Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half MarathonBy Elvisbloom It was a sunny and breezy Sunday morning. My wife and I had trained in the brutal New Jersey heat and humidity all summer long for this moment. We were being led into the corral for the big race. Of course, I was the one getting all of the questions being that I was wearing my Vibram Sprints. This was my second pair, since I started running.A sharp rock on a longer run put a pretty nice-sized gouge in my inaugural pair, but lucky enough, it was far enough out from the race I had a chance to break in a new pair. I love running in my Vibrams. A lot of people ask me what it is like or if they should do it, and I simply reply, "It's what works for me." So here I am ready to run 13.1. Further than I have ever gone and hopefully at a pretty good pace. I had upped my miles significantly over the summer, so I felt confident. But most of that was done with some walking intervals thrown in, and we both planned on running this one straight. During the training, I was hampered by mostly foot pain.Putting the long miles in on mostly pavement was not doing me any favors. I was icing pretty much straight up until race day, but I had some concerns. It would not be my feet or my legs that hampered me though. The race was well organized, and I felt all the corrals were off and going very smoothly. We hit a nice pace by mile 1 and found a good space to run. The first 3 or 4 miles were in the city itself, so we got to see a lot of the sights we had seen as walking tourists the day before. Independence Hall, Chinatown, the museums, and so on... Since this was another in the ever-increasing runs that has been falling under the umbrella of "Rock and Roll," there were plenty of great bands along the route. The really placed them where they seemed to be needed, adding a boost. Some of the bands were even clever enough to pick running songs such as Psycho Killer and Running Down a Dream. Very appreciated. When the race left the city is where it got interesting; from mile 5 on, you run along the river just outside the center of the city. It's scenic, beautiful, and tranquil, and there were barely any people there cheering you on. It was amazing. What a great contrast to the first half. As a side note: Unfortunately, I only saw two other people wearing VFFs and no barefoot runners. I was hoping for some comrades. Around mile 8 is where a side stitch came up and introduced itself to me. We will call him Gary. He hit me pretty hard, as I had never experienced a side stitch before running, so I wasn’t really sure how to rid myself of him. It was not easy going for the last few miles, but with some encouragement from my wife and the music of the bands, I was able to ignore Gary for most of it and tough it out. Crossing the finish line was more relief at first than excitement. It took a minute of lying, but Gary had left, and I finally could revel in my accomplishment. Blister free and happy, I ran up the "Rocky" steps out of sheer joy.