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A bridge too high and hot

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A number of years ago, the Savannah Bridge Run was moved from late May to the first Saturday in December to offers runners a break from the heat and humidity. Most years, they've been rewarded with cooler temperatures.

This past year, there were no rewards in the offing. It was warm and humid and felt more like May than December. Of course, the next day, it was nice and cool - perfect for running.

It was under this summerlike weather I undertook the Double Pump (the 5K and 10K); I signed up in advance and failed to consult the Farmer's Almanac for that day.

I started with the 5K, leaving Hutchinson Island and going up the long, steep incline of the Talmadge Bridge. I had previously remarked I didn't find the grade as difficult as the one going up the other side in the 10K. I might have to rethink that position. I labored up the bridge and chastized myself for sticking to level ground throughout the year and not doing any sort of hill training.

I finally made it to the top, sweating profusely, and went down the bridge and onto Oglethorpe Avenue. I sped up over the last several hundred yards and crossed the finish line in 27 minutes - a respectable time given the crowded start, tough course and warm weather./

Following a 30- to 40-minute break, during which time I grabbed some water and a banana, I started the 10K. We headed down Broughton Street and returned along Oglethorpe Avenue before heading up the bridge. I maintained a decent pace and felt okay, albeit hot, as I prepared for the third and final incline up the bridge. As in the 5K, I found this stretch pretty difficult. Battling a strong headwind and warm temperatures, I finally relented to walking several hundred yards from the top of the bridge. I walked for 3 to 4 minutes before I made it to the summit, where I resumed running.

I tried to make up for lost tme by picking up the pace over the last mile and half of the course, which is mostly downhill, and crossed the finish line in 1:02 and some change. I figured I lost 3 to 4 minutes by walking. I placed in the top third in my age group and collected a nice medal for doing both races.

Now watch, it'll be nice and cool at the end of May, yet another reminder that the weather likes toying with runners. In the meantime, I might have to visit the bridge a time or two before this year's race.



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