Monday, May 7, 2012

Recap: Broad Street Run 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012 marked one of my favorite days of the year: Broad Street Run. This was the 4th time I ran the 10-mile road race, and it was by far my best experience.

For fun, I looked up my previous times:

2008- 1:54
2009- 2:00
2011- 1:47
2012- 1:41

That’s right, a big PR for me this year! I think I owe that to a great training schedule and regiment, a delicious carb-filled dinner on Sat night, and a fantastic playlist.

Here’s a quick recap on how the race went this year.

A little inside info for you out-of-towners:

"The course starts at T.S. Park in the Logan neighborhood at the athletic fields at Central High School and goes south along Broad Street. Runners pass Temple University, City Hall, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Kimmel Center. The race finishes at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Due in part to its nearly flat (actually slightly downhill) course, it has become a favorite in the running community for setting personal best times." Wikipedia

The race starts every year at 8:30 a.m. and the easiest/best way to get there is to take the Broad Street Line up to North Philly (BSL stop: Olney). Lucky for us, we live right by the Lombard/South stop, so it’s a quick 2-minute walk to the subway.

In years past, we have always been good about getting there with plenty of time to properly warm up, stretch, check our bags, etc. This year, however, was a different story. We got a slightly later start than we would have liked- our goal was to be out of the house by about 7:10, and I think we actually left around 7:20. At the station, 4 trains passed us by because they were jam packed- this was the largest BSR to date (30,000+ runners), and the runners took advantage of the free and convenient train ride. We still hadn’t left by 7:45, and I was getting a bit stressed since I had my bag to check. I made a last minute decision and ran home to drop off our bag and thankfully arrived back just in time for a train to stop around 8:00. Cutting it close for sure!

Waiting for the train, before I ditched the backpack
We arrived at about 8:27 (aaaaagh!), and thank god we left our bag. Otherwise, we would have been running with it. Rhett and I hugged and he went up to find his starting corral.

(Side note: people find it funny that we don’t run together, but he is a very fast runner and I am a self-proclaimed pokey runner, so it works for us).

I found time to do a quick stretch, and thankfully spotted some empty Port-A-Potties. Whew! Relief in every sense (TMI? Too bad).

The race itself is SO MUCH FUN. The camaraderie of the fellow runners and the cheering crowd is really something- in fact, in 2008 and 2009, I ran without any accompanying music, and had no problem with my energy or motivation. The cheering is that loud and exciting. People hung out of their windows and yelled and clapped, and people lined up on the streets on either sides. Probably the best motivation is City Hall- it serves as a beacon the first half of the race, and it’s so cool to see it getting closer. Best of all, as soon as you pass it, you're more than halfway finished! 

Pictures from Broad Street 2011. Beginning of the race
BSR '11. Approaching Center City

BSR '11 City Hall
Highlights included seeing Erica and Ponch on the sidelines. I gave Erica a sweaty hug and Ponch some puppy kisses, and she said pups howled for me after I ran off. Around mile 7 in South Philly, right by Morris street, I saw Jen, Kev, Baby Ellie and Petey. Ellie was sleeping, Kev got a pic of me and Jen, and Petey howled and barked.

After I passed Jen, my legs and hips really started to feel it, so I slowed down slightly. Once I saw mile marker 8, though, I picked up speed, and after mile marker 9, I really pushed myself. It felt good to complete the race breathless and tired, as it showed I ran a good run. It was also good to note that I could have run longer if I needed to- the half marathons in September and November will be great races, I can tell!
BSR '11. Almost finished! The end is near

 After getting my medal and my race packet, I found Rhett in a crowd of thousands of people. We arranged to meet “to the right of the Dunkin stand,” which was still pretty tricky, but luckily I found him within 2 or 3 minutes. Our journey home was fantastic. In previous years, it has been a nightmare in terms of organization and crowd control, and we would have to walk another mile to get to the subway stop. NOT FUN. This year, we went immediately to the shuttle buses and got a free ride to the subway. We hopped on an express train, then walked 3 blocks home. Easy schmeezy.

All smiles on the shuttle bus
At home, we showered, played with the cats, and made smoothies. I chugged water, but still ended up pretty dehydrated and got a bad headache later in the day- I also blame the sun for that, though. Standing out and playing kickball when you are in the direct sun and dehydrated is not a good idea. I skipped game 2 and went home to rest, and thankfully prevented a migraine. WHEW!

Today, I'm pretty sore- my calves and shins are achy and I could use a good massage. Mentally, I feel great knowing I ran a great race and secured a new PR for myself. Hopefully after a summer of training, the half marathons in the fall will be just as successful.

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