Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Only Race I Care About

I wrote a blog post for March complaining about how brutal March was. I had a lot of things due, a lot of things happening, a lot of things that needed to be completed. I never completed that post, though. I guess I didn't feel like wasting precious blog space on complaining. I wrote a post about May but didn't finish that one either. Not sure why, perhaps I got distracted. 

Well, we're going to finish this post. 



Hi friends. It has been awhile. Clearly I have yet to be spit out of this never ending whirlwind called my life. May has been okay so far. The biggest news to report was my 2017 appearance in the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run. For the third year in a row, I set out to PR this 10 miler. I wrote the time to beat on my hand: 2:26:53. I did everything right: trained, geared correctly, fueled correctly and ran more than I had in previous years. I usually end up walking miles 5-10 but this year I was still running off and on in miles 7, 8 and 9. Let's start from the beginning...

For the 3rd year in a row I actually got a seat on the subway. I bet my luck runs out next year. Upon arrive to Broad and Olney, I was greeted by a very festive SEPTA station. They went all out with balloons and a photobooth this year. SEPTA is a corporate sponsor of the race and they really enjoyed their role in this year. I was so early. I had plenty of time to pee, stretch, eat, stretch and pee again. Most notably, the second port-a-potty trip where I was in line for a good 40 minutes. Some other runners told us there were no lines at the pottys further down this hill by the track but a bunch of us stubbornly stayed in line. "I've invested too much time in this line," the guy behind me said. "This line is meaningful to me," I said, my voice mock quivering. It was hilarious. Some good souls passed back a nice roll of toilet paper as well, saving us from the unsightly horrors that lie in the pre-race potty hell. 

I lined up in my corral, took my inhaler, cued up my playlist and got ready to run. As our wave took off (the last wave), I got a little emotional. I didn't cry but I almost did. Everything I did leading up to that point was for this race. 40,000 people got up at the butt crack of dawn, payed $50+ to run 10 miles through Philadelphia with friends and strangers. As I crossed the start, a wave of spectators were lined up to my right. I ran over and high fived about 25 people in a row. They pumped me up and I think I pumped them up. I couldn't stop smiling. 

Somewhere in mile 2, I popped my headphone out. I listened to what was around me. There were no spectators on that little stretch, no bands or entertainment...just runners. What I heard was the pounding of feet on the pavement...thousands of feet, pounding away. It was such a cool moment that I will never forget.

My goal other than to PR was to really enjoy the race...to be in it. To recognize the privilege it is to participate in such an event. I stopped to look at the neighbors on their porches, waving to us with smiles on their faces. I pulled out my headphones to listen to the entertainment that played and cheered for us as we ran past. I looked around at the shirts around me, I slowed down to high five little kids, I enjoyed every step and every mile.

I wouldn't have done anything differently. In mile 7.5, a huge wind and rain storm kicked up, throwing all of us still on the course to the land of PTSD of last year's race. I outstretched my arms and yelled a battle cry, promoting the volunteers around me to cheer. 

As I reached the finish, I checked my phone and saw my best friend was waiting for me. I've never had someone wait for me at the finish before. It meant to the world to me seeing him, his cousin and her husband (who finished an hour before me) wait for me to pass by. Some girl, there are a ton of pics of her, was screaming at me YOU GOT THIS GET IT DONE. I appreciated her. I ran across the finish, assuming I didn't PR. As I got inline to enter the finisher's area, I checked my phone. I had my race alerts sent to me via text. I looked at my finish time.

2:26:53. I didn't PR. I matched my 2015 time TO THE SECOND. Exact same time. It was written on my hand. Like some sort of magic trick. I was thrilled. The only thing better than getting a PR was doing this once and a lifetime thing. I knew I gave it my all. I knew I ran for long stretches of time, more than ever before. I couldn't and wouldn't change a thing. 


Third time was not a charm, but it was very special. I honestly can not wait to do this again next year. 

Until next time...


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