Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Man down" in Manayunk

Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this fourth installment, she sets the scene for race day.

“Man down” in Manayunk


Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this fourth installment, she sets the scene for race day. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at

We may be entering the orange corral as a group of three, not four, on Sunday.

Last Saturday, J.P. and a few friends planned to meet at Lloyd Hall for a final run around the loop before retiring their legs for the race day. Like an annoying little sister, I invited myself along to the join them for the 8.5 miles.  “I will drive,” I said to ensure my position in the plans. J.P. politely faked his enthusiasm for my crashing the party, and we met the group at 8 a.m. sharp.

It was the perfect day for a run — a cool, dewy spring morning with just the right amount of sun for warmth. We started with a steady, easy pace, and the first few miles were over in no time. Every now and then someone would take their headphones off to pretend that they were interested in something that I was talking about, but they mostly just nodded and smiled. It didn’t matter; I just enjoyed the chance to talk to someone other than my Australian Shepherd on a run.

At mile four, one of the guys and I picked up the pace and motioned to the group that we would meet them at Falls Bridge. The rest of the crew caught up minutes later, but we were missing someone. Where was J.P.?

I jogged back over the bridge to see J.P. stretching his calf on the curb.  “I’m fine.  Go ahead, and I will catch up,” he told me.  And so I did. 

Forty minutes later, we finished our runs one at a time, but even after cooling down, there was no J.P.  One minute shy of the agreed cut-off time to send out the search party, we see J.P. ... limping in.   

“I think I hurt my foot,” he said. 

Not trying to sound alarmed, I assured him that it was probably some form of distance-running-growing-pains, and we headed home. 

Four days, two doctors appointments, and one diagnosis of a “strain from the wrong insoles” later, J.P.’s limp has slowly transformed itself from less of a gimp into more of a tough guy swagger. It looks like this Broad Street rookie’s entry will be a game time decision. 

While J.P. remained upstairs icing his ankle, Joe, Soup and I sat around the kitchen table over a final glass of wine Thursday night to talk race strategy. Joe continues to try to convince us that he doesn’t even think he’s trained enough to finish, while I continue to try to convince them that they should both hit the gym Saturday to get some final leg presses and squats in. No one seems to be buying either theory. 

With just hours to go, it’s time. Time to find out who gets to bring home the title of Broad Street champion. Time to put my money where my mouth is (or is it my legs where my blog is?).  

Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it all comes out. 

Beth Wallace contributes regularly to's Healthy Kids blog. Read her previous installments about racing down Broad Street:

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Charlotte Sutton Health and Science Editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Tom Avril Inquirer Staff Writer, heart health and general science
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Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
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