Yesterday was the one hundred tenth day of my fitness program, but more importantly, it was the culmination of my original goal: to get in shape to do the Broad Street Run. More to the point, I did not want to struggle through the race. Rather, I wanted the race to feel good and be something I could enjoy.
The run was so much fun because of the involvement of the various Philadelphia communities. Mayor Nutter gave high fives, Episcopal churches sang praises, Catholic churches cheered along, Temple’s football program joined its band and mascot on the sidelines, dogs gave high fives (yes, really), the elderly peeked out of their windows to smile and wave, and jazz bands played soulful music. The run was the fun part, the moment where I realized I was in the shape I needed to be to actually take in the sights and sounds without much difficulty.
We ran under the two hour conservative estimate. Back in January there was little chance I could make it even close to the two and a half hour cutoff, just knowing how painful it was to run at all. I was prepared to run a 1:30 (and our initial pace indicated that effort), but it was important to run together and in the process I understood that supporting my teammate was exactly what she would have done for me if the roles were reversed.
We were out the door within the hour of waking up and headed to the subway stop in Center City. The walk itself was nice, and the weather was chilly but comfortable. The subway was packed as it raced to the Olney stop on North Broad Street. When we got to ground level, we could not locate our team’s tent (Back on My Feet), so we made our way to the designated corral. The race was to start at 8:30, but we understood that it would take another thirty to forty minutes for our corral to start. There were long lines at the restrooms near us and we ended up learning these lines would not diminish over the various stations along the course. We had brought some cereal bars but no technology, unlike almost everyone who had earphones ready to go. As an aside, the race organizers explicitly prohibit the use of earphones during the race, but this rule does not appear to be enforced. As a regular cyclist on Kelly Drive, I can say that I am firmly against the use of earphones, as it makes people completely isolated from their surroundings, causing crashes and all kinds of traffic that would not occur if people shared the path. But I digress…
On to the run: We started at 9:06 AM, at which point the clouds broke for some shining sun. The first mile was a mix of slow jogging, plenty of fellow runner dogging and finding our form. We hit the first mile in ten minutes, which was a speed I had felt comfortable I could maintain the whole course. Our second mile was in nine and a half minutes, at which point we intentionally slowed. The halfway point is at Spring Garden, not City Hall (as one would expect), so before long we had completed five miles. North Broad was very lively and fun, as we made it through diverse neighborhoods and Temple’s campus. Center City was beautiful, easily the highlight of the sights and sounds. South Broad, between Center City and South Street, was home to the most creative signs, such as “I bet it sounded like a good idea three months ago” and “Race now, cheesesteaks later”. The true South Philly experience included no parked cars in the middle of Broad Street! It was such a welcome change.By the time we were near the sports complex, the crowds thickened. The extra motivation helped us cross the finish line smiling and content with our results. Below is what my Basis fitness tracker record:
*Unfortunately, for whatever reason, my Basis did not record heart rate (it usually does) at all during the run until the very end
As you can see above, skin temperature and perspiration rose in tandem, as the day warmed and the run progressed. The average number of steps fluctuated in coordination with various mile markers. Essentially my running partner would slow the pace after each mile marker. Her personal style is to do interval running, in opposed to my consistent pace training. It frustrated my ankles, for sure, but we made it work. For the day, I had burned 3,660 calories, logged over thirty four thousand steps, and completed my first run, the Broad Street Run.
In the end, we succeeded at finishing the run and doing so under two hours. It’s a good start to the running season, and I will continue my fitness efforts over the next several months by using this success as a motivator keep it going! Also, yes, we did have a cheesesteak post race. Also, I slept much better the following (last) night: