Another Richmond race and another Meg’s Miles weekend in the books! It’s a busy weekend from the time we arrive in Ashland on Thursday evening to the time we depart on Sunday afternoon. I’m always exhausted afterward. But I also always come away with a full heart, an invigorated soul, and a some new friends. The Meg’s Miles family is like none other.
My running buddy, Kim, and I hit the road for Richmond on Thursday evening. Friday morning was the group Memorial Run, followed by coffee.
From there, Kim and I hit the race expo to get our packets and later enjoyed the Meg’s Miles pre-race pasta dinner. Then it was off to bed in preparation for race morning.
Per usual for race morning, we were up super early. It was a cold morning, with temperatures in the 30’s, and we were expecting some windy conditions during the race. I hate being cold, but I was ready to run and looking forward to the race.
I’ve run Richmond at least five times now, so I’ve got my pre-race routine here down pat. It’s fun to go run a new race, but it’s also really nice to be familiar with a race and know exactly where to go for bag check, the porta-johns, etc. So I took care of all of that and then lined up in my wave for the start.
The race started at 7:30 AM. I was in the 7th wave, and was off and running at 7:44 AM. This race is so familiar to me and always feels like an old friend. As we started out down the road, I soaked it all in and enjoyed the camaraderie and excitement around me.
As we made our way through downtown Richmond in the early miles, the wind wasn’t a huge factor. The wind was around 10-12 mph and we would get blasted from the side by the wind at each cross street, but it wasn’t awful. My legs felt fresh and I settled into a very comfortable, conservative pace.
We headed down Broad and took a right on Boulevard. Then it was up a little hill over a bridge and towards the out and back in the neighborhood. I always like this little half mile out and back, which gets us to mile 4 in the race. But I don’t like the stretch between the out and back and Bryan Park. For some reason, I always feel a little bored. The spectators were out in force, though, so I entertained myself by looking at their funny signs: “Always give 100%, unless you’re giving blood” and “Marathon today, Netflix Marathon tomorrow,” etc. That helped pass the time so we could get to my favorite part of the course: Bryan Park.
As we headed into the park, we saw other runners headed out of the park. I like little sections of a race course like this where you get to see other runners and can cheer each other one and high five. From there we headed downhill into the park. There aren’t any spectators in the park and it gets really quiet and peaceful. That’s why it’s my favorite part of the course. We hit the 10K mark through here and then went up a couple of hills on our way out of the park.
I was using an 8 minute run/2 minute walk interval to keep my pace in check. With another big race this coming weekend, I wanted to finish Richmond between 2:30-2:35 to ensure I didn’t run too hard. As we came up out of the park, I started to feel a little fatigue. But I hit another walk break at that point and felt completely recovered after.
From here, we headed over towards the long stretch down Brook Road. This is a 1.5 mile stretch from mile 9-10.5 or so that’s just straight and always feels kind of long. But this year, since I wasn’t racing, I chose to take advantage of the various free libations being offered to those who were 21 or older. 🙂 That passed the time (and warmed me up some in the chilly, windy weather!).
Finally we were off of Brook Road and headed back towards downtown and the finish. The party starts to pick up again, and I was starting to smell the barn. I had to focus on not getting excited and keeping my pace in check the final 5K.
We made the final turn onto 5th street and hit the big downhill to the finish line. I let loose a little here and it felt good to run hard to the finish. I crossed the line in 2:34:15, right where I wanted to be. Then it was time for some pizza and dry clothes, because it was windy and freezing in the finish area!
Following the race, I hung out at the finish line with the Meg’s Miles group and cheered on other runners. We were all freezing, and after about 3 hours we walked back to the car and headed for the hotel. It felt so good to get out of the wind! We had a little downtime, where I watched the Hokies dominate against Georgia Tech, before a group dinner at the Hanover Tavern.
We ended the weekend with church on Sunday morning, followed by lunch. I’m not sure how we fit so much into one weekend, but at the same time it flies by and never seems like enough!