Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2011

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I had an event last night which delayed me getting this recap up.  This is a super large post as I included the entire weekend’s activities meaning lots of pics and text.  Here it goes!

I left Saturday afternoon to head downtown a little later than usual.  Heading out at 3:30pm I figured we’d maybe get down to the hotel around 4:15pm at the latest.  Wrong!  There was SO much traffic.  I completely forgot not only was the half this weekend, but also the Temple vs. Penn State game and Phillies game.  Sigh.  I nearly missed the expo, but managed to get my number, a couple pairs of socks, and some Gu gels before it closed a few minutes after I arrived.  Talk about stressful.

After settling into the room and getting my gear out for the morning, it was time to get ready for dinner.

Close up of the shoes I was wearing.  I scored these Guess peep-toe booties from Marshalls for $30!

I decided to have a quick drink and an app at the hotel bar before heading out to dinner.  It was a good choice as I was hungry already!  I decided to limit myself to two drinks over the whole night and I went with my current fave seasonal (it’s still summer for two days), the Victory Summer Love.

You can carb-load with beer right?

Following drinks we hailed a cab and made our way to The Victor Cafe on 13th & Dickinson St.  We picked this place because it was Italian and it advertised live opera!  We were meeting our newer friends Jamie & Rich who we met at my first half marathon.

The setting is true South Philly Italian and the place has a romantic feel as well.  I was excited to see what the whole opera thing was about and was even more excited that it was the servers who sing!

Our server was an old friend of Jamie & Rich and they hadn’t seen her in years!  She had the best voice and they had no idea she worked here.  Small world.  For dinner we had some of the bread…

I ended up ordering the lasagna which looked really good.  Normally, I’d have gone with the gnocchi, but I didn’t see if offered and this grabbed my attention.  The food is amazing and I recommend this place 100x over!  It’s reasonably priced Italian and the place has an awesome history in music.  Plus, you can make reservations online!

My dinner choice would prove not so wise a little later.  At 2am I woke with some awful heartburn and felt nauseated for a good hour or so.  No more red sauces pre-race.  My heartburn happens so randomly it’s hard to predict what will set it off.  Ugh.  I managed to fall back to sleep and was able to wake up feeling okay.

Walking to the race check-in was full of beautiful sights of the city.  The weather couldn’t look more perfect.

Check out those clouds!  The Ben Franklin Parkway was packed with people.  I never paid attention to how big this race was until I was staring right at the whole thing.

I found pins to secure my number (they didn’t have any left at the expo) and hopped over the fence into my corral.  The whole corral setup was awkward.  If you didn’t walk in from the front opening and elbow your way back to your area, you had to jump over this wobbly fence.

A little after 8:00am I was heading across the starting line and off running.  I forgot to clear my previous run from my Garmin and didn’t know how to set up a new run without deleting the previous run.  So I just did that and got it started a minute or so into the run.  No biggie.  As I was making my way through the city, the first thing I noticed was that the crowd was not thinning out like I expected.  I had my playlist going and tried to ignore the growing frustration every time I got stuck behind a wall of power-walkers.

The first water station was chaos.  People were dodging and cutting each other off.  I decided to stop at every station even if I didn’t feel thirsty.  Water out of the way, we looped back to the parkway and onto Kelly Drive.  This is where it finally opened up and I felt less claustrophobic.  The first four miles felt pretty decent.  The short bursts of energy to get around into open space was already taking a toll and I took a Gu at mile 4.5.  According to my Garmin, I was averaging an 8:45 mile and for a little I had thoughts of a sub-2:00 time.  This didn’t last much longer.  I failed to check the time when we started which meant every time we passed a checkpoint clock I didn’t know how much to subtract.

At mile 6 things were still feeling normal.  The first half of the race sort of went by in a blur, but soon something just wasn’t right and then things started going downhill.  At mile 7 the slight ache in my arches started getting more noticeable.  Around mile 8 the left ham started to get tight and I took my first quick walk break.  I had never planned to walk, but I wasn’t going to kill myself either.  We were now on the other side of the drive and heading to the home stretch.  Miles 9 and 10 had more walking intervals.  I grabbed water and whatever the other drink they had whenever I could.  I kept wracking my brain to figure out how a race with little to no hills felt so fricken hard.

At mile 11 I just felt pain everywhere.  My legs were sore in every place imaginable and I couldn’t run for more than a minute or so at a time.  When I hit mile 12, I waiting for an energy boost and it never came.  I just wanted to be over that line and done.  When we hit the last 0.5 mile a couple girls tried to inspire me to run as I was on another walk break.  I told the one girl I didn’t want to tear my sore ham (a true statement).  The incline up to the finish line was not nearly as big as the one in Wilmington, but I didn’t push myself up it.  I didn’t see a single person I knew the whole race.  I guess I smiled as I crossed, but I don’t remember doing that at all.


As I grabbed my finishers’ medal I felt completely depressed which was likely due to the total depletion of energy.  I skipped the post-race photo, the food, and just wanted to exit.  I felt so off, sore, confused, frustrated, semi-okay, etc.  It was a weird mix of emotions.  I found an open spot to stretch out and watch some of the awards.  The guy who won finished in under an hour.  That’s just ridiculous.  I took an obligatory photo with the medal and then we left.

We didn’t stick around for the after party, I just wanted real food and to get out of the crowd.  They offered a free beer, but I never got my wristband and when I heard it was MGD 64 I wasn’t sad about missing out.  The walk to the hotel was wobbly and awkward, but I rallied.  The weather was even better than when we left in the early morning and I snapped a pic of City Hall as we walked by.

I loaded up our stuff in the car then walked to Varga Bar to meet a friend for brunch.  I had a celebratory mimosa and went with the omelet for my meal.

I’ve always wanted to go to Varga Bar.  They had really great food and an awesome craft beer selection.  After the mimosa I had a pint of the Flying Fish Oktoberfish.  I’m a big fan of this beer and it’s one of the good seasonals out in the fall.

We left shortly after brunch and did a little bar hopping around South St.  I think the walking around definitely helped fend off some of the pain I was initially feeling.  Fun moment?  At one of the bars we did a shot of Jack Daniels followed by a pickle juice chaser!  I know this sounds bizarre, but it was really good (and was my final drink of the day).  ;)

I think there was some hot sauce thrown in?  Anyway, that was my big adventure for the afternoon.  When I got home I passed out at some point during the Eagles game (before they lost) and then went to bed for good.

So how do I feel about the experience?  Still mixed.  I made a PR with it.  My finishing time was 2:03:38 which is more than respectable.  However, knowing early in the race I was on pace to break the 2:00 mark, this was sort of disappointing.  I won’t wallow, because then I just look like an ungrateful d-bag since I know this is not a bad time at all.  I wasn’t fully ready for this race.  I didn’t make every training run and the runs I missed the most were the speed builders.  This would’ve helped greatly.  I ate the wrong thing the night before, and I also think I failed at hydrating fully.  I don’t know if I will do the RnR next year.  The dodging was really frustrating to deal with.  But, I won’t rule it out completely.  I’m happy to add this to my collection.

And, I hope to add many more.  I’ve already registered to return to the Delaware half next May.  I’ve got one more planned race and that’s this weekend’s Dogfish Dash 10K.  After that I am taking October off from running to work on rehabbing my sore ham.  I know that played a major hand in my running Sunday and I need to fix it before it gets much, much worse.  I completed my second half, and even though it wasn’t a dream race (not that I ever expected it to be), I’m glad I did it and am proud of all of my fellow blog-friends that also raced this weekend!  We did it!  :D

34 thoughts on “Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2011

  1. awesome job! that is a great time! sorry it didn’t go better for you, we all know how that feels. :-) looks like the HLS hotel… ;-)

    • Thanks, Jen! :D I didn’t want to focus too much on my disappointment since I still did better than I initially expected, but I didn’t want to pretend I was thrilled with the race either. Next time! :)

  2. I so admire anyone who can run, jog, walk, or even skip and hop a race like that. It’s truly impressive. Congratulations to you!

  3. Great job Krissie! I think you did amazing! I’m impressed. I don’t think I would ever be able to run a marathon!

    That italian restaurant looks awesome! I’m definitely going to have to try it there at some point! :)

  4. Nice run, champ! Though I tend to not be a big fan of italian or pasta in general, when I used to be a competitive swimmer, noodles were my JAM pre-race day. And, often, during race day. No sauce for me, though, I’d just eat the carby goodness with my hands. Weird child….

    ANYWAY, I LOVE the race pics. Even though you weren’t having the best time, you looked FIERCE doing it! Congrats!

    • I’m definitely a pasta lover, I just chose the wrong variety. I’ll actually pick leftover noodles out of the fridge and eat them with my hands. You’re not that weird. Or maybe I’m just as weird as you! 8-)

  5. Congrats on the race. Despite the pain and frustrations, you should be SO proud. That’s a really good time!

  6. Great job, girl!!
    And my parents JUST ate at that restaurant like a week ago and absolutely loved it.

  7. Majjjor pace envy! Haha. No wonder we never met up; you finished, like, an HOUR before me!

    I don’t know much about pre-race fueling but I do know LOTS about pesky digestive tracts. I would suggest not eating out the day before a race. I know you stayed in town so home made food would be impossible. But if it is possible, I say eat at home. You never know what’s in restaurant sauces or what spices they use. Way better to be safe than sorry! Which is why I had the same pasta and meatballs I’ve been eating my whole life, and my stomach was surprisingly cooperative throughout.

    I don’t know if I’ll do it next year, either. Possibly. I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not exactly registering yet. I’ll think about the one in DE in may….I really wanna do Broad Street though!

    And what WAS that other drink? I kept taking it regardless..

    • Noooo no pace envy. I can definitely attest that over time you WILL get faster! ;)

      I ate out for the DE one but had simple gnocchi and no tomato-based anything. I had zero issues and felt great the whole race, so I think that was my biggest flub food-wise. The other drink was so kind of Gatorade wannabe? It tasted okay.

      I am definitely doing Broad Street next year! Especially if work puts together a team like this year.

  8. I can see why MGD 64 didn’t seem to appealing after having a Victory the night before. I have to admit, some of my best runs were completed after one or two beers the night before.

    I’m sorry the race wasn’t more fun. I’m still proud of you for completing it (for what that’s worth). I’ve never attempted a half before, and it sounds pretty intimidating!

  9. Im really proud of you!! You had an awesome time and a super awesome attitude! Not to mention you looked like one hat mama when you went out to Victor’s! Love the bargain shoes!!!
    Ntex year hopefully I can run a half with you! and i am in full support of walk breaks!

    • Thanks, girl! I definitely need to rehab my ham before taking on another long distance. That’d be awesome to do one together!

  10. You did an amazing job! I had a goal of under 2 for my first but I ended up finishing just under 2:02 and I was disappointed but then told myself to take a minute and realize what I just accomplished! I cried after mine too because my chip didn’t register and I wasn’t on the finishers list and didn’t have a time! Ahhh! :-D

    • Aw that really stinks. I didn’t really set a goal time but hoped to maybe finish at or below my first half’s time. It was just sort of deflating when the first half of the race I was rocking it and the second half not so much. Ah well, there’s always another race! :D

  11. your hair is so pretty! congrats on great race! ive only run a super hilly course in 1:55 and wanted to try a flat course like philly since it’s ‘fast’ but i don’t run that much anymore haha

    • Thanks! That was straight up blow dryer and no other products after I showered, lol. It was a miracle it looked that tame! :) The half I did in DE had more hills and didn’t feel nearly as tough. So weird!

  12. My 2nd half marathon time was way slower than my first. I bummed about it, too. It’s ok. Even if you have a great time, if it’s not what you were shooting for or originally on pace for, you’re going to be a little upset. But either way, you did great. And I always remind myself finishing is half the battle!

    Still jealous about the shoes, btw. :p

    • Last summer I felt every 5K I did got slower and slower, then in the spring this year I picked up again. Weird. For Guess shoes those are actually quite comfy! ;)

  13. I think you did absolutely amazing! Your time was fantastic! I hope your hamstring gets to feeling better soon.

    I love your outfit where you’re at the hotel bar. That top looks really nice and comfy.

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