The sun was shining and the race was off without a hitch. I found myself admiring the neighborhood restaurants and hangouts and cheering for the crowd support. Yes, they need support too! The miles were moving pretty quickly which I was quite happy about. Not because I wanted the race to end, simply because you can never be sure how your body will feel 7 days after 26.2 miles of wind and hills. We hit the first bridge and I was happily surprised to find that it was relatively flat. Pre-race talk of bridges immediately brought me back to the Running for the Bay Marathon in Apalachiacola, Florida. Miles and miles of bridges- over the bay- high enough for large boats to maneuver under (read: steep grade). To say I was relieved to cross a bridge that was relatively flat would be a major understatement. Another highlight of the bridges- this is where I first spotted someone dressed as Steve Prefontaine. Shaggy blonde hair, mustache, tiny running shorts and 1970's striped socks. Perfect!
The relief that I felt having crossed five flat bridges faded quickly as we began to climb Forbes Ave. From there on out it was all rolling hills just in different neighborhoods. The temperature was rising. Thankfully the neighborhood trees provided ample shade over the course. I was using my experience from Boston regarding my hydration- some in the mouth and some on the head. A delicate balance. It seemed to be working. The last three or four tenths of a mile was an up hill climb on a freshly paved road. Ugly. Hot. But I was still smiling. Three marathons in 20 days. Done. I was officially a Runner of Steel!!