Get Ready for Broad Street!: Jenna’s Daily Running Diary

See how health and fitness editor (and running-phobe!) Jenna Bergen is doing with her daily mileage on the countdown to Broad Street

Scroll down for today’s entry.

Week 9
Monday, March 1
So today is my first official training run. I’ll admit that two weeks ago, when I announced to everyone that I’ll be at the starting line on May 2nd (and I mean everyone—if you work with me, are related to me, call me a friend or have seen me on the 79 bus, you probably already know I signed up to run Broad Street this year. I think it’s because my subconscious is trying to talk myself into believing I can actually do this), I’ve traded some of my Spin sessions for time on the treadmill. Basically, I just wanted to make sure I could run without dying for a few miles. And, thankfully, I happily found out that I could do a few miles (very slowly) and that it actually felt really good when I finished. Read about why I decided to run here.

Today I’m supposed to do three miles. I just saw that yesterday was supposed to be my X-training day, but I left my Team Philly schedule at home and ending up running on the treadmill to try and burn off some of the amazing dinner I had at L’Angolo the night before to celebrate my February B-day (so worth it!). So I’m a little stiff today, even though I stretched. I’m going to hit up Sweat in Center City on the way home from work and do three miles slowly. We’ll see how I do!

Tuesday, March 2
So today is my rest day. Yesterday felt good, but it was pretty hot in the gym and I sweat like crazy just doing three miles. My knees felt a little stiff while I was running, so I’m happy to let my body rest from running today. Since I’m used to doing some sort of exercise almost daily, I decided to do about 40 minutes of weights this morning at the gym, but nothing too hard. My knees feel okay today and I’m not too stiff. Tomorrow: Run 4 miles!

Wednesday, March 3
I let myself sleep in a bit and went to the gym to log some treadmill miles over my lunch break. This was the first day that I’ve felt a little tired and wasn’t looking forward to my run. But once I got there, did the crazy, change-as-fast-as-you-can-so-you-can-get-back-to-work thing and got my body moving, it felt really good. I noticed that if I hold my iPod in one hand for a bit I get a crink in my neck on the opposite side, so I’ve been switching back and forth more often during the run and it definitely helps. Was drenched when I got off, so I jumped in the shower and spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for my face to lose some of the redness. I did feel a lot more awake and tackled some projects at work as soon as I got back, though, which felt great.

Thursday, March 4
Got to the gym at 620ish this morning, later than I wanted to be there. It was tough to start, but after the first two miles my body seemed to open up and the rest of the run felt easier. As always, so glad I went!

Friday, March 5
Ross sent me a revised running plan. The one I was following this first week was for experienced runners. The beginner schedule started out with walk/runs and I was in good enough shape to do more than that. Still, he wants my body to get used to running even though I have the cardio ability to run further distances, so my revised schedule is for the intermediate racer. Basically, compared to the advanced, it looks like I run one mile less each day during the week and start off running two miles less on our long Saturday runs. Sounds good to me!

Today is a rest day, and tomorrow I run for the first time with Team Philly on Kelly Drive! Supposed to be pretty nice weather, can’t wait!

Saturday, March 6
The sun was out, but so was the wind! I arrivde to Lloyd Hall a few minutes early and hung out inside with a few other newbie runners to stay warm until the group stretch started. Everyone was super-friendly and it’s fun comparing stories about why everyone is there, what their goal is, and if they’ve ever run a race before. Finally, a few minutes after 9am we began to stretch. Then, Ross broke us into groups based on how far and how fast we were supposed to run that day according to our schedule. I joined the 4-mile, 10-minute-mile pace group, and off we went! The first two miles were pretty cold—that wind was whipping off the river pretty strong—but I chatted with a few other runners and listened in on a few other conversations which helped the time pass quickly. Soon, we were turning around to head back for the last two miles. It was really fun and completely different than running alone. Everyone cheered for each other when we hit the halfway point and it was awesome to know all of us were sticking with it together. When I finally got back to Lloyd hall I was out of breath—I think I was running faster with the group than I do alone—and definitely ready for some water. I saw Sarah, the PT leader, chatting with some fellow runners about issues they were having with their knees, etc., and again thought how cool it was to be part of all of this. Can’t wait for the next run!

Sunday, March 7
I was supposed to do some cross-training today, but, I’ll be honest. I didn’t make it to the gym! I did stay busying doing a little spring cleaning and made sure to get a good stretch in. I’ll be back it tomorrow!

Monday, March 8
Three miles today. I am running most of my miles inside so far, which makes me a little nervous because I feel like it’s harder to run outside. But because of my work schedule, running in the evening is tough, and I feel like it’s a little too dark at 5am to run by myself. But I felt pretty good, and I did most of the run at a .5 or 1.0 incline to try and offset running indoors.

Tuesday, March 9
Rest day! Did some strength training, curious to see how I’ll feel tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 10
Today I’m supposed to do a 3-mile run with 1 mile at goal pace. So I did 2 miles at 6.0 and turned the last mile up to 6.5. My heart was definitely racing at the end, but I’m surprised that it feels almost better to run faster than it does to jog around a 5.5 mile pace.

Thursday, March 11
I was only supposed to run 2 miles today but I felt strong at mile 2 and logged one more mile. I figure I’m taking tomorrow off, as I’m supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday!

Friday, March 12
The weather for Saturday is supposed to be terrible—high winds, torrential downpours. I just got the reminder from Team Philly about our Saturday run in my inbox and 80 people—80—have RSVP’d YES, that they’ll be there. Two—including me—have put “Maybe.” I would have put “No” (running in the cold is one thing, but running in a windy downpour just sounds miserable) but I hate to be the least hardcore of the group!

UPDATE: Ross just emailed us! He said it’s totally fine if we want to run indoors on Saturday since the weather will be so awful. Phew! My guilt is completely—okay, well almost completely absolved …. I still feel a little soft around the edges for being so freakin’ happy about being on the treadmill—but what can I say? I’m thrilled. Thanks, Ross!

Saturday, March 13th
I gotta hand it to those that ran outside this morning. Simply running from my house to the car to the gym got me completely soaked. Luckily, I thought to wear boots and change into my running shoes after I got inside or would have been one soggy run. I was up by 730am and at the gym by 8am—I was meeting my aunt for lunch at the KOP mall so I had to be fast!—and was done running my 5 miles by a few minutes before 9am. So proud! This is the farthest I’ve gone so far. It felt like it took awhile to get to mile 3, but, after that, the rest of the run went fairly fast. So proud of myself! (Even if I didn’t do it outside.)

Sunday, March 14th.
Took the day off. AND had some mega good bday cake for my uncle’s birthday. Happy I’m supposed to run tomorrow!

Monday, March 15th
I ran three, very fast miles—okay, well, for me, that’s 6.0 and 6.5—but it felt GREAT. I cannot believe how much I’m enjoying this whole training thing! Ha, I should have known though; I’m so goal-oriented, training for a race suddenly seems perfect for me. I have been doing so much running lately, though, that I’ve been slacking on yoga. I talked to Sarah, Philly’s PT leader, this morning about common running pains and she connected me with another physical therapist, Brandi Feinberg, who gave me some pointers on avoiding problems and fixing pains. She also stressed again how important it is for me to stretch both before and after runs. Something I know, of course, but it’s always the part that gets cut short. I stood up after we got off the phone and did a few quad and hamstring stretches by my desk. Felt so good, I need to do more stretching tonight!

Tuesday, March 16th
Rest day! And I rested. Completely. Felt good.

Wednesday, March 17th
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This morning it was hard to pull myself outta bed—I woke up at 4am ready go, must be the time change—so when the alarm went off an hour later, I had just fallen back to sleep and was not happy to get up. But, as always, I somehow mange to make myself do it, and I’m so glad I did. Another three miles done! I’m definitely feeling better at a 6.0, 6.5 mile pace.

I’m trying to figure out what to do about the Saturday run this weekend. It’s going to be SUCH nice weather, but now that it’s March, it seems like every weekend my friends or family are pulling me in different directions. I’ll either run my five miles on Friday instead or find a way to be there Saturday morning …. We’ll see what happens!

Thursday, March 18th
Had a few drinks with friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day last night so I wasn’t in bed until close to 12pm, which is late for me! I slept in and think that I’m going to take today off instead of tomorrow. So nice out, though! I would run home (a little over a three miles) but I have so much stuff with me … we’ll see!

Friday, March 19th
So, I missed my two miles yesterday. I went home instead and pulled out all of my spring clothes, did a few hours worth of laundry, and got my closet ready for spring. So, this morning, which was supposed to be a day off, I got up (somehow I forgot to turn on my alarm, so thankfully my eyes popped open by themselves at 545am!) and logged two miles at the gym. I felt a little stiff even though I stretched beforehand, but once I hit .62 of a mile I suddenly realized “Hey! I’m ENJOYING this! Enjoying running, ha!” I mean, I felt so good that I couldn’t help but smile. I was at a 6.0 pace and I turned it up to 6.5 for the rest of the two miles. It was a quick run, about 20 minutes, but I worked up a sweat and did about 20 to 30 minutes of weights after, so I feel really energized right now (it’s 10:50am). I debated about going for three miles, but I’m trying to listen to Ross and follow our schedule. I know the short runs and long runs are both in there for specific reasons, and I want to feel my best tomorrow, because at 9am I’ll be running on Kelly Drive with Team Philly! It’s supposed to be gorgeous weather, so I can’t wait. (I decided to make time for the group run this weekend because I’ll be away for a press trip next Saturday). Five miles this time … let’s hope I feel a little more in shape than I did two weekends ago when I ran four miles with our group!

Saturday, March 20th
I arrived at Kelly Drive around 8:40am only to realize that the absolutely perfect weather had brought out just about every biker, runner, walker, and jogger within a 15-mile radius—which meant parking was insane. I finally scored a spot up the road from Lloyd Hall (Team Philly’s meeting spot) and got there just in time to join in with stretching. I definitely felt stronger today and was able to maintain a faster pace than two weeks ago, but when I hit the two-and-a-half mile marker just past the Strawberry Mansion bridge I was incredibly happy turn around. The hardest part seemed to be around miles three to four, but once I was in the home stretch I picked up my pace again. All in all, an awesome run! It was so fun to be out in the beautiful weather, see the sun sparkling around the bottoms of the row boats and to be in an atmosphere that was so incredibly active yet peaceful at the same time. Everything, including me, was moving. The cars on one side, the river on the other, and all the bikers and runners in between. A tough, but rewarding, way to spend Saturday morning!

Sunday, March 21st
Not gonna lie, my quads are feeling it today! Once again, I missed my cross-training day. Company was in town and we spent the morning at the Italian Market, so at least I stocked up on this week’s veggies. (Green beans for a dollar a bucket! Lettuce for 75 cents! Sigh, it was heaven for a produce-lover like myself.)

Monday, March 22nd
So today was another three-miler. I was up by 5:15am, surprisingly awake and ready to go. I still stopped for my Wawa coffee—it’s part of my morning ritual and one of the only reasons I actually talk myself out of bed each day—and hit the treadmill by 6am. I made sure to stretch a bit more than usual since my quads were still sore this morning, and although the three miles wasn’t easy, it wasn’t bad either. Worked up a good sweat and made sure to do some yoga stretches for about ten minutes afterwards before heading home.

Tuesday, March 23rd
Today should have been a rest day according to my schedule, but I am changing things up a bit this week because I won’t be able to make the group run this Saturday. (I’ll be on a press trip to RI from Friday to Saturday. I know, I know, it’s one of the perks.) So that means I need to log six miles by myself on the treadmill Thursday morning. So to make room for it, I ran this morning, will take tomorrow as my rest day, and will do my best not to hit snooze Thursday morning so I have time to run six miles.

But anyway, back to today. The reason I digress is becasue the six miles I’m scheduled for Thursday seemed to loom above me the entire time I ran this morning. “Six miles?? You can hardly do three today!” was all I kept thinking. I tried to tell myself that after a rest day tomorrow I’ll be charged up and ready to go, but I wasn’t really so sure about that. Anyway, I made it through the three miles, two at 6.0, the last at 6.5, and made sure to stretch really well. I’m going to hit up iTunes tonight or tomorrow. I think some new music might help.

Wednesday, March 24th
My body felt a little stiff when I woke up this morning, so hopefully a day off is what I need to attack these six miles tomorrow. Drinking lots of water today so I’m hydrated when I wake up, and will do my best to get to bed early tonight. 5am wakeup call tomorrow, and I better not hit snooze five times if I want to have time to get all my miles in. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 25th
Phew, six miles wasn’t easy, but I made it through! Good thing I’ve been downloading these free podcasts so I can brush up on my Spanish for an upcoming trip to Mexico. It definitely helps the time go faster (even if people do wonder what I’m muttering to myself).

Friday, March 26th
So, I had intended on taking today off, but due to a work issue I’m leaving a bit later for my press trip to RI than planned. Which means I had time to wake up for an early morning run. I did three more miles (sooo easy after six yesterday!) and now feel totally okay with taking the next two days off, yay!

Saturday, March 27th
Didn’t have an official workout, but I spent the morning walking along Newport’s Cliff Walk, a three-and-a-half mile stretch along the coast. It was chilly, especially down near the water where the wind picked up, but the sun was out, the sky was blue, and it was a great walk. Towards the end I noticed that the back of my legs felt a little tight, so I think my mileage from the last two days is catching up with me.

Sunday, March 28th
Just a lazy day around the house doing laundry and catching up on must-do things like bills, etc. Popped in a yoga DVD around 2pm and stretched out my body for the next hour or so. Felt so nice! But I definitely am looking forward to a good sweat tomorrow.

Monday, March 29th
Three miles today. When I started I felt really stiff and suddenly dreaded the fact I had three miles to do, but before I knew it I was two miles in and feeling great. I ran faster than usual today, taking it up to a 7.5 for the last half mile. Feels so good to run fast sometimes!

Tuesday, March 30th
Today is a rest day on the schedule, but I decided to run four miles today instead of tomorrow, since I didnt do anything Saturday and Sunday. I felt like it would be better to take a break tomorrow. Felt pretty good, kept the pace up and ran the last mile in the 7s just to speed things up so I could hurry home and jump in the shower. Nothing feels as good as finishing a hard workout before half the city is still in bed!

Wednesday, March 31st
My day off! I happily let myself catch up on a little sleep (I fell asleep on the couch watching Lost around 9:15pm or so and was out until the alarm went off at 7am!). Plan to be back on the couch later tonight to watch Lost on Demand. Tomorrow, four miles!

April 1, 2010
Today’s run was so easy! (Ha, April Fools!) Today’s run was really tough. Not sure why, as I definitely got to rest yesterday. I did feel really thirsty when I started, so that could definitely be it. By mile two I hopped off the treadmill and refilled my water bottle before finishing the last two miles. First time I’ve stopped during a run, but I figured it was better to get a drink halfway than to run when I know I’m low on water. Anyway, the last two miles weren’t bad, but definitely not that great. I sped through the last one at about a 7.0 so I could get home.

April 2, 2010
Today is a rest day because my long run of the week is tomorrow. It was so nice outside that I walked home from work (we got out around 2pm since it was Good Friday), so at least I got a few miles of movement in, even though it wasn’t hard enough to break a sweat.

April 3, 2010
I did six miles in 59 minutes! Wohoo! So proud of myself! This morning was a Kelly Drive morning, and, as usual, I was in a hurry to make it there by 9am. I ran down the hill to Lloyd hall at 9am on the dot, but couldn’t find Team Philly. There was another race going on down there today, so the place was packed. I looked around for a minute or two and then just headed out on my own. There were also rowing racings going on, so there was so much fun stuff to look at and keep my mind busy, I loved it! I was only supposed to do five miles today according to the chart, but I hadn’t run six miles outside yet (last week I had to run on the treadmill), so I wanted to make sure I could run the farthest I’ve been so far on true pavement. I felt strong when hit my turnaround point of 2-and-a-half miles so I pushed to three before heading back. I was happy to finish at the end of six, but all in all, it felt great. I do have a blister on one the toe on my left foot that I didn’t wrap in Band Aids (the two surrounding toes already had the beginnings of blisters so I wrapped them prior to heading out), but I didn’t notice it while running. I walked back up the hill to my car with a huge smile plastered on my face.

April 4, 2010
Happy Easter! Boy, those six miles caught up to me today! I was really tired, and my left knee was hurting. So, I took it easy and spent the day on the porch basking in some much-needed sun (with SPF on, of course!), and making Easter Dinner. Sigh, such a nice way to recouperate.

April 5, 2010
My late-night Easter candy must have fueled my run this morning. I felt great and burned through three fast miles (6.5 most of the time, and up to 7.5 for a few sprints). Feel so energized! Glad to report my left knee felt fine today.

April 6, 2010
Today was a rest day running-wise, but I headed to the gym this morning to do some weights. Boy, my arms are sore! I had neglected my triceps for a few weeks and I can totally tell.

April 7, 2010
I actually got outside this morning! I ran four miles on Kelly and it was so beautiful, much better than running on the treadmill. It felt like a summer morning, you know, that perfectly warm temp that you only get for a few hours before it gets blistering hot. And it was much less crowded than Saturday mornings, that’s for sure. Parking was a breeze. Still, there were enough people by 6:15am (when I arrived) that I felt safe running solo.

April 8, 2010
Three miles on the treadmill today. I was running late—I’m a snooze addict—so I had to get through them quickly. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy, which makes me nervous for Saturday … seven miles! I think I deserve bonus points for walking home (another three miles) instead of taking the bus from work.

April 9, 2010
Busy day at work, but I’m trying to keep water on my desk so I’m hydrated for tomorrow. Taking the day off, as I know I’ll need to feel really fresh tomorrow morning … wish me luck! Ross sent out an email reminding us that these next two weeks are our hardest runs, since they’re the longest (7 this week, 9 next week) before Broad …

April 10, 2010
Phew, I did it! Seven miles! So incredibly proud of myself. It was a little chilly this morning—I actually started off wearing a sock hat, that wind coming off the river can be so strong—but once we did our group stretch and got moving things warmed up. The wind did make it a little harder, though. At one point a huge gust hit our group and Sarah yelled “Push through it!” It definitely made you work harder to keep going. I was incredibly happy to make the three-and-a-half-mile turnaround point, and I picked up my pace for the last two miles. I’ve started to notice how my body usually starts out a little slow, gets into a grove, slows down a bit in the middle and gets a second wind in the home stretch. Halfway back the sun had warmed me up and I pulled off that sock hat. I have a nasty blister on my right foot (even though I used Band Aids beforehand), but I didn’t really notice it until I stepped into the shower and the water hit it—ouch!

April 11, 2010
Taking the day off after my long run yesterday. I know I’m supposed to be cross training on these days, but my Sundays have been busy lately and I feel a day off is justified after seven miles.

April 12, 2010
Only supposed to do two miles today, which is a good thing considering that my right hip is bugging me. There’s sort of a twing of pain when I put weight on it. Oddly enough, it hurts more when I walk then when I run. Hopefully some extra hip stretches is all I need.

April 13, 2010
Today’s a rest day. My right hip still hurts, so I’m not sure how it will feel tomorrow when I do four miles. Walking to the bus this morning was a little painful, actually, but once I did some stetches on the subway (I’m shameless), it felt a little better. So i think the muscle must just be really tight. But my friend made this amazing goat-cheese lasanga for dinner, so I’m definitely going to be up and at the gym tomorrow morning to burn it off (totally worth it, Laila! Yum!).

April 14, 2010
The four miles were pretty easy this morning, and I’m happy to report my hip is feeling better this morning. I can’t believe I’m at the point where I can do four miles and not really feel winded at all. I mean, I sweat like crazy and my face still gets beet red, but I don’t feel all that taxed. It’s more or less a mental thing to keep myself moving, not because I’m really in pain and need to stop. So glad I got up this morning. :)

April 15, 2010
Three miles felt very easy today. It made me think back to a few weeks ago when I jumped on a treadmill in a slight panic that running a—gasp—5K, would be incredibly hard and painful. Still, at the end I was sweating like crazy … cannot believe that was only a third of what I’m doing Saturday. NINE miles. Fingers crossed it’ll be good weather!

April 16, 2010
Rest day … drinking lots of water and aiming to get to bed early. I also picked up a pair of better headphones at Target after work—my last pair kept falling out of my ears as I ran, so distracting!—so hopefully they’ll make my run easier. Wish me luck!

April 17, 2010
Nine miles is … well, it’s long. But I did it! I was at Lloyd Hall by 8am, and completed the entire loop around Kelly Drive and West River Drive and another half-mile down Kelly to make it an even nine by a little after 9:30am. Wohoo! The West River stretch was tough — there was so much less to look at and a few sunny patches that seemed to take forever—but the quarter miles kept passing me by. Miles 5-7 were probably the hardest. After that, the goal was insight and I ran into another race taking place on West River for Parkinson’s Disease, and all of those runners helped energize me for the last leg of my journey. Was a little tired the rest of the day, but I feel awesome knowing I can really do Broad Street. Yay!

April 18, 2010
I spent the night in MD with a few of my girlfriends, and I was expecting to feel super-stiff from all my running yesterday when I woke up. But surprisingly I felt really good, not very stuff at all (though the night before we went out to dinner and when I stood up from the table my knees felt terribly stiff). Happy today is my day off, and I got to start it with a low-fat frittata and fresh fruit courtesy of my dear friend Laura. Love Sundays!

April 19, 2010
So I’m working from home today, which means my training schedule is sitting on my desk. I ran three miles per the usual Monday program, but I’m not sure what we really were supposed to do today. However, three miles came really easy and I felt very strong—like a real runner. :) Completely soaked though, which seems odd considering I did three times that on Saturday. Maybe I was running faster, it’s hard to gauge my speed outside.

April 20, 2010
Just saw the training guide when I got into work AND I should have taken yesterday off. Oh, well, yesterday’s run felt amazing. I also did four miles this morning because i won’t be able to run tomorrow, so I flopped days. Four miles was harder than three—felt more tired this morning—but I was so energized when I was done. Made the rest of the day—and curling up on the couch for the Phillies game and Lost—even better.

April 21, 2010
Off day. Felt really good to sleep in, though I’m feeling guilty I haven’t lifted weights in awhile. Need to get a few reps in tomorrow.

April 22, 2010
I did three miles this morning … felt very strong. Still can’t get over how much my body has changed in just 8 weeks!

April 23, 2010
Off day. Excited to get outside tomorrow morning. Can’t believe it’s my last long-ish training run before the big day!

April 24, 2010
Was on Kelly Drive by 8am. My boyfriend decided to run with me this morning. It was really nice to run together—we kept a good 10-mile pace—although I really cannot chat while running. Too hard to breathe, lol. What a great way to start the weekend!

April 25, 2010
Took the day off. Felt like cooking, so I made a noodle-less lasagna (I used zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach in place of the pasta) and it turned out really well. Now I’ll have something healthy to eat when I come home from work for the rest of the week. :)

April 26, 2010
Another three miles down … I cannot believe that this is my last week before Broad Street! It’s also been super-busy at work, so I haven’t even figured out how I’m getting to the start or exactly how/when I’m going to go pick up this racing packet/bib at the big Expo yet. Need to do that asap!

April 27, 2010
Oh, rest days are nice. Trying to make sure I get lots of sleep this week and drink plenty of water so I’m rested and watered up for Sunday!

April 28, 2010
Four miles … not bad, but it’s still tough when I realize it’s not even half of what I’m going to do Sunday. Just heard the weather report. It’s not supposed to be cold or rainy, which I’m very, very happy about—although they’re saying the heat is going to make things tough for us runners. Another reason why I need to make sure to hydrate!

April 29, 2010
I have been terrible about keeping this schedule at home with me, so I ran three miles this morning instead of the two the schedule suggests. Well … all I can say is that it felt great.

April 30, 2010
Ah! It’s Friday and I still haven’t really sat down and looked at the instructions on how to get to the race or figured out what I’m wearing, eating before the race, etc. It’s just been so so crazy at work this week! Luckily I had a chance to dash out at lunch to pick up a few things, including the chafe guard Ross keeps telling us about. The last thing I want is to get a blister in the middle of this race!

May 1, 2010
Oh my gosh … this is it! Tomorrow is the day I’ve been training for for the past 9 weeks, I cannot believe it. This morning my boyfriend drove with me to pick up my packet and it was super-easy and not stressful. We went pretty early—I think we arrived to the stadium around 10:30am or so—and picking up the packet was a cinch. I also picked up a TON of race flyers … I’m already thinking about what I want to train for next! Afterwards, I went home and did my last, pre-race run. It was only two miles, but at the point it was scorching hot out and I sweat buckets simply running on the treadmill for less than 20 minutes. Sort of makes me nervous about the heat for tomorrow. I picked up some Vitaminwater Zeros and a bunch of seltzer and am drinking as much as possible. I also picked up an energy bar and some apples so breakfast tomorrow is now taken care of, too. Phew!

May 2, 2010: RACE DAY!
How do I adequately document one of the most amazing and difficult days of my life? I guess I should start at the beginning and work my way up.

Last night I was the queen of preparation. I laid out my running outfit, filled in the information section on the back of my racing bib, got my morning breakfast ready to go, drank a glass of water every hour on the hour, and did one last stretch session in front of the TV. Around 10:30, I started yawning, so I set two alarms—sleeping through Broad Street was just not even going to come into play, I had worked too hard!—and crawled into bad. Ha. So much for trying to sleep. Even though I didn’t feel nervous about the next day, I tossed and turned for hours. Just when I felt my body falling asleep my brain would take note and start thinking again.

FINALLY, I fell asleep around 1:30am. When the alarm went off at 5:45am, I was tired, but also excited. This was it! In a few hours, no matter what happened, it would all be over.

I got dressed, pinned my number—15,159—to my chest, and headed out. I was surprised to see it had rained during the night. The sky was still cloudy and a cool breeze was blowing—maybe it won’t be as hot as they were anticipating!

The subway was packed, and it wasn’t even 7am. We were a colorful, chatty bunch, and I could feel the excitement building. I was part of this! Me—a non-runner!—was about to race with 29,999 other Philadelphians down the center of our great city. I couldn’t wait.

The start was a madhouse—imagine 30,000 people all waiting to use the bathroom at once. Forget lines—it was basically little mobs in front of each row of Porta Potties. Around 8:15am the festivities officially began—they warned us about the impending heat and reminded us to stay hydrated, and Mayor Nutter congratulated us.

At 8:25am the wheelchair race began, at 8:30am the elite runners started, and then the rest of the starting corrals started to move forward.. Every two to five minutes a new countdown would start and off another wave of people would go. Finally, it was my group’s turn! Right about then, the clouds parted and a very, very hot sun began beat down upon us. Oh, man. It’s gonna be hot was all I remember thinking right before “Eye of the Tiger” began to blare from the speakers. I ended up in the very first row, so I had an amazing view of Broad Street laying out before us and the backs of the runners who’d left a few minutes before us—it looked like a multicolored moving wall—and then, we were off!

I cannot tell you how amazing it is to run down the center of Broad Street with City Hall in the distance and hundreds of your fellow Philadelphians rooting you on from the sidewalks. All I can tell you is that—for the first 7 or so miles—I have never loved Philadelphia more. It just seemed like everything good that our city is all about—passion, determination, and individuality—was out in full force.

I knew I was running faster than I had during training, so I did my best to try and pace myself. But with so many people running around you and past you and behind you, it was hard to tell how fast I was going. Soon, the first mile marker popped up. Then the second, and the third, and the fourth. I had friends waiting for me close to City Hall, and knowing they’d be there searching for my face amid the crowd, ready to slap my hand was amazingly motivating. The second I saw them I felt another surge of energy course through me. Which was lucky, because right around then I started to feel the heat getting to me.

I ran past rock ‘n’ roll bands, and marveled at green Gatorade cups strewn en masse across the ground—a sight so strangely pretty that they looked almost like a modern-art installation. I ran through fine, cool mists (the city had opened the fire hydrants) and every now and then the kind person handing out water was dressed in a super-hero costume, complete with neon-bright tights. And throughout it all, clapping, cheering and different variants of “You got this,” “Keep going,” “You’re almost there,” came from the crowds.

I had friends near mile 8, but soon after seeing them I seemed to hit a wall. The heat was getting to me. My face felt like it was on fire and my legs were getting heavy. The humidity in the air made it hard to breathe, but there was no way I was stopping. Not with only two miles left.

When I finally saw the mile 9 marker I felt frustrated rather than relieved. Another mile!! FINALLY, I crossed into the Navy Yard—our sign that there was only a quarter mile left to go. Somehow, though I’m still not sure how, I picked up the pace. And then, I saw the banner stretched out in the distance. Relief coursed through me, and then I was across—I’d done it! I had actually completed the Blue Cross Broad Street Run! Despite my exhaustion, I was smiling—and drinking tons of water—the rest of the day.

The next day, I scouted out an issue of The Daily News. There, in black-and-white, was my time: 1:43:36. Even despite the oppressive heat, I had run very, very close to a 10-minute-mile pace the whole time. And for me—a non-runner—it feels like a great victory.