Sunday, November 9, 2014

We Beat the Bridge!

Today 20,000 runners #BeatTheBridge in the inaugural Across the Bay 10k. I joined in the adventure with a group from Reston Runners that is affectionately known as the BFFs - Best Foot Forward. We had a blast! I hope I can do the day justice in my post.

the bridge at dawn
photo courtesy of Shannon D

Packet Pickup
There was no race day packet pickup, so bibs had to be picked up Friday or Annapolis. Lynn, Susan, and Andrea graciously agreed to trek to Annapolis and pick up our packets for us. I think they picked up 15 packets. Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! We appreciate you!

Andrea and Susan with packets & shirts in hand
photo courtesy of Susan

Laying Out My Gear
I spent a good chunk of time Saturday evening laying out my clothes and gear. In addition to the typical race outfit, I was also planning for the bus trip to Annapolis and back. What additional food and clothes would I need (for me, and to share)? Did I have the backup battery for my phone and was it charged? Sunscreen & lipbalm? Emergency needs in my hydration belt like band-aids, Advil, Imodium, salt capsules, etc.? I wanted to be prepared for whatever the crew might need.

clothes & race gear
(PJs were to stay warm pre-race)

The Morning Meet-up
We met at Reston Town Center at 6 am where a school bus was set to pick us up and drive us to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. A huge thank you to Vee for coordinating the school bus!! It was early but we were enthusiastic!

Maria, Norma, Andrea, Laurie, Vee,
Pat, Amy N, me, Ann, Molly, Lynn, Susan
(not pictured, Manfred, our sole male & gracious photographer)

Molly and I - both afraid of bridges - practice crawling

Failed "stuff" picture that highlights
Andrea's Nike Shield Flash reflective jacket
Be Safe & Be Seen!

Successful "stuff" picture

Boarding the school bus!

The Bus Ride
The bus ride was really fun. We were chattering and excited and I honestly felt like a kid. Amy B brought "save the bay" crab tattoos and we applied them on the bus. It was super bumpy and my fitbit thought I was climbing up stairs. I know I should override the activity to say I was driving but I'm pretty excited to have a 300-flights badge. We reached some traffic near the armory but our savvy bus driver Troy knew some back roads and managed to avoid most of it. Hooray for Troy!

Norma's tattoo are easily tricked by the bumpy bus

The Armory
At the armory we took a potty break before getting in line for the shuttle buses. The restroom lines were short and moved quickly. It was also a good place to take some pictures and I ran into a couple of my running buddies while we were there.

Lynn, me, Molly, Laurie, Amy N, Amy B, Pat, Norma, Maria, Susan

I ran into my training partner Karen

Becca from Moms Run This Town Vienna/Oakton
recognized me by my PJs since I had posted a pic
of my race clothes and gear on the MRTT page

Norma, Lynn, Andrea, Amy N
photo courtesy of Andrea

Amy B, Molly, Ann
photo courtesy of Amy B

Runners boarding shuttles to the race

The Race - Part I
The shuttles took us to Runners' Village at Northrop Grumman. We made a porta-potty stop and then lined up for the race. Waves weren't marked or being enforced; people were simply lining up when they arrived and the flow seemed to work well. We were planning to run with wave 9 at 9:15 but we started at 9:00 which was technically wave 8. 

Susan, Lynn, & me in the corral.
note green bins behind us for recyclables!
photo courtesy of Susan

The first half mile or so was an approach to the bridge. You could see the bridge and it was both inspiring and intimidating. When we actually reached it and started to run on it, it was kind of exhilarating! The first stretch was a steady uphill climb. It was challenging! We started to split into different pace groups. I was running with Molly, Susan, and Lynn, with Laurie and Norma just a bit ahead of us. We were doing 4:2 run:walk intervals and enjoying the view immensely. We kept saying things like, "This is so awesome!!" and "I can't believe we are doing this!!"

Approaching the bridge at the race start
Molly, Norma, me, Susan, Laurie, Ann, Amy B
photo courtesy of Maria

the bridge before us...
photo courtesy of Maria

We are running on the bridge!
photo courtesy of Susan

Molly & me...preparing to conquer our bridge fears!
photo courtesy of Susan

Lynn, Susan, Molly, me, & Laurie
It was so warm I was in my tank top at this point!
The Running Weatherman's forecast was right on target.
photo courtesy of Lynn

It is important to stop in the span & document the moment
Lynn, me, Laurie, Susan, Molly
photo & caption courtesy of Susan

The Race - Part II
As we approached mile 2.5, Lynn felt a pop in her calf. We stopped to assess the situation, and received help from a policeman and an ER nurse who just happened to be running by. The ER nurse had Lynn lie on her back and determined that it wasn't her achilles. The policeman offered to call for medical assistance if we needed it. Lynn said she wanted to continue so we took it easy and forged ahead.

Lynn has some honey stinger chews & regroups

Our Florence Nightingale in white shirt - thank you!!

After another half mile we decided that getting some medical help to wrap Lynn's calf would be a good idea. So we stopped at the next policeman and he called for the medic. There seemed to be some confusion about our location and the medic never showed up. We finally decided to leave after 15 minutes that felt like an eternity. We were grateful it wasn't a life-threatening medical emergency, given the lack of medical response.

When we were standing still and waiting for the medic it was amazing how much the bridge was shaking. When you were running - or even walking - you couldn't feel it shaking at all. But when you were standing still, it was a whole different story, and it was a little bit unsettling! 

Lynn and policeman #2

me, Susan, Lynn waiting on the no-show medic
(with Molly, who took the photo)
Ironically, this is one of my favorite photos of the day!
And Molly & I totally kicked our bridge fears up there!!

We continued at a slow pace. We reached the porta-potties and water at mile 5 (there had been a stop at mile 2 as well). It was amazing to see porta-potties on the bridge, and the water system was impressive. It was a cupless race and there were long pipes with faucets that you could point up to drink from or down to fill up your own water container. We paused to refresh ourselves. Then we started running again and found ourselves at the end of the bridge and on dry land! We located a medic tent and had Lynn's calf wrapped so we could finish our last mile.

Compression, at last!

The last mile of the race was decidedly unscenic. We ran past Elvis and then the four of us triumphantly crossed the finish line together. Finish line video of the four of us is here (Elvis is just behind the finish line when the video ends...and big props to the race organizers for giving us free finish line videos)!


The post race area was incredibly efficient. We got medals (why do they have a notch?!), heat sheets, water, and bags of food. Yes, I said bags of food! Some of you know I have a pet peeve with being a back-of-the-packer who doesn't always get race food when I am done. Here we were, WAY in the back of the pack, and we got full bags of food (Burry's bagel, Nature Valley oats & honey granola bar, Snyder's pretzels). Kudos to the race organizers for having enough food!

We met up with the rest of our crew in the meet-up area and enjoyed the kettle corn Manfred had purchased (yum!). Lynn and Laurie went off to buy "I beat the bridge shirts".  We listened to a live band and enjoyed the considerable party going on around us before heading back to the shuttles.

Ann & Amy B at the finish line
photo courtesy of Amy B

Norma and Laurie enjoy hard-earned beers
photo courtesy of Amy N

Reston Runners group finish picture
photo courtesy of Amy N

Lynn, who truly beat the bridge!

The Ride Back to Reston
I was amazed with how organized the shuttles were. We easily found the one going back to the armory (there were five shuttle destinations) and had very little wait to board a shuttle. At the armory we got back on our own school bus and broke out the bubbly and treats! 

We truly had a feast on the bus - bloody marys, mimosas, homemade braided bread (one with ham & peppers and one with pepperoni, cheese, & tomato sauce), pumpkin cheesecake treats, banana bread, mini quiches, and so much more that I am forgetting. And of course there were also plates, cups, napkins, etc. because we are one super-prepared group! I believe Manfred said it was one of the best Reston Runners trips he had ever been on...

Cheers, Andrea!

A Serendipitous Diagnosis
When we got back to Reston we unloaded the bus and headed back to our cars. Lynn and I walked over to Potomac River Running so we could confer with Coach Shannon and get Lynn some compression socks and Nuun. As if by divine intervention, Dr. Robin West, an orthopedic surgeon and the medical director of the Inova Sports Medicine Institute just happened to be shopping in the store and heard us talking to Shannon. Dr. West took Lynn back to the dressing room and examined her calf. The good news - it is just a strain. Lynn will need to rest it and I know she will. She has her eye on Cherry Blossom in the spring and she won't want to jeopardize her big goal! 

Dr. West examines Lynn

Although the day didn't go quite the way we had planned, it was so much fun and definitely a grand adventure for all. And I have to give a shout-out to the race organizers - logistics were impressive, smooth, and virtually flawless (save for the no-show medic...). Truly impressive for an inaugural race. We will be back to beat the bridge again next year! 

Mission Accomplished!


The mystery of the notch in the medal has been solved! Race organizers released the following picture two days after the race...extra incentive to run this race every year!

Source: 10k Across the Bay Facebook Page


  1. GREAT report. Not just great -- better than that. Pictures, drama (yay Lynn for beating the bridge), and BOOZE/FOOD! The bus thing is ingenious. Just brilliant.

    1. You are going to make me start believing my own hype ;)

  2. Great recap! It looks like you had a fun group that you were with (mimosas on the bus - love it!)

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I'm eagerly anticipating your recap of the race :)

    2. Here is Jennifer's recap - it's a great read!

    3. This race is now on my DC race bucket list. I try to schedule my annual DC trip around a race and I had not heard about this one yet. I look forward to seeing more posts from you since you are one of the blogs I follow.


    4. It's definitely worth it Bree - it would make a fun trip. I follow your blog, too (by RSS feed so you may not know that I follow you). I loved your latest post on the Indianapolis Monumental Half and find the race medal series intriguing. I wonder if that is the plan for the Across the Bay 10k medals - that unexplained notch in the medal could make a puzzle piece that connects with future medals...

  3. Great race report, Kim! This race was completely off of my radar until just a few days before it ran. It might even have been you that brought it to my attention originally. It sounds like a race I would love to run!

    It sounds like you guys (Reston Runners) know how to have fun before and after a race! Glad your friends calf wasn't more seriously injured.

    1. Thanks Deb! It was off my radar, too. I lucked into hearing about it through Reston Runners. You would definitely enjoy this one. Hope you can run it next year! Lynn is doing pretty well, resting for a few weeks and then she should be good to go again :)