Saturday morning, too early for my taste, I went mountain biking with my friend John. John’s roughly old enough to be my dad and has a couple of kids and grand-kids. This blows my mind. Mountain biking does not conjure up images of your granddad ripping down a gnarly, knotty, rocky descent. And yet, he’s the club mountain biking coordinator … and I like learning how to be more confident off-road. We didn’t do anything super crazy – but the morning was excellent. Good conversation flowed and before we knew it we had tackled almost 20 miles and it was time to head home.
The next morning I got up (again, too early for my tastes) to run the Valley Forge Revolutionary 5 mi Run.
You may recall I signed up last year but wimped out (allergies, too tired, temps in the mid-30s and no cold-weather running gear).
You may also recall my marathon-running sister visiting me and getting me to earn my shirt (a wrong turn and an extra two miles in unbearable heat and humidity).
I am so glad I signed up this year.
I started running back in February to get into some semblance of running shape. Like it or not, cycling and running use muscles differently and being awesome at one only gives you a leg up on being decent doing the other. And running is actually somewhat enjoyable when I can find my groove and get lost in my music.
The air was crisp, the sun shining, wind blowing and temps in the mid-forties. I grabbed a long sleeve shirt at the last-minute before leaving the house and I’m so glad I did. The wind was blowing straight through me. I hadn’t picked up my race packet yet so I left the house early to make sure I had enough time to stand in line for my bib and shirt.
Let me tell you – this is probably the best run event I’ve been to. Parking was off-site so I had to take a shuttle bus to the event.
- I assumed I’d have to wait for a shuttle bus – nope. They had a continuous cycle of buses loading up and driving participants to the site. Virtually no wait.
- I assumed there would be a long line to pick up my bib and shirt – nope. I had both and a tag in case I wanted to leave stuff in the gear drop within five minutes of being dropped off by the shuttle.
- I assumed there would be long lines for the port-o-potties – nope. There were several port-o-potty locations, plus the usual park restrooms: from the parking lot, on the way to the start line, at the start line. No lines.
I checked my phone – 7:32am. Race starts at 8:30am.
*stretches* *twiddles thumbs* *finds a good starting song* *take a few selfies* *hit the port-o-potty* *shiver in the wind*
The course is challenging. It starts with a gentle incline and then just keeps going up, with a few downhills to keep things interesting, until about a half-mile from the end. A glorious deep downhill followed immediately by a sharp uphill to the finish line. We passed so many monuments and markers of the historical significance of Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. One water station at the half-way point.
I loved it. Last year I would have been eaten alive. This year I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t anxious. I was ready. I had this. It was mine to own.
…and I did. I put my iPod on shuffle and the playlist couldn’t have been more accurate for what I needed in any given moment. Behold the playlist of Whoa Really? You Listen To All That Stuff?
Rise Against – Satellite
All That Remains – Two Weeks
Eve 6 – Victoria
Prodigy – Voodoo People
Capitol Cities – Safe and Sound (first big hill)
Poni Hoax – Antibodies
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (right as I turned up a very steep hill – so perfect in that moment)
Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did
Gaslight Anthem – 45
All That Remains – Days Without
David Guetta & Akon – Sexy Chick
Jimmy Eat World – My Best Theory
LMAFO – Sexy and I Know It
Lady Gaga – Edge of Glory
Jamiroquai – Canned Heat
I channeled my marathon-running sister when I saw others walking all around me at the first sign of the second hill. She can do this for 4+ hours – I can do it for one.
I finished in the top 2/3 of the field (haha):
- 625 out of 838 runners
- 235 out of 364 women
- 52 out of 71 in my age bracket (awesome girls between 35 and 39)
Friends – if you are looking for a well-coordinated challenging five-miler, look no further than the Valley Forge Revolutionary Run. I was so pleased with the entire experience from parking to racing, to getting post-race snacks and back to the car. I can’t recommend this enough.
Now that my race is over I can get back to my first love, riding my bike. I have neglected training for my four-day epic cycling adventure and it’s about a month away. I need to get crackin’!
See you on the road!