We’ve never had a real story. I mean, compared to other people, it’s hard for us to point out something we’ve done that is truly special. We haven’t overcome life-threatening illnesses, haven’t set any speed records and we know people who’ve done so many more races that we have. Sure, we’ve shown up to quite a few races in a lot of places, but we look around and continue to be in awe of people we meet.
Rock n Roll Philadelphia always attracts world-class runners. The fast course and usually friendly conditions mean there’s always a chance you could see a national or world record fall, like seeing Deena Kastor break the Master’s half marathon record a few years back. In 2017, the half marathon field included names like Olympians Galen Rupp and Jared Ward and Jordan Hasay. We were in for a treat on the roads, but Philly is also a great city to explore. There’s a lot for history buffs, museum enthusiasts and foodies alike.
We landed Friday just before the Expo closed with enough time to drop our stuff at the Sheraton. Al took a later flight and we ended up on the same plane from Vegas. Peanut was off to her 9th race of the year. We may need to send her to Brooklyn or Savannah to pick up another race so she can get to the Hall of Fame. Heh.
The medals were different denominations of currency. I heard “Show me the Benjamin’s” more than a few times. We had a little time to catch up with Rick and the CGI staff after a two month break. Diva had been riding across the country on a motorcycle. Amy now lives in New Jersey and will try to do the expos at Philly, Brooklyn and DC.
After a quick bite at Rex Pizza, we headed out to stretch our legs after the long flight. It was going to be a warm race weekend, but it did make for pleasant evening weather.
Saturday, September 16th. 5K
This was the first of a nine-weekend stretch featuring 11 different Rock n Roll race locations (8 of those locations logistically possible, maybe one more if you chartered a plane). This was the start of the push for Hall of Fame 2017. Anyone with 7 or more races had a good shot at 15. Now it’s all a matter of staying vertical and showing up. We’re pretty good at that last part.
I even had enough energy to run (yeah, actually run) the steps of the museum. The view from the top is a treat.
On the way out, we stopped by the stage to see the leaders finish the 10K and say hi to Ann. Someone said that 10K winner, Andrew Carnes, also ran the 5K. It wasn’t the case, but a number of the Black Sheep successfully did the double on Saturday.
Quick stop by the finish line to see #barefootElvis…
And on the way back, we finally find love.
Post race lunch was at Reading Terminal Market. There are a lot of restaurants close by, but the variety here is awesome.
Pre-half dinner was at Maggiano’s with the AACR charity organization. We did this in 2016 and it was a great way to get some inspiration. Joe, Sherry and Leny were all raising money this year.Hundreds of AACR heroes raised close to have a million dollars for the weekend. We got a private performance from Boy Band, the ladies who were singing the national anthem on Sunday. Sherry and Tawni even walked away with a few of the raffle prizes. We actually hit two Raikou raids before headed to bed. We’re still trying to catch one for Tamara.
Sunday, September 17th, Half Marathon
Off to race number 11 for the year. We weren’t getting a Heavy Medal this weekend, but we do get a Remix medal and see our friends walk away with a lot of hardware. VIP was right next to the Washington statue, a perfect place to find our friends.
TeamUp was representing well. Beth and Lisa were sporting the Allard braces. Without them, foot-drop makes it hard to walk and really hard to run. With the braces, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
We got into the corrals early with plenty of time for selfies.
I missed walking a sub-2:30 in San Diego. My Garmin actually had 2:29:59, but the website showed 2:30:00 and the official results ticked it up to 2:30:01. I thought about challenging it with my watch time, but after thinking it over, I didn’t earn it. Figured I’d have Philly and maybe St. Louis to try again. Drew and I paced for the first 8 or 9 miles, petting all the dogs on the way.
It was creeping into the 70’s and it was muggy, but I was only 10-15 seconds off pace. The turn at the Falls Bridge at mile 9 put us into a slight downhill to mile 13 before a short uphill into the finish line. I just picked a few people who were pulling along at a good pace and tried to pick them off one by one. After the next 3 miles, I was able to put in a 50 second buffer, enough to climb the last slope and cross the finish chute to give Ann a high five with 10 seconds to spare. Cross off another year achieving an arbitrary milestone!
The Heavy Medal tent was hopping. Ryan and Mindy were hip deep in Gold Records. Barefoot Henry continues his quest for his first Hall of Fame. Al, Josie and Zach are on track to repeat.
Two more Hall of Fame headphones were awarded in Philly. Ainsley and Greg took the traditional shots from this slightly lower volume design. Leny picked up another. I stepped back to appreciate her back bib after learning how her home in Florida was impacted by the recent hurricane. The bib was for cancer. Twice. Now add Irma.
While there were no speed records this weekend, there were some blazing times that most mortals would have been happy with. Susan continues to be on track for a marathon PR in Chengdu. Overall a good race day.
Tamara didn’t get to Reading Market in time Saturday night, so we went back for lunch. Between the cheese steak, pulled pork, brisket and Bassett’s ice cream for dessert, it was worth the trip.
We may still yet hit personal bests this year. We’re talking care of ourselves so maybe we’ll be fortunate enough to live long lives. Instead of raising money, we’re donating to our friends, at least for now. And while we have friends who’ve hit 100 Rock n Roll races already, we’ll be hitting that milestone in a few weeks at Rock n Roll San Jose. We’ll be the first married couple to both do it.
Maybe there’s a story there after all.