Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will be chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle it out for supremacy in the Broad Street Run. In this first installment, we meet the cast of characters.
I'm that girl.
I'm the girl that you see running "the loop" on Saturday with a smile on her face, saying an overly cheerful "Good Morning!" to any person who catches my eye. I'm the one that talks her friend into meeting for a 5 a.m. speed work session because "it will be fun." I have my Gmail calendar filled with my race schedule for the next six months. I have a favorite race outfit for each season.
I'm the annoying runner.
And this year, I convinced my three male roommates that we should all run Broad Street.
But to be honest, it wasn't that hard. I'd really like to think that it is my dedication to the pavement that made them think, "one day, I'm going to be the one running up Ridge Ave in my matching headband and Lululemon tank top." However, I know better. I know it was the idea of good old fashioned competition that made everyone sit down at their computer on February 15th.
Now, I should give you a little background on this motley crew of runners from Manayunk that will line up in their respective corrals on May 6th. First there's Joe, my boyfriend. Joe was always more of a gym guy than a runner. I'm pretty sure he started running two years ago to try to figure out why I loved it so much. Since then, he's run a few 10 mile races and finished the half marathon in November. After every race, the first thing he says is, "I will never do that again."
Then, there's my friend "Soup." Soup has dabbled in running throughout his 29 years, and is an all-around pretty fit guy. I would say he is a close second to my Type A personality in his approach to running. But he has one fatal flaw: he is quite unlucky. Despite perfect training, his debut race was the miserably hot Broad Street in 2010. So far, his training has been right on track, other than his most recent long run, which ended with some sort of flying somersault on the sidewalk on Henry Ave. He walked away with a scraped knee. I just hope he gets to the starting line still walking.
Last, but certainly not least, is J.P., the resident running rookie. Since this will be his first distance race, I wanted to make sure J.P. was well prepared. All of my running experience would come to fruition as I started having visions of myself as JP's running coach. So the day after our race entries were confirmed, it took all that I had to limit my enthusiasm and casually make my offer.
"Oh hey, J.P. " (Don't sound too excited) "If you'd like, I can help you out for the race."
"Oh great! What do you mean?"
(Fantastic, he's interested! Stay cool … ) "Oh, I don't know. We could do some runs together; maybe I could make you a training schedule or something."
"Oh, I think I'm good. I found something online. And I usually run by myself."
Crushed, I gritted my teeth and put on my happy face. I muttered, "Good for you!"
Two weeks and three phone numbers later, I realized J.P. likes to "run by himself" so he can chat up the single ladies next to him on the treadmill. Whatever motivation works for you J.P. … whatever works.
And for me, I am most excited about the idea of lacing up my sneakers to be part of something big, and something so much a part of spring tradition in Philadelphia. I can't wait to feel the energy of 30,000 runners ready to test their athletic limits, to see my wonderfully supportive friends cheering at mile 6, and to celebrate at the finish line.
Oh, and I can't wait to beat these boys ...
Beth Wallace contributes regularly to Philly.com's Healthy Kids blog.
Read more of our coverage of the Broad Street Run.