Beat the Bridge 8K 2017!

This weekend I ran my first ever Beat the Bridge 8K!  It’s a huge race here in Seattle, so I have no idea how it has taken me six years to finally do it.  But now I can check it off my list!

I didn’t actually realize how big of a race it was until we went to packet pickup on Saturday, and I saw the enormous race set up being constructed at Husky Stadium.  It was fun to be there the day before and see the start and finish lines, and to get a sense of what the race would be like.

Lacey picked me up bright and early on race day morning so that we could get there in plenty of time for the start.  Summer weather has arrived in Seattle, and it was HOT even at 7am when we left.  I knew heat was definitely going to be a factor during the run!  I made Casey snap a before pic of us as we headed out the door!

20170521_071724 (661x1024)

We watched the many thousands of walkers take off first.  This race is a big fundraiser for JRDF — the leading global organization for type 1 diabetes research.  I had registered through a team that was organized by some friends of ours who have a little girl Cullen’s age who has type 1 diabetes.  It felt good to race for a good cause and to help friends meet their fundraising goal.

It was the runners up next, and there were a lot of us!  Over 4,000 as it turned out, and it sure felt like it.  The start was somewhat chaotic, with runners being released in groups periodically, but no real rhyme or reason to pace or anything else.  The announcements were really hard to hear.

20170521_082653 (1024x576)

Eventually, we just jumped into a corral and decided to get started!  Here goes nothing!

20170521_082709 (768x1024)

My goal was to race my hardest, but also to not go out super fast for fear that I would crash and burn early.  The longest I’ve been running is about 5 miles on long runs, so I knew better than to push it too hard since this was a 4.8 mile race.  We headed south toward the Montlake bridge (which was super awkward to run on with the big metal gaps!) and looped all around through the beautiful neighborhoods back there.

The race was really well done, but it was also REALLY crowded.  I did so much weaving and dodging in and out of groups of runners.  I wish with that many people there had been a better system for organizing paces, because there were a lot of strollers and walkers mixed in with speedy runners and people hoping to be able to race!  My goal was to just keep Lacey in my sight and to not take any walking breaks.

The first few miles felt pretty good, but by the second water stop I was dumping cups over my head.  The course was in full sun and it felt SO HOT – especially after running for months in the grey gloom.  I had to really dig deep to keep running and not walk, but I kept seeing my mile splits pop up and I knew if I could just keep running, maybe just maybe I could finish under 9 minute miles (which is pretty fast for me these days!).

The last mile felt awful – I was pushing it as hard as I could possibly go, and it felt like it was never going to end.  The course looped past the finish line and back around again, and I just kept staring ahead for the turn around point.  I finally made my way around the back of the stadium and I knew the finish line was right inside!

As I went to turn into the stadium from the parking lot, I neglected to notice the speed bump I was running over and my tired legs got all tripped up.  I went FLYING forward and did a very awkward tumble before totally wiping out onto my side.  My arms and hands went down, my phone went flying across the pavement, and everyone around me stopped to help.  It was SO embarrassing.  I jumped right up and thanked them, and refused to even look down at my scrapes, but I could feel them stinging.  I gave the last push I had to make it the 50 feet left to the finish line, and I tried to shake off my lame crash.

  • Mile 1: 8.58.79
  • Mile 2: 8.53.30
  • Mile 3: 8.53.34
  • Mile 4: 8.58.68
  • Mile 5: 9.07.81

I was completely exhausted after I crossed, but happy to glance down and see my splits!

20170521_093249 (691x1024)

I found Lacey who had finished just behind me, and we made our way out of the massive crowd to find a place to sit down.  I was SO glad it was over!  Fun side note – I saw afterward that the winner of the men’s race was Garrett Heath – one of the Brooks Beasts that I got to have lunch with in Eugene last summer!

20170521_094200_001 (717x1024)

I couldn’t believe how many people were there!  It really was a fun event, and I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been so wrecked from running in the heat.  I cooled down for a while in the bleachers while we waited for Casey and the boys to find us.

20170521_093153 (1024x569)

The run felt so hard, but it always feels so amazing to see my family at the end.  I was really grateful to Casey for getting there despite all the street closures and crowds.  The boys were super excited and Cullen immediately asked me if I had won the race when I saw him.  No pressure, right?  They were seriously hoping for some of that bouncy house action, but that was so not happening.  Ha!

20170521_094322 (660x1024)

I had a lot of mixed feelings afterward.  On one hand I was really proud of myself for seriously pushing it and running all five miles with no breaks.  I ran faster than I usually do on training runs, and it was a much hotter day than I’m used to.  On the other hand, I was frustrated that the run felt as hard as it did.  It doesn’t seem like five miles should be that tough with how often I run and work out.  I have been asking myself for ten years now when running will feel easier, and I’m still waiting!  But I’m glad I did it, and I’m looking forward to more races this summer and more chances to test my speed and my strength.

20170521_095438 (729x1024)

Checked out my battle wounds afterward – OUCH.  The biggest bruise was to my ego.  Thank goodness there was no race photography!

20170521_100819 (768x1024)

After a quick shower and some time to get ready, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Mariners game.  It was the perfect sunny day to be outside with my family, and I was happy to sit in one place for three hours!

20170521_134112 (768x1024)

20170521_134128 (1024x583)

Love my baseball fans – such a fun thing for our family to enjoy together!

20170521_134322 (705x1024)

Finished up with the most AMAZING veggie burger from Great State Burger – well worth the walk across the entire stadium to get it.  SO GOOD!  A new ballpark favorite.

20170521_142349 (718x1024)

Overall, a great race experience and a wonderful summery weekend!  Looking forward to doing Race for the Cure 5K in a few weeks and seeing if I can push my pace a bit for a shorter distance!  (Don’t forget – you can sign up to run with me using the code RUNWITHEMILY!).

Hope you all had a great weekend too!  And now, time for The Bachelorette – I am SO excited!