Monument Ave 10k

This past weekend, I hit the road once again. This time to Richmond for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.

I had plans to run this race with two of good friends: Meredith and Brook. Meredith’s parents live in Richmond (she lives up here in DC), and Brook lives in North Carolina. So we were all coming from different places and meeting in Richmond. Despite leaving work early, I hit an obscene amount of traffic. After about 3 hours of sitting on I-95 South, I looked like this:

Brook texted me and said that she was just leaving and was hitting no traffic.

Brook is a jerk.

Anyway, once I finally got to Richmond 4.5 hours later (seriously, longest it’s ever taken me to get there!) I went out in search of Italian (gotta carb load!) food with a few Richmond natives: Jim and Joe. The first place we tried was super crowded (I think due to a ton of runners with the same idea), so we headed across the street to the Village Cafe. The pasta was decent, huge portions, and exactly what I was craving. But my favorite part about this meal was that water was served in half pitchers:

As someone who chugs water like a camel, I appreciated this. Plus, I was trying to hydrate for my race!

A few weeks ago, Meredith approached me about possibly running this race in support of her friend Bess who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 26. Bess is a fellow JMU grad and an aspiring runner, so naturally, I was all for it. Last week, Meredith and I made t-shirts for the 3 of us runner girls, which turned out awesome (I think so anyway) and worked out really well for race day.

Front

Back

I had been monitoring the weather all week, which was calling for rain. Of course, mother nature delivered. It was a gloomy, wet morning. Meredith’s parents were nice enough to drive us to the start line on race morning, so we wouldn’t have to worry about parking. It was so clutch to not have to battle for parking with the 40,000 (!!!) other participants!

Seriously, this race is huge. All of Richmond must run it, because I have never seen so many people in one place at one time. There were about 35 corrals starting with elite runners and ending with walkers. I started in an early(ish) corral, pacing with folks who were planned to finish in about 56 minutes. My one qualm about the start line was that the bag check was located 6 blocks away. We actually had ask someone at the information booth where it was because we didn’t see any signs pointing us in the right direction. Once we checked our bags, Brook and I headed to our corral and Meredith headed to hers (she was running a few behind us with her cousin).

The race itself is a nice, flat, 3 miles down Monument Avenue. The beginning is pretty crammed. I had to weave in and out of other runners, and definitely found myself running on the sidewalk at times. I hate when I have to do that! But once we hit mile 1, the crowd thinned out. The cobblestone streets are slightly uneven and I had to watch my step a few times as to not trip. But I spent most of the race keeping an eye out for my friend Sarah, who was visiting friends in Richmond and said she’d come out to cheer us on. I spotted her just past mile 5 and it was the boost I needed to finish strong!

I felt great, and my legs felt strong. But I definitely did not PR. There were way too many people to dodge! Here are the official results:

52:15? Not too shabby for a rainy day!

Meredith and Brook did great too! Meredith finished in under an hour, and Brook was only a few minutes behind that. I’m so proud of them!

One of my favorite aspects of this race is that people have fun with it. There were a lot people dressed in costume like these guys, for example:

Post race, I had a margarita (necessary) and a quesadilla (and that’s not even close to everything I ate this day hahaha).

And then I did about 4 hours of this:

Note to self: get a hammock…and a dog.

Have you ever PR’ed at a crowded race? How do you deal with all the people?

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