Running a ten mile race without DYING!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I entered to run the 2010 Broad Street Race in Philly. Originally, my sister urged me into signing up for the race so that we could do it together. But then she waited until mid-April to register, and lo and behold, the registration had been capped—at a mere 30,000 people. So I ended up running the race by myself, and an amazing experience it was indeed. I realized after completing the race that this is the first time ever in my 27 years that I have ever done something athletically competitive. In my youth, I dropped out of ballet when I found out we had to participate in recitals. I quit the swim team because I was so nervous about competing in a swim meet. I never played softball with my sister for fear I'd be terrible. And I threatened to join the high school cross country team, but never did. Yup, I was a big old chicken (rightfully so—I was really never the athletic type). Training for and completing a ten mile run was a really fun experience. (Ok, so maybe the shin splints I've picked up along the way weren't so much fun, but aside from them, yes, fun).

The morning started out at the ass-crack-o-dawn. I had to be on the Broad Street Line to the starting point by 6:30. Worried about traffic, Scott and I got up at 4:30 am to leave the house by 5. Of course, there was no traffic and we rolled into the Wachovia Center lot at 5:41 am. I hopped on the train, despite my fear of getting lost on public transportation, I assured myself that the herd method and the fact that the Broad Street Express made only two stops would idiot-proof my ride. I was right. I followed the rest of the runners to the starting line. The only problem then was that I was more than two hours early for the race. Which meant two things: 1) that I had plenty of time to sit around and get nervous and 2) that I had plenty of time to sit around and wonder if I should visit the porta potty again. (For the record, I made three visits...I blame having nothing else to do).

Porta potties galore!

The race started at 8:30, but I was in the yellow corral. Yellow corral = faster than the pink corral, but slower than everyone else. So I didn't actually start running until just after 9 am. Also, did I mention that the high temperature for the day was 90 degrees? It was a bit steamy, but the city of Philadelphia made sure to have fire hydrants on to spray the runners. There was also a nice breeze and running in the shade of the buildings was a huge help.

Yellow Corral: Hell No We Ain't The Slowest!

I think the coolest thing was seeing the joe schmoes of Philadelphia come out and cheer us on. It really was an awesome feeling, and there was such a sense of camraderie and love (ok, maybe that was my running endorphins kicking in, but I don't care). It helped me get through those tough miles (all ten of them—just kidding). I think the first five miles were probably the toughest, and then I just went into autopilot once I hit City Hall, which was a bit past the five mile mark.

City Hall, halfway to the finish!

Loving on the enthusiastic spectators

At some point, I began looking for my delinquent sister, who said she'd come cheer me on. I searched the crowd until I stepped in a pothole and narrowly avoided twisting my ankle. At that point, I decided to just concentrate on the road, avoiding potholes and leftover water cups that had been strewn about. Later on, I learned that my sister had, in fact, seen me—and she also chased me down Broad Street, screaming and yelling at me, to get my picture! I had no idea whatsoever.

"IN THE ZONE" (apparently)

Water cup cleanup crew

Towards the end of the race, there was a lady yelling through a megaphone that we only had 1.5 miles left. THANK GOD! I became a running machine and just kept going, a la Forrest Gump. We ran into the Navy Yard, where the finish was .25 miles inside the gate. A few days after the race, my coworker (who had also run the race) commented on how cool it was to see the ships in the Navy Yard. Ships? There were ships? Yes, apparently there were large war vessels looming over me, and I had no idea. I was just that focused on finishing (and not stepping in a pothole). Running across the finish line, waving like a tool at the photographers, was euphoric. It was so cool to accomplish something like a ten mile race, especially never having remotely done anything like that before in my life. I felt a bit like the Phanatic, but I was really glad to not be one of the poor people suffering from heat exhaustion.

Done!

Now I'm thinking about doing the Philly half marathon.... Hmmmm.... HMMMMM.... HMMMMMM????

(All photos, except the ones of me, are from Independence Blue Cross' Flickr)