2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger I received complimentary entry into this race.  As always, all opinions are my own.

RnRPhilly Recap

Last Saturday morning I completed my sixth half marathon, and my second one while pregnant. You may recall that I ran my first pregnant half marathon in Virginia Beach at 24 weeks pregnant. Although this race was only a short eight weeks later, the two races were drastically different.

My race weekend experience started out Friday afternoon/evening when Preston and I made the drive up I-95 from Northern Virginia to Philly.  With the race expo scheduled to close at 7 p.m., we headed straight to the Philadelphia Convention Center.  Since we had our dog Riley with us, we decided that Preston would drop me off and I would quickly run into the convention center to pick up my bib while he circled around the city streets.

The expo was well organized and easy to navigate.  Packet pickup was a breeze, as was navigating the exhibitors on the expo floor.  Unlike my last Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, I found the exhibitors to be well spaced out and the floor wasn’t crowded at all.  Other than browsing the official merchandise, the only other stop I made was at the Sparkly Soul booth, where I browsed their expo specials and ultimately decided to not purchase anything.

The only official merchandise that caught my eye was this adorable onesie, but given the high price and how quickly babies grow, I decided that the onesie wasn't worth it

The only official merchandise that caught my eye was this adorable onesie, but given the high price and how quickly babies grow, I decided that the onesie wasn’t worth it

I was in and out of the convention center within 15 minutes, and met back up with Preston and Riley.  We made our way across the Ben Franklin Bridge into New Jersey, as we spent the weekend staying at my father-in-law’s house in South Jersey.  I laid all of my race gear out Friday night, and set my alarm for 5 a.m. with the plan being that Preston, Riley, my father-in-law, and I would leave the house at 6 a.m.  We wound up being a bit late, but the lack of traffic getting back into the city, as well as their ability to drop me off only about two blocks from the start line meant that I still wasn’t late for the race.

Flat Kathryn (and baby) ready for half marathon no. 6 (and no. 2 for baby)

Flat Kathryn (and baby) ready for half marathon no. 6 (and no. 2 for baby)

After arriving at the start line, I headed immediately for gear check and then got in line for the porta potties.  I texted Sarah to find out where she and her fiance Matthew were, and it was right after she and I texted back and forth and they were on their way over to find me that my phone died.  And by died, I don’t mean just ran out of battery (it had been fully charged).  I got the blue screen of death on a two week old phone (hence why I don’t have any other expo pictures since I only posted the one of the onesie onto social media).  While I fumbled with the phone trying to get it to turn back on, Sarah and Matthew found me.  It was great to meet up with them and catch up a bit (I hadn’t seen Sarah since Shamrock Half Marathon back in March, and hadn’t seen Matthew since the Disney World 10k back in January 2014).  After a couple of minutes they headed off to find another friend while I continued to wait in line for the porta potties.

Photo Credit: Sarah from Sparkly Runner

Photo Credit: Sarah from Sparkly Runner

While in line, I continued trying to turn my phone back on.  I was devastated for multiple reasons.  My phone was my source of music for the race, and I’m not used to running without music.  But more importantly I started to panic about how I’d get in contact with Preston and my father-in-law after the race.  Thankfully, another woman in line noticed how panicked I was, and offered to let me use her phone to text Preston about what had happened.  Thank you kind lady, I’m not sure what I would have done without you!

After using the porta potty I headed towards my corral.  Since I knew I’d be walking the majority of the race, I lined up on the far right side of the corral so that I could avoid being in anybody else’s way.  The race started at 7:30, and at 8:01 my corral, corral 19, was off and running.

We had a great view of City Hall for the first part of the race, and then weaved through a couple of downtown streets before heading towards City Hall again.  Because of crowding at the beginning of the race, I ran the first five minutes straight, and then started running 1:15 minute intervals, followed by 45 seconds of walking.  After running the first mile, I walked the entire second mile in order to conserve energy.  And it was around 1.5 miles that I heard a familiar voice from behind, a former coworker shouted “I didn’t expect to see you here!” as she ran past me.  It was great to see a familiar face, especially so early on in the race.

Running towards City Hall

Running towards City Hall

At the mile 2 marker I resumed my run/walk intervals, and alternated between running/walking and walking miles for the first 5 miles of the race.  My race plan had been exactly that, and I wanted to stick to it, only letting myself run the last mile of the race if I felt up to it.  I felt good for those first 5 miles of the race, which I’m sure was partly the result of the cool weather that we had on race morning.  I wound up wearing my throw away shirt (my oversized volunteer shirt from last year’s Marine Corps Marathon) until just past the 5k marker, and because I feared that I would get cold later on in the race when I stopped running I tied my shirt around my waist instead of tossing it on the side of the road.

After running my third mile (mile 5 of the race), I focused on walking the remainder of the race.  Although at that point I was feeling pretty good, I didn’t want to jinx myself or prevent myself from being able to finish the race.  As I started walking, I pulled my phone out to see if I could get it to turn on.  It successfully turned on, I quickly texted Preston to let me know my current location, but reminded him to not count on my phone surviving the rest of the race.  And its a good thing we didn’t rely on it, because around 6.5 miles it turned off again.

Shortly after starting to walk the race the course took us along the Schuylkill River, and the remainder of the course was a huge loop along the river.  It was a gorgeous fall morning for a race, and I’m so glad that I had a basic point and shoot camera with me since the scenery was just absolutely gorgeous.  Even though my dead phone made it so that I couldn’t listen to music, I was at least able to take plenty of pictures during the race.

rnr philly course

I made my first porta potty stop just before the mile 6 marker, and then stopped again around miles 8.5 and 10.5.  After my last porta potty stop, I noticed that my hamstrings started to tighten up and that I was feeling increased round ligament pressure.  Both of these led to me slowing my pace down a bit, and for a couple of minutes I contemplated stopping at a medical tent and calling it a day.  But then I got my head back in the game, reminded myself that I could do it, and forged forward towards the finish line.

Part of what distracted me during the race, other than the scenery, were the costumes that many runners wore.  With this race being on Halloween morning, many runners took the opportunity to dress up.  I saw several women dressed as Energizer Bunnies, several takes on various super heroes, but my favorite costumes were worn by a group of 5 runners who were dressed as the ingredients for s’mores.


By the time I got to the mile 12 marker I just wanted to be done with the race, and though I was in some pain I decided to resume my run/walk intervals for the last mile of the race.  My “run” was a slow jog at best, but I slowly but surely made my way back towards the Art Museum and Eakins Oval, where the finish line of the race was.  Just before the mile 13 marker we started a sharp incline towards the Art Museum, which was brutal, but I pushed forward as best as I could and crossed the finish line at 3:26:35 (15:46 pace), though according to my Garmin I finished the race in 3:17:25 (and ran/walked 13.30 miles at a 14:51 pace).  Although this was my slowest of the six half marathons that I’ve completed (my second slowest being my first half marathon), this is one of the half marathons that I’m most proud of having completed.  How many people can say that they completed a half marathon at 32 weeks pregnant?

Since I was at the back of the pack finishing the race, the finishers’ chute wasn’t crowded whatsoever.  After I received my medal, I was handed two bottles of water as well as Gatorade, and found that there was still plenty of food left for us slower finishers.  As with past Rock ‘n’ Roll races, I greatly appreciate that they have plenty of food available at the finish line, but its always difficult to juggle everything.  A bag to put everything into would be greatly appreciated!

There was one thing that they were out of at the finish line, which were the heatsheets.  I don’t know if other runners had taken multiple sheets, or if they just didn’t have enough to go around for everybody.  Either way, I was very thankful that I hadn’t tossed my throwaway shirt, because I wound up needing it at the finish line.

Once I exited the chute, I made my way to the Family Reunion area, where I attempted to turn my phone on again.  Sadly, it didn’t turn on, but Preston, my father-in-law, and Riley appeared in the area about ten minutes after I arrived there.  Thank goodness for runner tracking, otherwise I don’t know what we would have done after the race.

All in all, it was a great morning for a race.  I’m so glad that I challenged myself to complete this race at 32 weeks pregnant.  It was a very scenic course, and was relatively flat.  I’d love to have the opportunity to try and run this race again in the future, to see if its a PR worthy course.  While my dead phone and lack of music put a damper on the day, the race wound up not being nearly as bad as I feared it would be when I first discovered that my phone had died.

Baby Thayer and I post race

Baby Thayer and I post race

QOTD:  What is the worst race morning mishap that’s happened to you?

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85 Responses to 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap

  1. Great recap!! And yes, kudos for running pregnant! Mothers are tough. My worst race morning blunder was this past Saturday. Humidity was 100% and temps were 72/80s. Lol HORRIBLE race morning lol

  2. Congrats on finishing a half marathon in your third trimester! So amazing!!! And…I would have been super mad at my phone too. I hope you got your money back!

  3. Gigi says:

    Great recap and you are awesome for running at 32 weeks!! I couldn’t imagine! I was there too and it was a perfect day! I wish they would keep it at the end of October but they moved it back to Sept for next year. 😦 It is usually too hot then!

  4. Congratulations on finishing!! And those S’mores costumes would be great motivation 🙂

  5. Congratulations Kathryn! I wish I had time to watch the RnR but I had a busy morning…I could barely see runners on Spring Garden but I thought of you! Glad you enjoyed the race. The scenery really is gorgeous along the Schuylkill this time of year. Hope you enjoy your break from training until the little one is here!

  6. Congrats on your race! I’m really glad to hear that the Rock n Roll race was good even for the back of the pack finishers.

  7. great recap! congratulations to you and Baby Thayer!

  8. CONGRATS TO YOU!!! It is incredible how many races you’ve done while pregnant, especially this one. I can’t believe your phone, though. I would have been so bummed! When I finished my first half marathon, my phone died so I couldn’t get in touch with my family. Finally a nice stranger let me call my dad, but because there were so many people in one congested area, the call wouldn’t go through! It took us an hour and a half to find each other!

  9. marywdw says:

    Congratulations! That’s awesome!!

  10. Wow!! Congratulations to you!! And those costumes were SO fun!

  11. Lesley says:

    Congrats! I’ve lost music too, and I get so incredibly cranky if that happens. If it’s a short distance, I’m OK, but if it’s a long distance, I”m so dependent on my iPod/iPhone for music.

  12. Elle says:

    Congratulations! Awesome performance! I am so glad that your phone problem didn’t ruin the day!

  13. I love running Philly and it looks gorgeous – those trees! Worst race mishap? Uhm…showing up with no electrolytes or fuel only to realize the race wasn’t providing either!

  14. You really continue to impress me with all that you are accomplishing! It’s been a while but I don’t think I could have done a half while pregnant. I have a hard enough time doing one when I am not pregnant 🙂

  15. Cindy says:

    OMG- 1. You don’t look pregnant let alone 32 weeks pregnant! 2. I could barely walk when I was pregnant (from week 6- 40- no joke) so I am in complete awe of this accomplishment.
    I will remember this going as I push through the Philly 1/2 in 2 weeks. Good luck with your new little one!

    I had a music mishap- not a big deal, but my music shuffled instead of playing in order which messed with my pacing and just got me off on the wrong foot.

  16. mkadens1 says:

    Congrats Kathryn! I’ll bet you’re thrilled to have this race done! My phone pulled the zero battery thing at my last race despite being fully charged when I left the house. When I got home it was again fully charged. Haunted, I swear. But my phone is old. Bummer yours is pulling stuff being so new, it might be a lemon. 😦

  17. Michelle @ Running with Attitude says:

    Half marathon complete at 32 weeks! You continue to amaze me! Congrats!!

  18. Congratulations on completing yet another race being that far along. Great job! I never run w my phone but I’m glad my ipod has never died me. I don’t know what I’d do.

  19. Congrats on the race! Looks like a beautiful course too.
    No fun about the phone mishap, that can definitely add to your pre-race stress.

  20. Great job! Not many people can say they can finish a race at 32 weeks, that it so awesome!!!
    I have a friend who’s mom was a great marathon runner, and she ran right up until giving birth. Well she entered a marathon around her 7.5th month, (Doctor monitored) and of course her pace was quite a bit slower than pre-pregnancy. She did okay until about mile 22, and then she had to slow it down to get her heart rate back down, at mile 24 it wasn’t going down so she had to pull out. But, her daughter that she was pregnant with at the time, is now one of the top runners in our state, and ranks high in the nation as well. We all joke that it was because her mom ran with her while she was pregnant so it was in her blood to run fast long before she was even born:) Who knows, you may have an olympian in there:)
    Either way, congrats on your race, Philly is such a beautiful area! Oh, and in that finish picture, you don’t even look pregnant, looking great girl!

  21. Aww, So proud of you Kathryn! I like the fact that Riley was able to come to the race! I’ve run without music at plenty of races but I was always running with someone else. I probably would have been very upset too if I was running by myself and had planned to listen to music and had nothing!

  22. Congratulations! I think it’s so great that you were able to do this so late in your pregnancy. Great job!

  23. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    Great job lady!! I would love to try this one next year!

  24. Courtney says:

    You are a rock star! I only did one race this whole pregnancy and that was a relay race at 7 weeks pregnant where I ran 10 miles as part of a team. You are like my pregnancy spirit animal! I’m sorry about your phone woes too. I ran a half marathon last November where my Garmin and my ipod were dead at the start line. It was so crummy, but it was also kind of nice racing electronic free, something I NEVER do. Congrats again!!!

  25. Great job on getting the race done! I most certainly was not running or walking half marathons when I was pregnant!

    ugh on the phone situation. I dropped mine the day before Marine Corps and destroyed the screen, so I had a hard time with it at the race. Thankfully runner tracking had Beer Geek at the right place at the right time…

  26. I am impressed that you made it to mile 6 before you and to go to the restroom. When I ran when I was pregnant I always had to stop and go to the restroom about a mile and a half in.

  27. Congratulations!! What an accomplishment! I love the hersheys costumes too 🙂 I also ran a race on Halloween (just a 5K), and the costumes helped keep me entertained as well. Again, nice job!

  28. carmyy says:

    That onesie is too darn cute! But I totally get it. In a blink of an eye the baby would have outgrown it!

  29. Great job mama!! How amazing to cross off two half marathons while pregnant!

  30. kristenk says:

    Wow congrats on running this race so far along in your pregnancy! That’s amazing! It sucks your phone died, but the pictures you got along the course were awesome.

  31. You are a rock star, I was barely walking at 32 weeks pregnant. Sorry about your phone but glad you had a great race anyway!

  32. jillconyers says:

    I can’t think of any morning mishaps. I’m sure there must be one. Congrats on the race! You inspired many!

  33. Congrats!! You are so inspiring!

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  35. Congrats on finishing strong – and in your third trimester! So amazing!

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