Sunday, April 3, 2016

Race Report: Cooper River Bridge Run

This race has been on my radar for a long time! It's a 10K running over a bridge in Charleston, South Carolina! And it would be a Girls' Weekend!! Could it be more fun?!

We left on Friday morning from Atlanta - plenty of time to get to the Expo, right? Sure! Until the pothole from hell jumped up and attacked Jill's car on I-20! It was so bad that it sent my iced tea flying through the air! We pulled over to the side and found the tire in pretty bad shape. But it's a run-flat tire and the BMW shop in nearby Augusta said we were OK to drive on it. 8 miles later we were at the dealership getting a new tire. It took about an hour and we were back on our way.

And then we hit the traffic outside of Columbia. UGH! We used Waze to get around a standstill which was great, but the traffic was pretty heavy the rest of the way. And it was raining off and on. Just madness! There had been a warning on the race FB page to get to the Expo before 5 due to THREE events going on at the same time at the convention center. And we had planned to do so, but then - things happen! 7 hours and 45 minutes after we left Atlanta, we were sitting in the convention center traffic.

It took forever to get into the parking lot, but once we were in the convention center, there was absolutely no line for the packet pick up! Everything ran very smoothly!

We had an early night after dinner. The alarms would be going off at 4:45 AM so we could make the short walk to catch a bus to the start line!

Flat Niffercoo
I woke several times overnight. I was a bit apprehensive about the forecast which was calling for thunderstorms. Every time I woke up, I could hear the heavy rain. I woke up before my alarm and checked out the Weather Channel app - rain. And the radar showed more rain. And heavy rain coming in. I was not thrilled. But it was pretty warm outside so it was time to go for it - or in the hashtag of the race directors: #getoverit!

The hotel had 'go boxes' for the runners which was fantastic. Jill went down to pick up a couple for us and said they also had bagels and other breads out! My box contained a blueberry muffin, a banana, and a small bottle of water. It was perfect. I don't usually need to fuel before a 10K but we wouldn't be running until at least 8 AM so I knew I needed something in my stomach.

Jill brought trash bags for us to wear over our outfits which was great because I had brought the wrong kind - FYI, NOT a drawstring tall kitchen bag! ;) Thankfully she had an extra and shared so I was properly outfitted for the weather! But when we stepped outside of the hotel, there was only a slight drizzle! It was fantastic!

The walk to the buses was easy and we got onto the bus pretty much when we walked up! And it wasn't raining hard!

Bus selfie! 
The bus driver had a bit of difficulty finding the start area to drop us off, but thankfully some riders were familiar with Mount Pleasant (where the start was located) and directed her to drop us off in what turned out to be the perfect place! We were very close to the start and very near several banks of porta potties! We did have an hour and 45 minutes to kill, so we sat for a bit under what reminded me of a Disney Bus Stop and listened to music that sounded quite a lot like Disney Parade music! LOL We walked around for a little bit and then went to the corral!

Notice the clouds... could they be breaking up?!
Our wave started about 12 minutes after the Elites took off! By the time it was our turn we saw something incredible - the SUN! And not just a little bit of sun, but the skies were actually clearing out!

Look at these skies on our way to the bridge! It was so exciting! 

We had already decided that we were going to run all the way up the Bridge! Why? To say that we did! LOL I was so glad that it wasn't raining and I was going to be able to get some pictures while we were going over the bridge!

And then we got to the top and decided to run the rest of the bridge! Yeah, we rocked it! NON stop! NO walking! :D

The sun was really out by the time we got over the bridge and I was glad I had worn a tank and skirt! But there was no way I was going to complain because it was supposed to have been pouring!! I could trade a little heat for that beautiful blue sky!!

Once we got over the bridge we ran through the historic areas of Charleston and it was lovely! It did get a little crowded in a few areas but nothing we couldn't manage as survivors of the Peachtree Road Race! ;)
The finish line is ahead! 

We #gotoverit! 
The only complaint or suggestion I have about this race was that there was no water in the finisher's corral. You had to keep walking after the finish line, which is fine. But it was several blocks to the finish line festival. They should have had water, at least! There was a bottleneck getting into the festival so we just skipped it and walked back to the hotel where we had water waiting. It isn't a deal- breaker, because I totally want to do this race next year, but it would have been a better idea for them to have water right at the finish.

So, as you can tell, the Cooper River Bridge Run was a bit hit with me! Next year is the 40th anniversary and I am going to do my very best to make it! :D

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