If you recall in an earlier post, I had gathered a group of friends to register for a half marathon together. You may also recall an earlier post about how this summer was off the rails and training was pretty poor. I was registered for two half marathons in October and I just hoped I could survive.
Welp, October is over and I not only survived, it was one of the best months in quite a while. I know, who am I? What is this self-proclaimed summer girl doing admitting that October was an awesome month?
(You can read more about Baltimore Half Marathon here.)
Friday afternoon, I headed out of work early to hit the road to Philly for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I knew there would be traffic on the dreaded Schuylkill and sure enough I was right. What should have been no more than an hour was just over an hour and a half but still not too bad considering I was dancing dangerously close to rush hour by the time I got to the city. I checked into the Club Quarters Philadelphia and eventually met up with another runner friend and we made our way to the expo and met up with two more runner friends.
The expo was pretty good. This was my first Rock n Roll experience and it was good one. After getting our packets and briefly perusing the expo, Katelyn, Brett, Laura, and I made our way back toward our hotel planning to get some dinner on the way. We stopped at the Ruby Tuesday just across the street from our hotel. My general rule is that I don’t necessarily eat anything specific before a run but I am mindful of eating something normal for me and keeping it to a comfortable quantity. When I feel good, I stop eating and be careful not to feel gorged. Salad bar, grilled chicken, and spaghetti squash and lots of water was great and ticked all of those boxes. We were back at the hotel by 8:30 or 9 with plans to meet at the elevator at 6:30am to set out for the start line. Sleeping was easier said than done of course. After lying in bed, killing time on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, I finally fell asleep around 9:30 or 10. I woke up frequently throughout the night, each time from a deep deep sleep thinking it must be time to get up by now but realizing it was only midnight, then 2am, then 4am. Finally it was time to get up and get ready. I checked the weather and the current temperature was in the low 30s. I always make sure to have plenty of options since I’ve made the mistake before of not being prepared for cold weather. I decided to exchange my headband for a warm hat and wear my gloves. I ate my half of a Larabar while we walked to the start as well as sipping the coffee I brought from the hotel lobby. (By the way, half a Larabar and coffee and a bottle of water about one hour before race time and some warmup jogging is now my prerace routine, it’s worked well for me a few times) There were 35 corrals at this race. I’ve never run with more than 5 or 6. They released one corral every 1-2 minutes. My friends and I were assigned to various corrals but we all ended up starting with corral 28. The race started at 7:30 but we crossed the start line just after 8:30. This allowed us plenty of time to go to the bathroom a few times and get super excited. Somehow, we ended up in the same corral right next to one of my favorite bloggers, Sparkly Runner and I got to meet her and talk to her a bit before the race!
Once we started, we all went our separate paces. I was a little concerned with the number of participants and the number of corrals and not sure how that would work out. It worked out great. There was no trouble getting a nice pace right away. The corrals were spaced out perfectly so that there was plenty of room. I also really appreciated that they had lots of music and they announced each corral. Sometimes, when you start in one of the later corrals, you aren’t able to see or hear the starting pomp and circumstance and the mass just moves forward and you’re suddenly at the starting line.
I enjoyed the Philadelphia course. It was probably one of the flattest courses I’ve done for a half marathon. I do enjoy hills but it was a really nice course with a great combination of city sights and running along the Schuylkill River. It was nice to see lots of rowers out on the river and boathouse row. There were bands along the course. At the very last minute, I decided not to listen to my own music in favor of saving my phone battery so I could better communicate after the race. That wasn’t the greatest decision. I really missed my music and some of the bands on the course were not so good.
All five of us finished and finished well. I hadn’t been able to meet up with Amanda before the race so it was great to meet up after the run. I think we all had an awesome time. I felt so proud, there’s nothing like crossing the finish line of your first half marathon and realizing you actually did it. I would argue, that feeling never goes away no matter how many you do but the first one just a little sweeter.
Happy, Happy Half Marathoners.
Rock n Roll Philadelphia was a really well run event and a great course, plus the Gin Blossoms played at the celebration area! I would highly recommend if you are considering.
A few of my favorite Halloween costumes on runners:
S’mores – two dressed as graham crackers, two dressed as chocolate bars, and one as a bag of marshmallows. Best of all, they ran in order!
Tom Brady, juggling deflated footballs, while running! – He deserved a major award!