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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half Marathon Race Report

September 19, 2010

Hope you had a good weekend everybody! Before tomorrow’s Funday-Monday post, I wanted to let you know how the weekend half marathon /fund-raising went … I’ll start at the beginning:

Friday night – we realized that we might have to cancel the whole half marathon/ fund-raising weekend plan. In short, we didn’t have the heart to leave our dog in DC and the hotel where we had a reservation did not allow pets. Around 10 pm I canceled our room and we pretty much considered the entry fees to be a sunk cost (a high cost! but sunk nonetheless). My hubby was actually training hardcore for the past two months so that he could PR in Philly, so between he and I, this household was pretty bummed. About 30 minutes after we concluded we weren’t going to go I said to him, “This is stupid. We have a dog but it’s not like our life ends though. Let’s find a hotel that allows dogs and we’ll bring him!” 30 minutes and two phone calls later, we found a hotel that allowed our beloved Max for an additional $15 and it was closer to the start and finish lines(!). I never thought I would love a Best Western so much. Anyway …

We were supposed to leave on Saturday as soon as possible so that I could stand around outside the Expo to give away some Marathon or Bust logo temp tattoos for donations. Well, Max deterred us again. He was up around 6:30am and thus, so were we – so our whole morning was s.l.o.w. moving. Everything that had to be done: packing (our stuff and his!), making the “Temporary Running Tattoos!” sign, laundry, walking Max, etc. took way longer than anticipated/planned and we didn’t hit the road until 1 pm. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a problem. I mean, I was upset that I lost the morning time to be outside the Expo, but I figured I would get over it. Disappointment quickly turned into stress though when google maps said that we were 3.5 hours from our destination. The Expo (to pick up your race bib) was only open until 5 pm, so I was actually starting to get worried that everything would be for naught if we didn’t get there in time to get our bibs; let’s just say that our stress levels were high.

The good news is that we made it to the Expo … with 14 minutes to go until closing. Now, I never ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Half before, but I can say this: They’re a bunch of money hogs! Each person has to pick up their own bib, and nobody else can pick it up for you unless you paid $20 a month ago or you paid $30 to pick it up the morning of the race. So, yes, we had 14 minutes, but basically we had 14 minutes for my hubby to run in and get his bib while I was outside with the dog and then he had to run back outside to stay with the dog while I ran inside to get my bib – it was mild insanity.

Now, in that 14 minutes, here’s the best news of all: I raised $14 for St. Jude’s! $14 sounds kind of pitiful in general, but considering that I was out there for less than 14 minutes (technically), well, that was pretty good. Don’t ya think? The tattoos were a hit with the kids. Honestly, most people weren’t really interested in the tattoos or me though. Here’s what drew them … Max! Yes – I’m convinced that maybe I might not have even made $14 if it wasn’t for Max. He’s so cute and he was so good that everyone wanted to pet him. At one point I said to someone who stopped in front of us, “Would you like to make a donation to St. Jude’s for a temporary tattoo? Even just $1 will get you this great running tattoo [pointing to my face]!” Do you know what he said? He said, “I really just want to pet your dog.” So I responded, “You can pet him – but it will cost you $1 for St. Jude’s.” ha! (I think I gave him a temp tattoo anyway)

We hardly got any sleep last night because Max was toying around in his crate. Normally, he’s in the den and we’re in our bedroom, so we never noticed. However, last night, we noticed. I was up at 12, 1, 2, and 4am. By the time the alarm went of at 6am all I could think was, “More.Sleep.Now.Please.Must.Free.Time.” It was interesting … this was the first half-marathon (my third in total) where: 1. I wasn’t nervous before the race, 2. I fell asleep immediately the night before, and 3. I clearly did not get enough sleep.

It’s a good thing the weather was so amazing because once I passed the first mile, I hardly noticed my lethargy. I was energized, I was talking to people about Marathon or Bust, I was handing out cards, and I felt like the race was going to be good overall. If you’re considering a destination Half Marathon, I highly recommend the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half. Not only is the season incredible for a long run, but the city is great, the course is relatively flat (relatively … there were some places with graded inclines which is why my behind hurts so much right now) and it’s pretty organized with a start time of 8am. I don’t like races before 7 am, because then you’re talking about getting up at 5 or 5:30am and I can’t fathom why anyone would want to get up in the dark to go for a long run. So, as a whole – go Philly! As for the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” portion of it – I was disappointed. I think the entry fee is on the higher side compared to some other races, but it’s all for the “music” part, right? Wrong! I would say there was maybe 3 good bands and unfortunately, they were pretty spaced out. Maybe I heard too much about other races in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, but I was expecting a band a mile. Is that too much to expect?

Anyway, I also came across some pretty nice and awesome runners which is another reason I liked the Philly Half. First there were some pretty nice people on Saturday outside of the Expo (Thanks to the woman who confirmed that it’s hard to maintain a training schedule when you get a dog. I thought of you today! And Thanks to David who took pictures of Max and finally, thanks to the guy who was telling me about a fund-raising opportunity [I’m sorry; I left your name in my car and I can’t remember it at the moment, but I’ll e-mail you tomorrow!), then there were the cool people in my corral (which is important because I was with them for 22 minutes before we could pass the start line), then there was a kind girl who came up next to me after reading my t-shirt to inquire about the marathon details and then finally, there was Tom who kept me chatting between Miles 7.something and 8.something. When I run by myself on a long run, I always zone out, but when you’re running solo in a 20,000 person race, sometimes you can get lonely, so I really like when I can share something in common with strangers and it’s also great to have a little distraction when you’re at the point of achy hips. In general, Philly is just full of nice, nice people. When I ran the half in March, I can’t say the people weren’t nice (Disney Princess Half), but I can’t say they were as friendly.

So I finished the Half in 2:0? (8 or 9). Honestly, I was too busy handing out Marathon or Bust cards to spectators for the last .25 to notice, so I’ll check the results tomorrow. Overall, it was a great weekend:

1. We learned that we don’t have to sacrifice everything for the dog.
2. The dog actually helped me raise some money AND is the reason we got a hotel close to the start and finish
3. I raised $14 for St. Jude’s!
4. I spread the word out about Marathon or Bust (and I’m sure some people will read tomorrow) and
5. Had a great weekend overall. Who could ask for more?

Wait. Well, I guess I can … if you haven’t made a donation, but you’ve enjoyed my ramblings, reviews and fund-raising stories, would you consider making a donation today? No amount is too small AND you get entered into the Marathon or Bust Raffle automatically! Oh and one last thing:
That’s Max with his medal and he just wants to say thanks for checking out the blog and don’t forget – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

Stay tuned: Monday(s) are Funday-Monday! here on the Marathon or Bust blog, I usually do some fuel reviews during the week and Fridays are known as “Inspiration Fridays!” where I feature a St. Jude patient who inspires me and who I think about during my long runs on Saturday (or Sunday when I’m doing destination races!).

See you tomorrow!

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