Broad Street Runner gets his game face on as race nears

Editor’s note: Two years ago, Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn, overweight and feeling it, would never have dreamed of competing in the Broad Street Run. Now back at it for his second Broad Street experience, this time a trimmer version claims he knows what he is getting into.

Ok, the Phillies 5k will now forever be known as … The Winter Classic.

On Saturday, it was freakin’ cold, windy, just like the entire winter and now spring. Only consolation was that running in it is a lot better than sitting in the stands to watch a game, which is why about half the field signed up in the first place.

We go Saturday afternoon for the exhibition game against the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park plus get tickets to the April 10 regular-season night game against the Mets. What’s the difference?

Anyway, back to the race. There were times in the first mile when it looked like the Olympic men’s 10,000-meters with about 40 people running in a pack about 5 wide and 8 deep – better not stumble or it becomes a mosh pit. But by the time I got there, it didn’t matter. We were going way too slow, which is my dilemma.

As Yogi used to say, hitting a baseball is 80 percent mental and 50 percent physical.

For me, running is 80 percent mental, forget the rest of the math.

I think I am running faster than I actually am. It’s easy to tell because all you have to do is look at the people in front of you, the ones you are not making up any ground on.

If they are going that slow, then, hell, so am I …

So you pick up the pace, at least for about 15 seconds, and you do this for the rest of the race, time and time again. In the Phillies 5k, there were plenty of good intentions walking the last mile.

I don’t have a watch. No iPod, no music, nothing. A capella all the way. So with no idea of how much was left in the race, I wondered aloud if I was even close to the pace for a final time of 33:15, the line in the sand I had drawn.

Since I didn’t cross the starting line until about 3:10 into the race, I was looking for the magical 36:25 when I finished. Because the race traversed a different course this time, there was no direct run to the finish. It came after a sharp left turn with about 50 yards to go.

When I hit the turn, I saw the big 36 on the scoreboard and ticking 10, 11 , 12 … so forgetaboutit.

When the web site finally displayed my time a few hours later, it was 33:21.

I am a better handicapper than runner. The over wins.

That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part.

This was not an easy race, and a day later, my legs are aching.

The meter is running for Broad Street. May 6 is only six weeks away.

No more running on the treadmill or track. No more jogging.

Time to get the game face on.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.