Well, I did it! I was really nervous leading up to race day since I hadn’t been able to train much the few weeks before thanks to some knee trouble. However, I used a knee brace, chugged some ibuprofen and got out there. It was an awesome experience, and one that I would definitely recommend. Here are 10 things I learned as a Broad Street Run rookie.
- Check the SEPTA app to see how long it will take you to get to the start. And even build in some extra time. I grabbed the Broad Street Line at Lombard South around 7:45am. Well, two express trains passed me and then I got on a non-express. In total it took me about 35 minutes to get up there, and I wasn’t prepared for that. I still had plenty of time, but the planner in me had a bit of a freak out.
- PEE. The bathroom lines were absolutely insane. I had drank water that morning to hydrate, so I had to go up at the start. I’ve never seen such crazy lines before. I wasn’t really up for peeing behind a dumpster, so I ended up having to pee in one of the port-o-potties on the course. This took about 12 minutes and was really annoying. Looking back I should have just waited at the start so it didn’t throw off my finish time.
- It doesn’t really matter what time you start. Hence, #2. I was a little obsessed with being in the right coral at the right time, but I should have not worried about this. Your official time doesn’t start to tick until you cross the finish line so take your time getting prepared and start whenever.
- Take it all in. It struck me around mile 2 that I was just blasting my music and running like it was any other day. I wanted to really remember this race, and what it felt like to accomplish it. I made myself take out my headphones. I looked at City Hall and how far away it seemed. I read spectator signs, and listened to their words of encouragement. It was a pretty awesome feeling.
- The finish line is a mad house. My parents were awesome and came into town to watch the race. I had heard that cell phones wouldn’t work because of all the people (this is true) so we picked a spot to meet. Well, I regretted it after about 5 minutes. It is a mad house down there. As exciting as it is, I really wish I had just agreed to meet them at my place or somewhere out of the mayhem. There are just people EVERYWHERE and it’s hard to find anyone.
- You have a LONG walk back to the Subway with no real direction. Speaking of the mad house, keep in mind that when you are done running you have at least a mile walk back to the subway. Thankfully, a train was sitting there when we got there and it was an express. Picture 20,000 people all with the same destination in mind. Just breathe, be patient, and don’t try to get anywhere in a hurry and you’ll be fine.
Steer clear of drink stations if you don’t need them. There are quite a few on the race route, but they are a mess. I almost tripped a few times on cups that people were throwing in front of me because I didn’t dodge them in time.
Wear sunscreen. Of course this will depend on the weather, but I never even thought about it. It was only a high of 64 and pretty overcast, however I ended up with a pretty good sunburn on my face, chest and shoulders. Safety first!
Tell everyone you are running, and bring some cheerleaders. Knowing that my roommate and parents would be standing there cheering me on just after 6 was a HUGE motivator. I thought about seeing them and how I wanted to look strong and happy when I ran by. They definitely got me through some rough spots. Depending on how fast you are, you’ll be running for quite some time and having some familiar faces to break it up was priceless. I knew once I made it to them I was more than half way there and that really kept me going.
Check out the deals, and have a post-race celebration planned. A few days before the race I made a reservation for myself and my family for brunch. The thought of brunch got me through a lot of rough spots and pain during the race. My knee starting giving me a lot of pain and that delicious meal was something to look forward to. Also, a TON of places around the city were offering free drinks and food for Broad Street Runners. I stopped by a place on the home for a free mimosa! Check out deals and plan accordingly. You deserve it!