Racing in Philly holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I ran my first half marathon in September 2010. Since then, I’ve run several times in Philly since my sister lives there, but Sunday was my first race there since that half marathon – The Broad Street Run.
And the best part? I got to run the whole thing with my sister, Wendy.
People say we look alike, but I don’t see it!
It was also good practice for me since I’ll be running my fourth half marathon there Memorial Day weekend, and it had been ages since I’d traveled for a race, so it was good to think through everything I was going to need for race day.
Saturday night I laid my stuff out on my suitcase:
And then the 6:30am wakeup call on Sunday came far too fast. I got up and very quickly decked myself out in running gear.
Downstairs I made my standard pre-run fuel – an english muffin with PB + banana.
And then we were out the door at 7am. We headed to the Subway, and in all the years I’ve been going to Philly, not once had I ever taken it before. It was CROWDED.
This year was apparently the first year that they opened the race to 40,000 runners – the biggest 10 mile race in the country. And there’s no better way to say it than that it was a NIGHTMARE getting to the start of the race because public transportation was just not cut out to deal with the volume of runners.
We got to the platform at 7:10am, and had literally 8 to 10 full subway trains pass without stopping because they were packed. Finally, after over 50 minutes of waiting on the platform, a train with room pulled up and we were able to get on. We made it to the subway stop for the race 2 minutes after the race started (8:32) and headed to the start immediately.
Notice my bib number?
The first time I’ve ever had an even race number… so cool!
And then with literally no time to waste… we were off!
My goals for this race were simply to run it side by side with my sister, and that I did. It was a very different mentality than I usually have, where I’m trying to pass runners left and right and go as fast as I comfortably can. It was challenging in different ways because I went a bit slower than I was used to – but it was so awesome being right next to my sister and having someone to talk to and relate to over funny signs – my first time ever!
- Mile 1: 10:22
- Mile 2: 10:07
- Mile 3: 10:11
- Mile 4: 10:00
After Mile 4, I took a GU and we also stopped to use the portapotties. I stopped my Garmin so my Garmin time is our actual running time, rather than the chip time, but since we weren’t running for time, it didn’t really matter!
- Mile 5: 9:52
- Mile 6: 9:41
- Mile 7: 10:08
- Mile 8: 10:02
Until Mile 2, and then again after Mile 8, the course was SO crowded and narrow, so it was frustrating to be tripping over myself and others runners. It was kind of funny though because during the race a few times I’d stop paying attention and just go into my natural pace of running a bit faster, and Wendy would tell me to either go ahead without her or slow down if I wanted to stick with her, which is what I wanted.
But then, around mile 9.5, she saw a sign that gave her an extra pep in her step and started BOOKING it without telling me! All of a sudden I saw her out of the corner of my eye weaving in and out of people towards the finish line, and I had to fight really hard to keep up!
- Mile 9: 10:07
- Mile 10: 9:44
And then, hand in hand with our arms raised up the air, we crossed the finish line feeling awesome!
But after we did, the logistics of the race really started to fall apart again. As soon as we crossed the finish line, people were lined up waiting for water and we had to completely stop walking, which is the last thing you want to do after running 10 miles! We finally got some water (and some Philly pretzels)…
Before making it out of the zoo of runners and sitting in the grass to stretch a bit.
Then, we wanted to get back to the Subway, and we couldn’t figure out how to get there because we were turned around from where we started. Though we asked the cops, other runners, and volunteers, no one seemed to know where it was, despite the fact that they encouraged everyone to take public transport to and from the race.
When we finally got on the train, it was a breeze getting home, but I think the race organizers need to work with the city better for next year to get runners to/from the race, or else reduce the number of runners from 40,000, because it was not fun getting to the race or away from it.
That said and despite the logistics, I loved getting to run side by side with my sister for the first time ever in a race. It was awesome to approach a race with slightly different goals and to just ENJOY it, and that we did.
And the best running quote we saw during the race?
“Life goes fast. Running slows it down.”