My foot finally mended, I was more than excited to run the Across the Bay 12K on July 10th, my third race of 2016 (normally, without injury, this should have been my 8th or 9th race of the year!). Met with friends Susan and Jennette bright and early that morning to drive out to the city and board the shuttle to Sausalito where the race began and we were greeted with blue skies and a very bright, shining sun that, in the “cold” (yes, 60 degrees is “cold” for us here in the Bay Area) of the early morning we were grateful for but by mile 6 of the race, not so much.
I signed up for the race while still rehabbing my foot so chose the very last start wave, wave 4. Jennette and Tim (another Team in Training friend we met along the way) were also in wave 4 so we started together; but, being a I-race-alone type, I gave them a smile, said I’m going into “stealth mode” and popped in my earbuds. As soon as we crossed the start line, the Golden Gate Bridge view appeared, I couldn’t help myself and started snapping photos right away- and we hadn’t even reached mile 1!
After a nice downhill and some flat road for the first mile or so, around the base of the GG Bridge, the climbing began… having missed out on so many races to date because of my stupid foot and because of the beautiful weather and scenery, I kept stopping to take photos which, again, I mentally scolded myself for as it was only mile 2 and I should probably put the camera away and focus on the running here, just a bit.
My last race was in November and while I have gotten back to running again these past 2 months, I haven’t been as consistent as I know I need to be so am totally out of practice with the normal tasks of running and racing like carrying water. I didn’t wear my hydration vest so no water nor electrolytes nor fuel nor sunscreen nor chap-stick, I decided just that morning to rely on the aid stations and figured it wouldn’t be that bad…
Mouth drier than dry, got to the first aid station right before entering the GG Bridge and noticed the volunteers pouring water from gallon jugs into everyone’s open mouths. Having seen this before, I immediately knew they had run out of cups and normally, I would bypass the shower and the cooties but normally I also carry water. Nothing normal happening today so I stopped, jug held up above my head, mouth wide open, I tried to drink and was promptly doused. Still thirsty, I tried again at another volunteer and… let’s just say I was glad I was wearing a BLACK shirt that day!
Got on the bridge and as the path is somewhat narrow, I ran and ran and ran so as not to get into anyone’s way with my stop-and-photo-op, only stopping once or twice to grab a photo even though my heart wanted to capture every single inch of that gorgeous bridge! The weather was steadily warming up but on the bridge, over the water, the constant, gentle breeze was exactly what I needed to keep on going!
Completed the bridge and started heading back down along the Battery E Trail around mile 4 but not without stopping to take yet another Golden Gate Bridge photo which ended up being my favorite shot of all I took (60 photos total!) that day:
After a nice, shaded downhill, the course travels along part of the Bay Trail (pictured above) which zaps the shade and blasts the sunlight and even though you’re following the ocean, the breeze was nearly non-existent and it was getting hot. Like hot hot. Like what-was-I-thinking-not-bringing-water-with-me hot hot hot so I stopped at the small house looking structure you see at the left in the above photo to use the restroom and take some swigs of H2O from the (hopefully potable) sink inside. There was a line of others doing the same and we chatted, they asked me about my shirt and I told them that I am a proud Represent Running ambassador, encouraging everyone to read my blog and use my discount code for the next Represent Running race, the East Bay 510K (mid-race shameless plug- now that’s a first!!!).
At mile 5, my wheels started to come off. I spent all my excited energy climbing towards and over the bridge, the sun was beating down and the internal struggling began. Finally got to mile 6 and I had had it. Started walking more, yearning for a water stop, texting unhappy-faced selfies to Susan and Jennette, writing, “I feel like I’m trudging through the pits of hell! SO HOT!!!” I would run a bit then walk, run then walk some more, just trying to focus on getting to that finish line.
Right when I hit Fort Mason, about a half mile from the finish, a volunteer stood cheering everyone in and directing runners “this way” towards what the volunteer PROMISED would be the last hill of the race. There was one last stretch of climbing towards Aquatic Park, but totally shaded so I put on my GRRRRRR face, got mad at it and powered up the final hill with all my might, turned a corner, saw the finish, yelled, “THERE IT IS!!!!!” and sprinted as much as I could to the end.
Found my buddies, chugged a bottle of water, got my medal and bag o’ foodstuffs, took some selfies and headed back home to rest, stretch and reflect on what a fun day that really was! I miss racing so very much, but, more than that, I miss being trained and ready for them too- it was a truly motivating experience and with zero pain from my foot injury (YAY!!!), I KNOW it is time to start training consistently in order to never let a course get the best of me again.
Hahahaha- yeah, right! One can only hope!!!
I’m happy to be healed, happy to have crossed another finish, and oh so happy to know that my desire and passion for running remains: I’m BACK!!!!!
Thank you, Represent Running, for the opportunity to be a part of your team and to promote such a great course and race series- even if I wasn’t an ambassador, you would find me here! I can’t wait for the East Bay 510K this October 9th (code Represent2016LA for 10% off!) but am also looking forward to even more running and racing adventures in the meantime…