“To travel is to live”.
(Hans Christian Andersen)
My Walk into the Future continues to expand my running tourist experiences. Made a trek to the 2019 Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon in September. This was race #5 for my 2019 running goals.
The training and additional miles logged over the summer were evident during my race. I was able to post another personal record (PR) time of 2:07:55 (official time) but was happier with how I felt mentally and physically during the race. Past races my legs started to hurt at the 8-mile marker and really screamed at me miles 10 through 13. Fighting the pain and the urge to stop running was always there in previous races but my new training program allowed me to enjoy every mile of the race. Helped the Philly course was mostly flat until the end. I never frown at a PR but will evaluate my training process to see where I can find additional speed to get me closer to my goal time of under 2 hours.
Note: The 2-hour goal does not stop me from enjoying these races. It’s my way to push myself to improve daily.
“The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday”.
(After race and Rocky statue)
Selected this race because I’ve never been to Philadelphia. Also, I have a tree branch (Lauren Apgar) in Philly, and it gave us a chance to catch up. Again, I take the concept of running tourist seriously so let me know if I should visit your city for a run. 😊
We left the airport and headed straight to the Philadelphia Convention Center for the Rock N Roll EXPO. Seeing the thousands of running tourists who trek to a Rock N Roll destination to run the city and enjoy the culture is always a highlight of race weekend.
The positive energy in the EXPO hall always provides extra inspiration to run my best race. People from all over the world converging on a location with the same goal in mind to run their best race ever.
The Philly EXPO was smaller than previous EXPOs (New Orleans and Nashville) because there was not a full marathon scheduled. The Philly races were the half marathon, a 7.6k and a 5k.
This was Lauren’s first Rock N Roll EXPO, so it was great introducing her to the process (check-in, bib pickup, bag pickup, etc.) and attending the EXPO with vendors and products. We got as many freebies as we could and tested out products on display. This is a great way to get a free massage before the race since vendors want to test their products on runners. I’m always down for the free massage! Got a lot of cool photo ops while at the EXPO:
Food, food and more food
We left the convention center and made our way to Iron Hill Brewery (Center City) for lunch to help with my carb loading process. Great location with a huge menu and beer options. I don’t experiment with food prior to a race so ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, fries and the Iron Hill Light Lager. Lots of great food on the menu if you get a chance to dine at one of their locations:
What’s a trip to Philly without visiting the Reading Terminal Market? It’s labeled as “one of America’s largest and oldest public markets” and lived up to the reputation. Row after row of unique foods, fare and products. Several vendors had wrap around lines waiting to explore new tastes. We didn’t eat at Reading Terminal Market, but it will be a regular stop when I’m back in Philly:
Dinner carb loading was done at Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria. Stuck with the tried and true chicken parmesan because it came with a huge plate of spaghetti and sauce. Portions were so large at Pietro’s I almost couldn’t finish it all but since I had 13.1 miles to run the next morning, I powered through.
We ventured further out after the race to get cheese steaks. Lauren introduced me to the Philly subway system and the proper way to get around the city. We got an impromptu dance show from a family entertaining everyone on the subway. Great seeing people smile and enjoy themselves as they traveled to their respective destinations. Full disclosure, I assumed Philly was going to be all hustle and bustle like New York. Pleasantly surprised how slow the pace was in Philly and how people interacted with each other.
Cheese steaks on every corner
We decided to take part in the great Philly cheese steak debate: Geno’s or Pat’s. Agreed we would do a taste test to decide which cheese steak was better.
Started at Geno’s and dived right into a large cheese steak. Very good flavor, texture and presentation. Made our way across the street to try Pat’s cheese steak next. Again, very good flavor, texture and presentation. The onions on the Pat’s cheese steak were sautéed more and the steak had more moisture than Geno’s. We agreed both were worth a visit if you’re in Philly—can’t go wrong with either selection.
Seating is limited at Geno’s and Pat’s, so we grabbed seats at Garage Philly and enjoyed the cheese steaks, beer and people watching. They have a DJ playing on the sidewalk, so it was a block party and a great place to relax with good food:
Made our way over to Independence Hall to experience some American history. Got a chance to explore multiple buildings on the property to include Congress Hall and Senate Chambers. The Liberty Bell was another historical site we were able to experience. Great being in a place with this much historical contexts—recommend visiting if you’re in the Philadelphia area.
Trekked over to Penn’s Landing to see the waterway and the Ben Franklin Bridge. Great place to people watch and get photos of New Jersey across the river. Lots of boats in the water and people enjoying the great September weather.
Philadelphia is a great place—recommend you get there for a visit if you haven’t been. Also, recommend experiencing the great food, history and culture available.
FYI—enjoyed it so much I’ve already signed up for the 2020 Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon! Will get a chance to test out the Pat’s and Geno’s cheese steak debate again. Can’t wait!
What city have you always wanted to visit? When are you going?
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”.
Thanks Lauren for being a great host and tour guide—well done! 😊