2018 Broad Street Run Recap

I did it!! This morning I ran 10 miles down Broad Street, set a new personal best and hit my “A” goal of sub-80 minutes. Hurray!

2018 Blue Cross Broad Street Run

May 6, 2018 | Philadelphia, PA | 4220th overall, 1069th F (results)

My day began at 4AM. I had been in a deep sleep and was startled when my alarm went off, but as soon as I remembered why, I popped out of bed and started my pre-race routine. Today that consisted of coffee, oatmeal, a banana, Piper time (she waited for the birds to wake up around 5AM before she wanted to go out), and dynamic stretches to this YouTube video.

I woke Matt at 5:50 and by 6:20 we were on the road, headed to north Philly and the starting line. Any Broad Street veteran will tell you that runners typically park near the finish and cram, sardine-style, onto the subway for a 10 mile ride north, but I have been lucky that Matt drives in to spectate and doesn’t mind dropping me off at the start. Saves me tons of time in the morning!!

40,000 people run this race and the organizers do a great job of getting everyone separated by pace in multiple starting corrals. I made it to the orange corral by 7:35 and waited patiently in the crowd for the start. First the wheelchair racers were off, then the elites, red, and purple corrals followed. At last it was my turn! I crossed under the starting banner at 8:16 and the race was on.

Going into this race, my primary goal was to beat my personal best of 1:21:28 (8:08 pace) from last year’s Broad Street Run.  I was pretty confident that I could do that, so my real, “A” goal was to finish in under 1:20 (sub-8 pace). With that sub-8:00/mile goal in mind, I had decided that I would run the first 5 miles at 7:55 pace and then see what I had left for the second half of the race.

Mile 1 went perfectly. I relaxed, tried not to weave around other people too much, and broke into a huge smile when my watched beeped 7:55. Exactly on pace!! Miles 2, 3 and 4 went by uneventfully at or just under my time goal.

In mile 5 the course weaves around the right side of City Hall and the crowd support is overwhelmingly awesome. Signs, cowbells, news cameras, dogs, kids, open fire hydrants spraying water… so much going on! I finished this mile in 7:50 and felt good, but at the same time it was daunting to know that I was only halfway done.

At mile 6 I saw Matt and his family (thanks for coming out!!!) and got a little boost, finishing this mile in 7:52. Still right where I wanted to be.

6.5 miles in. Just pretend my eyes are open.

Last year the wheels came off in mile 7. I slowed to 8:23, then finished the last miles in 8:14, 8:25, and 8:41. Ouch. That was not the plan this year and I powered through the seventh mile in 7:55. Yes! It felt much harder to maintain my pace in mile 8, but the moment I saw my watch beep 7:59 I knew that a PR was pretty much a given. Sub-80 was also looking good… I had 17 minutes left to run two more miles. Could I do it??

And the answer is YES!!! I slipped to 8:06 pace for mile 9, but at that point I had just one mile left to go. I was exhausted, but one mile seemed so short compared to what I had just run. I pushed on, searching over the shoulders of runners in front of me for a glimpse of the Navy Yard gates and the “quarter mile to go!” sign.

I entered the Navy Yard with renewed energy, ready to sprint into the finish… but then suddenly a quarter mile seemed SO LONG. My kick forgotten, I focused all of my efforts on simply moving forward and started thinking about how fabulous it would feel to be able to stop when I was done. I’m pretty sure that my finish ended up looking fairly unimpressive, but it doesn’t matter because I finished in 1:19:18!!!!

I am so proud of those last 4 miles. (Yes, even you, mile 9.) In 2017 I completely died during that portion of the race but this morning I was able to execute my 7:55 game plan and it carried me through all the way to the Navy Yard. I am tired, my legs are sore, and I have a blister on my big toe, but this afternoon I am one happy runner. Hurray!!

Miles since last post: 10.4
Days since last post: 1
2018 MILES: 482

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Sub-22!! 5K PR at the Cape May Zoo

In 11 hours I’ll be racing down Broad Street in Philadelphia! But first, here’s a recap of my personal record-breaking 5K from 2 weeks ago. (What better way to get psyched up for tomorrow’s race than to write about a PR, right?!)

Cape May Earth Day 5K

April 21, 2018 | Cape May Court House, NJ | 11th overall, 2nd F (results)

Cape May, New Jersey is quickly becoming one of my favorite getaway spots. Matt and I spent a week in Cape May last summer with his family and we headed there again last month for my cousin’s wedding. We arrived on an unseasonably cold and windy Friday evening and discovered that the quaint Victorian town is MUCH quieter in the off season than it was in July!

I woke up at 6AM on Saturday, ready to race. My sole early-morning breakfast option was the coffee shop in the iconic Congress Hall hotel. I was the first customer of the day and I enjoyed my coffee in solitude. I left through the doors facing the beach and was treated to a private view of Congress Hall’s sweeping lawn and the ocean beyond. What a perfect way to start the day!

The 5K was at the Cape May Zoo, a 20 minute drive north of town. As I lined up at the start I heard the woman in front of me chatting about how she typically runs sub-21.  I made a mental note NOT to try to keep up with her in the first mile and moments later we were off, zooming around the wonderfully flat grounds of the park surrounding the zoo.

I really wanted to PR this race and when I saw my first mile split of 7:11 I knew I was right on track. Then mile 2 began and it felt a LOT harder to keep up that pace. There were only one or two runners around me (sub-21 woman had disappeared ahead early on) so I tried to focus on my cadence and my arms. I was a little worried when I saw my second mile split of 7:21.

Luckily I had more energy left than I realized. I pushed hard in the third mile but wasn’t sure exactly how my time would stack up with my old PR of 22:03 until the finish line clock came into view. 21:38, 39, 40, 41… I ran as hard as I could and pounded through the finish with a new personal best of 21:52!!!!

After the race Matt and I explored the zoo, which was pretty nice considering that there’s no admission fee. The black bear reminded me of Piper’s chocolate lab buddy, Hershey, and we saw a red panda, wallabies snacking on kale, a very handsome lion, and a sociable cow. (Visitors were allowed to reach over the fence and pet her, much to her delight.)

After the zoo we returned to Cape May to stroll around town (and hit up the peanut butter shop, naturally) before getting cleaned up for the wedding.  The ceremony was on the beach (my first-ever beach wedding!!) and Matt and I had a great time at the reception back at our hotel. Congrats Kevin and Connor!

Ready for a wedding!

I had to squeeze in one more flat run before we left for home. While walking on the beach on Friday evening I realized that I really wanted to try running ON the beach, so I did just that on Sunday morning.  I had the entire beach to myself as I ran along the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean to Cape May Point. Matt met me there for breakfast and then we headed home, back to reality, hilly running routes, and Piper.

Cape May did not disappoint. My sub-22 5K PR was just one of many high points of the weekend, and even now I sometimes forget it happened. But it’s real… I actually ran 3.1 miles in 21:52!! I’m glad I don’t have to attempt to better that anytime soon.  I’ll settle for trying to chase down my 10 mile PR on Broad Street tomorrow morning instead. 😄

Miles since last post: 64.1
Days since last post: 20
2018 MILES: 471.6

I’M IN!! Broad Street here I come.

You’re supposed to plan ahead for Philadelphia’s 10 mile Broad Street Run.  You’re supposed to enter a lottery in February, pray that you’re one of the lucky 40,000 runners to make it in, and, if you make it, you’re supposed to train for the May 6th race day all spring.

But I didn’t do that. Thinking that the “every other year” plan* was the way to go, I did not sign up for the lottery in February and I missed out on the fun of lottery result day. Much to my chagrin, on that day I learned that multiple friends were doing Broad Street and FOMO immediately set it. (That’s fear of missing out, Mom!) 😄

Despite not being in the race, I did train all spring with several 8-9 mile runs and regular speed workouts. And then this weekend I wrote a blog post recapping 4 strong races that I’ve had over the past 2 months and came to the realization that yeah, I really did want to race 10 miles down Broad Street in 3 weeks.

Lucky for me, today was the last day to go through the race’s official bib transfer process. It took about 7 hours of diligent facebook and bib transfer bulletin board watching, but as of 8:48PM tonight I’M IN!!!

Broad Street, here I come!

*Yes, 10 miles is so long for me that I only race it every other year. Until now! Check out my BSR race recaps from 2015 and 2017 for race details.

It’s definitely time to blog: I now have FOUR PRs to recap!

I’ve been terrible about recapping races lately, but after today’s awesome 5K I have FOUR new personal bests to share. So without further ado, here they are!

Haverford Twilight 5K

April 22, 2017 | Haverford, PA | 41st overall, 8th F, 3rd AG (results)

This was my third year running this race and I really wanted it to be my best yet. Last year I tied my PR (23:17) on this course by running the first 2 miles really fast and dying in mile 3. I did not want to repeat that mistake this year, but somehow I still managed to start the race much faster than I planned. In fact, I was within seconds of duplicating my too-fast times from 2016. Whoops! Fortunately for me, I was much stronger this year and was able to run a 7:30 third mile (compared to 8:00 the previous year!!) which made all the difference. I crossed the finish line in 22:54, thrilled with my new sub-23 personal best.

(Technically I had run faster than 22:54 twice before, but both previous efforts were “asterisk” PRs. One was a point-to-point downhill course (22:38) and the other was majorly Piper-assisted (22:43). Therefore, I happily accepted this Haverford Twilight time as my “official” 5K PR.)

The Broad Street Run 

May 7, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA | 6838th overall (oh yeah!), 1627th F, 348th AG (results)

The mother of all Philly races. Two weeks after the Twilight 5K I joined 40,000 runners (see, that 6838th place looks better now) in a 10 mile run down Broad Street. I ran this race in 2015 and this time around my primary goal was to beat my previous PR of 1:23:54. My secondary goal was to go sub-1:20, but that ended up being a little too aggressive for the day. I started off on pace for a fast time, but at around mile 7 hit a wall and had to work reallllly hard to earn my new PR. I finished about 2 1/2 minutes faster than my 2015 time with a time of 1:21:28. Hurrah!

FranksWine Downhill Mile Road Race

August 24, 2017 | Wilmington, DE | 46th overall, 9th F, 3rd AG (results)

Usually I don’t race in August, but when I realized that the weather was going to be unseasonably cool and discovered that this race ended a block from my brother- and sister-in-laws’ place in Trolley Square, I figured it was meant to be. Matt and I parked at the finish line, jogged to the start, then proceeded to race the fastest mile of our lives. I felt completely in control the entire race, and happily watched my quarter mile splits tick by evenly. I sprinted at the finish and earned a new PR of 6:20, 26 seconds faster than my previous best at the Media Mile in 2016.

Pints in the Square 5K

September 9, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 17th overall, 2nd F!! (results)

This was today’s race and the PR that finally got me to write this recap. I hadn’t raced a 5K road race since the Twilight Run in April and I was interested to see what sort of shape I was in after a long summer of treadmill runs. With that in mind, my goal was more to run a strong race (low 23s?) rather than do anything crazy. But apparently my legs didn’t get that message.

A few minutes into the race I realized that the first place woman was not especially far ahead of me. It wasn’t time to get too excited about that – I still had 2.5 miles to go! – but this surprised me. Two more woman passed me during the first mile, but by the time I hit the halfway point I had decided that I really wanted to finish this race in the top 3.

During mile 2 I squeaked ahead of the 3rd place woman. I tried to look really strong while doing this, telling myself it would psych her out; no idea of that worked but it helped boost my confidence! As I began mile 3 I could see the 2nd place woman quite a ways ahead of me. At that point I got super corny and said to myself “I can either be the hunter or the hunted,” meaning that I could either run mile 3 like I was going to chase down that 2nd place woman, or I could run it scared and worried about who might be coming up on me.  I didn’t think I could actually catch 2nd place, but I chose the more optimistic approach and, for mile 3, I became the HUNTER!

And hunt I did. Ever so slowly I gained on her, inch by inch, turn by turn. I focused on her back and pushed with every stride. With a half mile to go she was still too far ahead for me to entertain the possibility of overtaking her, but I kept hunting. Finally, with the finish line in sight, I had pulled within 50 feet. There were two walkers on course and I made my move around them, swinging wide to the right and zooming towards the finish. I never looked to see how the other runner responded, I just sprinted as hard as I could.

Just before crossing the finish line (in 2nd place!!) I noticed the clock, ticking from 21:59 to 22:00. Wait, what??! I had been so focused on hunting that I had lost all sense of time. It was not until that exact moment that I realized I was on track to PR by nearly a minute. I bounded over the finish line and stopped my watch at 22:03, 51 seconds faster than my April PR!

Now, I have to admit that an hour later I learned that the runner I passed did technically beat me by chip time, but the race awards were given out based on gun time, so I think it’s fair to blog-brag about my 2nd place honors, don’t you? 😉

At the beer festival with our neighbor, Bob. (Photo by Roe!)

Following the race Matt and I met up with our neighbors at the craft beer festival portion of the event and, after a few hours of good beer and company, we returned home and I got right to work on this long-overdue post. It feels fantastic to finally catch up on my race recaps! Watch out world… I’m back and I am the HUNTER!  (I couldn’t resist!) 😄 Continue reading

At last… My Broad Street Run Recap!

You can read about the days before the race here: Broad Street Run Part 1: The Pre-Race Build Up

BROAD STREET PART TWO: The Race!!

Me and my Broad Street Medal!

Going into Sunday’s 10 mile Broad Street Run I had three goals:

  1. Stay calm, slow and relaxed during the first mile. My Broad Street mantra: You can’t win a 10 mile race in the first mile, but you sure can lose it by going out WAY too fast!! (Going out too fast is my specialty)  😄
  2. Run faster than my wild-guess seed time of 1:25:00 (I had never actually run 10 miles without stopping before so I didn’t really know what I could do.)
  3. HAVE FUN!!!!

When the first runners began the race at 8AM I couldn’t even see the starting line. I was wedged between thousands of people in the green corral on Somerville Avenue. The corral had rapidly filled up in the 40 minutes before the race, with my personal space shrinking from having room to sit and stretch on the pavement to having barely enough space to take off my long-sleeved throwaway shirt. (I literally could not extend my arms out when I tried to take my shirt off due to the crowds… and then I had no where to throw it away so I just dropped it at my feet!) This wasn’t a problem though because everyone around me was just as excited and happy to run the race and we were all eager to get to the start line!

Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Organizing a race for 40,000 people is no easy task. I was in the green corral. Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Finally at 8:17 I shuffled through the start with my corral-mates. At that point I had been standing on pavement for over an hour and my lower legs and feet felt super tight. Almost immediately we passed a church congregation cheering us on with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Pope (I did a double-take!) and I settled in at a leisurely pace, being careful not to weave, dodge, or otherwise use up energy trying to move around people. I just went with the flow. The first mile beeped by… 8:51. WAY too slow!! Whoops. Well, at least I met Goal #1!! 🙂

With my first mile behind me my legs had started to loosen up and I picked up the pace a little. City Hall came into view (and was SO pretty in the morning sunlight!!) and miles 2-5 ticked by easily and surprisingly evenly in 8:09, 8:14, 8:15, 8:08. Before I knew it I was passing Girard Avenue and the crowds along the street were increasing with every step.

The crowds are such a special part of this race. Thousands of spectators lined Broad Street, with the bulk of them (as far as I remember, at least) packed into the 2 miles between Fairmount and Washington Avenues. The energy was amazing!!! People had funny signs, little kids were holding out their hands for high-fives, bands were playing on the sidewalks and City Hall kept looming closer and closer.

Miles 6 and 7 flew by. I zoomed around city hall (the only turns on the course) and got caught up in the excitement. My splits were something like 8:31, 8:19 (the tall buildings messed with my garmin a bit) but these miles were just a blur. There were so many people cheering and I was having a blast!!!

After City Hall I happened to look up at a street sign and realized that I was already at Catherine Street. Matt was planning to stand a block south at Christian so I started scanning the crowds for his green t-shirt. It’s a good thing I was looking for him because he had no idea what I was wearing (despite helping me with my flat selfie the day before 😀) and he didn’t see me. I spotted him without a problem and yelled a quick hello to Matt, his sister, her husband and their new baby boy before continuing south on Broad.

After hitting the 7 mile point I began to feel tired. The tall buildings and giant crowds of center city faded away and the course was straight, flat and in the direct sun. I had been grabbing sips of water at most water stops and dumping the rest of the cup over my head (definitely was a surprise when I did that with a gatorade by mistake! 😁) so I felt hydrated, but my left hip was getting tired. Still, I “only” had 3 miles left… I race that all the time! I pushed onward, focusing more on my music and less on the dwindling crowds. Miles 8-9 ticked by in 8:28 and 8:34.

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

In the last mile I finally passed by the stadiums and the Navy Yard sign swam into sight. Before the race everyone warned me that I’d still have 0.25 miles to go once I crossed through the Navy Yard gate so I knew that in theory, but MAN was that the longest quarter mile EVER!!! I just kept moving forward and finally, blissfully, passed under the giant Broad Street Run finish arch.  Woohoo!!!

Broad Street Stats

I completed the race in 1:23:54, a full minute faster than my seed time. My first mile (8:51) was by far my slowest and I finished strong with a final mile split of 8:25. Overall, I averaged a pace of 8:23 over 10 miles… a feat that I never thought I would be able to pull off. I was tired, hot, and very, very happy at the end of the race.  😄

6838th place never felt so good...

6863rd place never felt so good…!

All in all this was a very rewarding, exciting experience and I would definitely consider running Broad Street again. I loved getting dropped off at the start (thanks Matt!!!) and I think that I fed off the energy of the crowds rather than being overwhelmed by them. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to warm up, stretch, or go to the bathroom in the hour before the race started, but having the chance to run 10 miles down Broad Street with 40K runners and huge crowd support made it all worth it in the end!

Miles since last post: 63.1
Days since last post: 13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 618.2

 Past Races:

•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26)
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Broad Street Run Recap Part 1: The Build Up!

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!

course-map2014 for mini appWith 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.

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

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!

Broad Street Flat Selfie

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!!