Ever since I started running 7 years ago I always said that if they ever closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge not far from where I live for a race, I would run it in a heartbeat.
A year or so ago I heard of a half-marathon trying to get organized over the bridge. Unfortunately it didn't pan out. A few months later I heard of a 10K being organized there. I investigated as well as I could and after determining that it was legitimate and likely to actually be run, I plunked my money down quickly to reserve my spot in this race. Then the training began.
I ran a half-marathon 2 years ago. That's 13.1 miles so 6.2 should be no problem except that for all of 2016 and 2017 I had only rarely run more than 5 miles at a time. It wasn't until August 2017 that I determined to get back to what I'd been running before. I started out by running for 2 minutes and walking for 10 minutes for just 3.1 miles. I gradually decreased the time to 2 minutes running and 9 minutes walking, then 8 minutes, and so on while increasing the distance to at least 6.2 miles. After I signed up for this race I had to put that plan into overdrive to get to where I'd be running the entire race. This morning I got to the point where I ran for 2 minutes and walked for 1-1/2. I plan to be running the entire thing on race day, except that I may have to walk some of the uphill portion.
Now, about that uphill portion. The Skyway bridge is a total of 5.5 miles so this 6.2-mile race will start and end at rest areas on the south and north ends. The bridge starts out flat over Tampa Bay then about 2 miles in it starts to incline and goes up for a full mile!
There is a little bit of flatness at the top
and then the downhill part is also a full mile
and then it goes back to flat. The views of God's creation of sky and sea are awesome all along the bridge, but unbelievable at the top!
I like to prepare for my races by running on the course, but that was impossible for this one. No pedestrians are allowed on the bridge, so I was driving to the next highest bridge I could find in the area and running that. It's nowhere near the height or length of the Skyway but it was the best I could do.
Two months ago I bought a membership at a gym to use their treadmills to simulate the bridge. That's great for the uphill, but these treadmills don't simulate downhill. One time I turned around and walked backward on it while it was in the highest position but that didn't work the same muscles as actual downhill running. Oh well. I'm doing the best I can.
Now we're less than 2 weeks out from the actual race and I'm getting excited! I know I've prepared as well as circumstances have allowed and even though it's my desire to run the entire race, if I have to walk some (especially the uphill portion), there will be no shame.
As in all of my races and even in my training runs, my desire is to glorify God no matter what. If I run the entire thing, God gets the glory! If I have to walk some of it, God gets the glory! If I end up getting injured (please no!) and can't complete it, God still gets the glory for what I accomplish, how I handle the circumstance, and my training leading up to it.
I'll post an update after the race, so be looking for it!