Where: Philadelphia, PA
Date: May 1, 2016
Time: 8:00 am
Distance: 10 miles
Terrain: Net downhill, straight, has short, very small inclines
Entry fee: $45
Swag: Cotton t shirt and finisher’s medal
Post-race Food: Pretzel, yogurt, banana, oranges, granola, Kind bar, water, and Gatorade
Performance: Overall 8,850/34,237; Gender 2,888/18,845; Age (35-39) 408/2,724
Weather: Steady drizzly rain, 50 degrees, 87% humidity
I’ll start off the way I usually do, by saying that I’ve wanted to do this race for a while. Poor Ben. He had no idea that when he introduced me to racing that I would take his hobby as my own and take it to a whole new level. There are so many cool races in the spring and fall that I usually need to wait a year or two before I can fit that race into my schedule. The Broad St. Run was one of my ever-growing list of races that I want to do.
We almost didn’t do the race this year. We thought about doing the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in DC again, but we dithered about entering the lottery for so long that we actually missed putting our names in. Since we weren’t doing the Cherry Blossom, we thought that doing the Broad St. Run was a good alternative.
This race was never meant to be a big goal A race for me, despite the fact that it’s a perfect PR course. There’s a net decline (with a few small short inclines) and it’s almost 100% straight. The only turn is the gentle bends you make as you go around City Hall just after Mile 5. My big goal race for this spring is the Poconos Run for the Red Half Marathon that’s in a couple week. The Broad St. Run was nicely timed for one last steady state run that I like to do two weeks out. My plan was to run down Broad St. at around 8:20 pace.
While a week before, there were forecasts for perfect spring weather, it soon turned into a gloomy forecast of rain and clouds. The night before I forlornly stared at the weather app and sighed, “80% chance of rain at 8 am.”
Ben cheerfully responded, “That means there’s a 20% chance of no rain.”
Sometimes Ben takes his optimism to extremes. Unfortunately for us, it had started raining long before 8 am and at 7:30 we found ourselves shivering underneath a tree trying to avoid falling droplets of rain. “Strange that my Benny optimism didn’t work,” Ben quipped. I glared at him. I was not having fun.
I wore a garbage bag to help keep me dry and I wasn’t the only one. There was a long parade of runners wearing white or black garbage bags and some had even fashioned a garbage bag bonnet. As we stood here shivering waiting to wait, I told Ben that I was going to run to the hotel and stop. We were staying at the Sheraton, which was perfect for this race. It’s located just after Mile 5. It was raining. I was miserable. I saw no reason to extend my misery longer than I had to. Ben made me promise not to definitely make up my mind until I was a few miles in. I promised, but I was pretty sure that I was going to DNF. Ever since that horrible no good very bad Channukah Chalf I did a few years ago, I refuse to be a hero and finish races when I want to quit.
Finally, finally, finally, the horn blared and we were off running. Because of the rain, I abandoned the plan to do a steady state run. Instead I decided to take it easy and run at a relaxed pace.
There was a lot of music. Several music stations were set up. Some were amplified stereo speakers, but most were bands playing live music. My favorite was the Temple marching band when we went past Temple University. I love marching bands! It’s hard not to run fast when they’re playing. Someone else set up a Prince station and played his music. “Little Red Corvette” (one of my faves) was playing when I ran by. Ben’s favorite was a cover band playing “Livin’ on a Prayer” when he went by. I love Bon Jovi and wished that they had been playing that song for me too.
Despite the rain, there was a fair amount of crowd support. I was really impressed with how many people came out to cheer out in the cold wet weather. I appreciated their cheers, the ringing of the cow bells, the signs, and their energy. As I ran, my mood picked up and I began enjoying myself and the race. I started thinking that this wasn’t so bad after all. Although it was raining, it wasn’t heavy. Between the cheering crowds and music, I felt better and decided to finish the race. So I ran past the hotel without a second glance.
The Broad St. Run is ridiculously straight. We started at the top of Broad St. and ran all the way down with a couple of small turns so that we went around City Hall after Mile 5. Then it was more straight. The only thing I had to watch out for were the puddles so I wouldn’t get my feet too wet.
The race ends at the Navy Yard. Normally Ben waits for me by the finish line. I usually find him before the finish line where he shouts encouragements. Because of the weather and the uncertainty of my finishing, I told him to just go straight to the hotel afterward. I crossed the finish line and then hurried to get the post-race food bag and heat sheet.
The race very thoughtfully provided several school buses with the heat fully cranked up to warm us poor runners. I walked past all those buses to get to the subway station as quickly as possible. One of the cool things about the Broad St. Run is how supportive the city is. All day the subway is free for runners as long as you show your bib. Like New York, Philadelphia as local and express trains. The Sheraton was located near the Race-Vine station, which is also an express station, so I got on the express train. I guess all the practice I got from living in New York City made me some kind of expert because I spent a number of minutes answering questions from other runners about which train they should take. It’s not like I knew Philly’s transit system, but I know how to read maps. Runners would come up, ask me a question, like, “Does this train go to X station?” I look at the map that was behind my head and then definitively answer,”Yes” or “No” depending upon what the map said.
The other great thing about the transit that day is that they ran the Broad St. Line pretty much non-stop. Normally there’s a schedule, but because of the swarm of runners, they constantly run one train after another on that line for that day. We didn’t know that so that morning we hurried to catch the 7:08 train thinking another one wasn’t going to be by for a while. Not true. Had we missed it, there would have been another train in a few minutes. Good thing too because the trains that morning were all PACKED like sardines.
I ran a pretty slow race, but I’m okay with it. I wasn’t feeling it and sometimes that happens. I finished the race and sometimes that’s enough of a victory in it of itself. Ben had a pretty good race, especially considering that he only recently began training again. He loved his Broad St Run experience and had a great time. We both definitely recommend this race. I’d love to this race again (in better weather).