Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

On Sunday I ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  This was my first half marathon race and I am very pleased with my run and the overall experience!

I woke up around 5AM for this race, which seems a bit early.  However it gave me enough time to eat (blueberry bagel with jam), drink a cup of coffee, and prepare.  The race began at the Parkway, which meant I just had to take the 15 trolley down to the area and walk a bit to the start.  I probably arrived there around 7:15 when all was said and done.  It was so exciting to see all of the other runners along with the volunteers and spectators gathering and preparing.  I checked my bag, walked around for a bit, and headed to my corral around 7:50.  The waiting was the worst part of course as I was way back in corral 17.  We actually saw the elite runners loop back around before we even started (the course begins with about a 4.5 mile loop through Center/Old City and back up to the starting area).

Finally we were let out at around 8:25.  I felt like I was doing my best to start off slower, but I realized after about a mile that I was actually moving at a more fast pace for me so I kept trying to slow down a bit during the initial loop around the city.  The course is pretty standard with that first loop and then the last 2/3 or so being the loop along the river.  Mentally this was both good and bad.  Part of me was thinking “Ugh I still have to run the entire loop!” once we got back into the Art Museum area and the other part of me was thinking “Ok I only have to run the loop and then I’m done!”.  I tried to pay more attention to the latter part.

I brought my handheld Nathan water bottle with me (filled with only water) so I didn’t have to get caught up in the chaos of the stands and only stopped twice for Gatorade.  I also brought 3 margarita and 3 black cherry Shot Bloks with me and had two each around miles 4, 8, and 10.5.  I felt really great for almost the entire race and in the end I seemed to really kick it up.  I don’t know if it was adrenaline or what, but I was surprised when I looked at my splits later.

My last 4 miles were all well under 10 minute miles!  I knew I felt fast and strong and during that last stretch I kept wondering if I had been underestimating myself all along (which of course transferred into a deep “running as metaphor” tangent).  However since I was trying not to really pay too much attention to my Garmin I really didn’t know exactly how fast I was going.  I just wanted to go by feel and finish as well as I could.

In the end my official time was 2:10:53 which is an average pace of 9:59 (my Garmin obviously disagrees with the total distance, but I don’t know what happened there)!  Crossing the finish line felt great (except when some jerk sprinted and nearly pushed me over to get in front of the photographer – lame), especially since I wasn’t really struggling to do so at all.  I exceeded my goal of sub-2:15 by more than expected and I am even pretty pleased with how I finished compared to the rest of the field as well.  I know running is all about improving upon your own bests, but it is nice to see that I can hold my own in something that is both so physical and mental when not so long ago neither would have really been possible.

After the race I met up with some runner friends and eventually went out to brunch.  Then I eventually had way too many beers to make up for the ones I didn’t drink the week before the half.  My first beer post-race was a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, which is perfection any time, but especially after running 13.1 miles!

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