In this case it's about the Broad Street Run, a 10-miler that takes you the whole length of Broad Street in Philadelphia, wraps around City Hall, and ends at the Navy Yard. This was my third year participating, and I noticed that every year the crowd grows -- both those who run and those who cheer. It's a good distance, and a good run for groups of friends.
We had a perfect day and a slow subway ride; both contributed to my awesome performance of less than 10 minutes per mile. Weather-wise, it was windy and cool enough. Because a large group of us was on a local train, we ended up starting late -- and that was good. The larger crowd was already on its way and we were not worried about the timing. With the chip secured to our shoes, we would get our fair score. In two years I managed to shave 30 minutes off my time with the biggest jump last year at 20 less minutes. This year I even sprinted the last half mile.
I must digress for a moment and tell you that running is absolutely the most difficult physical activity for me. For that reason, I've been doing it for twenty-two years with varying degrees of speed -- yet the same degree of commitment and passion. Running is my metaphor for life as a journey. It's very real, it keeps me honest (there's no cheating, I'm not a natural) and it allows me to plan exactly for sticking with it.
Over the years I had fewer injuries than the average runner because I push myself yet I manage to balance that with planning to quit when necessary. I run to gain a better understanding of my physical limits and how I can work with what I have, so I listen to what my body is telling me at all times. Having a big ego is not an option -- I know I'm not fast, and I know I can build endurance. So I go for what fits my brand as a runner.
I train diligently all year around, focusing on what I need to perform depending on the seasons and runs I join. The most powerful aspect of any sport is the community. Today was no different. There were people who run serious marathons alongside weekend runners. One gentleman I met on the train was from New York, visiting his sister in the area and deciding to run with his brother-in-law in a kind of spur of the moment impulse. He was running at 8.5 minutes per mile and I saw him pass me easily.
There were people of every size, shape, and age. The first few miles are through some not so nice parts of the city we would normally not see. It's good to do that, it's good to remember that those too are part of Philadelphia. One runner did the whole course juggling five soft balls while running. The spirit everyone brought to the day was one of participation and enthusiasm. Although I run alone, I felt part of something much greater than me.
Running keeps me honest and helps me be a 10 at the same time. I'm sure you have an activity, hobby, or sport that allows you to do the same. I know for a fact that some of you are also runners. Do share.