Where do I even start?!
This weekend was way too eventful to sum it up in one day. (If you are a friend of mine on Instagram, this should probably come as no surprise. The post-race photos alone could be their own post.) So I’ll start with the 5K. But first, these amazing ladies…
Ambassadors at the Cooking Light & Health Magazine VIP party on Friday night!! (Unfortunately this is not all of us – I don’t have a picture of everyone together yet.) All these women write blogs that I read and love and it was so much fun to finally meet them in person. From left to right we have freakishly tall Salt (I probably should have worn flats), Sue of This Mama Runs for Cupcakes, Erika of MCM Mama Runs, Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?, and Deb of Deb Runs. Every last one of these women are genuine, kind, talented, fun, and inspirational. When you meet someone cool online you never really can be too sure how that will translate into real life. There were no surprises with this group!
More about this particular evening later — I’ll be doing another What I Ate Wednesday this week…spoiler alert: a very large quantity of cheese. I had picked up my bib and race swag just before the party at the New Balance store in the Mosaic District, an upscale area with cool shops, restaurants, and residences, where all the events of the weekend would be taking place. It was artsy and awesome and I wish we had something just like it where I live. New Balance was one of the sponsors and a perk of my Ambassadorship ended up being FREE SHOES!? What!? So I got to pick those up as well.
Aren’t they gorgeous?!
So Saturday morning at 6:30am I woke up feeling great despite the wine and this interesting gin cocktail that I had consumed the previous night. The sky was dismal. I had been somewhat expecting it after stalking the weather at the later part of the week, but was hoping maybe we would be spared. No dice. Temperature-wise it was pleasant and in the 60’s and I would be totally comfortable in the outfit I picked out for the race.
My hotel was only about 4 miles from the Mosaic District so with no traffic on the roads I got there in no time and parking was a breeze. (And FREE!) At this point it was raining steadily, but the Emcee was already entertaining the growing crowd and the food tents were setting up for the post-race festivities. I was a little early so I decided to get my warm up in to see what my bum leg could handle. I had my knee taped and a compression sleeve on it, but I’ve also been experiencing some pain in my shin (the hits just keep on coming…I think it’s time to cash in my acupuncture Groupon) so I wasn’t feeling that it would be a PR kind of day. I ran a half mile and it felt pretty good though so I went off in search of my fellow Ambassadors.
I found Sue first and went with her to meet up with some ladies from her MRTT chapter who were all super nice. Everyone else started filtering in and at 8:30 celeb trainer Kristin McGee who I would be attending the sunrise yoga class with the following morning led the crowd in a warm up that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did. (I tend to think big group warm ups are a little cheesy.) Just before 9 we were instructed to head over to the start and I could tell right away that it was going to be a madhouse. More than 1,100 runners + narrow streets + no rhyme or reason to the way we were lining up = recipe for disaster. At least it had stopped raining at the moment. I weaseled my way as close to the front as I could without offending anyone and after a few announcements that I couldn’t hear we were given the command to go.
The announcements must have included the description of the wave start that would be happening and as it turned out I was in the second wave. We were held back for a minute or so. I am SO GLAD they did it that way. Even with the staggered start it was still pretty claustrophobic right out of the gate, but I’m sure nothing like what we would have been dealing with if we all went at once.
I wasn’t feeling any pain so I found a comfortably hard pace and a quickly caught up with wave 1. The first mile went by in a blink and then we had some rolling hills to deal with. There were two switchbacks which I would normally find annoying, but I enjoyed seeing the familiar faces of my friends as we passed each other in the course. The only real gripe I have was that on a couple occasions the route crossed over itself and I had to dodge around people going in a different direction than I was. It was a little bit of a momentum killer.
Soon we were heading up a short incline and I could see runners making a left ahead of me and knew I was almost done. The final straightaway seemed to go on FOREVER, but finally I could see the clock and thought that maybe a PR would be within my reach. (I couldn’t tell for sure though because the clock was running wave 1 time and I am SO BAD at math.) I had a strong, pain-free finish, walked it off a little, and went back to cheer on my fellow ambassadors as they came across too.
Then as is my post-race tradition I had to immediately find a Starbucks. This seemed like a good idea to everyone because it had started raining again.
I really loved the chip timing. The results were instantaneous and you could check them at a number of computer consoles they had set up. We headed over to do that shortly before our Starbucks adventure. I honestly had no clue about my time because yet again I had forgotten to stop my Garmin at the finish line.
Um. That’s a PR.
14th overall out of 1,115, 4th woman of 842, and the winner of my age group! (Thank you, Courtney, for getting that pic!!)
Everyone did SO WELL! There were PRs for a number of us (and Deb won her age group too!) and it was just so exciting to share that with everyone. The rain let up and we headed back out to enjoy the finish festivities, food samples, fitness demos, and YES…a wine and beer garden where we took it upon ourselves to do some fitness demos of our own.
And probably my favorite photo from the whole weekend, aka: world’s weirdest party trick.
Yes I am balancing glasses of wine on my knee, torso, and head. Shortly after this was taken, I joined Cirque du Soleil.
Oh and this happened. WTF. Not enough sour cream on the whole planet.
New friends, a fun race, yummy food and drinks, and PRs. And a giant potato. Pretty much the perfect day. Aside from the minor issues I had with the course and weather that no one could have controlled, everything was A+. I never thought I’d travel for a 5K, but this one I’d do again in a heartbeat. It was an honor to be a part of it!
Coming up tomorrow: My Sunrise Yoga sesh with Kristin McGee!
I hope everyone had as much fun this weekend as I did! Did you run or race? Tell me about it!