This morning I ran the Toughest 10K in Houston. That’s the name of the race, and it’s probably a pretty accurate moniker since the course involves climbing up the Kemah Bridge a total of FOUR times. I can’t find anything definitive about how high the bridge is — one place said 80 feet, another said 140 feet — but suffice it to say it’s tall, and the entire climb is less than half a mile so it’s pretty steep.
The morning started before the race, though, when I met two women from my tri club. They had parked in Seabrook and run over to the start line (which involved one trip up the bridge) to meet me. We ran 2 miles together, which finished their run for the day and got mine started, since I wanted a total of 8 miles this morning. (One of them is coming back from a hamstring injury and didn’t want to run the bridge 4 times, so they left in a car they had pre-parked in Kemah and cheered for me as they drove past me on the bridge!)
The race went well and was surprisingly fun, even if it was tough. Since I was treating it as part of my long run, I didn’t feel any pressure to push myself too hard. Instead, I just tried to keep things easy. I hadn’t even begun my second bridge climb when the race leaders went past me for their FINAL climb. Sheesh.
For the most part, I did a 5/1 run/walk. I took the walk breaks when they occurred on the climbs, but other than that I ran the whole freaking bridge — all four times! (I won’t mention the fact that my “run” on those climbs wasn’t much faster than a few people next to me who were walking. Oops, I mentioned it.) But I skipped the walk breaks then they occurred on the descent, since I didn’t really need them running downhill.
I didn’t catch my exact finishing time, but it was 1:15:something for a just over 12:00 pace. Not bad at all for an easy run with all those bridge climbs. The weather wasn’t too awful either. It was very windy on the bridge itself, enough that my visor almost blew off my head a couple times. But while the humidity was high — I was soaked after my first 2 miles “warm up” — the sky stayed overcast which left the temperatures lower.
All in all, it was a challenging and fun morning!