It's ok to cross the street to hi-5 Ed Rendell.
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This will be my fourth time running it and I have some advice for people just doing it for their first time.
1) Get up really early on Saturday I'm talking like 5 am. Get up at 5, eat breakfast, have coffee, whatever you do. Watch tv. Whatever. This will a) help you sleep Saturday night and b) get you ready for getting up insanely early on Sunday.
2) Get up INSANELY EARLY ON RACE DAY. I get up at 4 am and I have a 30 minute commute. I get up, have a nice breakfast, charge my watch and my phone watch a movie that will leave you pumped up and excited (I recommend ROCKY) check the social media for other people going and don't rush yourself. I say this because--
3) YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO USE A BATHROOM AT THE RACE START. There are bathrooms there, but the lines are the kind of lines you'd expect if Taylor Swift & Beyonce were playing a free concert together and there's only one ticket window. I'm serious, do not plan on using a bathroom at the start of the race. Or if you think you might have to get in line the second you get there.
4) There are bathrooms along the course, so, if you're not running for time, you can stop at a much shorter line along the way. If you are running for time, get up insanely early and make sure you've taken care of everything you need to take care of before you leave the house.
6) Take public transportation to the race. The subway is free if you have your race bib on. It's the best way to get there. Do not think you can park anywhere near the race. Take the subway! This isn't city folk trying to sell you on mass transit, it's the truth, take the subway. You can take the subway back after (though it might not be free, I forget, pack some cash.)
IF IT RAIN'S THAT'S OK. Rain is better than heat. You're going to be wet at the end anyway, it might as well be rain rather than sweat. Rain's not terribly fun while you're standing around though, so either bring a disposable poncho (check your local drug store) or make a disposable poncho out of a trash bag. When the race is over you really won't care about the rain.
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7) Get your playlist together now. Scientists say you will run significantly faster if you're listening to fast music. "Officially" IBX Broad Street rules say "no headphones" -- but this is completely unenforced -- to the extent that yesterday the IBX Broad Street run twitter account sent out some playlist recommendations. So, make a playlist that's as long as your projected time and then a little bit longer and enjoy it.
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8) START ALL THE ELECTRONICS YOU NEED TO START 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE RACE. This means if you're using Garmin Connect so your friends can follow you, start that, start your watch so it can find the satellites. Don't be the guy going "oh crap! I didn't start my watch!" as people around you are starting to run.
9) Get in the right corral. The race is designed so that faster people are up front and slower people are toward the back. This is so that slow people don't get constantly run over by people passing them. If you don't know how fast you're going to run this, move to the back.
10) Move to the side if you want to walk. It happens to everyone -- you get to the point where you're like screw this, I'm walking don't just stop in the middle of the street. Put up your right or left hand to let people behind you know you're making a move, look behind you, pull over to the side, hop up on the curb if you can & catch your breath.
11) It may start out cold but you're going to bake like a pie by the end. The weather is unpredictable (hope for cold) but it's often nippy at the start at 7:00 in the morning. Today is the day to go to FOOORRRMMAAANN MIILLLLSSSS! or your local thrift store and find a sweat suit, or at least an old sweat shirt to wear to the start (You can also use a trash bag with a hole ripped in the top for your head). Just before the race starts there's a beautiful cascade of clothes flying out from the crowd onto the sidewalk -- it looks like salmon swimming upstream. These clothes are collected & taken to a charity that reuses them.
12) Lay out your clothes now. What are you wearing? Shoes, socks shirt, throw away shirt, are you wearing some sort of race belt? Do you have your headphones? Your sports gu's? Try not to use the bag check if you don't have to. It's a layer of complexity. If you can just go with what you have with you, it's easier. People say "bring a change of clothes" but I honestly have never, ever, ever in my life wanted to put clean clothes on my sweaty post-race body. Here's what I bring: Money a 20, five 1's, and two SEPTA tokens. My phone, my headphones, my house key. I put all this in a race belt. You can get one at the expo if you don't have one.
13) People say you can't wear your race shirt the say of the race but I think they're just being jerks. There's a weird taboo against wearing a shirt before you've completed the race, the idea being that you haven't earned it yet, but to me, the shirt would have more meaning if you actually wore it while you were suffering through the race. Plus, the sponsors are paying to have their logos get seen, so go ahead wear your broad street shirt if you like. If anybody gives you a problem, tell them I said it was fine. If you don't finish you can burn it in a fit of shame if you feel like it. (The other taboo is that you should never race in something you haven't worn before -- that's much more valid -- it might not fit properly.)
14) Do you need to put band-aids on your nipples? If you google "bloody 11's" (don't do it) you'll see photos of all sorts of people whose nipples started bleeding during races from their shirts chafing them. (Dear god is this a thing? Yes.) Put band aids on if you want, it won't hurt (except when you take them off). Chafed nipples typically come from people wearing cotton shirts (don't wear a cotton shirt) and run much longer than 10 miles. Not necessary at Broad Street.
15) Don't drink too much before the race. Your partying life is up to you, but having four cups of coffee before you start out may lead to problems along the way (see #3). You may want to bring a small water bottle with you and sip gently before the race, but there will be water along the course. I pretty much hydrate entirely along the way.
16) Speaking of which, don't stop when you get to the water station, there are people still running behind you. If you're going to walk and drink, grab your water from one of the last cup-bearers and step off to the side behind them. If you're going to drink and run, I've found it's best to pinch the sides of the cup together while you bring it up to your mouth. You're going to spill some, but you look gallant doing it.
17) There is also gatorade along the way, typically gatorade is in a green cup & water is in a white cup. gatorade is full of sugar and will blast you full of quick calories. Drink it if you want.
18) Mile's 7-9 suck. The crowd thins out when you get to the sports stadiums and you may think you're going to die, but at mile 7 it's only a 5k and you can do a 5k. Go go go! You're almost there! Crank up your playlist, put your head down and go!
19) The finish line is not where you think it is. The navy yard has beautiful gates and you can see them in the distance and you think omg! it's going to be over soon! but those gates aren't the finish. The finish is about 200 yards behind those gates and it's the longest 200 yards I've ever experienced. However, this is where your friends are, so this is where you should start sprinting so when they see you they'll think you ran like that the whole way.
20) You finished! Don't stop! -- My first year I experienced something called "exercise induced collapse" which has to do with working out very hard and then stopping suddenly and the the blood pooling in your legs and your brain not getting any oxygen. It's not uncommon and it's not dangerous (unless you fall -- so if you feel woozy, sit down first -- at this point don't worry about being an obstruction) but you can keep it from happening by walking. Because of this lots of races are extending the chute that you have to walk through to get your goodies. There's water at the end, take it & drink it.
21) Your medal! Someone, who will look like an angel, because you'll be half blind from your effort and there will be the sun in your eyes too) will put a medal around your neck and you'll stagger down an isle where someone MAY ask you for the food tag on your bib, or they may just hand you a bag of food. It's all good. Tastykake has had stuff in there the past three years. Eat the banana.
22) There are bathrooms at the finish!
23) Find the people you ran with, take your selfies go to an after party, wear your medal.
24) Your cell phone probably won't work at the race finish. You'd think they'd have mad bad cell towers outside a football stadium (especially one sponsored by a cell phone company) but everybody going "hey where you at?" on their iPhones jams everything up like a beaver building a house on a stream. It's better to pick a meeting area before hand. There are meeting spots at the end, you'll see them in your packet pamphlet.
25) Go home, count your toenails, check for blisters, take a bath watch tv, sleep. The foam roller is your friend, if you don't have one, it might be time to pick one up. It's the way to massage the pain out of your legs. They have them at Philadelphia Runner or you can order one on-line (do that now) or borrow one from a friend.
26) You can wear your medal to the office on Monday. You just ran ten miles for crying out loud, be proud!
27) Don't let all this training go to waste. Sign up for the Odyssey Half Marathon. It's the following month. You ran 10 miles. You can run 13. And it's Philly's OTHER best race. It's low key & fun with not nearly the huge crowds.
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