To spice up our training plan this year, Maggie suggested we register for the Texas Bridge Series. This is a series of three races that each feature one bridge in Texas. The first two are 10ks and the final race is a half marathon. You get a medal for completing each race and a bonus medal if you complete all three. Motivated by the medals, we decided to register!
This first race was on September 15, 2012 in Kemah. This 10k goes back and forth over the Kemah Bridge twice. I was a little nervous about the bridge. With a 4.3 and 5% grade, this bridge goes 83 feet above the water. I was nervous about how my knees would do, and considering that we train on flat ground, how well I would be able to run up the hills. But hopefully these hills will be good training for the Disney races that take you up over highways!
I absolutely loved this race. It was definitely the most beautiful scenery I’ve had in a race. You can’t see it in this picture, but there was water on both sides of the bridge.
We started at the Kemah Boardwalk. We were picking up our packets in the morning and it was a very efficient process. We took our goody bags back to the car and attached our chips and pinned on our numbers. The weather was beautiful. It was cool, but not so much that I was cold.
At the start line, a fellow runner mentioned that we would be going over the bridge a total of four times. Oops, I must have missed that! I thought we would go over and back just once, but it was twice.
Our initial plan was to stick with our 6/4 intervals, but we threw that out and just ran how we felt. Realizing there would be plenty of uphills to walk, we ran the first mile straight in 10:25.
Miles 2-5 included the hills. The first time up wasn’t too bad. We ran a good chunk of it! It was so exciting to reach the top, so we coasted down, running the entire down hill and back down under the bridge. Each time we crossed the bridge, we ran at least parts of the uphills. We would pick lamp posts as our goals to run to, and then walk to the next lamp post before running more.
I think this was one of my favorite races because we weren’t running for time, and we weren’t running by the watch. We ran the entire race based just on how we felt and I was able to enjoy the scenery. I also felt very tough, running up those hills and not wearing out.
Our final ascent up the bridge was a little more difficult. As we were approaching the hill, I felt that my legs were sore. They felt like they had been beat up a bit. But it hurt in a good way; I felt more energy, realizing that I wasn’t worn out yet and could tell this was a really good work out for my legs.
Our final mile was the best. We decided to run most of it, with hopefully just one walk break through a water station. About a quarter mile from the finish line, I felt my knee tensing up. It hit me very suddenly and I knew instantly it was my IT band. I could have powered through the pain, but Maggie agreed to take a quick walk break with me. It was worth it – after a minute or so of walking, when we started to run again, the pain was gone.
We powered through to the finish line, finishing our last mile (with the walk break) in 10:12. Our splits:
- Mile 1: 10:25
- Mile 2: 11:36
- Mile 3: 11:02
- Mile 4: 11:16
- Mile 5: 11:05
- Mile 6: 10:12
- Mile 6.0 – 6.37: 9:24 pace
- Total: 1:09:03 (10:50 average pace)
Although this was the slowest 10k I’ve run, I felt awesome about it. We didn’t want to push it too hard on this run because it was supposed to be a long training run. I felt like we pushed it just enough to feel good about the race, but we clearly had some left to give at the end of the race. And we listened to our bodies the entire time.
The post-race treats were awesome too. Ice cream, popsicles, tacos (including egg and potato!), muscle milk, watermelon, orange slices, and bananas. And don’t forget the glittery medal! It was definitely a success, and I can’t wait for the next two bridge series races.