Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cooper River Bridge Run 10K

The Cooper River Bridge 10K is a race I have been looking forward to for a long time. Per it is one of the top 10K events in the United States. So back say, October of 2010 I signed up for it.

Now on to the race that went down on April 2, 2011. It all started with dropping my dog Rocco off at the kennel and then Stephanie and I hit the road on Friday. It took about 5 hours to get there. 95 is one exciting road! Anyway once we arrived in town the goal was to find parking and head over to the Race Expo.

The Expo was something new to me and I pretty much just wanted to get my packet and leave. Not so easy, my lady Stephanie was with me and there was way to much free stuff to be had. Once thru the crowd I got my bib 30189, wow that is a big number, they are usually in the hundreds. After bib pickup they funnel you off to the stage area in the building to get the packet. No XXL shirts left, oh well an XL it is, can only wear it once I guess, because it will shrink to toddler size soon. Now its Stephanie's show time, table to table, getting this and drinking that. Overall, it was plenty fun and I drank enough energy and protein drinks to get me thru the next days 10K.

Our Hotel, about 5 miles from race expo area:

Before race day though it was dinner time. Ended up at Outback under a freezer vent but dinner was good. Was going to try this pasta place (Frazoli's) but it was fast food pasta, drive thru and all, so went with the pre-race steak.

Race day here I come. I couldn't sleep for anything and was up at 12:45AM. I lay there till 4:00 AM and get up for good. Stephanie didn't like this. It was her vacation and this was way to early. I hit the road a little before 5 to find parking. Wow this is a breeze, the cops are not even in place and I parked in the same lot we did for the Expo, now time to get in line for my bus ride across the Copper River Bridge.

Me to early in the morning on race day:

The bus was easy enough. The loading spot was just outside the parking deck. I got in line and a local runner was quite chatty in line with me. He was a triathlete and had swam 2.4 miles under the bridge but never ran over the bridge in a race. Well this was my first time running over the bridge myself. Did I tell you this dude was chatty, he told me about every running event he has been in since birth in that 15 minute bus ride. Once on the Mt Pleasant's side of the bridge the bus dropped us off so we could walk the 3/4 miles to our start corral.

I found my corral some 2.5 hours before the race was to start and realized this was the beginning of a real long day. Anyway I hung out watching people, listening to people, and making a few trips to the many porto's while waiting for the race to start.

Its finally 8:00AM, let the race begin. Not so fast I'm in the H corral of a wave start. Each wave leaves every three minutes or so. As we work our way forward based on the walk and stop signs managed by our corral volunteers its finally our time to go. At this time close to 30 minutes have passed and the winners have crossed the finish line. Guess I will have to wait till next year to have a shot at victory lol. The announcer was trying to hype us up for a picture so we all had our hands in the air and screaming like we just don't care and we are off!

Finally down to the race. The first mile and 1/4 was flat and I was just weaving in and out of the really slow crowd and making as much time as I could before the bridge. Once on the bridge I realized this was not going to be easy, the bridge is a 4% uphill grade and it would stay that was until I passed the 3 mile marker. Well as you can guess I started to walk, but this killed my calves. So what to do, alternate between running and walking till I'm at the top. Since I was walking some I did take the time to snap a few pictures. Now at the 3 mile marker I see Beetle Juice with a bunch of skeletons chasing him. No this isn't a mirage, people wear costumes at this race. Well back to the race, I'm at the halfway point and now I get to go down hill, now this is fun but the 25mph wind is more prevalent now. I pick up the pace pretty good because I would like to be somewhat close to 1 hour finish time. A little after crossing mile 4 we are off the bridge.

Now off the bridge its just 2 more miles of flat running. The first section after the bridge was a water stand. To much traffic but managed to get a quick swig of liquid. I needed it to, had to run thru the hood, I had to step it up a bit. Eventually we hit mile 5 and another water hole, why? It caused a bottle neck as this was a switchback and narrower streets. This switchback took us from Meeting Street over to King Street. Running down King was pretty straight forward but I was tired as I have not been running 6 miles and I was hurting pretty good so I mixed in a few 30 second walks. The road narrowed even further and even walkers were getting in this slow pokes way as this was the last half mile and I was going to finish as strong as I could. Smile, quick picture, a little further and on a cut thru back to Meeting Street. Come on people you can run home from here. Finally rounded the corner onto meeting and I can see the finish. I try to kick it into high gear but not much left in the tank. Smile again for a finish picture and I'm done.

Where is the water:

Me sometime after the race:

Now they shuttle us down to the park and I'm wanting to get some water and find Stephanie. I had been texting her my mile location so maybe she could see me finish. She missed me but she tried. The crowd was insane, way to many people in the city block sized park. I finally, about 10 minutes after I finished, got a few bottles of water and began wondering around looking for Stephanie.

Some post race pictures, post race party I guess:

Eventually, probably 20 minutes after my finish I found her. We walked and talked and ate and watched the trophy presentation. The local cat (Bobby Mack) from The Raleigh Athlete's Foot that sold me my shoes that I was wearing finished 6th overall with a time of 29.18. He was 1st US citizen. Sorta cool eh?

My time details:
Bib FName LName City State Country Div Age SEX
ChipTime ClockTime Overall SexPl DivPl Pace 1:11:20 1:40:48 19330 9949 1181 11:29

Well for the race that was it, the rest of the time Stephanie and I did the vacation thing till Sunday afternoon. Overall, this is a very well run event and I look forward to doing it again.

One of the tourist pics:

One more quick tidbit. Trying to find a paper at 3PM the day after the Cooper River Bridge Run is not an easy task. My suggestion is get one at your hotel early the next morning.

WooHoo my name was in that paper, that's me 9832 in the mens division: