The Philly Rock N Roll Half-Marathon was so much fun…and I PRed! It was such a great course and a really well-organized event, in one of my favorite cities.
Oh, and Bret Michaels was there too. How tough is this?
After a busy and stressful week of work + life, Andy and I picked up a rental car and drove up to Philly early on Saturday morning. We checked into our hotel, the Latham, in center city and then went to pick up my bib and t-shirt at the expo. Then, we walked around center city to run a few more errands, including a trip to CVS and a trip to our favorite beer store which carries lots of rare imports and craft beers to pick up a few specialties. It happens to be located right next door to my old apartment in Philly, and we entertained ourselves by walking past old haunts and reminiscing, and exclaiming over all the new places that have opened up.
We made plans to meet up with our friends for a late lunch. We got to catch up over some food and drinks, then walked around a bit more, visiting an art gallery and an open-air art fair in Rittenhouse. We ended with dinner at Monk’s, one of our favorite spots in Philly. The food and drink there is great but it was crowded and service was a little slow. I was a little stressed and tired and worried about resting up enough for the race, so we headed back to the hotel around 9pm. I love Philly and it was a lot of fun to spend the day soaking it in; I only wished the race had been Saturday morning so I could have relaxed more and had a few more drinks, too. 😉
Sunday morning I woke up at 6am, too excited to sleep. I got ready quickly, full of nerves, and walked a block to Starbucks; there was a line of runners waiting for it to open! I had been planning to get a bagel but I was still full from dinner, so I just got an espresso and a yogurt for Andy. Back at the hotel I had two dates, my espresso, and did some stretching and hanging out before leaving for the race around 7:20. Andy and my friends and I had mapped out the day before where they would watch me, and it didn’t make sense for him to come all the way to the start with me so I went on my own. I walked, ran, and stretched on the way to the Art Museum for the start.
I was in the 14th corral, out of about 22 I think, so it took awhile to get started but once I did, the whole experience was fantastic! I really didn’t want to go out too fast, but my pace for the first few miles was steady at about 10:10 – 10:20, and it felt effortless, so I just held it.
I loved running through the quiet early morning streets of center city. It didn’t take long to find my groove and there wasn’t too much jostling for position. I carried my own gatorade in a hand-held bottle and a Gu, so I didn’t have to deal with too many water stops, either.
I saw Andy and my friends a few times, and they made great signs for me. I was so happy and excited the whole time, trying hard to pace myself but also glad that I was feeling good.
The last mile I ran as hard as I could, despite being tired. By then, I knew that I wasn’t going to break 2:10 but that I was going to PR. And I told myself that effort is more important than arbitrary number goals, and ran as hard as I could up the final incline to the finish line. I wanted to finish under 2:10 because it’s a nice round number, but maintaining a pace just about 10:00/mile for the whole stretch was pretty important to me, too.
Success! My final official time was 2:11:54. This is still a good 8 minutes faster than my Richmond Half, so I’ll take it! I know many other people run a lot faster, but for me, I was happy. AND, according to my Garmin, I actually ran 13.2 miles.
I was so glad to be done, so glad it went so well, and so grateful to my friends and Andy for being there. Lately I’ve been thinking a little about how running can be a bit of an indulgence; it’s a hobby, something I love to do, and running races requires planning and effort (and cost) on my part, and those that are close to me. I am so grateful that Andy and my friends came out and supported me early in the morning.
After all the post-race stretching and showering, I met the others for brunch and the Man U – Chelsea game before heading out.
Philly, I love you back. And I can’t wait to return!