Rock ‘n Roll Philly 1/2 Marathon Review/Report – Finally!

Ok – a bit late – but here is my review of the RnR Philly 1/2…

A few days before we left for Philly, Jeff asked me what my goal was – I didn’t really care but wanted to break a 1:50 and preferably break a 1:45. My best was 1:42:17 (RnR DC), but I wasn’t feeling that fast or trained. I asked Jeff what his goal was and he looked me straight in the eyes and responded very matter-a-factly “To beat you”…we are both horribly competitve, but in the end – it doesn’t matter who finishes first…or does it?

We arrived in Philly on the train on Friday morning. We both immediately loved the city and spent hours walking miles upon miles until late into the night.

Us…Touring Philly…

And, nope – I didn’t wear my running shoes like I should have…I wore my cute black Sketchers flip flops. Saturday morning I woke up with pain in my right lower hamstring – same leg I had been having knee pain for a few months. The pain grew worse throughout the day – was this sabotage?! I loaded up on ibuprofen as we walked some, but also tried to taxi and take the tour bus to keep me off my feet. I was pretty down in the dumps Saturday night and the pain was so bad I hobbled around the hotel before finally crawling in bed just after 8pm. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to run. The next morning the pain was still there – but had subsided a bit. Jeff kindly asked how I was and I snapped at him, “I don’t want to talk about it!”. Good thing he is a runner and completely understood what I was dealing with. I proceeded to get ready for the race and took more ibuprofen. By the time we go to the start line, the pain subsided more…or was it just the excitement that took over my body?!

As we walked down Benjamin Franklin highway we saw hundreds – thousands – of runners heading to the start area. Ahhh…I love being in a crazy crowd of people that are just like me! The porta-potty lines were insane and a logistical nightmare as they backed up into the UPS gear truck area. Lucky for us our gear truck was toward the back of the crowd and after we dropped off our bag we spotted dozen of porta-potties with no lines – it was like a dream come true for me! We proceeded to do a little jog in the corral area, but I had to go back to the truck to get some Proform for my leg. I pushed my skinny self through the crowd and got what I needed. By now it was getting time to get in our corral. We were in #2. Yikes.


Out of 22 corrals. I love walking up through the corrals knowing we get to start near the front of the pack…until I get to our corral and see mostly men and super-fit women. What am I doing here?! We had a :20 wait, but learned our lesson in the past to get to the corral early – so it was ok to wait. We spotted our twitter friend Malinda who was ready for her run/tweet experience. We had her snap a picture of us in the corrals…thank you!

At one point it looked we were not in corral 2 anymore but in corral 3 – HUH?! We pushed up a bit, but then realized it was 2 – so we thought. The time flew by and soon the corrals started moving…and we discovered we indeed had gotten behind the line for corral 3, not 2 – I was not happy as I watched the runners ahead of us get released. The wait was about 10 minutes…kidding…it seemed like a long time, but was really about 1 minute, I think. And…we were off! I did my usual darting in and out of the crowd and then quickly settled into a nice 7:05ish pace. Jeff didn’t run with me long and within ¼ of a mile he was so far in front of me that I could not see him.

The sights on this run were probably some of the best I have ever seen on a run. The skyline of Philly with its new sleek towering office buildings combined with historical landmarks was incredible. I didn’t lose focus of my running, but I took all the sights in and made a point to look up and around at what I was zooming by. The first 4 miles were through the downtown streets of Philly and it was flat and fast – and the areas we ran through had great spectator participation.

Awesome skyline…


Around mile 4.5 we looped back by the starting line. I saw hundreds – or thousands – of runners just starting. I could see runners in corrals 18 through 22 looking excited to finally begin their run. I lost focus for a few minutes and fell off pace as I gazed at all the runners wondering what their story was – how fast would they run, how many races had they run, and just why were they running today. Miles 6-8 were along a river…guess that is what it was…it was scenic – we went through some small tunnels under the roadway above…but I found this stretch boring with no spectators. I took my Gu from mile 6-7, savoring every last drop…I love my Gu!

I spotted a bridge ahead where we would loop back across and head to the finish – finally…but this bridge kicked my butt – not sure why. My pace slowed and I had to focus on my music to make myself pick it up. I was relieved to be at least heading in the direction of the finish. We were on a fairly shady, wooded road – not many spectators again…but the momentum of those around me seemed to be increasing as we ran on. I think it was at mile 10 where there was a big blow up RnR arch that spanned the roadway. I’ve seen this before…and to be honest, I hate it. I’m not done yet – I don’t want to run through an arch – it gives me a false sense of being close to done…ok, so I guess with only 3 miles left I was close. My mind started wandering and I started to déjà vu from my horrible experience at RnR Vegas last year – so I grabbed my single salt packet outta the pocket in my bottle and slowly let small portions of the salt packet melt on my tongue…YUM! I sucked on the packet for nearly 2 miles! Just before mile 12 I spotted some fast dudes with medals heading back out on the course to probably find some of their friends. Ugh – good to be them – I was horribly jealous! As I watched my pace I thought I would be close to breaking my PR of 1:42:17, but not sure I could do it. I tried to pick up the pace and when I saw the finish I kicked it as hard as I could – only to be completely and utterly disappointed to realize it was the mile 13 hoopla. Gonna be honest again – I hate the picture taking and mat at mile 13, I swear there was so much commotion there it wasn’t until I was right on top of it that I realized the clock was quite a bit further down the road – DOUBLE UGH!!! I was mad – I just wanted to be done…my legs were getting heavy, but I ran as fast as I could to the chute and clicked off my Garmin at 1:41:58…hahahaha….I PR’d!!! Not by a lot, but it still counts! I was thrilled to see Jeff waiting for me just past the finish…and so glad he wasn’t holding a sign that said “I beat you – you are the loser, I am the winner!” We actually didn’t even talk about who beat who – we are actually just thrilled to see each other again and share our race stories. We got our medals and posed for some pictures. I am so happy that I took the salt at mile 10, this was the best I have ever felt after a ½ marathon…no dizzziness, no sickness, no whining from feeling so awful…well, maybe I whined a little…

Yeah, yeah – I know you beat me…you are the winner!

This is what happiness looks like!!

The post-race festivities was good. I was hoping to see a headliner band, but the music was still pretty decent. And the views were incredibly – we found a place to sit and did some people watching, had a beer, listened to some music, and listened to the award ceremony. All in all I will have to rank this RnR ½ above all of the others that we attended – mainly because Philly is such an awesome city and the start and finish line was perfectly situated in a convenient…and beautiful location! Loved this city, loved this race…love my PR!

Ahhhh…a great weekend…a great race!



  1. Great recap! Congrats to you both.