I first came to Philadelphia in 1995. One of the things that really surprised me about the city was how quickly the landscape and feel of the city changed block by block. This was also one of the things that delighted me during the Broad Street Run. I was able to get a glimpse of most of the city in that one ten-mile run on Sunday – through the architecture and the spectators.
‘Twas the Night Before the BSR
The night before the run I spent the night with my sister-in-law to be closer to the starting point. I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be running together as planned, but so grateful to hear about her experience in previous Broad Street Runs. We enjoyed a big pasta dinner with my family and then headed to her house for an early bedtime.
The Morning Of
I woke up at 5:30 am due to excitement and slight anxiety about not waking up in time! Had my coffee and toast with peanut butter and banana, and packed my homemade energy gel for later in the run.
My mother in law dropped me off at the starting point and I joined the massive crowd of runners. My sister-in-law assured me that there was no reason to get there at 7:40 am (like it requested on the brochure) and sure enough she was right! We didn’t actually start moving to the starting point until about 8:40 am.
It was a beautiful sunny day. I spent part of the pre-race time finding the less popular porta johns that my sister-in-law assured me would be there and chit chatting with other runners around me. There was an excited buzz in the air as everyone was anxious to start. With the sound of the bullhorn, we were off!
On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!
I kept my music and earplugs off for the first several minutes, but quickly realized that I wanted to listen to the music I had been training with. I thought I would be engrossed in the surroundings enough to not need my music, but I was wrong! I enjoy running to music and it’s a big motivator for me.
As I was running through the Northern part of the city, I was really touched and inspired by the spectators – the neighbors on their porches cheering, the Temple athletes clapping for us, the children at Shriners Hospital who came out to cheer, the children handing out water and giving hi-fives along with those who were sleepily taking it all in.
The signs were really amusing too:
Smile if you just peed a little (you’ll understand if you’re older…)
Run faster, I just farted
Complete Stranger, I’m so proud of you!
Pain is temporary, but internet race results last forever!
Your feet hurt because you’re kicking a** (which I read right after I was thinking to myself, my feet are starting to hurt)
At the 6 mile mark: 4 more miles and water turns into wine
I felt good running. I’m not sure what the phrase “runners high” means exactly, but I know that I have experienced falling into a rhythm during my long runs. During those times, running felt effortless after the first several miles.
The run on Sunday didn’t feel without effort. There were certain times when I remember going inward versus being more outward focused on the scenery and spectators. During those times I focused on the road, the empowering lyrics of my music, and my mantra of “I am capable – I can do this”.
I got a stitch in my side and pushed in, but kept running. I told myself that I had experienced this before, it would go away. It did. It was around mile 5 that I took my energy gel out and ate it.
Trust the Training
There were times that I was nervous since I had my last long run 2 weeks prior to the day of the race. I followed this training plan from running coach Cory Smith. Would I be able to run 10 miles after only running 3 miles at the most the week before? I had to remember to trust the training – that the time I had spent the past 8-10 weeks running several times a week would add up.
It did. I walked through a couple of water stations and had one pit stop at a porta john, but otherwise ran pretty comfortably the whole ten miles.
My husband signed up to get texts on my progress at 3, 5, and 7 miles. It was interesting to read them and see that I started out at a pace of 10 minute 31 second miles for the first 3 miles, my pace slowed slightly the next two miles to 10 minutes and 46 seconds and slowed down to about 11 minutes 3 seconds from miles 5-7.
Approaching the Finish Line
I took my headphones off the last 2 miles because the crowd was so encouraging, and I was hoping to catch sight of my family. I slowed down and scanned the crowd on both sides and quickly realized we should have designated a specific spot and side that they would be.
I didn’t end up seeing my family until after the race, but I was thankful that they braved the crowds and hot sun to cheer their mom on. My middle son grumpily called it the “worst day of his life” but cheered up when we went out to brunch. 🙂
I’m glad I ran the Broad Street Run. It showed me that I could do something that I didn’t think I was capable of. I also experienced that training, or doing something repeatedly makes that particular task easier and even enjoyable. That fact is encouraging to me as I declutter and continue to sustain and add habits that don’t come naturally to me.
I’m glad I’m no longer in training mode. Running three times a week is not how I would normally choose to exercise for weeks at a time. I’m happy to go back to my YouTube fitness videos and my yoga classes.
Are you currently in training for anything? Have you done something you thought you were incapable of doing? I’d love to hear!