While training for the half marathon, I stumbled across the Bridge Run (10mile race). It fit right in line with our training schedule so my friend Cheri & I decided to give it a go. Technically, we were supposed to run 11 miles this Saturday with our schedule but we figured that the added bonus of getting a race under our belts would offset that 1 mile difference.
The night before the race, I was really nervous. It surprised me just how nervous I was! My belly was full of butterflies and I was stressing out a little. I tried to drink a lot of fluids that night to make sure I was hydrated and eat a very simple, easy on the tummy dinner. From what I had read online “there is no such thing as constipation for a runner on race day” and I was not going to take any risks. Yikes!
I woke up Saturday morning bright and early. I wanted to give myself a chance to not only drink a giant glass of water and a cup of coffee but the chance to pee it! You may not know this about me but I have an extremely nervous bladder and before every big run, I feel like I have to pee 100 times. My stomach was doing somersaults and back flips while I tried to eat a bagel. I gave up after the 1st half. I left to meet Cheri and Matt (her son). We were all running it together and were driving downtown in the same car.
With construction on the highway, it made it hard to get there early. I had just enough time to pee and pin on my number and do a couple stretches before it was time to start. The bell sounded and people started moving. As we passed the starting line, a ding went off signifying our electronic chip had activated and started timing us. We were doing it!!!
I expected to be more on top of people as we all figured out our strides and pace but it thinned out quickly. People had lined up according to speed and so the fastest runners were right at the starting line and tookoff quickly. Cheri, Matt & I found a brisk but comfortable pace. It was the first time that I’d run with a man before and it was obvious that longer legs make for a faster pace. That’s ok, we’ve been training and I was down for it.
As always, the first mile is miserable to me. I don’t know why I hate it so but I do. My muscles aren’t warmed up yet, my breathing isn’t rythmic and I haven’t found my natural gait. Even without a GPS, I can sense when I’ve passed the 1 or 1.5 mile mark simply by how my body feels. True to form, the first mile was weird and a battle to find my rythem. We crossed our first bridge even before the first mile was over and that helped to take my mind off of the running. The river was like glass as we ran over it. I don’t think I’d ever seen it so calm before. Our 2nd bridge came before the end of Mile 2 and once again, was a pretty sight. We would run through a neighborhood on our way to Riverside park for our 3rd mile.
Along the way, there was a water/Gatorade station. Volunteers had cups ready for you to grab out of their hands and since I’ve never practiced running while drinking out of a cup before, it was a funny sight. I think I got most of it in my face and up my nose before finally deciding to toss it. I threw my cup to the side and barely missed the person running beside me. Oops! Luckily, I didn’t and we ran on.
Through the neighborhood, there weren’t a lot of people sitting outside yet. It was just after 8am on a Saturday morning so that didn’t surprise me too much. As we ran down a hill just before the park, the aroma of bacon cooking filled the air andI was jealous of the bacon eaters for a slight second. To be sitting down to a yummy, lazy breakfast sounded like a good idea right about then.
We got to the park and it really was beautiful. The sun was shining and we were running directly next to the river. We were going good and then I really started feeling like I had to pee! Oh no! This was something I was afraid of and I think my overactive imagination created the problem. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t really have to pee but as we passed a port a potty along the trail, my bladder begged to differ. I knew we would be turning around and running back after mile 5 so I tried to concentrate on watching for the end.
We were just past mile 4 when we saw a police officer on a motorcyclewith his lights flashing coming towards us. I realized that the first runner had already made it to the turn around was about to pass us. Sure enough, there he came. He was bookin’! Dang! More and more people were heading on their way back. I tried to ignore the feeling that I was going to pee down my leg andsearched for the turn around. It had to be coming!!!
We finally got there and turned around. The 5 mile mark was not too much further ahead and as we passed it, I became convinced that not peeing for another 45-50 minutes was NOT an option. I tried positive thinking. “Bladder, you aren’t full. Bladder, you aren’t full.” It wasn’t working. Matt decided to run ahead of us. His legs are way longer and we were holding him back. See ya at the finish line Matt.
As we came to the next port a john, I decided that the sensation that I was going to pee myself had become an impairment to running. Like it or not, I had to pee. I decided to go and tried to do it as fast as possible. When every second counts, it feels like an extraordinary amount of time. I don’t know how long it was but when I was done, I bolted out of there and caught up to Cheri. She had been going at a really slow pace to stay back for me.
Not too long after that, we hit the 6 mile mark and left the park. The only significant incline in the race would be mile 7. We started up the first street and I noticed a guy sitting on his porch watching us. I didn’t think too much about it until we passed him and he loudly mmmmm’ed andmade some other disgusting comment. I remarked to the girls around us that he was seriously creepy and they told me that he’d been there last year. Awesome! We turned right onto the next street and this one was a longer, slower incline. Push, push, push… I tried to concentrate on my breathing and picking up my legs. Power from my hips, ignore my quads screaming. Mile 7 was a tough one and I told myself, just make it to 8.
We passed Mile 8 and I told myself to just make it to 9. Keep going, keep going. Don’t quit, keep going. The miles seemed sooooo long! Holy hell! Who had marked these miles, a blind man? Keep going, keep going. As we closed in on our first bridge on the return, I knew we must be closing in on mile 9. I felt like if I could just make it to the 9 sign, I could make it.
As we passed people that were walking, it made a stronger resolve in me to finish running. I won’t have the best time but I won’t walk. I won’t quit, I can’t quit. The volunteers that marked the route and pointed out directions were awesome. They cheered us on and clapped for us. Even the officers that had the roads blocked for us gave us encouragement to keep going. You can do it! You’re almost there!
We passed the beloved mile 9 sign and I felt a burst of energy. Down a hill, up a hill. Past the fish ladder andpeople playing the bongos. I felt good for the first time during the race. Not just hanging in there, but actually feeling good. I was going to do this! As we wound our way, we passed puke on the sidewalk. Yuck! But better them than us though. Suddenly, a girl in front of us tripped and fell to the sidewalk. Poor thing. We were so close to the end and she had bit it. She managed to get up and we asked her if she was ok. She was and we kept going. Over the bridge and weaving thru buildings. Downtown never felt so big to me.
Keep going, keep going… where the hell is the end? I started to think. THERE! We could see it! I tried to punch it and have a BIG finish like we do but there just wasn’t anymore gas. I crossed the finish line and heard the beep of our chips registering our time. Good job Cheri! Good job Chris! I heard the announcer say over the speakers. We were done! Our very first race was over! We had lived and finished it. Wow!
Our time wasn’t the best (1 hr 45min) but we finished it and we never walked. That’s more than some can say. And I do have to allow for that small potty break (stupid bladder anyways). Obviously, that took up time. I would say all in all, we did great and I learned some things from it. I need to do more hills training for the half and I need to work on running faster. I also need to give myself plenty of time to stretch and warm up before the half. I didn’t have that this time and I could feel a massive difference. I was pretty gimpy yesterday but today I feel good. My right leg & hip hurts some but I still have a month to get ready for the half. By that time, I feel like I can have it all under control.
I had told Dan that he didn’t have to come to this race so unfortunately, there aren’t any pics of us running but we got one after we were done. That’s as good as I could get.