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.

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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!!

Valley Forge Hike with our newest 4-legged house guest, Ganon

Happy Labor Day!  Matt and I have been enjoying a relaxing holiday weekend at home.  We raced The Pickle Run on Thursday, hiked on Friday, went to TWO barbecues on Saturday and did lots of yard work on Sunday.  At the moment we have nothing planned for today… that’s my favorite kind of day off!  🙂

We also hosted a new 4-legged house guest at our home this weekend, my step-brother’s pup, Ganon.  Friday was our first full day with Ganon so we took him hiking at Valley Forge National Park.  Matt and I have done the 5 mile paved Plumb Martin loop at Valley Forge several times but since we had Ganon along we wanted to try some hiking trails instead.  Every time we’ve done the paved loop we’ve seen a sign marking the turnoff for a pedestrian crossing over the (very wide) Schuylkill River.  I’ve always been intrigued by the river crossing so on Friday we decided to give it a try.

We parked at the Visitor’s Center and followed the paved loop north for a short while before turning off the trail towards the Schuylkill River.  From there we followed a road that dead-ended at what had been the old Betzwood Bridge (now just a precarious drop-off to the river!) before turning up a steep path to Highway 422.  The “pedestrian crossing” was a rickety 3 foot wide cantilevered walkway that was tacked onto the side of a major highway bridge several stories about the river.  Eek!  Not quite the peaceful hike I was expecting, but still very exhilarating (or terrifying, depending on your perspective).

Rt 422 Bridge Panorama over the Schuylkill

Despite some wobbly boards and lots of traffic whizzing by, we survived the bridge crossing and thankfully returned to ground level in the quieter, less tourist-y “north side” of Valley Forge.  (Where, for the record, there’s a perfectly good parking lot… We’ll probably drive over the 422 bridge and park there next time!)  I later read that ground has been broken for a brand new pedestrian/bike bridge that will be located at the site of the old Betzwood Bridge.  We’ll try the crossing again in May 2016 when the new bridge is supposed to be completed!

Matt and Ganon crossing the river

Once we arrived on the northern bank of the Schuylkill, we walked along the paved Schuylkill River Trail for a few minutes before transitioning down to the less-traveled gravel River Trail.  The River Trail hugged the river and offered gorgeous views of the water and woods.  We hiked for about 3 miles before turning around to make the trek back, but the trails kept going and we could have extended the hike quite a bit if we had wanted to.  There were a few spots where the path led right to the river which Ganon really liked.  🙂

The north side of Valley Forge was really beautiful and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to get away from the big crowds, tours, and reenactments that you’ll find on the more popular south side of the park.  I think Ganon would recommend it too… he had fun and was completely exhausted afterwards!

Sleepy Ganon

Here’s a map of our 6.2 mile hike shown in red on the VFNP North Side trails map.  You can view the official Park map on the NPS web site here: http://www.nps.gov/vafo/planyourvisit/upload/northside-2012.pdf

VFNP River Trail Map

Have a great Labor Day!

Megan and Nick’s Wedding!

Last weekend Matt and I got to be a part of the wonderful marriage of Matt’s sister, Megan, and her husband Nick.  Congratulations Megan and Nick!!  🙂

The official wedding festivities began with an amazingly delicious rehearsal dinner at Le Virtu in South Philadelphia and ended with a fantastic wedding celebration at the historic Powel House in old Philadelphia.  Megan and Nick had a professional photographer documenting the official wedding but I had fun taking some photos during the rehearsal dinner and the “getting ready” portion of their wedding day.  Here are a few of my favorite shots!

Nick and Megan at their rehearsal dinner on Friday night.

We had an amazing 4 1/2 hour meal at Le Virtu in South Philadelphia. Click on the photo to zoom in and read the menu! My favorite course was the Palott cac’ e ove Braised egg and cheese croquettes in tomato sauce.

Megan and Matt’s cousin Denise has the cutest daughter ever! This is 13 month old Frankie.

Megan’s beautiful wedding dress!

Megan gave each of her bridesmaids a pair of these lovely custom-made earrings along with a cute robe to wear while getting ready. Thanks, Megan!

Welcome to Philadelphia!

Megan walked down the aisle in these snazzy pink peep-toe pumps.

Matt and I made a DIY photobooth for Megan and Nick. Here we are hamming it up for the camera. 🙂

Megan and Nick’s wedding bands in a custom bowl.  The inscription reads:
“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) September 8, 2012”

Best of luck to Megan and Nick and hope you’re having a blast on your honeymoon in Hawaii!!