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Monday, June 10, 2013

Crescent Connection Bridge Run

Short and sweet: I'm out of shape, I can't run inclines of any sort, nice race with cute T-shirt.
Long version: Wow, my first race after actually healing my injury! Should have been wonderful, but I lost a lot of fitness being either out or running injured with reduced mileage for over six months.
The good news: NO PAIN! I've been feeling wonderful lately and even after a race on reinforced concrete up and down a bridge, I'm pain-free.
From a friend who also ran
This race starts on the West bank of the Mississippi River, crosses the Crescent Connection Bridge to the East bank, and ends at the Port of Orleans. Great after-party with lots of food and beer, and this time a great T-shirt, a cotton ladies cut shirt that I will totally wear. I am wearing it, actually. It's very difficult to take a picture of a shirt while it's on. I need like two more inches of arm.
See? Girl cut.

I do still have a head, btw

The race started at 6 pm. We took a shuttle from the finish, dragging along little brother Abe, and got in a very, very hot warm-up run before the start. It was in the 90's at the start and very humid. Because the bridge is shadeless and bakes in the sun all day, this is a hot race. And it isn't a fast course at all. I forgot that.
So, I started kind of mid-front pack, felt OK starting out, and ran the first flat 0.75 mile in about 6:20 pace. Then we started climbing the bridge. I thought slowing down would be fine here - catch back up when the bridge goes back down, right? So I kept slogging up the hill. I passed a million people. A kid next to me threw up. A guy oddly body-checked me (later begged for forgiveness: he said he was looking at the view of the Mississippi and just ran right over me - didn't even see me at all). I finally reached the top of the bridge, and I was right next to the #2 lady. To my surprise she was talking on the phone. I laughed - she was playing with us. I knew she'd win this one.
As I hit the peak of the bridge, I was already past mile 3. That's when I realized I wouldn't be doing any catching up. The bridge gradually ascends, but it descends in a steep half-mile corkscrew, too tight and dangerous to really use for much speed, then suddenly you're on flat ground again. So the race is about a quarter flat, a quarter steep downhill, and half uphill.

I tried to manage the downhill well, but I was spent, hot, and miserable. My stomach ached as I wallowed around the last turn in time to see #2 lady blow by #1 in the chute to win it.

Disappointed at the finish line. With Mark from Varsity Sports and Lauren, also a Varsity runner, who was 2nd.
I came in third, appalled at my 28:13 gun time (chip was 27:47, but gun time is recorded. And I need to start closer to the front). For the first time ever, I beat my little brother Abe! But he has not been running in months, to be fair. Varsity Sports women took first, second, and third in the race. Here we are by the stage:

Once I got over my grumpiness at how out of shape I am, I enjoyed the after party. Rain rolled in briefly, just enough to cool things down, and we waited for the awards ceremony. Overall winners got a glass aligator!
What the heck do I do with a glass aligator?

I'm glad I got back out to race, but I wasn't expecting to feel this out of shape. I'd be lying if I said I was happy with my finish. I'm not. But I need to remember that I was basically out for 6 months. It's going to take me that long to get back to my fitness pre-injury.


  1. First, great job on the race!

    Second, who can talk on the phone and run at the same time?? I can't even do that a 10min/mile pace.

    Third, that glass alligator is amazing. You need to put that as a centerpiece on your table and tell all guests how you got it.

  2. This is always one of my favorite races- and I think it's the toughest 4 miles in town! I also think that the downhill part can be very painful (it's hard on my shins!) so I'm glad to hear that this was pain-free for you!

  3. No pain is AWESOME and is the real victory here! Sorry you were disappointed...that's a sucky feeling. I bet your fitness comes back fast since you've stayed active through your injury.

  4. Congrats!!!! Most joyous, though, is the pain-free run. Woot woot! a friend of mine did the race there, too. He said it was brutal.

    So glad you are feeling better. The fitness will return shortly. No worries!

  5. Let's see...third overall and out of shape? Not too shabby! Congrats. And so happy you were pain free.

  6. I think you're being waaaaaaay too hard on yourself! It was a good race all things considered. Now, keep that leg healthy this week.

    Oh, one more thing ... Why would you ever ask "What the heck do I do with a glass alligator?" ... well, I have no idea ... but that thing is AWESOME!!!!!!

  7. I have been reading your blog for a while, and I don't think I've ever commented, but I'm coming out of the woodwork to say that a glass alligator is by far the most hilarious race prize I have ever seen. Congrats!

  8. Well, I think the glass alligator is super cute...but I agree, what the heck do you do with it? :)

    I can totally relate to being 'out of shape' and coming to face reality after a long lay-off due to an injury. But I promise, it gets better and you will get your speed back - patience!! Way to go on your first race back post-injury, I'm so glad to hear no pain!

  9. I like the glass alligator! It's fun and it's nice to get something different for a change! Great race! Number 3 is great!

  10. Agrees with Jim here....listen to us old folks...
    Loosing the fitness....well it sucks....
    I am in that place...
    I hate it..