BALOG COLUMN: A message from the runners to their loved-ones
If you're not taking part in the Cooper River Bridge Run this morning, but know somebody who is, please accept our sincerest apologies.
You're probably tired of hearing endless talk about the weather forecast, including wind speed and humidity.
You're not sure why figuring out what to wear — long sleeves, short sleeves, singlet — is such a big deal. And what the heck is a singlet?
You don't care how early somebody has to wake up to drive to Mount Pleasant before the bridge closes, or to catch a shuttle bus from Charleston, the last of which absolutely, positively will leave no later than 6:45 a.m.
You don't care, of course, unless this person's plans somehow mean you have to get up ridiculously early too — on a Saturday, no less.
Now, if this person is anything but the most casual weekend warrior, this is not your first rodeo.
You're accustomed to saying goodbye as someone leaves in the pre-dawn dark or scrambles to cram in a run between the end of the work day and what should be dinnertime.
You're not sure you'll ever fully understand what motivates this person to run, because to you it's boring, monotonous, uninspiring.
Steak and beer
However, you have grudgingly accepted that running is a part of this person's raison d'ętre.
And sometimes it might mean a trip to somewhere fun for a race, maybe one that involves beer for spectators at hours normally reserved for caffeinated beverages.
Nevertheless, having a runner in your life is not easy.
After all this time, you have given up trying to understand whey the first thing this person packs for vacation is running gear.
You may be frustrated when trying to grab dinner the night before this person has a “long run” scheduled (especially since to you, they're all long runs), because he or she keeps talking about “carbs” and “fuel.” Whatever happened to a steak and a beer?
You may even have had weekend plans thwarted by training runs.
So on behalf of the other runners this morning, please accept our apologies, and thanks.
It's you we're hoping to see on the sidelines, or at the finish line.
Sharing our chip time with you, even if you're not sure why chip time is more important than gun time, is what we're thinking about when we cross the mats at the end of the race.
OK, we're happy about the prospect of the post-race bagel, brownie or brew too.
And we know you're probably muttering under your breath when, after finally getting cleaned up, all we really want is a nap. Because we know you were hoping for some kind of regular weekend activity, like working in the yard or going to the park with the family.
We know you give up a lot so we can pursue our passion. We try to return the favor, we really do.
Thanks for supporting us.
The bridge will be open soon, and all this will be in the past.
Until the next race.
Melanie Balog is a columnist and outreach editor for The Post and Courier. This is her sixth Cooper River Bridge Run.