Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon- 1:13:21(1:08 minute PR!)

If you had asked me a week ago if I could guess what I would have run at this race, I would have asked you if I even finished.

Last Wednesday was miserable.

So bad that my strength coach Drew ended up making me lie on the floor of the gym doing breathing exercises to get myself to relax, before sending me home to go to bed. I was so exhausted, even making it up the stairs was a task.

It wasn’t like I had some serious sickness. It was just a head cold, but for some reason it hit me hard, really hard. I think it is because I am so highly strung and push myself too far most of the time, that when my body does get run down, it goes into shut down mode (as it knows thats the only way I will actually listen).

I considered not racing, and if the race was anywhere other than Philadelphia, there is a good chance I would have backed out and stayed in bed all weekend. Thankfully, Sarah was on hand to tell me that I WAS going to run, even if she had to call Steve to convince him (Steve had said if it went to my chest he was not going to let me race).

But sob story aside. I ran a PR. A Big PR.

It was not the time we had originally hoped I would run….okay, thats a lie, we had no time goal, but we both admitted afterwards that we had hoped I would run in the 1:12 as a best case scenario. However, considering the week I had, it was about the best race I could have hoped for, and I am very proud to have the time next to my name.

I ran 1:13:21, a 1 minute and 8 second PR since finishing 3rd at the Brooklyn Half in 2014, but just as important, I got to redeem myself in my city after the disaster that was the Philadelphia Marathon in 2013.

So let’s start from the beginning…..

At 4:30am, after a restless night of sleep, I had my bagel and banana, along with my hot drink to get the digestive system working. I had a feeling it was going to be a good day when I started off the day with this quote on the teabag string of my Good Earth Chai Tea.


I think I will! Thank you 🙂 Right now I am reading The Alchemist, and this was a good omen 😉

After a bit of a rushed warm up as the bus got us to the elite area later than I would have liked, before I knew it, we were standing on the start line. We did not really get a chance to do any strides, but I guess this was one of those situations I am thankful that I am a bit of a slacker when it comes to pre-workout strides.

Suddenly the gun was off, and there were people zipping by all around me.

I don’t really know how much detail to go into about this race. It was tougher than I thought it was going to be, and definitely tougher than the Army 10 miler a few weeks ago.

In the Army race I felt strong until a few miles to go, but with this one I was working hard even from a few miles in.

However, most women went out faster than I did, and I caught and passed a lot of people. I had absolutely no idea what pace I was running. I did not look at my watch from start to finish (and the only clock there was on the course was at the 1 mile mark, and it said 5:02 when I went through…..which was 30 seconds off!!!!). Not knowing where I was at was scary, but at the same time good, as I knew I would freak out either way.


I ended up running with Dot McMahan for a lot of the race, we went back and forth a lot, but spent the last 4 miles working together to run people down in front of us.

It was the first time I think I have ever worked with another runner to move up the field. I really liked it, and hopefully I can find others to do that with in the future. It really helps to make sure you do not back off the pace.

Wore my momentum bracelet again, every time I felt it, I thought about the message :)
Wore my momentum bracelet again, every time I felt it on my arm, I thought about the message 🙂

I am sure most of you do not want to read a play by play, so I will just say that I loved being able to run in my city. It made my heart so happy to be back in Philly, and it was so nice knowing that I knew every turn, every tangent (although I still ran over!), and I could soak in the beautiful course that I know so well.

It made it easier to enjoy, even though I was hurting early on.

Steve thinks that part of the reason that I was working hard is that the sickness threw my internal pace clock off a little, and I have to agree, but at the end of the day, I ran the best I could, and I have no regrets from the race…..other than the last .1 of a mile……….

I thought the race finished in the same spot as the marathon, so once I made it up the final hill, I thought I still had about 300 to go… fact the finish line was right at the top, so I didn’t get to use my speed I have been working so hard on, but looking back, what we were working on was my efficiency, my overall speed, and we proved that has improved, SIGNIFICANTLY!

I have worked so hard over the past year to get my form right. It was almost a year ago that we went to UVA Speed Clinic and first started to make the changes, and I have spent countless hours working on it since.

Last Saturday, all those hours were made worthwhile. A 1:13 is definitely a jump forward onto the next level. It will open up some doors for me, and points towards an exciting marathon in my future.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was a great race, and the field of elites was really deep! I was 14th female, but that was great to actually see where I stand in amongst these women I have seen results for over and over (the winner ran 1:09).

Neely (2nd from right) was 2nd in the race with a 1:09, Alisha (right- also my roommate) was 3rd in 1:10, and Kellyn (2nd from left) was 4th in 1:10! Amy (left) was racing the next day. Speedy Speedy friends!
Neely (2nd from right) was 2nd in the race with a 1:09, Alisha (right- also my roommate) was 3rd in 1:10, and Kellyn (2nd from left) was 4th in 1:10 and Amy (left) was racing the next day. Speedy Speedy friends!

There are so many people I want to thank for helping me run so well last weekend, and I would go on forever if I did list everyone who has helped me, but let me just say that every one of you who has supported, listened to me ramble on about my form, or how tired I am, or who has given me even 1 minute of your time, YOU are part of the reason I ran so well.

Without the love and support of all those people around me, who love and care about me, I would never be as happy with my life, and if I am happy, I run better as I have that balance, so thank you!

I would like to thank my coaches; my strength coach Drew Watts for helping me take those next steps in my form changes. You constantly amaze me with your care and attention to improving my form, and by you giving me my power back, I was able to reach that next level.

And I of course want to give a special thank you to my amazing husband. For everything you do. For dealing with my meltdowns, for giving yourself butt sores cycling alongside me in my workouts and long runs, for taking the time to plan out my schedule when you are already working two jobs with your team, for not murdering me in the middle of the night when I cry when I can’t sleep, or try to ask you questions about my training as we try to sleep. Steve, you are my husband till death do us part, but you go so far and beyond that. I don’t know how you put up with me sometimes, but I hope it made it worth it.

Finally, my sponsors; Saucony for giving me everything a runner needs to train well, EnduroPacks for keeping me recovered, Sizzlefish for giving me my omegas that are so important, Nuttzo for the endless tubs of love that I devoured during this last training cycle, Twin labs to go in my recovery smoothies, and Primal Sport Mud for your endless support! I am lucky to have such great companies behind me!

Oh, and in case you were wondering… is what I refueled with after the race

Chocolate chip pancakes from my beloved Trolley Car Diner


Before I end this post, what is next?

Well, I think I am going to find 1-2 more race before I take my time off. Right now it is looking like I will HAVE to come back to Philly for the Rothman 8k (damn what a burden :P) on the 21st Nov, and then will likely do a Turkey Trot around here.

In case you were wondering why I did not just take my time off now….

We leave for our honeymoon on December 4th (and boooooyyy do I have some special guest posts for you!!!), and so I wanted to take my time off for that.

Either way I will keep you posted.

Thanks for all the love, and congrats to everyone who raced last weekend!

Oh, and I am now officially under the qualification standard to be considered for the world half marathon championships in 2016 to run for Great Britain! Right now I am ranked 9th, but many of the people ahead of me may be busy preparing for the Olympics, so I am really hoping I get the opportunity to compete for them in March, that would be a dream come true!

[bctt tweet=”LOVED reading this recap about @tinamuir 1:13 half marathon #rnrphilly!” via=”no”]

Have you ever raced well off being sick?

half marathon

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  • carla birnberg
    November 4, 2015 5:16 am

    I love your blog as your life experiences are SO DIFFERENT from mine on the surface and yet? underneath it all we are not all that unlike each other. (in our tactics with life. me? I would need to drive to get that time in a half :-))

  • Congrats! That’s so cool that you didn’t check pace the whole time. I used to race that way 3 years ago and I probably should again. I raced a half once coming off a bad cold and no sleep and did well, but it was winter, I think winter is just my season.

  • Congrats on a fantastic race. You must be so excited considering the days leading up to the race were not the best. You definitely deserve some time off and a honeymoon will be the perfect way to decompress from all the training and racing you have been doing. It’s fun to read that even elite runners can have angst during the first few miles of a race. During the NYC Marathon 3 days ago, I was very nervous that my month off of running this summer due to a calf injury (dog bite from prior year reared it’s ugly head with scar tissue) and my race went really well. I think mental strength is really important for all runners and my advanced age certainly has helped me with that. – Pam from We Run Disney

  • Runningwithallergies
    November 4, 2015 7:42 am

    Congrats – I am so excited for you and how fun to get under the Olympic Qualifying time in your beloved city of Philly! 🙂 Plus, you are a month out from your honeymoon and you have earned every second of your break and time with your husband.

  • SO, SO incredible Tina!! That is an amazing time and congrats on a new pr!! I love Philly- I really want to get back there to run a race, too. Enjoy your recovery!

  • You’ve had a seriously kick ass fall season! Congrats on all of your hard work really paying off for you. So exciting!

  • Congratulations on your race and big PR! A PR of over a minute in a half is really amazing but especially when you get to the kind of times you run *and* that you didn’t feel 100%. I’m glad you were still able to race and that your cold did not go into your chest. Good luck with your upcoming races and I hope they go well too!

  • I love what Carla wrote as it’s so true. Your talent and speed is mindblowing yet I see your realness in your writing. It’s like the first time I saw my grade one teacher go to the bathroom I was like, “she IS human!!!” Not that your writing is like going to the bathroom, omg Suzy. K, I hope you know what I mean. Anyway, you’re my idol, congrats on an incredible race, and I love everything about this post.

  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf
    November 4, 2015 11:24 am

    Congrats Tina on your shiny new PR!!! I’m so happy and excited for you AND that you are under the qualification standard. And yes, you definitely deserve a nice chunk of time off for your honeymoon!

  • Congratulations on an incredible race, Tina!! You are amazing! I am looking forward to heading to Philly in a few weeks to cheer on my sister who is running the marathon. Maybe I will run into you- hope to see you race! Good luck with everything!

  • LOVE this RR, and I love that course, myself. Except for mile 7. Psh.

  • Congrats on such an great PR! It would be amazing if you could compete in the world half championships – wishing you best of luck on that opportunity! You’re such a gifted writer as well – this was such an engaging post to read. Enjoy your recovery!

  • Laura Anderson
    November 4, 2015 2:17 pm

    Great recap and congrats on HUGE accomplishment. That is obviously an amazing time and even better an over 60 second PR! Your dedication to training, strength, and making this lifestyle everything you can is inspiring. I always enjoy reading your recaps because you are honest and give a real perspective which is refreshing.

    Fun fact: The winner Maegan used to run up here all the time. She used to run for a nearby team (Stotan) and I used to see her at races (while obviously finishing well behind her). It’s great to see her progress and success just like it is yours. You are headed in an incredible direction Tina, seriously!

  • Well done Tina on a great run. I really enjoyed reading your recap and so delighted for you that it went so well. I’ve never tried pancakes as a post-race food but looking at your pic here, I think it must be tried!

  • Dynise Balcavage
    November 4, 2015 2:55 pm

    Congrats! Woo hoo! I may try to come to the Rothman 8K. Hope to meet you after you CRUSH it. xx

  • HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE MEGA HUGE CONGRATS!!! This is so amazing!! I can’t believe you did this coming out of a cold. Serious rockstar status!

  • Gianna Alvino
    November 4, 2015 3:29 pm

    It must be so rewarding to see all your hard work pay off. Congratulations on a huge race and PR!!!

  • Martina Di Marco
    November 4, 2015 3:33 pm

    That is just FANTASTIC! I’m so so impressed! I cannot even phantom running a single mile that fast, let alone a half marathon (which is a distance I hate btw). CONGRATS <3

  • Congrats on such an amazing race, especially coming off of sickness! So happy for you and wish I could have met up with you 🙁

  • Congrats on a great race!

  • Rockstar. So happy for you. You have always raced your best when you are “at home” and relaxed! WOOOOOO

  • THey say you hit the highest mountain to club right before you reach success.

  • You are a rockstar! I know you have worked so hard for this and to see it come to fruition is AWESOME!! I hope you are taking an extra long honeymoon! You deserve it!!

  • Way to go!! Also such sweet words to Steve:)

  • Wow congrats! You are so speedy! I totally had to laugh when I read your shoutout to your husband – I also drive him crazy with my endless running talk and long training runs. The husbands of runners are seriously special because they put up with so much!

  • You believed and you conquered!!!! I couldn’t be happier for you Tina and I know you only have bigger and better coming your way!

  • Karla Bruning
    November 5, 2015 7:46 am

    Congratulations!!! That’s huge news all around! So excited for you. All your hard work is paying off!

  • You are AMAZING. Huge well done on your PB, you rock!! You deserve it so much after all the hard, consistent, focused effort you put in to your running. Awesome.

  • CONGRATULATIONS, Tina!! This is so exciting and I enjoyed reading about your race; I can’t imagine having felt the way you did in the days leading up to the race and then trying to get your mind ready to have a good performance. I’m so thrilled that you were rewarded with such a phenomenal experience – woo hoo! Way to go, girl!!

  • Hayley@healthyregards
    November 5, 2015 6:04 pm

    Congrats on an awesome PR, Tina! What a time! And after not so great of a week. Excited to see what is to come for you (:

  • Kathryn Birken
    November 6, 2015 9:20 am

    Congrats on the huge PR Tina! You must be so psyched to meet qualifying standards for world championships! That is cracking-whip fast! This is my first time on your blog and it is so great to see the real life of an elite athlete! It’s so inspiring to know you go through many of the same things we go through too – only faster! Haha 🙂

  • So much awesomeness in this post!!! I am so, so happy for you Tina! 1:13 is a killer time!!! All the hard work and dedication is paying off and I am so inspired by you. You and Steve make such a great team and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in 2016!! Isn’t it so neat that you still have your honeymoon to look forward to?!! xo

  • Congrats on a great race, knowing all your hard work is paying off, and a big PR! And all that when you were sick!

  • Lisa@runningoutofwine
    November 8, 2015 6:02 pm

    Congrats!!! That would be so amazing if you could get into the championships in Great Britain! Crossing my fingers for you!

  • HUGE CONGRATS on your PR and hitting the qualification standard for the half marathon championships!
    I love having a stranger at my pace on race day to push me and keep me from dropping off. I think having someone to latch onto helps me more often than not.
    I hope your recovery period is going better! Would love to see you kick butt at the 8K and turkey trot! 🙂

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