What can you say? On 9/11 I was in England, not America. When the bridge fell, I was in Wellington, not Minneapolis. I shouldn't voice the thought that I've avoided being on location for these disasters because the next disaster will now follow me.
One of the oddities of life is that I feel like I have two homes. Home is all about feeling, not fixed criteria like location. Hearing about the 35-W bridge collapse made this very clear to me. It felt so intensely local, yet to many of the people round me in Wellington it was all rather abstract. Perhaps if I'd been there I would have been one of the thousands that tried to see the remains of the bridge from up close, or at least a proximate bridge. As it was, I probably had a better view obsessively scouring the internet for photos.
Although the bridge was quite close to our place, I quite rarely drove over it. For me, the 35W bridge will always be one I associate with winter hill repeats. In the Minnesota winter with the prevailing wind being a northwesterly I found the West River Road parkway under 35W to be one of the better hills around. I'd run up the hill into the wind, and then amble slowly back down with the wind behind me. This way I would never get too cold on the downward jog. It was an interesting and unique looking bridge from underneath, and ambling down I always looked up at it. Earlier this year I had one memorable session of 10 repeats up the hill in sub-zero (farenheit) weather. With only the slightest breeze and the sun out, it was quite comfortable and the amazing light of a clear Minnesota winter morning made the scene quite pretty. The muted rush of the Mississippi in winter gurgled downstream as the cars rushed past above on their way to work. It was a good workout, on a good day.
Even without the connection to the now-fallen bridge it would be one of those training runs I'd remember for a while anyway. Returning to Wellington and its hills made me reflective of the hill repeats anyway. And that session on the cold day stood out amongst a winter of hill repeats. An hour's recovery run in Wellington involves more elevation change than a hill session in Minneapolis. Hill repeats are a necessary evil for many runners, but to me they seem even worse mentally because I know that elsewhere in the world--my other home--there's a more scenic path to fitness up the hills.
There's another hill on the West River Road, under the I-94 bridge. That bridge looks more solid. I'll have to trust it stays up this winter.Posted by eroberts at August 6, 2007 6:24 AM