Monday, November 5, 2018

Run the Bridge

The first Sunday in November seems to be a popular date to hold races. The first Sunday in November is when we turn the clocks back an hour. Coincidence? I think not.

A couple of my favorite fall races, both of which I was a legacy runner, did not happen this year. Both the Perfect 10 Miler and the Trenton Half Marathon/10K decided to change their focus. That left me without a long-distance race in the fall. In October we ran BAA's Half Marathon, but I still wanted another race. Someone mentioned Run the Bridge to Don, and the rest is history.

Run the Bridge is a 10k race across the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ. Even though this was their first year not being able to finish in Campbell Park, it felt like a very well-run race. They have the same "hurry-up-and-wait" philosophy that is prevalent among larger races. The start time was 8:30 AM, but roads would be closed starting at 7 AM, so you have to get there early. They gathered everyone on Rutgers sports field at 7:45 AM so we could walk together to the start. We waited on the closed Ben Franklin Bridge for at least 20 minutes before we heard "Ready ... Set ... <gun shot>." 

That was my only complaint.

Personally, though, my day did not start off well. The night before I ushered at Kelsey to be able to see my niece and nephew (Aimee and Hayden) in "Beauty and the Beast." It was a great show, but we did not get home until around 11 PM. Grateful for the time change since 5 AM rolled around mighty early.

After picking up our bib and shirt (love that we could do day of packet pick-up) I tripped over a loose brick and landed hard on my hands and left knee, hard enough for bruises and blood. I was reminded of the year I twisted my ankle during the Perfect 10 Miler and kept on running. 

The weather was great for running. It was 45 degrees at the start, with zero
wind. Going into the day I was concerned about running across a bridge in the wind. I was also worried because the bridge looks so steep when you are on the ground.

We lined up at 8:10 AM with the walkers behind us. If you ever spectate for this race, I recommend signing up to walk the bridge. No medal, and you can walk the bridge for free, but the people walking the bridge looked like they were having fun taking group pictures and cheering for their runners. I think the cost was $25, which went to the Larc School. A win for everyone.

With the scuffed knee and sore ankles and tired body, my plan was to take the hill (I mean bridge) easy and not worry about time. Instead I found the bridge was easy. I locked in with runners running my pace from the start (often there is a lot of jostling for position at the start to get people with the same pace together). I went into autopilot -- which never happens. I managed to run all but the water stops and final hill and take 74 pictures while keeping a steady 11-minute a mile pace. I should verify this, but I believe this was a PR for me. 

The field where we started and ended the event.

Lisa carrying the flag in honor of service men and women.

Back to the race. It starts with 1.5 miles of running towards Philadelphia on the Ben Franklin Bridge. At the half-way point, people cheered "WELCOME TO PHILLY!" Before getting to the other side of the bridge, we turned around. At this point we were nearly half-way done. We had 3.2 miles left to the finish line.

At the half-mile mark I heard Don behind me commenting about the race. I was too focused on not tripping in the grooves left by cars in the macadam. When we crested the bridge at the 2/3 of a mile mark I turned behind me to say something to Don, only to realize he was behind me. When we got to the turn around I checked on him, but he said to keep going and have fun. So I did.

The race took us through some uninspiring streets of Camden, NJ. We did pass the Battleship New Jersey. Just past the 4-mile water stop I tripped on something, but did not fall! Lisa, a woman carrying an American flag, asked me if I needed any nutrition. She noted my footsteps sounded heavier than they had before. I thanked her, and tried to lighten my steps.

Around the 5-mile mark this mountain appeared. Okay, it wasn't a mountain, but might as well have been. I heard runners talking about this before the start of the race, but can't say that made me like it any more. I walked up it. Ran until the next mound. Walked up that. Ran to the finish. When I saw I could finish before 1:10, I sprinted to the finish line with a smile. 

I waited for Don.

The big difference between my race and Don's race I think was attire. I left my sweatshirt in the car and ran wearing a t-shirt, capris, and a running skirt (mostly for pockets and the cute factor). Don wore three different shirts and long pants and even wore gloves part of the time. He could not find his stride or his weather comfort zone. 

My stats:

Paceage|plcAge Groupsex|plc
17361323JACQUELYN PILLSBURYLAWRENCEVILL NJ49F1:09:421:08:4311:01119|182F4549977|1423

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