4 things I learned about myself and life after finishing the Broad Street Run- Philly 10-miler

By Anjelica D.

On Sunday, May 7th nearly 40,000 people crowded North Broad Street to conquer the 38th annual Broad Street Run. The famous Philly 10-miler was full of people from near and far; first timers, pro-runners and everyone in between. As a first timer myself, who had never ran 10 miles, it wasn’t until I crossed the finish line, reflected on my experience and talked to a few people that I came to the conclusion that I had limped away with some real life lessons.

1. Donald Trump can be a role model. Okay, don’t kill me, but come on, we have to be real. This reality T.V. billionaire, with no political experience won the presidential election in one of the world’s leading nations. Since his win, people have come to the utter realization that anything is possible. I’m not trying to be president, but here I was attempting a 10-miler that I hadn’t really trained for. After signing up months in advance, I lost three family members and took on a new job. With a 60-hour work week and family obligations, there really wasn’t much time to hit the pavement running. Like Trump, I basically winged it. Approaching the start line I just knew I was in over my head. Just like him, I kept going, telling others that I was going to finish the race, thinking to myself that it was all lies. But I did it. I crossed the line 2 hours and 27 minutes after taking off. I couldn’t believe it. And this, friends, is how you win a presidential election.

Image: Beyond My Ken, 2013

2. Take things one step at a time . I’m one of those people always looking at the finish line. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s the little things, together, that make up the big picture. Its reaching the small goals in between that make the dream come true. The days before the race, and on race day, I kept thinking, “all the way to the Navy Yard?” It felt impossible. But when someone said, “I’m trying to make it to City Hall, and I’ll worry about the rest later,” it clicked! I thought that was a great goal to set in between. I made it my goal too — to make it to City Hall, non-stop, and worry about the rest later. There was no sense in stressing about South Broad Street while I was sitting there just trying to make it down North Broad Street. Not to be pessimistic but so many things could have happened along the way that I may not have even seen South Broad, so why stress about it before even getting there. Stressing about the other side of City Hall I would have blocked out the very things that kept me going that day. I cleared my mind, focused on City Hall and took in the live music and cheering children as I ran the first 5.5 miles. Once I got past City Hall, I faced the new challenge and took it one step at a time.

3. YOU can push through. Just two weeks ago when I was “fake training” I hopped on the treadmill. Immediately after pressing start I was looking at the time…and the miles. One reason I like to run fast is so that I can get to the mile quicker, but I needed to be working on endurance — “slow and steady crosses the finish line” was our motto. It seemed like it took forever to get to a mile, I definitely didn’t feel like doing three or four miles. I stopped at three. Just two weeks later I ran 10 miles down Broad Street. Sometimes in life we’ve got to push through. It may be a little painful, it may take a while, it will be different for someone else, but we’ve got what we need to push through; we just have to do it. Somehow, someway, we are already equipped with what we need to make it to the finish line — the people on the sidelines, the friend in your corner. Sometimes, it’s a matter of looking back and realizing something you did in the past that will actually contribute to your success today. Even when I was doubting that I’d make it to the start line, let alone the finish line, I started loading up on carbs and water. What I had done days before gave me what I needed to get the job done.

Image: Don’t worry, I’ve ordered the print of me crossing the finish line from Island Photography. Broad Street Run 2017.

4. Having supporters can make all the difference. I signed up for the run with one of my close friends. Always looking for a new challenge, and knowing that I am too, she hit me up, “let’s do the Broad Street Run!” It was a goal of mine, but somewhere down the line. I didn’t think this would be my year. But, I agreed. We really didn’t prepare how we should have but we got out there together. Side-by-side we ran down Broad Street cheering each other on. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t do anymore, she was right there to say, “you got this!” At one point, I gave her the chance to leave me, but she insisted. It was then that I knew I couldn’t leave her either. We agreed to cross the finish line together. As we approached the end, I was feeling weak so I let her go. I did my recharge and sprinted to the line crossing just 10 seconds behind her.

I realize we need that one friend who won’t leave our side even when we ask them to, but in a strange way support from strangers and onlookers is important too. Before we started the run, when I was still doubting my ability to finish, someone said, “the crowds of people cheering you on really help.” I gave them a real side eye. How can people not running, that you don’t know help make this any easier? Maybe you had to be there to believe it but, I can honestly say, it helped. Something about their encouragement and excitement helped to keep me and countless others moving. The “power-up” posters,“Brunch in 3 miles” signs and high-fives from people I didn’t even know were truly motivating.

Image: victorylikealark

Before I started it seemed like it would take a lifetime to complete. Looking back it was less than 3 hours of my life. We’re going to always have obstacles to face that seem impossible to overcome. We don’t think we’re prepared. We don’t think we’ll make it. We’ll be thinking about all of the things that can go wrong. We forget about the past experiences that have prepared us for these very obstacles. We have a hard time seeing in ourselves what others see in us. If I learned nothing else after finishing this run it’s to kill the doubt. And for the times when I can’t shake the doubt, I was reminded to recognize what’s around me and within me, to accept support when it’s given and to take the challenges in life one step at a time. Don’t forget Trump’s most valuable lesson, “anything is possible!”

In sharing my experience I found even more reward than the medal I received at the finish line. My story of unpreparedness, fear, and excitement was inspiring to others. In retrospect, I was more prepared than I thought. I overcame fear and doubt and found true excitement in the outcome and the journey and how each paralleled to life itself. The 10-miler, for me, represented all the difficult things in life — and I made it through. I’ll see you at the finish line in 2018!

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