It’s September and you know what that means!?! The Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon!!
This year was our 7th year running!
This year was also the 2nd year in a row Cheryl was able to get us VIP tickets through work. I really do love her job.
Cheryl had asked for 4 VIP tickets. Originally Cindy was going to run, but she had a bridal shower so Jill’s friend Kaitlyn took her place.
We got up early again to get to the start. We had a parking pass to park near the start, but wanted to make sure we got there before the lot filled up. We did and after we parked we went to the VIP tent. I had assumed that since the elite runners were running this year they would be in the VIP tent. Unfortunately they were in a completely separate elite area next to our area :(
We needed to fuel up and we had more then enough options. There was coffee and tea, bagels (with peanut butter, jelly, butter or cream cheese), pound cake, yogurt and granola, fruit and Powerade bars. There were also bins full of water, powered and chocolate milk.
I had coffee, a bagel with peanut butter and jelly and some fruit. I don’t like to eat too much before a run and luckily the bagels were on the smaller side.
The other people in the VIP area were sponsor runners, media and the streakers. There are a group of people who have run all 37 races. They are the streakers and they are adorable.
We ate and got ready for the race. Of course my watch decided to have low battery right before the race. Luckily Cheryl had the Nike+ app on her phone so we switched so that I could use that. There are private ports-potties in the VIP section, but the line got long as the race got closer. Cheryl and I were in corral 4 and Jill and Kaitlyn were in corral 11. We had to jog to get to our corrals and they were PACKED.
Of course we had enough time to take a selfie.
We started running before I even realized.
The race starts from the Art Museum down Ben Franklin Parkway. Of course the one year I finally have a hat it is overcast, but it was still humid.
Then we run through Center City, down around City Hall, through Old City, past Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, through Chinatown and back up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum.
Those are the first 5 miles. The other 8 are around the Schuylkill River Trail that Cheryl and I always run. Through the beginning of the race there is a lot to look at. People cheering, buildings, landmarks, but the rest is mostly bands, cheerleading groups, some spectators and a lot of scenery.
My Yurbud headphones were SO ANNOYING. They kept falling out of my ears so I had to keep smushing them back in. A photographer actually got me doing it since I had to so often!
All around the Schuylkill River they put up inspirational signs. I really love reading them because they tend to be different every year. There are also funny signs like “Cold beer at the finish” and “WTF – Where’s the finish”?
I did pretty well throughout the race. I started off at a great pace of 9:20 and kept it up most of the beginning. Once I got to the Schuylkill the humidity was getting to me so I was slowing down a little. I made sure to have water at EVERY station, but somehow at mile 10 my calves started to cramp. I stretched them out, but it wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t really use my normal stride after that because I didn’t want a full on muscle spasm so I slowed down.
I still finished just a few seconds behind my pace last year.
It’s definitely not as well as I had wanted to do. I am still chasing that sub-2 hour time from 4 years ago.
Once I was done I got my medal, grabbed a water and headed back to the VIP tent. We had our own bag check which was nice. I didn’t have to walk all over to get my stuff.
What I did do was stuff my face as soon as I changed into flip flops. They had breakfast burritos (which were phenomenal I had 3), sausage, bacon, french toast with strawberries and grain salad. I also had a mimosa (or 3) and some chocolate milk.
Cheryl was not far behind me and then a little while later we spotted Jill. This was her second half marathon, but I was hoping she would love it as much as us. She did! The last 2 longer races she did she felt sick after, but she said she felt great after this one. We all celebrated with mimosas!
Deena Kastor (who is an amazing runner at 41!) came in 3rd at 1:09:36, but set 4 Masters World Records! I was so jealous because Cheryl got to meet her!
Once we ate and relaxed for a little we headed over to get our 3rd remix medal. The post-race concert was Rusted Root this year and they were a crowd pleaser.
Before heading back we decided to do one more thing I have never done after a race before…run the Art Museum stairs like Rocky!
I can’t say enough how much I love this race. It is so energetic and I also love that anyone can do it. They have a long time limit because a lot of first-time runners and disabled runners with charity participate. We will definitely be back next year!
After we headed back and showered and even though I ate a lot I was hungry again. Around 2:00 we went and got cheesesteaks (Jill never had one) and stopped by our friend Sean’s house. A few people were over watching the Eagles game so we stopped by, ate cheesesteaks, drank beer and then headed home. One the way back Cheryl wanted coffee and I wanted something sweet. I got some pumpkin munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. Yum!
I must say it was a really fun weekend. Sadly it was the last weekend of Summer, but we made it count!