Yesterday I ran 10 miles down Broad Street with 40,000 other runners during Philadelphia's famous Broad Street Run. As the biggest 10 mile race in the country, this race attracts runners of all experience levels from Philly and the surrounding area.
I ran Broad Street in 2010 and 2011, and finished in 1:25 and 1:29, respectively. Having PR'ed and placing in several races so far this year, I signed up for the lottery anticipating a huge PR at Broad Street in 2014.
I rolled out of bed at 5:30 and after inhaling some coffee and half a bagel, I headed to meet my friend Stacy at the subway at 6:45. We squeezed onto a train about 10 minutes later, and spent the next 30 minutes like sardines with other runners, a Broad Street tradition.
Once we arrived, we headed straight for the portapotty lines that weren't as terrible as expected. After doing our business, we warmed up with some stretching and jogging and made our way back to the corrals.
I tried my best to make my way down to the orange corral but got stuck back with a slower corral. I was pretty mad about it at the time (along with many other runners) but in the end, it didn't really matter because once the wave started, the crowds thinned out considerably.
Start to Mile 3 (7:51 average pace)
After the hectic corral confusion at the start, I ran the first mile too fast, breaking the cardinal rule of distance running. I looked down at my watch at the 1 mile marker and saw 7:32, and knew I had to slow it down a bit if i wanted to be able to last 10 miles. I slowed a bit in miles 2 and 3, but ended up averaging a 7:51 pace (my 10k PR pace.) I grabbed some water around mile 2.5 as the sun broke through the clouds and the day heated up quickly.
Miles 4 & 5 (8:05 average pace)
This is where the race really starts to get fun, as it approaches Center City and the spectator crowds get bigger. I slowed down to a more manageable pace as the day got warmer, and just focused on not slowing TOO much at the water stops. As we approached City Hall, I felt relieved that we were more than halfway done!
Miles 6 & 7 (8:22 average pace)
This is where my quick start came back to bite me. I began to feel a bit dehydrated and could feel myself slowing down, so I grabbed 1-2 cups of water and/or gatorade at each water stop. This seemed to help as I would regain my speed later in the race. These miles were unremarkable, especially since I run them often on my regular routes.
Miles 8-10 (7:55 average pace)
I saw Josh and Whiskey around at mile 7.5 and felt my energy come back. I knew at this point that I would PR and finish well under my goal of 1:22, barring any major incidents. I felt strong again and began running faster as the sports stadiums came into view. The end of this race is deceptive, as the Navy Yard arch around mile 9.5 resembles a finish line arch, which I remembered this from past years. The course became more crowded in the last half mile, but I weaved around runners and sprinted my way across the finish line.
Overall, I was ecstatic to finish in 1:20:16, which is 5 minutes, 33 seconds under my previous 10 mile PR of 1:25:49. I felt confident and strong nearly the entire race, and gave it everything I had.
Furthermore, this big PR finish has further solidified my goals of qualifying for Boston 2016. I NEVER thought I could manage an 8:01 pace for 10 miles. EVER. Turns out, hard work pays off, and I haven't even trained to my highest potential this winter and spring. I know that if I give it everything I've got, I will be able to manage an 8:11 pace for 26.2 miles. That BQ may not happen until a year from now (or longer), but with enough patience and hard work, I have to believe I'll be toeing the line in Hopkinton come Marathon Monday in 2016.