Race 14 was the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. We ran 10 miles straight down Broad Street (except for a slight jog around City Hall) to the finish, about a quarter mile inside the Navy Yard.
Goals: My knees are still cranky and the bruise and lump from the cortisone shot are still there, though the lump is smaller and the bruise is a bit greenish now, though still mostly purple. I can’t wait until I can delete that sentence! I had increased my mileage during the week, getting to 31 miles, so I took both Friday and Saturday off to rest for the race. I kept it to my usual goals of running between the water stations, beating a 10-minute mile pace, and setting a PR (1:38:03).
Abby convinced me that I needed to run this race and I’m so glad she did! Ignoring all of the chores I needed to do over the weekend (knowing I had two – yes, two – trips to California the following week), I took an early train down on Saturday. Abby, George, Lilian and Hana picked me up at Trenton and we headed down to the expo. I was hoping to meet Abby’s Dr. Dave, but he disappeared before the expo was over and all I did was catch a quick glimpse of someone tall, dark, and handsome (my favorite type)! Oh, well – there’s always the Philly Distance Run (and no, this is not my promise to run it). So, I register in person (this will be important later) and get my bib and t-shirt. I also picked up a Stick and some PowerGel. When we got back to the house Lilian took me on a whirlwind tour of their house (it’s beautiful) and then George showed me the wine cellar. It’s a beauty! We went to Buca di Beppo for dinner and I learned that I don’t have to eat Amy’s Pesto Tortellini Bowl the night before a race. I can eat spaghetti with pesto and/or marinara sauce and meatballs and be just fine. We headed back, put the kids to bed and then Abby and I talked until it was time to go to bed. I slept amazingly well and was ready to go early. Unfortunately, the weather was drastically different from what I’d packed for. It was supposed to be in the 50s with calm winds, but it was actually in the mid-40s with 20+ mph winds. George very nicely lent me a “throwaway shirt” to wear until I got warm. We dropped off the girls, drove to the stadium and caught the subway to the start. I dropped my bag off, used the port-a-potty (nearly tipping over backward in it because it was on a downward slope), then jogged over to the start. I was already worried about overheating but afraid that I’d freeze when the race was over, so I tied George’s shirt around my waist under my shirt. We started off and I tried to keep pace with the people around me. I was a bit stiff but the course was supposed to be downhill so I didn’t worry about it too much. The race actually begins with rolling hills for the first 2-3 miles, but I did what I could to keep up. I stopped at the first water station (at mile 2.4*, near a Taco Bell) and stretched. At the next water station (at mile 4.1), I had to retie my shoelace. At the last second, I panicked and retied my shoe too loosely and it came untied in the 4th mile. Thank you to all the kind people who told me about the untied lace. We passed through some pretty, old neighborhoods, most of which were run-down, but you could see that the buildings had been very fine at some point. Not all were as nice as the Victorians, but Philadelphia has some fine architechture, especially the Divine Lorraine Hotel at Fairmont. It’s abandoned now, but will make gorgeous apartments in the hands of the right developer! I tried to keep my eyes on William Penn (who stands atop City Hall smack in the middle of Broad Street) as I struggled through the first 6 miles. I wanted to make sure I got through the first 6 miles in under an hour. There’s no way to run through City Hall, so we had to make a jog around it and I got to see the Clothespin statue, which I remembered from my days at Penn (I went to the Wharton School undergrad). After passing around City Hall, we headed back down Broad Street and passed the Union League Building (http://www.aviewoncities.com/building/unionleagueofphiladelphia.htm) where my friend, Abby, received a Good Citizenship Award. I managed to get to the 6th mile marker on pace, skipping a couple of water stations to make sure it happened. At that point, I knew that even if I slowed to 10-minute miles, I could still set a PR. I focused on getting from mile-marker to mile-marker, recalculating in my head as I ran. At mile 7, I knew I could probably break 1:35 and at mile 8, I thought I might even make 1:33. At mile 9, I almost forgot to check my watch, but I’m so glad I remembered! It said I had been running for 1:21 and change – if I really pushed it, I could even break 1:30!! And you all know me, so you know what happened next. I had already skipped the last water station, so I just had to keep going and hope I could make it across. I ran hard, trying not to hurt my knee too much (I’d been doing knee swings at every water stop). We started passing the people who had already finished. One guy yelled that we had only a half mile to go, but I told myself not to listen, that it might be farther. I knew that the finish was a quarter of a mile inside the Navy Yard. I was really excited to pass under the gate – I went there for medical care and groceries when I was in college, but I don’t have access to military bases anymore. I kept looking for the finish, but couldn’t see it and was despairing of breaking 1:30. I knew I had taken about 2 minutes to cross the start. All of a sudden, I realized that I couldn’t see the finish line because it was set low under some trees. It came up on me fast (thankfully) and I crossed the chip mats at exactly 1:32.
Abby and George were there in the crowd and we all happily announced our PRs. We collected our goodie bags (I was given 2 for some reason), then headed back to the car. I was supposed to run another 4 miles, but couldn’t manage more than 2. My knees were not happy at all. We ate cheesesteaks then went to the Israeli Independence Day Festival where I got to see Abby and Hana and George and Lilian ride camels. My visit with Abby and her family was wonderful. From the moment I stepped into the car, I was made to feel welcome – it was if it were my twentieth visit, rather than my first.
Official stats: I finished in 1:29:29 for an 8:57 pace over the 10 miles (my official time was 1:32:00) – a PR by 8 1/2 minutes! I was 6802 out of 15882 finishers, putting me in the 57th percentile.** It was 48°F (9°C) when we started, but warmed up to the 50s (teens) by the time we finished. My splits from my watch were: 9:02, 8:50, 9:36, 8:51, 9:27, 8:55, 9:32, 8:27, 8:46, and 8:06.
Celebratory treats: We went to Geno’s for cheesesteaks (Whiz with for me). It was delicious! It’s been years since I had a cheesesteak. For dessert when I got home, I had a scoop of Baskin-Robbins peanut butter cup ice-cream. The real treat for me was the time I got to spend with Abby, George, Lilian and Hana!
Next up: Here are the races I’ve scheduled: Healthy Kidney 10k on May 19th; AHA Wall Street Run 5k on May 22nd; the first media challenge (3.5) on May 23rd; the NYC Half Marathon on August 5th; the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 3rd; the Nike Women’s Half on October 21st; the inaugural Tower of Terror 13k on October 27th; and the NYC Marathon on November 4th. There will undoubtedly be other races in between those, but those are the races I’ve entered so far. There’s a distinct possibility that one of these will be my 100th race. I’m really looking forward to that milestone!
Thank you for all your support!
Here is a link to some random pictures, including pictures from the race: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/album?c=mytripsandraces&aid=576460762401657090&pid=&wtok=PxCw8OOdlAEVvV7YPAVyrA--&ts=1179367179&.src=ph (as always, there’s commentary in the slideshow).
*Broad Street is very well-organized. The exact locations of the water and Gatorade stations were listed in the Runners’ Guide. There were also maps of the start, the course, and the finish and listings of previous winners in various categories.
**Unfortunately, despite registering in person and my e-mail message and phone call and their return call to me assuring me that everything would be taken care of, I am listed as a male in the results. My name is also misspelled, despite the fact that I paid by check. I am very disappointed and will continue to harass the BSR until they correct my record. It’s my personal opinion that if there’s a question about any information provided by a participant, then the information should be taken as offered until verified. They had no right to change my registration application. The man who checked me in marked my gender correctly on my bib, for Pete’s sake! Grrrrr