The Running Gods gave to me:
Half Marathon: 2:29:39
Philadelphia Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon. Ah! I finally broke 2:30 in the half marathon, something I had been trying to do all year. (Actually, my PR is 2:16:50, but I knew I wasn’t in shape to break it, so I kept aiming for 2:30).
Philadelphia is a LONG drive from Michigan. We drove to Pittsburgh Friday night and spent the night in my sister’s apartment. She was going to run the race too, but after we signed up she found out she had to attend a wedding that same weekend. So while we were sleeping in her apartment, she was in our hometown performing her bridesmaid duties and would meet us in Philadelphia Saturday night for Sunday’s race.
Packet Pick-up was right across the street from the Reading Terminal Market. Traffic into the city on Saturday was TERRIBLE. I had been feeling sick for maybe an hour before we even hit city limits. And then we sat in traffic, only miles away from our destination, for another hour. By the time we actually reached a parking garage, I was a mess and Ron went so far as to say that we had to stop doing these races because they made me too “nervous”. No, not nervous, just really really carsick.
Anyway, I always enjoy the race expos and this was no exception once I got out of the car and actually had our numbers in hand. Then I could enjoy buying new shoes and walking around to all of the vendors. (And no longer feeling ill).
I really wanted to go to Reading Terminal Market and I REALLY wanted a Philly Cheesesteak. But I wanted to save the Cheesesteak for a post race treat. So we went to the market, but only got a slice of Pizza and walked around for a bit. Then it was off to check into our hotel (which was actually in New Jersey), do some yoga, and wait for my sister.
Race day came bright and early and we drove back into the city.
I remember it being a nice day. Not too cold and not too hot either. We managed to find some porta potties on the way to the start with no line. I think they were actually on the course, but I didn’t care. I had to go and there was no waiting!
The race started (and ended) right next to the famous Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I’ve never actually seen any of the movies, but I’m plenty familiar with them! I don’t know what the road pictured above is called, but it had flags from I believe every country. That was fun to watch for the first mile or two!
The course runs around downtown for a bit and takes you past a few interesting sightseeing locations. You couldn’t actually SEE anything but the buildings, but interesting anyway. I saw a LOT of advertisements for different exhibits and museums and the like, making me really wish I had more time in the city. But after the race we were going to have to jet.
After the downtown section there is a long out and back along the river. This was a tad more boring as it is the same thing over and over. Nice views at first, but then you realize you’ve been running along it for several miles. This part was shaded, though, which was nice!
We ran into the same blow up Brooks man. Except this time I was feeling a LOT better than I was in Chicago. In fact, I felt pretty good this whole race. I only walked a little towards the end. And I was feeling pretty happy in general.
But I wanted that 2:30, so I forced myself to start running again. The finish is on a bit of an incline and around a corner, so you can’t see it until you are right there. You can usually tell because the crowds start to get heavier… that is when you know to KICK!
Have you noticed yet I seem to wear the same shirt in every single race? It is not intentional. I guess I just like it for racing. Maybe I’ll go crazy and buy a DIFFERENT COLOR in 2013.
Overall, I really liked this race. It was hands down a better experience than the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon. It is too bad Philadelphia is so far away! Next time I go, though, I am building in some time for sightseeing because I never did get my Cheesesteak (sad). I DID get to see my parents and some of my extended family on the way back. They were all having a party at my Aunt’s house that Ron was gracious enough to let me crash. It meant we got home at some ungodly hour, but I am glad I got to see them. I don’t see my immediate family much since we live so far away, and the extended family even less.
So to recap, great race, long drive. The only bad thing about this race is that I came out of it with a bit of hip pain, and just weeks before my marathon!