2014 LOVE Run Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap

April 1, 2014

This past weekend was the inaugural LOVE Run Philadelphia Half Marathon, and also my 13th half (a rainy one too boot)!

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Packet Pickup/Expo

Packet pickup was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Friday and Saturday.  I arrived Saturday morning and headed to the expo before checking into the hotel. It was on the smallish side (maybe the size of Cherry Blossom?), but it had the usual vendors and I was able to purchase a bib belt (I lost mine… of course).

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Yeah… the photo is a tad awkward with the abs to my right, I guess I should have stood there instead!

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The perks aka swag/premiums were toted during registration:

  • Vanity bibs (message or name on your bib number)
  • Generous refund policy (most races are a no)
  • Commemorative coffee mug
  • Free finish photo (uhhh hello!)
  • Technical tee
  • Finisher medal
  • Training plans
  • Finish line party (coffee and hot chocolate bar)
  • Finish line tent for teams of 20+

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Front and back of the tech tee + coffee mug.

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Around Town

After the expo I walked across the street to Reading Terminal Market for some breakfast (and it was too early to check into my hotel).  I came here with co-workers last summer, so I knew there would be plenty of food vendors and stalls that would satisfy my stomach. 

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I took a 10 minute walk to my hotel and bisected JFK Plaza, also referred to as LOVE Plaza and home of the famous sculpture by Robert Indiana.  If you look in the background, there is the Art Museum, start of the half.  PS – if you see the small couple in the back – he was proposing!

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Fun fact: Kevin Bacon’s father was the city planner who designed this plaza.  After my nap I headed to the Liberty Bell Center (free).

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Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)

If you asked for my goals two weeks ago, I  probably would have put break 2:30:00 as my “B” goal.  Given the rainy forecast and my “blah” state, I adjusted it a bit:

Inaugural LOVE Run! 

A few days ahead of the race, my friend told me rain was in the forecast for Sunday.  What?!?!? No!!  I’ve never run outside in the rain when its been cold out.  Prior to packing I googled and tweeted for running in the rain recs.  I brought along a visor, trashbag, gloves, and ziplock bag for my phone (a must).

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To be honest, my level of enthusiasm dropped significantly when I saw the hourly forecast for race morning. Ugh!  Even my energy level was low on Saturday – I was definitely not feeling myself and had a headache before going to bed (at 7:30pm).

The race started at 8:00, so I woke up at 6:30 to eat breakfast (I brought provisions from home), changed and walked to the start (I was staying at the Downtown Sheraton less than a mile from the race). The out and back course started at the Art Museum at Eakins Oval, close to the famous Rocky steps, and around the Schuylkill River (I can never pronounce that name).

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Rainy start.

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And we begin. Sorry this was the end of the pics.  It was pouring out!

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  • Mile 1 – 11:22 headed towards Old City / City Hall area 
  • Mile 2 – 11:28 nice pace
  • Mile 3 – 11:22 consistent, score!
  • Mile 4 – 11:30 back towards the start (passing my hotel)
  • Mile 5 – 11:29 feeling good, running along the river
  • Mile 6 – 12:28 ugh the ONE hill! need to work on this…..
  • Mile 7 – 11:24 loop around the park, must regroup 
  • Mile 8 – 11:14 slight downhill hooray, OMG its pouring!
  • Mile 9 – 11:30 where is the turn? ugh lost my last Cliff Block Shot
  • Mile 10 – 11:25 ok…only a 5K left, splits are stellar!
  • Mile 11 – 11:36 this is not fun anymore, negative block sets in
  • Mile 12 – 11:59 getting tired..
  • Mile 13 – 12:12 when is this going to end? 

I finished with a PR of 2:33:32, about 1.5 minutes faster than RnR USA. Ahhh so close to my “A” goal, but I know I had some mental blocks throughout the race.  I tried to incorporate positive thoughts, but it was difficult for sure! Luckily I did not have any blisters!

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Final Thoughts

I have some amazing friends and family who texted and tweeted me words of encouragement. I am glad I was able to experience running in the rain (although I hope it is sunny and perfect during New York).

  • Thank you thank you volunteers – you were amazing!!
  • It was POURING, I am glad I brought my visor. I ditched my gloves early on.. RIP gloves #2.
  • Smallish with 7,500 runners (based on the race results).
  • Because I enjoyed running with a pace group at RnR USA, I inquired about pace groups – they offered them based on minutes/mile vs. goal time.  Its okay, I can do math.
  • However, there were only pace groups at the minute mark (ex. 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00), and they were difficult to find (I liked that RnR had florescent signs).
  • Signs/timer were at every mile marker, but they were in black and a bit difficult to see.
  • A similar course to other Philly races, this is flat and fast (except a hill btw miles 5-6.. not as bad as Calvert Hill).
  • Beautiful medal – one of my favorites this year.
  • They provided a post race baggie with water and food – probably the best bag of food I’ve ever gotten.  There was a soft Philly pretzel, yum!
  • The website was well designed and easy to navigate.
  • Do you LOVE swag? Pun intended, then this race is for you.
  • Rain and kinks aside, I would definitely run this race again! The course is certainly beautiful. I thought CGI put together a fabulous event for its first year.

As always, I leave you with some food. I had a chance to try a cheesesteak at Campos (a google find) the previous day. 

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After the half I met up with my friend Rachel from business school.  We went to Stephen Starr’s Parc Brasserie, which was the inspiration behind DC’s Le Diplomate. Eggs Benedict.. so yummy!

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Have you run in the rain before? What tips/advice do you have?

Did you run a race this past weekend?

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