Let me start with that any normal human being would have bailed on this race the second they spotted the weather forecast. Luckily for Philadelphia, 40,000 non-normal humans signed up for this race. 40,000 registrants ran 10 miles in the pouring rain down Broad Street. And it was honestly an amazing race to be part of.
Let’s start from the sunny beginning.
Let’s start with the Expo. It worked out pretty well Saturday morning because my dad needed a ride to the airport, so after we dropped him off, we shot over to the Convention Center. Parking was $14, but right in front of the entrance. You could definitely find cheaper parking, but I’m impatient and have no idea how to navigate a city. Thus, I’m down $14. I’ll get over it.
We got there around 10 a.m., so it wasn’t too crowded. We got out bibs and T-shirts easily and then putzed around the expo.
Alright, normally I’m not a huge expo fan since I love free stuff and a lot of times they’re lacking in that department, but I think this was by far my favorite. I loved how there were booths for different races in the area (including the Philadelphia Marathon, which I obvi snagged some free merch). I must have grabbed 8 different race brochures and added 10 more races to my bucket list.
The Broad Street merchandise was nice. I’m weird about buying something before I complete the race — like I haven’t earned it or it’ll jinx me. I’m also holding out for my first marathon. I’ll get merch from that. Until then, the free tee is good enough for me.
Let me start by saying that I don’t think it dawned on me that I was going to run in the rain until race morning. I thought Mother Nature would pull through, but I was wrong and she clearly hates me. It was raining from the second our alarm clocks went off and only rained harder as the day went on. Wonderful race weather.
We woke up around 5 a.m., at a protein bar, got dressed and headed out to pick up some friends before shooting out to Philly. We were trying to get to he Stadium Parking Lot by 6:30 a.m.
I will say that I was nervous about the whole parking then taking transportation to the starting line. I’m not familiar with Philly and I wasn’t sure if the train, metro or what would be the best bet. Personally, the shuttles the race offered from the Stadiums were perfect. We got to the starting line by 7:40 (perfect timing since we weren’t trying to stand in the rain longer than necessary before the race).
When we go there, we split up to our starting corrals and, JEEZ, it was crowded. My boyfriend and I couldn’t actually get to our corral because the crowd wasn’t moving so we left in a different one. Annoying, but I guess there’s just not a lot of room to put 40,000 racers. And yes, I snagged a free poncho (thank you Broad Street committee) to keep somewhat dry to at least start. Cute, no?
We started around 8:30 a.m. and my boyfriend and I almost immediately separated. He’s faster and was already a corral behind to start with me. Thus, with an “I love you,” he was gone.
The first couple miles I wanted to keep myself in check. During my training I had done my long runs, but not as many weekly runs as I probably should have. I didn’t want to get caught up in the race and come out too fast. Plus, my belly was already growling despite having a filling breakfast. I didn’t want to hit a wall come mile 8. I kept my goal pace around 10-minute miles. I expected to slow down come the end of the race and held myself to a faster than 11-minute goal.
I have to say, this was the first race that I actually used my GPS watch to keep in my pace zone and it helped a TON. My boyfriend was actually saying after the race how he has not idea what his pace is (we’re actually looking into getting him a cheap pacing watch for marathon training so any suggested are welcome).
Anyway, my first 5k was good. Reined it in a bit when I was going 9:45, but overall it was a good start.
Mile 4 is where I lost my music. The rain was getting harder and my headphones being cheap (I didn’t want to use my Jabra because I wast n’t if they’re water proof even though I’ve accidentally sent them through the wash twice). Nevertheless, mile 4 on was getting energy and motivation from the crowd, which honestly doesn’t bother me as you might think. At home, a long run via no music is God awful, but on race day it’s so easy to immerse yourself in the moment, the people and the energy. Sometimes I even recommend it. Enjoy the race and soak up every minute of it (no pun intended for my fellow soaking wet Broad Street runners).
At mile 8 I vowed to take off my poncho so I didn’t look like a goon crossing the finish line. Also, my cotton long sleeve was soaking wets at the non-poncho covered parts and it was getting heavy. Taking off the poncho actually gave me a boost. I was almost finished and I immediately felt lighter running.
Before I knew it I was running through the Navy Yard (aka hello finish line!) and it was a beautiful sight. The finish line area was a tad crowded and slow moving. Almost the second I crossed the finish line, the crowd came to a complete stop as they funneled you to the food and medal area.
After race food was cheap in my opinion, but putting everything in a plastic bag was helpful. The pretzels were a bit soggy, but beggars can’t be choosers. The walk back to the car post-race was the real struggle. Once you weren’t running, the cold and rain really hit you and the half mile plus walk to the car seemed more difficult than the race.
Never-the-less, we made it back to the car. Changed as much as we could from our wet clothes and headed home. Despite the pouring rain, I had a lot of fun. It will definitely be a race I’ll never forget!
And, hi, duh, I’ll definitely be back next year. It can’t be worse than that, right? [That was not a challenge, Mother Nature.]