After getting a much more restful night of sleep than I did the previous night, I woke up refreshed and ready to go! I got dressed, ate my breakfast, and headed out the door to meet my friend Kim in the lobby. After we had realized yesterday we were staying in the same hotel, we decided to meet in the morning to split an Uber to take to the start together.
I had taken a car to the start yesterday and it was smooth sailing. However, what I did not take into account was the 10K was entirely in the park, while the half marathon actually ran through the city (including the roads by our hotel) and they were already closed by the time we were trying to get there. Oops. After an adventure that included many cancelled Ubers, flagging down a city cab and filling it with two other desperate runners, and jumping out of cab on the side of the highway to walk through a closed exit, we made it! I had enough time to run to the VIP tent (more on that later!) to drop a bag of fresh clothes and head to the corral.
And, we were off! Although temps were in the high 60s, the humidity was still quite high, and the temps were expected to climb in the high 70s by the time we finished. Right from the start, I was on the struggle bus. This summer has been so hot and humid, and I was really not into struggling through yet another hot and humid race to make it to the finish. Where is fall already?!
The course had been re-designed this year, and included 5 miles of city streets. I always love a good city race, so I tried to push the warm weather out of my mind, and enjoy the cheering crowds. It was hard to pace myself because my Garmin was so out of whack on the streets, but it was just as well, since today was not about racing and just about having a fun long run. I was pleasantly surprised about how many people came out to cheer, despite the race starting at 7:30 in the morning. Crowd support always helps!
Once we finished the “Center City” portion, we did a figure 8 past the finish line area, and into Franklin Park. This is where the race got ugly for me. The heat/humidity was really getting to me (far more than I wanted to admit) and I was just mentally burnt out from fighting it. Plus, I was starting to freak out in my own head about next weekend – if 13.1 hot miles is a struggle today, what is it going to feel like next weekend after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and then going for the run portion at the hottest part of the day? I started to settle into a run/walk pattern – walk through the aid stations, run to the next one, walk into the aid station, etc. By focusing on the smaller section of each race, I was slowly able to run more then I was walking, and get myself on track. The miles in the park slowly ticked away, and then I started to recognize familiar sights from the day before, until the finish line was finally in sight! I crossed in 2:18, both relieved that it did not take me 2.5 hours and a bit annoyed/upset that this race was more of a struggle then I felt like it should of been.
After collecting my half marathon medal, I went straight over to the tent where they were handing out the bonus medals. Have I mentioned how much I love a challenge medal yet?
Then, it was time for heaven. As a perk of the Rock ‘ n Blog team, I was offered access to the VIP tent (similar to RunDisney’s race treat.. As soon as I walked in, I was offered a massage. Yes, please! Then, I was able to change into my dry clothes (no hiking to bag check vans or waiting in long lines!) and collapse in a chair with a glass of bubbly and a plate full of food. Perfect! I realized another Rock ‘n Blog team member was also in the tent, Lindsay, and we had a chance to hang out. Before I knew it, it was 11:45 – and I had to dash back to my hotel for noon checkout! Luckily, I was able to persuade them to give me an extra half hour in the room to shower and finish packing before heading out to brunch with my husband, and then home to CT.
Overall, I had a fantastic time during the Philly Rock n Roll Half Marathon Weekend! I do wish the temps were cooler and I was in better running shape – but that’s what next year is for right? Can’t wait for Rock n Roll Vegas!