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Cooper River Bridge Run Race Recap + Weekend in Charleston

Good morning, friends!!! I want to share so much about my weekend in Charleston – the run, the weather, the food, the drink, the experience.

And I also want to talk about bouncing back from a sub-par racing experience and reflect on some things I didn’t do right heading into the race, so maybe it can be helpful to some of you in the future!

For a race where I did things right, I’ll refer you to the Ogden Marathon where I qualified for Boston. 

Race preparation typically begins early in the week before the race, but the final days leading up to it are especially crucial.

For me, I was up early on Friday (to simulate waking for race time) and did a very light shakeout in the morning, and then made sure to stretch and foam roll after. I love this runner’s yoga video.

Since I didn’t have any clients to see, I packed up the car with ample road trip snacks and headed down to Charleston. 


road trip snacks


I picked up a grilled chicken wrap for dinner (carbs + protein) with less vegetables than I would normally get, just to ensure there wouldn’t be any digestive issues come race morning.

Once back to the Air BnB, I laid out my clothes and we were in bed by 10:00. 

Cooper River bridge run outfit

We got up around 5:30 to allow ourselves sufficient time – being rushed in the morning stresses me out bigtime. I immediately caffeinated myself (I do fine with caffeine before a run) and we left around 6 to find parking near the starting line.

The Bridge Run is a HUGE race – there are over 40,000 runners, so just getting transportation scheduled and getting to the starting line can be an ordeal.

Luckily, since we were early, we found parking pretty easily and had ample time to warm up and stretch. I had some rice cakes with peanut butter and banana for my pre-race fuel. 

pre race fuel

I was sure it was going to rain on race day. The forecast was 100% chance of rain showers and thunder storms through noon.

I realized I didn’t pack the most rain-friendly running attire, so I kinda just accepted that the running conditions would be far from ideal, my clothes would be soaked, and I would be freezing!

However, race day morning came and the weather was mild, the rain drops were minimal, and the sun ended up coming out right before the race. #Win. 

pre race photo


We lined up in corrals based on seeded times.

Based on my time from 2011, I qualified for the 45 minutes and under group – though I’m nowhere near as fast as I used to be! Here’s a photo from above of all the people!

cooper river bridge run

My first mile was around 7:10 – a little quicker than I had planned for.

I had so much adrenaline in my blood running with so many people and anticipating the end in downtown Charleston.

But yikes, the next 1 1/2 miles were a gradual incline over the bridge. Safe to say, this totally wiped me out for the rest of the race.

The bridge takes alot out of you but once you get over it, it’s basically down hill from there. But, getting over it is the real challenge!

This is a really cool picture of the bridge.

bridge run photo

I think I was out of it both physically and mentally after the bridge. My legs felt heavier and more tired by the minute. I tried to push through it.

My second mile was 7:40, and then I fell back to 8:10 and 8:15 for miles 3 and 4. I usually save my speed spurt for the last 1/2 mile of races and end on a high note but I had nothing left.

I finished in 48:18, which was slower than my goal but I’m proud that I pushed through the mental barrier I was competing with. 

Not all races are great ones, that’s for sure. And obviously, it was still a pretty memorable experience. We were still pretty psyched to spend the rest of the weekend in Charleston.  


I was able to find Ed pretty quickly among all the people and we headed to get water,  some fruit and a bagel, and see the band play!

cooper river bridge run
cooper river bridge run

What did I learn looking back on this race?

  • I don’t think I hydrated enough. I should have drank more water throughout the week (Like I said earlier, pre-race starts the week before!)
  • Don’t do a speed workout 4 days before the race (DUH) – I think that was a big cause of my heavy legs.
  • I also didn’t sleep great the few nights before the race- sleep has a major impact on performance so that’s my own fault. 
  • More stretching and foam rolling
  • I’m taking a solid few days straight off from running this week to allow my body to recover. 

After hanging out along Calhoun street and taking in the race vibes, we took the shuttles back to Mt Pleasant and grabbed breakfast at Collective Coffee.

I had the omelet with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, queso fresco and I added chorizo. It was a delicious of the carbs and protein my body needed.

postrace breakfast omelet

After showering and napping, we headed back down to Charleston to walk around.

We enjoyed the ample sunshine and started our self-led foodie tour!

cooper river bridge
charleston boardwalk_water

Of course, we walked along the water and through the historic neighborhoods. We started with patio beers at Craftsmen Taphouse (highly recommend for their awesome patio and wide selection of draft beers).

Next up was cocktails at Husk (a MUST if you ever go to Charleston), and eventually dinner at Drawing Room.

For dinner, I had the scallops over locally sourced farro and mushrooms and every single bite was DELICIOUS!

Drawing Room_scallops

I also highly recommend The Macintosh for the best cheesy veggie potato hash!

the macintosh_charleston

On Sunday before leaving, we checked out Vintage Coffee House, which was the cutest place ever.

I had the acai bowl with peanut butter and Ed had the cinnamon bun french toast. Pure bliss.

Vintage coffee_Mt Pleasant

It sure feels good to be home and sleep in my own bed. 

Tonight is the NCAA Championship. Let’s go Tar Heels! (They would get to the finals the year after I graduate!)

How do you bounce back from a bad racing experience? Any tips?

Tell me the best thing you ate this weekend!

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  1. Props to you on finishing anyway! That’s awesome! 😀 All that food looks delicious! :] I might be headed to Charleston with my friend in about 1.5 months! 😀

  2. Ahhh, this is one of my bucket list races! My mom lives right outside of Charleston. One year I need to plan my visit to coincide with the run so I can actually do it. Having walked/run the bridge just for fun before, though, I totally agree that the incline takes a lot out of you!

  3. I loved seeing all the pictures this looks like you had a great time here! I’ve always wanted visit and hopefully I can make it a reality soon! I think you took away great lessons on what worked for you and what didn’t this time. I don’t always do that and I really should.
    I also had not thought of rice cakes for prefuel but it’s a great idea. I do try and eat PB and about a 1/2 a banana so this would work well. Thanks for linking up with us !

  4. Looks like an all around fun weekend with some good eats! Wow, that is a big race. I’m glad the weather ended up being better than expected for you. I have my first 50K this weekend and right now they are calling for snow, rain, and 20-30 mph winds. Ugh! I hope it takes a turn for the better as well.