Race #416 – Cooper River Bridge 10k – Charleston SC – 04/07/18

It’s by far the largest race in the Carolinas, and one of the largest races in the United States with around 30,000 participants each year. I’ve always had it on my radar but for one reason or another I missed it every year until now. This was its 41st year and it’s organized beautifully with every aspect from the expo to the post-race party running smoothly.

For all of its grandeur, it’s a bit much for me so I probably won’t be back anytime soon, but not due to any faults with the race. Lately I prefer being home over traveling, and I enjoy the small local races as much or more than larger destination races.

The race itself was a lot of fun. The bridge was tough and even though I tried to stay within my heart rate goal, I couldn’t do it and keep any momentum at all so I just did my best, walking for 30 seconds or so three different times while going up the bridge. Coming down was a lot easier, of course, and the crowd support in Charleston was great. The post-race party was spectacular, with plenty of free food (I had barbecue, muffins, fruit, watermelon, and donuts) and lots of entertainment.

I’ve lost enough speed over the past couple years that I knew I didn’t stand a chance of placing in the top 3 in my age group, but from past results I figured top 10 was a possibility. I finished 8th out of 386 in the 65-69 age group with a time of 47:58, so I was pretty happy with that. Fortunately I qualified to start in the 45- to 50-minute corral, just ahead of the masses in the corrals behind us so there wasn’t a problem with there being slow people to have to dodge.

My wife Linda’s first race in a while… She did great!

Next week marks the beginning of the Run Gaston series, which is 18 local races in Gaston County where I live. I’m looking forward to settling into the small-town races.

Race Number:  416

Race Name:  Cooper River Bridge 10k

Location:  Charleston, South Carolina

Date:  April 7, 2018

Race Rating:  125

Winners:

Course:

Elevation:  *Note that the elevation as measured by Garmin is not correct because it doesn’t measure the height of the bridge but rather the ground (or water) underneath the bridge.

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  27:58
Pace:  7:43
Age Group:  8 of 386
Overall:  1140 of 27,447
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Rate: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:55 (72.38%)

Thanks to Tim Baucom for catching a photo of me along the course!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
5 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
9 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
10 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
5 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces [remote]: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking [remote]: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
5 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   125

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Race #409 – Charleston Half Marathon – Charleston, SC – 01/13/18

There were a lot of firsts in this race: It was my first race ever in Charleston (not sure why), my first race of the year, my first half marathon of the year, and the first time I’m seriously considering never running another half marathon. I’m actually already registered for three or four more already this year, but I’ll have to see how things go between now and those races. As I write this, the race was about ten days ago and I’m still recovering. Gone are the days that I can run a half marathon and not give it a second thought and be ready to run another one the next weekend.

My race wasn’t exactly terrible although it was slower than any half marathon I ran in 2017. The race didn’t go over the big  bridge so it was almost entirely flat, so I don’t have the elevation excuse. There was a lot of wind and we ran into a headwind for about the final 10 miles of the race, so that slowed me down a little, but I think I’m reaching the point where my main obstacle is age. Next month I’ll be 66 and I’m starting to feel like it. As much as I’d like to be an ageless wonder I don’t think it’s gonna happen, so I’m rethinking my running goals. I’ll probably run a few more half marathons this year, mostly because I’m already registered, but I think I’ll start concentrating on shorter races — mostly 5k — in hopes that I still have some decent races ahead of me. Only time will tell.

Okay, so I haven’t said much about the race itself. It was fine — well organized, nice course (especially the first half of the race), good food afterwards, and nice age group medal awards.

Despite being slower than I would like, I still managed to win the 65-69 age group with a time of 1:48:28 (chip time). That’s 106 half marathons in a row under 2 hours but I have a feeling that streak might end this year.

I should probably finish this blog entry before I complete depress myself to the point of retirement. I’ve got a 4k and an 8k race scheduled for this Saturday, which will be two weeks after the half, and at this point my I’m just hoping my bum knee will allow me to finish the 4k without too much grief. I’ll probably skip the 8k. We’ll see.

NOTE: I accidentally left my Garmin watch at home so I don’t have the normal stats such as elevation, weather, and course map. 

Race Number:  409

Race Name:  Charleston Half Marathon

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Date:  January 13, 2018

Race Rating:  98

Winners:

Course:  Point-to-point flat course around The Battery and through the historic section of Charleston then north for 10 miles, ending in North Charleston.

Elevation:  Not sure of the exact elevation since I forgot my watch, but almost completely flat.

Weather at Start:  Clearing skies after a lot of rain the previous day, temps in the mid-40s that felt colder with the 10-20 mph winds.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:48:28  (chip)
Pace:  8:16
Age Group:  1 of 14
Overall:  319 of 2437
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:24:33 (69.05%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  98

 

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