On Saturday, August 13, 2011 I ran my first repeat race. A year ago I ran the Bridge of Flowers 10K in Shelburne Falls, MA. I knew that I would run it again this year. It’s a great race in a beautiful location with a fabulous after race event. The spectator support is incredible along the way. The event runs like a well oiled machine thanks to the dedicated volunteers and sponsors.
We were up at 6 and the sun was too! I began race day as I always do, with a piece of peanut butter and banana toast. We were out the door by 7:15. I love having my guys with me on race day.
We parked in the free parking area at the elementary school. I walked a block to pick up my race packet while Orlando stayed with Carlos at the school playground. I returned to the parking area to pin my number on and take some pre-race photos.
And just like that it was time to join the other runners on the Iron Bridge. The start of this race is divided into men on the right and women on the left, but no one seems to really enforce it too much. I did join the ladies on the left. Before I knew it the National Anthem was sung and we were off. I always have little butterflies as I start a race, and this one was no exception. I took off at a steady pace, not too fast, not too slow. The spectators were cheering loudly. The first two miles take you through the town and back over the Iron Bridge. Just after mile two is “the hill.” It is a half mile of increasingly steep incline that doesn’t seem to end until all of a sudden you are met with a dirt road that flattens out and then gives way to some much needed declines. If you really must know it is actually a small mountain. I tried to run it but came to a crushing halt up the first ascent. I walked it along with everyone else around me.
The race finishes just over the Iron Bridge where it all started. For the last 3 miles I kept seeing the same woman in gray shorts. We were often neck and neck or one of us was just slightly ahead of the other. After mile 4 I didn’t see her for a bit. I thought she had passed me. She was in fabulous shape. I envied her long lean legs imagining how much swifter I might move if they were on me. Then I realized that I wasn’t doing too bad with my own legs. Around mile 5 she surpassed me. Spurred on by friendly competition and the motivation to beat my last year’s time, I sped up a bit. Again we took turns passing each other. As we entered the bridge for the last time she was coming up on my heels. I began sprinting as the time clock came into view. The lady in the gray shorts and I crossed the finish line at exactly the same time. As soon as I caught my breath I approached her. We shook hands and congratulated each other. I appreciated the push at the end. Thanks Gail!
So how did I do? I did great. I finished in 1:04:16. Last year’s finish was 1:07:36. It was a great improvement in my opinion. My only goal was to finish a second or more under last year’s time. I did that and more. The hill really slowed me down. Even though I train on hills this one was clearly no match for my training. My husband did manage to take a pretty bad ass photo of me as I neared the finish line.