Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Broad Street Recap

Although I haven't updated this blog in over a year and I am the only one that ever read it in the first place, I think it is a nice medium to share my awesome Broad Street Run experience. Even if I'm only sharing it with myself from the future.

The Broad Street Run is such a large race (the largest 10 miler in the U.S., 2nd largest in the world), one has to enter a lottery and hope to be one of the 40,000 chosen to run it. When the lottery was open, a coworker convinced me to enter it with her. I was nervous but also hoping I would get picked because it would give me a reason to force myself to up my mileage. When I got picked, I was equally excited and scared. The next 2.5 months consisted of running 3-4 times per week (occasionally less), mostly distances of between 3 and 4 miles, sometimes a little more, and I aimed to do one "long run" per week. My "long runs" started out at 5 miles, and I gradually worked my way up to slightly over 9 miles. I had days I felt like I could run 50 miles and days I could barely make it through 3. Some days that were supposed to be long runs got cut short because my body just wasn't feeling it. I think it's important to document this for future me, because I felt really bad about myself on those days and was convinced that this would happen on the day of Broad Street. It didn't. The one day the temperature was in the 70's and I tried to run, I felt like I was going to die. My body was just used to the winter temperatures and needed a few runs to adjust to warmer temps. I have since run in 70 degree weather and although I certainly am more comfortable and probably do perform better at lower temperatures, I haven't felt like dieing again.

The day of the race, I was obviously nervous. I went to bed around 10 and got up around 5:45. I was supposed to be at my co-worker's house by 6:30. I made myself 3/4 cups of oatmeal with water and brown sugar. I didn't want to eat dairy because I was afraid it would mess with my stomach and I would have to poop during the race. I drank a big glass of water, hoping that it would be digested and peed out before we left for Philadelphia.

After picking up Lisa and her friend, we met at her other friends house where I peed (hoping it would be the last time..no) and 9 of us piled into an SUV and headed to Philly. I took a caffeine pill along the way. I don't know exactly where we parked...it wasn't Citizen's Bank Park but near another stadium? I'm the worst with things in Philadelphia. It really may as well be another country. From the parking lot we walked to the subway to take it to the starting line. I was very nervous about peeing before the race started because I definitely needed to. I had been sipping a water bottle but hadn't had much water since breakfast yet I still needed to pee...may have been nerves. There were short lines for the portapotties we passed before getting on the subway, and I was happy. I think I ate one or two gus on the subway. Or maybe in the car? I don't know. At some point, I ate a couple Gus. The subway seemed to take forever to get to the starting line. I don't remember what time we got on, but I'm pretty sure we were getting off at 8:30, if not later, and the race starts at 8:30. Luckily, I'm slow and my corral wouldn't end up leaving until 9. The corrals were packed by the time we got to them. We were in our corral for maybe 15 minutes before it was time to start. I thought I had to pee again, but luckily it was just nerves and it went away by the time the race started.

Honestly, the race is a blur. I lost Lisa in the first mile. The first couple miles were very congested and I was annoyed at how slow people were, although my first mile time according to my phone (which was not very accurate...the course my phone logged is not even remotely right) was 9:24 which is typical for me.  The first few miles felt awesome and flew by. My mouth was rather dry and I was happy to get to the first water station. Wait, did I stop there? I can't remember if it was the first or second water station that I had a gu and some water. I stopped at either 3 or 4 water stations along the way, just long enough to get water and leave. I only ate energy chews at one of the water stations because I felt like it slowed me down chewing them, so at the next 2 water stations I grabbed Gatorade since I figured it should have the same effect.  I felt pretty good most of the race. Although the course is a net downhill, there are ups and downs throughout the course, although none are drastic. That doesn't stop the body from being aware of when you're going uphill, though. Those parts were a little annoying. I saw some weird things, like extremely bow-legged girls running and I was worried their bow legs were going to jut out and take me down, and a guy in a home-made felt snowman suit with a felt carrot nose, and a girl running backwards in a very serious manner. Miles 7-9 were a little iffy...it started to feel like "ok, I've been doing this awhile..." but I just had to keep trying to look around and enjoy the experience. Getting to mile 9 was great because I knew I had almost made it. Somewhere during mile 9 I looked at my armband and saw I was on track to beat my time and it made me so happy. There's a slight uphill on mile 9 that's a little annoying, but once we started downhill I heard someone yell "It's all downhill from here!" I hoped they weren't lying and they weren't. Once you're in the Navy Yard it's the easiest quarter mile of your life. The adrenaline and knowing the finish is soon. I think I actually got chills when I saw the Navy Yard sign. I couldn't see the finish line until it was not too far away, and that was an awesome feeling. I wanted to sprint to it, but unfortunately the entire last mile was a little congested, especially right before the finish line. I don't understand why anyone would walk during the last mile. It is very weird after you cross the finish line and come to a complete stop. My hamstrings did not like that. There was also no room to stretch right away. My muscles got very tight very quickly, and over 48 hours later my quads and hamstrings are still killing me. It was very slowmoving to get my medal, and during that time I tried to text Bill, my mom, and the group text, but nothing was going through. When I finally did get my medal and pretzel, I was kind of dazed. I was so proud of myself for finishing, I don't even remember really eating half the pretzel but I did because it's half eaten in the pic I took. I wandered around looking for the Teva table we agreed to meet at and no one else was there and I got nervous for awhile that I was never going to find anyone again. But eventually everyone arrived and we stood around talking about the race. At some point, I ate my banana because my muscles were really starting to feel tight and I was hoping the banana would prevent serious cramping. Lisa's husband got us VIP passes to a roped off area by the start with a catered buffet. There was lots of good looking food but I wasn't that hungry, although the lemonade might have been the best thing I ever had.

Congestion at the beginning is understandable, but congestion around city hall and the entire last mile? I guess that's where people get funneled into a smaller area. It really wasn't that big of a deal, but I feel like my time could have been a whole minute faster without these two slowdowns. I literally could have walked around city hall and kept pace with the crowd.

Although we didn't miss the start of our corral, I want to get down there earlier next time so I can soak it in a little longer.

My phone was at 31% at the end of the race, and the GPS didn't even accurately track me. By the time we got to the car, it was at 5%, even though I had turned location tracking off in an effort to save battery.

I really needed to use the bathroom by the time we got to the parking lot, and it seriously must have taken an hour to get out of Citizen's Bank Park where Lisa's husband parked. There was no one directing traffic that I remember seeing. And broad street had been reopened at this point. And when I did get home, I spent the rest of the day in and out of the bathroom. Thank you God for getting my home before I needed that.

I overestimated my time rather than underestimating when registering. I feel like everyone else did the opposite, because I was constantly getting stuck behind slowpokes. Next time, I need to slightly underestimate so I spend less time/energy darting around people.

Live-tracking was only available for miles 3, 5, 7, and finish, and the finish text didn't get sent until later. Although I know this now, it would have been nice to know before so I could warn people that no text doesn't mean I'm dead.

Other cool things:
At one incline difference, all I could see in the distance was a sea of heads bobbing up and down. It struck me as funny/awesome because I'd never seen such a thing.

The last couple days, whenever I think about it, it seems really surreal. I thought it was going to be so hard, and although some parts were easier than others, I felt pretty good the whole time. I am so proud of myself for sticking with my training and getting myself to the point where I can run 10 miles without walking. I finished in 1:37:12, under my goal of 1:40. I ran it faster than all of my students that ran it, which I think is an accomplishment since they've done it before and I have a good 10-15 years on them. I never thought I'd be able to do something like this. Like really, I didn't think my body was physically capable of it. I'm glad I stuck with it and proved myself wrong. I am so glad I had this really awesome experience.  It feels like I shared something special with those other 40,000 people that ran it. Except maybe the people that ran it in like 50 minutes. We didn't share anything. You were literally almost done when I started.

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