Falling in Love with Racing

One year ago from this weekend, I fell in love with racing. I had never run a race before, of any distance, until the Philadelphia Broad Street Run 2010 – a 10 mile race that draws about 30,000 runners every years.

In fact, I don’t think I had ever run 10 miles until the day of the race, let alone run a race. I was extremely nervous, especially since I had been sick the week before with an issue with my ovary, and had pretty much been stuck in bed and on meds the entire week before the race. However, the minute the gun went off and I started running, all nerves, fears, and health concerns (about the ovary) disappeared and I couldn’t stop smiling.

I probably smiled for the entire 1 hour and 23 minutes it took me to complete the race – even in the final mile when I started running out of gas. I loved the race. I loved pushing myself, and the competition between runners – but also the irony that we were all motivating each other to keep going and to finish strong. I loved the cheering crowds, and waving to my personal cheerleader as he took photos as I ran by his neighborhood. I loved how tired I felt at the end of the race. What surprised me was how well I did! While a 1:22:37 is slow for me now, a year ago it felt hard and I placed in the top 10% of female runners that day.

One thing was clear: I was hooked. My hobby of running turned into a passion for racing. I mentally and physically felt myself transform from a recreational runner to a competitor – which I proved to myself in races since that first taste of racing.

Since my first race, I have run 3 marathons, 2 half marathons, and a handful of mid-distance races (4 miles and 10Ks). I have qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon twice, and placed 10th in my age group in two races – the 2010 Atlantic City Half Marathon, and the 2011 NYRR 4-Miler. Running and racing has become more than a hobby, it’s the passion that keeps me sane when auditions and rough days on sets and photo shoots would otherwise make me crazy.

So, on this one year anniversary of my first race, I am heading back to Philly for the 2011 Broad Street Run. My goal? To run the race in 1:10. Yes, that would be 7 minute miles, and almost 13 minutes faster than last year. I don’t know if I can do it, but I am in much better shape than in 2010, and I have the training and experience under my belt. If I finish in under 1:11, I’ll be stoked.

If you want to run the Broad Street Run next year, I recommend signing up as soon as registration opens – as it filled within 48 hours this past year. The course is entirely flat, and on a slight down grade, so its great for elites, beginners, and everyone in between.

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~ by Elizabeth on April 30, 2011.

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