it because some things are best left unknown (like what exactly goes into Scrapple). My husband, however, was raised by a Philadelphia native who served him Scrapple for breakfast so, I am sure he will eat enough Scrapple for both of us!

26. Philadelphia has a professional Frisbee team. Yes, they really do. I’ll bet we can’t see that in Honolulu.

26.2. In all seriousness, no matter where I run a marathon, this is truly a great experience which I get to share with two women, Dimity and Sarah, who convinced me, a total couch potato, that I could not only run but that they “get” me and all those other Bad Ass Mother Runners out there. I also got to make a new friend with my fellow victim, I mean, trainee, Alison, who will tackle 26.2 miles for the first time with me (OK, so maybe only about 2 miles actually with me because she is way faster than me but she’ll be waiting at the finish).

In the meantime, I’ll keep laying down miles, mentally calculating exactly how many cheesesteaks I can eat after racing 26.2 miles!



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