A few days have passed now, but I am still excited about running in my first 10K this past weekend! The Norcross Run the Bridge 10K took place on Sunday, November 2nd and it was quite the experience!Run the Bridge 10K Race Recap! #runchat Click To Tweet
Lately, sleep has not been my best friend and I’ve been getting 5 hours of sleep or less per night. Not good! I have been wearing Marley twists since mid-July and decided that this was the weekend that I would finally take them out, but somehow what was supposed to happen early Saturday didn’t start until the evening and didn’t finish until 4:30 am on Sunday. Seriously!!
So before I knew it, the alarm was going off. While the race didn’t start until 8:30 am, we had to get to Campbell’s Field as early as 6:15 because we were picking up our race bibs the morning of the event and wanted to get to New Jersey before they closed the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Somehow I was able to wake up and didn’t feel too much like a zombie. I had a light breakfast of toast with boysenberry jam and did my best to get hydrated.
Unfortunately, the weather was forecast to be COLD, and they got it right. Not only was it forecast to be in the 30’s and 40’s with wind gusts up to 40 mph, we had lots of rain on Saturday that kept things chilly. I found layer upon layer of technical clothes to wear and pulled out my cheap windbreaker, running gloves and Mizuno earmuffs. I decided to wear a zip up jacket underneath to avoid dealing with a scarf. This is why it was so easy to write about cold weather running!
We got to Campbell’s Field at about 6:30, and there were plenty of parking spots in the free lot. We didn’t want to linger, so as soon as got our materials, which was very efficient, Bret grabbed a free cup of coffee and we headed BACK to the car.
Around 7:35, we got out of the car to go back to the baseball field for the start of festivities. It. Was. Brutal. There were over 5,000 participants between runners and walkers and we were all looking pretty miserable! I did my best to find a spot out of the wind. Soon it was 7:50 and they were singing the National Anthem (she did a great job) and we were preparing to head on the field and out to the bridge.
We headed towards the bridge and it was kind of ridiculous…the long walk to the start of the Ben Franklin Bridge felt painfully long. Then there was a bottleneck to actually get to the base of bridge since we had to squeeze through a narrow passageway and literally hop over bollards. I almost pulled a muscle in my leg trying to hop over.
But anyway, we were there by 8:15 or so and they refused to start early while we suffered and shivered at the start. I kept trying to get my Nike+ watch to start but it would not sync up. I was so annoyed because I couldn’t get a connection! There were several elite runners up front, warming up in their short shorts. Finally, they pulled the horn and we were off!
During my late, late night on Sunday, I did some very last minute research on how to run up and down hills during a race. Since this race started going uphill immediately, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t push myself too hard.
I could definitely feel the incline as we started but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Unfortunately the wind did NOT work in our favor since we were running westbound and the wind was coming from the north. The rustling of bibs was almost deafening and I saw more than one bib going up, up, and away.
Bret and I stayed generally side by side. Lots of people were bobbing and weaving through as we went up, which to me seemed like a waste of energy. Here and there we saw spectators on the bridge, those brave souls.
As we started to make our way down I was relieved and felt a good rhythm as my pace quickened. I was nervous because my left ankle has been bothering me lately on my runs, and I was doing my best to have good form running uphill. Heading down we already saw the elites making their way back. Everyone cheered for them of course. Naturally I thought people were cheering for us regular folk so loudly…nope!
As we made our way back towards Jersey, the winds died down considerably, thank goodness! I was finally able to remove my gloves. Going up the bridge seemed a bit tougher on this side, but I was doing my best to keep a good pace. Unfortunately since my watch was out of commission it was impossible for me to know. While there were clocks at two points on the bridge, there were no mile markers, so they were basically useless.
Still, overall I was feeling pretty good and keeping up with Bret. There were quite a few people with signs saying “Go Random Stranger Go!” and some people had noisemakers as we went by. Every little bit helps.
Everything after the bridge was SO much easier. It also didn’t hurt that the weather felt less brutal, my body was warm, and the sun was shining brightly. We turned onto a street downtown and the first water stop was there, which was strange, because I thought the first water stop was supposed to be at mile 1.5, and this was mile 3 (I think)….oh well!
The streets of Camden, New Jersey are not exactly the friendliest, so on certain parts of the course it was a ghost town. But the positive and fun energy was there the whole way. It was nice to run somewhere new. At one point we were along the Waterfront, and it was absolutely beautiful. I did my best to capture a photo while on the run.
This whole time, I was feeling great. The ankle issues subsided once I was back on “flat” land. Still with no watch to guide me, I basically ran by feel. There was at least one other hill on the rest of the course, which was fun to tackle, and I took advantage of the second and final water stop before mile 5. I kept asking Bret how he felt and he was doing well, but he wasn’t as excited as I was!
When we got to mile 5 we finally saw a sign and everyone was saying “only 1 mile to go!”. Well, not exactly…10 kilometers is 6.2 miles! I wasn’t going to discount that remaining 0.2 miles! So that did bug me a little.
Soon we were heading back towards the Campbell’s Field, though we had to make a loop around the block before we made it there. As we came to the field there was a nice tunnel of people with signs cheering, and we ran on the baseball field. It was so exciting, and when I could see the finish line, I put on the gas. Let’s finish this race strong!
I tried my best to pass Bret at the last second but we ended up crossing at the same time and having a finish time of 1:02:35! My only regret is that I don’t know my splits–they were definitely negative, but I wonder how much the bridge slowed me down. I’ve been running much faster paces lately post-half marathon, so I just wish my watch could have worked to break things down a bit further!
As I wandered out of the finish line area I picked up a bottle of water (a volunteer joked that it was $2) and inquired about a free massage (too long of a wait!) before Bret and I stretched and grabbed a bag of refreshments to go. Strangely enough the goodie bag included Nutri-Grain bars and “natural” potato chips…but the bananas, bagels and raisins were a good look.
We were able to get out of Jersey relatively quickly and had a victory brunch at Kraftwork, an awesome place that we’ve been wanting to try forever. Usually I take a photo of the food, but I was too starved to do that! I had a refreshing mimosa with a Belgian waffle, homemade sausage patties, and a huge plate of home fries. Bret got a delicious cheeseburger and tasty pumpkin beer.
Then I went home and slept for SEVERAL hours…I desperately needed it!
I had a wonderful time at the Run the Bridge 10K! Of course I wish the weather was nicer, but I feel so proud that I was able to push myself through the wind and the cold! Final thoughts:
Note: I’ve also posted my review of this race on bibrave.com – it’s a free site 100% dedicated to race reviews. I’m a BibRave Pro Ambassador for 2017, and I’d love if you considered joining the site!
Have you ever run a race in extreme weather conditions? How did you handle it? What’s the last race you had to give you a runner’s high?