{race report} rock n roll philadelphia

I can’t believe how quickly September came & went (or the whole summer for that matter).  I had grand plans of half-marathon training – speed work, long runs, and tempos – but between LJ, work, and life I just didn’t get around to training like I wanted.  I crammed a couple of long-ish runs leading up to Rock n Roll Philadelphia and crossed my fingers it would all work out.  Thankfully, it did.

Race Weekend
We arrived in Philly on Thursday via Acela.  It was LJ’s first train ride and he loved it; lots of looking out the window, laughing, and trying to move all over the place – I’m so thankful we have a happy, easy traveler.  BJ, LJ, and I woke up Friday morning and took a nice run through the city.  I had to work the expo in the afternoon, so it was nice to spend some time with my boys.  After breakfast, I headed to the expo – my favorite part about race weekend!  I started with a Q&A with John Bingham; we had a great time catching up, talking about the Tomorrow Chaser Program, and understanding what it means to be a mother runner.  After Q&A, I headed to the Transamerica booth to hang out and talk with runners.  People had a chance to guess how many runners I would pass, and it was fun to hear their guesses.  There was a huge range, from 62 runners/dollars to 20,000 runners/dollars (when only 19,000 signed up, ha).  After the expo we headed to dinner at Alma de Cuba, a Stephan Starr restaurant.  This post isn’t meant to be a restaurant review – but if you’re ever in Philly, you must go.  It was amazing!  We took a family walk on Saturday morning before I headed to the expo again for Q&A, lots of chatting with (nervous) runners, and seeing (and meeting) some friends (Pavement Runner and meet Chris Heuisler, the RunWestin Concierge).  It was fun to connect with so many different people.


Race Dayrnr3
After a not-so-great night of sleep, I was very thankful for an 8am start time.  I was able to wake-up on my own (or with the help of my human alarm, LJ), take a shower, nurse LJ, eat some breakfast, and hang out before walking to the start, about 1 mile from our hotel.  It was a nice morning, albeit a little humid (as in 97% humidity at 6:45am).  My only commitment was an on-stage interview before the race – but then I had time to relax in VIP before starting the race (last!).  I guessed it would be 30 minutes before I started, approximately 1 corral every 60-90 seconds.  I was way off.  It was 50 minutes before I started the race – a lot of time to try to make up.  The first 4 miles of the race lead runners past signature Philly landmarks including S. Penn Square and City Hall – and I tried to enjoy the sights as much as I could (although, it’s a little difficult when weaving in-and-out of runners); the remainder of the race is a sort of out-and-back loop along the Schuylkill River.  The scenery was really pretty and the course was shaded, which helped with the high humidity.  I was holding an 8 minute pace for most of the race, and while it felt laborsome at times, it was a comfortable pace.  The hardest part of the race – and trying to run 8 minute miles – is the amount of weaving I have to do; it’s definitely a mental challenge.  Around mile 8, I remember thinking that I was ready for the turnaround point and ready to start counting down the miles.  Thankfully, around the same time, I passed a runner and she yelled “Hey, are you the runner that started last and is passing all of these people to raise money for charity?!”  With a big smile on my face, I turned around and said “Yes! That’s me – thanks for your dollar!”  She then proceeded to tell all of the runners around her what the goal of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is.  It was awesome!  Not too long after, the end was in sight.  I could see the crowds and I knew I was getting close to Eakins Oval, there’s always such great energy toward the end of the race!  With 1 mile to go, I picked up the pace and really sprinted up the last hill (thanks for that, ha).  It felt great to be done!

Check Presentation
The best part of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is being able to connect with the charity partner and present the check to them.  For Rock N Roll Philadelphia I was raising funds for IM ABLE Foundation – an organization that builds and supports active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.  I was able to meet the founder, Chris Kaag, a disabled US Marine and present the check to him.  When he realized that I had raised (and passed) $7,889, I thought he might cry.  It was such a wonderful moment!  To IM ABLE Foundation, that check is able to help a handful of people with disabilities.  And for that, I’m thankful.



Final Thoughts
15,608 runners started and finished Rock n Roll Philadelphia.  I passed 7,889 runners, raising $7889 for IM ABLE Foundation!  I was so excited!  I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.

I feel really thankful that some of my family could be there to see me finish the race and present the check.  A huge THANK YOU to BJ, LJ, my sister, and her bf, and a great friend from college for supporting my racing endeavors.


Who’s running LA?  I’ll see you in a couple of weeks…


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  1. Great job Mel!

  2. WOW you passed nearly 8 THOUSAND runners?!?!?! You are my idol!!!

  3. Reading this and seeing the pictures gives me goose bumps! You are an amazing runner and wonderful person for doing this!!

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