Friday, May 24, 2013

Inside the absence of fear

This was my theme song for the day - Absence of Fear (Jewel).

You see, I've been afraid of the Coronado Bridge for nearly my entire life. Long story short, sometimes telling an 8 year old that the bridge was built in sections translates to the bridge was built to fall down. Yeah. Anyway, I signed up for this race a few months ago, and as the day approached I got more and more nervous. Like, I couldn't shut up about this run because if I just kept talking about it maybe it wouldn't be real. Or something.

Anyway, on race day I got up bright and early and headed to Coronado (over the dreaded bridge) to park and ride the shuttle to the start line (over the bridge.) As I drove over I did my normal "hold your breath and don't look anywhere but straight ahead" thing, though it's harder when you're the one driving (previously I had always been the passenger.) I easily found parking in the overflow lot and hopped on the first bus back to San Diego. I think the poor girl next to me on the bus thought I was going to puke on her or something when I took a big gulp of air and shut my eyes as we headed back over the bridge.

Before long, we were here:

And as the minutes went by my stomach was in knots. I texted my fiance "AAAAHHHHH WHAT AM I DOING?!?!" more than once. He provided the needed encouragement and perhaps a promise of a mimosa when I returned home. Mimosas are my motivator, people.

The first mile was through Barrio Logan, a part of town I don't venture to often (though my favorite coffee shop is there and it was really hard not to make a pit stop there) but really is quite lovely in the wee small hours of the morning. This was where the water stop was, as well as a Mariachi band and Folklorio dancers. They were awesome. Then, you turn the corner and up, up, up you go.
You can't really see how many people are ahead of me here, but trust me there were a ton of people. Basically, that entire bridge you see in front you me is covered in runners. That's what 10,000 people running looks like (well, I guess some of them were behind me, but you know what I mean.) This part here? Not even on the "real" bridge yet. Once we got there I started running like my life depended on it, so the rest of the photos are slightly blurry, but I'm posting them anyway. PROOF. 
This is a shot of one of the "breaks" they built into the bridge, aka my greatest fear.
These guys ran the entire way in full gear. 


I didn't stick around for any of the post race festivities because I was too busy crying. Yeah, most people cry after a marathon. I cry when I run/walk 4 miles over a bridge. Same difference. /sarcasm

I took this while waiting for traffic in front of me to clear. I wasn't actually moving or anything. Don't worry.
There were still hundreds (thousands?) of people on the bridge as I drove back across (breathing normally this time and looking around) I honked and cheered for them through my sunroof. That was fun, though I'm not sure the car in front of me appreciated all the honking. I think they had just finished the run too, though, so they probably got it. 

My time was not great. The distance was not far. It doesn't matter though because my fear was conquered.

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