I had a great weekend in Philly and an awesome race! I was aiming for at least a 5 minute PR, and I got it! More on that later.
On Saturday morning, my brother and I left for Philly around 9:30. The drive took about 2.5 hours, so not too long at all. I didn't drive, so I just listened to music and chilled the whole way.
When we got there and finally found parking (at a super expensive garage), it was almost 1pm and I was really hangry (hungry + angry). Good thing we parked right next to Reading Terminal Market (which I pronounced like a noob, until my friend corrected me). This was my first time at Reading Terminal, and all the food choices was overwhelming! I wanted to try everything. Although I wanted to try the roast pork at DiNic's, the line was super long so we settled on getting cheesesteaks at Spataro's. Not bad.
Next, we hit up the Health and Fitness expo for our bibs and to get some swag. The expo wasn't much different than the other Rock N Roll expos I've been to.
Brooks had an island themed exhibit, which I've never seen before. It was cute and larger than their circus and pasta themed exhibits. There was this cute game that kids were playing where you run in place on a mat, and a little runner runs up a mountain depending on how fast you step on the mat. There was also a mechanical shoe (like a mechanical bull, but it was a shoe...) that looked fun, and gait analysis. The lines were long, so I skipped the activities.
My brother and I walked through the rest of the expo and looked at all the booths. I got some random stuff like granola, Lara bars, and a chocolate covered marshmallow and a hot chocolate key chain (from the Hot Chocolate 15K booth).
After the expo, we checked in the hotel, walked around to see the city, went to an Italian restaurant for a pasta dinner (cause it's tradition), and went back to the hotel early. I was in bed by 9pm for a 5:45am wake up call.
On Sunday morning, the weather was perfect and it was a cool 50 degrees when we headed from our hotel to the start, which was about a mile away. I was afraid that I would be freezing, but the walk warmed me up a bit and it felt warm under the sun.
We decided to not use the gear check to avoid the hassle. The first thing I did was wait in line for the port-a-potties (which I always do, just in case!). We walked around, checked out the finish line area right in front of the art museum, and then headed to our corrals. I was placed in corral 6, but started in corral 8 with my brother.
Promptly at 8am, the first wave took off! About 10-ish minutes later, we toed the starting line and were off. The course was so so nice and so flat. I was excited and started at way too fast of a pace. It's really tempting when there is no one in front of you, but I settled into a manageable pace once it started to get more congested. The first 4-ish miles is through the city, and then it turns into Fairmount Park for the rest of the race.
The course was a bit narrow when it goes through Chinatown, especially at the aid stations, so I had to slow down a lot. Once we turned into the park, I was able to maintain a steadier pace. For my goal, I was targeting an 8:00 min/mile pace, which I was able to maintain. The run through Fairmount park was beautiful. It's tree-lined, next to the river, and goes through some tunnels. There were many runners, cyclists, and rowers using the park, and some stopped to watch us and cheer.
The turnaround was at Falls Bridge, where it was ever so slightly uphill. I swear the rest course seemed downhill both ways! The last couple of miles were in full sun, so it got pretty hot. The finish was also uphill, and I was struggling to get in under 1:45. I kicked into a higher gear and sprinted to the finish in 1:44:39, which is an 8 minute PR! I am so happy with my time, plus I ran negative splits!
My official splits are:
10 mi- 1:20:17
Avg pace- 7:59
Tired, but happy :) After the race, I showered and then went to Reading Terminal again and ate all the things :P