I am finally starting to feel “recovered” after last Sunday’s Broad Street Run, my very first race in the rain! It was a one of a kind experience running one of the most beloved races in Philadelphia in such crazy weather conditions and I’m so happy to say that it was a good racing day!
Since it’s Tuesday, I’m linking up with Erika, Marcia, and Patty for Tuesdays on the Run! The theme this week is running gear, so definitely check out some recommendations from all the bloggers participating! I can definitely tell you that having the right gear was crucial for my 10 mile race in the rain! I’m so excited to share my Broad Street Run race recap with you!Check out my recap of the @ibxrun10 Broad Street Run! Such a crazy experience! #totr #runchat… Click To Tweet
On May 1, 2011, I ran my very first long distance race: The Broad Street Run. That was the day that I fell in love with running and when my journey really took off.
On May 1, 2016, I ran this race again, and while this experience was wildly different from that first time, it still turned out to be a very special day. This was my third time running Broad Street, but I hadn’t run the race since 2012. It’s been a long time coming.
Things have been extremely busy for me in the month of April. With racing almost every weekend, traveling out of town, house hunting, PLUS all the regular day-to-day responsibilities, so much has been going on and it’s been hard to keep up!
The Saturday before the race, Bret and I participated in Comcast Cares, a day of community service. We spent the morning weeding several planter boxes at Bartram’s Garden Community Farm, an awesome place that provides fresh produce to underserved communities in Southwest and West Philadelphia. While Bret used the hoe, and I used the rake and my gloved hands. While we saw more snakes than I cared to count, it was a really fun time!
After that, we headed to the Expo held downtown at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This was a first for me since the last time I ran this race, the expo was held at the Lincoln Financial Center where the Eagles play. It was actually pretty decent setup and tons of vendors. My favorite was definitely the free gelato from Turkey Hill!
Getting our race bibs and T-shirts was fairly straightforward and I was able to upgrade my corral from yellow (1:40-1:50 pace) to gray (1:30-1:40) pace. Since the weather forecast was rain, rain, rain, I wanted to start and finish the race as soon as possible! I also got to chat with the CGI racing team and ran into a fellow running blogger, Samantha. She is as sweet as can be!
That evening, Bret made chicken and pasta for dinner that provided just the right amount of carbs! As the race grew closer by the hour, I kept hoping that the rain on race day wouldn’t be as bad as predicted, but each report gave me less confidence. It was going to rain before the race, during the race, and after the race. Having never run a race in the rain, I kept freaking out about what to wear!
Finally, I decided that I would wear the following for the race:
I ended up in bed sometime after 11 pm.
I woke up around 5:30 to have my routine breakfast of toast and grape jam (jelly). Turned on the news and of course, rain all day! There was nothing we could do but grin and bear it. I packed a bag with a second pair of socks and shoes and would place my rain jacket inside once we got to Broad Street so that it would be dry for me to wear after the race.
Due to the “lovely” weather, we weren’t in a rush to get to the starting line, so we didn’t leave until around 6:45. We walked to the Broad Street Subway which would take us north to Olney Station, just a few blocks away from the starting line. The rain was already very steady.
When we got to Spring Garden Station, there were plenty of runners waiting for the train, wearing all kinds of varieties of running jackets, ponchos, and garbage bags. A packed Express train pulled in but we weren’t aggressive enough to get on, so we ended up taking the Local…which meant more time to be crammed on the train with a bunch of strangers! This was Bret’s first time going through all of this, and thankfully he seemed to be in pretty good spirits.
When we finally made it to the station, it was already after 7:30. The race started at 8:00. I hoped to get in a group photo with City Fit Girls, but I ended up too late. Bret was in the Purple Corral, which meant he would be one of the first to start the race after the wheelchair racers and elites. After changing out of my rain jacket and into the garbage bag and putting my cell phone (already playing Spotify) into my Orange Mud Hydraquiver, I let him take off without me so I could drop my bag off at one of the gear check buses. From that point on, I was on my own.
First off, can I say that for the first time in a long time, I don’t have a starting line picture? Once I packed up my phone, there was no way that I was going to take it out and risk damaging it for some selfies. So I have no photos of me in a garbage bag. Take my word for it!
After dropping off my bag, I walked down to where the gray corral started. I was supposed to meet there with my OG running buddies, Mark, and Tom, who were both running the race. As I stood in line on Broad and Somerville beginning the long wait to start, the rain continued to steadily fall. It was heavier than a drizzle, but not a complete washout either. Thankfully, it wasn’t a windy day on top of that! The garbage bag did a great job of keeping me dry and warm.
Unfortunately, I never saw Mark or Tom, or anyone else that I knew. I kept looking around hoping I’d see someone but no such luck. With around 40,000 runners, it can be tough to find people, but it’s even worse when the weather is miserable. Lately, I’ve enjoyed running races solo, but I think it would have been nice to have a running buddy this time around.
Before I knew it, they finally let us past the floodgates and head towards the starting line. There were tons of wet, discarded clothes on the ground that we were told to pick up and move to the side before crossing the start. I took off my garbage bag, tossed it on the curb, and was off!
I’m glad that I started in the gray corral since everyone was moving at a pretty good pace and there was plenty of space to run. I could quickly tell that I was moving a little bit faster than I wanted to, but wouldn’t you know it that Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” would be the first track to play while I was running? Five years ago, I distinctly remember listening to that song while running Broad Street. It was meant to be.
Surprisingly, there was still a decent amount of people who came out to cheer for us in as we ran in the rain in North Philly. When the weather sucks, that support is needed more than ever! I loved seeing the little kids standing out, waving and giving high five’s. There was also a guy in a purple suit that had a mix of Prince songs blasting on loudspeakers that was awesome! Hearing a guy say “You’ve only got 8 miles to go” was not as well-received.
And as the miles progressed I was feeling really good. My hands were cold, but they eventually warmed up along with the rest of my body. The rain continued to fall with no end in sight. The puddles weren’t too bad, but you did have to dodge some of the ponchos that people left lying in the middle of the road. Smh.
I don’t know why everyone says the Broad Street Run is “all downhill” because it’s simply not true. There are several hills that you have to climb in the first half of the race, with the one on Lehigh Avenue most memorable to me. They’re not bad, but it’s still a workout!
I was looking forward to getting to mile 5 since that would obviously mean that we’re halfway done!
Splits: 9:23, 9:38, 9:31, 9:27, 9:20
We hit Spring Garden and we grew ever closer to City Hall. There were tons of people cheering and it was great to see them. There were 3 women in front of me that I kept my eye on during the first half of the race, but I lost them at this point.
Once we passed City Hall and started heading further south, the crowds really grew tight, along with my frustration. While I wasn’t sure if I was running faster or slower than I started, I felt pretty good…I just kept getting tripped up behind slower people.
So I had to do more bobbing and weaving, between flooded roads, narrow spaces, and slower runners. On top of that, my headphones started to slip out of my ears around mile 7. Almost every 30 seconds, I was adjusting my left ear to keep my headphones on. It drove me nuts, but I guess that’s what happens when you run in the rain for over an hour! At least I didn’t have squishy shoes!
I was so looking forward for the race to be over. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that I was feeling so good, but my patience was starting to wear thin. I really wanted to push the pace because I felt that I had it in me, but the crowd just wouldn’t allow for it. During the last mile or so, the road narrows to one side of the street, so you’re really crammed in. What always shocks me is how people can slow down when they’re so close to the finish. I have to admit that I pushed past a couple of people to make it, but I was so happy and had a huge smile on my face as I crossed the finish line! I was pretty sure that I PR’d, I just didn’t know what the final time would be.
Splits: 9:05, 9:10, 9:25, 9:12, 9:14
And sure enough, I had that PR that I was hoping for. 1:34:17. My previous PR was 1:37:42, so this was a huge success for me! I’m still in disbelief that I’m able to sustain that kind of pace for 10 miles! Who knew??
After the race, I grabbed my bag of food, put on a heat sheet, and waited for Bret in the family section in the Navy Yard. At first I was warm, but once my body started to cool down, I was cold and miserable! And yes, it was STILL steadily raining! I was waiting for Bret for what seemed like an eternity but didn’t see him anywhere. I started to worry that maybe something happened to him and that he didn’t make it to the finish. Finally, after nearly a half hour, he found me. Bret finished the race in a little over 1:14(!), so he was out in the rain for a very long time. We got out of there as soon as we could!
I found the bus with my bag and easily retrieved my things. I put on my jacket and changed my shoes as quickly as I could, but I couldn’t get my socks off. Oh well. Then we made the long walk from the Navy Yard to the Subway. I couldn’t wait to get home, eat, hit the couch, and go to sleep. And that’s exactly what I did.
So many people love the Broad Street Run and for good reason! It’s a feel-good race, it’s not on Kelly Drive, and it brings out so many people. While the rainy weather wasn’t ideal, I’m really glad that I ran this race. I feel like I had some redemption after having a few tough years of running where it seemed that I wasn’t making improvements.
I think the real MVP’s of the Broad Street Run by far are the race volunteers and spectators. They brought an energy that was so needed on what could have been a completely miserable day. I really appreciate all of the support that they provided!
And as always, I have to thank all of my readers for their encouragement over the past few weeks! I didn’t specifically train for the Broad Street Run, so I’m just so pleased to have had my 3rd PR for the year! I’m really excited to see what lies ahead, but for now, I’ve got a 3 week break until my next race, thank goodness!
Have you ever run a race in the rain?