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/

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!

Don’t Stop Believing

I am long overdue for a post. I know I said once I graduate, I will have more time to write but recently life has gotten in the way of that. Not going to lie, there has been plenty of days in the past few weeks where all I want to do is sit and watch TV and do nothing else. I have to give the brain a rest from time to time.

I just want to say, I think 2019 is off to a great start when it comes to my training. I have been running consistently every week to prepare for upcoming races. I have changed the way I train and so far the hard work is showing. It may not show in big ways when it comes to races, but I can see the improvements. The reason I named this post, Don’t Stop Believing, is because that is the song that pops into my head when I run. I sing it over and over again while I run to force myself to keep going. I’m not going to say much about how I am training or my training times but I think by the end of March, I should have met my goal on a 5K. The big thing right now is trying not to get hurt or sick. I am doing everything I can to prevent either of those things from happening.

Speaking of races, we have been on a rocky start for January. Don’t get me wrong, all of the races we have run so far have been great races but they are not what I want for good clock times. We ran a race on January 1st in Cumming and the description for the course said flat and fast. It was the hilliest flat course I have ever ran. The weekend after that I knew the course was going to be hilly so I signed up for the 8K to get in a few extra miles since I wouldn’t have a good time on the 5K. Two weekends ago I finally got to run on the Atlanta Beltline again. The Beltline is one of the best things to be designed in Atlanta. Once you get on the Beltline, the entire pathway is flat. They are not completely done with the Beltline but what’s there so far is awesome! Along the Beltline are restaurants, the Ponce City Market, breweries and high end apartments. It’s a great up and coming area. This past weekend we ran the Chilly Willy half marathon and 10K in Sugar Hill. I once again chose the longer distance because I knew the course was hard. I placed third in my age group which is unusual for races near Atlanta.

I have some pretty cool races coming up in the next few weeks. I am no longer going to post where I am racing at from now on so if you want to know please just message me.

These days I may just pop up wherever so I hope to see you all out on the road soon!

Cooper River Bridge Run Recap

This past weekend I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in Charleston. The Cooper River is the third largest 10K in the US and it did not disappoint. Everything about this run reminded me of the Peachtree Road Race, just a smaller version. The streets were filled with spectators and there were live bands on every corner. I have had this race on my bucket list for awhile and now it’s on my list of races I don’t plan to miss in 2019. It was an awesome experience and the whole thing was very well organized.

Expo: 

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We drove up on Friday morning to Charleston to attend the expo. The expo was so easy to get in and out of. We went during lunch and was able to get right in with no lines. I’m glad we went when we did, I heard the later it got in the afternoon, the busier it got. I love going to expos and this one was one of the better ones I have gone to. We were able to pick up some pretty cool swag. We received a very nice bag, race t-shirt, and towel with the design of the shirt which had a cute pelican on them. There were also lots of free samples that we were able to taste test. Overall, it was a very nice expo and I heard that it gets better every year. One thing about this run is they take security very seriously. We came out and the Charleston swat team was there in the parking lot. I really wanted to take a picture with them but my friend freaked out and said no that’s embarrassing. She clearly knows nothing about a runners selfie life. Granted, she is not a runner. I tried to explain to her that it’s very common as a runner to take pictures with anything and everything. She still didn’t understand.

I had to bribe this friend of mine with concert tickets to see her favorite singer who happened to be in Myrtle Beach the night before the run. I didn’t want to go alone to the race, so it was the only way I could get her to come with me. I know this is going to sound crazy but we drove to Charleston, got my packet, drove another two and a half hours to Myrtle Beach for the concert, hoped back in the car and drove back to Charleston. We got in around 2 am and I only had maybe thirty minutes of sleep before the 4 am wake up call.

Race Day: 

IMG_92344 AM comes way too fast especially when you decide sleep is not important. The Bridge Run buses everyone to the start line. Buses started running at 5 AM and they warn you that lines can get long so get there early. We were there before the buses and was able to get a great parking spot. I have never seen so many school buses before in one place. There had to be over 100 buses that pulled up all at once. Crazy thing is, there were three other pick up spots throughout Charleston. We stayed in North Charleston so we were picked up at the convention center. I had a friend who just moved to South Carolina come meet me at the hotel the night before and we drove together to the buses. We were there so early, we made it on one of the first few buses to depart and even got interviewed by ABC news.

We arrived at the start line pretty early so we stood around people watching to see if we could find anyone else from Georgia. We did find a few friends, which was awesome. They wanted everyone in their corrals by 7 am. We hung around a little longer before having to be separated in different corrals because the race didn’t start until 8 am. Only bad thing about these larger races is you have to wait so long once you get there. At least it wasn’t freezing cold or raining because there was no jacket wearing. There was a nice little breeze which is to be expected when you are so close to the water. As I mentioned above, Charleston was spot on with their security measures for the race. I looked up and there on top of the apartment buildings was the swat guys. They were also lined up along the corrals on the ground. They even had four helicopters that kept circling over with army guys to keep us safe. In a way, you feel extremely safe and then in another sense you become a little paranoid because you know why there are having to be so cautious. Regardless, they all did a great job and it was nice to see them along the entire course.

IMG_9240Ok, now on to the actual race. I was in corral G, so I got started about 8:20. I was proud to know, I wasn’t in the last corral. It was an awesome course, except for the hill going up the bridge. I was so entertained the entire time, I barely noticed the hill. I was able to make it a little over a mile before it came to a halt. If you are not in the first few corrals, you will get blocked when going up the bridge. Everyone is stopping to take pictures and selfies along the bridge. It’s understandable because you get a dang good background. That was my favorite part getting to run over the bridge. Once over the bridge its downhill and then flat roads through downtown Charleston. Plan to run the entire last mile because so many people have lined the streets to cheer you on you can’t help but try to bust it one last time through those downtown streets. Let’s just say, I finished. I didn’t have a terrible time, 1:24 considering no food and sleep. Next time, I plan to stay a few days and not go to any late night concerts.

One great thing about this 10K is they give finishers medals. If you can run really fast, you also get a really cool bridge award that looks exactly like the Cooper River Bridge. You also can win several thousands of dollars. Anyways, I got the medal and then a doughnut haha. They had two big Krispy Kreme trucks there handing out doughnuts at the end. There was also muffins, containers of watermelon, and bbq sandwiches. I missed the sandwiches because they were sold out by the time I got there. Oh well I grabbed my doughnut and tracked down my friend for pictures. Check out our finishers pic!

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I will definitely be back next year. It was an awesome race that I am still talking about.

The next few weekends we are running 5K’s near Atlanta. If you are near the Braselton area this weekend, come see me at the Wildflower Market. I will be there from 3-4 on Sunday teaching yoga.

See you out on the road!

 

 

 

 

 

In Their Shoes 10K

This past weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday morning we ran the In Their Shoes 10K in Athens for the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support. I was hoping for cool weather for this one since it was 6 miles and hilly but it decided to turn back warm. At least it was misting rain so it kept the sun from bearing down on us. They gave us a break on the first mile with no big hills. I laughed out loud when I went up the first hill because of how steep it was. I drive this hill all the time but you never notice how steep a hill is until you are not in a car. I was already tired before I started this race so the hills defeated me on this one. I still had such a great time at this race though. I was able to finally run with one of my friends during the race. She kept me motivated to finish, I would have walked most of it if it wasn’t for her.  I finished in 1:19:37 and was 9 out of 17 in my age group. 

 

 

 

 

 

This coming weekend, I will be running the Spooktacular 5K Saturday night and the Run Your Tail Off Sunday afternoon. I have yoga training all day Saturday so I will miss the morning races. On the plus side I only have two more Saturday training classes after this weekend and only 5 more total weeks left! I graduate December 15th! This week is a long week for me. I have a marathon Yoga training week of four days of training. Thursday, Friday and Saturday is what I have left. If I can just get through this week, I will be on a downwards slope to the finish

Speaking of Yoga, I will start teaching Yoga at Athens Tech starting in January. I hope to get all of that finalized this weekend so look for more information coming real soon.

I am planning a 5K for January called The Frosty Owl 5K benefiting the Athens Tech Alumni Association which I am the President of. The race is coming together nicely. We have an Atlanta vendor coming called Bai which make healthy fruit drinks. They are providing a drink to every runner. I was contacted by one of their reps asking if they could be apart of the race which was really cool. I hope to have more great announcements coming soon! Registration is up on http://blackbagracingseries.com/bbrs-calendar/ – scroll down to January and look for Frosty Owl 5K.  I am super excited about this 5K and I am working hard to make it a great event for all of the runners!