Kickstart your fall racing season by running a music-filled race in a rockin’ city. Learn all about it in this Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia 5K Race Recap.
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I received complimentary entry into this race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team. All opinions are my own.
I was a little nervous heading into the race weekend. This summer was my first summer training in Texas, and to say it was a challenge would be an understatement. I could blame it on the weather. Sure, it’s hard AF to run when it’s 85 degrees with 95% humidity at 7am (that’s legit been the forecast every morning for months), but the reality is, I used the weather as an excuse to not stick to my training plan.
I can’t possibly do speed work when it’s this hot.
I can’t keep tempo pace in this humidity.
Yes, you have to be careful when running in the heat, but I used the heat and humidity as an excuse to do shorter, less challenging runs. I basically threw my training plan in the trash and ran whatever I felt like running each day. Not ideal.
In the back of my head, I thought that when I got to Philly, where it couldn’t possibly be nearly as hot or humid, my leg would think, “Oh, hey, this is nice. I can do this. Let’s go FAST!” Two things were wrong with that. One, it certainly CAN be hot and humid in Philly. Two, legs don’t think beyond what they’re trained to think, and mine were trained to be lazy.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. While I faced a few challenges during the Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, my race weekend started with the Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia 5K, and the 5K was just lovely.
My mom also signed up for the 5K, so made plans to hit up the expo together. Philly is about 40 minutes from my parents’ house in south Jersey, so we drove in and found parking in a garage directly across from the Philadelphia Convention Center. We had a hard time finding an open door to actually get in to the convention center, but eventually we found a few other confused runners and eventually found a way in.
I headed directly to the Solutions booth because I had registered under my maiden name but my current ID has my new married name. They fixed it in no time, and I was able to pick up my bibs without a problem.
I almost forgot to pick up my VIP band for the half (which I received courtesy of being a Rock’n’Roll ambassador), but fortunately I remembered before we left.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
We used Rock’n’Roll Philly’s parking sponsor: Spot Hero to find a parking spot for the morning. I didn’t want to be so close that we’d get stuck in race traffic trying to leave, but I didn’t want to be too far either. Spot Hero made it a breeze.
My mom made us breakfast for dinner (loaded veggie frittatas and bacon- yum!) and we headed to bed for a 5:15 wake up call.
THE MORNING OF
I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 5:15am. Why do I do this to myself, again?
My mom, dad and I piled into the car and made our way into Philly. We parked in our Spot Hero spot and made our way to race central around 6:30am (the race was set to start at 7). I was nervous it’d be chilly at the start, but we ended up with temps in the mid 60s. It was humid, but I guess I should be used to that considering 1) that’s what I trained in and 2) every race I’ve run in the past year has been in 90%+ humidity.
It wasn’t too crowded at the race, which was refreshing. This was also my first time doing a Rock’n’Roll 5K (I’ve only done halves in the past: see here, here and here), so it was interesting to see the size of the crowd compared to their half and full marathons. I could get used to the breathing room!
Since we didn’t need the restrooms before a short race, we left my dad to spectate and made our way to the corrals.
I didn’t quite understand how the corrals were split up. Typically, the faster you are the earlier your corral, but in this case it seemed to be the opposite. Perhaps they put some of the slower pace groups in earlier corrals so that they’d be further along by the time the 10k started at 7:30. Regardless, there were only a few corrals for the 5K and no one patrolling, so my mom and I settled into the middle of the pack.
I was excited when I spotted Zoë (milesfitter) my old New York running buddy! We caught up quickly before the National Anthem and of course, took a selfie:
My mom and I moved off to the side of the corral because we’d be walking (my mom had back surgery a while ago and has been instructed by her doctor not to run), and before we knew it, it was time to go!
The race started at The Oval in Philly, just next to Washington Monument Fountain and across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home of the famous Rocky steps). Music was pumping as we crossed the starting line at a brisk walk. We let the runners pass by as we settled in with our fellow walkers. I enjoyed our pace and getting to chat with my mom.
The course was out and back, which I don’t typically enjoy for long races, but I didn’t mind it at all for the shorter distance. We were able to cheer on the speedsters as they made their way to the finish, I got to wave at Zoë as she ran by on the other side and even spotted Kim from Kooky Runner! Plus, we were walking along the Schuylkill River as the sun was rising – not a shabby way to start the morning.
At about the 2 1/2 mile mark, we started seeing the first 10K runners starting their race. Some had run the 5K, circled back to the start and were doing the 10K! Go runners!
My mom and I kept a steady 15 minute walking pace, whizzing through the two water stations set up along the course, and crossed the finish line in a little over 47 minutes. Woohoo!
I know my Mom really wanted to run this race, but I’m proud of her for listening to her doctor, holding back and staying as active as she can. That’s a medal well earned in my book!
Speaking of medals, can we talk about this one? I wasn’t sure at first what was on them…
What does it look like to you? I know what I thought it was at first…
But my Dad informed me they’re pretzels. Apparently Philly is known for their pretzels. I guess that explains why they were handing out soft pretzels at the finish line (along with bananas and hummus and chips and chocolate milk – Rock’n’Roll doesn’t skimp on the post race swag). Still… I think the pretzel design could have been a little more obvious.
We skipped the post-race beer and concert for breakfast at a nearby Whole Foods (come to me, delicious acai bowl!) with Zoë before heading back home to rest up for the half marathon!
OVERALL RACE PROS
- Not too crowded for a “big” race
- Well organized
- Great post race swag (re: snacks)
- 5K with a medal
OVERALL RACE CONS
- Not the best medal design
- Should have bags for all the post-race swag
I would do this race again in a second, especially if it meant getting to enjoy more time with my Mom. Maybe we can convince my Dad to do it with us next year? What do you say, Dad?
Stay tuned for my Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap, and if you’re interested in running a longer Rock’n’Roll race, RNRRNB2018 will get you $15 OFF any US or Montreal Rock’n’Roll Half or Full Marathon (excluding Vegas).
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Have you done any fun 5K’s lately?