Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Race Recap: Ukrop's Monument Av 10K Race Part 1

After obsessing about what to wear/what to bring to the Ukrop's Monument Av 10K Race the night before I left for Richmond, I was happy to be on the road by 2PM on Friday, and thankful for a quick trip, sans too much traffic!  I was missing my boys on the trip down, feeling a little strange not hearing any arguing and whining in the back of the car, but I was happy to have the break.  I am grateful for the hubs for letting me do this race.   With two runners in the family, we've been taking turns being on "kid-duty" while the other one races, and this past weekend was my "race weekend." 

After snaking my way through the Ukrop's Monument Av 10K Race Expo at the Arthur Ashe Center to pick up my race packet, I was greeted by the VCU Massey Cancer Center Wall full of wishes and dedications.

It took me awhile to find a spot for mine.  I was humbled by all the names and tributes.  This is, after all, why I am running this race:  to kick cancer in the ass.

Yup.  Only in my dreams will I ever be a Kenyan.
My sister and I met up and found the Bondi Band booth and totally hammed it up just for fun.  The one I'm wearing above is one of our favorites and this one below:

Funny thing though, I ended up buying neither, opting instead to buy "Run Like A Mother" and "13.1," Bondi Bands, the latter for inspiration.


Then we stumbled into the SUNTRUST Richmond Marathon booth, and I knew it was a sign.  I had been thinking and talking about doing my first half marathon this year (as part of my "Before the Hill List") and when I saw the booth, I felt like I couldn't escape it, it was totally meant to be.  So my sister and I signed up!!!!  :O)  (We are still freaking out over this).

I knew from the Runner's World Magazine Facebook page that Amby Burfoot and Bart Yasso would be at the Expo.  I think I was more excited about meeting them and getting my books autographed.  So imagine my complete and utter embarrassment when I asked this guy below where I could find Amby Burfoot.

Amby Burfoot and me after signing my book!
"Actually, I am Amby."  :O)  (ACK!).  How could I not recognize him?  He was so down to earth, and while I was looking at all the books they had at their booth, he kept telling me if I hang around a little longer, I could meet Bart Yasso and get an autographed copy of Bart's My Life On the Run:  The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon.  I was so flustered I didn't know how to save myself except to go on and on about how Amby's book, The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life, has inspired me, affected me, and changed me as a runner.  I meant it too!  In my awkward and flustered state, I realized I forgot my copy of "The Runner's Guide.." in my car, and so my sister offered to get it for me.   

I was totally star-struck by Amby Burfoot and very happy I got to meet him.  While I waited for my sister to return, he shared how these days, he only trains for 10Ks and half marathons, no more full marathons.  He was excited about running the 10K race the next day and felt very energized by Richmond's spirit and running community.  He was planning to hang out after the 10K race to check out all the buzz over the Richmond Rams, VCU's men's basketball team, who made it to the Final Four.  Amby seems to be the kind of guy who lives for the experience of not just the race, but of the town the race is in.  He runs for the pure joy of running and I love that about him.

I wish I wasn't so starry-eyed when I met him.  I forgot to ask him about his Athens Marathon, but he did give me a big boost of encouragement when he recommended the Richmond Half Marathon for first-timers.  He ran the Richmond Full Marathon years ago, and he told me that the timing of the race (mid-November), the relatively flat course, and the energy of the crowd offered a great combination for a first-time half marathoner.  Now if only I was a faster runner, I could have had the pleasure to run in the same wave start line as Amby.  From his own race recap of the Ukrop's Monument Av 10K, looks like he ran the 10K course twice.  Once towards the finish line and the second time going back towards the start line, meeting lots of other runners along the way.  Again, how could I have missed him?!!!

Bart Yasso signing my book!
Not to be overshadowed by Amby Burfoot, I finally got to meet Bart Yasso too!  I've had his book, My Life On the Run:  The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon, on my reading list for awhile, and I was ecstatic to get an autographed copy of it at the Expo!  He wasn't running the 10K race the next day, but he did do a 3-mile run at 7am that Friday morning with a bunch of lucky runners.  If I only knew he was going to do that, I would have made the drive to Richmond Thursday night.  It's not everyday you get a chance to run next to or near Bart Yasso.

Bart Yasso and me! 
I didn't embarrass myself around Bart like I did when I met Amby.  I wish I had at least done something to my hair to look good.  I looked so disheveled!  Anyways, Bart was traveling from expo to expo the last few weeks.  I couldn't hang out with him to chat since there were a few people waiting, but I was so happy to meet him!

After being at the Expo for 2 hours, I was ready to go to my sister's house to carbo-load with spaghetti for dinner.  YUM!  My sister cooks a mean spaghetti!  It was such an exciting day, and I haven't even run the race yet at that point!  More about race day on Race Recap Part 2.

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