The 5:30am wake-up is a little rough when that’s really only 2:30am at home, but even though I struggle for the real 5:30am every day, I had no problem with it on this trip. I had packed my favorite pancakes which I had with Cherry Coconut Almond Butter and a banana on the way to the Stacks (this is my pre long run or race day meal. always. don’t mess with what works!).
First up, the 5k. I lined up around the 12:30 pace group area with Lynn. If you read the post about my marathon, you know I’m learning that I am/need to be a selfish runner (meaning feeling ok to run my pace if there’s no specific plan with others). We had talked early on about just running with/where it felt comfortable. So, when I was feeling better than expected (and adrenaline was taking over), I went on ahead and ran solo after the first little bit. Being able to do that, guilt free, was the biggest gift ever. I’d been told…that the hills in Bethlehem were more like blueberries, and that training in Seattle would be just fine. For the record, that was a boldfaced lie. Some of those blueberries had had their Wheaties!
Both the 5k & 10k run a similar route, starting and finishing in the same place (the half finishes there, too). The town is beautiful (founded in 1741 by a small group of Moravians), friendly and picturesque. I love churches and cemetaries, and there are plenty of both along the route/s. Running backacross the bridge over the Lehigh River was breathtaking, and something I enjoyed all three races!
I pushed at the 5k finish, a lot, because there was a kid bobbin’ & weavin’ with his dad…and I made them my mission! There was enough time between the 5k & 10k to change shirts and grab my vest & sunglasses. A bit of a drag that the vest hid my Sub30 shirt, so a few times people would cheer for other Subbers running by, then I got nothing (which only bummed me out once, when I really could have used the boost). I was really surprised though that I still felt good for the 10k. I wasn’t running any of the Hat Trick races to PR, but I was running intentionally. By the end, I was ready for my beer reward. At least I remembered to do the “Rocha” airplane over the finish line, which I’d been too focused to remember during the 5k!
After the Saturday races were finished, we napped, ate, lounged around and then went back to the Stacks for a Deena Kastor interview. Holy smokes – she’s funny, human, smart & very down to earth. We even got to get a photo with her after the half!
Saturday night we all gathered for the Editor’s Dinner, with the featured speaking being none other than our “own” Ted Spiker (read his blog post about RWF here). He is a great speaker, which was good since the food was, um….not great. I had planned to save some money and grab a sandwich during the dinner, then meet up with people afterward, but an anonymous donor sponsored a few of us to join the pack. I actually feel guilty about that, because the food… oh well. Thank you, whoever you are! Anyway, the experience was wonderful, and for that I’m glad I was there. Another early-ish night for us though, we’ve got another race in the morning!
Yet another 5:30am wake-up that I had no problem with, but food didn’t really sound great, so I brought it with me. (I actually ate 1.5 pancakes while we walked to the start and while I RAN the first few miles!). Before we headed to the start though, I got a picture with Ted & Mama Canning. Not enough words in my vocabulary to express the ‘awesome’ that they are. So glad they are now friends in real life, and not just in my phone!
Once again, Lynn and I started together and split off not too far into the race. Within the first 2 miles, I joined Larry, Meaghan and a few others who were running a really similar pace, though they were doing intervals which I hadn’t run since April or May. Turned out, they (intervals AND the people) were exactly what I needed for this race. We met up with others along the way, some stuck, others kept going at their own pace. It was just fast enough that I was still working, but the walk breaks were enough that we could have conversations and enjoy our 2.5+ hours together. Another gift.
Sunday night… well, everyone had a very good time. Food and drinks were consumed. And, what happens at RWF, stays there. One thing I will say is that I really prefer smaller crowds.
Monday we got to sleep in – until 7am! Breakfast at the Hyatt was perfect (HUGE shout out to Jennifer, who was always there and with a smile!!!), and then a few of us headed out to flip tires, bear crawl, do some boxing, and other ‘stuff’ in the park with Ted. So. Much. Fun. I could do that kind of work out a couple times a week if I had those people to go ‘play’ with
All in all, a virtual 5k, a trail race, the Hat Trick, the tire flipping, all made for an absolutely wonderful adventure. I never thought I would be able to do ALL the races. And then, when I signed up for a marathon 2 weeks before I really didn’t think I would be able to. I thought I’d end up walking the half at the least. I was shocked at what I was able to do. It just might have been the Village. I was constantly giving Lynn grief over referring to the PacNW as “the wrong coast”, but after spending 4 days with these people and near where she grew up (she’s from Philly), I get it. These aren’t fleeting friendships. I know many of these ‘Village People’ will be in my phone & life until my last breath. My guy, who was holding down the fort at home, was not even remotely surprised when I called him afterward to say I’d done them all. In fact, he was only surprised that I was surprised! I guess he thinks I’m a badass.
And now, maybe I do, too.