Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Got Over It!

Charleston is home to this bridge:

photo credit: here
Every year, Charleston closes down this bridge for the annual Cooper River Bridge Run.  Its a 10K and attracts about 40,000 runners.  Far and away bigger than any other race I've ever run.

In order to fully understand this story, we need to rewind a few months.  I was deep in my half marathon training and talking with my roommate when the topic of the Bridge Run came up.  She said she was going to run it and I quickly followed suit, never being one to be outdone.  

Flash forward to January when two important things happened.  First, we got our syllabus for the spring semester and had a MAJOR paper due the day before the run.  Second, I tried to run the bridge.  The bridge has a bike/walking path that's open for people to use on a daily basis.  One beautiful January afternoon in Charleston, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and give that bridge the good old college try.  Not only would it help me with my half marathon training, but it would also help me get ready for the bridge run.

So off I go.  I drive over, park, pay for parking, and head for the bridge trail.  I continued onward (and upward) for about three minutes before panic set it...FEAR OF HEIGHTS!!!!  I was suddenly overcome with an overwhelming fear that I was going to lose my key, it would fall into the Cooper River and I would be stuck in Mt. Pleasant FOREVER.  I was worried that a car would fly over the guardrail and hit me.  I was afraid to run next to edge of the bridge for fear that it would suddenly collapse and I'd fall into the river.  I couldn't stand to be near the edge, so I ran in the bike lane which only made me afraid that I'd get hit by a bike, thrown onto the main road, where I'd quickly be hit by oncoming traffic.

Still, I was determined.  Onward, upward.  Constantly checking my watch.  Frantically trying not to hyperventilate.  I made it about two more minutes before I could FEEL THE CARS whizzing by and all paranoia and fear took over and forced me to turn back where I pledged I'd never run the bridge again.

Ok, so fast forward to April 1.  I'd just handed in the biggest paper of my academic career.  My nerves were shot and I hadn't been soundly sleeping like I usually do.  Needless to say I crashed into bed only to be awoken too soon thereafter for the damned bridge run.  It took about everything in me to wake up, get dressed and get to the starting line.  

Honestly, this was not the most fun race I'd ever run.  I felt queasy when I woke up in the morning.  My legs felt like lead.  But I kept them moving, one foot in front of the other.  Over the bridge.  Up and up and up.  I didn't look to the left or to the right and wound up taking pictures like this during the run:

But still I made it over.  It took me longer than I thought, but I finished the race.  I can't say that I'm proud of my time, but a lot of factors affect that.  But I can say that I'm proud that I faced my fear and made it over the bridge.  There's always next year to set a PR...

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