Friday, March 28: This afternoon, I leave my house at 3:00 for what should be a two-hour drive to Richmond, Virginia. I’m planning to walk tomorrow morning in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k along with my 29-year-old daughter Sarah, who’s planning to run.
I sit in barely moving traffic on I-95 south from Washington to Fredericksburg, at which time the traffic finally begins to move at more than a snail’s pace. It takes me 3 hours and 40 minutes to make what should be a 2-hour drive. When I arrive in Richmond, I stop at the Arthur Ashe Junior Athletic Center to pick up my bib and race packet, along with thousands of other people.
When I arrive at Sarah’s house in the Fan District, she’s making a linguine and Bella mushroom dish, accompanied by warm decadent garlic bread. After all, we need to load up on carbs for the race. Her friend and running-mate Rose, her roommate Daniel, and her annoying cat, Chicken Little, who insists on jumping up on the table at every chance, also share the meal. We relax soon after dinner so we’ll be ready for the event tomorrow.
Saturday, March 29: According to the Richmond Time-Dispatch: Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K by the numbers, 36,365 people registered for this event. Despite the rain, 27,404 participants finished the race, including me. 🙂
Since there are so many people, there is no parking nearby. We have to walk to the starting line near Harrison and Broad. When I MapMyWalk, I find the walk to the start from Sarah’s is one mile. So, including the walk there, the 10k and the walk back, I cover a total of 8.2 miles. In the rain. Needless to say, I’m soaked like a wet puppy by the time I return to Sarah’s house.
There are a total of 90 minutes of wave starts. I’m pretty impressed that the organizers, Sports Backers, do such a good job with the logistics of organizing such a huge event. Sarah and her friend Rose are in an early wave of runners so she actually finishes running before I even start. The walkers are at the back of the pack, and my wave, XB, doesn’t start until nearly 10 a.m.
Sarah meets her goal of finishing at 58:32. She’s pleased with her results of finishing 7,420th out of all participants, and 613th place out of her division of women 25-29.
Since I am walking, I’m hoping to keep around a 16:45 minute per mile pace throughout. My total time ends up being 1:46:58, about a 17.25 minute pace. The first 3.1 miles of my walk is an average pace of 16:42, so I meet my goal in the first half. In the second half of the run, it begins to pour, and I think that slows me down. I finish way at the back of the pack at 24,348th!! I didn’t realize I was so slow. I finish 625th in my division of women age 55-59. I may be slow, but it seemed like a lot of work to me!
I figure that I walk a little over 3 miles every day, so it should be easy to simply double it. However, I find that my back is really hurting in the second half, quite a surprise as I don’t normally have back problems when walking. Maybe it’s the distance combined with the hard asphalt. My toes also feel like they’re stuck with pins and needles. It’s hell getting older!!
Despite the rain, hordes of Richmonders come out to cheer on the walkers and runners. Thirty-three small bands are set up along the route, under tents, playing jazz, R&B, classic rock, blues, folk, bluegrass, jammin’ oldies, Christian rock, funk and surf instrumentals. Many participants and bystanders are decked out in costumes. I pass some ladies wearing a pirate ship! Some guys mime from a balcony in Superhero costumes. There are people dressed in team costumes and holding signs and banners. Thank goodness for all the people who came out to cheer on the runners and walkers on such a miserable day. They kept our spirits up!
The VCU Massey Cancer Center is the official charitable fundraising partner of the 10k. Participants take an active role in cancer prevention.
So after all that hard work, what do we do? We head straight to the Star-Lite Dining and Lounge, where I order possibly the most unhealthy thing on the menu, biscuits and sausage gravy. Sarah orders Crab Cake Bennies – “Classic Bennies with a pair of grilled crab cakes added to the stack.” We also each have a beer. 🙂
I would challenge anyone to undo hard work as efficiently and thoroughly as I do!