Showing posts with label Philadelphia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philadelphia. Show all posts

April 26, 2016

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more marathons

You know after the Boston Marathon, a day in which every runner at work is in fact sneaking away to watch the Boston Marathon streaming online, that it is almost fall marathon season. Okay so it's at least fall marathon lottery and registration season.  

Everyone and their mother is registering for marathons, maybe catching the fever and running their first or running multiple races. 

Of course as always, I'm super inspired and motivated to train again after watching the Boston Marathon and seeing all the heart and reading all the stories that come out of it. 

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I want another, faster BQ (Boston Marathon qualifying time) since I am less than a minute under my qualifying time and need to be faster to apply and be accepted to run nowadays.  I'm still shy about talking about it, but it's something I want that I can't deny. 

I talked about why a BQ is an A goal but obviously it's not everything here last year before I ran the Chicago Marathon.  Since I wanted to run a flat-ish marathon course, my options were limited. Because of my school schedule I also didn't want to run a marathon that was going to be a big trip and farther away.  

The Philadelphia Marathon has been on my list of races to run for a while.  I've shied away from it the past couple of years because I really would rather run a race earlier in the Fall since I have more time to train in the summer and less in the Fall, especially now that grad school is crazy.  I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon a couple years ago and have obviously raced there a bunch.  

Once I PRed a half marathon in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago (recap to follow!), my choice to run it was solidified. I love Philly, and it loves me.  I signed up on the day registration open, sadly missing their really discounted marathon entries, but still getting early bird registration. 

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So yep, Philadelphia Marathon 2016, and I'm all ready to go

Not so fast. Did you forget that I'm a crazy runner lady? 

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more marathons
Maybe I'm an old fart, but this skit never gets old!
I've been getting emails for weeks from the Chicago Marathon about entering the lottery or applying for guaranteed entry (which I qualify for again, as I did last year).  Then I saw a bunch of friends were entering the lottery. Then I thought long and hard about getting vengenace on that Chicago Marathon course which mostly because of the heat last year, kicked my butt. 

December 2, 2015

Why VIP Packages for Rock 'n' Roll Races are Awesome {RNR Philly 2015}

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass and one complimentary VIP package through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

In case you missed my recap, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this year through my Rock 'n' Blog ambassadorship. I was also lucky enough to get a complimentary VIP pass for the race.  The RNR VIP packages all slightly vary race to race, so this is obviously based solely on my experience for the Philly half marathon event. 

Obviously I was excited to get to be a VIP for the race, but honestly I was a bit skeptical if it was going to actually seem like it was worth the $69 price tag. FYI, prices and specific VIP perks vary based on race/location! 

Spoiler alert, in the end I was really happy with the VIP race experience and all of the perks. Check out all of the reasons to look into this rockstar treatment for your next Rock 'n' Roll race! 

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I picked up my wrist band quickly at the VIP booth during the expo. It came with information regarding all the perks and schedule of race events. The next morning after getting downtown and to the race area, I headed right to the VIP area with my wristband on.  

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1. VIP gear check. 
The private outdoor VIP area was open from 6:30 AM to 12 PM and was located right by  the finish line in a great spot. I headed there right before the race to drop of my bag at the VIP gear check which was AWESOME because I could wait until the last minute to drop off my bag and head to my corral.

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2. VIP Port-a-Pottys. Enough said. 
More importantly, it was awesome because it had private VIP RESTROOMS. The bane of any runner's post-race existence is waiting for a port-a-potty and hoping not to miss the start. Having a set of port-a-pottys just for VIP pre and post race was a huge perk. 
 I mean look how short that line was when I hopped in?!

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3. Pre-race fuel station. 
Since I was in a bit of a hurry I grabbed a banana and half a bagel from the VIP lounge's pre-race continental breakfast which included coffee, tea, fruit, water, and breakfast breads and pastries.

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4. VIP Lounge Area right next to the finish line. 
Immediately after I finished the race I walked to the VIP area which again was conveniently located right by the finish with a lovely view of the art museum. Not walking far after the race gets a big thumbs up.  

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5. Free 10 minute massages post-race. 
There were only a few runners in the VIP lounge at the time so I quickly made a bee-line for the free 10-minute massages thanks to Westin and PhilaMassage. I signed the list and was immediately able to lay down on a bed due to the lack of line.  My calves were cramping up so getting a 10 minute massage felt like heaven. 

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Big thumbs up to that. 
 6. An awesome post-race buffet brunch spread.  
For post-race eats, they had a catered buffet spread which was more impressive than I thought it would. I'm talking eggs, french toast, mini southwest egg wraps, sausage and bacon! 

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7. Plus there is a post-race VIP beer so you can celebrate and get your drink on.  
Let's not forget the post-race VIP bar. I'm talking unlimited Michelob Ultras,sodas, Gatorade and my drink of choice-mimosas! 

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8. Post-race shuttle back to Headquarter Hotel
Something else I took advantage of was the post-race shuttle back to the Loews Hotel Philadelphia which put me closer to the train station I needed to be at. I had just missed the shuttle and had to wait an extra 30 minutes (hello extra mimosa + 2 cups of coffee) but the staff person was really helpful and made sure I got on the next one! 

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Overall, I think the VIP Package is really awesome. I thought the VIP area was well-organized and not crowded at all. It was really nice to be able to relax and hangout in the area with a massage, food, and drinks after the race. If you are on a budget like I am it might just be something you do once a year for a big race or celebration because of the price. It would be a great gift for a friend (hint, hint a great Christmas gift)!

Have you ever done a VIP package for a race? What is a perk you would like the most after in a race? 

This post was linked up with Wild Workout Wednesday

November 17, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

It's no secret that I love Philadelphia and love racing there.  I was excited when the date for the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon finally got sorted out (the pope's visit caused some scheduling issues with the city) and could register thanks to my Rock 'n' Roll Tourpass School made scheduling things a bit of a mess later in this year so I was glad to be able to use this perk of being a Rock 'n' Blogger

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It was also a really special race because the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was my first half marathon ever. It was pretty surreal running it again 3 years, countless miles, and many awesome running adventures later. I had a really great race which was especially ehanced by the fact that I had VIP access for this race. I'll review just the VIP package perks for the race separately after this race recap.

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Pre-Race

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I stopped by the expo Friday afternoon down at the Convention Center. It was easy enough to get to and the big Rock 'n' Roll expos are always fun to shop around in. It was an extra fun because the race was actually on Halloween morning so there was some spooky decorations and bowls of candy when I picked up my bib.  Brooks Running is the gear sponsor and always has such cute race gear for sale, but I tried to restrain myself from dropping more money. 

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It was around the time that people started to get out of work so the expo was busy. I grabbed a pair of running capris on sale (plus a coupon!) at the Sports Authority booth and made sure to stop at the VIP table to grab my wristband that I needed to get into the VIP area on race day. Of course I sampled all of the snacks and looked at more running gear I don't need.  Honda had a fun interactive area where you sat in 3 different vehicles for three different activities for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip with friends to a Rock 'n' Roll race.  There was a fun photo booth car where they actually emailed you a little gif. 

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I didn't have any expectations for the race, especially since it was only 3 weeks after the Chicago Marathon and my running had been on the lighter side.  I got up earlyyyy running on not that much sleep, to make it into the city from NJ. It was fun taking the train in on a cold, dark morning and seeing who was wearing costumes. A guy dressed up as the running Forrest Gump sat next to me-he had no idea how running 13.1 miles in a pair of khakis was going to be!  

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Race

Once I got the race start area by the Philadelphia Museum of Art I walked up to the VIP area which was near the finish line. It was awesome because I got to grab a pre-race bagel from the continental breakfast and use the VIP port-a-potties (I literally waited only a few minutes!).  I also loved having the small VIP gear check right there so I said hi to Cynthia and waited until I had about 5 minutes to get into my corral. It was a pretty chilly morning, but I was just glad it wasn't raining or anything like the DC half marathon earlier this year.  Corral 6 was farther up so I had to speedwalk to get up there but eventually made it into the corral.  It was exciting to hear the elites start because many were trying for Olympic qualifying races! 

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I was a modified Minnie Mouse because temps were pretty cold plus I wanted to sport my Rock 'n' blog tee. I also really loved my matching Bondiband and Rock City Skirts sparkly skirt which went perfectly with my Minnie Mouse ears. I was worried the ears would bother me, but they stayed put and didn't move around at all. 

 My favorite part about the race was seeing all the costumes people were running in.  I saw animals, Star Wars characters, Disney princesses, and superheroes out on the course.  My plan was to see how my legs feel and keep it around an 8:00 min/mile pace. I know I say this often, but I really just wanted to have fun.  

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I felt pretty great for the first 6 miles and warmed up quickly. It's a flat and fast course which makes for great PRs. I had a weird twinge in my right calf all week so I had some KT tape on it, but luckily it wasn't bothering me. The race starts on the Ben Franklin Parkway and has you run through Fairmount Park on the right side of the Schuylkill River.  

Around Mile 8 once you get through parts of Fairmount Park there is a turnaround near over the Falls Bridge which has you running back towards the Art Museum on MLK Drive on the other side of the river. I was starting to feel a little tired but finished off my bottle of Nuun that I carried and ate half of a salted watermelon Gu packet.  The only thing about Philadelphia races is that most of them include those long, straight stretches along the river which can be boring or bad for your mind games. 

There was only a few bands on the course which seemed typical for the Rock 'n' Roll races. I always bring my iPod so it wasn't a big deal. There were some a couple groups like a school and cheer squad out there, which was awesome since it being a chilly Halloween morning.

Mentally miles 8-10 were tough, which is typical for half marathons for me.  Once I hit mile 10 I knew I didn't have much longer. I was running close to a 7:45 pace during the race, which felt comfortable. I kept telling myself that 3 weeks ago I ran freaking 26.2 miles so I could definitely finish half of that.   It's definitely when I needed to find my jams to bop along to as I ran. 

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I felt strong finishing and definitely pushed it that last 1.2 miles, finishing in 1:41:48. I'm always happy with a top 10% finish and had a better race than I expected! 

I was hungry and knew I'd finally be able to have some food! You finish right in front of the Art Museum and the infamous Rocky steps. The announcer for the race did a great job and called out names and some different facts about some of the finishers. It was easy to shuffle through the corral chute and there was plenty of food. The only thing I wanted was a bag to hold all of my snacks in because that was annoying.  

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Post-Race

I drank some chocolate milk as I walked to the VIP area again, which was not very long because it was right at the finish. Not too many runners were there yet so I immediately signed up for 10 minute massage (shout-out to Phila Massages-you rock!). My calves were really tight so it felt great to get them loosened up immediately after the race.  

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Afterwards I indulged in a mimosa (or 3) and a plate of hot breakfast food from the buffet, followed by multiple cups of coffee. Gin Blossoms were the concert after the race, and I got to catch a few of their songs, which was fun. I enjoyed hanging out in the VIP area before taking the VIP shuttle back to the host hotel with Cynthia before heading out of the city.  

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Overall

This race was an awesome start to my Halloween and is still one that will always be near and dear to my heart. 

I love how organized the event is and how it's such a great course. The medal and shirt are always fun-I especially loved how the medal is Halloween themed with a little witch on a broom.  I think it's a great race to run with friends or if you are looking for a fast, flat course to get a new half marathon PR on!

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This post was linked up with Tuesdays on the Run

Did you run any Halloween races? Have you ever run in costume? 

July 16, 2015

Nuun Discount, Stress, and RNR Philly {Thinking Out Loud}

Random posts that cover a bunch of topics are my favorite because I love thinking out loud and sharing lost of things with you all! I've been uber busy so there will probably more posts like this in the future.  

1. From what I read lots of people like me are training for races and events this summer. If you aren't training, there is a good chance you are still spending time outside, and the weather is getting hot & humid which means upping hydration.  Nuun Hydration, my favorite electrolyte company, is offering a friends & family discount that I'm sharing with you as part of Team Nuun just in time. 

Save 20% off orders with code "NuunSummer15" through 7/23/15. My favorites right now are the Nuun Energy Lemon-Lime, Watermelon Nuun Active, and Kona Kola Nuun Active. 

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2. My grad school plans all changed (for the better) a couple weeks ago and now I'm going to the program I wanted to all along! Yay! That means all the Fall plans I had cancelled or tried to make have to be switched around due to a new schedule. That also means I'll still get a chance to run the Rock 'n' Roll Philly half marathon on October 31

It was my first ever half marathon and this year despite scheduling issues early on due to the Pope's visit to Philadelphia in September, this race is still going to be amazing. 

I've got a really busy October & November but I couldn't pass up using my Tourpass to run this race. Since it's post-Chi marathon, I'll probably be limping along and might be begging people to give me piggyback rides.  I'll definitely be grabbing candy from all the aid stations.  I plan on rocking a costume and having fun with it, and you should totally join me

  If you are still skeptical, here's 10 Reasons to Run Philly including how it has the lowest price for the race since 2010, it's on Halloween (which means costumes galore and CANDY at aid stations!), it's a fast, PR-perfect course, raises money for the American Association for Cancer Research, and you can go explore the city and grab a post-race cheesesteak to celebrate. I mean, c'mon.

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The just released race bling for Philly RNR
As always, you can even save $15 on race registration on mostly any Rock 'n' Roll half or full marathons in 2015 here with my code below.   

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3.  This past Tuesday was my favorite run of the month-Shack Track and Field Baltimore! It was a really humid night, and after running the 3 miles to Charm City Run I was already quite sweaty. I ran an easy 4 miles along the water because I'm a rebel and didn't stick to the 3 or 5 mile run routes.  Actually my legs were really tight so 5 miles wasn't happening. After I got back to Shake Shack I made a big sweat puddle as I waited in line for my free drink. I went with a chocolate milkshake, and sadly it was gone way too quickly. A really cold (and free) milkshake after a sweaty run tastes amazing. It was definitely the highlight workout of the week. 

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Milkshake lovin. 
Be sure to the check out the next Shack Track and Field on August 11 starting at 7 PM at Charm City Run (it's always the 2nd Tuesday of the month!) 

4. I read & shared this article about female runners getting attacked in Southeast Baltimore this morning. It's things like this that make me sad about Baltimore because most of the time I feel really safe in the city. It's not like Baltimore needs more bad press either. I have talked with my boyfriend and friends multiple times lately about how being a female is completely different than a being male. I think about my "femaleness" all the time because everyday I have flashes of concern about walking around the city, running, and my safety in general. It sounds silly when I type it out, but I really believe that women worry or think about the possibility of things like getting attacked way more than men. 

 This is just a reminder to be always be aware of your surroundings when running, especially all my fellow lady runners. 

5. I was feeling pretty good last week, but this week has been a big ball of stress. I'm constantly tired, stress-eating, and feel like there isn't enough hours in the day. Training, work, paperwork & finances for school, and generally life issues have all been colliding.  I'm going to try to ride this week out and come back more organized and ready to go next week!  I am attending a barre class with REV at the Four Seasons this evening just for me. I really have been trying to save money but a rooftop barre class on a beautiful evening and a cocktail included sounded like something I needed in my life right now. 

What is something you did for yourself this week? What has been your favorite workout this week so far? 

This post was linked up with Fit & Fashionable Fridays & Fitness Friday.  

May 19, 2015

Broad Street Run 2015 Race Recap

I am originally from the Philly area and got into running after I moved away so I was really excited to be able to run Broad Street for the first time . The Broad Street Run is the largest 10 mile road race in the country and is most definitely a staple of Philadelphia-area running. It's actually so popular now that they moved to a lottery system for entry a few years ago. It always falls near my birthday so I was excited to be able to run it and get in the lottery this year.  


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Expo: The expo was a decent size and efficient. I didn't get the tech tee initially, but ended up buying a tech shirt vintage design from Modell's on sale while I was at the expo. They had it in the convention center so it was spacious but not overloaded with vendors. I'd like being able to go on a Friday afternoon and beating the crowds.  I had just gotten back from a family vacation the day before so it was nice to be able to have a relaxed day in the city.  

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Of course I stopped by the Bondiband booth to check out their designs. 

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Remember you can always use my code BREATHEBLOG to save 10% on their website off their headbands compression socks, and more!
Race: My boyfriend and I parked at the Stadium Complex at the start since it's a point-to-point race. We took the Septa train from there all the way to the start at the beginning of the line. They let runners ride for free to the start so even though it was packed, thank goodness there was no ticketing delays. The trains got very crowded, and it seemed that people in the middle of the line at stops couldn't get on. Once we got off, we parted ways as I made my way towards the corral. The weather was already quite warm so I immediately ditched my throwaway shirt as I entered the crowd of people.  


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I was pissed that I wasn't even close to getting into my corral because it was too crowded. I thought it wouldn't be so bad since I was in the Orange corral which wasn't too far back. However, once the race started and my corral went I was able to get in pretty smoothly. It was amazing starting a race with 45,000 runners. The energy was amazing! 

 
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