September: Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Steve and I arrived in Philadelphia Saturday morning. To get from the airport to downtown, we used the regional rail, SEPTA. The Suburban Station downtown dropped us off a few walkable blocks to our hotel. We checked into the Embassy Suites City Center, which turned out to be a great locale and headed to packet pickup/lunch.

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The view from our hotel room

The Rock ‘n’ Roll expo was much smaller than other cities. We made it through quickly and headed to Reading Terminal Market to grab a true Philly lunch. A must for any visit to Philly!

After lunch, we walked to the historical area and took photos in front of Independence Hall. Having been here before, we didn’t tour the landmark but highly recommend that you do if you’re ever in Philly. We continued our way to a site we’d missed on our previous trip, the Betsy Ross House.

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By that time we could check in to the hotel. After checking in, we took time to get settled, do a final identification of the start line based on our hotel. For dinner, we’d planned to return to a restaurant that was a favorite moment from our previous trip. Parc, a French bistro, sits along Rittenhouse Square, one of the original squares designed in Philadelphia by William Penn. There was a fine art exhibit located in the park, and we strolled through it ahead of our dinner reservation.

Parc was all that we remembered and a welcome respite to an unpredicted storm. We were sitting at an outdoor table but away from the rain. The food was as good as we’d remembered; the atmosphere was as nostalgic as we’d recalled. It was a nice ending to our day.

Sunday morning came quickly, and the Embassy put us a quick 15-minute walk to the start line. The race starts around the museums, near the art museum, and allows you to run up Ben Franklin and into downtown past the exquisite City Hall and even the old penitentiary.

As you run out of downtown, you run long the Schuylkill River where there’s the chance to see the rowing crews on the water. However, running along the river, out and back, can be monotonous and it can be easy to get in your head and even to give in to the pain around mile 10. The course is flat with only a few hills. It definitely lived up to the description from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon website.

As I’d been struggling with my sciatica, I wasn’t able to hit a PR, even using the pain as motivation. (I seriously just wanted it to be done!) But, I finished and got my Headliner medal for completing 9 halves this year! Six more to go, and I will have a pair of golden headphones!

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