My Best Race Ever – Rock & Roll Philly 2011

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

May 05

Hello!   I hope you had a great weekend.  The weather has been insanely warm here in Philly, so it’s been great seeing blue skies and lots of sunshine!  I’m still getting used to running in 70-85 degree temps though…I’m not ready!

Since it’s Tuesday I’m linking up with Tuesdays on the Run hosted by April at Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Erika at MCM Mama Runs, and Patty at No Guilt Life!  This week, we’re going back in time and talking about our greatest races.  So I am taking you back to my very first half marathon:  the 2011 Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon!

The Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was my first half and my best!

Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon 2011

I have run a lot of races over the years but there is still no race that made me feel the way that the Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon made me feel.  I wasn’t blogging back when I ran this race, so I’m happy to go back in time and write about my best race ever!

How I Trained

2011 was my first year of running, and the Rock and Roll Philly Half was my 3rd race, after running the Broad Street 10 Mile Run and the Rainbow Ridge 5K earlier in the year.  I actually won a free entry to RnR Philly from (I wish they still did those giveaways!), so there was no way I wasn’t going to take part!

I decided to follow the 12-week half marathon training program from Runner’s World Magazine, of which I was a new subscriber.  Since I was a beginner, I followed a very straightforward plan – but I focused only on running.  Who knew cross-training was a thing?  Boy have things changed!  I was probably running 3 days a week, sometimes 4.

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Most of my runs were done at the Planet Fitness near work, but my long runs were outside.  I also spent my Saturday mornings with my running club coworkers.  I tracked everything using the Runkeeper app on my phone.  Also, my iPod Nano was my best friend. (I’d still be running with it if it wasn’t stolen out of my car…)

I actually didn’t taper back then…because I didn’t know that was a thing either.  My last long run of 12 miles was a couple of weeks before the race and  I remember it being so slow and thinking “maybe I won’t do so well after all?”

How I Felt


Still love this photo as I approached the finish!

But despite those doubts, the race was simply perfect in so many ways!  The weather was perfect – chilly in the morning, then a bit warmer with no humidity as I went along the course.  I started out conservatively – remembering how easy it was for me to start out too fast at Broad Street (see, I told you that’s a big race day problem!).  I felt like a complete rock star!

Running simply felt effortless.  I was excited about my surroundings and I knew that my sister had traveled just to see me run.  I didn’t have a worry or a care since everything  was brand new, and I killed it!

I was comfortable with the course – but I didn’t hit the tangents like you’re supposed to.  That meant that by the end of the race, I had run nearly 14 miles!  So considering that my average page was around 9:25, wow! (And people wonder why I’m still bitter about my lack of speed today…)

map rnr2011

My original Runkeeper Data from the race!

There was a point in the middle of the race, I think I had just passed Chinatown, and I was full of so much pride and joy that tears began to stream down my face.  Running was EMOTIONAL, who knew?!  That was when I really knew that I wanted to run for the rest of my life.  It’s an amazing feeling when you have that perfect race where everything falls into place!

Racing Since Then

My redemption run…Rock and Roll Philly 3 years later!

It’s crazy to look back and reflect on how far I have come!  Since Rock and Roll 2011, I have run 10 5K’s, 1 8K,  2 10K’s, 2 10 milers, and 3 half marathons with plenty of medals, bibs, and T-shirts collected along the way.  Some races were great, some were tough, and others just plain sucked.  I have gone through physical therapy 3 times, the worst injury being due to a stress fracture in my foot.  And I continue to struggle with getting back to my pre-injury pace of 10-minute miles.  So I’ve had a lot of ups and downs!  But I’m still running and I’m back to being healthy, thank God!  Rock and Roll Philly was the first time I experienced the Runner’s High, and my goal this year has been to keep that in perspective and remember why I enjoy running!  Every race I run, I want it to end with a smile on my face.  That’s what it’s all about.

What’s the best race you ever had?  What made it great?  

What was the best race you had? What made it special? #runchat #bibchat #totr Share on X
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