Philadelphia Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon

Another half marathon in the books! This is 1/2 Marathon number 12 for me (lots of bling there!).  I took a trip downtown on Friday to pick up my packet and volunteer at the expo in the afternoon.  Volunteers got free parking at one of the garages around the corner from the Convention Center which meant I stayed a little longer afterwards to go to Reading Terminal Market and pick up dinner.  At the expo, if you were picking up for other people, you could only pick up for 1 other person and you had to have their confirmation sheet signed by them (understandable) and that person’s photo ID.  If you picked up your packet and more than one other person’s packet, you had to pay $20 per extra packet. Really? Let’s see how much you can nickel and dime runners Rock n Roll.  I felt bad for one guy who was picking up for his brother in sister in law (all with the same really uncommon last name) who had written notes from them that he could pick up their material since they were coming from out of the country.  The people at the expo told him they’d have to pick it up Sunday before the race.  Needless to say, after the people paid by RnR left, I gave him the packets for his family.  You could also register at the expo for the low, low price of $125!!  I only really ran this race because I signed up last year for $60 (next year’s race price at the expo? $70).  Anyways, the expo was your pretty standard expo only missing some of the smaller local running places or businesses. Why you ask? Apparently the cost to have a booth went up too :-/.

Saturday, I was able to get some good pasta and water in me.  The water kept me up going to the bathroom all night long. The race started at 8AM in front of the Art Museum, so I was up at 6AM and left around 640.  It took about 5-10 minutes to find an open lot once I got into the city since we had to deal with road closures.  I was about 6/10 of a mile from the start and was able to hit the bathroom before getting my bag checked and set in my corral.  When the gun went off at 8, the elite runners were off, including Kara Goucher‘s husband Adam who was returning to competition after 2 years off due to injury.  It took me 19 minutes to get to the start (which by that point, the elite athletes were already coming past us in the the other direction at mile 4).  I was going by my watch time and by mile 2, I was able to duck into the McDonald’s at 9th and Market for a bathroom break.  Huge shout out to the older gentleman who let me go in front of him (but they were also using the women’s bathroom as a unisex stall).  After a quick break, I was back on the streets of Center Philadelphia.  Come mile 4, we were heading back towards the starting area, just in time to see the elite men’s winner cross the finish line.  Yes, with a time of 58 minutes and change, the leading male runner finished the half marathon in the fastest time on US Soil. EVER.  That’s a shot to your ego right there.  I was doing a 10 minute pace or so the entire race.  Since the last 8.5 miles or so were around the Kelly Drive loop, I pretty much knew where I was mile wise.  It was nice crossing the East Falls Bridge because I knew there was only 4 miles to go.  After I passed the 9 mile mark, I was nearly clothes lined by another runner.  I was trying to pass 2 women in front of me (2 friends) and the one was pointing out something to the other and stuck her arm out just as I was coming by.  Very scary since I slowed down to avoid it right as her arm was across my neck.  I made my way through the familiar territory and began seeing more fans closer to the 12 mile mark.  I have never seen such a quite crowd!!  People were there, but not cheering.  You could hear other runners joking they wanted more cow bells or more noise from the crowd!!  I finished with a time of 2:14:18.  Take off my bathroom break at mile 2 and it was more like 2:12:30. Not too shabby since I ran a 2:25 last weekend.

As always, you have your favorite signs that you see on course.  This time around we got:

  1. You’re almost done. For real! (held by a lady around mile 12.5 when we had .6 miles to go)
  2. Hurry up, they’re almost out of beer! (there was a MG64 beer garden at the end of the race for those over 21 yrs old)

Unfortunately, this will probably be my last Rock n Roll Race.  $10 price increase to sign up at the expo for next year’s race?  The fact they’ve taken over at least 4 races that previously were run by people in those cities (Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, DC that I know of)?  That and I can go run this route on my own or find a race that’s locally operated for a better price.  Not sure I agree with the way they run things on the management end.  I hope people who were first timers enjoyed their experience! It’s always a good thing to get the first out of the way 🙂

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