Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Recap

by Her Happy Balance on September 24, 2014

Good morning, friends – happy hump day! I’m so excited to be sharing a recap of my very first half marathon with you all 🙂 Spoiler alert: I finished, I didn’t die, and I think I even enjoyed it!

Let’s start with the expo on Saturday…

Philly RnR half marathon expo

Packet pick-up was at the Philadelphia Convention Center. I grabbed my bib, picked up a Brooks running tank, and checked out all of the vendors. I snagged some cheap socks – 3 pairs for $5, say what?! – drank a bunch of  protein shake samples and looked into some of the other upcoming Philadelphia races. I’m thinking the Runner’s World Festival 10k sounds pretty good…

After the expo, I came home and made a bee-line for the Cheesecake Factory. I knew I wanted to get my carbo-load on, and I ended up ordering a pasta dish. I was careful not to choose anything with too much butter, oil, or cheese as I didn’t want my digestive system to have a meltdown before the big day. I usually go for whole wheat pasta, but I was trying to avoid too much fiber, and went with white. There is just something about regular ol’ white pasta. It tastes awesome. I stuffed my face on it and bread. I even had some late night fries. If running a half marathon isn’t an excuse to eat crappy white carbs, then I don’t know what is. It was glorious.

RnR Half marathon Outfit

Before I went to bed, I made sure to lay out my outfit for the next morning. Here’s what I wore:

1.) Under Armour Sports Bra (similar)
2.) Under Armour  Sports Underwear
3.) GapFit Tank (similar)
4.) Violet Love Headband
5.) GapFit Shorts (similar)
6.) Saucony Hurricane 16 Running Shoes
7.) Swiftwick Vibe One Socks
8.) All my gear: Body Glide, Armpocket Armband and headphones, Clif Shotbloks, Sunglasses, and Garmin Forerunner 15

Each piece in my outfit was something I had worn and run in many times before. I didn’t want to take the chance of wearing something new and running into problems with it. I even arranged to bring my own fuel. I knew the RnR marathon series gave out Gu, but I had never trained with it before and knew my stomach could handle the Shotbloks well. 

I made my breakfast (a graham cracker sandwich with peanut butter), set my alarm, and called it quits for the night a little after 9:30pm. Sleep did not really come too easily. I was super nervous about the race and tossed and turned. When my alarm went off the next morning at 5am I was wired and full of adrenalin. 

I stopped off at Nicole’s house on the drive into the city to pick up her and her husband. They were coming along as cheerleaders 🙂 We arrived and parked in the city a little before 7am. There were breakfast stands (granola and bananas) and water available to the runners. I brought my graham cracker sandwich and ate that while I waited to line up in my corral. I even spotted Pavement Runner warming up before the race and I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a blogger photo op! I look kind of like a goober, but what can I say, I was hopped up on adrenalin and pumped to meet a running superstar.

RnR Philly Half Blogger Meet-up

There were 25 corrals and I was slated to start in corral 19. The race officially started at 8am but I didn’t cross the starting line until 8:36am. I used my waiting time to drink a pre-workout shake and try to calm my nerves. It was exciting to be around so many pumped up people. 

RnR Pre-Race photo

Pre-race with my girl Rachelle – it was her first half too!

When the starting line came into view, I started up my Garmin. I used my watch to pace myself throughout training and knew it would be helpful. Unfortunately, it had a really hard time picking up a signal. I guess so many other runners were also trying to link up to the satellites.

rocknroll philadelphia course map

The Course Map

I started running out at a pretty brisk pace. I trained in the 12 minute mile range and knew I was running something more like a 10:30 min mile for the first few miles. It was faster than usual, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The first mile marker came up at mile three. It was here that I was just about to give up on my Garmin when I decided to give it one last chance. This time it found my location and started tracking me – good to go! I settled into my normal pace. 

Me running

I think there were about eight water and Gatorade stations throughout the race. I bypassed the first two and grabbed for my first cup at the third station – probably around mile marker five. I trained for the majority of this race without running with water. So I usually took a sip or two of water, swished it around in my mouth and then spat it out. I didn’t want to give myself a cramp from drinking too much. I took my first two Shotbloks around 4.5 miles in, I popped two more around mile 7, and my last two at mile 9.

RnR Race Photo

There was a small hill at the beginning of mile 9 and a steep incline at mile 13 before the finish line. Otherwise, this was a pretty flat course. The weather was humid and in the mid 70s. The temperature was fine, but the humidity was kind of lame. Fortunately, the sun stayed away and I had cloud cover until I finished the race. Plus, I had trained on much hotter days, so the overall weather situation didn’t really affect me.

Crossing the Finish Line of RnR Philly

Crossing the Finish Line

Overall, my first half marathon went remarkably smooth! I never stopped, I walked for maybe a total of 1-2 minutes, and I felt good. Crossing the finish line, seeing all my friends and family on the last stretch, and receiving that medal were all worth the 12 weeks of training and preparation. My main goal was to finish, my secondary goal was to try and finish in under 2:45. I ran an unofficial half in 2:45:19 the weekend before and I officially finished in 2:43:12 at the race. Happy, happy girl.

I enjoyed chocolate milk, a cold beer, and listening to Rusted Root with friends at the end. What a morning!

Beer toast

Post-run beers

Holding RnR Philly finisher's medal

Oh yeah, and slapping this baby on the back of my car was quite fun too 😉

13.1 car sticker

It’s official, I ran my butt across 13.1 miles and am a half marathoner. Next race…we work on speed!

What was your first half marathon? Or are you considering running one?
How do you store your medals and race bibs? In a pile on my desk…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Heather @fitncookies September 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

Wahoo! Congratulations! You rocked it! What a fantastic race. So glad everything went well, minus the humidity, it’s the worst!

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

Thanks, Heather! 🙂 The humidity was pretty lame, but luckily I had some experience training in it so it didn’t really influence my race too much. Still, a nice fall breeze would have been great though 🙂

Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie September 24, 2014 at 7:31 am

Woohoo!!! Awesome job! I’m pretty sure my first half marathon time is almost identical to yours : )

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

Thank you, Stacie!! 🙂 I had such a good time. I remember running and thinking – wow, I think I’m actually having fun! Haha!

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life September 24, 2014 at 9:06 am

Way to go!!!! I knew you were going to rock it, and you absolutely did!! Isn’t it such an amazing feeling to cross that finish line?? And then you catch the running bug…

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

Oh yes, I’m already trying to figure out what to sign up for next! I would love to start hacking away and taking a few minutes off that time.

Nicole @ simply Nicole September 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

YAY SO PROUD OF YOU! I loved the Runner’s World 10K. Probably my favorite race I’ve ever done 🙂

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

Wanna do it next month? 😉 And THANK YOU so much for coming – that bright yellow sign with my name on it was literally the greatest thing ever to see at the end haha

cait @pieceofcait September 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

Congrats on the half!!!! what an awesome accomplishment <3 !

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Thanks, girl! Let’s get together for a Philly blogger meet-up soon!!

Caitlin September 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

Ahhhhh congrats!!!! I was thinking about you on Sunday and wondering how it went 🙂 you killed it!! Awesome job for your first 🙂 you should make pittsburgh next May your second 😉 just saying!

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Oh I am definitely considering the Pitt half now!! Thank you for being so kind and for all the encouragement – you’re a sweetheart!

Emilie September 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

Congrats on your first half! You did a great job!! Humidity is my least favorite weather to run in. It was horrible on Sunday even over here in Connecticut. My first was Disney’s Wine & Dine last year, but I’ve run five more since then. I have all my bibs in a box and my medals hanging off my jewelry box but I want to get some sort of medal rack to display them better.

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Thanks, Emilie! 🙂 I’ve heard so many good things about the Disney races – I will have to look into that! And I agree, I definitely want to get some sort of bib/medal holder. They make some really cool ones, now I just have to splurge a little and pick one!

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne September 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

Congrats girl!! I’m so happy you didn’t have any hiccups during the race, those are the worst!

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Thanks, Chelsea! It went surprisingly smooth. Thank you for following along on my journey 🙂

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl September 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

Congratulations!! What an awesome accomplishment!! 🙂

Her Happy Balance September 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Thanks so much, Hannah! It was a really cool experience and I think I may just need to do it again soon 🙂

meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles September 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

So awesome, congrats! Sounds like you had a great race! If you do the Runner’s World 10K, I will see you there!

Brittany October 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

AAHH I love this so much!! Also, you look quite bad ass in your running photos. Mine always look like I’m a dying grandma. HAHA. WAY TO FINISH strong!!

Her Happy Balance October 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

LOL I felt like I was a dying grandma at certain points!! I absolutely loved this race and can’t wait to start training for something else 🙂

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