I may tell people I’m training this year for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon, but there’s one race scheduled this spring that’s nearer and dearer to my heart – the Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler.
That’s the race that started it all for me. An unfathomable distance in January 2011 to my then sedentary self, I’d initially laughed at my friends’ suggestions to join them and scoffed at their declarations that they would “run slow.”
“How slow?” I’d asked in my early 2011 e-mail reply. “I’ve never run so far before in my life and could only do it at a pace of about 2 mph.”
Clocking in at my all-time heaviest, my weight may have been through the roof, but my self-confidence –particularly when it came to my athletic prowess – was off-the-charts low.
If you’ve been reading my blog since the start (Hi, ClaireBear!), you know that I ended up manning up, registering for the race and sustaining a surprise 9:20.29 pace.
What you may not know, however, is that I had tears streaming down my face for all 10 miles (hello dehydration) because I was just so proud to be achieving something that four months earlier I’d known to be impossible. As I mustered my last ounce of strength and sprinted my way across the finish line into the Philadelphia Navy Yard, I felt a sense of unparalleled gratification like I’d never before felt in my life.
My Dad, who had driven 100 miles that morning just to see me race, summed it up in an e-mail the next day: “I am SO pleased that I got to see you at The Finish Line after yesterday’s Broad Street 10-miler. I think I will always remember you best at that moment: pumped, euphoric, glowing, and so-very-happy.”
And I was.
So imagine my heart-wrenching disappointment when I went to register for this year’s race in mid-February only to be alerted on the website that all 30,000 slots had already been filled.
With six spring races already on my schedule, it’s not like I needed to race the Broad Street Run again this year. But with this event carrying for me such personal and powerful memories of my running debut, it pained me a little inside to know I wouldn’t be back this year to show Philadelphia the same love it had shown me, especially when two of my best friends had secured spots of their own.
I was just about prepared to resign myself to the role of spectator (and non-racing cheesesteak taste tester) this year, when I stumbled across a new link on the Broad Street Run website: The Second Chance Lottery.
“Because registration for the 2012 Blue Cross Broad Street Run exceeded wildest expectations with over 30,000 runners registering in a record five hours,” the fresh new webpage read. “We have institued a second chance lottery for an additional 2500 runners to be permitted into the event.”
Lotteries – like British accents and Middle Eastern peace talks – have never been my strong suit, but I knew I had nothing to lose, so I threw my credit card information in their faces and waited.
And waited. And waited.
Ten days – or how long it takes Kate Hudson to lose a guy – later, having concluded Oscar season and all but forgotten about the lottery, I opened my e-mail this morning to find this note:
I’m in! I’m really in! And I’m so very, very thankful.
And now tell me something wonderful that’s happened to you today!