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Monday, March 30, 2015

Cooper River Bridge Run 10k Race Report

For the past couple of years, I have watched local friends head down to Charleston, SC for the Cooper River Bridge Run, which is a 10k that goes over the Ravenel Bridge, almost 3 miles long, across the Cooper River. It's one of the largest 10ks around and it looked like fun. Several months ago, I, along with DisBroad Amy and our friend Wendy, signed up for this race. We planned a girl's trip, and after months and months of no sleep and running myself ragged with 4 kids, it was much needed.

Amy and Wendy were coming together, and I was heading down by myself. After many traffic jams and Apple Maps routing me to the airport instead of our hotel, I finally met up with Amy and Wendy at our hotel. Amy unknowingly picked an awesome hotel, which was actually attached to the convention center where the expo was being held. The lines to pick up our bibs and swag were short and we made a quick circle around the expo. The vendors were standard, and the official merchandise left a lot to be desired, so we didn't buy anything. One thing the expo did have was FREE alcohol samples. Wine and mix drinks we were sure to hit up each spot.
Unfortunately, the fact that I've been pregnant and nursing for well over a year, just a few tiny cups of wine was enough for me to sign up for another half marathon without hesitation.
I justify this by telling myself I'm scheduled for 14 miles that weekend for marathon training, so I might as well earn a medal for it.

After the expo, we headed back to our hotel, because they were having a free happy hour before we were to head for dinner. More free drinks, shut up and take my money!
After our drinks, we headed to an awesome little seafood restaurant called Fleet Landing in south Charleston, right on the water. Our waiter Lucas paid quite the attention to detail, and we had a phenomenal meal. Or maybe it was just phenomenal to me because I eat most of my meals either holding a baby, nursing a baby or shoving baby food into a baby's mouth between my own bites. Either way, we had a lot of laughs, we ate, and headed back to our hotel to turn in for the night. While we didn't have our standard 2:30 am Disney race wakeup call, 5 am would come early enough.

And 5am did come early enough. We woke up, and got ready. My race day preparation also included having to pump, but we were still out the door by 6am, to head to the buses. It. Was. Cold. We didn't have to wait long for a bus and we were able to sit in the warmth again.
It took about 30 minutes to get to our drop point, which was quite a ways from the corrals. Just like Disney, we walked at least half a mile to get to our corral, corral B. We arrived in time for the singing of the National Anthem, although we still had a good 30 minutes or more before the race start. They had men with large American flags parachuting down, which was a cool sight to see.
Then came more waiting. Did I mention it was cold? Because it was. I sat huddled with a heat sheet wrapped around me. Thank heavens Amy was prepared and brought extra.
Finally 8am rolled around and the race was starting. By this point the sun was warming us up enough, but the jackets and blankets runners in front of us had left on the fences sure looked tempting. I resisted the urge to take strange articles of clothing from unknown people long enough for our race to begin. We started in Mount Pleasant. Right after starting we passed by some of the very few costumed runners, a Jamaican bobsled team.
Carrying a cardboard bobsled for 6.2 miles, that's dedication!

We crossed over Shem Creek. Charleston is an absolutely gorgeous city on the ocean!
We made our way towards the bridge. The bridge itself is 4km long, so close to 3 miles. The first half of the bridge is uphill, so over 1 mile going up. Add in the cold and the wind, and while the bridge itself was beautiful, and we were ready to "get over it".



While there was plenty of entertainment to be found on the bridge, one thing that was not found was a bathroom. Still recovering from giving birth to a 5th baby, this was not pleasant. When we were finally over the bridge, restrooms were the first thing we sought out. Until we saw donuts. There on the side of the road as soon as we were getting ready to turn off of the bridge and onto another road, was a wonderful man with boxes and boxes of donuts, handing them out to the runners.
This was the beginning of the AMAZING crowd support from the end of the bridge until the end of the race. Right past the very welcomed donut stop were the bathrooms. And right past the bathrooms was pizza and water. More food. A generous business over with boxes and boxes of warm pizza. We took a slice and a bottle of water. We kept on, but this is where our real fun began. Amy and I, much to Wendy's dismay, have a thing for photo ops. So I made new friends.
Amy and I showed off our hot legs.

At this point, Wendy was over our antics and so we continued on. I admired the gorgeous buildings along the way.

I also admired the man dressed in a full lizard suit. Again, dedication.
It wasn't far from the finish from that point, on Meeting Street.
After we finished we headed to Marion Square where they had food and beverages. I grabbed a snack and parted ways with Amy and Wendy. They wanted to enjoy the festivities(and stalk American Idol winner Taylor Hicks) and I needed to get back to our room to pump. The woes of a nursing runner.

After they finished up and I got the room packed up to leave, we met again and headed for lunch. A restaurant called the Tattooed Moose was recommended to me, so that's where we headed.
We each had a celebratory drink and lunch. Holy wow was lunch amazing. I had the Duck Club and it may have easily been the best sandwich I've ever had in my life.
Before we left, I made sure to make our mark on the very well loved walls of the Tattooed Moose.
With that, we parted ways, and I fought traffic back home, back to reality. My 3rd child was turning 4 the following day so I hustled back to get cupcakes made. Although I was only gone for a little over 24 hours, it was really refreshing.

So my thoughts on this race:
The race was well put on. We never had issues with the expo, race day transportation, communication, or any issues during the race. Given the fact that this is a large race(over 40,000 runners) and it's going on close to 40 years since it started, they've had time to perfect it. The city of Charleston is gorgeous, a wonderful destination without a race weekend(I've already told my husband I'd like to come back, with the family) and the bridge itself is stunning. The crowd support was probably the best I've ever seen. Thousands of people cheering, people handing out food along the course, lots of bands and music playing. The entertainment before the race was lacking, but this wasn't an issue after the race got started. The finish area and Marion Square could have been more organized. It was extremely crowded, and kind of a free for all. We had to wade through the crowd to get to the food. Many other races I've done are much more effective in getting post race snacks and drinks to the runners. Otherwise, I'd definitely do this race again. It was so much fun!















 

14 comments:

  1. Looks like a blast! And hot legs! ;)

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    1. It was a lot of fun! A great race with some great girls. And thank you ;)

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  2. SO. Much. Fun. Loved being able to be silly with you and it was a gorgeous day. So glad you suggested this!

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    1. I always enjoy our race day antics!! Can't wait to do it again during Peachtree.

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  3. I love your pics! What a great race course. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

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    1. Loads of fun, put it on your race bucket list!

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  4. Looks like fun April! The bridge does look amazing!

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    1. It's gorgeous! We have a local town that tried to recreate the look on their bridge over the highway. We make fun of it's epic failure. It was interesting to go back and show folks what our taxes should have gone towards ;)

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  5. I think I need to put this one on my bucket list!

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    1. Do it!! Charleston is gorgeous!! And I'm sure I can be persuaded to join you if you do ;)

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  6. Looks like a blast...I love races where spectators hand out food. Good job on your hotel too! Great recap.

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    1. Thank you! Everything came together well, Amy's great hotel choice, my great restaurant choices, Wendy's superior navigation skills, perfect trifecta.

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