Whoa baby, now that was one hell of a race.
There is so much I want to say about this one.
Performance wise, experience wise, everything all together just clicked and made up quite possibly my best running day to date.
I am completely in love with this race, and there is no doubt in my mind it is going to become an annual event for me. (more on that at the end of this post, so keep reading)
So, where to even start? I’ll start with the race itself and the experience of it all. I’ll talk about my own performance after that.
Like I mentioned in the Race Prep post, this is the largest 10M race in the country. Literally 40,000 runners. That is a ton of people to keep organized and in order, but it seriously ran smoothly. The race is not a loop, it’s a point to point run, so you start in North Philly, and run all the way down to the Stadiums and Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. What this means logistically is that you have to park your car at the finish line and then catch the “shuttle” (Subway) 10 miles up to the start. Everybody was moving pretty well, and even though I ended up getting caught up in some hellish traffic I still was able to get there and make it to the start line with no real time concerns. (I did miss the group photo for the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team, and I was really bummed about that, but next year I’ll get it) Given the recent events in Boston, the city had announced that there were going to be some “additional visible security measures” taken. What they should have said was the city was going to be flooded with police. The presence was overwhelming, in the best way possible. I did kind of expect that, honestly. What I did not expect, however, was the 2 giant SWAT trucks, one at the start line and one at the finish line, the totally conspicuous video recording/ monitoring stations, and the presence of openly armed military. I was happy to see each and every one of them. I was not sure what to expect in that regard, but they were all fantastic, and I felt secure. As for the race itself, also like I said before, this is an even that the city comes out for in droves. So much so that even in the parts of the race where the crowds thinned out a little, you could not run 100 yards without running past a big crowd of cheering fans. The vast majority of the course was literally lined with people, cheering, waving, high fiving. Awesome. Call me dorky, but I totally feed off of that stuff. It really was so much fun. As for the crowds themselves, since you are running through the main artery of the city you get a pretty cool cross section of everybody. I started to write it out myself, but I want to plagiarize a good friend of mine Steve (if you’ll excuse my laziness and thievery), when he said on a facebook post shortly after the race:
“I dare anyone to run The Broad Street Run and not completely fall in love with the City of Philadelphia. Between the kids at Temple Medical Center in wheelchairs giving out high fives, volunteers everywhere and the smiling Military/police, it was awesome”.
There is literally no way to put it better than that. Well said, Stevie. The crowds and supports could not have been better. Some of the coolest and most unexpected “fan highlights” for me included a multitude of Doctors and Hospital staff outside of the hospitals and local leaders (I got to give a high five to the former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of PA, Ed Rendell)
I’ll say it again; the crowds completely took this from a great race to an exceptional one. From families on their way to/from church in their Sunday best, to good-natured (and probably drunken) college kids at Temple, to local leaders, to the aforementioned kids and doctors, to completely awesome police officers everywhere, to residents of every part of the city, it really was just one big good time happy party of support and great attitudes. The weather was literally perfect, cooler and in the high 50’s/ low 60’s at the start of the race and warming up to the high 60’s by the end of the morning, sunny and just ideal for a great run. It was 10 miles I definitely will not forget, and I am admittedly hooked. I will be doing it again next year, no doubt.
Part of the reason that I won’t be forgetting this first Broad Street Run is the fantastic experience and perfect day, and the other part is my personal performance. I went into this thinking that 1:40 would be respectable. 10 minute miles seemed reasonable considering the distance, my past performances in longer runs and the sheer volume of people running. I figured that I might have an outside chance of hitting 1:30 if the stars all aligned and everything clicked. I never in my wildest dreams thought that not only would I hit the 90 min mark, but break that as well. It really was not even part of the discussion. But when it was all said and done, I crossed the finish line in 1:28:38. Un-freaking-believable. You may remember that I mentioned in some previous posts that there are certain times that I feel like I hit certain milestones that make me realize that I am really am a runner, or reinforce that fact. This is one of those milestones. Setting a stretch goal that I’m really not sure I can hit, and then BEATING that makes me feel like I can really do this. (…and also makes me feel like I need to start setting some more aggressive goals) The other fact that really makes me proud is the consistency with which I ran it. The race provided split time updates at miles 3,5,7, and the finish line. My pace was always a sub-9 min mile, and all within a few seconds of each other. It’s not like I started out like a speed demon and let that help my overall time later when I slowed down, my split paces were: 3M-8:50/mile, 5M-8:48/mile, 7M-8:51/mile, F-8:52/mile. I Ran fast and strong through the entire course, quite frankly faster than I thought I was able to run. It’s results like this that make me believe that if I really dial in and start training seriously, I can work on getting faster and actually make it happen/ substantial progress. Up until now, my training has been all about just getting the miles in, and that has served me immensely well to this point, but looking ahead it might be time to take things to the next level (And if you know me, I’m “Mr. Next Level”…always looking for what the next step is) by incorporating some structured speed and tempo workouts into the mix. But that’s another story for another post.
Although, the whole “next level” idea does open the door to the last point I wanted to hit on during this recap. I’ve mentioned before on a few occasions that I ran for a charity during this race. What that really means, is that the official charitable partner of the race, the American Cancer Society organizes a team of runners (their program is called “DetermiNation”) who are willing to raise funds to be donated to charity in order for guaranteed admission into the race. In addition to a spot at the starting line, you also get the added benefit of a dedicated team of coaches, the support of a large group of like-minded individuals, And the satisfaction of knowing that all of your training and hard work is really going to something good at same time. I am a huge fan of this concept. The overwhelmingly positive experience that I had during this race was greatly aided by the fact that I was taking part in the race as part of this program.
So the way it works is this, by being a charity runner you are part of the large overall group. In addition to that, you can create your own team when you sign up to run for the charity. My team this year (Team Pegasus) was comprised of myself and two awesome friends, Rock and Donna. We kept things small as we felt our way through everything this first time around. But here’s where the whole “next level” thing is going to come into play.
Instead of just the three of us, I want to see how much noise we can really make next year. Open it up to every and anybody, and really get a good-sized team going. Yes, I knew this is a full year away. There’s a lot of time between now and then, but I’m still all jazzed up about this race now, so what better time to start? So the working plan, at least for now, is to start really looking for interested people later this year, and start piecing together “Team Running My Ass Off”. Make it open to all levels of runners. We can have our own team of people, support each other, help each other out, and again have some good come out of everything by raising funds to donate to charity. I’ve already had a few people reach out and ask me if this is what I intend to do next year, which really just cemented the plans in my head. So if anybody has any interest whatsoever, let me know. Whether you are a seasoned runner, or if you’re eating your third cupcake of the day as you read this. Either way is all good. We can make this happen if you want it to. There is a year to prepare. I whole heartedly believe that even if you have never run a day in your life, there are plans to ease you into doing it and 10 miles is an attainable (and admirable) goal.
Below are some pictures from before and after the race.
“Team Pegasus”, Me, Donna, and Rock as we were freezing our asses off in the starting corral waiting for the race to begin.
Our team again, just before we hit the starting line and after we lost the hoodies. Ready to run.
After the race I caught up to the now infamous (dare I say “notorious”?) Uncle Mario and my badass cousin Ashley who completed (and totally kicked ass in) her first long distance race.
Donna, Me, and Rock: Post Run. Tired and Happy.
Quick shot of me and my good buddy Steve as we were walking out of the food tent after the race.
A real shot of me and Steve as we were milling around after the race.
And a solo pic of me taken by the reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer to be used in the paper as a followup to the article they wrote about me. (Really? you want to take a pic of me IMMEDIATELY after running 10 miles?)
**all joking aside on that one, I do owe a huge thank you to Rob Senior of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He wrote an amazingly flattering article about my story and the blog. Very well done, sir. I appreciate it very much.