Monday, March 29, 2010

Part 1: The Run.

Just made it through one heck of an eventful weekend. I never realized I could do what I did this weekend, but once you get in the flow, it all seems to work itself out.

First off there was the Charleston Cooper River Bridge Run 10k. This event in itself is a handful for most. Last year, I had planned on doing the run and then the Ride after the Bridge Run Century hosted by Charleston Bicycle Company. Unfortunately, running was not as easy as it seemed as I pulled my calf muscle badly enough to have me out of commission for about 2 months afterwards. This year, I set my sights on the same 2 back-to-back goals....

As the date for the Bridge Run came near, I found myself nowhere near ready to run the Bridge. After hearing some "hype" from friends stating they were also doing the run, I motivated myself to continue with my plans. I did minimal training for the Bridge Run as I knew as long as I ran slow n steady, I would be able to complete the entire run. Wifey pulled me out for a nice long run and this had me wondering if I should be running at all. Coming up on the day of the event, my long time friend from Myrtle Beach, Jeff Dekleva told me me might not be able to run the event due to a previous running injury. This left me bummed as everyone else I knew who was running the Bridge had backed out or simply decided not to run it. I kept with the plan as I knew once the run started, it didn't matter who else ran since it was just me against the Bridge. Thursday, I received the great news that Jeff was running the Bridge so, Wifey, the Raven and I met up Friday night for dinner with Jeff, his brother David, Kristen and another couple of friends whose names I cannot recall. There was some smack talk as to who was going to win. Based on the motivation factor, my money was clearly on David. We planned on meeting up at Starbucks in the morning, but that was a silly plan altogether which will be explained in a moment. Upon waking early at 6am Saturday morning, I sat there slowly getting my morning started thinking about how smoothly everything was going when I realized I should already be in my car on the way to the event to find a parking spot! I panicked, grabbed my bag of clothes for afterwards, and bolted out the door. I rushed to Old Mt Pleasant arriving around 6:30 am and a ton of traffic! Some of the office complexes had turned into fast cash parking lots and I had no cash, so I went off in search of a secluded place to park the Prius. After finding a spot some blocks away, I jump out into the 45 degree weather and hurry down to Starbucks which was crowded beyond belief. Realizing there was absolutely no way to find Jeff and Co., I hang out close to the crowds for warmth and await the start of the run. 15 minutes before the start, I see the lines at Starbucks diminish and grab myself a small cup of coffee. It went down smooth and easy. I felt great and ready to go! Upon the 5 minute warning, I am walking down the sides looking for a place to jump in when all of a sudden, the announcer simply yells out 3-2-1 GO! I was surprised there was not more of a readiness count, but immediately my lines of entry were cut off. Walkers & runners mixed together and before I knew it, I was jumping the fence to mix in with the rushing crowd. This was eerily similar to last year. I immediately told myself to maintain my excitement and just walk until the start line. The only thing that counted was the chip time anyways. After passing through the start gates, my adrenaline rushed and my legs started running. I held myself in control for the first 2 miles doing a light jog with very little passing unless needed. Upon seeing the Bridge coming up, I noticed large gaps in the crowd because of people who had pushed it too hard in the first mile and decided to open up the legs a little. I started running smoothly up the Bridge with little hesitation. My body felt great and my mind was clear. Passing tons of people at this point, I made the gameplan up to run a strong, but steady jog up to the top and then fly down the backside. Good legs, good plan; it all came together. I reached the top in excellent time, and started my mad out of control dash down the backside. The controlled fall I had discussed the previous night with David worked out to my advantage. The load on my legs was very light as long as I kept the flow moving along. The only problems would be walls of people, which were starting to thin out because of their exhausted efforts getting up the Bridge. I felt great and moved along to the bottom. Reaching the left turn off of the Bridge, gravity took over once again and I felt a little worked from my free-run. I throttled my pace down to a light jog and took the time to recover and get my heartrate down. Reaching the first right turn in the city, I felt once again light on the feet and started a nice steady strong stride passing lots of people once again. Going through the streets felt great and I actually was able to notice the throngs of people standing on the sides yelling and cheering this time around. It was great to not be in pain like I was last year around this time in the run. I was able to enjoy the last few miles with a overwhelming sense of accomplishment and the realization that I can set my sights higher next year timewise. As I reached the quarter mile stretch, I opened up my stride and sprinted to the end just to give it a last second punch. Running through that gate with that amount of energy on reserve was an amazing feeling! I had a grin on my face and my body was humming. I let the post race endorphins rush through my body as I went in search of food and anyone I might know...I found the food, but never found the others...As I wound down, I realized it was still cold and I had to get ready for soccer, so after a 30 minute cool down, I went off in search of a shuttle to my car and ended my Bridge Run 2010.

58:00 runtime was recorded in the official books. I had it marked at 52 minutes by my watch, but that is that...either way, I had a great run!

Go home to rest? Nope.

2 hours later, I found myself standing up running up and down the sidelines coaching at the first of my daughter's 2 soccer games scheduled for the day...Then dinner out with friends that night. That was the longest Saturday, I can recall ever having.....

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