I was been trying to think of how to write this blog post on the way back from Charleston today and I have decided that there are really no words to describe the Cooper River Bridge Run….overwhelming, crowded, awesome, crazy, intimidating, fun? None of them seem to do the the Bridge Run description justice. But all I know is we all had a blast, we all ran the entire thing in and had not too shabby finish times and we all are already planning our return trip and want to make this an annual event. My goal was to finish in under and hour and I did, so I am happy!!!
The Bridge Run itself is a lot to take in and mix it with the fund raising efforts we have been working on for the Joubert Syndrome Foundation and the generosity of our donors…..well, its almost too much to comprehend. On top of the money raised on Facebook, I have had several donations come in over the past few weeks, and my other team members, Ashley and Meredith had quite an impressive collection to turn in. I hope to have some final numbers by the end of the week, but I am very excited about the money we all raised.
We also accomplished another important goal of raising awareness. The three of us girls and Will all had on our J4JS shirts with the Foundation name on it, and my parents were holding a J4JS banner on the sideline towards the finish. We had several people ask us girls about our shirts and even had a guy in Starbucks after the race recognize us (although we had jackets over our team shirts he still remembered the shirts!!!!) and ask what our shirts were all about. So we had lots of opportunities to raise some awareness.
So I guess you all want to get a race re-cap huh??? Ok, Ok……Well the weather was kinda iffy. On the way down it was sunny and beautiful, nice warm SC weather, but the forecast did a U-turn on us and called for some pretty frigid race day temps. I think it was supposed to be 40 or 39 at race time so we stopped at Walmart and got some $5 sweatshirts from the little boys department with the intention of shedding them and leaving them behind just before the race started. I know it sounds wasteful to throw again a perfectly fine shirt but we wouldn’t have survived without them, and there was no way I could run with it tied around my waist. We also picked up some Ascis arm sleeves at the expo….which we almost missed because of the horrific traffic on the way into Charleston. But come Hell of high water we were wearing our team shirts and cute skirts.
Our day started bright and early at 5am. We quickly dressed and headed for the shuttle buses to take us to the other side of the bridge to the starting line. It was crazy to see so many people out at that time of day.
Bright and and bushy tailed on the shuttle
Then it was hurry up and wait. Quick porta-potty stop then go get in line because it was really getting crowded. The race sold out at 38,000 something regular entries and I don’t know how many charity runner entries. When I registered way back in January I was scared to register in any faster pace group than the 1 hour and over because I was running around 11-12 minutes/mile. Will registered in the 45-60min group so we didn’t see him at all until after the race. So we lined up and this was the view in front of us…..
and the view behind us……..Literally a sea of people!!!! So we stood and shivered in the cold for over an hour, but we didn’t care we were too excited.
Brrr it was so cold!!!!
Then the gun went off, and the race started……..and we stood still……slowing inching up to the starting line……..8 minutes later!! Getting 40,000 people moving at one time just doesn’t happen instantly!!! Running is a mass of people like this is something I was not prepared for. At times we were barely jogging, and really could have just walked. But we bobbed and weaved through the crowd and made it to a more reasonably paced group of people. It was frustrating and I spent a lot of energy darting around from side to side. I was not entirely happy with my pace, but there really wasn’t much I could do about it.
I gave the other girls some rinky dink little digital cameras to take pics during the race, but I doubt they (as in the cameras) took very good pictures, I haven’t downloaded them yet. I had my Sony and got a couple pics while running
The bridge….my dreaded nemesis for the last 12 weeks, the thing I have trained for and worried about for countless hours in the end wasn’t too bad. Not nearly as bad as I had made it out to be in my mind. I’m not saying it was easy by any stretch of the imagination, but not horrific.
The bridge was a mile into the run and it started to spread out a little once we were on the bridge. I really can’t remember much from mile to mile, I was pretty obliviously as to the mile markers. I did hear over the PA system that the winner had crossed the finish line when we were about 2 miles into it. That was crazy!!! I was unsure about listening to music or not, but Pandora (the music I listen to on my phone) lost its signal about a mile in, but I really didn’t care, it was nice to take in the sights and sounds around me. I wish I could say I was able to take in the beautiful scenery from the top of the bridge, and I do remember having a euphoric “wow” moment, but I honestly don’t remember what it looked like. The crowd started to bottle neck once we were off of the bridge and back on the street. I had kept up with my girls for the most part up until this point. I could at least see them. But once the crowd got bad again, I lost them and didn’t want to waste my energy trying to find them. I passed some interesting people around this point. A guy in a full gorilla suit, Elvis, a homeless guy running topless who decided to be a race bandit and run with us, lots of walkers at this point, unfortunatley a guy who fell out for some reason and bleeding from the head ( I hope he is OK), people of all ages, sizes, shapes, just a great mixture of people. As we got closer to the finish line, the crowd of spectators got bigger and louder cheering us on. I never did see my parents on the sidewalk and they never did see me. As we rounded the corner headed to the finish line the whole crowd of runners picked up the pace pulling me with them. I remember photographers in the middle of the street, I posed for a couple, then there was the finish line. I was kinda tired by this point, thanking God the finish line was finally here, raised my arms for the classic finish line photo (we’ll see how those turn out!) and breathed a sigh of releif that I really did make it. I was a little emotionally spent, realizing I had accomplished something really big. Not only physically finishing the race, but accomplished my goals of raising money and awareness for Joubert Syndrome. I was about to get overly emotional, but them my girls found me, giddy with the excitment of finishing, and I pulled myself together…….now where was the food and water line?????!!!!! We were RAVENOUS!!!!!!! Our official finish times are:
It was sooooo cold after the race that we really didn’t get to stay and enjoy the post-race festivities, but we met up with the others for some photo-ops and hung out with our families for a little bit.
Then we went back to the hotel and thawed out, hung out with Haley and our parents for a while and just enjoyed the rest of the day. Here are some shots of our shirts
I have a lot more pictures, if you want to see them check them out here.
I feel like I really can’t describe my experience fully, I am still on a high from the whole experience. It is something I will never forget!!!!
Thank you again to everyone who has supported us, volunteered their time, donated to the cause, or spread the word, we would not have accomplished any of this without you!!!! Even though the CRBR is over J4JS will continue on with our fund raising and awareness efforts. I don’t know where we will go from here. I know that I need to come up with a new “plan” on how to run things (no pun intended) I feel like my original plan didn’t quite work out, and spent a lot of time spinning my wheels, causing unneeded frustration. But in the end we were successful and that is all that matter! I think I will take a short hiatus from planning or actively raising money, but I will of course keep running, training, and blogging. I will keep everyone posted on our future activities and plans. Keep on running!!!!!
Don’t forget about the THORLO GIVEAWAY that ends Wednesday.