I completed one of my favorite races this past Saturday – Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k! Why is it my favorite, you ask? Well, it was my first 10k ever, so I’m a little sentimental. But honestly, the whole race feels like a big party! Music and loud spectators line the course, you get to see some awesome costumed runners, it’s a flat and fast course, and it’s very well organized.
Saturday was my seventh Monument 10k. The only year I’ve missed running it was in 2012 when I was 6 months pregnant with Little Man. My excuse? I was 6 months pregnant… Never mind that two years later I would run a half marathon at 6 months pregnant with Baby Thunder! But that’s another story…
For the first 2 years I ran this race, I didn’t train. Story of my running life. I’m kinda famous in my family for doing that. My very first Monument in 2008, had only run 3 miles three weeks before the race. That was the entire extent of my training! I finished just ahead of my mom in 1:05. Yes, my mom did run it with me that year. Since then, I’ve become the crazy runner in my family. But this year, I not only got one of my fastest finishes, but for the first time I ran and finished with one of my siblings!
Race morning came bright and early for the two of us. Baby Thunder decided he wanted to see me every 2-4 hours through the night, so I didn’t feel terribly rested when my alarm went off at 6:30am. My brother is likewise not a morning person, so we were quite the cheery pair as we left home at 7:15am. Ha! Fortunately, we both had an espresso when we woke up, so we managed to be nice to each other on the drive down to the start. 🙂 We found parking with plenty of time to spare – something I was worried about considering that this race draws roughly 35,000 runners every year.
Fortunately, this year happened to be the every other year when the sun actually shines. Unfortunately, it was very cold at the start – somewhere around 35 degrees! However, past experience has taught me not to over-dress for this race. The first 5k is usually spent trying to warm up (and yes, it does take me the whole 3.1 miles to not feel like I’m going to freeze), and the second 5k finds me sweating. This year was challenging to find a happy medium, but I opted for my yellow “Run Like A Mother” tech shirt, my favorite Lululemon capris, merino wool socks, my new knit wool hat, good ol’ arm warmers, gloves with Hand Warmers, and my new Under Armour vest (to carry my phone and rescue inhaler, just in case). I ended up stripping the hat and vest off around mile 4 and pulling down the arm sleeves.
Because Monument has so many runners, they use wave starts. They also have special “seeded” waves, meaning you have to qualify within the last 2 years in order to be allowed to register for that wave. For instance, I ran a marathon in 2013 that allowed met to register for a 49 minute finish. But since my brother does not have a recent race time, he had to start in the first non-seeded wave with an estimated finishing time of 63 minutes. Which meant that the two of us spent the first 5k dodging people and trying to get some breathing room where we could cruise without having to suddenly put on the brakes in order to not run into someone’s back. I imagine rush hour in New York feels kind of like that first 5k.
Once we hit the turn around at mile 3, we were able to find a good stride. Our split at the 5k was 29:38. However, we booked it in the second half of the race! Our finish time was 55:08, which resulted in a negative split by more than 4 minutes! And my brother looked cool as a cucumber the whole second half, whereas I was definitely working for it. He definitely could have beaten me by several more minutes, but he was a good sport and ran the whole way with me! Probably the only time that will ever happen again, which means I cherished it all the more. 🙂
When I was still trying to convince my brother to sign up for this race, I may or may not have bribed him with donuts afterwards… In the last 5 years or so, Richmond has seen several new donut shops open for business, including Duck Donuts from Outer Banks and Sugar Shack in the West End. So after we got our post race munchies and I changed into warmer clothes, we met Hubby and the boys at Willow Lawn for some fresh, hot, yummy donuts!
Post race donuts may have to be a new tradition for the Winyard Clan! 🙂
Sadly, I will no longer be considered a Richmonder; I will have “Columbus, OH” on my registration form. Thus ends my Richmond racing career as a Richmonder.
But as a famous man once said, “I’ll be back!”
Next up on my race schedule – Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in May! Maybe I can (coughguiltcough) convince my brother to do this one with me, too…