Saturday afternoon, my friend Tara (aka the Birthday Girl) and I headed to the city of brotherly love. It was a quick 1.5 hour trip from Staten Island once we got on the road. We were both excited as we had been lookingh forward to the Rock n Roll Half for almost two months. First stop was the expo at the Philadelphia Convention Center. This place was huge! Bib and
T-shirt technical shirt pick up was a seamless process, and the shirt was cute. Then we headed into the expo to check out the goods. I picked up some Clif Shots, compression calf sleeves and a much needed spi-belt. I could have shopped there for days with so much great run swag to choose from.
Since I hadn’t had lunch but dinnertime was close, Tara and I split a cheese steak from Carmen’s in the Terminal Market. When in Rome, right? Well, I have tried both Pat’s and Ginos, this was MUCH better.
The entire market was full of yummies, but with 18 miles on the agenda I thought it best not to be an adventurous eater. Instead we checked in the hotel and relaxed for a while. Now this part might seem boring to you, but when two working mothers have time to lay back and literally do nothing it’s a huge deal.
It was about 7 p.m. and I probably could have just stayed in bed all night. However we needed a proper dinner. After some Yelp searching, concierge suggestions and tweets, we wound up at Rouge with Theodora and Michelle. Leticia also joined us for a bit. We toasted a glass of Malbec for Tara’s birthday (after I convinced her that one glass of wine before the race is fine.)
Party gals that we are, we headed back to our respective hotels by 9:30 p.m. We prepared race gear and were asleep by 10:30 p.m. (which was another amazing highlight.)
Up at 6:15 a.m. I started to get dressed. Tara had ordered some oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and I instead munched on 5 pre-race miles. I ran out towards the finish and just headed up a main street for 2 miles and back. There were so many runners headed to the start that I was excited for the race. I even saw Ashley, Running Bun (w/Baby Bun in the oven). After some water, I met Tara back at at Corral 8 and after the National Anthem, we were off. The first few miles included a bunch of turns in a business/shopping district. There was a good amount of spectators, but I kept busy by watching for pot holes. A broken ankle will not fare well for marathon training. Around 4.5 miles, we were Kelly Drive. Beforehand I thought it might be boring to just run straight on the road next to the water. Instead it was beautiful. The natural scenery with some early foliage and some crew teams rowing in the water added a peaceful vibe to that part of the run.
Around mile 9, we went over the Falls Bridge and headed back on the other side of the water. My legs were tired and I would have loved to stop. I was still with Tara, but at mile 10 I told her to go. She needed to run her own race. It was her first half and I wanted to be sure that she had the full experience. Alone I thought I would slow down, but maintained my pace. I finished the half in 2:14:09. I ran the full 18 miles in 3:06:13.
Afterwards, I treated myself to some chocolate milk and then a beer. Yes, in that order.
The finisher area was a big space with plenty of space to relax, eat, and hang out with family and friends – both runners and spectators. I would love to see more races finish in areas like this. I could have hung out there all day… but alas it was time to head home.
About 26 hours after I left, I was home with 18 miles and a new medal under my belt. It was a great time and I would love to do it again. If you can run a Rock n Roll race in your town, do it. If you can make a trip out of it, do that!