I’ve been over the Ambassador Bridge more times than I can count.
My parents have a cottage on Lake Erie in Ontario, and that’s where we’ve spent most weekends in the summer. We get to the cottage via Windsor, which ultimately means via the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.
I’ve been both the passenger and the driver. I’ve raced across the bridge, going 45 without another soul in sight, and I’ve crawled along in heavy traffic at a whopping 5 miles per hour. I’ve been over the bridge in the early morning, mid-afternoon, and the dead of night. Once, I got carsick from the stop-and-go traffic , but was able to hold it together until we got through Canadian customs and made it to the nearby McDonald’s.
But I never thought I’d run across it.
This past Sunday, I participated in the annual Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. I ran the international half marathon, which meant I ran through downtown Detroit, across the Ambassador Bridge, along the Detroit River in Windsor, through the Windsor Tunnel, and back through Detroit again. I ran the course in a dead-even two hours and 20 minutes.
Running over the bridge was one of the most surreal, fascinating, and exciting experiences I’ve ever encountered. I pushed myself during the incline, so I wasn’t really able to look around and soak in the scenery. (Problem: I knew if I didn’t run uphill full-out, I wouldn’t run it at all.) Once I got over the hump, I was able to back off, take a deep breath, and check out the city skyline to my left.
I’ve seen the Detroit skyline from the Ambassador Bridge no fewer than half a million times. I’ve seen it in every season, at every point throughout the day. I’ve seen it through rain and blinding sunlight, through snow and dull, cloudy days. But there was nothing like seeing it on foot, passing by slowly as I ran over the bridge.
Running 13.1 miles was hard, even with the ten months of training I had as preparation. But that one moment–looking out at the skyline while running on a bridge I’ve grown up crossing–made every ache and feeling of fatigue 100% worth it.
Apparently I’ve been bit by the running bug, because I’m doing another half marathon in Grand Rapids, Mich., in April. And you better believe I’m running Detroit again next October.