Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reunited with Charleston, SC

What a fast, but amazing handful of days! Back in March, Small Town Guy and I took a few days and headed south. We headed away from the relentless winter of 2014/2015 and headed to the state that makes my soul happy - South Carolina.

I lived in SC for two years (what feels like a lifetime ago). I still can't believe that I am back in the amazingly cold, yet beautiful landlocked state of Pennsylvania. Before you tell me Lake Erie is nearby, I will reassure you Lake Erie is NOTHING like the ocean or even the views along the creeks and waterways of SC. Yes, there is plenty to see and do in my home state of Pennsylvania, but it is cold and dreary here more often than it isn't, especially this year.
I have a list of things I want to see in Pennsylvania, but South Carolina just makes me genuinely happy.

Our trip was based around the 38th Cooper River Bridge Run. This would be my first. We would meet up in Charleston with my Aunt and Uncle and some of their friends. This was not my Aunt's first time across the bridge.

Our first stop was at my bff's house. She lives two hours from us. We went there when Small Town Guy got home from work. We would have a brief visit with them and catch up on their recent vacation, and then off to try and sleep. I usually sleep amazingly well at her house, but not so on this night. Much too excited to be returning to South Carolina. It had been 14 years since I moved back home.

{{"Framily" is the BEST!}}

Our first photos of the trip were in West Virginia. The sun is up and the mountains can be seen.

Sheetz!! A pit stop for the car and for us!

We prepared and packed for a road trip. We were far better prepared for a road trip than I was for a 10k run. Our first stop would be on the western side of South Carolina, where we would stay with some family. What a special afternoon, evening, and early morning. It was a quick visit, but memories were made and hearts were touched! We couldn't have asked for anything more. That isn't true. We didn't get any pictures, that is the one thing that we missed. We have the memories and are grateful for the hospitality extended to us.

We stayed with my Great Aunt and Uncle. They opened their home to us and had a dinner party for us. It was kinda neat being so far from home, but still having so much family in one place.  We were no sooner in the door and my Great Uncle had Small Town Guy off in another room. He is loved and that makes my heart smile. That evening, a few of us went into downtown Greenville so Small Town Guy would be able to experience both sides of the state. Greenville is such a charming and enjoyable city. Small Town Guy's favorite part was all of the live music in the restaurants and shops (I knew it would be!)

Sleep didn't come nearly as easily as I thought it would this night. Excitement and exhaustion were keeping me awake. Weird right? Not a good thing to be just a couple days out from a 10k and already sleep deprived. Onward we go though! Friday morning was upon us and we said our thank yous and goodbyes and headed out. First stop...Waffle House! Small Town Guy needed the whole southern experience ;)

We met up with my Aunt and Uncle and friends. We did lunch, race packet pick up and race expo fun, dinner, a night in with games and banjo playing, and an attempt to get some sleep with an early wake up time. The three of us participating in the 10k were up and at it early. Headed to Mount Pleasant for the race start! I couldn't believe I was there and had no idea how amazing of an experience was in front of me.

My aunt, a great friend of hers, and me.
Guess who lives in the south and who doesn't?
Starting time is drawing near!

A look at the starting line from the back of my starting wave.
Crazy to think how many folks had already started the race, and even crazier to think that the person that won the race, finished BEFORE my wave EVER STARTED!

I wasn't prepared for the race, mentally or physically.  Winter had been rough and I hadn't been training the way I should. I knew I wouldn't cross the finish line with the goal I had set when I registered for the event. I also knew I didn't stand a chance at an awesome finish time, so why not enjoy the total experience and do my best to have fun and hopefully have a time that I would be able to live with.

10k = 6.2 miles = 2 5 k's = one 5k followed by another. I've totally got this. Run/walk the first 3.1 (besides a good portion of this part is UPHILL) and do my best to run the second 3.1. Ultimately all that mattered was crossing the finish line in the upright position on my own power.

I moved out of SC before the the present day Cooper River Bridge was constructed.  I had seen pictures, but nothing could have prepared me for the beauty and awe of the experience. So many great places and sights with great memories attached to them. I would see them all soon. I would see them all while putting one foot in front of the other.  I would soon step foot on Charleston City streets, not because I drove to the city to see something, but because I had just walked/ran 5 miles to get there, with the last mile going by some of my favorite sights.  I had no idea how overwhelming any of that would turn out to be.  I had no idea how hard that last 1/2 mile would be. I had no idea how GOOD a freezer pop would taste (thank you to the kind soul that thought of such a great idea). I had no idea how much pain was in my foot until I slowed to enjoy the sights of King Street. I had no idea how cool it would be to hear my name over the P.A. system after I crossed the finish line. I had no idea watermelon could taste so amazing.  I had no idea how exhausted I would feel or how amazing it would feel to collapse into Small Town Guy's embrace when we met up at the finish party!  I FINISHED!!! I finished 17 minutes slower than the original goal I set when I was delusional and thought I would force myself to run all winter.  I finished in under two hours and I will take it. 

My Aunt and our friend finished too!

I, did, hurt my foot along the way and walking would be painful and difficult for a few days, but I finished!!!

Our group was reunited after everyone finished, and with hop a long cassidy in tow, we walked around the finish party and to the vehicle on this side of the finish. Up next would be showers and a trip to the beach.  A trip to put my toes in the water and get some fresh seafood! But first, let's look at event photos, shall we?

 Aw, Shem Creek. The location of the restaurant where I had my first lobster...MANY moons ago!

A look at Shem Creek.

 MUST love the people that make you laugh along the way!

ON the bridge!!!!

Live entertainment lined the course!

Some people ran in costumes! MUST love these people too!

Looking over and back at Patriot's Point.

Looking BACK! On the downhill side now.
Just a few more....MILES to go!

2.2 miles until the finish...

Run now, wine later....YES, PLEASE!!!

LOVED this firehouse when I lived in SC. What a welcome sight, I'm almost there!

The word "finish" never looked so good!

LOOK! KISS ran too!
Too Cool!

Event SWAG!


Too cool!  There are still moments when there are no words for the experience.
I was back in Charleston with my Aunt and Uncle and I had the opportunity to share the city I love with Small Town Guy - what a great weekend. To make it better, we made some friends and lots of memories!

I have learned so much from running and the adversity that I have faced in the last year.
One step at a time.
I am so much stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other...
(and wait for the post about the beach)

Thank you to EVERYONE that made our weekend in SC possible and for the memories we made!!!

Hugs from my small town to wherever you may roam!
xoxo Small Town Girl

1 comment:

Everyone loves a little love right? Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and letting me know what you liked or maybe even didn't like. It means the world to me you took the time to visit and comment!