RunPatRun Race Series – Part 5: 2021 Rocky Run

Since the first time I did the Rocky Run several years ago, it has consistently been one of my favorite events.

It’s a big city event that doesn’t feel that big because the course is spread out and they also have a staggered start to make sure that everyone has room to run from the beginning.

Both courses are run almost completely along the Schuykill River and finish at the bottom of the Rocky Steps (aka The Philadelphia Museum of Art), which I have always really liked.

And it’s all done with the Rocky soundtrack as a backdrop! What’s not to like about that?

This year, like most years, I did the Italian Stallion Challenge, which is a 5k followed almost immediately by the 10 mile run.

But unlike most years, I didn’t go all out this year because I was using the day as my last big training run before the Philadelphia Marathon.

In last week’s post, Ready or Not?, I laid out my plans for the 5k and the 10 mile races at Rocky Run.

Here’s how it went.

5k Race

As I walked from my car to the start area, it felt like it was going to be a great day. I felt good and my legs felt fresh. Almost as importantly, it was perfect conditions for the race. A cool morning in the low-40s F (about 5 C) was about as good as I could have hoped for.

My plan going in to the 5k was just to use it as a warmup for the 10 mile race. So I didn’t really have a time goal in mind as it started, but instead I just wanted to take it nice and easy and go with what felt comfortable.

The start of any race, but specifically the start of a 5k, is always really fast. While it took some self-restraint, I was able to stay in control and run the first two miles at about 7:30 per mile.

With a mile to go in this race, I was still feeling really good so decided to pick up the pace, even though I still had the 10 mile race to come.

Finishing with a time of 22:25, I had about 25 minutes until the start of the 10 mile race, which was just enough time to drink some water, eat a little something and stay loose.

10 Mile Race

Even though I only had to wait about 15 minutes at the start line for the 10 mile race to start, it was still tough because all I want to do was get started. I was already warmed up and felt ready to get the 10 mile race underway.

The goal all along with this race was to run at my planned marathon pace or even a little quicker, but more importantly to keep it comfortable to give me one last confidence-building long run before the marathon.

I started out with the first three miles between 7:20-7:30. So far, so good.

Having done this race before, I knew that mile 4 was by far the most difficult mile – maybe the only difficult mile. Dubbed ‘Mount Drago’, in reference to Rocky IV, it is almost all up hill and not really a gentle up hill. It seems to keep going for quite a while, but once you get to the top you are rewarded with a downhill 5th mile to match it.

Finishing the 4th mile in 7:42 and the 5th in 7:00, I knew that the toughest part of the race was behind me and I was still feeling good and right on target with my average time.

For the next three miles, I just wanted to stay comfortably around 7:20 per mile and I was able to do just that.

I kept telling myself that if I got to the final two miles still feeling good, then I would allow myself to open it up. As I completed the 8th mile, I was averaging about 7:23 per mile.

And with just two miles left, I knew that I could comfortably pick up the pace some more, which I did to finish with a time of 1:12:58.

All in all, the Rocky Run was a huge success for me! While I have had better finishing times before, I achieved what I set out to – two great races where I executed my plan about as well as I could have and set myself up to have an even better weekend at the Philadelphia Marathon!

For my full results and placing, see below.

  • 5k – 22:25; 168th out of 5,124 overall; 21st out of 333 in age group
  • 10 Mile – 1:12:58; 65th out of 2,776 overall; 8th out of 235 in age group
  • Italian Stallion Challenge – 1:35:23; 46th out of 1,753 overall; 8th out of 161 in age group

More From RunPatRun:

  • If you’ve read this far, you know that I am running in the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend! I’ll have a race report from that in a couple of weeks.
  • Next Week: With my running streak reaching 4 years next Wednesday, I will have a post about some of the things I have learned along the way.

2 thoughts on “RunPatRun Race Series – Part 5: 2021 Rocky Run

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