For today’s run, I took to the Arthur Ravenel Junior Bridge (aka the “New Cooper River Bridge” aka “The Only Incline in the Lowcountry”) which connects Charleston to the faraway and Cary-esque (North Carolina humor) land of Mount Pleasant.
One of the coolest things about living in the NC Triangle (where I spent the past four years) and in Charleston is that these are both very fitness oriented communities. Such a collective mindset can be at times inspiring, humiliating, or depressing depending on which lens you’re choosing to view it through. The Ravenel Jr. Bridge is perhaps the best example of a stomping ground for the active community of Charleston as its pedestrian pathway is frequently packed with runners and cyclists that appear to know what they’re doing (translation: they’re fast, dressed in high end performance gear, and have huge quads). Today was no exception, but I chose to be inspired rather than downtrodden given the fact that it was the day before Christmas after all.
As per usual, I set off from Memorial Waterfront Park (hey, you can’t beat the free parking!) and decided to take the “long way” over to the bridge itself (ie, up Hallmark Boulevard and past the corner gas station where many park to utilize the bridge rather than thru the park walkway directly to the bridge). Surprisingly, I felt solid while running the bridge with its significant (for this area) climbs. In fact, I felt so good that I decided to let loose a bit and treat today as a pace run. Ultimately, I ran the 6.5 mile out and back segment with an average pace of 7:46 min/mile including a 6:38 mile on the 5th mile (which was 75% downhill). FYI these times are extremely fast for me, and I’m only mentioning them for the reason that such above the norm paces (for this guy) put a bit of a bounce into my step and inspired at least a small bit of faith that I can actually survive my marathon coming up in less than a month (yikes!).