Cooper River Bridge Run Fail: Find Me Another 10K Quick!

I was going to publish this tomorrow…. but why wait?

As you probably know if you’re been reading LR for a while, I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K yesterday as a way to kick off my 29th birthday.

Before I tell you about my race, quick congrats to all of my friends that ran! There are too many of them to name but a special shout out to Jeanette on running sub 9 minute miles and to Katie for freaking dominating with an official time of 45.15.

bridge race 2013

Source: Images from a few friends

I had 2 goals for this race: 

The first: To beat Dan’s previous Bridge Run PR which was 52.20

The second: After thinking about my progress over the past year I decided to set a bigger goal… 45 minutes.

I didn’t announce this goal on the blog because let’s face it with a time of just over 57 minutes last year, that is quite a big goal to aim for.

In my training runs I accomplished this 2 times… once with a final time of 43 minutes!

But then add over 38,000 people to the mix, a bridge with a 6-degree slope and 2 lane roads = the idea of such a PR seemed like a toss up. The reason for keeping it personal.

Charleston’s Cooper River Bridge Run Race Day

I stayed at my parents on Friday night because the race is literally 3 miles from their home. By doing this I got over an hour of extra sleep and I was able to avoid the shuttles. Another plus: my grandmother lives 100 yards from the starting line! I parked at her place, sat and chatted for about an hour to avoid the cold before heading out to mingle with the crowds.

starting line

This was the 2nd time ever I’ve done this race without a partner, and to be honest I wasn’t into it. I got to meet some great people around me but it’s nice to have someone to pace with and push forward with.

Once the race started, my mind focused on the music from my  “Bridge Run Playlist” and more importantly, trying to weave in and out of runners/walkers. Because I signed up late, I was stuck in the 8th coral! Meaning, I was not with runners that I could pace with but runners I had to run around.

The first few miles went well, then came the bridge! It was bottlenecked as the lanes merged together. The incline caused runners to suddenly stop running making for more weaving and agility work. I know my time slowed down not only because of the incline but trying to dodge the walkers.

I was thankful to hit the “summit” and start the decline, one lesson I learned from Chris McCormick is to use the decline. Gravity helped me to pick up my pace as I made the transition off the bridge and into downtown. From there it was all flat, just more weaving to endure.

When I saw the finish, I gave it all I had… too bad what I had wasn’t enough.

bridge splits

My official time: 49.47

Pace: 8.01/mile

I beat Dan’s time but was clearly quite a ways off from my goal of 45 minutes. Because I know I can do it, I am pretty bummed by this time. Sure, I took off over 7 minutes from my previous time but knowing how much my running has improved over the year and having the inside deep down knowledge that I could have done it upsets me.

But this made me smile… nothing like being photobombed! I loved that after this picture she proudly stated how cool it is to get photobombed by a Canadian. Okay.


With that said I did learn what I need to do to get better:

The “Get Faster” Plan Of Attack

I realized while I was running a few points of weakness for me that I really need to focus on.

I am terrible at running negatives.

Where miles get faster as you go. I always want to push harder and tell myself that when there are 2 miles left, I will pick up the pace but I just can’t.

Train with more inclines.

Inclines suck, so I avoid them. That’s really stupid because even on flat races, running inclines during training will make me an overall stronger and faster runner. Maybe I should book that trip to India?

Run faster more often.

I have never followed a “training plan”, I run with some sort of structure but it’s not thought out until I go train. Often times I just do what I am in the mood for and let’s face it, running outside of my comfort zone isn’t what I am in the mood for very often. I love the pride you feel when speed work is over though!

Sign up sooner.

I don’t know if I am going to do the run next year, but if I do I will sign up sooner so that I can get into a better starting zone. Starting all the way back in the H-Coral definitely didn’t do anything to help me… this won’t be the case again.

Race more 10Ks!!!!

As the title of this post suggest, I really should run a few more 10Ks during the year! People warned me that aiming for my first 45 minute time was a lofty goal since the Bridge Run is so hard, crowded, and I had a crappy starting position (my corral) and I know they are right.

Even Dan at the finish line told me this race always seems to get the worst of me. Sadly, he’s right. But I haven’t done another 10K before so it’s time to search and sign up for something perhaps in May or June. If you know anything in the South East please share!

Well, now that I have that off my chest I can take a deep breath and prepare for next weekend’s Palmetto70 race… oh, did I mention I have to run the Cooper River Bridge again for that? As Dan’s says: I can redeem myself. Ugh.


On April 13th, 5 of my friends and myself will be tackling 70 miles together in a relay race! I can’t wait for this new challenge. You’ll be able to follow along as we will be tweeting and using hashtag #teamtaylorsswifts along the way!

Is The CR Bridge A Good Race?

In terms of the race itself, it went much more smoothly than last year. I knew it would have to if they wanted to keep the race’s reputation which is why I signed up. The race started right on time. The finish line was set up nicely so that the water and treats where out of the way for runners making their way in.

What I HATE about this race however are many of the “runners”. Along the way, people will suddenly stop dead in their tracks and take pictures.

As I told Dan, they should wake up tomorrow walk the bridge and then take some pictures. Or, sign up to be a walker… this was very frustrating. If you’ve never run this race before but are thinking about it, just realize that the beauty of the run will have people literally stopping in their tracks.

What did you do this weekend? 

When you don’t hit your goals do you try to analyze what went wrong and make corrections? Or do you just move on?


  • Jeanette

    Thanks for the shout out. I was in corral D which was probably better but still had a lot of people who were walking right off the bat. I don’t get it, if you are planning on walking don’t sign up for the 45 – 60 minute corral. I stick to the sides on the bridge and find it easier to go around the walkers. All those runs I did up the longer span really helped me get up the incline even though it was steeper. Curious to see what my Garmin shows, I made a rule to not look at it during the race.

    • I made the same rule, i never look at my watch while I am running. It messes with my mind too much! I agree, they need to move on back!

      But I am really proud of you!

  • cherri mcgill

    I was very frustrated too as my sis signed us up late and we were in the LAST corral…it was horrible!!!!! the main reason being all the walkers with and without strollers were in this corral…even though the DJ said many, many, many times over that walkers were to stay to the right I looked to the left several times and we were inching forward there were strollers in the run lane!!! so I decided as soon as I started to run that I was not doing this race again….getting into Marion square after was a fricking nightmare and just trying to get water was insane…I cant really stand to have people that close to me breathing on me and touching me so needless to say this race was not enjoyable in the least!!!! the only good thing about it was my sister ran the entire way without stopping!!!!!!! so next year NO BRIDGE RUN:(

    • Sorry to hear about the frustrations, but I am there with you, last year probably for me. I think we’re going to do the Cherry Blossom 10 miler next year in DC, wanna come!?

      The BR has just gotten far too big. while i was talking to people around me, NO ONE was from Charleston.

  • First off, I think you did great. Ive heard weaving through that run is totally frustrating. The number of people just scares me! I think you should CELEBRATE breaking one of your goals and shattering your last run time! You’re an awesome athlete.

    • Thanks friend! You’re so positive. I can’t wait for the half next weekend! You’re going to do great. Then we need a coffee date big time!

  • I think the trick is registering as early as possible… also if you can do a 10K and get under 45 to get seeded that’s the way to go. That’s what I’m shooting for personally, if I don’t get a sub-45 before next year I probably won’t do the race next year either, LOL. I just don’t want to mess with the headache of having to wait forever to start, I feel like I would get anxious or something.

    As far as moving on from goals… I’ve had a few disappointing races. Okay, more disappointing than not recently… maybe I just set super high goals? The last one I had that I was truly, truly disappointed was the Charleston Half Marathon, but I had another race that weekend to redeem myself and that helped, so hopefully that will help you too. I try to get over the race itself first and analyze what went on, then start trying to fix it the Monday after the race. Sometimes it really helps to sleep on it, too (don’t know if you’ve slept on it or not yet… with this run being so early maybe ya have!).

    I watched the start on TV and there was a lady in the first seeded corral who seriously looked like it would take her around 55-60 minutes to complete the race, no lie. Nothing against joggers or run walkers or athletes of different shapes or sizes- it’s all good. I just wonder how she got up there.

    • I agree, if i don’t break 45 I won’t do it either. I actually think I am going to do DCs Cherry Blossom 10miler next year which is the same time. Dan said the same thing… he would see some cross the finish before me and wonder how (he didn’t know I was so far back).

      Any 10ks you know of in May or June?

  • Oh and happy birthday! I do know of 10Ks coming up- several actually. But I think you’re already racing on those weekends, unfortunately. There’s one this weekend in Florence.

  • Thanks for the shout out! I think being in Corral C definitely helped me out (versus your corral H…ouch) My mom some how got in Corral A, but she signed up last summer. So it’s definitely all about signing up early.

    I also want to try for the sub-45 corral next year. Let’s find a good (flat!) 10k around here to do soon!

  • Sara

    I am a new reader, so maybe this has been covered before, but I am confused . . . why does Katie call you Kindal on her blog?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This