Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Running the Broad Street Run

On Sunday, Nick and I headed down to Philadelphia to run the Broad Street Run.  My mom and sister were nice enough to drive us down to the starting line near Broad & Olney so we didn’t have to take the subway with the 30,000 people that were also running the race.  All of the parking is at the finish line at the Navy Yard, so SEPTA is kind enough to let all Broad Street runners ride the Broad Street Line to the starting line for free. 

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This is our second year running the race and we had much better weather than last year, which was insanely hot and humid for the first Sunday in May.  The weather was pretty much perfect this year, although ideally I would have liked it 5-10 degrees cooler since it got kind of hot in the sun.  

Nick and I started running the Broad Street last year to raise money for Back on My Feet, an organization that empowers the homeless through running.  The organization started in Philly a few years ago and has expanded across the country.  We were able to raise $640 this year thanks to our awesome friends and family!

When I tell people that I love running the Broad Street, they look at me like I’m nuts (these are all non-running people, I might add).   Up until last year, I never considered myself a runner.  I played soccer and field hockey up until middle school and always managed to weasel my way out of the long distance runs into the park across the street from the school.  Last year while training for the Broad Street I realized that I actually did like running and could run for long distances if I actually tried and trained.  Most of my training occurs in the evening at Tyler Park across the street from our house.  Hearing the sound of my breathing and my feet hitting the pavement mixed with the sights and sounds of nature is incredibly relaxing.  A lot of the time I forget that I'm running and get into a sort of trance (while making sure to pay attention to my surroundings, of course).  It's very therapeutic and I always return happy and grateful that we have such ready access to nature.

But the Broad Street is a whole different animal.  The run starts in North Philly on Broad Street and you follow it down past City Hall before ending in South Philly at the Navy Yard. 

Nick and I signed up to be in the last corral, so we didn’t even start running until a half hour after the first corral started.  We got to get all pumped up at the starting line, where they were of course blasting the Rocky theme.  The Rocky theme popped up at various points along the route, which always energizes the crowd.  Imagine standing on a city street and seeing this in front of you.  It is literally a sea of people.  It's unlike anything I've ever seen.

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I never get into a trance-like state during the Broad Street because of all of the city noise and the thousands of people, but all along the way are people cheering you on, which is what makes this race so great.  Ladies and gents who are all dressed up for church are all lined up on the sidewalks, guys playing drums, drumlines, marching bands, DJs, people cheering, people with funny signs (my favorite: Where R U Guys Going?), people with cow bells, and lots of people giving high fives to anyone who wants one.  It’s amazing.  And it really makes the 10 miles go by a lot faster.

Last year I remember struggling with every mile.  Maybe it was the heat and humidity, maybe it was entirely mental seeing Billy Penn so far away and knowing that he was only the halfway point.  But this year, I felt great until mile 7.  I had started to feel hungry around mile 3, so I was beginning to feel a little weak by mile 7.  And then the last two miles were pretty painful.  I kept telling myself that we had trained for this and that I was going to finish under 2 hours having run the whole way.  Last year we clocked in at 2 hours and 10 minutes, so I thought that 2 hours would be doable since the weather was working for us. 

I refused to allow myself to stop running and we finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes.  Success! Here Nick and I are steps before the Finish Line.  Nick is doing a goofy wave in the green shirt and I'm next to him in the blue shirt.  I was waving but had to stop to conserve the little energy I had left!

I think I’ll look into those protein snacks that I see people popping throughout the race.  We’re running a 5k on Saturday that my brother-in-law is organizing.  It is going to be delightfully easy!

Our ultimate Frisbee league starts up in a few weeks, so today Nick and I switch from training for an evenly paced long distance run to training for near constant running with long periods of sprinting.  I'm admittedly better at sprinting than long distance running, so I don't expect it to be a hard transition.  I look forward to running around on freshly cut grass in a few weeks!


  1. Congrats to you!! That is really awesome. Love the photos you included!

  2. Thanks, Becky! I'm still waiting for the pictures that they took of us at the Finish Line to come back from the vendor. I'll post them when I get them--we were being quite silly at that point!


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