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Photos and the story of my bridge walk

Monday, May 17, 2010

My 16 year old stood me up and refused to get out of bed, so I went alone. After months of training for this, I was just furious that he would not come with me. He said he was too tired and his stomach hurt. Here is that moment. He was able to struggle out of bed to take my picture.



What’s more important is that you are looking at an XL T-shirt. It may be tight, but it is the first shirt I’ve had below a 2XL in years. WooHoo!

I took the city bus to about a half mile away from the Start. I had a really good view of the Start from across the street. Notice the huge brick of people on this small bridge.



When I got over there I thought I would have to check in, so I wandered around for a bit until someone told me to just start. My time was 8:27, and the race had started at 8.

As I passed the “Runner’s Start Here”, I realized that the annoying engine noise I could hear behind me was actually the closing vehicle following me. I was starting the race in last place!

For most of the walk, I was listening to the clean up folks behind me removing barricades etc, and it was really flustering me. This ended up making me walk faster than I should have for the first mile. Here’s the small bridge again, now with almost no one on it.



I felt really worried that I would not make it, so I tried to stay at my pace. As some stragglers came along, the car dropped back, so I felt better when I couldn’t hear it. My dumb, cheap ($10 at Target!) mp3 player only has two volumes, and the “loud” setting was not enough to drown this distraction out. I thought if I felt bad I would just drop out at the entrance to the bridge when I got to it, but I just kept going. This is under the bridge.




The entrance ramp is the steepest spot, and I knew it would be difficult to get up it.




Here's a nice view of the bridge from the ramp.




I did better than I thought, and then there was a short flat area where I walked slowly to catch my breath.

All of a sudden, a Trolley was beside me with the driver saying, “Do you want a ride? You don’t have to do this.” For the second time in the day I was furious. I told him I would caption his photo as: “The Guy Who Almost Saved Me”. He thought that was hilarious.



I got a volunteer to take a photo of me with my possible savior. He also thought I was pretty funny.




So we climbed and climbed and climbed. This uphill portion is a mile and a quarter. Thanks Google Earth!




I stopped frequently – at almost every light post - and was passed a few more times. Oh look! Here’s a lady carrying her large child and blowing past me!




Luckily, the Trolley guy had made me mad enough that there was no way I was going to stop. I was thinking of just getting to the top and then maybe stopping there and riding, but really, I was just focused on getting to the top. I was actually staggering the last 300 or so feet, but I just kept going.




Finally, I did make it to the top. All of the sudden, I was looking down.




Amazingly, the song in my mp3 player sang, “I’m screamin’ on the top of the world”, right exactly at that time I got to the top, so I let that stand for my comment. I couldn’t come up with anything else, I was just completely overwhelmed.

Here’s what I heard up there:

Can you hear me?
I am screamin' from the top of the world
Can you hear me?
Don't you know that
I am screamin' from the top of the world?
Don't you feel me?

I will scream till I'm bleedin'
And I will crash through the ceilin'
No, you don't know what I'm feelin'
And that I'm dyin', tryin', tryin'

Tokio Hotel – Screamin’

As soon as I felt myself going downhill, the tears started. I knew I would make it to the finish now and I stopped thinking about quitting. Here’s my first try of taking a photo of myself right after I got it back together. Notice the chase car directly behind me.




At this point, I finally passed someone – a senior citizen, amputee with a walker. I am not kidding! He got on the Trolley right after I passed him.




His helper took my picture.




The end of the bridge was the Mile 3 marker, so there was one more mile to walk towards the finish. I just kept going and knowing I would make it. The course looped back under the bridge.




As I approached the finish, I saw the time of 2 hours 3 minutes and felt pretty proud of that. There was no one official at the finish anymore, so – I just passed through. I have no idea how I was supposed to register that I completed, so I will not be on the list of finishers.




What did I learn?

1. Change the camera batteries before leaving the house.

2. Start with the pack – not later. Stupidly, the late start had actually been my strategy. I planned that because I’ve read so many race blogs here on spark that talk about walkers in the front messing up the runner’s paces.

3. I can walk over the bridge. You all know I was very doubtful about my ability to do this. I actually doubted it until the very instant I got to the top. When I decided to do this in January, I knew it was a stretch for me, but I just hoped to change from the person who could "never in this lifetime" walk over the bridge. So today arthritis, obesity and heart problems lost their battle to limit me.

4. Spark People has changed my life. We already knew that one, didn’t we?

When I do this next year, I will be better prepared, more confident amd 30-40 pounds lighter. I can't wait!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD2059428
    A now a year later, you ROCKED the CARP out of this walk! Good for you!!!!
    3721 days ago
  • FHAMWEY
    I am so happy for you to have accomplished this. I know how hard you worked and how much you doubted it. You are such an inspiration! You are doing an amazing job! The pictures are amazing! I wish I had followed through and done this. 2 years in a row now I have wanted to and didn't do it! But you did it!!!

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    Don't you just love it when the music is perfect for the moment? Hope to get together with you soon!
    4077 days ago
  • BETHGILLIGAN
    WOW!! Love this blog! Your determination (and sense of humor)are truly inspiring. I am so proud of you! emoticon
    4084 days ago
  • LADYIRIS313
    OOh reading this almost made me cry. You're my hero this week. You not only overcame your own mental and physical blocks, you pushed through when you had multiple opportunities to just quit -- when your son bailed, when the trolley guy offered you a lift, and when the chase car nearly ran over you. WOWIE! Superwoman! I swear to heaven.. you are SuperWoman. I got chills from this. Well done!! Well Done!!
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    4084 days ago
  • TAMMYLOU96
    You Rock!

    That was an amazing account of your race and what you over came to finish. I am glad to hear that you are already planning your strategy for next year. You are an inspiration!

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    4087 days ago
  • PRISCILLAE
    Great job! This blog gave me goosebumps. Good for you! And don't worry about starting late to avoid the runners; you just have to start toward the back of the group. Next time you'll have even more fun, because you'll be part of a group or walkers!
    4087 days ago
  • USARUNNERGIRL
    How amazing! I am so proud of you. From a runner to you, please start where you are comfortable starting and don't worry about us "mouthy" runners. I know sometimes we runner's do worry about having to pass walkers, but I also know you have as much right to your "race/walk" as we do. You did awesome and I love the photo blog. I feel like I was there with you all the way.
    4087 days ago
  • AM_PULICE
    I love this blog that was great I like the trolly saviour. LOL. I hope I do as good as you on my 5k run in OCT.
    4088 days ago
  • LADYSNOW22
    Awesome. That was a heck of a climb, I kept chugging away too. So way to go on finishing. And I'm looking forward to next year and being lighter too emoticon
    4089 days ago
  • GETFITTER7
    You persevered, when it was easier to stop and take that trolley. You should be proud of yourself and I know you will not be on the end lines next year. Good luck on the walk next year! emoticon emoticon
    Here's to being in the front line next year! emoticon
    4090 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/18/2010 9:57:25 PM
  • LINDA!
    You are an amazing lady. Thanks for a great post and great pix. You are emoticon
    4090 days ago
  • DISNEYSMOM
    Sorry I missed you there! But I am soooo proud of you!!
    4090 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7342839
    WOW!!! Wha! an achievement! Great photos! You've just given me the determination to find and take on a similar challenge here this year. I've been thinking I would IF I could find somebody to do it with me but now I know that's not a prerequisite. I just need to commit, me, myself and I alone! Thank you for the inspiration!
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    4090 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5198989
    I can't believe u did this on your own! What an accomplishment!
    4090 days ago
  • LAURAJG1
    Great job and excellent blog about it!!

    Proud of you!!
    4091 days ago
  • VAEMPYRESS
    AWESOME SAUCE!!! Congratulations on a great walk!

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    4091 days ago
  • PENGUITO
    You are awesome! And inspiring! Congratulations! :)
    4091 days ago
  • SPUNKYDUCKY
    Sharon,
    I am so PROUD of you! I have been waiting to see these pics and read this blog since this winter. So excited that you made it the whole way, what an absolutely amazing accomplishment. I KNEW you could do it! So proud and happy and excited! You are awesome and you look great in the photos! Love this post!
    4091 days ago
  • RAINYFRIDAY
    Awesome job! You did it and you did it well! emoticon Congrats and thanks for sharing your pics and story! emoticon
    4091 days ago
  • MAMMA_MIA1
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    4091 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5959732
    Thanks for sharing the pics and story! You did amazing! emoticon
    4092 days ago
  • AUSSIETRISHMA
    OK you got me right at the top bit! tears of happiness, my daughter is looking concerned but iam showing her how cool you are and what you've achieved! WOW is her reponse lol that looks like a long bridge!! Great Pics! and guess what you know you've done something your son has missed out on!! hehehe
    4092 days ago
  • BARBARAROCKSIT
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    How exciting!

    Love the picture of you in front of the trolly, the one with you smiling!

    You did it!





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    4092 days ago
  • SLOLOSER
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    4092 days ago
  • WEIGHTDIP
    Good for you! Congratulations on your accomplishment. Keep up the good work.
    4092 days ago
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