Best runcation ever! I normally only travel back home for a combined family visit and race weekend but this time I just went to visit and to run… wherever. It was great! All the pressure of a race weekend was gone and we didn’t have to live like monks for days like we do on race weekends.
What I mean by “monks” is that on a normal race weekend I stop eating certain things and stop doing certain things so that I can be sure nothing affects my race performance. I pretty much only eat rice and fish all weekend and then I sit like a veal until the race starts. I do NOT walk all over DC because, well, I don’t walk much now that I live in the Florida ‘burbs so I can sometimes get sore in my shins and calves after walking all day around DC. But this runcation weekend was completely different! I walked everywhere (I miss that so much!) and I ate whatever I wanted (check out Doi Moi if you’re ever in DC – HEAVEN!!) and I ran amazing trails all weekend long!
My old military buddy lives outside of the city but came up to stay with me for the weekend. We started out early Saturday morning, heading to the Manassas Battlefield to do what was supposed to be my scheduled 10 mile training run for the Marine Corps Marathon Runner’s World Challenge schedule. We didn’t, however, check the weather before we headed out. Whoops. I’m so used to Florida weather that it never even occurred to me it rains in the MORNING in some places! In Florida it only rains in the afternoon! We got all the way out to the Battlefield (35 min from DC) and sat in our car under a torrential downpour. I was glued to my radar app where all of Virginia seemed blanketed in a storm cloud. Finally we called it and headed back into the city, after stopping at Best Buns in Shirlington for their amazing sticky buns. My folks know the head baker there and every time I act like I’m seeing a rock star. It’s embarrassing. You can only tell someone you love their sticky buns so many times before it becomes awkward.
So far so good right? No running but stuffing our face with pastries. Marine Marathon here I come!
We get back to the city and the weather clears up and we decide to head out on the Mount Vernon Trail instead. I used to run this trail after work in the city. It’s really popular. But I forgot about the hills and the bicyclists. Wow. More about that in another post, but I’m lucky to have gotten out of there alive. (Read about my Mount Vernon Trail run HERE). We only went about 5 miles but, what with it being high noon and with all the HILLS, I was beat! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel, cleaned up, and headed out to the National Gallery and then later to Doi Moi…. and then later to another bar…. not MY idea because I was thinking about the run the next morning but, hey, we were on runcation right? Had to do some of the ‘cation part too I suppose.
a night of mixing beer and tequila a late night in the city, we got up early again and tried the Battlefield a second time. This time it was golden! We got there while there was still mist on the field and the sun was still coming up. That was a huge, unexpected victory after the night before, let me tell you! It was so worth it though. (Read more about my Manassas Battlefield run HERE.) It was one of the best runs I’ve had in a long, long time. The only smallish (or major?) issue I had was that I only ran another 5 miles. Therefore I did not get the 10 miles down that I was supposed to have for this weekend. But… I did do 10 miles total within a 24 hour period. No, I don’t think it counts, but it’s not that terrible either. I figure I’ll make up the 10 miles this weekend instead of doing my drop-down 8 mile run. Plus I did both 5 milers at a faster pace because my buddy runs fast and with the hills that was a big workout for me.
All in all it was a great runcation in DC and NOVA. Even though the hills felt so hard, I miss them and all the trail options up there. The trails down here in Florida are infested with alligators and crocodiles and snakes. Anyone who runs on a south Florida trail has a death wish in my opinion. I really envy all the people who can train up there because the Marine Corps Marathon will be cake for them on race day! There are just no hills down here and running up the ONE suitable bridge in the area sucks. But lots of people have to figure stuff like this out. I’m motivated!
I can’t get away from the beach even on vacation! Check out “The Beach” at the National Building Museum. Until September 7th you can buy tickets to play here. But be careful, I honestly saw parents scrambling to save their kids before they were forever lost in these balls. Total look of panic on their faces! Eek.
My motivation got a shot of adrenaline on this runcation. I saw so many runners up there. Granted, there are just more people in DC period so of course I’m going to see more runners in general. But there’s something about south Florida where I don’t see many people out running. And the people I do see running are clearly not from around here. They are northerners who are on vacation and who are running. I don’t feel like a lot of native south Floridians run much. I could be totally wrong but this is the impression I have down here. It feels less like a runner’s community.
Ok, great weekend in the books but now I’ve got to get back to being serious. This means no more sticky buns (I love you and your buns Mr. Fernandez!!!), no more drinks, no more diverting off the run schedule. I’m going into the next 3 months before Marine Corps totally inspired and renewed! I feel good and I’m really excited to go back up there again so soon!