Office Makeover: Washi Tape Lighting { LED Power Savings } #LEDSavings #Shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

DIY Washi Tape Lighting #LEDSavings #Shop #CollectiveBiasDIY Washi Tape Lighting

My new office is really taking shape, but I had this one thing hanging over my head… quite literally… that I just couldn’t live with.  It was the awful, builder grade brass light that was installed when we bought our house nearly 10 years ago.  It HAD to go!  When #CollectiveBias gave me the opportunity to share a DIY lighting project and the benefits of LED Power with you guys, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to kiss that ugly, brass monstrosity goodbye!

Update Office Lighting #LEDSavings #CollectiveBias #ShopStep 1 – Gather the Supplies

I headed out to Target just to take a look around.  I was hoping for some inspiration.  I already had these cool wall art pieces I made a few weeks ago, and I knew I wanted to keep the yellow going, so I was really looking for anything to give me some ideas on how to make that happen.  I saw a pretty neat, very contemporary shower curtain in yellow, white and gray (it may make an appearance later as curtains) and decided that contemporary was definitely the way to go.

GE LED Power Office Lighting #LEDSavings #CollectiveBias #ShopWhile in Target, I grabbed some of the new GE LED Energy Smart Light Bulbs to use in my new space.  I saw them on display at the end of an aisle and, based on how they had been picked through, knew they were going to be wildly popular.  LED Power means that these bulbs will last!  1 LED bulb lasts as long as 15 traditional incandescent bulb (hello, #LEDSavings ), they stay cool to the touch (very important with lamps and kids!) and they’ll give my office that “soft white” glow that I love.

DIY Washi Tape Lighting Assembly #LEDSavings #Shop #CollectiveBiasStep 2 – Put It Together

I ended up trolling a local home improvement store to get a bigger selection of light fixtures, and happened to find this really cool matching pendant and floor lamp.  The best part – both were less than $40 total!  I had left over Washi tape from my canvas project and had the best idea…

While I could’ve hung the pendant just as it was, and tossed the lamp in a corner without a second thought, I liked the idea of pulling in some of the yellow I was using around the space.  Knowing that I was using the LED power bulbs (remember, cool to the touch), I knew I could use the Washi Tape without worrying about it melting.

I started the process of assembling both fixtures (not nearly as complicated as it looked) and then planned out where I wanted to add yellow.  I used thinner Washi tape on the edges of a few pieces and added thicker strips of the chevron Washi tape randomly throughout.  While I stuck to one color, you could really get crazy here… you could use the whole rainbow if you wanted to!

Washi Lighting #LEDSavings #CollectiveBias #ShopStep 3 – Hang It Up/Stand It Up

Depending on what fixtures you end up with, your set up may be as easy as plug and go, or it might require a little wiring (as my pendant light did.)  Either way, use your senses when it comes to electricity and get professional help if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Hanging lights is a pretty easy job, just remember to always, always, always turn off the power at your breaker box before you start messing with any wiring.


What do you think?  Isn’t it cute?  I love the little pop of color the Washi tape adds and that the cool touch of the GE LED Energy Smart Light Bulbs let me use it!  I can’t wait to share full shots of the office with my new lighting, but I don’t want to give away anything before the big reveal.

Do you have a space in your home that needs a lighting makeover?  How could you benefit from the cost savings of using GE LED Energy Smart light bulbs?  You can grab a $2 off GE LED Energy Smart light bulbs coupon on Target’s website.

You can check out GE Lighting through the following outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the GE Website.

Also, you can grab a printable coupon for GE LED Energy Smart Light Bulbs by visiting this page.

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 20 Comments

Office Makeover: Operation Wall Color {And Sweet Savings At Home Depot} #Sponsored #SpringIntoSavings

This post is sponsored by and Home Depot.  Thoughts and opinions shared in this post are those of Mama.Mommy.Mom. and no one else.

Last week was a crazy full week, and HUGE progress was made on my office makeover project!  One of the biggest, most immediately noticeable changes was the huge addition of some much needed color to the walls!  I’ve known for a while now that I wanted my overall color scheme to be gray, yellow and white – and I knew I didn’t want to leave the walls white.  After some serious consideration and much mental and Pinterest planning, I decided that gray would be my wall color of choice.  Do you have any idea just how many shades of gray there are?

Home Depot Giveaway Painting Office Makeover MamaMommyMom #adAfter cruising the paint aisles at Home Depot (over and over and over) and picking up samples, walking around with samples, Facebooking pictures of samples… I finally landed on Concrete Gray.  It’s a Martha Stewart color, mixed in a Glidden base.  Since I was painting on white walls, I decided to skip the paint plus primer and just go for straight up eggshell paint.  I also left Home Depot with a full painting kit, plastic drop cloths and an edging roller.

Home Depot Painting Office Makeover MamaMommyMom #adOf course, I had some help with my project.  The boy was there to help me with the painting, and Kitty-Kitty was an excellent supervisor (I was just grateful that he didn’t rub up against the wet walls.)  The Glidden Paint was a low odor paint, and honestly I couldn’t smell it at all.  I don’t think any of us could.  It went on nice and smooth, and did an excellent job covering in one coat.  Yay!  With my assistants in tow, including the trip out to Home Depot for the paint, this was a half day project.

The next project on the agenda is updating the lighting.  As you can see above, that builder-grade dining room fixture needs to go – and it will in tomorrows update!

In the meantime, Home Depot and want to give you a chance to save a little cash on your current or upcoming home improvement projects and enter to win one of  150 $20 Home Depot gift cards they’re giving away this week!  Just head over to the Home Depot page on or click the image below to enter.  50 gift cards will be given away each day 4/21 – 4/23 and you can enter daily!

In addition to this great giveaway, Home Depot is also offering $10 off purchases of $100 or more now through Sunday, April 27th using the promo code SPRINGHD

I can’t wait to share more of the office makeover with you tomorrow when we talk lighting!  What home improvement projects do you have underway or in the planning stages for this Spring/Summer?

Posted in For the Home, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Pageants, Furniture Assembly and Boom Boom Balloon { Stress Me Out! }

It’s been a week… a very long, yet incredibly short week.  Stress levels have been high, and despite productivity being high too, there are so many things I didn’t get to mark off of my to-do list.  Will I ever feel like I’m truly caught up?  Probably not.

Pageant MomI started the week dragging a bit.  Girlie had a pageant late Sunday afternoon and we didn’t get home until bedtime.  We were thoroughly exhausted – both of us.  She did amazing (well, amazing for us) and came away with  a Queen title, full round crown, huge trophy and a sash.  She was a happy, happy girl.

I’ve had a few readers ask about the pageants we do and how expensive/time consuming/difficult it is.  Short answer is this: It is what you make of it.  For us, it’s not terribly expensive.  We do a “natural” circuit most of the time, and usually no more than 1 pageant every 1-2 months and fees for each are between $75-$120.  We have one go-to formal dress that I scored for $60 off the clearance rack at a dress shop.  We don’t go crazy with our casual wear, rather we stick to things that can just become a part of Girlie’s regular wardrobe post-pageant.  I don’t do crowds or strangers well, so it’s incredibly stressful for me.  I’m grateful that my sister actually enjoys this stuff and has taken the lead with pageant prep for Girlie.

Staples Desk Assembly AmeriwoodMany hours of my “free-time” this week have been spent with a screw driver in hand and a set of instructions by my side.  I’ve seen enough cam locks and finishing nails to keep me for a while.  I’m sure I’ll be sucking random nails and screws up with my Dyson later this week.  Thus far, I’m just impressed no one has stepped on one.

My new office space is almost complete!  Furniture assembly aside, it was really a pretty quick process.  Definitely not without stress, but quick.  I’ve got painting and lighting project shares tomorrow, and a review of the furniture itself (plus a giveaway) on Tuesday!  I haven’t decided if I’m going to share pictures of the full office yet… I’m debating keeping you in the dark until it’s 100% complete (but at the same time, I’m dying to share!)

Altra Running Shoes Zero Drop The OneMy UPS guys, both at home and work, probably think I’m a nut.  I get down right giddy when a package I’m waiting for arrives, and there was no exception when my new running shoes showed up on Wednesday.  They are Altra Zero Drop “The One” and I already love them.  They are a little “louder” than I’d normally wear, but now the Girlie and I match.  Like mother, like daughter.

My initially impression of the Altras?  I heart them.  I heart them very much.  They are different, that is for sure, and only time will tell if they are going to be the right shoe for me or not.  After I put a few more miles on them, and maybe take them for a long run or two, I’ll give you guys a full review.

Build A Fire Pit CakeAt my regular job (accounting for a building materials retailer), we occasionally host after hours events onsite.  This week, we hosted a ladies’ homeschooling group for a Moms Night Out.  We had one of our brand reps come out and show the ladies how to assemble a fire pit, and since we were having dinner, I talked my sister (the cake baker extraordinaire at Pure Confection) into making us a fire pit cake to serve the ladies.  The event was a lot to handle after the stress of working all day, but both the cake and the demo were big hits!

Boom Boom Balloon StressSaturday was a rainy day, we were all tired and no one felt like going out, so we stayed in and played a few of the kids’ favorite games… and one of the most stressful games known to mankind – Boom Boom Balloon.  I almost need a Valium to play this game, y’all.  My kids LOVE it.  I suppose the happy squeals that erupt when the balloon finally pops make the knots in my shoulders worth it.

  Besides, giggles are the best way to combat stress.

Posted in Life in General | 2 Comments

6 Simple, Last Minute Easter Crafts

Today is the first day of Spring Break for my kids.  We’ve been together for just over 24 hours now and we’re already getting twitchy.  Easter may only be two days away, but we have plenty of time for a few last minute Easter crafts – that will keep us busy at least through the weekend.

Last Minute Easter CraftsOf the 6 projects I wanted to share, my favorite are the Mr. Humpty Dumpty Eggs from Confetti Sunshine.  I love this project not only because the eggs are beyond adorable, but also because of the possibilities this concept opens up.  Why stop at Humpty Dumpty?  We could make kings, queens and all the horsemen!

Mr. Humpty Dumpty EggsWhile the eggs may be my favorite, I’m pretty sure the kids would agree on these bunny cupcake toppers from Summer Scraps taking the cake.  They’re adorably cute, plus cupcake toppers implies that there will be cupcakes…

Bunny Cupcake ToppersAfter I sugar them up, I’m going to put them to work on these cute wooden block sets from Not Just Paper and Paint.  I want to make one for each season and all of the major holidays.

Easter BlocksWe have a family lunch Sunday, and I would love to try our hand at these bunny napkins from Sincerely Mindy.  I wonder if we can manage these with a thicker paper napkin?

Easter Napkin BunnyAnytime we craft for a holiday, we always try to craft for my daughter’s American Girls too!  The minute I saw this Easter Bunting from She’s Kinda Crafty,  I knew it would be the perfect craft to shrink down to doll size.  They have their own Easter goodies from Katie’s Craftations, so why not have their own Easter decor too?

Easter Bunny GarlandThis last craft is one I will probably take on alone… mostly because I think it would be so fun to surprise each kiddo with their own fabric bunny in their Easter baskets.  Optimistic Mommy has the cutest tutorial, and I can’t wait to see these little bunnies come to life!

Fabric BunniesDo you have any last minute Easter crafts planned?  If your kids are on Spring Break this week, what are you doing to keep them busy?

Posted in American Girl, Crafts | 1 Comment

FREE Easter Activity Printables {Craft & Learn}

Easter means Spring Break and Spring Break means boredom for may kids.  Grab these FREE Easter Activity Printables and engage their minds and creativity over Spring Break!

Free Easter Activity PrintablesAs we promised yesterday, we’ve got more FREE printables for you today!  These printables are Easter activity printables – perfect for keeping little hands busy – for at least a few minutes at a time!  With most kids on Spring Break this week or next week, there are going to be a lot of parents looking for cheap ways to occupy some time.  We seem to have started Spring Break a little early at our house thanks to a case of Strep Throat.

To download the the free files, just click the link indicated in the description for the Easter printable of your choice.  Once the link opens, right click the image and “save as”.  Locate the file where you’d like to store your download and click “save”.  Print on standard 8.5 x 11 Letter size paper and you’re good to go.

The counting and word matching printables are definitely more geared toward the preschool set, but the puzzle craft and egg decorating printable can be fun for any age.  The whole family can decorate eggs to hang around the house and who doesn’t love a puzzle?  These would make great homeschool activities for the end of the week as well.

Print them now, or Pin them for later – either way, use them and enjoy them!

Match the Word

Match Free Easter PrintableClick HERE to download the FREE Match the Word printable.

Decorate An Egg

Decorate The Easter Egg Free PrintableClick HERE to download the FREE Decorate the Egg printable.

Easter Counting

Easter Counting Free PrintableClick HERE to download the FREE Easter Counting printable.

Make a Puzzle

Bunny Puzzle Free PrintableClick HERE to download the FREE Make A Puzzle printable.

How will you keep your kids entertained over Spring Break?  With just under 2 months left before Summer break starts, I think we’re all about to get a taste of what the summer holds for us!

Posted in Crafts | 12 Comments

Free Easter Printables {Notes From The Easter Bunny}

What could be cuter than a note from the Easter Bunny to go along side a basket filled with goodies?!  Grab one (or all) of these FREE Easter Printables to make your Easter baskets a little extra special and give your kiddos another reason to be all smiles on Easter morning.Free Easter Printables from MamaMommyMom 2

How To Download

‘To download the the free files, just click the link indicated in the description for the Easter printable of your choice.  Once the link opens, right click the image and “save as”.  Locate the file where you’d like to store your download and click “save”.  Print on standard 8.5 x 11 Letter size paper and you’re good to go.  For extra special prints, use a sheet of photo paper and you’ll have a glossy, keepsake quality print!

Your kids will love getting a cute note from the Easter Bunny, whether it’s in a basket or just slipped under their door!

April Showers/May Flowers

April Showers May Flowers Easter Bunny PrintableClick HERE to download the April Showers/May Flowers Easter printable.

Hippity Hop

Easter Bunny Letter Free Easter Printable 2Click HERE to download the Hippity Hop Easter printable.

Roses Are Red

Roses are Red Easter Bunny Note Free PrintableClick HERE to download the Roses Are Red Easter Printable.

Coming Up…

Many of you are either on Spring break already, or starting on Friday, so I’m sure you’ll all be looking for fun activities to entertain the kids and keep with creative minds entertained.  We’re here to help!  Coming up tomorrow, we’ll have some Easter themed coloring sheets and craft printables available for download (free, of course!) and some links to our favorite Easter themed projects from around the web.  Friday, we’ll have links to our favorite egg dying techniques and we’ll give you a quick rundown on safe handling, cooking and storing guidelines for all of those beautiful dyed creations!

Do you have any amazingly awesome Easter printables, crafts or egg dying techniques you’d like us to share?  Leave us a comment with a link and we’ll check it out!

Posted in Crafts, Life in General, Parenting | 15 Comments

25 Easter Basket Goodies {And Absolutely No Candy!}

It seems like the holidays have become a parade of candy.  From chocolates at Valentine’s Day to Candy Canes at Christmas, there’s a sweet treat for every season.  There’s no reason that all of your Easter basket goodies have to be calorie filled, cavity inducing sugar bombs.  We’ve got 25 ideas for Easter basket goodies of the non-candy variety.

25 Easter Basket Goodies Every Kid Will Love From MamaMommyMomAs a kid, I remember getting those pre-packaged, themed Easter baskets that you could pick up at Kmart or Walmart.  I never remember being disappointed.  There was always a little candy, but there were lots of little cheap toys too.  I also remember that being the only Easter basket I got.  My kids have it so good and they don’t even know.  They get Easter baskets from us, three different grandma/great-grandmas and one from their aunt.  Their Easter basket goodies overflow.

Scoring no less than 5 Easter baskets means my kids get far more candy than they need.  Despite my repeated requests that their baskets not be filled with chocolate and other sugar filled treats, they always are.  Grandparents… you just can’t stop them.  So, as a counter measure, we leave our baskets at home virtually sweet treat free.  We allow for one small candy treat in each basket and all other Easter basket goodies are small things the kids will like – but they aren’t candy!

Things of the “Electronic” Nature

DVDs – Hit up the $5 bin at Walmart and score a classic or grab your kiddo’s favorite new release, like The Lego Movie.  Movies have become a staple in our Easter baskets.

iTunes/Amazon Gift Cards – I don’t know of many kids who wouldn’t love to have their own money to spend on apps or music, even the young ones!

Tablet Accessories – If your kiddo is lucky enough to have an iPod, Kindle or other tablet type device, earbuds, covers, etc always make great stuffers.

Crafty Goodness

Play-doh/Clay – Kids love it, parents hate it.  That makes it prefect for inclusion on our list of Easter basket goodies!  You can get a case of colors from Amazon for less than $5.

Tape/Glue – If your kid loves crafts at all, you know how excited they get about glue (if you have a girl, especially glitter glue) and I have yet to meet a child who’s not obsessed with tape.

Construction Paper/Scrapbook Paper – Cheap and you can pick up a variety of single sheets that are suited to your kiddo’s personality, or grab a whole pack!

Pens/Pencils – My kids love getting fun colored pens and cool pencils boasting cool designs.

Notebooks/Note Pads – We go through paper around here like there is no tomorrow.  I’ve taken to buying the kids their own notebooks and notepads so they will stop stealing mine.

Colored Pencils/Markers/Crayons – Always a hit, easy to find and coordinates nicely with some of the other crafty type Easter basket goodies.

Post-it Notes – You can get such cool Post-it Notes now!  I just picked up some shaped like mustaches for my girl.  She loves to write notes on them and stick them all over the place.

Stickers – The same with stickers… she loves to use them in her craft projects and to decorate the notebooks I buy for her.


Fun Socks – Do not buy white socks to put in your kid’s Easter basket.  They will not be pleased!  Find some fun, bright socks and tuck a few pair in.

Hair Accessories – Clearly, this is intended for the girls.  Headbands, pony tail holders, bows… whatever your girl likes.  Make them or buy them.

Hand Sanitizer – My kids love the small hand sanitizers from Bath and Body Works.

Hand Lotion – Same as the sanitizer.  Having their own lotion makes them feel grown up.  Keeping it small reduces the risk of a mess I’m going to have to clean up later.

Chapstick/Lip Gloss – I hoard lip products.  So do my kids.  This is perfect for them.

T-Shirts – Same as the sock, don’t go buying a boring t-shirt!  Find something fun and unique that your kids will love.

Pajamas – Tis the season to make the Winter/Spring wardrobe change over.  Getting new PJs is always fun.

Books – Even if your kiddo isn’t reading yet, books make great gifts.  It can be a book for you to read at storytime or if they’re older, one for independent reading.

Get Out

Jump Rope – Your kid doesn’t know how?  Great!  Now you’ve got an Easter basket goodie and something to do together outside.

Balls (Soccer, Basketball, Football, etc) – You can never have enough sports balls around, especially if you have a boy.

Frisbee – Something cheap and fun, especially if you have a four-legged friend willing to play along!

Yard Games (Croquet, Lawn Darts, Etc) – Younger kids might not follow the rules, but they’ll have fun trying.  These are also great for helping get the adults in the family outside too!

Sidewalk Chalk – Every kid loves to deface a driveway now and again.  There is even some now that has glitter!

Water Gun – Easy, (mostly) clean fun.  Their cheap – like super cheap – and tons of fun.

I hope this gives you some great ideas for things you can use to beef up those Easter baskets without filling them with candy!  If you must, toss in a piece or two to satisfy your need to keep dentists in business, but it is completely possible to give an awesome Easter basket full of goodies – and not a single piece of candy!

Posted in Life in General | 8 Comments

Songs To Pound The Pavement By { aka – My Running Playlist }

I would be lying if I said I *love* running.  I *love* the idea of running, I *love* the friendship and comradery that come with running, I might even *love* the cute clothes and shoes – but the actual act of running?  Not so much.  Having a bang up running playlist makes my runs much more tolerable, and dare I say, borderline enjoyable at times.

Running Playlist - Songs To Run To - Pounding Pavement - MamaMommyMomShove me out the door without my music and I will drag.  God forbid I forget earbuds – I have stopped and picked up new ones just because I can’t handle the lack of tunes.  I have tried to run without music and be a conversationalist, but I just can’t do it.  I need my running playlist.  It’s energetic, it’s eclectic, it’s all me.  Except for the energetic part.  I’m usually dragging (too much to do, too little time.)

I change my running playlist up from time to time, but it’s been pretty stable for the last few months.  I usually set my iPhone on “shuffle” and take off.  Here’s what I’m listening too…

Buddy Holly {Weezer}

Semi-Charmed Life {Third Eye Blind}

Better Than Revenge {Taylor Swift}

Stupid Girls {Pink}

Suit & Tie {Justin Timberlake}

Supermassive Black Hole {Muse}

Tell The Girl You’re Sorry {Cowboy Mouth}

Thrift Shop {Macklemore}

Tourniquet {Evanescence}

Voodoo Shop {Cowboy Mouth}

Wind It Up {Barenaked Ladies}

State of Grace {Taylor Swift}

I Love It {Icona Pop}

Blurred Lines {Robin Thicke}

April 20, 1992 {Sublime}

I’m sure some people recognize a few of those, but if you know and love them all, we could totally be besties!  Some people base their running playlist strictly based on the pace of the beat, but not me.  I like to chose songs that get lost in.  I like to sing with the music, well lip sync – I’m pushing myself too hard to actually sing, and I’m sure the people who see me running probably think I’m crazy.  I’m ok with it.

If you’re a runner, what’s on your running playlist?  Mine needs to be freshened up a bit!

Posted in Entertainment, Running | 7 Comments

Washi Tape Greeting Cards {Fun, Simple, Paper Crafting}

Not all store bought cards are boring or impersonal, but there’s just something special about a hand made card.  After my first venture into the wonder that is washi tape, I knew it would be the perfect medium for making beautiful, original handmade cards.  These washi tape greeting cards will hit the mark every time.

Washi Tape Greeting Card Sail Boat - MamaMommyMom

After making my canvas wall art last week, I had plenty of left over supplies thanks to Oriental Trading.  The supplied me with everything for that project as well as extras, which I took advantage of for these cards.  At the time, I knew I was heading to Charleston and I couldn’t help but have my mind on the water.  One of my favorite experiences ever was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, so any time I have the water on my mind, sail boats are sure to follow.

With Summer on the horizon (we usually jump straight from Winter to Summer), there will be pool parties, backyard barbeques or something to that effect that this card would be ideal for – but, it’s also just a cute “anytime” card!

Here are the supplies:

Blank Cards

Washi Tape (solids and chevron)



The lighting is bad, I make awful facial expressions and I have a very loud 4 (almost 5!) year old assistant – but I made you a video!  You don’t get many of those from me, so enjoy this one.  Hopefully the next will be in my newly put together office and will be created without the help of any assistants under 5 feet tall.

Like I said in the video, if sailboats aren’t your thing, that’s ok.  You can really do just about anything with the washi tape.  My boy wanted a sunflower, so we whipped one up quick after finishing the video.  He helped cut the tape and add the glue.  This would be a neat project to do with a youth group or Girl Scouts.  You could deliver the handmade cards to a nursing home, VA hospital or Children’s hospital and really brighten someone’s day.  It’s not messy and doesn’t take a long time to complete.  You can also get creative and use whatever craft supplies you have lying around to really bring the cards to life.

Washi Tape Greeting Card Sunflower - MamaMommyMomDo you have any amazing cute cards or washi tape crafts to share?  We’re always looking for inspiration.  Be sure to follow us on Pinterest (we have a paper crafts board!) and tag us in any amazing projects you share!

Posted in Crafts | 15 Comments

Cooper River Bridge Run 2014 {That’s One Big Bridge!} #Running

About 36 hours ago, I was standing in the middle of the street in Mt Pleasant, SC waiting for the start of The Cooper River Bridge Run.  I came, I ran, I got over it – and I can’t wait for 2015!

Cooper River 2014 Get Over It

Weekend Away

I just got back home from one of the BEST girl’s weekends ever!  About 20 members of our local chapter of Moms Run This Town packed up and headed down to Charleston on Friday to run and cheer each other on at The Cooper River Bridge Run.  While Cooper River may only be a 10K, even my marathon running friends will tell you that that big ole bridge is no joke!  A 4-6% grade doesn’t sound like much on paper, but in reality, it’s a pretty steep incline and it lasts for nearly a mile.  Add to it the two miles you’ll have already run before hitting the incline, and the over 3 miles you still have to cover after making it to the top, and you’ve got one mean 6.2 mile run.

Rise and Shine (Kinda)

Holy early start, Batman!  I’m totally an evening runner.  I have affirmed that time and time again.  The Cooper River Bridge Run is by far the largest race I’ve ever participated in, and while I knew we started early, I had no idea I’d be rolling out of the hotel before 5:30 AM.  I’m usually just rolling out of bed at 5:30.  It’s a good thing there was no need for me to shower.  By 5:15, I had dressed, caffeinated, and sucked down some melon.  By 5:30 AM, we were all being herded toward the buses that would take us across the bridge we were about to run and into Mt Pleasant for the start of the race.

Cooper River 2014 GroupWe may be smiling, but I’m pretty sure most of us were still half asleep.  See, the race doesn’t start until 8 AM, yet you have to be in line before 6 to catch a bus across the bridge.

Just Hangin’ Out

This is the first race I’ve participated in that used corrals.  Even with the 10,000 people who ran The Color Run last Spring, it was an “everyone starts at once” sort of thing.  With 40,000 people, I suppose that just won’t work.  After being bused across the bridge and herded into our respective corrals (or as I like to call then, our “pens”), there was little left to do except wait.  Of course, we stretched, at our bananas, etc… and took a lot of silly pictures.  We had to do something to kill some time.

Cooper River 2014 Group in CorralWe talked running gear, shoes, pace, goals, etc.  We also talked a lot about PortaJons.  It was early and we were surrounded by them.  What can I say?

Cooper River 2014 KicksAs the sun finally came up and we crept up on the 8 AM start time, we all started to make our finally PortaJon runs and get ourselves stretched out and ready to go.  Normally, we wouldn’t gel before a 10K, but with that big bridge looming, hitting a quick Hammer Gel before the start seemed like a solid idea.

Do The Wave

At 8 AM, the first wave started.  Each additional wave started about 3 minutes behind the one before it.  We were in Corral D, so pretty close to the front.  As each corral took off, we were moved closer and closer to the start.  That’s when I met my new besties…

Cooper River 2014 New BestiesColor me impressed.  I hope I have their self confidence at some point in my life.  And for anyone who’s curious, no – the gentleman on the left did not have on shorts under that skirt – just the built in panties.  Let that sink in for a second.

Cooper River 2014 Starting CorralsI think there were 11 or 12 corrals total.  I was actually assigned Corral C, but moved back (you can move back, but not up) to hang out with friends until we actually started running.  I’m slow and they are not.  I knew they’d leave me in the dust, but I’m ok with that.  Fast or slow, a mile is still a mile!

And We’re Off!

Running with 40,000 of your closest friends can get a little, um, congested – even when you start in waves.  The crowd started to spread a lot by about a mile and a half in, so I decided to pull out my phone and snap a selfie.

Cooper River 2014 Mile 2 SelfieWe were just starting to hit the incline, and I was still smiling.  That didn’t last long.  The Cooper River Bridge is no joke!  Once we hit the bridge proper, you could really see – and feel – the incline.  There were a LOT of people, people who are typically runners, taking a breather and walking part of the uphill climb.

Cooper River 2014 On The BridgeI’m not ashamed to admit that I walked a good part of that climb.  I was doing walk/run intervals – trying to catch my breath.  It was a balmy 70 degrees with 95% humidity, and this asthmatic girl forgot her inhaler.  Walking some of the incline was better than falling out with lung spasms.  It was beautiful though… very breathtaking.  Walking a bit allowed me a chance to take a few decent shots of the bridge and really enjoy the view.  It was amazing!

It’s All Down Hill – Kinda

The crest of the bridge marked the half way point of The Cooper River Bridge Run.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the crest of that bridge.  I was really hitting a wall by the time I made it to the top, and I knew coming down hill was a chance to make up some time.

Cooper River 2014 All Down HillWhile I didn’t have a hard goal in mind, I did kind of knew where I wanted to be.  I also knew I wasn’t going to be mad at myself if I didn’t hit it.  I was going to do my best, and that was all I could expect from myself.  I caught a break around mile 4 when the crew from The Citadel caught up to me – they gave me some much needed motivation and help me pull it together through mile 4 (which as it happens would end up being my second fastest mile of the 6.2).

Cooper River 2014 Citadel Mile 4 SelfieI let them pace me for as long as I could keep up with them, but by the time we hit the flat ground coming off the bridge, I was done.  There was no keeping up with them after that.  Coming off the bridge is a total bottleneck.  Not only are TONS of people being funneled of a massive bridge onto a little city street, but there are also lots of surface changes and turns to slow you down through miles 5 and 6.

The Last 2

The last 2 miles of The Cooper River Bridge Run were, by far, the hardest miles for me.  I think my gel had worn off and the humidity had started to beat on me.  The sun was pounding and we lost all the breeze we’d been enjoying across the bridge.  I really, really wanted to just take a break – but I also knew my speedy friends would be waiting on me and I was very close to coming in under my goal.  With about a mile to go, I had to stop and tie my shoe.  After bobbing and weaving to get to the side and tying my shoe, I knew I wasn’t going to hit my goal.  I got a little bummed, but at the same time realized I could still PR my 10K time.  I took a second to catch my breath and kicked it into high gear.

Cooper River 2014 Post Race Blue Moon BeerI ended up not only PR’ing my fastest mile (which was mile 1 – I came out way too fast), but also my 5K and 10K times.  So even though I finished 3 minutes 28 seconds over my goal, it was still an incredible win for me and pretty darn amazing that I PR’d despite that big ole bridge!

After we all finished, we headed out for lunch and a celebratory beverage at Fuel (more on that another day) and some shopping in Downtown Charleston.  Everything was packed, of course, but it was SO much fun!

With the dates already announced for The Cooper River Bridge Run 2015, I’m already planning!  If you’re a runner, or just a Charleston lover, you should add Cooper River to your calendar too!  If you’ve run the bridge, what did you think of it?

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