On September 15th, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon – my seventeenth 13.1. No, I didn’t make a special trip – I actually had a business trip. When I first found out that I would be traveling to Philadelphia, it happened to be when I was registering for the San Jose RnR…and noticed that the Philadelphia event was on the weekend I would be traveling East. Why not?!? So, I left a day early and had a great time.
The weather was great: clear and cool at the start (~50 degrees.) It probably warmed up to the low sixties at the finish, but not too much warmer. Again, great weather for a run!
The course started and finished near the Eakins Oval and was a quick 4.5-mile loop through parts of downtown Philly, with the balance of the 13.1 a loop along the East and West sides of the Schuylkill River. The finish was in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a la Rocky…though access to the “steps” was not easily gained after crossing the finish. The course was pancake flat and paved the whole way, though there was an ever so slight incline at the finish, for good measure.
As with all RnR races, on course entertainment was great, though this race didn’t have an many cheer squads as the San Jose and San Francisco races. Water/Gatorade stations were well staffed, though stop one was almost out of water when I passed by…people were worried and miffed (I carry my own bottle so I was OK.)
The finish area was great. They took over the whole Eakins Oval area and had things set up in a great flow from finish line to SWAG areas to the main stage/post-race area.
- Garmin time: 1:51:28 at an 8:23/mile pace [delta due to gps distance]
- Official time: 1:51:24 at an 8:30/mile pace.
Having switched to primarily bicycling in preparation for Foxy’s Fall Century in October, I didn’t really set too lofty a goal for this race…other than my standard under-two hour finish goal. With the flat course, I thought about going for a PR, but decided against it. I really hadn’t done enough running to have the necessary base and having just flown in the night before, I figured I wouldn’t be rested. That said, I did go for it anyway, but reigned myself in around mile nine. I just wasn’t in condition for a PR and so I switched to “easy run” mode. I still finished with a decent time – number nine out of my seventeen half marathons.
Since I was on travel, I opted for RnR’s Premium Pass Upgrade: special area before and after the race (you had to show an armband for access), coffee & light refreshments at the start, private potties and gear check, and a post-race brunch. Overall, I was glad I did this. Having no lines for the potties or gear check was worth it – especially at the start. I didn’t really partake of the food/coffee at the start (I stuck to my fuel routine), but the post-lunch brunch was nice – bagels, fruit, coffee, water, breakfast burritos. Plus, they had chairs and tables to sit at, which was great as well. I probably wouldn’t do the upgrade for a race close to home, but it is a great option for a traveler.
I tried to follow my normal pre-race carb loading plan (36 hours of >80% carbs and +500 calories above my normal day), though Saturday was a challenge since I traveled east that day. As far as race fueling, I did follow my normal plan (bagel at -3 hours, GU at -45 min, GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew, an additional salt tab a 1:00:00, and GU Gels along the way [starting at mile 6 and then every 3].) After following this fuel plan for over a year, this mix seems to be working for me. I’ve yet to hit the wall (knock, knock.)
Here are some photos from the day:
- Bottom line: Great way to start off a business trip!
- Post-race meal: Wanting something different, I Yelp’d a few places and settled on a place called The Ugly Moose and had one of their “best selling” Adirondack Fillet: Char-grilled, sliced filet mignon with melted Provolone & peppercorn dressing on a Lebus roll. It was excellent!
- Takeaways: Traveling to a race is fun, but getting there the night before is tough…especially the 3-hour time difference. As hard as it was, transitioning from “going all out in search of a PR” to “just enjoying the run” was the smart decision. Not every race is/will/should be an “A” race.
Training Journal – 9/30/13:
- Current plan: Foxy’s Fall Century Training Plan
- Today’s session: 20-mile easy ride
- Comments: I rode for 1:17:10 for 22.3 miles @ 17.4 mph avg & avg cadence of 81 [Strava]