Broad Street is a scant few days away and there is a collective angst that no one is ready. The cold and icy winter roads stymied everyone's training.
Fortunately, last weekend's 5K Run for Clean Air made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
If you are 60 or older, you get to sign up for free courtesy of race sponsor SCA Americas. That was the best thing to happen since Dunkin Donuts gave AARP card members a free donut when you bought a large drink.
The race on Saturday had me pumped, as did the free iced coffee from Joe's. We ran down West Drive, turned around, saw Boathouse Row coming and going (anyone ever get caught in that waterfall, btw?) and headed back to the Art Museum. It's almost the same course as the Rothman 8k and the Back On My Feet 5 miler, only shorter.
After it was over, I drove up Kelly Drive toward the mean streets of Manayunk for a date with Main Street Music during Vinyl Record Worshipping Day. On the drive, I got to see almost every other runner who wasn't one of the 1,700 who registered for the 5K. Between a few splits along Kelly Drive, there were waves of runners going in every direction, even on the detour on Reservoir Road. Saw them too, running up and down Ridge Avenue.
I ran in the Adrenaline 5k in Haddonfield long ago, way back in March. Same for the Phillies 5k (four free tickets, not two, and when the preseason exhibition game got rained out, it became four regular season games, such a deal). No one was too worried back then, all of a month ago. They were good races to get back in the groove with a little time to spare.
Then came the Back On My Feet 5-Miler. It is a self-proclaimed halfway race to Broad Street and FOX29's Jen Fredrick was the starter. We had a moment, looking eye to eye (she was standing on a stage)... then the moment of truth came. No horn, she just yelled GO!
I trudged along with my running partner Jen Wright, a freshman at Penn, and a graduate of the Students Run Philly brigade. She was a compassionate soul who kept me company instead of finishing about 6-8 minutes ahead of me.
Lucky for her, she got second place in her age category anyway, so carrying me across the finish line was a mitzvah. And for me, the Clean Air race wound up being a PR — 31:29 chip time.
After that, my legs seem ready. A three-hour mass on Easter Saturday night helped me get my mind ready.