Saturday, February 13, 2010

Virginia is for Lovers Race Recap

Happy (day after) Valentine's Day! I hope that everyone had a great day surrounded by people you care about. Bri and I started off the day right with brunch at this local restaurant on the water. You can't go wrong with $2.50 mimosas and $3.25 bloody marys! So let's get to this race recap, shall we?

I had been checking the weather for the past week to determine what gear I should bring down with me to VB. The temps were looking chilly so I brought all of my upstate running duds with me, just in case. I am glad that I did! I checked on Friday evening before the race and they were predicting snow, with temps of 19*! Accordingly, I wore my running tights, fleece pants, coldgear compression top, under armour tshirt, lululemon sport jacket, gloves, hood (!!!) and fleece headband.

The race was set to start at 8 A.M. It was approximately 20 minutes away so we left the house around 6:30. Bri had picked up our race packets on Thursday, which was fantastic. I was already pinned and chipped up! The sun was still rising so there was still a sliver of darkness. It definitely made me feel hardcore to think that I was going to be running almost nine miles before a lot of people had awakened to start their weekend!

All geared up!

The race took place around the VB Ampitheater, so there was more than enough parking. We parked and headed over to a large tent, where all of the pre-race festivities were taking place. The tent was awesome because it was nice and warm! There were a ton of vendors, a band warming up, and overall just an excited, happy vibe. There were three ways to participate in the race: the 14k (8.67 mi), a 1.4 mile fun run or a 14k relay, where one partner ran 4 miles and the other partner ran 4.67 miles. Those partners that were running the tail end of the relay were taken to the transfer point via a shuttle provided by the race.
This was the long line of porta potties provided for the runners. I am glad that we got to the race early, because there was a huge line 20 minutes prior to the race. I had to force myself to use them, as I didn't want to encounter any "issues" during the race. Speaking of, I didn't see any porta potties along the race, although I know the information packet indicated that they were out there somewhere. I did see a girl run towards the trees around mile 3. Bummer, but it happens!

Everyone started heading outside around 10 of eight, when we were informed that the race was going to be starting 15 minutes late because of traffic issues. The directors wanted to ensure that everyone who signed up for the race would have the ability to participate, which I thought was nice.

There was a ton of Valentine's Day related regalia inside the race tent, so we used the extra time wisely and took some goofy pictures. I was really excited!
At 8:10 everyone lined up at the start. There were a lot of couples, some with some really cute tshirts. Bri told me that if I designed a tshirt like that for him to wear he wouldn't wear it, but he totally would ;) The horn sounded, and we just kind of stood there- getting to the starting mat was kind of slow going. There were approximately 3,000 runners and, with no corrals, it took a bit to get situated. Once we crossed the start line (I think it took around two minutes) we were good to go.

Miles 1-3 literally flew by. My foot felt great, but I was trying not to think about it. It was freeezing! There was a DJ playing tunes and shouting encouraging things at the runners, which was pretty cool. Around mile 2, I heard a girl say to someone she was running with "only four more miles 'til cupcakes." lol, whatever it takes to get you motivated! There was a water station at mile 1.5, which we just skipped.

Throughout the whole race there were super cute Valentine's Day/love related signs posted. There were signs saying "I love you" in different languages, quotes from romantic movies, conversation hearts, random love facts- they were all on the course! It was very entertaining.

Approaching mile 4 were signs (very well marked) for the relay race handoff. This didn't interfere with the actual race at all, as those who were switching off had to veer to a parking lot on the left. It was very well done. We then ran past a water station (which we skipped) and encountered Lover's Lane. Lover's Lane was this super cute part of the race where signs that friends or relatives had purchased to display for the runners. The ones that stick out in my mind were "Jen, forever isn't long enough" and "Christopher, congrats on one year of running!" So cute! At this point, there was another DJ playing music.
This is the entrance into "Lover's Lane." I'm running in all black. Don't mind bri's finger ;)
After Lover's Lane we hit mile five and ran around a bunch of sports fields- I think Bri said they were for field hockey. Which would make sense since we ran past this mayjuh looking field hockey training facility. At this point I noticed that there were indoor bathrooms available! I didn't have to use them, thankfully, but if I had I would have been grateful for that. I took one shot block at mile 5.5.

As we approached mile six, we knew we were coming close to the cupcakes. It was an out and back course, although it wasn't too bad because there was no definitive turn around spot. I decided that I didn't want a cupcake, as I didn't know the effect it would have on my stomach and I had just taken a shot block. Bri was not deterred and grabbed a cupcake. They were bite size and looked really good! Most people stopped to grab one and walk while eating it. There was a water station at mile 6.5. At first I didn't think I needed to stop but there were enough tables to convince me. I grabbed a cup, walked for about five seconds to drink it, threw it out in one of the many trash bins placed out (loved that!) and continued about our merry way. There were more signs posted, like "the first recorded death by chocolate occured in 1276." Fun stuff

At mile 7, it started to get ridiculous windy and snowy. I was not a fan of the wind. I could tell by my splits that the weather slowed me down, but I was excited to almost finish. To distract myself, I took another shot block at mile 7.5. I'm glad I did, because it gave me a burst of energy, just in time to tackle the sole hill on the course at mile 8. We had to run into and through the ampitheater, which was cool but the hill was not a fun surprise.

Bri was motivating me the whole time, but he really kicked it up during the last mile. He could tell that my energy was starting to flag. He is an awesome running buddy! I was so excited to see this:
Yay! We crossed the finish line and I was immediately handed a flower, cute medal, and drink coozy. I'm so discombobulated after the race that I'm just staring off to the side- LOL.
A race volunteer offered to take a photo of Bri and me, which was super nice. We went to this hanging fabric thing to take a race photo in front of it. I was having a tough time walking- my left knee was killing me for whatever reason.

I'm going to cut this post short, as I've been traveling all day and need to get to sleep! I'll be back tomorrow with my splits, the review of the after-race festivites and photos of all my swag! I'll be back to reading and commenting on your blogs tomorrow- I've missed everyone!


  1. It looks like a great race. Congrats on accomplishing your goal!!

  2. Great job! It sounds like a fun race. I can't believe it was that cold down there though. Welcome back!


  3. Yay! Great race recap!

  4. what a fun race to do together! I would have had a hard time passing up the cupcake, but I'm with you, I'd be afraid of what it would do to my stomach. Congrats!

  5. Congrats on the race! It must feel so accomplishing :D I still can't believe they were handing out cupcakes lol

  6. I love all the signs along the way! So proud of you, awesome job!

  7. YAY! Nice job! I loved that quote that said "forever isnt long enough"! How cute!

  8. Sounds like a really fun race! What an accomplishment! You are truly hard core for running in such cold temps!

  9. Congrats! Great pictures and a great race!

  10. Sounds like an awesome, but cold race! 19 degrees!!! You are hardcore.

  11. Great race! I would have skipped the cupcakes as well.

    Consider yourself tagged. See my blog.

  12. What a cute race! You guys did awesome! Way to go, girl :)