Philly Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

Hello Runner’s Kitchen readers! Thank you for all the sweet comments regarding the Philly half. I had myself so nervous about this race (should I race? run as a tempo? not run at all?) and I’m so lucky that things went as smoothly as they did.

BBB and I tested out my new video camera and filmed a few clips. This first clip was taken the night before the race (maybe around midnight?) and it’s very obvious that I’m nervous, hehe. That’s followed by a little monologue from race morning – I answer some Q and A’s about my race prep.ย These are my first vlogs, so please excuse the mad awkwardness ๐Ÿ™‚

Race morning was pretty uneventful, I didn’t get much sleep (4-5 hours?), but I kind of anticipated that. It’s tough to get solid shut eye when your alarm is set for 5:55am. I always think that it’s the night before, the night before the race that really matters. Lucky, I got 8 hours of sleep Friday night. Phew.

After my pre-race cup of coffee (non-negotiable), I ate an apple and a mini Clif bar. It’s a good thing I had some food with me – the hotel breakfast buffet didn’t open till 7am. As an aside: I did not think the Comfort Inn – Historic District did a very good job accommodating the half-marathon runners. The majority of the hotel guests were racers, so you would think they would set out breakfast a little early, but noย dice.ย They also didn’t provide sugar or milk for coffee. Luckily I can drink mine black!

After a few minutes of bfast digestion, I headed to the start. I warmed up for about 27 minutes (~3 miles) and then hopped into my corral. It was great to meet a reader near the entrance to corral #2 (hi Claire!).

At this point I still wasn’t sure if I was going to race or tempo…but I suppose the energy of the crowds got to me because I started off at a pretty fast clip. My first mile was in 6:47 (whooaa there, Megan) and I finished the first 5k in around 21:37 (6:58 pace). The remaining 10 miles were a little slower, averaging a few seconds above 7:00 pace per mile, but I don’t really regret going out that fast. I definitely felt tired towards the end, but I still had energy to finish at a decent pace. There were a few times I struggled mentally (I specifically remember feeling blah at mile 2.5 and mile 9), but I was ableย to squash the negative thoughts before they got too bad. ย It helped that the course was very flat – no big hills to struggle with. The only thing that slowed me down were the twists and turns of Center Cityย during miles 1-4. This was a really fun race overall – the crowd support at the start and finish made it feel like a major event! My official time was 1:32:22 (7:03 pace) which I’m really happy with.

Eventually, I’d like to try and run sub-1:30 for a half-marathon, but that won’t be a goal until 2011 or 2012. After this year’s marathon, I might focus on 13.1 for awhile. I think that half marathons might be my favorite race distance – long enough so that you can stay under lactate threshold pace, but not so long that you run out of glycogen (a.k.a. hit the wall). Plus the recovery time needed from a half marathon is much less than a full 26.2!

As soon as I finished, I spotted BBB who, by the way, wins “best race spectator award”. He snapped all of the awesome photos in this post! After a quick mile-ish cooldown, I met up with my friend Mark and some CPTC teammates for a hugs and a photo op.

My lower back is still giving me some trouble, but running doesn’t make it worse, so I’m trying to manage the achy-ness through heat compresses and massage. I treated myself to a 60 minute deep tissue massage tonight after work and made my muscles very happy.

Stay tuned for a very special food recap from my visit to Philadelphia. I had SO much delicious food (beer! pizza! gelato! Israeli hummus! cupcakes!) – it will be proof that runners don’t have to subsist on plain pasta and peanut butter during marathon training.

In the meantime, I leave you with my latest creation –

Creamy roasted tomato soup (serves 2)


  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves (optional)


  • Place the tomatoes cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 375 F for 30 minutes, or until slightly brown on top.
  • Allow tomatoes to cool slightly, remove skins, and combine tomatoes and juices into a medium saucepan. Mash with fork until chunky (you could also use an immersion blender).
  • Slowly whisk in cream, season with more salt, pepper, and fresh basil.
  • Heat to desired temperature and enjoy!

What’s your favorite race distance?

  • Congrats on another successful Half Marathon! Loved the pictures of you in action- incredible! Looking forward to more posts about food in Philly- I’ll be running a 20 miler there in a few weekends as part of marathon training and am always happy to try new places. Good luck with the remainder of your training ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is adorable! I hope you have more videos in the future on your blog. My favorite race distance is the 3k indoor, if I HAAAD to choose. Also the 5k and 6k on an XC course.

  • Congrats on completing the half! Looked like a great event. I have my first half coming up in October that I’m training for right now. Just broke through 9 miles this weekend – which leaves me feeling closer to ready. My last race was a 5k in June which I really enjoyed.

  • You crack me up. “Oh hey, not sure how I’m going to run this thing,” and you freakin’ PR?! Insane. McMillan says you can run a 3:15 marathon, btw.

    I also like how BBB is torturing you in the beginning of the video. Good thing he’s such a snazzy photog.

  • Good job! Half marathon is my favorite distance (even though I’ve never done a marathon – I still like it better than shorter races).

    The hotel I stayed at for my last half marathon was really great. When I went to check out at like 5:30 am before the race, the guy at the counter went and put out breakfast for me so I could eat before.

  • Wowzers – what a great race!! Congratulations. I think you will totally rock a sub 1:30 half when you focus on it. Great photos of you running. You are totally going to own NYC this year. I can’t wait to see it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great job! I like half marathons too because training doesn’t take so much time but it’s still quite a challenge. I can’t wait to train for a speedy half this winter. Except the winter part.

  • looking good and strong! wayyy speedy. congrats ๐Ÿ™‚ and awesome goal to try and go sub 1:30. that’s my eventual goal as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Aw, cute video! Great to hear your voice, even just over the interwebs ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have no doubt that you have a sub-1:30 in you.

    My favorite distance is 5K. Seriously. I’m not sure why I keep ending up in marathons.

  • I’m so pumped to hear you’re considering a focus on the 13.1– I bet a sub-130 is totally within reach the way you are strutting now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Claire

    Thanks for the shout out! I totally agree with Sarah about your potential for kicking butt in the marathon – you’re super speedy! I’ll be looking out for in NYC ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Congrats again on the race!! Action shots were great too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I too, feel that halfs are my best/strongest distance. It’s the one distance that I can run consistently well (well, when im actually in shape) Once I get the BQ monkey off my back, I just may focus on the half-my best time is 1:37 (set in Philly last year!) and I’m curious as to what it can be if I really focused my training on the half-marathon distance, as opposed to racing it as a tune-up race for a marathon.

  • I’m competing in my first 1/2 marathon next year. I think that will be my favorite distance. I’m one of those poeple who have never anything more than a 5k. Training is goinf great. Awesome job on the time!

  • Girl, you are SPEEDY! Congrats! I want to run a half marathon soooo badly. I need to get over my fear because I know I could do it. I’ve been increasing my mileage recently just in case I decide to do something crazy like sign up for the Philly half in November! Ack!

  • I love the vlog! ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats again on a great race – it looks like all things are pointing you you having a spectacular marathon.

    Hmm, I’d have to say I like half marathons or 15Ks the best. I like longer distances, but not too long, and would love to work on my speed at them!

  • Congrats!! Half marathons are for sure my favorite distance. Long enough that it’s a challenge, but short enough that you can run it for speed and recovery within a day or two.

  • ida

    Congrats on the PR! I love 1/2s and 10ks. How did you like running with music? I’ve never raced with headphones b/c I feel like they’d drive me nuts towards the end.

  • Congratulations Miss Megan! That’s such an awesome time and it sounds like a pretty great race all in all! Yay for supportive spectators! Oh! And I can’t wait to watch the v-log when I have earbuds ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mark

    Good job, Meg! Glad I ran into you at the finish line.

  • Hey there hot legs! Congratulations again on a killer race!

  • Great Race! Your time is Awesome!

  • Awesome race, congrats! I love halfs too–they’re long enough to feel like an accomplishment, but don’t take months to train for, or long to recover from.

  • Christina

    I like 10 mile races although they seem sometimes rare? At that race distance I feel like I’ve put in a decently long race but I’m spared the last (worst?) 5k of a half :D. Otherwise I generally like halfs, never ran a full and don’t plan to. Congrats on your great run!

  • i love love love this post and the vlog! so cute!! awesome race, by the freakin’ way. 1:32?! BEASTLY, i tell you. i also find it humorous that you didn’t know if you were gonna race it or not. i’d say it’s not only the pizza and beer, but also all of your hard work(outs)!

  • Eileen

    Amazing job! You are very inspiring!

  • Wow, girl! You’re a speedy one!!! So glad you found our blog — I can’t wait to catch up on yours! And I love Philly. We’re doing the Philly Marathon this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Congrats again! Definitely a good benchmark for the full.

    While fulls are fun (wait, did I say that?), they take a lot longer to recover. That said I’m with you on the half distance – I’ve never had the chance to truly train for the distance but it’s a good medium between flat out speed and the pain of a marathon:)

  • awwwww…i loved your VLOG! you are so adorable, and you mother effin’ worked that marathon. way to go lady!!!

  • Lauren

    Con-freakin-grats on your time! I ran the 1/2 on Sunday also, it was my first one ๐Ÿ™‚ I was super proud of my time, but you are just too speedy, finishing 15 minutes faster than I did woo!

  • Sarah

    Half marathons – my favorite distance.
    An avid reader of your blog who also ran this race (although about 20 minutes behind you!).
    Really enjoyed reading about your experience – and I also enjoyed post-race treats at the Reading Terminal Market. Perhaps one of the reasons I ran?

  • Liz

    Wow – way to rock it out, Megan! I ran the ING Philly 1/2 this weekend too…but at a much slower pace, starting in corral 7, not 2!!! I PR’d also but it really kicked my ass.

    1:30 is totally do-able for you! I’m predicting it will happen by this time next year!

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