Happy Hump Day, y’all! I usually don’t like to rush through my days because that’s basically wishing your life away. But the week after the time change, I’m really just ready for it to be done. Our pediatrician says it takes about two weeks to properly acclimate to any time change (he usually tells me this before we travel out west), and I totally believe it. The kids have a whacked out schedule, I’m exhausted because I think I’m adjusted and stay up late when I’m really not, and I’m frankly just ready to have my head screwed on right again. Suffice it to say, I’m wishing for this week to be over.
But, before it’s over, I’ve still got lots to tell you this week! And today, I’m going to tell you about the first race I’ve officially DNSed. As you may recall, I was planning on running the Bridge2Bridge Half Marathon in Ashtabula, Ohio with a few gal pals. Unfortunately, I ended up injured and sidelined, so running was out of the question. I was given the opportunity to ride the course, which I was very thankful for. Here’s how things went:
Two nights before the race I decided I should map where I was going so I would be able to see my friends through the race and hopefully get some nice race day photos for them. While I was mapping the course via Google street view (yes, totally legit…), I realized the course was on a busy thoroughfare. You can’t tell much from street view but it did seem like there was a lot of vehicular traffic. Normally this wouldn’t pose a problem but to say I’m not confident in my cycling skills would be to put it mildly. I decided I would make a final call on race morning whether I would cycle the course or not, but I wasn’t too confident that I would.
Race morning came and it was nice and chilly. Looking at the weather the evening before, it was calling for rain. I decided I would not ride if it were raining. Unfamiliar roads, unfamiliar terrain and course, and rain? Bad combo for an inexperienced rider. However, the rain never came, which was wonderful. Julie and I drove up to Ashtabula and got a nice hour of chit chat and catch up time. We picked up her bib and shirt, used the restrooms in the library, and headed out to the starting line. I moved my car (twice… more on that later) and got my bike out, and met up with her, Sara, and another friend, Leighanna, before it was time to go. I also briefly met someone from Instagram, as well as seeing my friend Bryan who I didn’t know would be there. It was a nice surprise!
Bridge2Bridge was a very small race, which was nice. What was not so nice about it being such a small race is that the course was open — meaning not closed to traffic at all. Upon hearing that, I made my decision not to ride the course. I would ride up and down the main drag near the finish line and in the cute little downtown area, but I wasn’t going to venture farther than that.
After the runners started, I made my way to the street corner just before the 2-mile mark. I saw all my friends, and then even got a nice hello from another Instagrammer who I’ve never even met before but recognized her face. (See? This is why the small races are awesome.) I chatted with a nice woman who had three runners in the race. She was from Conneaut, which is just a bit farther east than Ashtabula. She was a very nice lady and even told me she just found out her daughter-in-law was expecting her first child! She voiced her concern about her daughter-in-law continuing to run. I assured her she would be okay.
|Instagram friend! Don’t know her real name!|
|Leighanna and Sara!|
After the runners passed, I decided I needed to find the porta-potties. I drank a significant amount of coffee on the drive to Ashtabula and it was now making itself known… I rode my bike back up to the library. Lights off. I rode down to the finish line. No potties! I was a little panicked at this point. I stuck around the main street riding up and down, deciding what to do. I had no bike lock. I had no bathroom. I was in a bit of a pickle. The shops weren’t open yet. I rode down to one of the bridges and took some photos and pondered what to do.
I spied what appeared to be a bar with their lights on, but the idea of going into a bar in a strange town at 9:00 am — alone — didn’t seem like such a great idea. I just couldn’t believe there weren’t any porta-johns at the finish area. What were the runners going to do?!
After I pedaled up and down the street a few times, I saw some race officials I recognized from other races go into a shop. A coffee shop!!! Yes! Of course! But I still had no bike lock… hmmm… I decided to take a risk and propped my bike up against a bench. I dodged in, found the restroom (sweet relief!), and to make my presence legit, I ordered a muffin before I left. My bike remained untouched. Phew. Bullet? Dodged.
I sat outside in the cold, eating my muffin, realizing I still had an hour before my runners would even be finished with their race. I headed to the finish area to see if I could find my buddy, Geoff, but he was nowhere to be found. I rode back up to my car and decided to move it closer to the finish. I parked just outside of the coffee shop and did some web surfing. I somehow killed a 2-hour block of time with doing absolutely nothing.
When I saw runners coming in, I hopped out of my car and made my way over to the 13-mile marker and anxiously awaited my friends’ arrivals! First I saw Bryan. He’s a speedster. Then came Julie where I walked to greet her at the official finish line. A little while later we made our way back to the road to see Sara and Leighanna finish.
|Bryan coming in with a PR!|
Overall I had a very nice time at Bridge2Bridge. I can’t speak to the course because I wasn’t out on it, but it was a cute little town area, and very close to the beach. The post-race food looked tasty — chicken pot pie! — and the medals and awards were great. The one thing I would like to see for this race in the future is the addition of porta-potties and perhaps a closed course. I think the open course made a lot of runners nervous, and I can’t imagine having run a race with no viable bathroom option available — before or after. My friends had a fun time, and the atmosphere was great!
Shout out to Dan, Stacy, and Geoff who helped facilitate this opportunity for me to be out on the course to see Bridge2Bridge in action!
Tell me about your favorite small race! Have you ever run an open course race before?