It has been a week since our family traveled to the City of Brotherly Love in order to take in some sights and I could run the Philadelphia Rock N Roll half marathon. http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/usa
My day started a little earlier on Saturday the 14th. I was up and out the door for a early 4.25 run before we packed up the family truxster and made our way south. Arriving in Philly our first stop was the Pennsylvania Convention Center where I could pick up my race packet for Sunday. Now I have never been to Philly and had no clue what I was doing or where to park. Frustrated I parked in the first parking garage I could find, right smack in the middle of Chinatown. The streets were closed due to the “Chinatown Autumn Festival”. Walking from the parking garage to the convention center was entertaining to say the least. We walked by a Peking Duck restaurant and the boys noticed all the cooked foul in the window complete with heads attached. Like a bolt of lighting the boys went into reciting the ending scene from that Christmas classic “Christmas Story”. I was one proud dad! Moving on we came across a part of the festival where Max screams from out of nowhere “Holy Crap they really dance in dragon costumes” After telling him he shouldn’t use the word crap because I never do we decided to stay for a few minutes and watch.
© Joe Geronimo 2013
Finally made it to the convention center which is right next to the Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminalmarket.org. The place was mobbed with runners but surprisingly enough we were in and out in about 30 minutes. Hungry we went to the Terminal Market for lunch. Julie and Max split off to find what they want to eat as do Michael and I. The place is a mad house, your mind is going at 100 MPH with all the food choices. Honestly I was overwhelmed. Michael wanted pickles “His favorite food” and a ham sub. Me I had no clue. I settled on pickled beets and sausage and rice. Rice was gross and the sausage was ok. Julie and Max enjoyed their brick oven pizza. Finished with lunch it was time to check out a few sights.
Our first stop was the B Free Franklin Post Office “Free Franklin Post Office & Museum is the only Colonial-themed post office operated by the United States Postal Service. It is a living portrayal of a bygone Colonial lifestyle, and it is the only active post office in the United States that does not fly the American flag (because there was not yet one in 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General). The postmark “B. Free Franklin” is still used to cancel stamps. The museum on the second floor features displays of postal history and memorabilia”
© Joe Geronimo 2013
Right next door is Franklin’s Print Shop. “Years before his little kite-flying escapade, young Benjamin Franklin was making quite a name for himself as a printer. Progressing from apprentice to master printer, he took over publication of The Pennsylvania Gazette, and it soon became the most successful newspaper in the colonies.”
An 18th century print shop is recreated here on the site of his original property. Independence National Historical Park (INHP) rangers give demonstrations of the labor-intensive process of turning out a daily newspaper. Leather daubers stuffed with cotton are used to apply the ink. Then it’s onto the hand-operated 18th century printing press. The final product hangs from the drying racks along the ceiling. Typesetting desks and the tiny little letters and numbers are also displayed. Before 1770, colonies mailed newspapers to England but not to other colonies. Franklin realized that sharing information was essential if the colonies were to unite. When he was appointed assistant postmaster general he introduced the practice of mailing newspapers throughout the colonies to improve communication. Newspaper delivery through the postal service typically took two to four days, a rate similar to today.
Next we made our way to Independence Hall. Independence Hall was fascinating to say the least. “After the Revolutionary War, the fledgling nation was in chaos and bordering on collapse. Each state had its own monetary system and trade laws. There was no centralized system of defense. Yet many were wary of a strong central government. Debates were bitter but the checks and balances provided by three branches of government alleviated concerns. In 1787, the US Constitution was adopted.”
“They risked everything — “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor.” During the blistering summer of 1776, 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation.
The guided tour of Independence Hall, led by National Park rangers, begins in the courtroom where lawyers from opposing sides shared tables and law books.
George Washington’s “rising sun” chair dominates the Assembly Room which is arranged as it was during the Constitutional Convention. In the adjacent West Wing, the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration and an original draft of the Constitution are displayed.”
© Joe Geronimo 2013
Next was the Liberty Bell. Now years ago Julie was a Park Ranger and actually worked at the Liberty Bell. It was so awesome to see this piece of American History in person! “The Liberty Bell has a new home, and it is as powerful and dramatic as the Bell itself. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell.
X-rays give an insider’s view, literally, of the Bell’s crack and inner-workings. In quiet alcoves, a short History Channel film, available in English and eight other languages, traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups adopted the Bell as its symbol of freedom.
Other exhibits show how the Bell’s image was used on everything from ice cream molds to wind chimes. Keep your camera handy. Soaring glass walls offer dramatic and powerful views of both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, just a few steps away.”
“The bell now called the Liberty Bell was cast in the Whitechapel Foundry in the East End of London and sent to the building currently known as Independence Hall, then the Pennsylvania State House, in 1753.
It was an impressive looking object, 12 feet in circumference around the lip with a 44-pound clapper. Inscribed at the top was part of a Biblical verse from Leviticus, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”
Unfortunately, the clapper cracked the bell on its first use. A couple of local artisans, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell twice, once adding more copper to make it less brittle and then adding silver to sweeten its tone. No one was quite satisfied, but it was put in the tower of the State House anyway.”
© Joe Geronimo 2013
Getting late now we had dinner plans with my friend Josh. We were meeting at the Hard Rock right back near the Terminal Market.
© Joe Geronimo
After dinner it was getting late so Julie and I decided it was time to make our way to the hotel. I needed some rest for the big day!
My alarm went off at 0530 Sunday morning. Time to get up, get dressed and focus on the day’s task. Thats right the Philadelphia Rock N Roll half marathon!
Making my way to the lobby of the hotel to one of the 18 waiting taxi cabs that were taking runners to the start line. Four people to a cab and $5.00 per person was a deal. Julie and the boys would sleep in a bit and make their way to the finish to grab a spot to watch me come in. The morning was beautiful. Sunny, a bit cool perfect weather for running. I’ll tell you I was a bit intimidated by all the people. 22,000 runners were there to compete. 0800 sharp and the first corral is off and the race begins. I was in corral 13 and crossed the starting line around 0830. Quickly I began to pass other runners and was liking how wide the streets were compared to the Boilermaker in Utica. Moving right along to cheering crowds, school cheerleaders and of course bands playing at about one mile increments made this race so much fun. And who cannot resist the energy of “Eye of the Tiger” blaring in the city that Rocky Balboa made somewhat famous. I felt like I was back in the 1980’s briefly. Approaching mile 9 I was feeling good, my pace and breathing were spot on. Grabbing my last black cherry Cliff Shot I am focused on the finish. Mile 12 only 1.1 miles left and I am home. I crossed the finish line in 1:36:03 placing 1,025 out of 18,074 finishers. I was ecstatic to say the least. I ran hard and I loved every minute of it!
© Joe Geronimo 2013