Done! It’s funny how silly I always feel about being a stress case whenever whatever I’m stressed about is over. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have worried about this race. It was tough and tiring, but at no point did I think I couldn’t do it, and I had a good time!
finish time: 2:12:25; avg pace: 10:07
Debbie picked me up around 11 on Saturday after picking up Jen and Meg, and the four of us continued down to Philly. We checked in and headed to the expo to get our numbers.
The expo was really well run and organized. We were able to get everything we needed within about 15 minutes. They also helped me out with switching to a faster corral. Somehow I was placed about 10 corrals too far back, and weaving though the crowd is so draining, so I was thrilled to be bumped up.
After the expo, we headed to Fratelli’s for a late lunch. It was… passable. Nothing special. We also ran into Travis and Laura who were in Philly for a friend’s dance recital. What a small world!
We spent the next hour walking around and browsing the book store before heading back to the hotel to rest up. I started my new book club book The Racketeer by John Grisham.
We had reservations at Maggiano’s for dinner. It was very conveniently located right down the street. I kept it simple with some (gluten free!!!) pasta, chicken sausage, spinach and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil.
I was up bright and early (5 am) the next day. I tried (and failed) to quietly make coffee while the other girls slept. I tried Starbucks instant pumpkin spice, and it was not bad. I also munched on a Luna bar and half a banana.
Once the rest of the girls were up, we groggily got ready and walked the mile over to the start line. It was a beautiful but chilly morning, and I was thankful for the $5 “sweat top” I had bought at Walgreens the night before. It kept me nice and toasty before I discarded it at my corral.
I’ve made me feelings on Rock n Roll races clear, and since no one forced me to sign up, I’ll try to keep my complaints to a minimum. Just know that the start area at a RnR race is sorta like trying to navigate through Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The crowds are insane, the bathroom options are limited, there is very minimal signage and you’ll probably have to hop a fence to get into your corral. Obviously, I can’t speak to the whole series, but I’ve now done two in two different cities and had similar results.
Due to the crazy port-a-potty lines, I opted not to wait and just stop early on in the race. The corrals were pretty well organized once I figured out how to get in. They started at 8 and each corral left about 3-5 minutes apart. I ended up crossing the start line at 8:28 which wasn’t too bad. Luckily there were port-a-potties about 1/2 a mile in, and I stopped and waited for about 2 minutes. Then I was off!
The route was really nice. We spent the first four miles running through the city then headed to the river for the rest of the race. Give me a beautiful body of water to run next to, and I’m a happy gal. The first half of the race felt good, and I felt strong and tried to pick up some of the time I lost on my pit stop.
I spent the second half trying to keep my pace under 10:00 and fueling. I took 2 chomps at miles 6 and 8. I tried to stomach two more at mile 10 but could only finish half of one. I walked through the water stops and alternated between water and Gatorade.
The water situation at the race was not good at all. Most stops were totally understaffed (under-volunteered?) and runners had to wait while frantic volunteers filled cups on the spot. I felt bad for them because you could tell they were working hard, but it was so discouraging to come up on a water stop where the tables had already been folded up when I was pretty much exactly in the middle of the pack.
The music stations were ok. I think I preferred the DJs at the Brooklyn race more than the live bands if only because it was nice to hear a song you knew as you passed by. Mostly, every time I saw a band I thought, “That’s nice, but I wish it were a water stop.”
Miles 9-11 were tough for me for some reason. We had a bit of a gradual hill climb that sapped a lot of my remaining energy, but the crowds kept me going. Honestly, the spectators at this race were the best I’ve ever seen. The signs were hilarious, and there were just so many people cheering. Philly, you’re awesome!
Mile 12 was when I decided I’m not running a marathon this year. Everything hurt, and I was tired of pushing myself. I was so happy to be almost done and could not imagine turning around and doing it again. Maybe some day but right now I’m just liking halfs a lot more.
I had used all my energy and really wanted to slow, but I forced myself to push it out and finish strong. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face.
Unsurprisingly, there was no water at the first four stations of the finishers chute, but I asked a volunteer for help, and she pointed me in the right direction. I grabbed a power bar and my medal and navigated my way out of there to find my friends.
We had planned to run separately, so we all started at different times, but our finish times were only a minute apart! How funny. Except our speediest friend Jen finished under 1:45! She’s super fast!
I was really pleased with my race. It wasn’t my fastest, but it was 14 minutes faster than my last two halfs, and all my major splits (5K, 10K, 10M) were negative. I never made up the two minutes I lost waiting for the bathroom (which would have put me under 2:10) but I’m ok with it. No race is perfect, but this one was pretty great and left me feeling super excited for Newport in a week.
It was such a great weekend! I got to hang out with some awesome ladies, run a great race then come back home and relax with Chris and Breaking Bad (not that it was relaxing at all!!! I almost threw up three times). I wish I could do this every weekend.