Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Step 1 of Maniac status: Loopfest Shamrock-style

There is a first time for everything, right?

This weekend had quite a few firsts:
1) Racing consecutive days
2) Racing in a tutu
3) Racing with a Leprechaun
4) Racing in Virginia
5) Drinking beer during a race
6) Turning down free beers
7) Annoying pacing a Loopster to a BQ

I stayed up late baking on Thursday night. I had done some prep work ahead of time, but I was finishing up chocolate chip cookies, blondies, gluten free chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, almond cupcakes with fresh strawberry buttercream, and Irish coffee cupcakes. This is a stock photo from the beta test:
My friend Megan came over to paint my nails for me. I'm not skilled in that department and she's awesome.
I stayed up well beyond midnight, but the 5am wake up was actually okay because I was so excited to be heading to Virginia Beach!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loaded Adam's Jeep with the baked goods, my running gear, 54 beers, and a bag of sugary snacks like Air Heads and Fruit Roll-Ups that Megan gifted me.

After a few hours of NPR--complete with one real tear-jerker of a story--I started jamming out to 90's on 9. I picked up Jenster at work around noon and we got our own party started started.
Soon we were rolling up to the hotel and got a peek at our lovely view for the weekend:
Jenster, Misti, Angie, and I headed over to the expo to pick up our numbers and then over to the Loop house to mingle. After introductions and a beer, we all went back into town and met up at the Abbey Road Pub for dinner and shenanigans. I ate too many nachos, had too many beers, and then we decided to hit the hot tub at the hotel until we got kicked out.

Saturday morning, I donned my shamrock socks and we headed down to find a Leprechaun in corral 2. Not the easiest thing in the world to find actually...

Steve, Angie, and I were planning to run together--somewhere around an 8:30 pace? I dunno, I just thought we'd run what felt comfortable and we could still talk. After all, the 3 of us were running a marathon the next day. But Steve and I apparently suck at keeping a pace and Angie was so we lost her probably around mile 2 or so. Sorry Angie :(

The race itself was awesome. It was a perfect progressive run and everyone loved Steve's costume. We bantered back and forth and hammed it up for the cameras. Definitely the most fun I have ever had racing!

Our time wasn't too shabby even though it was just a "fun run".

And here is more visual proof of our crappy pacing:
It was not even 9:00am, but the beer tent was open and YOU GET 4 BEERS WITH YOUR 8K ENTRY. Totally didn't know that until Angie clued me in. With the marathon the next day, I actually turned 3 of my 4 "free" beers down. But I did enjoy hanging out on the beach with some Loopsters with my one beer:

The roomies and I decided to have breakfast and went to the Pocahontas Pancake House. Then we split ways and I caught up with my friend Angela from DC and her boyfriend Damien. We spent some time lounging on the beach and later at a beachfront hotel bar. Livin' the good life for sure!

I met back up with the roomies and we went to the Loop house for an awesome pasta dinner made by Ed and Brenda. There was a little walking on the beach and then it was time to get serious for race #2:

We laid out our flat girls when we got back to the hotel and got to bed at a reasonable hour. Misti was running the half (starting at 7:00) and so we started stirring when she did. The four of us walked down to the start and saw her off. Angie, Jenster, and I went back to get our gear on and suddenly it was time to go race a marathon!
Steve and I had found out that Lisa was planning to run a 3:45ish race and go for a BQ.  We told her we'd race with her and help her get there. I'll let her tell her own story of course, but since I was there for 26.2 miles of her race...well, I have my own story to tell!

We were shooting for 8:35s from the start, but much like the previous day, Steve and I suck at pacing. But Lisa said she was feeling good and so we stayed in the 8:20s for a bit.

The pace felt very comfortable to me and I was in full-on, act a fool mode. I was high-fiving everyone I could find, whooping as loud as possible, and making friends wherever I could. The tutu was definitely fun and I got some great crowd support wearing it.

I was so lost in the moment that I actually forgot to take 4 of my 5 GUs when I supposed to. Guess that's what happens when you are having fun?
When we were running miles 10-13, we started to slow down a bit. My body was reminding me that we were in for the long haul, but I still felt pretty good all things considered.

It started to get tough for Lisa after that and I yanked out my one ear bud to fully concentrate on getting her that shiny BQ. I pretty much talked at her, kept track of time (and questioning my own runner math), and watched for signs of sloppy form. She was ah-mazing!!!!!!!! Kept right on running even when it got tough.

I tried to block the wind and encourage the crowd. I have no idea if any of it truly helped, but it almost made my race easier because I knew that there was no way I was going to slow down.
Steve had cramping issues around mile 20 and so the two of us carried on towards the last 10K. I decided at this point that we had this shiz in the bag. So...........I took a big cup of jelly beans (yum), took a shot of beer at 2 different stops, and told Lisa to give me her handheld.
The last few miles she was fighting, but I knew that we still had extra time banked from the earlier miles. It was so exciting come down the boardwalk knowing that she was getting her BQ. Having just done it myself a few months ago, I knew how special that moment was going to be when she crossed the finish line.
We embraced after the finish--both of us elated and full of emotion. It was really, really, really special to be there--I don't have the words for it, but wow...
Angela and Damien met me at the finish line and we coordinated beer tent activities. It was time to celebrate!!!!!!! I went back with Lisa and Brian (yay BQ!) to the hotel to shower and rest a bit. I had to take my recovery a bit more seriously (well, you know...) with an impending marathon in a week. I drank Muscle Milk, took a long shower, and checked out my Garmin splits:

Then it was time for the beer tent:

The rest of the day was spent hanging out Angela and Damien at the Calypso Bar and Restaurant on the beach. Only there were gale force winds blowing so it was nice to be indoors surrounded by friends with my feet dangling from a bar stool.

Jenster and I headed out the next morning and the long, rainy, sad drive home was quite depressing after such a fabulous weekend.

Next up......a marathon this Sunday to earn my Maniac status!!!!


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