Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Report

It's been a few days now since my race, so it's time to write a race report. I am pleased to say my race went exceptionally better than I had planned!

Saturday, the day before the race, I ran a bunch of errands and just took it easy. I picked up my bib from the expo, grocery shopped, and even painted my nails in a speedy pattern.

Lightening bolts to make me go, go go!
I carbed it up with a pasta for dinner with roasted shrimp and tomato sauce. Delish! I also did something I never do; I actually got everything ready for my race the night before! I usually try to get some stuff ready, but I got everything ready and even pinned on my number to my shirt. I knew I was going to be getting up early, so I didn't want to worry about missing a thing.

Sunday, I woke up, threw on my clothes, made breakfast, which was two slices of homemade french bread slathered with almond butter and banana, then headed out the door. I stopped by 7-11 to grab a water bottle then headed to the Art Museum where the races started. I met up with some Back on My Feet buddies who were running and before I knew it, it was time to get into the corral.

I found my corral and waited for it to start. Right before my corral started the race, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" came on. Yes, it's super cheesy, but I adore it, so I got excited. There was a sign, though, that this race would be a good one (at least in my superstitious runner's brain). The Philadelphia Phillies, a team who I have become a big fan of, have started every home game this seasons with Kanye West's "All of the Lights." I already loved the song, but after going to a few home games this season, it always makes me think of the Phils. My iPod shuffle has literally 15+ hours of music and of all of the songs it chose to play first during my race, it chose "All of the Lights" by Kanye West. To most people, that's a funny coincidence, but for me, starting that race, it pumped me up like none other and was a sign of things to come.

The race has the first 5 miles through Center City Philadelphia, then the next ~8.1 miles around Kelly Drive and West River Drive. I ran this course last year and run most of the course in my normal running, so the race went by really quickly because I was familiar with the course. My original plan was to do the first 5 miles at 8:15 min/miles and pick it up to 8 minute miles for the last 8 miles or so, with the goal to go sub-1:50. I found myself going closer to 8 minute miles at the start, but it didn't seem that difficult. I worried about pushing myself early, but I thought that if I want to beat my time last year and PR, I need to push myself.

Before I knew it, the first 5 miles were done and we were of to start the Kelly Drive/West River Drive loop. I started to realize that maybe if I coud keep it up and actually finish faster than I started, I could possibly get close to 1:45. That time was one I kept in the back of my head and dared not say or hope for since it seemed so impossible to do. The fact that I could do it made me excited, determined, and nervous.
Never said I'd look good running. I look awful, but when you push yourself, you look like this!
Around mile 6, I ate some Sports Beans and felt really excited to be getting close to the halfway point. The race was really pretty uneventful, which sometimes can be good! By the time we crossed over Falls Bridge, I knew I had to start putting some speed in my stride if I wanted to hit 1:45. For each mile marker, I'd do the math and see if I could finish the race doing 8 minutes miles and finish in 1:45. I was going to be cutting it too close, so I pushed my miles and was averaging sub-8 minutes miles to the finish.

In the last mile, I was really tired, but determined that I would hit my new goal time no matter what. I found a girl who I had been running near me for a few miles and was annoying me (she looked like a seriously talented and strong runner and that annoyed me haha), so I made sure to catch her, pass her, and keep her behind me for good. As we turned the bend to the finish, I couldn't sprint like I wanted to (never a good race finisher), but I did what I wanted: I PRed and didn't throw up on anyone (felt like I was going to, though!)!!!!

Do I look like death?! I felt like it. 
Not only did I finish sub 1:50, but I finished sub-1:45, finishing with an official time of 1:44:35. That is a time no one in the world can take away from me and heck, I earned it. I was worried going into the race about feeling confident in my abilities (I never feel confident, so it was weird to me) and that it would come to bite me in the butt. It didn't. I worked hard for this race and pushed myself 5 times a week running. It sounds annoying maybe, but I'm really proud of myself. I'm a lazy person at times (currently sitting in a messy beyond belief apartment due to laziness), but when it comes to running, I somehow have the ability to push myself and work hard towards goals. I was able to shave 8 whole minutes from last year's previous PR, which seems insane to me.

Sweaty and wanting to sleep, but soooo happy!
Up next for me is the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20th, possibly another race after that, and then I'll be done racing for 2011. That does bum me out quite a bit, but I've already got a lot of my 2012 races planned out, which is exciting!!


  1. You should run the Sloppy Cuckoo half marathon trail race in North Philly this Sunday ( Only a week after your 1/2 PR (impressive, by the way), so might be a fun way to get a long recovery run in.

  2. Thanks, David! That race looks like a lot of fun and probably out of my league since I haven't run on trails in forever. Still considering it, but the site says online registration is closed. Any way to still register?

  3. I got an email from Pretzel City Sports saying that race day registration is available. It's capped at 500 runners, but it looks like only 166 ran last year, so should be no problem.

    You should do it! Relatively flat and non-technical for a trail race. Winning time last year was 1:44... It'll probably be muddy, but what fun is trail running if you don't get a little dirty?

  4. Yup, I just e-mailed the RD and there is on-site registration. Man, I really ought not race it, but it seems like too cool of an opportunity to pass up. I've lived in Philly for 5 years and still never been to Pennypack Park. Maybe I'll see you out there!

  5. Tres cool! I've been here 8 years and never been to Pennypack either. I'll be the 6'4" guy in Merrell Tail Gloves.