April 23, 2015

Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Life won't slow down, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately that means a lot of half finished blog posts sitting in my draft box. Today I rallied and managed to get this race recap out for you!

The last weekend in March I returned to Philadelphia to seek vengeance on the Love Run Half Marathon.  Last year was the inaugural race and was really well organized. I loved everything about it except for the down-pouring rain for most of the race. It figures that one of the few races my parents came to see me finish there is a record rainfall that day for Philadelphia.   I knew I had to come back and run it again, this time hopefully without rain.  

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I had just been in Philly the past weekend and had gotten a little run around the Ben Franklin Parkway where the half marathon would start & finish. This is where most of the races I've run in Philadelphia start. 

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I had quickly gone to the expo at Citizens Bank Park the day before and picked up my bib, mug, free 2 Phillies' ticket vouchers,neck buff, nice long-sleeve red tech-tee. It was really windy and cold in the stadium so I grabbed my  things, purchased an awesome Bondiband with the race logo, redeemed my ticket vouchers, and left.  I loved the stadium expo because it was easy to navigate, convenient for parking, and a cool place to visit. If it was warmer I probably would have rushed around less. 






Race morning I left a little later than I wanted to get into the city thanks to my driver/boyfriend, but managed to get to the start line with 15 minutes to spare. Now we had been having some nice spurts of spring weather ,but this particular weekend showed March would not be tamed as temperatures were downright wintry in the high 30s. That means it was somewhere in the 20s on race morning-yikes!  I was representing ZOOMA Annapolis (register here with my code LAUREN15 to save 10%) but had to layer my cute Oiselle ZOOMA tank over a cold-gear zip-up. 


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Photo taken from Love Run Philadelphia. I love this city. 
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I lined up around the 1:35 half marathoners  in the corral, which I found spacious. I shivered with my November Project buff over my face for 10 minutes and eventually found another girl in the crowd with an NP buff over her face. She came over  to me and I found out she was from the DC tribe. I love the November Project community! 

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November Project running ninja

Right before the race started I realized I grabbed my earphones but had left my little iPod in the car. Luckily I had my phone and used the RockmyRun app to listen to some music mixes.  Once we were off the race goes a bit through the city and passed some through the historical areas of the city.  My legs were feeling a little tight at the start since I have  been forgetting to foamroll lately.  I didn't really have any specific goals for the race. I just wanted no rain and to have a really nice run.

Miles 3-6 are a blur. It was fairly flat and my legs were feeling great.  I just started running and felt out how I was feeling. I went with the flow and was grateful for the sunshine.  There wasn't much crowd support as we got further toward Fairmount Park, but I was just happy to be running. My pace felt really comfortable as I tried to keep myself from going to fast and to just settle in. 

Around miles 7-9 there were some hills including one bigger one I remember from last year. I pushed up the hills, focused on my form uphill, and tried to keep my pace around 7:45 min/mi.  Once we got to the Strawberry Mansion bridge I knew we'd be heading back towards the downtown soon. There is a section of the course that is an out-and-back.  I really love running in Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River. 

There was enough water stops, and I had to keep reminding myself to take some sips of water despite the cold temperatures.  I was also happy to see that since it could have been icy in some spots that CGI racing salted some areas around water stops and put cones near some big potholes or icy patches on the course.  

Despite the cold temperatures, I was really in the running zone. I had layered enough and worn gloves so it really didn't feel cold when I was running.  Totally having that "run happy" high during this race.  Once we hit mile 11 I knew I wanted to keep the pace but the end started to seem so far away. There is a long stretch along the river back toward the Art Museum that seems to go on forever. It's just long and straight.  Mentally I was ready to be finished and grab some food.   

That last mile I was just telling myself to "run strong, you're almost there".  They had a really fun announcer at the finish calling out peoples names and sometimes adding special notes such as if a person was a first time half-marathoner. I like those extra touches when I'm paying good money for a race. 

I finished in 1:41:27, average 7:44 min/mi pace, which is exactly what I was aiming for! It's creepily exactly a minute faster than last year's Love Run Half. It's actually my second fastest half, despite me always finishing between 1:40-1:48 in my races.  It was awesome enough for 31 in my division and 446 overall out of almost 10,000 runners. 

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After the race ended I grabbed a soft pretzel and a snack bag that included tastycakes.  Pretty much the best post-race food ever. Every race should have Philly soft pretzels to replenish carbs. The finish line area was right in front of the Art Museum and the famous Rocky steps. The area was really open and it was easy to navigate and find my boyfriend.  

I was also really happily surprised with the race. My pace didn't feel like I had to push it the entire time and felt comfortable. It also was my 10th half marathon! It felt really special because 3 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Philadelphia and finished right at the Art Museum as well. Look how far I've come as a runner since then! 

Lately I have not been doing speedwork and feel like maybe I've been getting slower, especially after a crappy winter of running.  A great race always pushes all that negativity right out the door. 

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Cheesin'. Half Marathon #10-complete!
I love the huge spinner finisher medal we received.  Much more enjoyable than finishing in the pouring rain as well.  

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Once I stopped running, my body was freezing. FREEZING. However, I will take sunny freezing temperatures over chilly rain any day. My boyfriend and I made a stop to grab some green juice at a random fitness studio we googled. Next we grabbed a hard-to-get beer on the east coast, Pliny the Elder, at Monk's Cafe.  We had been trying to get it for a couple weeks (#beernerds).  After I finally warmed up, we had a delicious brunch and afternoon in the city. 

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Overall: The Philly Love Run Half Marathon is still a really well organized race with a nice course and awesome swag. I especially like the addition of the free home game Phillies tickets. It's a nice spring half marathon and great way to jump-start your spring running.  

GUYS, amidst awkward race photos with bad facial expressions and eyes closed, I managed to get maybe my best race photo ever. I usually hate my race photos because the angle is awful giving me extra fat-looking face, my eyes are always closed, and I'm always mid-pose. This time the camera got me in a full thumbs up, looking right at it, and smiling! It's a race photo miracle!

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Do you prefer running in the cold or heat? Do you ever like your race photos? 

This post was linked up at the Race Recap Linkup.  

21 comments:

  1. Okay that race photo did come out awesome! Mine look awful 99.9% of the time- especially the ones from this weekend. I want to do this race next year!

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  2. Loving that bling! Look at the size of that!

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  3. Great picture! Such a better race day this year.

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    1. Completely agree. Maybe next year it will be sunny AND warm!

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  4. Agreed- beautiful race photo! Congrats on your second-fastest half marathon! Sounds like you had a very strong race. And I also agree that sunny and cold is way better than chilly rain. Nice post- I love the detail!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I'll take pretty much anything over cold rain.

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  5. cute pic! i heard this race was so fun!

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    1. Thanks, it's a super great race!

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  6. Nice race! You are very speedy! I enjoy running in the cold more so than the heat (although not blustery windy cold - more like 40-50 degrees).i live in bucks county - need to check this race out some year.

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    1. Thanks so much! Ah you're not too far-definitely check this one out next year. I know they offer a pretty sweet price deal when registration first opens.

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    1. Thanks! I know, seriously the biggest one I have!

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  8. OMG that medal is humongous! haha! congrats on a great time!

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    1. Yes, seriously almost as big as my face!

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  9. Surprisingly enough, I had some great races photos from my first half. That bling is awesome. Its nice that you had a great run despite the weather.

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    1. That's awesome-you're super lucky! Thanks so much!

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  10. great half, congrats! the pictures of philly are great! I am a Florida ZOOMA ambassador! :) so I am used to the heat but get all excited if I get to run in the 60's or 70's! That is an awesome swag bag and medal! and no, I rarely take good pictures myself!

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    1. Ah-awesome! Nice to meet you fellow ZOOMA lady! That Florida humidity though is crazy. Yes I'm totally not photogenic, especially when running!

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  11. Indeed an amazing race photo to honor your 10th half!

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