On Saturday October 31st I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon as the first part of my challenge to do two half marathons in a weekend.
My dad and I got into Philly and to the expo on Friday evening around 5:30. I was shocked at how empty the expo was! We easily picked up our bibs and shirts and I also bought a shot glass and some body glide. We spent a good amount of time walking around and trying samples and seeing all the booths set up. Check out the awesome halloween themed race bib!
The race started at 7:30 on Saturday. We stayed in a hotel right off the Ben Franklin Parkway so we were able to walk down to the start area very easily and had plenty of time to use the porta potties, check a bag and hang out before getting into our corral around 7:00.
Usually Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly is in September but this year it was moved to the end of October because of the Pope visiting Philadelphia in September. I had no complaints about the date change – the weather was going to be perfect, high 50s/low 60s once the sun came up!
My dad moved back to my corral because his knee had been bothering him, and knowing we had a race the next morning he wanted to take it easy. I on the other hand, felt like I wasn’t really going to be able to hold myself back. My plan was to run the first mile as comfortably as possible to warm up (it was in the low to mid 40s before we started), and then start in with my 1:30/0:30 run/walk intervals.
We finally crossed the start line around 8:10. This is a HUGE race, so they let runners go one corral at a time to keep the course from getting too crowded. We saw the elites coming back towards us (they were at mile 4ish) before we even crossed the start.
We finished the first mile in 10:39, and frankly I could have gone faster but had to do a fair amount of weaving, which was probably a good thing to make me slow down some.
Somehow we managed to do the second mile in 10:38 – I had some great power songs coming on my iPod and felt generally pumped up.
From there we settled into a more comfortable pace.
We crossed the 5k timing may at 34:29 which felt really good.
Around mile 4 the course takes you out of downtown Philadelphia and past the art museum, and down along the Skyukill river. I knew this. and I knew that we had a bridge to cross at some point to get over the river before heading back towards the finish at the art museum.
Oh. my. god. The 4-5 miles it took for us to get to the bridge to cross the river felt like FOREVER. I don’t know what it was, but mentally I sort of lost it around mile 4.5. The tongue on my one shoe kept sliding to the side and felt really uncomfortable, I was having some mild cramps and in general I was feeling really pissed off. I’m not sure exactly why I was feeling this way, but I just was. I just wanted to get the race over with!
It was definitely not the best way to feel that early into 13.1 but I just kept one foot moving in from of the other, following my run/walk intervals, and occasionally saying to my dad “where the f*** is that bridge?”
Somehow we hit the 10k mark in 1:10:31 which I realized was close to the time I hit it during the Monster Mash Half a few weeks prior (where I PRed).
Finally we saw the bridge in the distance and crossed it and I felt 10000% better. At this point I was looking at my watch and feeling like the pace was in a pretty good place. We hit mile 10 in 1:54:02 which was FASTER than I had done two weeks ago, so even though I mentally felt crappy my body was still performing, which was a great feeling.
My dad and I started to do the math and for some reason thought we had 30 minutes to do the last 3.1 (when in fact we had 40) to finish near my PR time. I said “well at least we’ll be under 2:40, I guess.” We were definitely mentally exhausted.
Around mile 11 my dad’s knee started to act up. He told me to go on ahead, which is always a tough situation to be in, but I did as he said. I looked at my watch and realized that our previous calculations were wrong and I had more than enough time to finish ahead of my previous PR! It was a great feeling and just what I needed to give me the final boost to power through the last few miles.
I finished in 2:30:50 (official time). That’s a 3:53 PR from the Monster Mash Half two weeks ago! My Garmin measured the course a little long.
I was thrilled that I managed to PR on a race when I was feeling mentally spent for a majority of it.
It proved to me that even if your mind is not feeling it your body is much stronger and can power through and surprise you.
After the race we headed back to the hotel to shower up and drive an hour and a half to packet pickup for race #2 of the weekend!