If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know I’m not much of a road runner. There are a select few road races, though, that I like to do on a regular or semi-regular basis. The Broad Street Run 10 Miler in Philadelphia is one of those races. It’s flat, fast and has spectators along the entire length of the 10 mile route. The energy is amazing. The only real downfall (aside from being on asphalt) is that the crowd is huge. There are 40,000+ runners plus their families, friends, residents and other random folks. For someone who doesn’t like crowds, it can be tough.
My husband and I have both done this race before; it was his 3rd time and my 4th. As we did in 2013, we used the race as an excuse to have a nice weekend in Philadelphia in celebration of our wedding anniversary. We cashed in some Marriott points and got a hotel super close to the finish line of the race. We also made plans to get some great vegan food. There are so few places in our local area where I can easily get vegan food, so when we travel, he knows that I’ll find us a vegan restaurant if there are any to be found. He can eat meat anywhere, anytime, so hitting up a veg place once or twice per year seems more than fair.
My dad picked up Little Dude and we hit the road just after lunch on Saturday. After checking into the hotel, we drove into the city to pick up our race packets. Aside from having some issues getting to the parking garage, that part of the evening was rather uneventful. They have a pretty smooth, easy format for packet pick-up. From there we hit up a wine bar to kill some time before our dinner reservation. It was nice to just be able to sit and drink a glass of wine with no distractions. That doesn’t happen often!
After the wine, we went next door to Charlie Was A Sinner, an all-vegan restaurant. I had heard good things about it, so I was pretty darned excited. The decor was pretty amazing, so right off the bat we were pretty impressed. We started by ordering drinks – a beer for him and a glass of wine for me. Then we started with the food. Their menu is full of small tapas-style, so the meal consisted of 5 small plates of food and dessert.
We started off with the marinated beet salad. It had red and golden beets, cauliflower panna cotta and apple horseradish vinaigrette.This dish was excellent, but the star of it was really the cauliflower panna cotta. I need a recipe for that. It was that good.
After we demolished that, our crispy tofu roll came. It was made with dashi aioli, shiitake and chili relish.It was great – almost as good as the panna cotta on the salad!
Next came the Crab Cakes:
S looked at me and told me that he couldn’t tell that these weren’t veg! I asked him to try the crab cake without the roll and toppings to see if he felt the same way. He said that on its own he could tell that it was made with veggies, but when it was dressed up, he could be fooled!
The next 2 dishes came out t
ogether and photographed poorly. I blame thewine.
The dish in the foreground is the confit potato cup with roasted wild mushrooms and sherry jus. It was very good, but it would have been better with a thinner potato cup and more mushrooms. The other dish was smoked tofu with bean sausage, parsnip mash and leek pesto. This one was tasty but tiny! The sausages weren’t too much bigger than crayons and there were only 3 of them. For $12 I would have liked closer to double the amount of food.
While we didn’t eat a ton of food, we decided to end the savory part of the meal there and move on to dessert. Again, getting vegan desserts out around here just doesn’t happen, so this was exciting. I ordered an espresso and a banana-chocolate pots de creme with rum, cocoa nibs and the lightest, fluffiest coconut whipped cream I ever had. This photo doesn’t do it justice in the least. (I was starting to feel self-conscious of all of the food photos I was taking, so I snapped this quickly.) It was so good. I would have eaten a vat of it. A vat.
S got the pear bourbon tart with vanilla bean ice cream and a pear chip. He really enjoyed it. I was eyeing up the pear chip, but of course I didn’t steal it.
Fat and happy, we ambled outside to find that it was still daylight. Yay for springtime! We decided to just walk around for a while to get moving and burn off some of dinner. We ended up finding a little place called Open House that sold all sorts of fun stuff. We had a blast looking at the off-color office name plates. Wouldn’t it be great to walk into an office and see “Sit Yo Ass Down” on the admin’s name plate? The two items that were picture worthy were these doilies and the mitten flasks.
The next morning was the race. We hopped on the Broad Street Line and arrived at the start area without major incident. The starting area is kind of nuts. There are tens of thousands of people, hundreds of port-a-johns, and lots of excitement. We got there early so we had lots of time to kill. It was a GORGEOUS day, so standing around and waiting really wasn’t too hard. I lined up in the orange corral, which was 4 corrals off of the starting line. (To explain: you have to predict your time on your application. They corral you – yes, like cattle – based on your expected finish time. If you are accurate in your prediction, and your pace is pretty consistent, there really shouldn’t be much of a backlog. You should be able to start running and keep that pace pretty easily. ) I looked around and noticed that a lot of folks who were supposed to be in the corrals behind us were in with us. (The bibs are color coded based on the color of the corrals.) Not cool. Last year I literally passed thousands of people who were slower than they predicted they would be, or who lined up in the wrong corral. One of the gals near me looked at me, as if reading my mind, and said, “Yeah, I know I’m in the wrong corral, but what does it matter? We’re all going to run our own pace anyway, right?” ARGH. It totally matters. Getting across the starting line and finding yourself in a mass of humanity can be frustrating.
My goal for the race had originally been to hit 1:20 . . . even if it was 1:20:59. My prior PR, set in 2013, was 1:26:17. I had taken about 4 minutes off my time in 2010, which was 4-ish minutes off my first attempt in 2008. I knew it was going to be tough, but my training was going well in the fall and winter. Then winter hit. With my husband gone so much and this winter absolutely sucking, my schedule got all out of whack and my pace started to suffer. Then at the end of March I aggravated my right knee and barely ran through the month of April. By race morning, I was simply hoping to get to the finish line without needing to hop on the subway. I was worried.
I forgot my Garmin, so I flew blind. Even though there were a few clocks along the course, I had no idea how many minutes behind the gun I started, so it was hard to gauge my pace. I made it past all of those folks who lined up in the wrong corral, and then found a comfortable pace. I wasn’t experiencing much pain or discomfort in my knee, but I was definitely not in the shape I had hoped to be. It was disappointing, but I was thankful to be there and running. There was not one square foot that wasn’t lined with spectators. The energy is amazing, and there is no lack of motivation along the way.
When mile 9 hit, I realized the difference between a mile in an ultra and a mile in a short race. In an ultra, at my slow pace, knowing that there is a mile left is a joyful thing. It’s “just” one more mile. But when I’m running a shorter race, like this one, one more mile at that sort of effort feels like it will take forever. We hit what I knew to be 9.5 miles and I thought the remaining half mile was going to bring me to my knees. When we entered the Navy Yards, I wanted to speed up, but nothing happened. I had been slowing down since mile 7 and that trend continued. All I was concerned with was crossing the finish line. (I finished in 1:24:32 – a new PR.) And then that happened. Hard. Folks simply stopped. I wanted to scream, “KEEP WALKING,” but didn’t want to be a total asshole. I just kept walking quickly and weaving between folks. It was quite warm and I hadn’t had anything to drink since a small glass of water at 6am that morning. I just wanted to keep my legs moving and get a bottle of water. But there were so….many….people.
After I got a bottle of water and my snack bag, I wandered around the finish line area. I scored a free Kind bar, which was awesome because aside from the orange and banana, everything in the snack bag was crap. I ate the banana and the Kind bar and then went to the reunion area. (They have signs dividing the runners up alphabetically by last name.) It was a mess, a hot mess. Literally. The sun was shining and it was warm. I’m short and it seemed like everyone around me was 8 feet tall. My husband started 3 corrals and lots and lots of people behind me, which meant that he likely started 20-30 minutes after me. (I started about 15 minutes behind the gun.) I also knew that he would likely finish about 20-30 minutes behind me. I finally found him about an hour after I finish. He started 55 minutes after the gun and finish 35 minutes behind me. I can’t believe I wasn’t burned to a crisp!
We walked to our hotel and quickly got cleaned up. We headed to Ceder Point Bar and Kitchen for brunch. It was amazing! It was a fun little hipster place in Fishtown. We each got a great beer and a platter of food. I got an awesome dish called Red Flannel Hash. It was diced sweet potatoes, beets, poblanos, onions and apples. I got it with house made vegan sausage (which was amazing) and a plantain cake in lieu of the eggs. The great thing about this restaurant was that they listed how each dish (except for a handful) could be made vegan. It was perfect for a couple like us where one is veg and one is omni. I regret to say that there are no photos of the food; we were too hungry for that sort of thing.
We headed right home to pick up our son. He stayed with my dad and apparently had a ton of fun. This is what he looked like when we walked in:
The funny thing is that my husband was sleeping almost exactly like that in the car on the way home. Like father, like son.