Saturday Mountain Biking and Valley Forge Revolutionary 5mi Run Recap

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.

 

John and I enjoying a beautiful morning in the woods.
John and I enjoying a beautiful morning in the woods.

 

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*

Legs crossed, reaching for my toes. S-T-R-E-T-C-H!
Legs crossed, reaching for my toes. S-T-R-E-T-C-H!

 

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?

Mile 1:

Rise Against – Satellite

All That Remains – Two Weeks

Eve 6 – Victoria

 

Mile 2:

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)

 

Mile 3:

Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did

T-Pain: Church

Gaslight Anthem – 45

 

Mile 4:

All That Remains – Days Without

David Guetta & Akon – Sexy Chick

Jimmy Eat World – My Best Theory

 

Mile 5:

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!

Stream of Consciousness

It’s going to be cold.

It’s early. The sun will barely be up.

I don’t know anyone going.

Why am I driving half an hour to run for half an hour just to drive back home in a half an hour? See? Not even worth the effort to get there.

My head feels congested. Maybe I should stay home and sleep.

These pajamas feel so cozy and warm. Why am I going out? It’s going to be cold.

I have to take my son to his school event around the time I need to leave so might as well at least get dressed for the run.

I already laid out all my clothes and my bib is already pinned on. Might as well make the effort.

Forgot my athletic sunglasses – guess I’ll stop by at home before I head out.

The sun is up and it’s not too terrible out. I’ll drive there, see how I feel.

Oh look  – there’s no traffic getting to the race location.

I’m so early. What am I going to do for 45 minutes? At least I got decent parking. 

Pee break, then banana time.

It’s so cold in the shade. Where’s a sunny spot I can stand in?

I guess I should pick a song to kick off the run.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe. Nope. This could be good. Wait, this one already came up.

Is it time to line up yet?

Wow, that guy is stretching like he’s doing a marathon. Maybe I should stretch a bit. But not like I’m a crazy serious runner or anything.

I bet he’s fast.

I should start my app now.

This song is good. (play)

I’m restarting the app. I haven’t moved in three minutes.

This kid standing next to me with her dad is cute. He’s giving her good pointers to not be anxious. She’s clearly not buying it.

Oh – that’s the gun. Time to run. Glad I already started my music and app.

Holy crap why am I doing this? I rode my bike 33 miles yesterday and haven’t run in two weeks. I have no business doing this.

Don’t worry about all the younger folks passing you. Or the older folks. Run your own race, Laura. It’s not about them.

Ug I feel like a slug. Slow and slimy.

I wish running had etiquette like DON’T PASS ME ON MY RIGHT. I’m just trying to stay out of the faster runner’s way.

HOUSE OF PAIN!

Oh sweet – the platoon of military guys is about to pass. How awesome is it that they can run, yell, and carry a flag at the same time?

So many people walking now … gotta keep one foot in front of the other. You got this.

Girl Scouts handing out water at the mid-point? What a great service idea. Note to self for my troop.

Two miles down. One to go. This isn’t so bad.

One more curve, then the homestretch.

Why is it the last quarter-mile straight-away takes forever to actually finish?

Wait, does the official time clock say 30:something? Holy crap, I think I just PR’d!

Finisher medal (cute!) and water bottle acquired.

Walk it out … check your app. Yup, new personal best for a 5k. And actually ran a sub-10 minute mile the whole way.

And to think I felt so slow and sluggish! This is incredible! I am so happy I showed up to run today.

Click to see the bling

 

Disappointment

This morning I was supposed to run my first five-mile event/race but I didn’t go.

 

My reasons:

* I feel terrible today. Some combination of intense seasonal allergies and camping Friday night and most of the day Saturday has rendered me exhausted. I ended up sleeping over 12 hours last night.

* It was 35* when I got up and while my cycling wardrobe extends into cold weather gear – my running gear does not.

(I’m not even talking about technical clothing – I do not own sweatpants or long underwear to layer under my fitness gear.  This will need to be remedied.)

 

While I do not regret my decision, I am disappointed in my apparent inability to keep up with everything I want to do. When I was ten years younger, I would have easily been able to plow through the allergies and exhaustion. But I’m not 25 any more and the reality is I need more down time than I did back then.

 

This brings me back to the yogic philosophy of honoring your body wherever it is. Some days you will be able to go further than you ever thought possible, others you won’t. And you need to accept where you are in this moment. So today will be a day of rest and being present with my family.

 

A five-mile run will still be there when I am ready.

 

See you on the road.