Getting some speed back above water at the Across the Bay 10K

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I didn’t take too many pictures during today’s 10K Across the Bay, but I snapped a few while I ran. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

It’s always fun to have the opportunity to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on foot, and I had a great time doing just that this morning at the Across the Bay 10K.

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Here I am with my stress asparagus from the John Hancock tent. (Veronica James photo)

The unique course makes this race hard to pass up for me. The course includes all of the eastbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the western shore to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which is about 4.35 miles. The remaining distance of a 10K is added to make the course a total of 6.2 miles, with the race ending in Stevensville/Kent Island for a post-race party.

I didn’t have a distinct goal for this race, but as I was running today, Nov. 6, I came up with a few ideas, which included trying to get under 55 minutes and trying to run an average pace under 9:00 for the race. I ended up with a final time of 55:45, which I am happy with. It was an 8:59 pace and while not my fastest 10K, it was my fastest this year.

Race weekend started late Saturday morning when I went to pick up my friend Veronica for our trip to the race expo at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. We got our bibs and shirts at the expo and walked around to the different booths, shopping and getting some free items. I bought a Charm City Run shirt that had the word “RUN” written on the back with the letters as part of a bridge with water in the bottom of the “U” along with a Maryland/RUN headband that I wore for the race and would also like to wear for my race in Louisiana.

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Here’s my bib along with the aforementioned asparagus. It just seemed so random, and I liked it! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I didn’t hear back on any of the raffles I entered, but I did get a scratch off ticket (but did not win money from it), a stress asparagus — see photo(s) — a water bottle and some bags. I also really like the race shirt.

We stayed in Kent Island, close to the parking lot that we had a pass for, and after getting up early, we got on the bus without any hassle to head over to the west side of the bridge for the point-to-point race. I knew it wasn’t going to be cold, so I wore my short-sleeved Eastern Shore Running Club shirt and shorts. I did get cold waiting for the start, so it might have been helpful to have brought a throwaway shirt, but once I started running, I was fine.

When we arrived, there were tons of portable toilets — something runners can appreciate — and it appeared we were the first to use them — also something runners can appreciate.

I decided not to bring my handheld water bottle, but I did end up stopping at the first water stop and got a drink out of a portable water fountain. Once I was running, it actually felt kind of hot. It wasn’t like summer heat, of course, but I definitely wasn’t cold.

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Here I am before the start of the Across the Bay 10K in my new headband and Eastern Shore Running Club shirt. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I felt the incline up the bridge more than I remembered feeling it in previous years. Mile 2, which felt mostly uphill, was my slowest mile, at 9:42. After I saw that time, I decided I needed to pick it up on the downhill, which I did. I logged Mile 3 at 9:07, even despite the water break, and then ran my fastest mile of the race, Mile 4, in 8:31.

While I was at the water fountain, I heard someone say, “She Runs by the Seashore!” I thought it was awesome to be recognized and my Twitter friend introduced himself at the end of the race when we saw each other again.

As I mentioned above, I wanted to see how fast I could go, so I tried to finish strong, and I feel like I did. It was a faster time than last year’s bridge race, although slower than the first year I ran it, the inaugural Across the Bay 10K. My time today also beat my time at September’s Mike Sterling Crab Derby 10K, 56:35, and April’s Run for the Animals 10K, 58:50.

I was also happy to see I did negative splits for the race, running the first 5K in 28:46. My first 5K was a 9:16 pace, and my second 5K was an 8:42 pace, according to the results. I’m sure the downhill helped with that.

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Here I am after the race with my newly-earned medal. (Veronica James photo)

While I knew I had absolutely no chance of placing in my age group in this race because of the massive size of the event, which is perfectly fine, I’m actually happy to see I placed 141st out of 1,398 in the female 25-29 age group — within the Top 11 percent.

We did not get much food included with the race entry — a couple snacks that I didn’t eat — but there were vendors set up and along with water, I had some fries and a lemonade. (Thanks, Paul!) There was also live music at the after-party.

Veronica and I found each other easily after I finished and we also found my mom and stepdad after my mom ran the race. I also met up with a high school friend, Colleen, and saw a few other friends from the time I arrived at the start of the race to the after-party. However, it got crowded and I didn’t see plenty of people I know who were there. I did get to see some people, who were running as Athletes Serving Athletes wingmen, on the course.

There were not mylar blankets post-race this year, but it was pretty awesome that my mom and stepdad had an extra sweatshirt I could wear.

Using the marathon training plan I’m loosely following, I was supposed to do a 14-miler this weekend. I didn’t get up early enough or have the motivation to run the miles on Saturday, so I figured I could run some more miles after getting home.

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Here I am with my mom after we finished the Across the Bay 10K. (Paul Renda photo)

I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried to run more after a race, but I definitely didn’t feel great doing this. I’m not sure if it was the burger and fries I had for lunch (it was in Kent Island, so by the time I started running, I had more than two hours to digest) or the large iced coffee I drank or the fact that I’d already pushed myself, but I felt kind of sick. I ended up getting in 4.8 slow miles, including some walking and a bathroom break, to bring my total to 11 for the day.

I definitely enjoyed returning to the Across the Bay 10K for year three and I added to my medal puzzle! I’m planning to return next year — gotta continue the puzzle, right?!

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Of course, I had to check out how my 2014, 2015 and 2016 medals fit together! (Vanessa Junkin photo) 

Splits:

Mile 1: 8:53

Mile 2: 9:42

Mile 3: 9:07

Mile 4: 8:31

Mile 5: 8:55

Mile 6: 8:50

Last part (my watch had .23): 1:48

Total: 55:47 on watch / 55:45 on website

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