We have another Broad Street in the books!
Just one year after a fearsome battle between my mucus-ridden lungs and the urban corridor from Fisher Avenue to the Navy Yard, I was back to America’s largest 10 mile road race to have another go at my sub 1:30:00 dreams.
This time around I was healthy (woohoo!) but also undertrained (ahem). My relaxed exercise schedule this winter and spring has yielded surprising PRs (see here and here), but it also meant that I have not run 10 miles since my fall marathon. Yep, I was a little bit apprehensive going into Sunday, even if the course and race itself are familiar ground.
But first, the expo: it sucked. Yeah, that’s really all I can say for it. Last year’s anniversary expo was incredible, while this year’s was a big fat disappointment. I didn’t even take any pictures. In good news, bib and t-shirt pickup was quick and simple (although this year’s t-shirt was boxy beyond belief). But in bad news, there were hardly any freebies, and the small slate of vendors only filled a portion of the expo hall. AWKWARD.
Due to the lack of excitement this year, I did not dillydally at the expo, leaving me plenty of time to get my pre-race rest.
Sadly, although my Saturday was low key, I barely managed an hour of sleep that night. WHAT, WHY, HOW? I am still bitter about my lack of ZZZ’s.
Still, my insomnia allowed me to spring out of bed without delay once my alarm went off (at 4:55 am, the horror!). I rushed to get ready: I was experimenting with taking the subway from a different station this year, and I wanted to make sure I had enough time (I was also meeting friends, and there was no way I wanted to be responsible for making us late).
As luck would have it, we arrived at the platform just as a local train was arriving—and it had open seats!!! I counted my lucky stars for this good fortune. Our early boarding translated into a super early arrival—we were at the start area by 6:40 am (this year’s race had been bumped from 8:30 to 8:00 am).
I found my favorite porta potties (it’s weird, but as a repeat runner at local races, I always identify my “favorite” pre-race spots) and prepared for a substantive wait until gun time. Having company made the time fly by (I’ve been to many city race starts on my own, and while that allows me time to strategize, I enjoyed the social distractions).
With 30 minutes to go until the race start, we made our way into the corral (oopsies, guess who bumped herself into a faster corral? No worries—I was running at the same pace as my fellow runners). This year there was a multitude of pre-race announcements, so it felt like we were waiting for a long time.
|This is one of only two photos I have from race day. The second is almost identical to this one. I fail at blogging!|
In reality, I was across the start line by 8:15, and it was already warm and sunny. Not the worst race weather (the Philly 10k definitely takes that cake), but also not ideal for such a flat, exposed course.
I wanted to break 1:30:00 in this race (that was my goal last year, as well), but I thought the odds were 50-50. If I could stay strong in the final few miles, I might make it. If I tired too soon before the finish, my PR dreams would be delayed for yet another race.
Per usual, the crowds in the first 5 miles were amazingly supportive. Here we runners were making a mess of the neighborhoods in North Philly, and yet the residents were cheering us on.
Once we passed City Hall, however, the atmosphere became a little weird. Like last year, spectators were spilling out onto the course itself, narrowing the cattle shoot for the 40,000 runners (as Michelle Tanner would say, HOW RUDE!). The cheering also became much more selective in Center City and South Philly (Students Run Philly Style cheer zone and ABC6 water station excluded). It was bizarre.
As we approached the sports complex around mile 9, the spectators were even more zombie-like. At one point I took a walk break, which gave me the chance to really observe the observers, and literally NO ONE along my .1 mile walk break was cheering, smiling or waving. NO ONE. Strange indeed.
Once we entered the gates of the Navy Yard, however, the crowds started cheering again, and I somehow managed to do my signature sprint to the finish (a runner next to me had the same idea, and we almost collided as we crossed the mat, thanks to other runners surging alongside us).
I had kissed my sub 1:30:00 dreams goodbye around mile 8, so I was shocked to see that I came fairly close to my goal time: 1:30:36. Sure, it wasn’t what I had really wanted, but it was still a PR.
As far as pacing goes, I probably went out too fast in the first half, but I know I always bonk somewhat in the final miles of Broad Street, so I appreciated the momentum of that positive split (one day I would love to negative split, but I have far bigger running-related priorities at this point). Here’s what the timing mats declared:
Overall I had a decent race, but I think I may take a break from Broad Street next year. I am so grateful to have had the chance to race this 10 miler again, but I am anxious to see how I could do on a hillier, greener course (those kinds of races appeal to my strengths as a runner).
Post-Race Experience: C
Event Organization: B
*I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all of the police, medics, emergency personnel and watchful spectators who help to keep the Broad Street runners safe. Two men who suffered cardiac arrest at the race were resuscitated thanks to the fast-acting, capable people who monitor the course.
Overall Grade: B-