RnR Philadelphia (1:25.45)

RnR Philly (1:24.45)

The Rock n Roll Marathon series have plenty of races and Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is just one of them. I’ve also done RnR VA Beach a few times too. There no marathon for either RnR Philly and RnR VA Beach.  I love half marathon race day though!

As I said in my training log on Sunday, last week, I was sick.  Before getting sick, I was confident my fitness showed I could hold a 1:25 pace for RnR Philly, if not faster.  After getting sick on Tuesday, I didn’t know how I would run. I didn’t have “taper” sickness but had a bug that caused me to skipped a couple of days of running, including my speed workout.  It’s not surprising, colds and the flu are going around.  It caused me to arrive at RnR Philly starting line feeling sluggish and lethargic versus ready to race.

By the title, you can see I was able to run a 1:25 at RnR Philly, but I keep questioning how much faster could I have run if I hadn’t been sick?  Ultimately, there are many more things to worry about than looking hindsight at a race.

One of my friends and bloggers, Sarah, came late on Friday and spent the night.  I was excited because I haven’t seen her in a year!  We ended up waking up early for RnR Philly and were out the door by 6:15.  RnR Philly started at 7:30 and we had no issues parking, checking bags and using the restrooms.

sarah and I

At 7:30, RnR Philly was off, and it was truly one of the most humble race starts I’ve ever had.  During the first mile, dozens of people ran by me.  The race start was crowded and next to impossible to pass or be passed.  I ran the first mile in 6:25.

During the second mile of RnR Philly, I felt something on my shoe.  I knew the feeling, and my shoe was coming untied.  Personally, it wasn’t worth it to me to run an entire half marathon with an untied shoe.  As annoying as it was, I stopped, hopped onto the sidewalk and tied my shoe.  I stayed completely relaxed because if I panicked or tried to rush, it would have made the situation worse.  The rest of the mile felt as though I was playing catch up.  I remembered the people I was around and was trying to catch up to them (6:54).

The third mile of RnR Philly felt as though I settled back into pace.  We headed back towards the start of RnR Philly. It was great to see crowds again and to my surprise, my watch beeped a 6:18.

During the fourth mile of RnR Philly, we saw the leaders heading back.  It was truly incredible to watch so many athletes on their journey to qualify for the Olympic Trials.  I believe 45+ athletes qualified through the half at RnR Philly!  RnR Philly is a fast course if the weather cooperates. When RnR Philly is in September, usually the heat and humidity humbles everyone. Seeing so many professionals gave me a lot of motivation, and I forgot about my personal race.

It was during the fifth mile of RnR Philly that I finally felt like I was gaining space around me to breath and packs were separating.  I found myself running with a pack of a few people.  RnR Philly began to head around the Schuylkill River. It’s an 8ish mile loop and I have run there several times. I knew the last miles would finish with a small incline.  The fifth mile of RnR Philly was a flat mile, and my focus was to get to the halfway point (6:34).

The 6th mile of a half marathon is usually motivating to me because it signals the halfway point is near.  A few week ago, Bart Yasso talked about “working the course”.  That is something I’ve been trying to do.  RnR Philly was flat and open, so I stayed focused and tried to keep my pace.  I ran a 6:18.

The next few minutes of RnR Philly brought a lot of reinforcement.  My 10k at RnR Philly was a 40:30.  That’s my fastest 10k in a while.  I hit the halfway point is 43:00 minutes.  I felt extremely motivated because I knew I was on track for my fastest half in a year at RnR Philly despite still not feeling great.  I smiled throughout the entire mile of RnR Philly and ran a 6:24.  Why the race photographers weren’t there…I don’t know.

Both mile 8 and 9 were lonely miles at RnR Philly.  During mile 9 of RnR Philly, we went over the bridge and began heading back towards the start.  Mile 9 of RnR Philly was my slowest actual running mile, and I ran it 6:54.  It was the same as mile 2, but I stopped to tie my shoe during the second mile.

I hit the 10-mile point of RnR Philly in 1:05.24.  That is faster than my Broad Street time this past May.  I’m normally motivated after mile 10 because it means a 5k is left.  I calculated that if I ran a 20:30 last 5k I would be around 1:26.  I stayed around the same people I had been running around for the majority of the race.  I ran mile 10 of RnR Philly in 6:34.

Mile 11 is usually the mile in a half marathon that makes or breaks me.  It’s close enough to the end that you are hurting but not close enough that you have an incredible blast of energy.  This mile during RnR Philly was no different, and as we crossed into mile 11, I could see the towers in Center City Philadelphia where the end was.  The end of RnR Philly was so close yet so far.  I managed to stay focused and just power through.

I hit mile 12 of RnR Philly at just over 1:18.  I thought I had a shot at going under 1:26 so I blocked everything out and went for it.  I wasn’t feeling great, and it was a painful mile.  The 12th mile was spent completely focused on finishing RnR Philly.  By the time I knew it, I hit mile 13.

rnr philadelphia

The last .1 of RnR Philly is uphill.  RnR Philly is a very flat course; it’s hard to fault a .1 uphill finish.  To give you a perspective my last .1 was 7:00-minute pace and I was powering to the finish of RnR Philly.

I crossed the finish line of RnR Philly in 1:25.45 and 78th female overall as well as 24th in my age group.


On the surface, this looks like a great time for me.  It’s two minute and a half minutes faster than the Runners World Half Marathon.  My last 5k was faster than many 5k races I’ve done, and it shows a lot of progression.

RnR Philadelphia me

However, I do know I ran RnR Philly not feeling the best and have a lot more to give.  My next half marathon will be the Philadelphia half November 22.  The Philadelphia half marathon is a harder course than RnR Philly, and the weather is unpredictable. I do have a few more weeks to train.  My goal is race under 1:25 there.  Until then, I’ll continue the 5k train.  RnR Philly is bittersweet for me, I’m happy with my progression, but I am looking forward to racing when my body and legs feel good.

Questions for you:

Have you run a RnR race? Have you run RnR Philly? 

Where is the most crowded place you’ve ever been?


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  1. Think of how fast you would have been if you weren’t sick and didn’t have to stop to tie your shoe?! Exciting to see you at Philly!!

  2. I’m so excited to see how your next half marathon goes! This does show huge progression in your training and I definitely think that when you feel better, you’ll crush it even more. I love how you have run so many 5ks this year that the times are ingrained in my head – when I read that you needed to run a 20:30 in the last 5k to go under 1:26, I automatically knew that you had been doing that in your 5k races for months now. The fact that you were able to run a faster 5k at the end of your half marathon than you could in a 5k race at the beginning of the summer is great progress! Congratulations!!

  3. Great race and great time! Is there a fine line between fitness for a race and sickness?
    There are no RnR races nearby but getting ready for the Everybody Runs Half in Dec and the race that Runners World says everyone should do once in their life, the Naples Half in January.

  4. Good job racing while under the weather. I absolutely hate running or doing anything when I feel like crap, so I’m impressed with even finishing 😉

  5. I still can’t believe you ran that time while SICK! If I’m sick, you are lucky if I can get off my couch to go to the fridge or something, haha! I really think you had a super performance and can’t wait to see what you accomplish at your next half!

  6. Great time especially with feeling under the weather!

    Biggest crowd for me was Marine Corps Marathon. With a 30k entrant race, it stayed stuffy til mile 22-23. I don’t think I’ll ever run it again.

  7. Amazing time, under the weather or not! Great job. And I do hate crowded races…pretty much avoid them altogether these days with a few exceptions.

  8. So excited for you with that time, especially since you weren’t feeling great! I have a feeling you’re going to crush Philly and I could not be happier for you. This was a really crowded race. I felt like there were so many people around me the entire time and it never thinned out.

  9. ugh the start of the LA marathon. I’ve done it twice and it is the worst! it is so so packed.

  10. Great job with not feeling well, good luck with your next race hopefully you will get ideal conditions! I have never run a RnR before but so many people do them they must be great races. I have done mostly runDisney in the past and those are super crowded. Even with the corral assignments there are just so many people you never really get room…unless you are an elite runner like yourself then you would probably have more elbow room 🙂

  11. I still think you ran an amazing race considering you weren’t feeling that great. Congratulations, Hollie! All the hard work and training you’ve been putting in is definitely showing, and hopefully you’ll get some good conditions and be able to rock the socks off your next half.

  12. Very happy for you and regardless of whatever the week was (sick, rest days etc.) it’s a solid race time and huge improvement from only what…2 weeks prior? Keep it up, it’s fun to watch the progress!!

  13. Way to rock a race feeling less than stellar that is impressive.

    I am doing my first RnR race in NOLA in February. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on their races so am hoping that it is a good one! (the one that was just in BK was awful – they were by no means prepared my sister ran and started 45 minutes late, ugh)

  14. That’s a fabulous time for running while not feeling fabulous. You should be really proud of your strong finish. We have done the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach a couple times because it is convenient, but the weather is usually super hot and humid, definitely not PR weather.

    1. I will never understand why they do RNR VA Beach at that time. It’s always do hot and humid…the weather is miserable and they normally have a few people sent to the hospital.

  15. Wow, awesome job, regardless of how you were feeling! Consider me awed 🙂

    The RnR races in North Carolina tend to take place in warmer weather and are really crowded (based on friends’ experiences), so I’ve avoided them so far. Perhaps in a couple of years once I get more half/full experience!

  16. Hollie! You are SO fast! Girl your splits are faster than my 5k splits lol looking forward to seeing how fast you cruise the next one. RnR is crowded! I’ve run a few but really enjoy them. It’s always a fun time with the concerts afterward. I’m actually running RnR Savannah this weekend! Looks like a hot weekend. Ugh!

  17. Awesome race and awesome time. Your speed and ability is so inspiring. I ran the Philly RnR half in 2013 and loved it… This would be my first half marathon and I had butterflies, extreme butterflies. I had only been running about a year at this time maybe less. I ran it in 1:36 placing overall 1,033 out of 18,137, Division was 104 out of 1109 and Gender 776 out of 7078 giving me a 7:19 pace for the day. The following month I finished the Corning Wine Glass Half in 1:32:53 placing 33rd of about 800 runners giving me a 7:05 pace for the day. In December 2013 I ran my best 5K 20:38 giving me a 6:39 pace for the day. I was on track to break into the 19 minute 5K realm two weeks later at the It’s a Wonderful Run 5K in Seneca Falls. Sadly during a speed workout I tore up my right calf and had to bail on the race. I came back to it too soon and injured myself again starting my downward spiral of ongoing injuries. I’m finally starting to see progress… I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been frustrated over the past 18 months.

    However I’m planning on doing the Chicago RnR Half in July 2016. But my most crowded was the 2014 NYC Marathon at 50,000 runners.

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