Ok, it’s finally time for the VA is for Lovers 14k race recap. Better late than never, right? Race weekend started out with a little road trip down to VA Beach after rush hour died down. We dropped Bill off at the rent’s house. I couldn’t help getting a little sad when I went to say bye to him and he was already off running around with his sister. I don’t think he missed us much.
We got to our friends’ house pretty late, but stayed up and chatted for a while and hung out with Kane, the horse dog.
After a few hours of sleep, we all awoke bright and early for the race. We got to the VB Field House well before race start because I had to pick up my bib and wanted to make sure we made it there before the roads started closing. I had never been to the VB Field House, so I was really impressed with the set-up.
Bib pick up was inside of the field house. The runners and spectators had a warm place to relax before the race complete with big screen TVs, couches, a snack bar, and plenty of bathrooms. Even though it wasn’t super cold out, it was kind of dreary and windy so it was nice to have an indoor rest area pre race.
I got my bib without any issues. Despite the large number of spectators and runners, everything was super smooth and organized. About 30 minutes before race start, I said farewell to my cheer team and walked to the start line. I gave myself enough time to use the bathroom and stretch.
I hate waiting for those last few minutes before race start. They seem to go so slow. And no matter the distance, my adrenaline always goes wild before a race. Unfortunately, I had to pee like 2 minutes before race start. Chalking it up to nerves, I figured the feeling would go away once I calmed down.
Race start was awesome and motivating as always. There’s nothing like running under a big arch with an announcer yelling and music blaring. It’s such a cool feeling. We also ran underneath an American flag suspended in the air by a fire truck ladder. That really made me feel excited as I ran underneath it.
I tried getting into the zone, but after about a mile I couldn’t shake the feeling to use the bathroom so I stopped at the first porta potty I saw. The line was about 4 people deep, but I decided to wait rather that run an uncomfortable race. By the time I was able to use the bathroom, all of the runners had passed and the walkers were bringing up the rear.
Even though I don’t run for time, I didn’t want to be stuck in the back either. I also didn’t want the race to take forever, because our friends were nice enough to come cheer me on and I didn’t want them waiting on me all morning.
So I spent about half the race trying to make up for lost time. This involved a whole lot of dodging walkers and running off the path in the grass. I eventually made it back to the group of people I started with, but it took its toll on my hips and knees. I was SORE and still had half a race to run.
The race itself was super cute. They really played up the “love” theme. Many people were dressed in costumes, or at the very least in red or pink. I especially liked running under the “Lovers’ Lane” arch and reading all of the signs that people bought for each other to be displayed along the course. That was a welcomed distraction.
I also saw this couple who ran chained together. The woman wore a shirt that said, “the old ball and chain” on the back. I thought that was pretty creative. I saw lots of cupids, hearts, and a lot of husband and wife runners.
The course itself was pretty boring. That was probably the only downfall of the race. 8.6 miles of parking lots, one lane roads, and down and back routes. We did get to run through Farm Bureau Live, which is an outdoor concert venue, so that was fun. But the rest of the course wasn’t great. The worst part was being able to see the runners ahead of you looping around for miles. Mile 7 was pretty difficult for me because I was just ready to be finished and could literally see the whole mile+ I had left to run.
I got my second wind though when the field house was in sight. I knew Marcus would be there cheering for me as I finished.
Apparently, I run with closed eyes and an awkward hand.
The finish line was pretty sweet. We got to run into the field house on turf and finish under a huge arch as the announcer called out our names. The only thing that feels more awesome than starting a race is finishing one. I definitely gave a whoop and a fist pump as I crossed the finish line.
As I went down the finishers chute, I got my medal, water, a banana, the “surprise” item which was a stemless wine glass (awesome), and a carnation. The finisher’s items were great and totally worth the dull course. We got all of this stuff along with the full zip windbreaker, nice J & A Racing bag, and personalized race bib.
The finish area was crowded but not so bad that I couldn’t move. I quickly got my Yuengling and Moe’s burrito just to say I did. But both got set down quickly because my stomach still felt like it was running even though I was standing still.
Overall, it was a terrific race. There was a band playing and lots of runners mingling and talking afterwards. I quickly found Marcus and our friends despite the big crowds, which is not always the case after a race.
I would definitely run this race again. I understand the need for a boring course. We began and finished at the field house which is a little secluded and in an area surrounded by athletic fields and parking lots. I would gladly take that course if it means starting and finishing indoors and out of the elements, especially since the temperatures dropped and wind really picked up by the time I was finished running. So the indoor post race set-up was much appreciated.
I love the attention to detail, the “love” theme throughout the whole race, and the organization of everything. All of the volunteers were super nice and the race SWAG was legit. J & A Racing will forever get my praise. They know how to run good races.
After the race, we grabbed sandwiches at Taste (s000 good), showered up, and headed to Norfolk for a little VCU/ODU basketball. Talk about an exciting day! I love VB. Let’s go back! 🙂
Next up, is RnR DC. I am a bit skeptical of this one because RnR tends to oversell their races because they are in it to make that money. But I’m excited nonetheless. Any opportunity to race gets me pumped.
Have a fab one! 🙂