Yesterday I ran the Gate River Run for the first time. It is here in Jacksonville, and it is the USATF's 15K Championship. That meant there were some speedy people. However, I am not one of them. My goals for this race were pretty simple: finish in 1:30, run the dreaded Green Monster (a massive bridge that is at mile 8 of the race), and enjoy myself. I accomplished 2 of the 3. I did run the entire bridge which was a boost for me after failing to run the overpasses at the Princess Half Marathon. I did have some flashbacks when I started up the off ramp of the bridge. I thought for sure it would beat me, but I just looked at the feet in front of me and waited until I couldn't feel an incline anymore. From there, the rest of the race is downhill, literally, to the finish line. I did enjoy myself. There were so many people out cheering runners and giving away stuff. The course goes through neighborhoods, and the residents turned it into a huge block party. There was free beer, oranges, mimosas, popsicles, and breakfast food. There were a few houses that sprayed their hoses to cool off runners. It felt great since it warmed up quickly. There were bands along the course as well. There is nothing like listening to live music as you run. I did not finish in 1:30. I finished in 1:32:33. I was so close, but a water stop where water went up my nose and the bridge killed my pace at the end.
Near the finish line
The lovely medal
After I ran, it was Hannah's turn. They offer a free mile race to kids 13 and under. Hannah was so excited to run her race. It was all she could talk about that morning. After a lengthy delay, she was able to start. I tried to run with her, but she kept yelling at me to go wait with E at the finish line. I decided to duck behind people so I could keep an eye on her. I am glad I did because she missed the turnaround point and kept running straight. She must have been in the zone. There was no barricade to stop her, and the police officer blocking traffic didn't seem to care if she kept running. Luckily, I caught up with her pretty quickly and turned her around. She then yelled at me for running with her so I had to hide again behind people. She finished her mile in about 10 minutes. I was very proud of her for running the entire thing. When we have her run at home she always starts saying her feet hurt and she has to walk. After she crossed the finish line she was given a medal and a shirt. She wore the medal all day. She even wore it to the grocery store. I may have a little runner in the family.