I did it! I ran Broad Street. I didn't stop running Broad street until I crossed the finish line. I conquered 10 miles on an incredibly beautiful day to run.
The Broad Street is the largest 10 miler in the country. Over 44,000 runners tied up their laces and ran through the city of brotherly love. Because the race is so large, all runners are positioned into corrals based on their predicted finish time. When I registered for Broad Street, I had just started my running journey and had no way of knowing how quickly, or slowly, I could complete the course. At the time, 10 minute miles seemed reasonable. 4 months later, my average mile time is 8:32. Let's just say I was in the wrong corral, the very last one. Not wanting to start out too fast though, I decided to not change my corral assignment and stay in the last wave of runners. The only impact this decision really had on my day was the fact that I had to wait 45 minutes after the official start time for my corral to reach the starting line so we could begin our race.
The Broad Street Run is pretty amazing in that people line the streets to cheer, bands pop up along the course, and the Philadelphia Police Department mans every intersection while shouting words of encouragement. For me, the first 7 miles were great. I felt strong, conditioned, and ultimately confident that I could match or beat my goal time. My hamstring injury, while noticable, was only a slight annoyance. Until mile 7. While the rest of my body wanted to push faster, my right hamstring wasn't having any parts of picking up the pace.
The dull ache grew into intense pain that almost caused me to fall on more than one occasion. I began to wonder if I would be able to finish the race. It was clear to me that the more running I did, the more damage I was causing to my hamstring. The thought of walking crossed my mind several times, but I didn't stop running for fear that if I did stop, I wouldn't be able to start again. So I pushed on. I fought through the pain. I can't say that it was only my own will-power that pushed me to keep going. In reality, it was the image of my mom, laying in her hospital bed, struggling with excruciating pain in her legs on the day she passed away. This was the one day, her last, that pain invaded my mom's body, and there was nothing I could do but massage her legs and tell her it was going to be ok.
How could I let pain stop me from achieving the goal I set for myself in honor of my mom? There was only one answer... I couldn't let it stop me. I kept running. I didn't stop running until I crossed the finish line with my hands waving victoriously in the air.
Tomorrow I head to the doctor. I'm certain he will tell me that I need to rest for an extended period of time. Definitely NOT part of the plan. It's true what they say... one CAN become addicted to running. I admit, I have a new addiction. But if rest is what will get me back in my running sneakers more quickly, then rest is what I will do. I will most certainly lose the endurance that I've built in the last 4 months, and this makes me sad. However, I'll just have to fight that much harder to be able to say that I successfully finished my next race.