Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Rock n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: Race Report

I've done this race almost every year for the last 11 years (I had to skip 2014 for a wedding). It's clearly one of my go-to fall races, and I was delighted when Stevie told me she wanted to run it this year as her first ever half marathon.  I immediately volunteered to run it with her and help her through it.

Between the intense heat we had this summer, and our move, and Stevie directing a children's theater camp, she didn't train as much as she wanted to, knocking out only one eight mile long run in her training.  As for me, my last long run was the ODDyssey Half Marathon back in June.  Though I continued my runstreak by running every single day of the summer, my mileage never touched double digits.  I figured I would be ok, though, because I knew I would be running at a slower pace than I am used to for this race (and yes, I know that kind of makes me sound like a speed snob or whatever, but I can live with that).

Stevie and I dropped off Neale at 6am at a friend's place, who graciously offered to watch him such an early hour, then made the drive across the bridge into Philly and parked near Eastern State Penitentiary.  We had plenty of time to use the porta potties and drop off our gear, then went up to the top of the Art Museum steps where I ran into Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile and Janelle from Run With No Regrets.  Lauren is based in Baltimore and Janelle in Philly, and they both write great running blogs, so check them out.

Stevie and I started in the 27th corral (out of 30), and I had no idea we would have to wait 50 minutes just to start (I had told her maybe 20 minutes).  The speakers playing music kept cutting in and out while we waited, and so we amused ourselves by playing freeze dance while slowly shuffling forward.

When it was finally our turn to toe the starting line, the MC exclaimed "What a perfect day for a race!"  No.  No it wasn't.  Sure the temperature stayed relatively cool throughout the morning, but the humidity was off the charts, and runners were falling left and right all day as a result.  Get your shit straight, MC.

I ended up suffering from GI issues all morning, going to the bathroom no less than 6 times before/during the race.  That's the first time that's ever happened to me, so thankfully it wasn't during a goal race.

Aside from two quick bathroom breaks, Stevie ran straight through ten miles before finally taking walk breaks.  Stevie is in great shape from frequent cardio in the form of DVD workouts, but her lack of running caught up with her and her legs started to hate her in the latter miles.  I offered what encouragement I could while trying not to be obnoxious (Stevie later told me I was a great running partner).

Mile 12.5

Before long, the art museum loomed, we crested the last hill and rounded the last bend, and held hands as we crossed the finish line together.

Finish Line

If ever there was a race photo to make me part with my hard-earned money, this might be it.

Afterwards we hung out on the lawn drinking Michelob Ultra and watching Guster, a band I was obsessed with in college and haven't seen live in 16 years.  This was probably the first time I've ever been excited for the post race show at a Rock n' Roll race event.


Despite the awful humidity, I had a great morning racing with my wife and hanging out afterwards.  I was proud of Stevie for setting a goal and finishing it.  Stevie claims this was her last half marathon ever and will focus on shorter distances in the future.  Overall, it was a great bonding experience, as I'd hoped it would be, and a day I won't soon forget.


  1. I'm sure you are a great running partner! What a beautiful picture of the two of you crossing the finish line together.

    1. Thanks, Kirsten. I still haven't bought it yet but am leaning towards it.


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