Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Made My Acrophobic Hubby Walk over the Bridge of Lions - Bridge of Lions 5k

I saw a post on Facebook last year of a local NewsRadio guy completing this race and it looked interesting.  Plus – I hate to say – if he could do it, I could certainly do it!  It’s a small 5k, in St. Augustine.  Signing up for ANY race in the middle of July is a death wish, but I thought it would be fun. Plus, it had a medal!

So, hubby and I (the Kiddo stayed home for this one) left home around 4am and (after a stop at the local convenience store for some caffeine) drove to St. Augustine. As usual, it was a pretty boring drive, but we got there pretty early, so that was good.  

I LOVE that Circle K uses styrofoam cups - it DOES stay colder longer, but more importantly, no sweat!
 I hit up the potties, then went over to packet pickup. 

A Shelf (which I'll never trust again) and some Hand Sanitizer inside the Pottie
A bag hook (better than a shelf) inside the Pottie
 The line was pretty short, so I was able to get my bag pretty quickly. 

Packet Pickup - maybe 10 people in line at 6:30am
Tee (it's one of those cotton but tech type of shirts)
Very empty starting line with the Fort and the bay in the background
I came back to the car to chill for a bit, since the race didn’t start for another hour. Generally, when I’m at a race with Hubby, I don’t wander nearly as much. He doesn’t like races, he hates runners, and he only comes to cheer me on.  We just sat and people-watched from the car. 
At around 7:30, I made my way to the start line and Hubby went to the other end of the start line. The crowd was bigger than I expected, so there was a pretty good chance I wouldn’t be anywhere near last, which is always a plus. 

The Start Line is in the center of the frame, above the grey tank girl's head
Lots of people behind me
Check it out, it's Betty!
This course was a point-to-point course, rather than a loop or an out-and-back. For non-runners, this means you start at Point A (Castillo de San Marcos) and run to Point B (the park we finished in).  Most races start and finish in generally the same place, so this was new for me. I’d spent some time looking over the map so I knew what to expect, and never thought to show it to Hubby! 

At 8am, we took off, and we went down the main drag of St. Augustine, right in front of the water, before turning and crossing the Bridge of Lions (hence the Bridge of Lions 5k).  

Not the best photo, but I'm behind #697
Ascending the Bridge of Lions (headed towards St. Augustine Beach)
Once all the runners left, the spectators who wished to see their family finish ALSO had to cross the bridge. Hubby is afraid of heights and bridges. He had to cross a bridge to see me finish. Sad to say, I didn’t take that into consideration when signing up for the race, but since it was a 5k, I didn’t think he was going to come. So, in a purely illogical, logical way – it’s his own fault.

Anyway, after crossing the bridge, all the runners divert into the neighborhood nearby. The finish line was a straight shot from the bridge, according to the map. Well, Hubby asked a few people where the finish line was, and some dude with a camera offered to take him there, saying “I’m walking that way, too!” So, you would think that would be a smart idea, right? Wrong.  We still don’t know where that guy was ACTUALLY going, but it wasn’t the finish line. Hubby ended up ON the course somehow!

Almost to Mile 1
Right after Mile 1 (and a direly-needed water stop), I saw a familiar ponytail up near a barricade.  He was talking to one of the policemen, trying to figure out where he needed to go to find the finish line!

He doesn't look like a runner!
I said something snarky (can’t remember what) and kept on. 

The houses in this neighborhood are gorgeous, and soon we were running near the bay. 

Gotta wonder the cost of this house, it's GORGEOUS!
Running along the bay
Before we got to Mile 2, there was a second water stop, and it was within steps of the finish line. I hate when races go by the finish line… It’s discouraging to hear everyone already finishing and partying (and LEAVING) while my fat ass still has a mile (or whatever) to trudge.  Hubby got a fun photo of my watering myself though.

It's so humid, doing this doesn't help very much
You can't tell, but EVERYTHING is soaked with sweat
After passing Mile 2, the neighborhood was more old school, with some apartment buildings thrown in. They reminded me of the neighborhood I grew up in. 

Mile 2! Only 1 to go

Finally, though, I finished with an official time of 49:36.  Still haven’t beaten my PR time, but with a pace time of under 15 minutes, I can be happy.

I finished, and I wasn't last. It's all I ever ask for.
You can view the official finish line video here – I come in around 35 minutes. 

I finished 66th out of 75 in my age group and beat 100 people, coming in 1014 out of 1104! The final finisher came in at 1:05:15.

I received my medal and the best prize of all – a Ziploc bag of ice!  I shoved it in my bra, so it could be as close to my chest as possible, then went to find hubby.  He told me all about his adventure and getting lost, as well as how he was so proud to have crossed the bridge.

No, that's not a nipple, it's an earbud... Pervert.

We made our way back to the bridge and snapped a pic on the St. Augustine Beach side of the bridge. Then, after a slow crossing, took a snap on the Historic side of the bridge.

The finish line was a few 100 yards behind me
Historic Lion
The Bridge of Lions

We headed back to the car (which we’d been able to park for free that morning) and dropped in a few bucks to get a parking voucher, then walked over to the Visitor’s Center so I could change my clothes.

After changing, we had planned on wandering around Historic Old St. Augustine, but so many places didn’t even open until 11!  So, most of the time, we were just walking past closed shops. We were able to get some fudge and candy at Savannah Sweets to take home, but after that we just gave up. We walked back to the car, ended up at Sonic for lunch, then just drove home.

Location: St Augustine FL
Host: (Who put on the race) RaceSmith, Inc
Race Fee: $25 + $2.50 Fee
Packet Pickup: One table, maybe 5 people?  I got there early, so not a hassle
Parking: FREE parking at Castillo de San Marcos before 10am (must pay after that)
Support: (on-course)Two water stops, no food or sports drink
After Party: A few tents, baggies of ice, we didn't stay