By Nicole Cesare for Philadelphia Runner
We're getting close to the midpoint of Broad Street Run training now, and that probably looks different for different runners. First-timers might be struggling to keep up with the routine, or might be working that first-timer buzz for all its worth, letting the novelty of the experience fuel them. If you've done this before, maybe you're working towards a PR, and this is the time to dig in, really commit. Or, maybe you realize this isn't the year, and resolve to just have a blast out there, regardless of what the pace clock says.
My own midpoint comes with a week of low mileage, due in part to a scheduled step back and also, well, just life. The weather was bad and other events took priority.
With no long run, then, one of the highlights of my week was signing up for The Philly10K. This is the 5th anniversary of the race, and will be my 3rd time running it. I missed one because I was out of town and another because of injury. But, just because I was injured didn't mean I stayed home! Instead, I decided to volunteer.
Have you ever volunteered for a race? I think all runners should try it out at least once. For one thing, of course, it's good to give back. But also, it's fun! You can keep an eye out for your friends, you meet other volunteers, and sometimes you even get an incentive, like the chance to register early for the event next year. (Why yes I did get to register early for this year's 10K, smiling smugly at all the folks anxiously refreshing the registration site Monday morning.)
My experience volunteering started well before dawn, as I made my way to South Street and then had the glamorous job of hanging trash bags off the corrals. Later, I helped herd runners through those same corrals, and then closed out the day at the banana stand.
Here's the thing about bananas. They come in a variety of degrees of ripeness. I'm pretty picky myself when I buy bananas: I like them closer to green than brown, before they lose their tartness and are just boringly sweet.
But please let me gently suggest that just past the finish line is not a place to be picky about the ripeness of your banana. While most of the runners either ignored the bananas or gladly accepted the ones we handed them, a surprisingly large number of runners stopped and tried to shop for the perfectly ripe banana. "Can I get a green one?" "Can I get a brown one?" "Can I get one with spots?" "Can I get a bigger one?" "Can I get a smaller one?" "Can I get two, one the shade of a regular lemon and one the shade of a Meyer lemon?"
Listen. I mean, yes, you can. But please know my job today is to hand out thousands of bananas to thousands of runners, and your precision is not exactly facilitating the smooth exchange of potassium here.
After some cleanup, I was able to take in the awesome after-party, and then head home feeling good about a job well done. If you ever have the opportunity, go for it! But maybe try to get in at the water bottle station if you don't feel like doing the banana shuffle.