You get that? In the top five cities I love list, they are as follows:
1. Lake Buena Vista, Florida
2. Charleston, South Carolina
3. Asheville, North Carolina
4. St. Augustine, Florida
5. North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Notice something about all of them?
One race I've wanted to run for a long time is one of the oldest races in the United States: The Cooper River Bridge Run.
So when I signed up for this one, I was met with a great deal of excitement.
Followed by terror.
Even though I had proven myself by running a half marathon, and was training for the Princess Half at the time, I was extremely nervous about the Cooper River Bridge Run.
This is one race I thought the family would finally see, but within a week or so of going, my husband's friend let us know he was going to be coming through that same weekend. Although the plan would possibly have us home in time to see them, it was cutting it too close as far as I was concerned. Part of the thrill of a race is the after stuff.
So I ditched the family.
And the terror increased by 10,000 fold.
I was going to be in Charleston by myself.
Early the day before the race, I got up and headed into Charleston. First stop: the Expo.
Now the last Expo I had been to was for the Disney Princess. I was expecting a mob here.
I was wrong.
After picking up my bib, I headed into the city of Charleston to walk around:
And then I headed through the Market. I was hungry, and it was starting to mist rain.
Pasta for lunch at Bubba Gump's.
Soon after lunch, I headed to the hotel to check in. A friend of mine from college and I arranged dinner together, and I got in a much needed nap. I was catching cold, and I knew rest was necessary.
After dinner with my friend, I headed back to the room and put together my race outfit for the next day
What they don't tell you about running is that it takes forever to be ready.
The next morning, I got up, and drove to park in a garage. I was so afraid I'd forget where I parked, I took a picture of the ticket.
I walked to the school buses and ate my oatmeal on the way.
Now when I say school buses, I mean school buses. Gone were the Disney Cruise Line buses to take me to a race, lulling me to sleep.
These buses took us what seemed to be halfway to the race start while we had to trek a good 2 miles to the corrals. On the way, I passed a Dunkin Donuts that was open. I bypassed it, but stopped at the Starbucks that didn't have too much of a line.
I know those places made a killing that morning!
It wasn't too long until it was time to start. And honestly, I took no pictures during the race.
The race was pretty, yet at the same time, no doubt the 2nd toughest course I've done (after one runs any half marathon in Disney World, you understand). Had I not been sick, I'm pretty sure I would have PR'd this race.
Nearing the finish line
A very welcome sight.
The key to this run is that miles 2-4ish are over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Charleston. It crosses the Cooper River, and it is a pretty steep climb. 42,000 people run this race, but to me, it was less crowded than the Princess Half, which had about half the number of participants.
And what does it look like?
Yeah, that's a whole bunch of ants there starting their way up the bridge.
One of my best races ever, and a comeback for me:
After the race, I found my truck, put some miscellaneous items in, and walked over to have lunch near the Market. My typical post race lunch is a cheeseburger.
But not in Charleston.
That'll be Shrimp and Grits, y'all. With sweet tea.
I learned a lot about myself and racing after this race:
- After a disastrous 10K in Florence, this one was highly successful
- I got over my terror and conquered it
- This is almost my favorite race I've ever done
So, I got over it. I got over the failure of a previous race. I got over a head cold. I got over terror of an unknown.
Just take the first step out the door.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." ~Exodus 14:4