There is exactly one span that crosses the Chesapeake Bay. It’s called the Bay Bridge. It’s long, it’s tall and in the summer it’s a pain in the ass. Many moons ago there use to be a Bay Bridge run/walk. Some time after 9/11 they stopped doing it out of security concerns. I guess they must have worked them out because this year they re-instituted it as a 10k. Granted, there were no backpacks or no Camelbaks, but that’s the price of security I guess.
My first mistake was that yesterday I did the weight workout my brother gave me to do. Why, in the blazes, I did something that dumb is still beyond me. Lesson learned, doing a weight workout before one is going to run up an incline for nearly 2.5 miles is a DUMB idea. My hamstrings and quads werse creaming at me in language that would make a sailor blush. As I was climbing the bridge I just felt like I had absolutely no gas in the tank. Yet, I pushed on. As I pushed my way up the bridge I had to play frogger around all of the walkers. I really wish that the organizers had reminded everyone that runners stay on the left and walkers stay on the right. I think that the constant zigging and zagging didn’t help my lack of gas.
The good news is that the bridge had built in spacers to account for the change in weather (amongst other more ‘enginery’ type things that someone else could explain to you). I used those as points of reference. The conversation in my head would be, “ok, you are going to run to the next arch” or “ok, you can walk once you cross that expansion”. It made for motivation to keep running and not to allow myself to walk too much. Oh, how I wanted to walk…
There were tons of cops from the state level, both Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s County as well as Coast Guard. The nice thing I found is that lots of people were saying thank you to both the security forces and the volunteers. One of my favorite cops the whole race was the female that was standing near the top of the bridge who was saying, “water, porta-potties and downhill are that way”. Oh I could have kissed her. 2.5 miles up hill was hard. My second mistake was not bringing anything to refill my tank (e.g. my cacao goji berry snacks.)
The last two miles of this race were all from my heart. I was having an extremely difficult time finding my groove. Everything seemed to be off from my breathing to my striding. I blame the fact that I wasn’t wearing my favorite tutu. I was doing nothing but just gutting it out. When I came around the corner between mile 5 and 6 and I saw a small uphill I said, “Are you f*$& kidding me?!” I walked half way up and then started running again.
We turned the last corner the finish line was insight. Some how I managed to dig deep \ and sprint my way from the traffic light through the finish line. Relief does not begin to describe the emotion I felt as I crossed over the finish line. I stopped my MapMyFitness program. 6.52 miles was my ultimate distance with all of the zigging and the zagging. According to their race records from start to finish I did it in 1:21:59. That averages a 13:13 mile.
The race organizers had arranged for us to have “lunches”. While it was a sweet gesture as I opened my bag and looked in it; bagel (gluten), granola bar (gluten), pretzels (gluten). DAMMIT. I handed it back to the volunteer and told them to give it to someone else because there was nothing in there I could eat. As I walked away I heard them say, “I feel bad someone else said that too.” There was not a banana or piece of fruit in sight. There was a beer tent (gluten). ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? As I caught up with one of my co-workers who I had conned into running the race with me we walked the perimeter looking at all of the food vendors there was gluten. Every. Single. One of them. WTH??? Ugh. My third mistake was assuming there would be something anything I could eat at the finish.
We walked towards the exit where the shuttle buses were lined up to take us back to our parking spot at the Navy Stadium. The ride back over the other span of the bridge was filled with contemplation of how we conquered the bridge. About 5 minutes out from the stadium this guy comes up from the back of the bus begging the bus driver to know how much longer until we reached the stadium, apparently he had to really pee. The second we hit a stop light the driver let him off of the bus and he found the nearest tree in full view of the rest of us still ON the bus. Hey I guess when you’ve got to go…
Once we got to the stadium we all stood up to get off the bus. My legs weren’t just merely protesting any more, they were failing to function. They were giving me a big FU. I coaxed them off the bus and into forward motion heading for the car. Thank goodness I scheduled a massage tomorrow because I’m going to need it.