Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eaten Alive At The 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run!

Have you ever felt like this? Well, Renee (my wife) and I did this past Saturday as we took part in the 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10K held in Charleston, SC. We literally felt like salmon swimming up stream only to get eaten by the bear lying in wait.

So here's an overview of our race experience and what we learned in our first "BIG" (sold out at 40,000 entries) race.
We arrived in downtown Charleston at 5:45 AM to get on line for the shuttle to take us to the start...Here are teachable moments 1 & 2! #1. If you can avoid taking the shuttle...avoid it. #2. When a race advertises a bag drop do everything in your power NOT to utilize it...Don't take anything with you...leave all the crap you don't need in the car (i.e. don't bring a back-pack that will end up with 15-20lbs worth of stuff in it because murphy's law says you'll be stuck to run with it!)!

So back to the line...the line we ended up standing in for the shuttle (you know the one that is meant to get you to the starting line) was stretched over 10-15 blocks and by the time we got on a shuttle and over the Cooper River it was already 8:15 AM and by the time we got to the area of the wave start it was about 8:24 AM (24 minutes after the race started). Renee and I were originally slated to go off in waves E and B respectively, we now found ourselves starting somewhere back between waves G and H about 26 thousand runners back...Awesome, I was so pleased! I hate to admit this, but my usually cool head had over heated into fits of profanity, but hey...we all have our moments, right? My next logical thought (at least I thought it was) was that the race would most definitely hold the bag drop longer since the shuttles getting people to starting line were so delayed...WRONG...yes, this was followed by more profanity. Renee, simply kept her cool.

There are mornings when we forget to put on our Big Boy pants (this had been one of them for me with my tantrum), but luckily I had an extra pair...yes that's right, they were in the back-pack along with all the other crap I had senselessly packed in there! Once I got them on (figuratively) and counted to 10 backwards the fog I was in began to clear.

This race was not going to be about PR's this was about participating in a pretty cool experience, heck I've never run with so many people before. This brings me to the salmon...

Over the next 6.2 miles, Renee and I both felt like we did more lateral movement then linear movement (the picture to the right should help make the point), yes our hip abductors and adductors felt it after the race. About 1 mile into the race I felt the contents of the backpack begin to shift, as I turned my head to look and not being able to see much, a fellow runner alerted me to the fact that the bag had busted open...once again, AWESOME! After a few on course adjustments I was on my way again. At this point it was just funny. My new on course goal had become to finish under 50 minutes.

My calculation is not an exact science, there is definitely some error built in there, but by my best conservative estimate we started about 28,000 runners back and ended up finishing #'s 2,854 (49:55) and 4854 (53:21), passing about 25,000 runners over the 6.2 miles. Not too shabby.

Renee and I checking out some of the latest (circa 1992) running fashions at the race expo!----->

So all in all it was a pretty cool experience. I met my on course goal, Renee felt strong through the whole race and knows she could have broken 50 minutes herself...bringing her to say that "I think the 10K might be my distance, I need to sign up for another!" But, best of all, after finishing the race Renee's dad and my parent's where waiting with Lydia to celebrate and live the experience with us! Following the race we even got to meet up with some great friends, play with Lydia at a park (although I think she was playing with me...if my father-in-law gets a certain video on the internet it could be viral gold!) and ended up finishing the morning with lunch at one of the best hot-dog (Hey! I never said I was perfect...only human) dive's in the country, "Jack's Cosmic Dogs", inspired by New Jersey's own "Hot Dog Johnny's". By the end of the afternoon, the events of the early morning were long gone and all I could think to myself is that "Life is Good". Although I did wake up with next morning with sore shoulders...maybe it had something to do with the backpack!

Until next time...Be Great!


  1. Hilarious! I can just see you guys. One time I ran 10 miles of the NYC marathon alongside a friend with a was miserable. Congrats to you and Renee on a strong finish despite a "slow" start

  2. Thanks Justin for a great story and reminding us that it's not always about the time you do, but the time you have. In retrospect sounds like a good time, good learning experience and you'll be telling this story for years to come... now where's the video?