Now I know why there seem to be so many races in the fall around here in the mountains of Virginia. Running in the heat of near-summer is.not.fun. When I signed up to do the “Run for the Dream” 8k in Williamsburg, I wasn’t thinking temperature.
I was thinking family – my sister, brother-in-law, husband, and little brother were also registered to run, so it was a nice chance to get everyone together for a fun weekend.
I was thinking scenic – the course winds through my grad school, William & Mary, and through Colonial Williamsburg, where I worked as a Junior Interpreter/Peer Teacher for 8 years growing up, starting at age 10. Lots of historic 18th Century buildings, flowers, livestock, costumed interpreters – you get the picture.
I was thinking swag – a pretty medal, another free ticket and meal voucher to Busch Gardens, a free ticket to Colonial Williamsburg (in case working there 20-40 hours a week for 8 years wasn’t enough for me), a t-shirt, and a goodie bag.
I was thinking price – the 8k was MUCH cheaper than the half marathon offered the following day, and you still got the Busch Gardens tickets for running the 8k. Seriously, people.
We had to park off-site and ride a bus to the race area. That required a ton of walking, which I wrote off as a warm-up. Our bus got caught at a train crossing and were a bit delayed from our shuttle time, but we made it to the drop-off in plenty of time.
“Drop-off,” i.e., we still had to walk quite a ways to get to the starting line, even after unloading from the bus. Along the way, my husband was fooling with his Vibrams and accidentally kicked what he thought was an old banana peel, but on closer inspection, our group quickly realized it was a dead, flattened, road-killed turtle. Poor guy. He flew about 2 yards. Requiescat in pacem, Donatello.
After a children’s rendition of our national anthem and a speech by a former director of the Boston Marathon, we were off.
I should have worn my fuel belt. It was ridiculously hot. Like, 75-degrees-feels-like-95-degrees-hot. After the first 2.3 miles, I was mentally finished. I decided at the first water station that I had started out running a little too ambitiously at my sister’s pace, so I dropped back to a more comfortable pace to run solo. I exploited the water stops, getting multiple cups to drink and pour on my arms. I wore my SPIBelt to carry GU and my IDs, but I didn’t end up using it.
So to get from mile 2.3 to 4.97, I had to distract myself. I took pictures. I carefully watched my RunKeeper app to let me know when I had reached 4.86 miles (I’m going “Just a Little Dopey” at http://www.wendysrunforlls.com and needed a screenshot as proof of running that far. Disclaimer: Affiliate link used. I am not associated with her site; I just happen to think what she’s doing is pretty neat!)
I basked in the water misters that were strategically placed near the finish lines, but they did little to prevent the onset of dizziness I felt envelop me after the race. Volunteers opened our water for us (much appreciated this time!), but the bottles were lukewarm and were merely placeholders until we could crawl to the post-race bash, where bottles of water bobbed in kiddie pools of ice. We also got free BBQ sandwiches, which the boys stood in line for while the girls rested on the hill. (Why do post-race parties always serve hot food? Wouldn’t runners rather have watermelon, wraps, etc. to cool down?? I’m always getting breadbowls of stew and BBQ at these things!). Between our group, we had at least 10 free beer tickets, but walking across the field to wait in line required entirely too much effort.
After the race, my family and I enjoyed the perks of the race – the free swag, tickets, and events throughout the weekend commemorating Memorial Day and the Run for the Dream organization. Here’s a scene from one of my favorite parts of the weekend:
Are you a summer runner? How do you combat the heat?