Monday, September 17, 2012

TeamREFUEL Rocks The Philly Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Wow what a huge event! From the expo packed with runners to racing around Center City Philly with thousands, this RockNRoll Philly was enormous! Something I've never experienced. I had run a half marathon inHershey, PA a couple years ago that had 2700 runners and I thought that was a huge crowd. This race reports more than 15,000 finishers yesterday. Throw in legions of event staff and volunteers and throngs of spectators and you have a Woodstock-like event in the City of Brotherly Love on a sunny Sunday morning.


Got Ready To Rock At The Race Expo


When GotChocolateMilk TeamREFUEL offered me a free race entry to this spectacle I couldn't resist. The course was as advertised, flat and fast. It's too bad I'm not; I'm more slow and lumpy. I've been trail running so much lately, I wasn't really sure how to get ready for an event like this. As a trail runner I'm used to looking at elevation changes and planning what I need to eat and drink as the miles tick by. I knew I can run a road half marathon, but how do I manage a decent pace and finish in one piece. So of course I went out too fast, crumbled at the 10 mile mark and scooted across the finish line with whatever I had left. So there's my race report, now to get to everything else!

Cool sculpture outside the hotel. 


I know Philadelphia pretty well and I was psyched to run through the city. Running past City Hall where traffic is usually crazy was very cool. Here I was in the center of the cheese steak universe running right down the middle of the street and no one was blowing their horn at me. As I ran past Logan's Circle and Eakins Oval I couldn't help but think of the annual pro bicycle race and the late Jerry Casale.  After that, it was like a scenic tour on foot up and down the Schuylkill River. I was really looking forward to running across the Falls Bridge; unfortunately that’s where I started to feel like crap. My last time on that river loop I was toddling along as a pacer for my buddy Jeff Thompson on his Back On My Feet 20 in 24 Ultra Run last July. The memories of many fun times in Philly came back throughout the run, even through the cloud of pain in the final miles. 

This wasn't the first event of mine where Janice volunteered, but this one was a bit different.  She needed to be at Eakins Oval at 5:30am to get her assignment(s). Our hotel was just a few blocks away, but as a volunteer she now had a most excellent parking pass to park behind the Art Museum.  Arriving with her at that hour was no stretch considering I'm used to start times before sun up, so I went along for the pre-dawn ride. With roads blocked off, the Rock N Roll Marathon folks were hard at work building their event.  Janice got her t-shirt and waited for her day to start. Little did she know what would be on her schedule.  She built cardboard trash cans, unpacked medals, controlled corral #5(which I never knew darn it) and rounded out her day handing out medals to the exhausted runners as they finished. I started a few minutes after 8am and finished before 10, while Janice worked her tail off from 5:30am till about 1pm. At a previous race, volunteers worked shifts while yesterday the volunteers signed in before dawn and got a break when they were done 8 hours later. Yep, she was exhausted. Every race has its “Janice moment”.  For Philly, I had a dream that she got the job handing out medals and she was the volunteer who met me at the finish. Dreams apparently do come true, at the finish there she was and I made sure to get my medal from her. While other family and friends of runners were behind barricades, I was stealing a hug and a kiss along with getting my finisher’s medal.  Pretty cool! 

Janice With Her Arm Load Of Medals

I did prepare for this race. I now own an actual pair of road shoes, I studied the course and I even had an idea of a finishing time I could deliver. What I couldn't plan for was running in a pack of thousands, but let's back up a bit. This race had its own shopping mall disguised as a race expo/packet pick up. While I'm used to running through the woods with guys from PA, MD and NJ; The Philly Rock N Roll Half attracted elite runners from around the world. Janice packs a cooler when we go to race with low fat chocolate milk. This event had a TeamREFUEL chocolate milk refueling station at the finish line. I'm usually the "chocolate milk" guy at races. Yesterday I got to meet other TeamREFUEL members and staff. That was very cool to find out that Facebook and Twitter friends actually are living beings.  

TeamREFUEL Pre-race - Me, Julia, Steve & George



Low fat chocolate milk has been part of my workout recovery routine for 2 years. Jam packed with vitamins, protein, carbs, electrolytes and other good stuff I'd probably just spell wrong, low fat chocolate milk rocks as a refueling recovery drink. I recommend it to all. It was cool to have so many other runners ask me before, after and even during the race about refueling with chocolate milk. To top it off having the opportunity to help hand it out at the finish was very cool. One runner told me "this is my savior right here" as she held up her bottle of low fat chocolate milk. I hate to keep repeating myself, but I had an absolute blast being part TeamREFUEL at RockNRoll Philly!


Refueling The Runners

Next up for me, The Blues Cruise 50k Trail Race around Blue Marsh Lake just outside Reading, PA. Back in the woods with a hundred or so other trail crazies, Janice will be back to chasing me in the Jeep from aid station to aid station and yep, I'll be the ONLY "chocolate milk' guy at the event. Right now I’m gonna’ go for a run.





Posted By Blogger to Perry's Trails at 9/17/2012 07:21:00 PM

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