When news broke last fall that the Broad Street Run would move to a lottery-registration system for the first time ever this year, cries of terror were heard ’round the world. I was one of the screamers. After six Broad Streets, I was afraid I’d have no hope of getting in. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO?
First, I got a grip. Then I contacted the American Cancer Society and signed up for its DetermiNation Team. ACS is one of a handful of charities offering Broad Street bibs for runners willing to fundraise . All I had to do was raise $500 and I’d be set! I was elated until I realized just how much money $500 actually is. For the uninitiated: it’s, um, a lot. And in my blind race-lottery rage, I failed to think about how I’d manage to squeeze that much cash out of my family and friends.
Luckily, after some frantic Internet searching I realized you don’t have to beg your parents to cut you a check for the entire amount. With a little creativity, you can raise the minimum—and then some—like that.
And so I give you, 8 Creative Ways to Raise $500 for a Broad Street Charity Bib.
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Annie is all smiles as she crosses the finish line.
3:20 a.m.—that’s when I woke up on Sunday morning before the Philadelphia Marathon. I have no idea why, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. Luckily, my parents were up to begin the drive from Harrisburg to Philly, so I texted them a few times, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. Like any sane person in my predicament, I went on Facebook … and found out the race started at 7, not 7:30 like I’d previously thought. Good to know.
My friends and I got to the start around 6:15, hopped in the Porta Potty line, and got ready to roll. I found the 5:30 pace group and tried to keep warm (it was so cold this year!!!), while my brother tried to find my parents in the crazy sea of people. They got to my corral just as we started to move. I teared up, of course, mostly out of nerves, but also because I was so happy that my parents, aunt and uncle were able to come see me off. Armed with hand-warmers and my dedication list (thanks to an awesome reader who owns Races 2 Remember, my index card was made into an armband so I could look at it easily!), I was ready to go.
Crossing the start, I was like, Holy $#!+, what have I gotten myself into? All these thoughts were flying through my head, but I realized the only thing I could do about it was to run, so I did. And it felt amazing. My boss met me at Delaware Avenue to run with me for a few miles, and our chatter—combined with the spectacle that was the other runners around me (example: one guy was juggling six balls while he ran; I barely have the coordination to run and talk, and he’s there juggling)—kept me distracted for a while. When I got to University City, my friend Erica waiting to power me up the hills. The Penn and Drexel students milling around are honestly the best cheerleaders. The enthusiasm is contagious, so the hills seemed a little smaller this year (just a little, though … they’re still huge).
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I’ve been a yoga student (on and off; currently on) for the past 10 years. It’s taught me relaxation, patience and discipline, and has given me some semblance of upper body strength. When I first discovered it in high school, it was a welcome change from the craziness and stress of life, especially for a kid who was happy to find an outlet that didn’t involve partying or team sports.
Too bad I didn’t have the opportunity to start my yoga practice earlier in life. As a chubby fifth grader with the coordination of a newborn horse, I would have been overjoyed to practice yoga at school. It’s not to say I wasn’t active; I had been a synchronized swimmer for a few years by that point, but that particular sport wasn’t something routinely covered in Catholic school P.E. Instead of humiliating myself on the soccer field, I could have been rocking downward dog silently while still getting a good workout.
So imagine my shock when I came across a recent article in the Los Angeles Times about parents in a southern California town who are up in arms that their kids’ school district had accepted a grant worth over $500,000 from a yoga studio, which wanted to bring the practice of yoga to local students. At a time when stories of bullying are practically de rigueur in the media, you’d think parents would be thrilled to know that their children were learning how to chill out. Not to mention the fact that the state of California is more than $600 billion in debt and is cutting educational programs left and right. How can a school grant be a bad thing?
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I'll carry this cheat sheet with me on race day.
I can’t believe the Philadelphia Marathon is almost here!!! I go from feeling scared to excited to both at once. I guess I’m exscareded, if you will. And I know that I’ll be the most exscareded on Sunday morning as I wait in a Porta Potty line that rivals one at a Justin Bieber concert, except us runners aren’t as giggly (and most of us aren’t as young).
As I waited in the line last year, I only felt one thing: fear. I might have even cried (don’t tell anyone). This year, I know I can cover the distance; after all, I’ve done it before. The only thing that’s had me worried is not meeting my time. I plan on running with the 5:30 pace group, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to keep up. And knowing that I’ll be running without my friends and family with had me feeling very, very alone.
I decided the best way to feel less alone was to dedicate each mile of the marathon to someone in my life who has encouraged me in my running. I kind of stole the idea from Ali Feller, my favorite running blogger/future BFF (I hope). After the NYC marathon was canceled, she drove up to New Hampshire on a whim to run the Manchester City Marathon. (She PRed by 22 minutes, so she’s also my inspiration for this weekend.) For the marathon, she set aside few miles to think of specific people, and those thoughts kept her moving. And in my opinion, the most important rule of marathon running is to keep moving.
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Picture this: it’s freezing. I’ve been waiting around for the 2012 Cooper Norcross Bridge Run to begin, and just as the announcer starts the countdown to the gun, I push play on my beloved iPod. The first few notes of Missy Elliot and company’s “Lady Marmalade” begin to pump through my headphones and then … nothing. Me, the biggest supporter of running with music, forgot to charge her iPod after her last long run. And now I’m running in silence.
The bridge run begins at the Jersey tolls of the Ben Franklin. The 4,000-ish participants run over the bridge on the westbound side and after a quick U turn, return over the eastbound side. While I’m not a huge fan of a tight turnaround with this many runners, it was awesome to see the elites flying past on the other side as I made my way toward Philly.
I guess I wasn’t running in complete silence. I heard the huffing and puffing of the runners around me, a lady rapping Big Booty Ho (I’m serious), and the girls behind me chatting about their weekends. The runner’s high everyone was experiencing was distracting enough to get me over the bridge and back (did you know the Ben Franklin Bridge is a hill? I am well aware of it now), but then my mind started to wander to uncharted territory.
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When I first printed out my training plan for the Philadelphia Marathon in July, it looked daunting. I knew I could do it because I had done it before, but when you plan out the next few months of your life in terms of mileage, it’s a bit overwhelming. When all is said and done, I will have covered approximately 420.2 miles in 16 weeks.
This past Saturday, I completed my final training long run: 18 glorious miles (I did 20 the week before) around Kelly Drive. I couldn’t help but think “THANK GOD THIS IS OVER!” as I made my way back to my apartment. Obviously I’m not going to stop running, but now it’s time to taper. (For the uninitiated, that means cutting down the mileage to keep your legs fresh.) It was great thinking about how I wouldn’t have to dedicate half a day to a run anymore or how I could do more of my weekday runs in the mornings because they wouldn’t hit the double digits anymore. Sweet freedom!
Fast forward to Monday, October 29th at 7:30 p.m. I’ve been cooped up in my apartment all day thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Cookies have been baked, the house has been cleaned, movies have been purchased. I am not good at sitting around and doing nothing, and all I want to do is go for a run. Obviously, I’m not planning on running in this storm, but I know that as soon as it’s safe to head out again, I’ll be hitting the pavement. Question is, will four short runs a week be enough to keep me satisfied until race day?
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Sometimes I wonder if I started running because I found out about carbo-loading. I was all, “Wait … so the night before the race, I’m supposed to eat a big bowl of pasta? And garlic bread? And it’s good for me?” An Italian girl’s dream.
Unfortunately, this kind of pre-race fueling isn’t exactly the reality. Since my days as a newbie runner, I’ve realized that carbo-loading isn’t about stuffing yourself silly with spaghetti, and I’ve even figured out a few meals that I can eat that seem to enhance my performance without causing my stomach to get out of whack. But what if there’s more I can do?
I spoke with Drexel University professor and dietician Stella Volpe, who’s also a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Science Board, about the optimal eating habits for a marathoner. While everyone is different, she was able to give me some general guidelines that are helpful to the average athlete. Here, I pass along her nuggets of wisdom to you.
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For the last 106 days, I have logged miles, held pigeon pose, done ab work (ew), stretched … the list goes on. All of this so that when November 18th rolls around, my body will be ready to cover the 26.2 miles of the Philadelphia Marathon. But what about my mind? Will I be mentally prepared for such a huge challenge?
I recently thought about last year’s race: Around mile 22, I looked at my friends Aubree and Cassie, who were nice enough to run the most boring part of the course with me (Manayunk and back), and said, “I don’t want to run anymore.” They’re both marathoners, so they just laughed and told me to keep moving. They knew it was all mental at this point and nothing was wrong with my legs. Since they won’t be with me this year, it’s up to me to keep my mental status in check.
I decided to contact John Goldthorp, run coach and Lululemon Ambassador, to see if he could give me some mental-preparation tips John has been a fitness professional in the Philadelphia area for the past 10 years and I knew I could trust his guidance.
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It’s easy to remember to drink water when it’s 95 degrees, humid, and you’re sweating like … well, like you just ran a marathon. But what about when cooler weather rolls around? Unfortunately, pumpkin ale doesn’t count towards your daily hydration goal. I normally don’t have a problem getting plenty of fluids in my system (my friend Jess makes fun of me at happy hour because I drink water twice as fast as anything else), but even I’ve been noticing a downturn in my usual steady intake of water. How could I make sure I was drinking enough?
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Annie snapped a photo during her run in Wissahickon Valley Park
I got an email from my friend a few months ago with a link to an article from The Onion, the funniest fake-news website ever. After laughing about how annoying marathoners are with all their marathon-related talk, I realized something: I’m totally one of those annoying marathoners now.
The truth of the matter is, I can talk about running for hours and hours: my shoes (Asics Kayanos 18s—best stability shoe ever), my favorite Gu flavor (Caffeinated Peach Tea), how much water I drink (10 glasses)—the topics are endless! One of these days, my non-running friends are going to slap me. One of my most supportive friends, Anne, swears she won’t, but I don’t think she can take another Friday afternoon conversation about my route for my upcoming long run.
Recently, Anne joined me for a boot camp workout on one of my cross-training days. I was so excited to have her come alone because normally a fitness class like boot camp wouldn’t be her thing. It was great to have a buddy to suffer with during all those burpees, and I was glad to see that she seemed to be enjoying it as much as a person can enjoy burpees. On the way home, I mentioned that I was kind of surprised that she liked it so much. She said she was motivated by all the running and workouts I’ve been doing in the past months to prepare for the race, and it made her want to take her workouts more seriously. I still think she secretly wants to slap me, though.
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