Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a marathon runner. The Cooper River Bridge Run was my first race beyond an ill-fated attempt at middle school track and field. I’ve definitely considered running races before — I even gave my credit card information to Relay for Life before wimping out. But on Saturday, I laced up my running shoes, headed to Mt. Pleasant, and finally followed through on a lifelong goal. If 40,000-plus people, including parents pushing strollers, little kids, and people in wheelchairs can do it, why couldn’t I?
I went to sleep before 10 p.m. on a Friday — which hasn’t happened since before the middle school track days — and woke up feeling surprisingly excited. But the race wasn’t ready for me yet. I should have paid more attention when signing up because I didn’t realize how long I would be waiting to actually start the race. I also didn’t realize how cold I would be in my new workout clothes. But the down time made me eager to get moving. A 10K sounds like a feat, but once I got started, I couldn’t help but feel encouraged by the crowds on the sidelines, the volunteers handing out cold water, and the masses of people running with me.
With their help, I ran my ass off. I blasted my workout playlist and counted down the miles. I jogged the whole time but was passed by so many people it’s not even funny. A spritely preteen even whizzed by me with ease. But I finished. I ran under that damn yellow banner and did a little fist pump, Jersey Shore style.
Later that evening, after my feet stopped pulsating under my two pairs of thick socks, I couldn’t help but order two margaritas instead of my usual one to congratulate myself. Maybe I’ll have to come back next year to show myself — and any pre-teen trying to pass me — that I can do even better.