- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
This past weekend I had the pleasure of running the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon for the second time. The first time I ran RnRPhilly in 2016, it was unseasonably hot and humid and I was also woefully unprepared for the race. After getting in much better shape through marathon training this spring, I decided to return to Philly to see if I could crush a new half marathon PR. This time around, I put in A LOT more miles during training, added in strength training, and incorporated some speed work as well. It was still a little hotter than I'd liked, but I was much more prepared to go into this year's race.
My wife and I headed down Friday night to get settled for the weekend and although we stayed in Philly the last time around, I have family nearby in Delaware so we decided to stay with them this year. We arrived in DE late Friday so we waited until Saturday to visit the expo. I recently switched over to running in Brooks so we actually spent a lot longer at the expo this year perusing some of the new Brooks models. After Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh's significantly smaller expo, it was nice to be back at one of the larger Rock 'n' Roll races to get the "full" expo experience. I was also happy that Science in Sport had plenty of gel samples available so I could test out the on-course nutrition before race day.
Sunday morning we were back on the road by 6 am to head towards the starting line but had a hell of a time trying to get parking. Rock 'n' Roll partnered with Spot Hero for the weekend so we'd booked a garage ahead of time. Unfortunately, with all of the street closures, we quickly realized it would be impossible to make it to our reserved spot. Since the event was posted on the Spot Hero page, I had just assumed all of the listed garages would be accessible. Luckily, I was driving with my wife so she let me out to rush over to the start while she circled around to find somewhere to park.
I had the VIP package for this year's race and although I don't know how often I could justify the cost of the package, the perks were amazing. Just having access to private port-a-potties alone may be enough to convince me to shell out the extra cash in the future. It was also great having a changing area after race along with private gear check. My stomach was a little rough post-race so I couldn't enjoy all of the food but the ice-cold Gatorade and water was a godsend. I also took FULL advantage of the massages.
The race itself was phenomenal although a bit hot once again, unfortunately, not much you can do about that. The course for Rock 'n' Roll Philly does a nice loop around City Hall in the first 4-5 miles and the sites through downtown Philly are definitely my favorite parts of the course, especially running past City Hall itself. The course used to run by the Eastern State Penitentiary which I also enjoyed but cutting it out eliminated some decent elevation. Then you've got a long out-and-back along the Schuylkill River. Although I do like that this keeps the course pretty flat, I'm generally not a huge fan of long out and backs. Especially as the temperature climbed, running the final 4 miles of the course straight into the sun was tough.
Luckily Rock 'n' Roll has plenty of aid stations on course which are especially well marked this year so you know from a distance which tables have water, Gatorade, and gels. As always the race volunteers were amazing and offered plenty of motivation to the passing runners. They were also quick to ask if I needed help when I made a sudden B-line off course to puke around mile 12 (the heat really got to me).
Despite the brief detour, I still managed to cross the finish and, after another quick puke break, I confirmed that I'd crushed my past PR by more than 7 minutes. Official time for Rock 'n' Roll Philly 2018 was 1:38:16.
Once my stomach was settled and I'd gotten some Gatorade in me, I headed back to the VIP tent to change into dry clothes and get a much-needed massage. I didn't spend too much time in the tent but I did pop back in throughout the morning to restock on cold drinks.
Aside from Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans, I haven't stuck around too long at many of the post-race celebrations but it was nice to just relax by the Art Museum after RnRPhilly. My wife and I actually knew the band that was performing (My wife's good friend's brother is the lead singer), so we decided to hang out at the finisher's party for a while. I also definitely enjoyed the addition of the 2nd free beer for runners.
Overall, this was probably one of my favorite Rock 'n' Roll races I've run so far. The PR was obviously a nice perk but even without it, it was an awesome weekend with friends and family!