My grandfather recently turned 90, and my family decided to go celebrate with him in Charleston, S.C. And, since it happened to be the same weekend as the Cooper River Bridge Run (a 10K that includes a two-mile bridge connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant), we decided to run it.
My brother, Scott, was in the seeded category, and he finished in a little over 36 minutes. I was in a non-seeded category and it took me… longer.
I did have to walk a bit on the long, long uphill slope of the bridge, but I still finished faster than I did in the Marine Corps marathon 10K. So that was good. Toby also did well (and finished much faster than me, of course).
Also, I ate an avocado-coconut popsicle and Scott and I got our photo in front of the Wienermobile.
Anyway. I noticed some things that I thought might be helpful if you’re participating in any races soon — especially if you haven’t done any before.
1. Get there early. I know it sucks, but parking and transportation usually take a while, there are usually lines for the port-a-potties and it’s way less stressful if you’re lined up in the right place ahead of time.
2. Those lululemon pants aren’t the only workout bottoms that give you a feeling of coverage but actually leave very little to the imagination. I’d recommend checking your rear view if you aren’t trying to show off your striped, polka dot or G-string undies (not to mention any naughty bits left uncovered by said undies) to 40,000 fellow racers.
3. If you’re going to walk, sign up as a walker or at least line up in the walker corral. That’s why they have a walker category. It’s totally fine if you have to stop and walk briefly (I did) or use a run-walk method throughout the race, but it is not fine if you sign up as a runner and line up with the runners and then proceed to slowly walk the entire race. The same goes for time categories — don’t line up with a way-faster-than-you-actually-are category if you can help it.
4. Pay attention to other people. Don’t randomly stop to walk or tie your shoe without checking behind you. Try not to walk (or slow jog) six abreast, unless there is plenty of room for other people to pass you. Don’t leave a person-sized gap between you and a wall and then suddenly lunge closer to the wall when someone attempts to pass you. I think you get the idea.
5. Relatedly, if you’re going to pass someone, try not to cut people off or hit someone with your elbow, etc.
6. Don’t kick anyone in the head while stretching before a race. That may seem kind of obvious, but I saw it happen right next to me on Saturday.
7. Arrive hydrated, and try to stay hydrated. Water stops are annoying and you will likely have to slow down to avoid slipping on discarded cups (I also can’t drink and run at the same time, but you may be more talented than I am), but it’s better than getting dehydrated.
8. Check the rules, and follow them. Sometimes you can run with a stroller, wear your headphones or bring your dog. Sometimes you can’t.
9. Don’t stop as soon as you cross the finish line. You should probably walk a bit to cool down anyway, plus you’re less likely to get knocked down or run over if you keep moving.
10. Have a plan for meeting up with friends or family after the race, particularly if it’s a big race. It can be a lot harder than you expect to find each other, and if you don’t have a plan (or your phone) you may be wandering around aimlessly for a long time.