10 April 2013

Cooper River Bridge Run 10K Recap

The Cooper River Bridge Run 10k took place last Saturday in Charleston, SC.  I went down and stayed with two of my most favorite people in all the world, my best friend Danielle and her husband, Brandon. They've been doing the Bridge Run for years and this year I finally was able to fly down to run it with them.
Danielle and me several trips ago...I go down to Charleston a  LOT.
Danielle and Brandon. They are the awesome and make me happy.

Advantages of living at home with your parents. Money for travel. Don't be too jealous...I live in the middle of nowhere. I have to travel to go have a social life sometimes.

Except when my friend Jen drags me to do frightening things, like watch Jurassic Park IMAX 3D.  When JP first came out, I was 10 I think and I cried almost the whole way through. I survived this viewing quite well, but not going to lie, I had help in the form of two mini bottles of wine in my purse. What? I get overly stressed in these kinds of situations.

Sorry off topic. RUNNING.

Back to it.
BUT FIRST....a picture of Brandon and their dog Kingsley.  Cutest boxer ever.

Especially when he's asking somebody to open his doggy door for him.  He's such a delicate flower.

Distracted by cuteness. Annoying right?

So yes, I flew down to Charleston on Thursday night and we ran on Saturday. Friday night was lots of hydrating and chilling. Had an amazing dinner at Mustard Seed in Mount Pleasant where I got pork chops that were to die for, garlic mashed potatoes and veg. And there was a glass of pinot grigio tossed in there for good measure.

For some reason, both this time and for my half marathon, I've ended up having wine the night before. Not usually something that is recommended before a race.  But just a glass or two, nothing to seriously dehydrate me. But I think it's working for me. Or maybe I'm just a wino.

We all got up around 4...or I mean, just I got up around 4 because I am on a strict anti-jet lag sleep schedule to help me get on British time before I arrive in London next week (!!!). Luckily, Brandon is the sweetest guy ever and set the coffee pot to brew at 4am for me. Everyone was up by five. I had my pre-run food, always a cup and a half of coffee (having it that early is the best, it means that it gets my system working faster than normal and the only reason I'd have to use a Port-a-Potty at the race will be cause I drink too much water), and I had 2 slices of Udi's Gluten Free white bread with peanut butter, and a package of tuna fish that I put in a bowl and sprinkled with lemon juice. I always need a little protein before going on a long run and tuna fish with lemon and nothing else works so, so well for my sensitive stomach.

We got dropped off at the race by Brandon's mom and walked about a mile to our corrals. There were around 40,000 people running in the race. I don't remember how many were at my Disney Princess Half Marathon but the Bridge run felt less crowded.

Can you see the submarine? Yup, there were guys running with a fake sub.

Front of the sub. I'd be terrified they'd run into me. But I didn't see them during the run at all, just afterwards.

They were very well organized with the corrals in a straight line, lots of music planned for every quarter mile and plenty of water stations with volunteers. I'm glad they weren't hawking any sports drink. Most of the time, for a run this short, I just want water. Even though I carry my own bottle with me, I always end up needing more if I'm going over 5 miles.

Dani and I planned to stick together the whole time. A first for me! I've never really ran with anyone keeping pace with them. Dani was worried I'd leave her in the dust because I've been running more often than she, but we really ended up being a perfect duo. We brought our music with us and kept it relatively low so we could point something out or make small talk if we wanted. It worked out perfectly.

Pre-race obligatory shot. New tall running shirts from Lululemon. Very comfortable.

We started off at a slow pace, somewhere around 12:30, but still running. At about mile 1.75 we started to head up the incline of the Bridge. We had already talked about the fact that neither of us had been doing incline work and we planned on walking it anyways. With corral we were in, I'm not sure we could have run up it anyway, as the crowd got quite thick going up and everyone was walking. But we pressed on running until half way ("just to that big metal sign that runs across...just a little further! Come on we can do it!"--I turned into a right little motivator for the both of us. Weird place for me to be, let me tell you.) We walked for just under a mile until we reached the top where it levels off and started running again.

On the way down the bridge our time got quite a bit faster than our starting pace. We were doing 10:30 at one point...again, I haven't done incline work much, so therefore I haven't really done downhill running either. Kind of hard to really control yourself. I was worried about going too fast and burning out or hurting myself to be honest with you. But we managed just fine.

Mid-Bridge obligatory shot. Yep. Who didn't wear sunscreen or bring sunglasses? Clearly the Northerner.

Running the rest of the way we did around the 11:30-12:00 minute pace which worked for us. I just felt happy the whole way. At no point was I feeling run down or like I was itching to go much faster. I felt comfortable. What a weird, happy place to be in when running. I was worried I wouldn't hit that point.

In the book I just read, the author Tom Holland calls it the "cardiovascular turning point". The point when it turns from uncomfortable to comfortable. Or something like that. I don't know, I didn't come up with it. I'll write something up about that book eventually. It was a pretty great run read.

We ran through downtown of Charleston, which was the best part I think. A lot of locals come out to cheer the runners on, so it was a bit motivating seeing a lot of them sitting on front stoops playing their boom boxes loud and yelling for us.

By the time we turned the last corner, I looked at my Garmin, only 1 mile left, I yelled to Dani "SPRINT and we'll beat your time (from last year)". And sprint we did. It felt great and we were laughing the whole way passing people. We managed to beat her time last year from the Bridge Run, when she did a lot more walking, of 1 hour and 20 minutes. We clocked in at 1 hour and 17 minutes. Two minutes over my 10K time for the Disney Half, but I think I still did better because the Disney Half was fairly flat for the first 10K. The Bridge Run...clearly not flat.

Just past the finish line.

Definitely a blast and now I'm torn between what my favorite distance to race is...10K or half marathon. I have my first 5K Color Run coming up in May with my friend Jen, which should be fun to add into the mix. Clearly doing the beginner runner rules backwards. And I also have another half marathon planned for the summer....but more on that later!

My favorite photo. Post-run, post-food happiness. 

The end of the race was definitely the only irritation. After Disney, I just expected that all races had their water and food located somewhere after the finish line. Not here. We had to go searching for it in the park and it was the furthest booth away. The closest booth....free bottles of BBQ sauce. Not exactly the thing I'm craving after a run. We were kind of pissed. But once we found the water and bananas, we felt much happier and enjoyed the fact that I was clearly turning into a lobster. It's okay...I barely see any light during the winter in Rochester. It was nice getting a little extra that day.

Well, now that I've blogged about running, I should go do some. Mornings before work are my favorite, but the fog this morning is so dense. I hate when you're at that point of...run now in semi-crap conditions, but still bearable or run later with the chance of worsening conditions (rain in my case...ugh.)

At least I have a brand new pair of Brooks to look forward to...and they're PURPLE this time. Clearly, I have a love of running in purple.

 Lindsay xx

P.S. The food down in Charleston is beyond amazing, and my post-race brunch was no exception. Dogfish Head 90-Minute, two fried eggs, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, biscuits and, my favorite, GRITS. Lawdalmighty, do I love some grits. Creamy and delicious. I suggest you head down south and try some immediately. 

Brunch was done at Fleet Landing. Brandon's mom and her friends went ahead of time and reserved a table for our big group. BEST idea ever. They do it every year and obviously it is worth it to have friends not running the race.

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