So a couple weeks after the first race of the season I have finally gotten around to getting my thoughts down on “paper”. I have run this race multiple times but had to miss the past two years due to schedule conflicts from school, but the excitement from getting to run this year was awesome. For those not familiar with the race it is a 10K road race that starts in Mt. Pleasant, SC, runs over the Cooper River Bridge and finishes in historic downtown Charleston. The energy at this race is unlike any other that I have raced before. It is run on a 4 lane highway with about 39,999 of your closest running buddies and a band playing on the side of the road about every .25 miles. Logistically this race is kind of a nightmare being that it is a point to point race with thousands of other runners that need a ride, navigating the scene can be a challenge but we had a great support crew in the form of my cousins Wayne and Sandy, actually without them the race would not have been nearly as enjoyable. I also go to enjoy the event with my brother, Justin, who we just celebrated his return from “Afghaniland” after a 1 year deployment (thank you for your service!). Also in the group is Justin’s girlfriend Ashley (brunette) and her friend in dental school Erin.
So once they got us to the starting line about 6:30am (race start at 0800) and we had plenty of time to snap some pictures, get stretched out, do some people watching and get ready for the gun to go off. Just as I made my way to the corral I heard the announcer mention the top three seeds for the males and females. The surprising/very cool announcement I heard was that the#2 seeded female was Lexington, KY’s very own Allison Morgan and only a short 33:57 later she crossed the finish line in 9th place.
This was the first year I got to start with the other front runners and so I was able to cross the start line just a couple of seconds after the gun went off. However my brother and the ladies were not as fortunate, they got to the line about 13 minutes after the gun. But anyway this gave me a huge advantage over previous years because I was able to get a quick start with little traffic. The first mile was adrenaline and GU fueled with a slight downhill that allowed me to clock the first mile at 5:35, also my fastest mile of the day. The second mile finished just at the base of the bridge starting an uphill mile and the third mile was finished out on the downhill side of the bridge. Once the uphill started the runners began to separate and the crowd began to thin. This is when my lungs started to burn a bit and the legs could feel the incline. Once the pain started it didn’t really stop the rest of the race. Which can be expected in such a short race, the entire thing should be all out. After the halfway point (3.1km at ~18:20) I settled into my rhythm and it was smooth-ish sailing from there. After the pinnacle on the bridge there was a slight decline to the dead flat of Meeting Street. Once the little group that I was in hit the streets they started to pull away a little bit and this is where the mental games started with just over 2 miles to go. The pain in my legs was there with the demoralizing view of runners pulling away from me but I did not want to cross the finish line just a couple seconds over my goal time (37:00) so I gritted the teeth and pushed through the final two miles in a time of 36:54.
By no means is this a blistering time but it was a personal best of mine at the 10K distance and good enough for a top 25 in my age group. I think that with some more speed work and strength training drills I can gain some speed and translate it over to my 70.3 races this year. Special congrats to the girls who both had a solid run in along with Justin who, after being away form the races for a year, came back strong with a solid finish.
Another thank you again to Sandy and Wayne for all the help with transport for the entire day, along with all their hospitability hosting me for the race. Looking forward to the race again next year!