Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Cooper River Run- (Translate- I an a CRAZY woman!)

9:00 pm Friday night- I am in the bed- after 4 nights at work, I needed some rest before running 6.2 miles the next day.

12:51 am - HELLO! Wide awake and I have to be up in 4 hours and 9 minutes. Did I mention the tub thumping headache or the inability to go back to sleep. 3 Aleve and a glass of milk later I prayed for sleep. 

5:02 am - My prayers must have been heard, because I woke up to my alarm and jumped out of bed and went to the bathroom. Looking at myself in the mirror, I had to ask myself WHY in hell was I at 51 years old wanting to run a 10k? My inner Kenyan screamed at me because I could-  Now I started to panic- To catch the shuttle to the start line you HAD to be in line by 6. I hurried to take the dogs out and leave a check for the dog walker. As I opened the door all I could think was SWEET BABY JESUS, when did I move to the freaking north pole? A quick check of the weather channel showed it was a balmy 43 degrees in Charleston. I quickly donned a hoodie and some sweat pants and hopes that the sweat shuttle was truly available. I can’t run in pants, nor do I like running in a sweat top. 

5:30 am- Phone, check, keys, check, ear buds check, id and money, check, bib and pins- check- I was ready (or was I ?)

5:38 am- In ‘Blanca’ the smart car headed to Mt. Pleasant Towne Center to catch the shuttle to the start line. I found princess parking (Yea!- little victory), and got in line. It was quite funny- a CRBR volunteer is on a bullhorn-  “PEOPLE- YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BIB TO GET ON THE BUS!!! Really? and what, you are expecting random people to just show up at 6 am and want to ride the bus for 1.5 miles? OK......whatever

6:20 am- I am dropped off on a dark street corner with busloads of others, I followed along like a duckling towards the start line.( Can I interject at this point that I have NEVA EVA seen so many port a potties. Hundreds- maybe thousands......of little green outhouses- all lined up in neat little rows.) I followed along and started noticing the signs  along the way- signs denoting which corral was where. I was in Corral ‘E’ the first one for the hour or better runners. I had quite a way to go and this is where I figured out that the CRBR peeps had a method to their madness- the hike in and the cold temps were to help us warm up for the run to Charleston. 

6:45 am- I found the sweat shuttle although I must say I wondered if I would ever see my sweats again. Several people looked shady and I thought they may be Goodwill or Salvation Army in disguise trying to get some upscale donations.( A very kind gentleman calmed my fears telling me that no, my clothes would not go to a donation bin, but would rather arrive at the Embassy Suites for pick up) As the sun came up, I began to shed my sweats. (I must say my  wonderful pink argyle compression socks did great things for warmth. It wasn’t until I lost my hoodie that I realized it was still chilly- but I needed to acclimate- it was gonna be a long morning. I headed to Corral ‘E’ and staked a place for my ‘start’. The sun was coming up and warming me up slowly.
I was kinda bummed coz I was running solo- no friends or fam to run with me- but within a few minutes, people around me were striking up conversations- ‘I love your shirt’, or ‘how do you like your shoes’ and the often heard ‘Are you local?’ - Amazingly I learned more out of towners run this race than do locals-  I met some nice peeps from Mt. Juliet, Tn as well as Detroit and Atlanta-

8:00 am- The time had passed quickly and it was time for the start- in waves. We heard the Kenyans take off, and slowly we would walk closer to the start.
Again I wondered what possessed me to do this and my inner voice said because I could. Shortly we were off and running. Not really knowing how well I would do I thought about pacing myself, and then I said- Hey stupid- pick a nice pace- enjoy the route and the people along it and just do your best. Quickly I was running down Coleman Blvd. , I passed Shem Creek and Patriots Point, and then I was on the bridge! I had passed the first mile and was coming up on the second- and I hadn’t bothered to pace myself- I was just enjoting the run. I must say the uphill portion of the bridge was a bit taxing, but I just put myself into a lower gear and pushed on. It was amazing how many of my 39,999 close personal running mates took time to tell me they loved my shirt! The sentiment read ‘Dear God, Please let there be SOMEONE behind me to read this. It was a great shirt I found at the Bridge run expo from one more mile. (They have some AWESOME stuff!)
I saw people in full regalia for the run- one guy dressed up as Gene Simmons, the IRMO, SC fireman in full turnout gear running, a platoon from The Citadel running to cadence, people in tutus, and even a girl in a wedding dress- I had passed the 2nd mile and was almost to the 3rd mile flag- DAMN! I am almost halfway!
In my ears, I could hear cheers thru my Nike app that was connected to facebook- Everytime someone ‘liked’ my run or commented, I heard cheers, and it did a lot for my spirit to know my friends took the time to cheer me on. Coming off the bridge on Meeting St., I was so excited to see the 4th mile marker- this was the farthest I had run in a race- 5K had been my only experience so far, but I was doing it, I was really doing it! Rounding the corner after the 5th mile flag it was beginning to take a toll...I would run, then walk, then run again- but I was tired. Down King St. we ran, with shopkeepers outside to cheer us on and hand out cups of water. I kept an eye on my Nike run app- I was getting excited- 5.9 miles with solid 12 minute miles- My goal had been 1 hour 15 minutes- but I told myself in reality, anything BETTER than 1 hour 30 would be bonus. Turning the corner to see the finish line was an emotional moment- I had done it! I had run from Mount Pleasant to Charleston all under my own power , and it was about to be recorded for history. Going under the finish line, I could feel tears stinging my eyes and rolling down my cheeks- they were tears of joy, happiness and accomplishment.

9:45 am- The after festivities were in full swing- water and fruit from Bi lo (Thanks Bi Lo!), tents set up for free goodies- I was spent tho- I tried to figure out where my sweats were. On the way I found the Johnsonville Brat grill- OMG- that was the BEST freaking brat I had ever had! And the size of the grill- damn!
Quite by accident I found the sweat shuttle and retrieved my belongings- (yeah- they did not go to Goodwill after all!) and then made my way to the bus going back to Towne Center. Sitting down never felt so good! The bridge was still closed, so we had to take the long way home down 526- and all of a sudden, we were back where we started. 

10:30 am- I am on my way home- I need a shower, some aleve and to do my private happy dance. I did it- I am woman see me run! 

I must give a shout out to Mount Pleasant Police and Fire, Charleston EMS, Charleston Police and Charleston Fire as well as the CRBR volunteers, organizers and Durham Bus Service- What a flawless event! Thanks Charleston!