Last Sunday I ran my biggest, longest, straightest, and most exciting race to date… Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run!! I wanted to write a recap immediately following the 10 mile race but life (aka crazy-busy days at work!!) got in the way of my blogging time and I’m just now getting a chance to share my Broad Street story. Without further ado, here it is! (Well, half of it, at least!)
BROAD STREET PART ONE: The Pre-Race Build Up!
With over 40,000 runners, the Broad Street Run is the nation’s largest 10 miler and its straight, net downhill route is one of the fastest courses in the county. The point-to-point race starts in the Olney neighborhood of north Philadelphia and follows Broad Street south through the city, wrapping counter-clockwise around City Hall at around the 5.7 mile mark and eventually ending in south Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.
I have many friends and family members who have raced Broad Street (most notably my Uncle Rory who is one of six runners to complete it 36 years in a row!) and they all have their own Broad Street stories and opinions. Sure, it’s insanely crowded, the port-a-potty lines are 45 minutes long, the logistics of parking your car 10 miles from the starting line can be challenging… but everyone agrees, if you’re a runner in the Philadelphia area you HAVE to run Broad Street at least once. It’s a running spectacle, an opportunity to see the city from a unique perspective, a chance to run with 39,999 people for 10 miles down a single road… it’s a Philadelphia tradition!
I completely fell for the sentimental aspect of the race and decided in January that I definitely wanted to try to run Broad Street. I signed up for the lottery (that’s right, they capped the race at 40,000 runners!) and found out that I got into the race in February. I spent March and April increasing mileage, racing 5Ks and trail 10Ks and doing weekly speedwork on the track. By the time the first weekend in May rolled around I felt relaxed, prepared and really, REALLY excited to run Broad Street!
Matt and I went to the Broad Street Expo at the Philly Convention Center on Friday night to pick up my race bib. We wandered around a bit, I bought a tech shirt from my favorite running store, and then we enjoyed a nice Italian dinner at restaurant close to our house before calling it a night.
I kept Saturday similarly laid back, just doing a short shake out run on the treadmill and taking a flat selfie (a la Salt!) that Piper photobombed. Then I took a nice lavender and epsom salt bath while reading bloggers’ recaps of prior Broad Street runs online. I was excited and ready to go!
My alarm went off at 3:50AM Sunday morning and, for once, I got to wake Piper up! I enjoyed a nice breakfast of cereal, peanut butter toast and coffee and then read a book while stretching and foam rolling on the bedroom floor. I woke Matt up at 5:40 and we were on the road at 6AM sharp.
Because Broad Street is a point-to-point course, runners typically park their cars in South Philly at the stadiums and then take a very crowded subway ride 10 miles north to the start. This is, according to “everyone,” part of the Broad Street experience, but it’s one that I skipped on Sunday. Matt generously agreed to drop me off at the starting line and it couldn’t have been easier. We took local roads in from the western suburbs and, even with a stop for Matt to grab some coffee, we made it there in about 40 minutes. I hopped out of the car and immediately found a huge bank of port-a-potties with only 10 or so people waiting – perfect!
By 7:20AM I was in my corral and ready to go. After months of training and build up I was just 40 minutes away from my first 10 mile race!!!
Read on… BROAD STREET PART TWO: THE RACE!!