Race Recap: Broad Street Run
The Broad Street Run was an experience I will likely never forget. Philadelphia’s annual 10 mile race brought 30,000 people this year, and it felt like there were 30,000 people there! The whole weekend started with nerves and stress over how to get to the start line. It wasn’t very clear how to get there, and I was not sure what to do!
Fact #1: The Broad Street Run is 10 miles STRAIGHT down Broad Street! You finish in a different place than the start. This race was the first time I experienced that.
PhillyBoy finally came home from his trip Saturday night and shared the plan. We would drive to the stadium, park our car, and take a free Septa subway ride to the start. Despite the thousands of people doing the same thing as us, this worked perfectly and we got to the start by 7:10 AM (actual start time was 8:30 AM).
We made plans to meet all of our friends at the high school track near the start, and somehow, miraculously, we all found one another!
Fact #2: Picking a meeting place and a time to meet up with a group works… even without cell phones! I almost forgot what that was like.
After a trip to the sea of port-a-potties we all made our way to the start, and most of us started together in the orange corral. One friend mistakenly put his finish time at 60 minutes and ended up with a bib number of 709. Rock on!
The race began and the energy was addictive. The sea of thousands of new and experienced runners was energetic and exciting, and I couldn’t wait to cross the start line. The race opened up fairly quickly. I really appreciated the lack of bottlenecking in this race. Broad Street is quite wide and there weren’t too many spots of congestion. Due to the anticipated hot weather they opened many fire hydrants to use as sprinklers to cool us down, and it was greatly appreciated.
Fact #3: Races that start at 8:30 AM should not be taken seriously. By the 3rd mile it was H O T out there and people were dropping left and right due to dehydration. It was really sad and scary to see all of these fit people sitting on the side trying to hydrate themselves. Why doesn’t the race start earlier?
The first 3 miles were so fun for me. My friend Erika shot up ahead of me but I kept her in my line of sight and planned on catching up to her around mile 5. I lost sight of her around mile 5, and by then first time racers Jake & Gina caught up with me! I was so excited when I heard Gina yell “RhodeyGirl Tests” and I ran a bit with them. It was so fun to run together.
By this point- mile 5- I was in incredible pain. I have been having IT band issues for months and in fact I had not run since the DC Cherry Blossom run due to my injury. At mile 6 I was in so much pain in my right knee that I was biting my lip to stop from crying. At one point Jake asked me how it was going and I remember I started to tear up and said I was sad that I would not reach my goal of a 9:30 min/mile pace.
Fact #4: It is extremely frustrating to finally have lungs that can handle running fast, only to have pain in one leg. I am accustomed to being held back from running fast from being out of breath, but this was the first time that something else held me back.
At one point Jake asked if he could go ahead to bust out the last 2.5 miles since I was there to run with Gina. It seemed like a great idea until the pain in my knee went from ok to intolerable. I felt really bad not be there for Gina, but I had to stop for a minute to stretch out my leg and I did not want to hold her back. At least we got to see the Mummers together! I stopped for a solid 30-45 seconds and just stretched and gave myself a pep talk. I could have just quit, and honestly, that would have been the smarter decision for my body, but I had to finish for myself. At that point all I cared about was finishing without doing more damage to my IT band/knee.
I tried to catch up to Gina and busted out a 7 min/mile pace for about 4-5 minutes, but the pain became unbearable when running that fast. I walked for a few and stopped to stretch again, negating any distance I covered by running fast. I then kept looking at my Garmin and focused on going no faster than a 10 minute mile pace… and just finishing. I have wanted to run the Broad Street Run for 3 years, and this was my chance.
Then… mile 9. Blood, sweat, and tears. Take away the blood and you have sweat and tears.
When I crossed mile 9 I started sobbing uncontrollably while running. You know the sobs where you shake so hard from your tears? That type of sobbing. It was embarrassing, but I couldn’t stop it. As I get older, I cry more easily. The pain was shooting up from my knee and into my thigh and I just wanted to be done. I cursed myself for deciding to run it despite having an injury, and I just wanted to disappear from that moment!
Fact #5: Runners are amazing. An older gentleman patted me on the back while passing me and told me that it was going to be ok and I am almost done. The kindness of that stranger helped me block out the pain and just finish the race.
For once, crossing the finish line was completely anticlimatic for me. I burst into happy tears that I was done, but all I cared about was getting some ice for my knee. I congratulated the runners around me and headed over to our meeting point of bus #10. When I saw my friends Garo & Erika, I immediately burst into tears again and tried to pull my hat low. That time, the tears were not for the pain I felt physically, but the pain of not reaching my goal.
I know that running is just running, and while I am happy that I finished the race, I still can’t help but be disappointed. I wish that I had not had that pain so I could have reached my goal, but I know that taking care of my body comes first. I can’t wait to heal up and take care of this issue and do the Broad Street Run again next year.
Mile 1: 9:01 min/mile
Mile 2: 9:08
Mile 3: 9:57
Mile 4: 9:45
Mile 5: 10:12
Mile 6: 10:17
Mile 7: 9:59
Mile 8: 10:43
Mile 9: 11:11
Mile 10: 11:01
Mile 10+: pace 9:55
Total time: 1:41:57
Avg pace: 10:07 min/mile
So many of our friends ran in a race for the first time yesterday, including my cousin Raz. I feel so proud and happy for all of them, and I hope that their passion for running continues so we can all run the Broad Street Run again next year.
In the meantime, I plan to focus on swimming to get ready for the sprint triathlon this summer, yoga to strengthen my body and mind, stretching to solve that IT band issue, and boot camp classes for fun.
Congratulations to all of yesterday’s Broad Street Run finishers! A special congratulations goes out to one of my best friends, Dadriana, for finishing her half marathon in Rhode Island yesterday in 1:56!!!! Congratulations and happy birthday D!!!!!
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If you have any race stories, or if you ran in the Broad Street Run yesterday, feel free to share stories and links in the comments section!