Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stratford Hills 10k

So I'm obviously sort of partial to trail events, usually choosing to save my $ and skip road races altogether....However, even I can't deny when a road race really has it going on. This morning's 36th Annual Stratford Hills 10k in Richmond's South Side really had it going on. I ran this race a few years ago but haven't yet made it a tradition...I've been missing out! I won't skip this one again if I can help it...Here's why:
6 Groovy things about this 10k

1. It cost me $10. Doesn't get much better than that, folks.

2. Smaller is better. The more low-key the event, the more fun I have. This event has enough of a turnout to make it fun & challenging without the traffic and headaches that come with a larger event. There's enough of a crowd to offer a nice dose of that camaraderie stuff we runners love, without the fuss of wave starts or bag checks.

3. The James River. Dude, I really love that river. The course starts at the Stratford Hills Shopping center (plenty of parking, YAY!) and goes down towards the James through a neighborhood, along Riverside Drive for a nice out & back. I love running and hanging out anywhere near the river. It really is beautiful.

4. Fast & Flat...Until that last hill. What goes up must come down, and this race course is no exception. From the shopping center, we darted downhill to the river for about a mile before hitting the flat road to the turnaround and back. At about mile 5, the hill we flew down at the start was patiently waiting for our return. The last leg of the race ascended in that gradual, slow, painful sort of way that runners just love.

5. Richmond Rules. I love Richmond and I really dig the Richmond Road Runners Club. We are so lucky to have such an awesome club to call our own right here in RVA. This race was super well-organized and really fun, while showcasing the welcoming, easy-going vibe that Richmond is known for.

6. Prizes! So I didn't run fast enough to snag a sweet new hand-carved wooden winners plaque, but they gave away a few stellar door prizes, including one for Yours Truly! I hardly ever win anything, so this is actually a pretty huge deal. I snagged a sweet $50 gift card to the Positive Vibe CafĂ©, located right in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center.
Not being one to let it burn a hole in my pocket,
you know I'm gonna go spend that sucker ASAP.

Stratford Hills 10k, RVA, 5/24/15
Time- 50:19
Pace- 8:05/mi
Overall- 67/205
Age Group- 4th/13

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Huguenot Flatwater Park, The Secret Garden

Being a grown-up is hard. Being a parent is both amazing and impossible. All of a sudden, you're handed this tiny person and with a slap on the back (Good Luck!), you embark on the journey of parenthood. No one calls your references or runs a background check. Overnight and without any real preparation whatsoever, you're completely in charge of a tiny, precious human being. I remember leaving the hospital after Lucy was born, getting into the car and somehow expecting somebody to come barreling out of the front doors, yelling "Wait! There's a mistake! These people are NOT qualified to be parents!" Or something like that.

Ok, she's cute. Now what do we do?

Anyway, we've somehow managed to raise a pretty awesome person so far (jury's still out, she's not even 4 yet). Here's hoping she won't turn out to be a total snob, or worse, like someone who drives in the left lane of a 2-way highway, going under the speed limit for absolutely no reason other than to annoy everyone around her. Now that would be a bummer.

Anyway, being a parent can be really tough, especially when it comes to making major decisions for your child that she can't yet make for herself.

We're in the middle of that decision-making parental responsibility zone right now as we make decisions about school for our kiddo. Long story short, we are facing some choices that will likely not make a giant difference when she's 35, but seem pretty dang important right now. Kindergarten. We've been visiting schools, meeting with administrators and trying to navigate through the decision-making process for our future grade-schooler (and President of the United States, of course).

For me, my best thinking, praying and decision-making happens where most of the magic usually happens...out on the trail.
Old Westham Bridge, Huguenot Flatwater Park

This morning, I headed down to the river for some dirt therapy. I started on the trails at Huguenot Flatwater, then trotted along Riverside Drive to Pony Pasture. After looping around the main trail at PP I headed back to Flatwater, finishing up at around 5 miles. It was an especially beautiful Spring morning in RVA, and I couldn't help but feel like Mother Nature was plain showing off. It was that pretty. I needed some quiet time and the trail delivered. Big time.

If you've ever wondered what a real "Secret Garden," feels like, check this out.
Did I solve the world's problems in my hour on the trail? Of course not. Did I come to any major conclusions about the future of my kid's education? Not really. But, I did leave with a sense of that everything will be okay, that she'll probably go to college and that she'll definitely be a total jerk when she's 13 no matter where she goes to Kindergarten.

Hanging with my river rat at Pony Pasture

Gosh, I feel better.

Check out Huguenot Flatwater Park HERE