Monday, September 15, 2014

Divas DC Wine Country 5k Recap

I signed up for the Divas DC Wine Country 5k a few months ago. I liked the idea of running a women's themed 5k close to home on a Friday evening. There is also a half marathon on Saturday morning that is the main "Divas DC Wine Country" event. There were some traffic snafus in 2013 so they decided to split up the two races (among other logistic changes).

I didn't register with anyone, but I figured I would be able to talk someone into running it with me. Surely someone would want to run a 5k featuring free tiaras & feather boas, roses, medals given out by shirtless guys, and bubbly at the finish line, right? Time kept ticking by and I couldn't find any takers. And if there is one thing I learned at the Fairfax Four Miler last year, it is that fun theme races are not as much fun if you don't have friends to share them with.

Lucky for me a group of women from "Molly's Mod Squad" decided to join the running party, in part to celebrate Andrea's birthday! I had only run with them a few times but they welcomed me into their group. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully inclusive so many people in the running community are. And I'm sure you won't be surprised by this spoiler alert - the race was so much more fun because I was hanging out with them!

The Expo
I headed to the expo to pick up my packet about 75 minutes before the race. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to pick up my bib, browse around the expo, and return to my car (parked 1/2 mile away) before the race began. But I didn't want to have *too* much time and find myself in the long bathroom lines I imagined there might be at a women's only race. Packet pickup was quick with no lines. I liked the pink shirt and rucksacks.

Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

race swag

Inside I did a quick lap around the expo. I had heard it was really small, but it was better than I expected. I think I could have easily spent 30 minutes browsing and done some serious credit card damage. Fortunately I connected with Andrea and Susan after my quick browsing lap and that kept me from succumbing to impulse buys that I surely didn't need.

Andrea and I headed back to the cars to stow our bags and extra gear. The 1/2 mile walk there and back was a nice warm-up and we realized that the medical center where the cars were had bathrooms with no lines - bonus! We also found Roz in the parking lot which completed our Mod Squad quartet. We headed back to the expo to link up with Susan and head to the starting line.

from left: Andrea, Susan, me, and Roz

The Start
I lost track of time and missed the Moms Run This Town multi-chapter picture that was taken at the starting line before the race.

MRTT multi-chapter picture - you look beautiful, ladies!

I may have missed the group picture, but Natasha - my fellow Herndon/Reston MRTT chapter member - knew I would be there and made it a point to track me down for our chapter picture. I was really grateful that she went out of her way to find me and wished that I could have found her again after the race - thank you Natasha!

Natasha & me - Herndon/Reston MRTT represent!

When I met Natasha I also met Michelle and Vanessa from the Western Loudoun MRTT chapter who had come out to cheer us on. They had great signs and enthusiasm! And as happy as I was to see them at the starting line, I was even happier to see them at the killer hill that was just before the finish line! Thank you for your support, Michelle and Vanessa! Your cheers kept me going and got me running again on that cruel hill.

Vanessa & Michelle from Western Loudoun MRTT
Signs read: "Run Now, Wine Later" and
"She turned her can'ts into CAN, her DREAMs into PLANs.

I went to line up in WAVE 2! There were 5 waves, and I'm not particularly fast, so I wondered if perhaps there had been a mistake. And I thought about going to a different wave so I wouldn't be in the way of the faster people. But I scoped the situation out and it seemed like maybe I really belonged in wave 2? So I decided to go for it and I'm proud to report that on the whole I passed more people than passed me and I was actually right where I belonged. My finish time was 33:31 - not quite a PR but close to my best time. And I finished 163 out of 773 participants. That puts me in the top 21% which means I was only a percentage point away from belonging in wave 1. How about that?!

The starting line - ready to race!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

The Race
The course went around the Lansdowne golf course. It was pretty and quite hilly. Especially at the very end, when we went up two very steep hills. I enjoyed all of the course except for those hills, which really got the better of me. Thank goodness for Michelle and Vanessa's cheers of encouragement!

The course - note elevation chart in the lower left,
indicating a steep climb at the end...

At the end of the very cruel pair of hills, we ran through a "boa and tiara station" where we were given fluffy pink boas and a sparkly tiara. Then we crossed the finish line and were met by strapping young shirtless men handing out medals. Speedy Andrea, who FINISHED FIRST IN HER DIVISION!! was waiting at the finish line to photograph and preserve my medal moment for posterity...

I would like to state for the record that while
this young man is cute he is nowhere
near as handsome as my husband Rick.

I also received a lovely red long-stemmed rose, but Andrea didn't take a picture of that moment. Perhaps because there was no eye-candy involved so we didn't feel the need to document it for Molly.

crossing the finish line!

Andrea & I watched Roz and Susan finish and we all drank apple cider while waiting to get a group finisher photo. Why were we drinking apple cider at the Wine Country race? Apparently there are laws in the great state of Virginia that prohibit the serving of alcoholic bubbly like they have at Diva Series races in other states. We made up for it with Edy's Outshine popsicles in tangerine carrot, which were actually pretty tasty. Other post-race goodies included bananas, apples, cookies, trail mix, and corn thins (these were styrofoam-flavored yucky but everything else was good!). 

We enjoyed the enthusiasm and outfits of the women (and a few men) around us. One man wore the pink diva shirt with a red, white, and blue tutu. Another pair of guys had fake butt cheeks with funny sayings on them that made us laugh out loud. And there were women of all ages - little girls to grandmas - decked out in pink, sparkles, tutus, feathers, and all kinds of other finery!

These were some spunky cowgirls!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza
It takes a confident man to wear pink
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

and an even more confident one to wear a tutu!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

I ran close to this family for some of the race - they were adorable!
Divas® Half Marathon & 5K Series/Katty Peraza

It was a fun, well-organized event. I had a blast with the fabulous ladies from Molly's Mod Squad and look forward to many more runs together in the future!

Andrea's cool photo collage



  1. It was fun running with you Kim, even though I was back in wave 3 and you crushed me with your time (way to go!). Next year you must join the Mudmoiselles for the Dirty Girl :) And we'll drag more of the BFFs out for this one. Now that I know about the cruel hill, I'll be ready for it.

    1. It was so much fun running with you, too Susan! (and "Mudmoiselles" is a great name!)

  2. Looks like you had a fun time! It was nice to split the races out on different days. Brand new course for the 5k, too! Fun pictures!

    1. Thanks Gina! It was definitely fun. Maybe next year you can investigate whether you can wear rabbit ears and a tiara at the same time. I'll bet you could pull it off!