Cooper River Bridge Run Recap

The Cooper River Bridge Run is an outstanding 10K (6 mile race) in Charleston, SC. It is the 3rd largest 10K in the U.S. with Boulder, CO being the second and our beloved Peachtree Road Race being the largest in the U.S. Cooper River brings out about 35,000 runners with hopes of getting over the 2.5 mile bridge. The race begins in Mt. Pleasant, moves along up and over the bridge and finishes nice and flat in downtown Charleston.

If the Cooper River Bridge run is in your future plans, keep reading for my guide to the Cooper River and Charleston!

I’ll begin by saying, in my personal opinion the Cooper River is so much more fun then the Peachtree Road Race. The expo is also a hundred times better and all of the free goodies you can score from the expo and finish festival is worth every penny spent to attend the race. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Peachtree Road Race and have a great time and will continue to run it as long as I can!

Fun Fact: I had a PR at the Cooper River this year, finishing with a time of 1:06:44, knocking a minute and 10 seconds off of my best time!

Here is my guide to the Cooper River Bridge Run! Enjoy!

Registering for the Cooper River: My advice is to register early, especially if you know for sure you are going to run it. The earlier you register, the better corral placement for those over an hour. Cooper River designates corrals A and B for those who can run under an hour. When registering, be sure to select your estimated finish time and if you are under an hour, you do have to verify it. Registration usually opens in June for the year ahead. Early bird registration is only $35 dollars! For registering, you are guaranteed a t-shirt, a nice swag bag, and a finishers medal.

Finding a Hotel: Let’s be real here. All hotels in and around Charleston, know about the Cooper River Bridge Run, therefore, the rates sky rocket and you are left searching for a room that is less then 300 dollars a night. My advise is to try to find a room in Mt. Pleasant or North Charleston. Many of the hotels in downtown Charleston are over 400 dollars a night so unless you have that kind of money, look for places with a 20 minute drive. Trust me it’s not a bad drive at all to drive in to downtown Charleston for sight seeing and dinner. I always use Expedia to book my hotel rooms. You can sign up for a free account and get reward points for booking through them. I have never had a problem booking through Expedia. It has always been fast and easy to reserve a room and I always book and pay at hotel. Therefore you can cancel right up until a few days before your stay just in case something comes up.

Expo: Do NOT pass up on the opportunity to go to the expo. This is not your normal pick up shirt and bib kind of expo, it is so much more then that. The majority of all vendors at the expo are handing out free swag! This year I got free socks, tons of free drinks and food and a free sampling of KT tape! There’s also lots of free samples of adult drinks but if flavored water is more your speed, they have that too! My personal favorite is called Body Armor, which is a coconut water electrolyte drink. I was super excited to see them at the expo and finish festival. I love their drinks and they are great for leg cramps. I drink one after I finish running to ensure I won’t have any leg cramps during the night! Works like magic! The expo is from 8 am-8 PM the Thursday and Friday before the race. To avoid long lines, go in the morning hours. Also make sure to take a picture at the free photo areas they have set up!

Buses/ Race Morning: Everyone has to ride a bus to the start line. There are four different pickup locations throughout Charleston. There is a downtown pickup location, North Charleston location, and two Mt. Pleasant locations. Buses start running at 5 AM and end at 7 AM and most importantly you have to have your bib on to board the bus. We got on the bus at Mt. Pleasant Towne Center which was .4 miles from our hotel. You can’t get much more convenient then that. It’s highly recommended to get to the buses by 6 to avoid long lines. We got there and parked at 5:30 and was able to get on the bus right away. We were at the start line by 6 AM, which they recommend you be in your corral by 7. It does get pretty congested around 7 am with everyone moving in different directions but as long as you are in the start line area by 7, you should be good to go. I was in corral D and was able to walk right up to the front of the line before 7:30. Race BEGINS at 8 AM. There are army/ national guards at each corral that are checking to make sure you are in the correct corral that is on your bib. If you have a friend in a different corral, you can move back but you cannot move forward. For example, I was in corral D, I could move to corral E or F but wouldn’t be able to move up to corral C or B.

Course: The corrals move pretty fast once they send the elites off. Once you start in Mt. Pleasant, you are on a very flat road for the first mile. After the first mile, you turn a curve and see that beautiful bridge with the beautiful hill that accompanies you for the next mile. You feel like you are running straight up and it was actually a weird feeling this year because it was so foggy. I couldn’t see a thing, couldn’t see out so I felt like I was running straight in to a fog funnel cloud. Once you get to the top, you are directly under the support cables and this is often a great spot for selfies if it’s pretty weather. I did not stop for selfies this year but if it’s your first bridge run, you may want to take a quick second to snap a picture! At the top of the bridge, you are around mile 3 and get to go down from here until you reach downtown Charleston and then it’s all flat to the finish line.

Finish Festival: As you cross the finish line, they make you keep moving so there is not a bottleneck at the finish area. You receive your medal once you make your way down the road towards the square. Once you get your medal, make your way to Marion Square for the finish festival. Be sure to grab a bag and load up on all the free food and drinks at different tents lined up along the square. This year they were handing out Body Armor drinks, powerade, chips, fruit and tons more. The best part is, they tell you to take as many of each item as you want.

Seeing Charleston: There is so much to see and do in Charleston. After you pick up your packet, head downtown and check out the many shops and restaurants Charleston has to offer. There are plenty of parking decks and spaces that are as low as $10 a day to park at. Grab a bite to eat at the famous, Hyman’s seafood. It was definitely the best food I have had in a long time. Make sure to try their hushpuppies, they were out of this world. I have linked their website below along with a few other places to visit. If you have never been to the Charleston City Market, it is worth a visit. There was a lot of neat items that people have made there. Pick up some of Byrd’s famous cookies and Charleston Plantation Tea while you are there! Also check out Rainbow row while in the area and be sure to snag a picture in front of the iconic homes. There is so much more to explore that I will hopefully get to see next year!

Links:

https://www.hymanseafood.com/

https://www.thecharlestoncitymarket.com/

http://www.byrdcookiecompany.com/category/cookies

I will have this post under my travel section of my website so be sure to check it out if you plan to run Cooper River 2020.

https://queenbeastfitness.com/category/travel/

A Once In A Lifetime Run

This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to run the once in a lifetime Road To Gold: A 2020 Test Event. This run was the last 8 miles of the 2020 Olympic Team Trials Marathon. It was an amazing opportunity for Olympic hopefuls to preview the trials course they will be running on next year. The 2020 Olympic Team Trials held in Atlanta will send 6 Americans to Tokyo for the Olympic Games.

This course featured the best hills Atlanta has to offer. We started near Centennial Olympic Park where the 1996 Olympic games were held and then made our way through midtown then past the Olympic rings back to Mercedes Benz stadium. In my personal opinion though, I couldn’t imagine running this course for 26 miles. However, if you are fast enough to qualify for the Olympics, I assume hills are not a worry.

This was the first time I ran since getting sick last week so I was a little rusty. I purposely took it slow in the beginning because I knew I needed to hold out for 8 miles. I was making great time until after mile 6. I was 1:09 at mile 6 and then after that it was like my body decided to give up. Before I got sick, I had made a goal of 1:30. I was 7 minutes off from that goal so I finished in 1:37:01. That’s still one of my best times for a long run. I was 99 out of 113 in my age group. There was tons of fast people at this race.

I have learned my lesson though that I can’t run a long run and then wake up the next morning and run a 5K. I decided months ago I would sign up for the Run Your Bundts Off 5K which was Sunday after the 8 miler. It sounded like a good idea at the time I registered but at the day of race, it was a terrible idea. I was sore and physically tired so I didn’t have a good race. However, I still got a really neat shirt, a mini bundt cake and a medal.

This weekend we are running closer to home so hopefully we will get to see some friends we haven’t seen in awhile!

Run The Reagan Recap

Does anyone else feel like they need to start 2019 over again? I feel like it has been a long year already and I know we are just heading in to March. After the 10K this past weekend, I came down with a cold. I have been trying so hard to avoid this but there’s no way to truly avoid it. I work around germs all day long so no amount of hand sanitizer can shield you from it. At least it’s just a head cold and nothing more but even a common cold takes everything out of you. I haven’t ran this week and that has bothered me so much. Y’all can laugh at me but I googled, “how long does it take to loose endurance”? Google says after two weeks of no activity, your body starts declining the endurance you have worked to build up. Thankfully its only been a week and I have 11 miles this coming weekend so I can make up for it. I may be as slow as a turtle because I can’t breathe but I am going to give it my best shot.

Enough about sickness, this past weekend I had a huge achievement. I had a PR on a very hilly 10K course called Run The Reagan in Snellville. I was told before I got there that it would be hilly so I already had my mind wrapped around taking it easy. I knew going out it was downhill so I decided I would run as fast as I could the first 3 miles. Even the first 3 miles though had some inclines to have to get up which surprisingly didn’t slow me down. At mile 3, I was 29:58 and mile 3.1 (the turnaround point) I was 30:55. That’s a pretty awesome time for a race with so many inclines. Couldn’t stop there though, I had 3 miles back uphill. Mile 4 I started to think, wow, if I don’t stop, I am going to have a huge 10K PR. Then I hit the second big hill and those dreams quickly disappeared. However, a little after mile 5, I looked at my watch again and was still on track for a PR. How in the world, I can pull that off on a hilly course is beyond me. My friends came back to run with me the last half mile which thankfully they did because I was beat and needed the motivation. I can only motivate myself so much so I really enjoy having friends come back after me when I need it the most. Towards the end of the race is when I always want to give up because I am tired and hurting. With a little downhill boost to the finish, I PR’d with a 1:07:54 knocking a minute off of my best time. I was 4 out of 18 in a 10 year age group. I looked at the results and I would have been 2nd in my age group if it had been the normal 5 year age groups. Regardless, I was very pleased with my performance and time. I felt strong the entire race which is an awesome feeling. This race ended February’s races and now we are on to March.

We have a big race this weekend and next weekend we will be closer to home. I don’t think we have anything else planned in March, but we are looking and I’m sure we will have a full schedule before too long.

A little update on my yoga classes, they are growing!! March classes start next week and I hope to have a full class again. Spring is such a fun time for yoga because people are wanting to get fit for the summer months so if you are looking for a great workout at a low cost, come see me! All of the information can be found on my Facebook. Thanks to everyone who supports my classes. I really do appreciate it and I look forward to Wednesday evenings.

Look for a new post next week on our big race this weekend. Hope to see y’all on the road!

If You Want The Rainbow, You Gotta Run In The Rain

I’m in serious need of sunshine! This rainy weather is making me want to lay around and do nothing. I am pretty sure I have looked at the weather channel more this week then I have in my entire life. I keep refreshing hoping it will change and they will show a break from this drizzly dreary weather! I don’t think there is any hope for that this weekend though. As of now, it looks like it’s going to be a rainy one. This weather can easily make you want to give excuses but sometimes you just have to push past it and go. When I left work today, it was raining but I was determined that no matter what I would run. Once I got to the park though it had stopped and I got my run in before it started again. I have been working really hard, trying to get that rainbow, so I didn’t want to waste this week because of the weather. Now that I have been running more consistently, I have noticed how some runs can leave you feeling like all you are doing is struggling and some leave you feeling great. I always want to get frustrated on my struggle runs but I have learned that regardless every run makes you stronger.

Since my last post, I have ran two awesome 5K’s. The 5K we ran a few weekends ago was called the Super Sweetie 5K in Cumming. The course description said it was flat and fast, however I didn’t believe it would be. I had my doubts because I have learned race descriptions are sometimes not accurate. I was wrong though, this one was flat and fast. It was ran along a greenway and finished with an elevation drop. I loved this course, I wish I lived closer so I could run it more often. I came so close to the 29 minutes in this race. I actually saw it on the clock as I was coming towards the finish line. If only a 5K didn’t have to have the .1, I would have gotten the 29. I finished in 30:25 and placed 2nd in my age group. I was making killer time at mile 1 and 2 but I couldn’t hold on to that speed for mile 3. In the past two months, I have trained myself to run 3 miles without stopping. However, I still struggle with my speed on the last mile. I hope to try again in a few weeks on a flat course to see what time I can get. I feel like I am so close, that I can’t let things get in my way now. I won’t stop until I get it.

This past weekend we ran the Kupcakes & Kandy 5K in Suwanee. I knew before I ran that morning that my body was tired and I probably wasn’t going to run very well. The race also had more inclines then I remembered. I ran a 32:50 and I still don’t know where I finished in my age group. I assume I was forth or fifth but the guy who times these races never shows age groups. There were tons of cupcakes and candy after the race for all runners. I like themed races like these because it’s something we don’t have with the races near home. It’s nice to run something different every now and then.

We will be back closer to home in a few weeks though, so hopefully we will see some friends we haven’t seen in awhile. Hope everyone finds something fun to do this weekend even if it’s not perfect weather conditions!

Cupcake Road Race Recap

Image result for cupcake road race

You wanna know what people love more then cupcakes? They love DOGS! If you let the world know that a race is benefiting animals, over 600 people will show up! I include myself in there, because typically I will run a race that benefits dogs over anything else. Saturday’s Cupcake Road Race in Cumming benefited the Atlanta Humane Society. There are actually several runs out there that benefit AHS and AHS themselves have a lot of great fundraisers for their animals such as Puppy Yoga! We have been to their Puppy Yoga and it’s so much fun!

As you can tell from the name alone there were a lot of perks to this race. You got a shirt, finishers medal and cupcake for running the race. Jimmy Johns also gave mini sandwich’s out to all runners.

I knew going in to the race, the course was hilly. It’s ran along Ronald Reagan Blvd in Cumming. I didn’t expect to be able to run it the way I did. The course had two long hills in it and typically I will finish in 33 or 34 minutes on a hilly course but I finished in 31:14. I really want to know what I can do on a flat course if I did this on a hilly one. I was 7 out of 44 in my age group which is awesome for how many people there was.

I have a few more fun races coming up in the next few weeks! Lots of time will be spent on the road. While most are probably ready for Spring, I am hoping it stays cool for a little while longer. I need some more time to train in what I call the perfect running weather.