The Broad Street Run is the nation’s largest 10-mile race, with over 40,000 runners. It starts in North Philly, goes around City Hall (it used to go straight through the building!), then ends at Navy Yard. I’ve wanted to run it since moving to Philly. My first year I didn’t register in time (before the lottery, it filled up in hours!). Then pregnant year 2, travel year 3, hella pregnant year 4. This was our last (practical) chance before moving to Virginia.
And we had another motivation: our friend and fellow crossfitter Lisa. A little less than a year ago, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With a lot of strength, grace, bravery, and humor, Lisa underwent chemotherapy and other treatment while continuing to thrive in her many invaluable roles, including being a loving mother of two small children. To celebrate the end of chemo and 80+ days cancer free, she decided to run Broad Street. 80+ family and friends (incidentally one for everyday cancer free) surprised her by running alongside her.
I am honored to be part of Team Lisa. In fact, though I had always wanted to run Broad Street, being part of this team was the only real reason I didn’t sell my bib. A series of minor but annoying injuries have kept me from distance running (that and difficulty finding the opportunity with the kids), and I hadn’t run more than a couple hundred meters since January. But one of our beloved babysitters was willing to come over at 6am on a Sunday, and a two-mile test run last week proved uncomfortable but manageable, so I didn’t have an excuse not to give it a whirl.
I just needed to finish. And I did, but it most definitely wasn’t pretty. Was very thankful for my friend Vanessa who similarly trained little and agreed to share two hours of pain with me. One of my favorite moments was when a little old lady whizzed past us and, as she patted me on the shoulder, earnestly quoted the text on the back of our shirts, “This is a good pace for you!” (The mantra used by Lisa and her crossfit BFF.) Don’t we look fabulous(ly terrified) before the race:
So I was a little stupid. John, however, was completely insane. He had to work the overnight shift, which ended at 7am. The race started at 8am, over an hour away from his place of work and with no available parking. His colleague was kind enough to show up to relieve him at 6:30. John then raced (in his car…bad joke) home, had our babysitter pack up the kids (groggy, still in their PJs, utterly confused but game for adventure) and drive him to the starting line (way beyond the babysitter call of duty). Amid the over 40,000 runners, I spotted John bouncing along at a nice clip shortly after crossing the starting line, and I felt my heart leap. I used all my energy to catch up with him briefly (which is, of course, why the last 9.5 miles were so painful :/) and give him the most awkward mid-run smooch. I wouldn’t find him again until the bus ride home. He crushed it!
I admit, though I recognize the feat of actually running (as opposed to my variation of jog-walk-trot-saunter) a ten-miler after working all night, I was feverishly envious when, immediately after kissing the kids “hello,” John marched up the stairs, took a shower and went to bed. Jealous.
You know what helps dissipate envy? A toddler in nothing more than socks with a metal around her neck.