22. Cooper River Bridge Run, 2008

Cooper River Bridge Run Artwork, 2008

Another year, another Cooper River Bridge Run. This year was different because I wasn’t running alone. My friend Ron drove down to Charleston for his very first 10K race, so I went a little slower so I could stick with him. After all, it would be kind of rude to invite him to Charleston and then leave him behind in a crowd of thousands.

Another worry of mine was that the race would take more out of me than in previous years. I hadn’t trained as much as I normally would because I had pulled my Plantar Fasciitis about two weeks prior to the event. It sucked, believe me.

Take my advice: never make the muscles in your foot angry. They aren’t very reasonable, and they take some time to settle down. Fortunately, it’s a pretty common injury and there are time-honored methods for healing up. The first method, of course, is rest. That was tough, but I managed it. Between the ice, the ibuprofen and the lack of running, I managed to get mostly better, although I worried about how the foot would hold up during the race.

The day started rough. An incredibly loud thunderclap woke us up exactly five minutes before our alarm was going to sound, robbing us of precious REM sleep and alerting us to the fact that we were going to get very, very wet.

The day was merciful, though. By the time we cleaned up and went to the car, the rain had stopped pretty much for the day. I live downtown now, so it was easy to get there and I must say that the shuttle busses were running very efficiently. Ron and I got to the start early and easily, and had plenty of time to hang out and catch up.

When the race began, I realized two things. First of all, bicycling to work had maintained much more of my fitness level than I had realized. Second, my foot was feeling fantastic. The rest had paid off, and the new shoes from The Extra Mile were absolutely amazing. Due to these factors, I found myself in the best mood I could remember. Seriously, I was aces all the way. The only problem was that my mood taxed Ron’s patience a bit. He had to deal with me for six miles, (I broke away at the very end to speed up a bit) and it was especially difficult for him on the bridge.

Can you imagine pushing hard to get up a 2.6 mile bridge with a 4% incline while your friend runs backwards in front of you and encourages you to run harder through a ridiculously stupid grin? If so, then you can understand why Ron wanted to punch me in the mouth. Fortunately, Ron actually likes running up hills. It’s a goal he can see. This benefit to his mood, combined with his inability to actually run up and catch me, allowed me to avoid a possibly deserved fat lip.

In the photos that follow, keep an eye out for the costumes. There were a lot of them this year. Also, don’t mind Ron’s “angry face.” He was putting that on during most of the pictures to “look tough.” I think he was joking, but sometimes I can’t tell…

Running Backwards

Running Backwards

Yeah, it was a bit over the top. Ron was working hard and I was intolerably happy and encouraging. I even made him hold the camera to capture the moment. In my defense, I should mention that I was trying out the freshly-healed foot. I even ran sideways for a few steps, just as I did during my Tae Kwon Do years. Of course, now that I’m thinking about it I was pretty lucky.

If there had been a problem with my right foot, then I probably would have found out about it when I turned around. Then I would have fallen down and gotten trampled by thousands of people. Plus, Ron may have stopped on his way past and punched me in the mouth.

Sorry, But I Have to Do It

Taking in the Shorts

I normally don’t make fun of people. Really, ask anyone I don’t work or associate with. (Yes, English majors , that ending preposition was directed at you.) However, in this case I feel that I need to make a Public Service Announcement. What you see above is exactly what it looks like. These two men are both pulling their running shorts into their colons in some bizarre attempt at reverse digestion. It was worse before I took the picture… but trust me, you’re better off with this toned-down image.

This is why you must always ask about the ass-crawling capabilities of any clothing you purchase. In addition, you should stick with darker colors. For example, when the little boy at the water table tried to cool Ron off by slinging a cup of water at his face as we ran past, but drenched Ron’s groin instead, do you think I laughed at my old friend? Of course I did. However, nobody else laughed because he was wearing black shorts. Hot sweat, cold crotch-water, what’s the difference?

Does This Guy Really Need a Segway?

Bagel Segway

Okay, I’ll admit that those things are pretty cool because they balance so well. However, I don’t think it’s really necessary to ride around Marion Square Park in one just so you can hand out bagel coupons. Still, I guess it’s good marketing, right? I mean, we remember the guy, right? And therefore we’ll remember the company, so it’s all worth it. Of course, I didn’t get a coupon, and I didn’t quite get the logo into the picture… and I can’t remember which bagel shop he was from… but hey, we all remember the Segway, right?

Barista Buddies

This is Caitlyn. No, she’s not one of my many supermodel girlfriends. She works with me at the Starbuck’s, which means that she has to put up with me several times per week. (I think the company is going to give her a medal or something…)

Barista Babe

That’s All, Folks

So there’s the race. Ron did extremely well, and my foot held up just fine. In retrospect, it was good that I broke away from him for the last half-mile. The crowd was too dense for me to make much progress (our times are only thirty seconds apart) but he had a stitch in his side from the end of the bridge to the to the Finish Line. He needed to focus, and I really was talking too much. I couldn’t help it, though. Between my energy level, my fully-healed right foot and the general fun of the event, I was just too happy to shut up.