Got Over It: Bridge Run 10k 2019








6.29 miles 59:35 09:28 Mt.P to Downtown Cloudy, 69° Brooks Ravenna 10

Finally, the bridge run!

Screen Shot 2019-04-12 at 8.19.29 AM

Sorry for the crappy picture quality–this was the best image of me (I’m in the pink shorts with the white hat behind the guy in all gray) from the event. Every year that I’ve done this race, since it’s so large (over thirty thousand people ran it this year!), it’s been nearly impossible to pick myself out of the crowd in any of the images, so I never buy them. That’s (obviously) a screen shot of a proof image above.

But this was such a good race; it always is. So many people running + all of the spectators = a high-energy event. Normally I’m not one much for crowds, especially on this scale, but when half of them are drunk people hanging out of bars cheering for you and kids giving you high-fives from the sidelines and volunteering veterans handing out water cups, and the other half consists of people changing their lives (every run is life changing, in my opinion) as they run this race, I actually enjoy them.

It was while running this race last year that I began to get the initial idea of running a marathon in my head. If you’ve ever participated in a race of any size or length, even if you walk it, you know how energizing of an environment it is. Everyone there is committed the same thing: running their race. And there’s always such a wide variety of people at every race. It’s inspiring to see the heavy-set dad cross the finish line with his middle-school-aged daughter, to see someone who could easily be your grandparent shoot past you, to see the costumed and matching-shirts groups have fun with what, for some people, is a fairly serious event. Looking around me as I ran last year, I realized that there’s no level of race that is inaccessible to me, or to anyone who has working legs and lungs. I knew then that I wanted to start running in longer races, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I could do it. So, me being me, I picked the hardest thing I could, and, four months after the 2018 Bridge Run, I signed up a marathon.

I’ve already talked about that and how that went a lot, so if you don’t already know the story and are curious about it, you can read about my experience training for and running in the marathon here.

Of course, running the Bridge Run this year–the first race I’ve participated in since my marathon–brought back similar feelings. I’m going to run another marathon I said to my mirror self in a very textbook Disney Channel way when I got home afterward. When? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’ll be in the next year. But I do know that I will, that I have to. (Everyone told me that I would feel this way when I started training for the first one; I should have known myself better than to think otherwise.)

As for the Bridge Run, I fully anticipate running it again next year. My time this year was 58:39, beating my last year’s time of 1:05:37 by seven minutes (!). I knew I would/was hoping to be faster than last year, but I’m honestly surprised that it was by such a margin. I’m certainly a much more experienced runner at this point; I ran over three hundred miles during my marathon training in between these two Bridge Runs, after all. But, while I’ve certainly made myself into a distance runner, I’ve never been particularly fast. Unless, of course, I’m doing interval training and I’m really focusing on my pace, my natural split, until recently, was about 10:30. Since my marathon, though, I’ve been averaging splits of 9:30, a full minute faster. Mathematically, I probably could have reasonably estimated that I would be about six minutes faster this year, but still, it’s interesting, and in some ways surreal, to have these kinds of numbers to measure a year in. When you look at a race time, that’s all you see–a number. You don’t see the months and hours of work that went into making it. Remembering who I was as a person and a runner just a year ago and thinking of who I am now as a result of that year–and seeing the physical, numerical results of such–just compels me to keep pushing, to keep running.

I love running, and I love this race. Every year I participate in it I find myself feeling ready to take the rest of the year head-on, and confident. This year I also ran with my coworker Lauren, who shows up in a lot of my run logs now, as we’re in the same Run Club and we’re signed up to run a half marathon together this November.

Me and Lauren before the race.

We managed to stay with each other for the first three miles or so of the race, but almost as soon as we began the ascent up the bridge we lost each other in the crowd. Afterward we met up and discovered we’d still finished within less than minute of each other, but, because there were so many people, even when we got off the bridge neither of us was able to find the other again.

Lauren and me after the race.

I listened to Hamilton for most of the race, but switched to my actual running playlist once we got over the bridge into downtown. While on the bridge, actually, my running belt, which I bought last year after the bridge run when I was starting to think about upping my mileage, busted wide open; the zipper had broken off. I had to carry my phone in my hand and hope my ID and debit card didn’t fall out of my bra for the rest of the run. I’m sure you see the metaphor in this without me having to say much about it. One year and a whole new self later, I’m so proud and excited to continue shedding my insecurities and finding the things that make me feel strong. We’ll see what comes next.

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