Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Miles (6:57 pace)

The Conquer the Bridge 5.3-mile race is one of my favorite of the year. Two years ago, I scored fourth place overall when I ran. Last year, during all of my flu issues, I still ran decently and placed 7th. I loved the vibes and the energy, and I enjoy hilly races (likely because I know I’m better at them than flat ones). Don’t get me wrong, we all want a “flat and fast” race, but I also appreciate a race that climbs 400+ feet.

Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Miles (6:57 pace)

Before the Conquer the Bridge:

I got to Torrance around 3 p.m. I went to pick up my bib, and one of the race directors, Derek surprised me with bib 22. I had no idea I would have a fast bib, but I won’t turn it down. After that, I had a lot of imposter syndrome with it and felt like a fraud. It was a weird double feeling. On one hand, I felt the high of being recognized for placing fairly well (4th in 2021 and 7th in 2022). On the other hand, I felt like I didn’t deserve it. My past running might have earned it, but not my current running. I am decent and can win/place at small races, but it’s Los Angeles! And a big race in Los Angeles. I consider myself somewhere between fast average and sub-elite. That’s probably something I should work on, I suppose. I digress.

But the Conquer the Bridge is really one of my favorite races of the year. After picking up my bib, I went to Stonefire Grille, had a sandwich, and then went to Target to do my monthly grocery shopping for dry food (read: cat food). Since I mostly do meal delivery with CookUnity or Factor, I grocery shop around 1-2 times a month, depending on the mood. I love it. Anyway, again, I digress. I fell asleep around 7 p.m. but was awakened by stomping above me and loud people. It’s a hotel, what can you do? It wasn’t my best sleep, and 4:30 a.m. came early.

I got to the Conquer the Bridge around 6 a.m. I did a 21-minute warmup and headed to the Conquer the Bridge race start. I felt ok but great during the warmup.

Conquer the Bridge Race:

The Conquer the Bridge race started about 10 minutes late. I wasn’t paying attention and forgot to start my watch until a few seconds in. Then, it took a bit to catch up to the satellite. I’m *mostly* mad because I don’t get a few Strava segments. LOL, but it’s not like my time didn’t count. The first mile of the Conquer the Bridge is (mostly) flat as you head up the Vincent Thomas Bridge. You hit mile 1 of the Conquer the Bridge about .2 onto the bridge, and I ran around 7:05 (I hit the mile 1 marker around 6:50).

The next mile of the Conquer the Bridge reaches the bridge’s peak and heads back down. I felt comfortable and ran a 6:57. I knew the way back was much steeper and an entire mile uphill, so I wanted to conserve energy. We headed to the turnaround, and I realized I was 3rd woman overall. I was shocked. I hit mile 3 in 6:52 and headed back up the bridge. I was going to get water, but they weren’t super close to the course, and I didn’t want to run too far out of my way once I realized I was in 3rd.

The next mile of the Conquer the Bridge is hard. It’s uphill on the Vincent Thomas Bridge and climbs about 200 feet. I just kept telling myself to keep on going. It’s not super motivating, but it’s good enough. I hit mile 4 of the Conquer the Bridge in 7:49 and was pleased to keep it under 8 minutes. I knew it was all downhill and flat from there, so I pushed as hard as possible. I wanted to catch people but couldn’t get my legs moving fast enough. I still ran a 6:24 down a screeching downhill, but I had been hoping to be closer to 6:10-6:15.

Once we got off the Vincent Thomas Bridge, I powered the half mile to the finish line. I could see the second-place woman wasn’t far off, but I couldn’t quite catch her. She ended up finishing about 15 seconds in front of me.

I crossed the Conquer the Bridge finish line in 36:50 and was 3rd woman overall. I forgot to stop my watch, which was annoying because it made my average pace 7:02. I guess the Conquer the Bridge can be labeled as good race, but personal technology issues.

Conquer the Bridge Thoughts:

I’m super pleased with my effort. In May, I ran the Cinco De Miles 5 Miler at a 6:58 pace. It was pancake flat, so running a 6:57 speed with 400+ feet of elevation gain is encouraging. This is probably the first race I’ve had in a while that I’m thrilled with. (I’m talking maybe in 2 years since the Run Local Half). I’m hoping it’s the start of returning to the fitness I once had.

You can see Strava here, and all race recaps here.

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Questions for you:

Have you run the Conquer the Bridge?

What is your favorite race?