I can describe my 2nd Broad Street Run experience as successful! I didn’t break any records. I didn’t finish in the top 10, nor did I stand out in the crowd … except for my superbly coordinated outfit and killer playlist (more to come about the music).
I ran the entire 10 miles, only slowing down to rehydrate at a couple of water stations, and proudly crossed the finish line with my head held high, arms raised in victory, and almost pain-free with my winter knee injury only a faint memory, like the blizzard of 2011 or boot-cut jeans.
As the morning started, I shared the subway ride, aka hell, to the starting line with a new BFF at work, CBuck. We were relaxed, looking cute and cracking jokes, but really somewhat pensive for the 10-mile stretch of Broad Street awaiting us. The starting line was a series of colored corrals lining up people based on expected finish time: Elite, Red, White, Grey, Yellow, Green and Pink. I was in Yellow, sorta in the middle of the pack with an estimated finish time of about 1:45. (I will surprise you at the end with my actual time.)
Standing at just about 5’6″, I was lost in a sea of shoulders, backs, and way too much Lycra spandex; I was barely able to see the light of day. My BFF and I managed to find a spot high enough on a grassy knoll to check out the 30,000 other weirdos standing on the starting line in North Philadelphia at 7am. Luckily, we distracted ourselves from the daunting 10 miles ahead by playing a rousing game of Spot the Hottie. It worked!
Fast forward to Mile 3, and I was feeling good, looking good, feet pumping to a fast-paced, dance inspired playlist with JLO’s On the Floor blaring in my ears thanks to DJ Petey Pete. I was feeling strong, taking in the sights and sounds of a part of Philadelphia I rarely see. I was inspired by the number of people standing on the steps of their churches in their Sunday finest cheering on strangers with as much enthusiasm and exuberance as they have for their joyful hymns. As I ran around City Hall to the final leg of the race, who did I spot? None other than Governor Rendell dressed in full tracksuit, high-fiving runners like the glad-handing politician he is. Of course, I dashed across the street for a chance to slap the hand of the man who saved the city of Philadelphia (Sorry, Mayor Nutter) and off I continued down Broad Street, passing the Bellevue and the Palm, so wishing I was sitting at the bar with a Bloody Mary in hand… I digress, so my concentration returned to the run and I had Ke$ha and a remix of Britney’s 3 next on the play list. I was loving it!
As I ran through Center City, I kept a watchful eye out for my friends waiting for me at Lombard Street, where I knew an energy drink was waiting for me and their cheers would inspire me to keep going. It worked for the next two miles and then it happened – the dreaded Mile 8. I don’t know why, but I really hate Mile 8 with the white-hot intensity of 1,000 suns. I hit a wall, and the expletives start flying, but suddenly like a phoenix on the rise – track 15, and yes it was… It’s Britney, bitch! The girl propelled me to the finish line, passing the guy in the tutu and the girl with the knee-high rainbow socks that I had been giving the side eye since Mile 4.
My time: 1:52. Respectable, not great, but I proudly earned my place as the 20,488th finisher of the 32nd Broad Street Run and, of course, brunch with friends with a bottle of bubbly. As I am writing this, my quads are sore, I think I have runner’s toe (eww, I won’t explain) but I will see you again next year, Broad Street Run. God willing!