Broad Street Run 2011

6 05 2011

Maybe not very food related … but figured I’d post this here so I can put pictures and video in.

I didn’t train enough.  I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I woke up late. I was rushing to Philly. I didn’t eat a good breakfast. I didn’t even have time to stop for coffee in the morning.  I was running alone.  It seems like everything had gone wrong.  So I pulled in the Wells Fargo Arena parking lot Sunday morning at 6:15am with one goal:  finish the race.

I honestly had run 4.5 miles as my longest run before Sunday, and that was a week and a half before (cringe, I know).  I just wanted to make it through the race and cross the finish.  I knew my training wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been and wasn’t even setting a time expectation for myself.    I bought a Fuel Belt right before the race, but because I hadn’t trained with it, Sunday morning I decided to ditch it because I was afraid of the impact it may have on my running.

Once I got to the parking lot, I put on my number [#24376, in the pink/last corral] and followed the crowd of people towards the subway station.  One guy was walking near me and commented on the weather.  He also mentioned that he had done the race a few times, saying, “I hope I finish this time.”  Now this got me worried.  He was a super fit guy, a little older, and definitely looked like a guy that could easily run ten miles.  We bid farewell, even though we were heading towards the same subway.  I waited for the train with a bunch of other people, and kind of felt like the people in this video when we were getting on:  

There were SO many people on the train.  Luckily I was in a spot where I could hold onto a pole, but other people were just crammed in the middle and held onto other people (that they knew) for the ride.  25 minutes later we piled out of the subway and followed the mass of people to the ground level.  I didn’t have a watch, so then I wandered for who-knows-how-long, since the race didn’t start at 8:30. I went to the bathroom. I got some water.  I walked around. I put my stuff on the gear bus. And then I sat on a sidewalk for what felt like forever.  I stretched and watched people pass by for a long time.  The variety of people that come to this run is fantastic.  The group I liked the most was a program called “Students Run Philly” which is a citizen development program for Philly youth, and so there were a bunch of middle/high school kids in matching shirts with their coaches.  I told myself, if these kids can run 10 miles, so can I.

Finally when it seemed like the streets were starting to get a little more crowded with the runners, I turn around and see this very familiar man.  I approach him and he seems to recognize me too, and we figure out that he’s the neighbor of some of my dance friends and we had met twice before.  He introduced me to his friend, who had also unexpectedly run into him, and we talked for a while and then the race was starting.  The guys left to run in the yellow corral (they said the pink corral was ‘too slow’ for them) and so I was at the start of the pink corral.

Here’s what the start looks like.  Look at all those people!  There were 30,000 total for 2011.

Since the pink corral was last, we started about 25 minutes after the first corral.  Corrals are grouped by anticipated finish times, and the pink corral was the “finishing 2:00 or later” group.  I stood near the front and all I could see ahead was a sea of bobbling heads.  “That’s so awesome,” I said to the woman next to me.  She asked if it was my first time, to which I responded yes, and she told me it would be like that the entire race.  Finally, after the yellow corral was a little ways away, they blew the horn and the speakers played “Gonna Fly Now” – the Rocky theme song.  Ironically, this was the first song of the playlist that I put together for the run.  And BOOM, we were off!  I was passed by many people, but was keeping pace with this one guy for a while. After a while he moved to the other side of the street and I lost him within the ridiculous sea of people.

And then two hours, 8 minutes, and 46 seconds later, I crossed the finish line.  It was a hard journey, but if anything, my music, the other runners, and the crowd kept me going.  The adrenaline I felt during the race was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.  There is nothing like hundreds of complete strangers telling you that you can do it, you’re doing great, and cheering you on.  People had great signs, like “halfway there” and “Where are you going? Not too late for SEPTA tokens,” and one woman even stood outside her row-home giving out orange slices to the runners.  The run through Philadelphia was beautiful, and it was a gorgeous day to be running, about 70-75 degrees once the sun came out in full force.  When we ran past Temple University Hospital, there were patients outside in wheelchairs with staff members cheering us on, and this was truly a sight to be seen.  Just seeing the children in wheelchairs gave me so much motivation to keep going.  Towards center city and south Philly, there were so many little kids on the street helping to hand out water, high-fiving runners, and cheering along with their parents.

Running-wise, I did much better than expected.  I tried to go for a 2.5/1 running/walking ratio, but after a while I got pretty tired.  For the most part, the only times I walked was during water stations and maybe a few other times, but I wouldn’t let myself walk for more than half a song and then told myself I had to just keep going.  Besides the people, my music playlist helped me keep going.  A few highlights from the 2 hour playlist of general exciting music and music that I like:

  • “Gonna Fly Now” – Rocky Theme – played at the start of the race
  • “Totally Fucked” from Spring Awakening – during the first uphill of the race
  • Cheer Up” by Reel Big Fish – after the first 2.5 miles and the first time I walked
  • “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk – second big uphill, and got me from walking to running
  • “Baby can dance” by Carsie Blanton – somewhere around mile 4, got me from walking to running
  • You are Loved” by Josh Groban – came on right as I passed mile 5 marker.  Don’t give up!
  • Country Roads” [techno version] – came on right as a guy yelled “Take it home! Halfway there”!
  • “Moving Too Fast” by Jason Robert Brown – while I was running around City Hall and trying to keep up with everyone, but realized I didn’t need to keep up with them. Also the point where my foot started hurting so I walked the next half mile.
  • “Beat It” by Michael Jackson – Start of mile 8.
  • “One More Time” by Daft Punk – Start of mile 9!  I knew I didn’t have much more to go and was determined to run the last two miles of the race.
  • “Blue Jeans” by Sqeezer – this is a song my mom used to listen to so it always reminds me of her.  Came on during the last half mile.
There were a bunch of other songs, but as these songs came on I just had to smile and reflect on how perfect they all were.  A photography company was at the race, but it’s super expensive to purchase the prints so I won’t.  My finish line picture isn’t even that good.  But this picture is cute, taken around mile 7.  I’m super happy because I surprised myself by even making it to mile 7, let alone finishing the whole race.
All in all it was a fantastic experience and a great thing that happens in Philadelphia.  I will train better next time and am SO excited to do it again next year, hopefully with some friends.  I ran into one friend from TCNJ near the finish line and she was impressed that I did the race, especially since I was by myself.  I would highly recommend the race to anyone and everyone, and hope you can run it with me next year!



One response

18 05 2011
Graham Cracker Snickerdoodles « Notes Of Orchid

[…]  Life has been so busy and I apologize for the lack of updates lately!  Between the Broad Street Run, final exams and projects, one week of “stay-cation” and now starting full-time work on […]

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