The Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half has quickly become a favorite of mine. I started running it when it was still called the Philadelphia Distance Run and wasn’t sure what to expect when Competitor took it over. While the Philadelphia Inquirer did a great piece on what the changes have meant to this race, as an average runner who is there to have fun, I’m pretty happy with how Competitor has run the race the past few years.
As usual, the expo was well-run. I guess when you put on a million of them per year you get it down to a science. It’s open for two full days, which is nice and it’s at the Convention Center which is easily accessible for everyone since it’s in Center City.
Getting my race pack was no problem, but picking up for your friends could be an issue. I had to take a copy of my friend Dave’s ID and race confirmation to the “problem solving” table so they could confirm that it was real. The man in front of me was picking up several packets for various friends and family….AT $20 A PACKET! Appparently, only the first one is free. That’s straight up highway robbery. Beware if you want to do a favor for someone…it’ll cost ya.
The apparel selection was great. Brooks has a giant tent of RnR merchandise but the highlight for me was Moving Comfort. I love their Juno bra and it was nice to get it on a discount and not have to pay for shipping! I picked up a few GUs and as much free stuff as I could carry before heading over to see John “The Penguin” Bingham speak.
I interviewed John last year for my Philadelphia Magazine blog and it was a great experience. It was great to finally find someone who was a slow runner who truly didn’t care that he wasn’t fast. Whenever I get frustrated with my time, I look to him for inspiration. As usual, his talk didn’t disappoint. Since the audience was made up of more experienced runners, he really tailored it to our individual questions and needs.
After the expo, I made my way to Reading Terminal Market with my friend and fellow runner, Steph. It’s become a post-expo tradition for us for the past few years. If you’re in the area (it’s right across the street from the Convention Center) it is a must. After that, it was time to go home and rest up for the race!
It’s go time!
I’d like to say I woke up feeling like a winner…but I didn’t. For some reason I was kind of nervous about it. I ate my usual piece of toast with PB and had some OJ before walking over to Steph’s house to get her before going to the start. Luckily, this race begins and ends within a few blocks of my apartment so I didn’t have to leave too early!
The temperature was kind of a shock to me. It’s been going back and forth between 90 and humid and 70 and perfect the past few weeks, and while I’m glad it wasn’t leaning towards 90 degrees I wasn’t expecting weather in the 50s! My throwaway shirt was key.
After a porta potty trip, Steph and I parted ways to head to our corrals. She’s super speedy (compared to me) so we couldn’t really start together.
The race started at 8:00am, but by the time they got to my corral, it was about 8:35. The wait to get to the start is THE WORST. I get so fidgety, which might be why I started out so fast. I wanted to target 11:30-12:00 minute miles the entire race, but I ran the first three miles in less than 33 minutes, which is fast for me. I knew I couldn’t keep up that pace, but I was scared to slow down too much. I decided to stop thinking and just run.
Despite running this race several times, it did come with a first: I had to stop during the race to pee! I’ve never done that before and I wasn’t sure if it was going to totally throw me off or not. I stopped at the 5K mark and let me tell you, it was WELL worth it. When in doubt, use the loo. Just sayin.
Honestly, the rest of the race was pretty unremarkable for me. My legs were tight and my nose was running faster than my legs. I decided the best thing to do was just keep moving and enjoy it. I made small talk with some of the other people walking and kept moving as fast as I felt like going. I eventually crossed the finish line around 2:56.
It definitely wasn’t my best race, but it was nowhere near my worst. I’m slightly discouraged because my October half (The Blue Grey Half in Gettysburg) is really hilly from what I’ve heard but I’ll just keep working on it. I’m just happy to be done and I can’t wait until next year!
What do you do when you have a bad race? Do you have any suggestions for running a hilly half-marathon??