Today a bunch of friends of mine plus about 18,000 other participants took part in the 2013 Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. This is a popular race in the Rock and Roll Running series, held in a very scenic course through downtown Philadelphia.
Race morning weather was perfect about 60 clear skies with no wind. We all left our nearby hotel and walked to the starting line about a mile away. It’s always amusing to see all the runners converge from the different streets in a city race, and as we got closer to the start a little trickle or runners becomes a flood.
First order of business was to decide where to meet after the race. In these big city large races, if your with friends , plan a good meeting place so after the race everyone can easily find each other. I decided to forgo the bathroom break as the lines were too long, Christine tried to wait in line but then did the same… so I planned to stop early as there are porta-potties scattered throughout the course.
Our friend Devang the fastest runner of the group, was in corral one and said his goodbye’s early as he went to his starting area…
The race started on time, being in corral seven it was about 10 minutes for us to cross the starting mat. Then it was go time. We all ran together for about a half mile, before Ron decided it was go time. He moved ahead of our little group followed by Christine, Steve and Janine fell back slightly. Then Christine and I began to look for a place to go.. First set of porta-potties already had a line, I couldn’t believe it,a second set about a mile in, had a shorter line and we decided to stop.. It costs us about a minute but well worth it. We emerged relieved and began pushing our way forward.
At mile 3 we caught Janine and then a mile later we caught Steve. our pace was pretty steady, as we kept pressing forward. All that was left to do was catch Ron, Devang was long gone and we would never see him till then end..
After we came back through the starting area about mile four, that’s where the crowd is the largest as family and friends are all waiting for a glimpse of their runner , I decided to run along side the edge of the road and caught a glimpse of Melissa, I briefly waved hi.. At this point it was getting pretty warm and my long sleeve undershirt was starting to irritate me.
I kept pace with Christine and felt pretty strong in this section cranking out a few low 8:00/min miles. I finally decided to strip of my shirts and ran shirtless for a while, because it was refreshing, albeit a pain to carry two water-soaked shirts in my hands..
This part of the course runs through Fairmount Park along the banks of the Schuylkill River. It’s a very nice running and cycling route and if your’re ever in Philly check it out.. The road is mostly flat with a few bends and some mild rises. Important to run the tangents and the road has enough curves to make it worthwhile.
Maintaining a good pace , I pulled in front of Christine about .25 miles , running through mile seven I was surprised when I spotted Ron. I slowed and drifted back to Christine and told her Ron was up ahead, then we both paced our way back up towards Ron. It was getting pretty dense around mile 8 and 9 as we turned onto the bridge and began to head back towards the finish. We lost sight or Ron on the bridge but then saw him again as we hit a slight downhill after the bridge .
Mile 10 to Finish
Right near mile 10 , we finally caught Ron, and we slowly came up aside of him and he was a little surprised to see us but it also re-energized him.. All three of us ran side by side .. about a mile later, my legs were done, I surged in front a little to catch Ron and Christine and then told them”I’m done” , from that point on I was sight-seeing..
The two of them slowly drifted forward.. As usually happens with me I’m good for about 10 miles, then the last 5k is always a struggle, this time it was particularly difficult. I struggled to complete mile 11 and mile twelve was a bit of walking around the aid stations.. My legs were shot even though my heart rate was down to 135bpm I simply couldn’t press forward, I just need to more long runs in training..
Finally with the finish line in sight and crowd growing and cheering everyone on, I mustered a bit of run. Once under the final overpass before the finish line came into sight.. Done another 13.1 int eh bag. Time-wise it was my slowest half. No excuses I simply didn’t have the legs beyond mile 10..but congrats to us all for finishing it..
Men’s race winner was last Kenyan Stanley Biwott ( 00:59:35) women’s winner as Lyudmyla Kovalenko (01:08:57) Unbelievably fast. To get an idea of how fast that is , next time your at the gym go to a tread mill (don’t get on it), just up the speed until it gets to 13.1 , take a look down at how fast the belt i moving, now imagine doing that for a solid hour..
Below are the results of our group…