Thursday, September 19, 2019

Race Review: Rock On! Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Humana Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hi Everyone! 

Hope you are all doing well! 

Here to review the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon! 
Q: have you participated in this race or any other Rock N Roll Marathon Series race(s)? Did it rock?!

Race: Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Race date: September 15th, 2019 

Background: This was my first half marathon (2016), and I will always have some sentiment towards this race. I don't do many summer races, this usually kicks off my fall schedule. Although, technically not fall yet, and may not feel like it. (as was the case) Always look forward to this event as summer winds down. 

Expo: September 13-14.
Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center.
If you've never been, the building is several blocks long, best to note which end you are going to before parking. Believe me, I have learned the hard way. Parking for the expo: limited metered street parking, may require circling once or twice, but doable. Pay lots nearby as well. I circled once and found street parking.

I did the expo on Friday after work. Although it was very tempting to go Saturday. Saturday, there was a Q&A session with Des Linden and Jordan Hasey! There was even an option to do a shakeout run with the elites on Saturday morning!

Packet Pickup: very efficient. Bib lookup stations if you don't have your number handy. Bib and shirt pickup, 5 minutes, tops. 

After bib pickup, you are funneled through the Brooks Running section. Shoes, clothes, you can even do a running analysis on treadmills to review form and be fitted properly

Additional Rock N Roll Marathon Series merchandise (wine/beer glasses, magnets, etc) available for purchase before heading to the rest of the expo. As well as fueling needs. Ex: Gatorade Endurance and Science in Sport. 


Vendors: several check out at the expo, here's just a few:

Humana
Garmin
Aftershokz
5 Hour Tea (made by 5 hr energy, but sugar free)
6AM RUN
So Delicsious
Altra Running

Before exiting, you can check out all the other Rock N Roll Marathon Series location's medals and sign up!


Attended the expo with: fellow BibRavePro Chris, long time friend T'Sean (his first half, so proud of him!), and bumped in #RWRunStreak buddy Jill!
Race day:

Parking: public transportation is encouraged. But I do know a large pay lot nearby that has never been full for me! Hit me up if you are interested. 
No traffic issues this morning, at the race nice and early. Took it easy by the fountain in front of the museum. Also saw Jordan Hasey by the elite tents.
Portable restrooms: more than ample amount pre-race. No lines early and manageable lines just before race time. 

Course/Scenery: Race starts in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A little over 3 miles in the city, including around City Hall (yo, Billy P!). Towards the Constitution Center. Around and back to the museum. Great views of the river. Down Kelly Drive along the Schuykill River (boathouse row side), cross the river, then back down the river on Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr back to the museum.
Interactive Map link
 Elevation: 
image from runrocknroll.com
Crowd Support: excellent crowd support throughout the city portion of the race. Does get a bit sparse once you pass boathouse row along the Sckuykill River. Picks up again as you get closer to the museum on the way back. 

Music: This is the Rock N Roll Marathon series! At least 6 rock bands along the course and a full stage at the after party. The Philadelphia Eagles drum line was along the course as well. Headliner at the post race party, Element K. 

Hydration Stations: Plenty of water and Gatorade fluid stations along the course. At least one Sports in Science gel station.  

Weather: The one factor you can't control. The day started humid! As the humidity dropped, the temp and sun rose! I was drenched by mile 2 and definitely felt the sun as it warmed up. There was one or two breezes along the river, but that was very brief. 
My race: This may have been my first half marathon in 2016, but no PR's at this race since then. Have definitely learned that I PR better when it's cold out. I can go into this race knowing I most likely won't PR, knowing I will have fun, and still put in some good work. 

That being said... I did a full marathon the week before. (VIA Marathon). Goal for this week was to rest, get a couple recovery runs in, and hope to have a respectable outing. Without doing anything stupid. And have fun!

Ice baths, Epsom baths, Cryotherapy. Come race day, still didn't have "fresh" legs, but felt decent. Drenched early from the humidity. Comfortable pace of 8:30 through about 8 miles. Feeling it 8-10. Heavy legs, + humidity to heat. Mental countdown 10-12. A bit of a struggle to maintain that last 1.1, but hearing the crowds roar as you get closer to the museum and starting to see them cheer you on as you round the corner helped me fight through! Wasn't planning on doing a PR, didn't, but still had a max time in mind. Missed it by 22 seconds. I have no problem with that considering all the variables. 
Post Race: 

Food: water and Gatorade immediately. There was a pallet of ice nearby for the drinks, may have sat on it for a few. 
banana, soft pretzel, fruit cup, chips, crackers. chocolate milk.  

Post race party: beer garden with music stage (featuring Element K) and beer (Micholob Ultra)! 

Swag:

Medal: City Skyline above a record. Sponsor Humana, Rock N Roll logo Philadelphia distance and date. 
Beer: Micholob Ultra. 
Shirt: Sponsor Humana, Rock 'n Roll. Runners with music notes. The date is on one of the runner's bibs. Distance written in graffiti, Philadelphia.
Photos: available for purchase from finisherpix. tons of professional photographers prerace/along the course, and finisher area. I was tagged in about 20 pics. Remember how I said I struggled towards the end? They got that. many worse than the ones below. 
Tracking: app and sms alerts available. Multiple mats along the course to provide updates to your friends and family tracking your progress. I noted the tracking as a race I recently did had no tracking. 

Post-Post Race: lunch and beverages in nearby City Tap. Although someone complains about me making them walk another .5 there and back after the race. (Pic not included.) $18 burger (with bacon add-on, but that $3 bacon add on is totally worth it! Great time celebrating at the post race party and the unofficial post-post race. ;)

Summary: I really enjoy this race and would recommend it. A great course, crowd support, music, and excitement. The only flaw is the weather can be hit or miss as it's near the end of summer. 

Sites and Social:
Site: https://www.runrocknroll.com/en/events/philadelphia
Facebook: RunRockNRoll
Twitter: @RunRocknRoll
IG: @rocknroll

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave Joe G

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