Last December I was at the grocery store and I heard someone say, "Gwen, I've been hoping I'd see you!"
It was a friend's boyfriend. His name is Jim.
Jim had been losing weight after a health scare. He said he had a challenge for me. He wanted to race me across the Ocean City bridges. He would be walking the bridges once while he wanted me to run an equivalent amount of time.
I explained about my hamstring but said we would talk later.
I saw Jim again in March and he was beyond excited about the bridge challenge. I on the other hand was more worried than ever about my silly leg. Jim's infectious excitement made me realize come hell or high water I'd be racing Jim across those bridges.
Jim has been using a nutritionist at the hospital to lose weight. When I saw him in March it was the day before he found out he'd lost 100 pounds. The hospital did a big story on him and he told them about our race.
Jim and I decided on June 6th for our race not even realizing it was Global Running Day.
I kicked my butt to get ready for the race by combining Crossfit and intervals. Jim walked at the gym and even completed the bridge twice.
Jim was starting in Somers Point and I was to run from Ocean City to Somers Point and back. The goal was for the winner to claim the bench first.
We each had an official starter. My husband was with me and our friend Charlie was with Jim.
I was way more nervous than I should've been. Jim confirmed he was too.
At the word go I took off like a shot. The weather was perfect- 60 with little humidity. Up the first bridge and my calves were grumbling but my breathing was good. My husband had brought his bike and got some great shots.
Coming down the backside of the 1st bridge - a flying shot!
I just kept cruising along not really sure what pace I could manage. Mile 1 clicked in at an 8:42. Holy cow!
Mile 2 is flat at the beginning and then there's another bridge at the end. I got about 2/3 of the way across and stopped to ask my husband if he saw Jim. We finally saw him coming down the 2nd bridge (His 1st bridge). Jim admitted later when he wasn't further along when he saw me he got worried.
We high fived when we passed each other. Another friend tooted and cheered as she drove to the finish line so she could grab some pictures.
I cruised up to the top of the 2nd bridge still feeling strong. Mile 2 was an 8:40.
I bemoaned the fact that as soon as I hit the bottom I'd have to turn and immediately start climbing again.
Suck it up, butter cup! How lucky am I to be out running with a friend when nearly a year ago my running came to a screeching halt with a torn hamstring?
Up the bridge again. Climb, churn, go!
I crested the top and still felt fantastic. My husband would talk to me every now and then and I eventually had to wave him off. Every time I looked at him I would almost trip on the concrete curbing. I'm still favoring my left leg due to the injury. Not sure why because my left leg is almost as strong as my right.
Mile 3 was an 8:21. Hell yeah! The wind was at my back. One more bridge to climb!
My DH was keeping an eye on Jim and I'm still not sure if he was keeping an eye on me so I didn't win. I had to slow on the final bridge as Jim was only 6 light poles ahead.
Look at him! He was loving life!
I came flying down the final bridge just amazed because without Jim's prodding I would have never figured out how to train while still rehabbing. Mile 4 - 8:33.
Hell yeah, baby! Jim and I both set bridge PRs on Global Running Day! Both total winners! 37 minutes and change!
We are setting up another showdown for a 6 mile race. Stay tuned!