I had so much fun doing the Bridge Run last year that I decided to do it again this year! And let me just say – this year’s me kicked last year me’s butt!
Last year, although I admittedly ran with a friend and therefore didn’t necessarily go at fast as I could have, I finished the 6.2 miles in 1:01:18, a pace of 9:52 per mile. While I did stop to walk a few times on my friend’s behalf, which I wouldn’t have done on my own, the walking allowed us to run faster the rest of the time, so that’s probably fairly close to the best I could have done.
This year I set out to run with a pace of 9:00 per mile. If I’d done that, it would have been a new PR – something that’s pretty exciting on a course with a massive hill. My plan was to take the first and second miles at an easy, bordering on moderate pace, conquer the hill however I could in the third mile, and then worry about speeding up once I’d made it to the top.
So when I finished my first mile and my phone announced that I’d run it in 8:41, I figured that was a little faster than I’d intended but nothing to worry about. I slowed down a tiny bit and pushed onward with the bridge in view in the distance. The uphill started toward the end of the second mile, so for the second and third I wasn’t too worried about my pace (8:46 and 9:08, respectively) because I was just trying to keep going. Fortunately, this year I had the foresight to actually train on the bridge a few times. I’m glad I did because it helped a ton! It still wasn’t easy, but I at least knew that I could do it.
By the time I got to the top of the hill I wasn’t feeling fantastic, so I made a decision to take the downhill fairly slowly to get in a “rest” mile. At that’s at least what I THOUGHT I was doing. Turns out I actually sped up quite a bit, because when I hit mile four my phone told me I’d done it with an 8:14 pace. I didn’t believe it. I brushed it off, told myself it was probably 8:40 and I’d just misheard it, and kept going.
The fifth mile was flat, but that apparently had no effect on my pace because I finished that one with 8:14 as well. Except that time I actually heard 8:40, so I must have done a really great job of convincing myself I was going a more typical speed. By the end of the fifth mile I was starting to get tired, but since I had no idea I was going so fast I just chalked it up to the humidity told myself to keep on pushing.
The end of the sixth mile couldn’t come fast enough, and when it did I was too busy trying to talk myself through that last 0.2 that I didn’t hear or didn’t pay attention to my phone when it told me my pace, which ended up being 8:25. So you can imagine my shock when I turned the corner and saw the clock on the finish line was at 56 something. I didn’t start until about four minutes after the gun, and I expected to run it in just under an hour. So at that point, I realized my clock time was going to be faster than I thought my net time would be. It was pretty exciting. I ended up setting a new PR by several minutes.
I crossed the finish line at 57:32 (a net time of 53:30). I was elated. And then I heard them announce that just about 3,000 runners had completed the race (my bib number and “expected” place was 9779) and I almost started to cry. For whatever reason, running makes me irrationally emotional and I was so excited and proud of myself that I nearly lost it. I pulled myself together, though, and then went on a desperate hunt for water. I found the bagels first, shoved one down my throat, and then wandered off to meet up with friends.
When I started the race I told the friend I’d carpooled with (who is amazing, was seeded 405 in a race out of 39,000 people, and finished 69th overall) that I hoped to be reunited with him by 9:45 at the latest. We ended up finding each other before 9:15. So I didn’t have to feel too bad about making him wait for me. 🙂 My results are below.
The race is set up to start in waves, so the elites and people with proof of time showing they can run it in 45 minutes or less start first, followed by a group with proof of time for 45-50 minutes, then lettered corrals A-K which are split into 50-60 minutes, 60-70 minutes, and walkers. This year I was nervous about being placed in corral A, because I figured I would be at the very tail end of the 50-60 minute group. Next year I’ve decided my goal is to have a proof of time and be able to start in the 45-50 minute group. Since I’ll be running a marathon in December I should be pretty well trained and am optimistic that I’ll be able to make that happen.
Maybe I can be fast after all!