Saturday, September 18, 2010

ING Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon: Race Intentions

The time has come: in less than 24 hours, I will be running the ING Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half Marathon.  The race is sold out, with the field at more than 18,600 people.  Compared to Broad Street last year, which had 26,265 finishers, it's a little smaller - but still a huge race, and sure to be a little crazy.

I made some time for the Race Expo during work yesterday.  This is one of the times I really love having the flexibility to just take off - even though most of the time I complain about working too much, it's nice to start an experiment incubating, leave for a few hours, and come back to results.

At the race expo, I got my bib number (22063, for anyone who wants to look me up later), as well as my bright orange official race t-shirt:

Of course, I won't be wearing that tomorrow - you should never run a race in clothes you haven't worn running before - but I actually kind of like the color and design, so I might wear it in the future.  I also picked up another shirt from the Brooks stand:

This one made me particularly excited, both because of the color and the more minimalist design.  I will definitely be wearing this one out running!

Today, I've been working on charging my iPod, camera, and Garmin, stocking my Camelbak with water (yes, there are water stops, but it won't be enough), and setting out my clothes.  I also got my gear drop bag ready with old flip-flops, a change of clothes, and towels.  I love how they gave us special drop bags - this way, I don't have to worry about losing a nice bag if my stuff gets lost.  Mimu likes the bag too:

I had to tell her that I can't actually take her with me in the bag - but she'll get to see me when I get back!

Race Goals

Ambitious Time Goal: 2:55:00 (13:22/mi) - this would be a 7.5-minute PR and would require EVERYTHING to go right.
Realistic Time Goal: 3:00:00 (13:45/mi) - this would be a 2.5-minute PR and is a realistic goal.
Minimum Time Goal: 3:10:00 (14:30/mi) - this would be 8 minutes slower than my previous PR and would be satisfying.  Of course, if something major goes wrong, the time goals will go out the window.

The Primary Goal: Have fun!  Take it all in and enjoy the fact that I can run a half marathon.  I couldn't a year ago, and I might not be able to some time in the future, but right now I'm in good running shape and can do this.

Things I'm Looking Forward To...
- Waking up less than 2.5 hours before the race starts (instead of at 2:45 am like last time)
- Walking to the race from my apartment (it's about 1 mile away, and a good warmup)
- The palpable excitement in the air at big races like this
- Hopefully catching a glimpse of running "celebrities" like defending champion Ryan Hall
- Running a race that covers one of my favorite long-run routes, but having cheering spectators and bands along the route this time
- Finishing!!
- Getting the coveted medal and walking around with it, perhaps even to Lululemon for a massage (they are giving free ones to race runners tomorrow)

...and Things I'm NOT Looking Forward To
- A mess of people trying to get to the starting corrals
- Porta-potties and porta-potty lines
- Trying to pass slower people who drastically underestimated their finish time and ended up in an earlier corral
- Time clocks along the course reading >20 minutes greater than my real time due to a lot of people at the start (thank god for Garmin!)
- Chafing
- Sweaty porta-potty trips (totally gross.)
- The unbelievable soreness in my feet, legs, and - who am I kidding? - entire body that will come to me the second I cross the finish line

It's going to be incredibly fun, though, so all the negatives won't be so bad!

Hopefully at this time tomorrow, I'll be clean, in my PJs and some comfy slippers, relaxing on the sofa with a drink and the Eagles game (sure, I'd rather be watching the Vikings, but they're on at the same time and I'm in Philly).  Wish me luck!

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