This past weekend I ventured to Charleston, SC to run the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. Ever since I was a student at Clemson and heard about the run, I had wanted to do it. This year I convinced a number of friends to do it with me also.
We all awoke at 5:00 AM so that we could leave the apartment by 5:30 AM and board the shuttle bus to the start which you had to be in line for no later than 6:00 AM (designated by the race officials). We ended up getting to the race start around 6:00 AM and waited in the cool 48 degree weather. I couldn’t decide what to wear because of the cool morning, but decided on capris and a throw away long sleeve. I didn’t have a throw away water bottle and was sort of freaking out about that, but luckily BILO volunteers were handing out water bottles right near where the shuttle bus dropped us off.
Katie was placed in corral E and I was supposed to be in corral G. We wanted to run together, so we had to do some sneaking around. Rachel was supposed to be in corral H, but she slipped into E easily. The lady manning the corral E gate caught me, so we just went to the next entrance where I walked right in. I still haven’t figured out how they decided on the corrals because Katie and I signed up at the same time.
The race got started at 7:59 AM which was great since last year there had been problems with the shuttle buses and the race had been delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes.
Corral E took off about 18 minutes after the first corral. Katie and I started off the race together and did our best to navigate through all the people. I had gone into the race just wanting to have fun, but there was still that competitive voice in my head.
Everyone warned me about the incline on the bridge and said it was really bad and not to expect a PR. I personally didn’t think the incline was bad at all. I really do think these Atlanta hills have been good for me.
I stuck with Katie until about the end of mile 2, somewhere in the middle of the incline. She got a cramp and had to walk it out and I really did not want to walk. I checked back with her at one point and then decided to just go on my own. Once I got on my own and up over the incline, I kicked it into high gear.
On top of the bridge, the course field opened up a little bit, so it was easy to navigate through. Towards the bottom of the bridge it got congested again, but I did my best to keep up my pace. At the end of the bridge I looked for the Krispy Kreme donuts that Rachel said would be there (not that I would have taken one), but didn’t see any. Katie didn’t see any either, but Rachel swears they were there when she went through. The donuts were Katie’s motivation to get over the bridge, so it was a bit of a running joke.
After the bridge, you do a couple of turns and then run down King Street. It was also about this point when you get to the 5 mile marker. I looked at the running clock and tried to calculate if I could PR. I was still feeling good, so I got my phone out and looked at the elapsed time. It was then I realized if I could keep up my pace or accelerate I could PR.
There were a couple of more turns after King and the last .2 miles seemed like forever. I just pushed what I had left in me and kept going. I crossed the finish line and stopped my app on my phone and saw that I had done it, I had PRed. My previous time had been 1:05:56 for a 10K and I came in just under that. 1:03 something according to my calculations.
After the race, we hung around the finish line festival and got our bananas, oranges, bagels, water, and a free sample of ice cream. We didn’t stick around long and headed off towards the Market and in search of brunch.
I was also in dire search of the official souvenir beer mug. There were several participating restaurants and bars that were giving them out. We decided to not stick around for a beer after brunch so I got very nervous we wouldn’t get our mugs. Mid-afternoon, we ventured to Mt. Pleasant to Vickery’s and successfully got our beers and official souvenir mugs. I had never been happier.
While we chatted and drank our beers, we got word that the official times had been posted. We all looked up our times and I was even more delighted to learn that not only had I PRed, but I beat my friend Tate by 1 minute 15 seconds.
It was such a great race and I really enjoyed spending time with my college friends. I definitely would like to do the race again in the future. I think we even convinced Katie to do it again. I am also very motivated with running now. Seeing improvements in my times really makes all the hard work and effort seem worth it.