I pulled together what Freddy and I would need to stay comfortable while cheering for Rick and the other runners. It was almost as complicated as preparing for a race as I laid out layers of clothes for each of us and found the right hats and gloves and boots and handwarmers. Everything went into a backpack, along with snacks and our trusty cowbell. We went to bed hoping for the best.
|My Nuun cowbell gets my vote for MVP for the race|
When we got up in the morning things looks promising - more snow than sleet. We headed out, recognizing that a shortened race was still a possibility, but a cancellation was not. The race course was adjusted a bit since the track at South Lakes High School was still snowed under. The adjustment worked in our favor, as it was easier for us to watch everyone start the race. We stood about 100 yards from the start line and cheered until the last runner was out of the chute.
|All bundled up and ready to cheer!|
photo courtesy Laurentina photography
After watching the start, we headed to our first viewing spot around mile 3. Walking up South Lakes Drive was slow going as the path was largely covered in ice and snow. At some point it finally occurred to me that we were walking along the seventh mile and it was okay to walk in the street at this point as no runners would be that far along in the race! Duh. We made it to the intersection of South Lakes and Soapstone just in time to see the first runner come by.
|The original course (both the start & finish were adjusted)|
Our first viewing spot was by the 3, then we went back to 6
We watched almost the full race field go by at mile 3, ringing the cowbell the whole time. It was exciting to watch so many people I know racing:
- my husband Rick (of course)
- =PR= training buddies, including Laura & Karen
- my fellow CUCB blog buddy Coco
- people I coach through =PR= (the feeling I had when one of them ran past me and said "Hi Coach" is indescribable - it made my day!)
- women I know from Moms Run This Town (special shout-outs to Victoria, Fran, Stephanie, Crescent, Tracy, and Melissa!!)
- familiar faces from Reston Runners
But I cheered for everyone - people I knew, people I didn't. It was rewarding to share smiles, high-fives, and jokes with fellow runners. I heard "more cowbell" and "thank you for coming out" over and over (and I never got tired of it!). The snow started to fall about 20 minutes into the race, and the runners carried on valiantly.
|Karen ran a solid race & is now ready for Shamrock Half|
We turned back towards the school and slowly made our way down South Lakes Drive, cheering the oncoming runners. I heard several surprised exclamations of "You moved!" We put our stakes down just beyond the 10k timing mat and water stop and did it all again. Freddy found a giant pile of snow and settled in to play, while I rang the cowbell and cheered people on.
|King of the mountain!|
Freddy's yellow coat helped folks spot us.
|mid-race selfie with Laura|
We then headed towards the finish line for our final viewing location, although we ended up stopping short of the official finish and watching along the final straightaway. When we saw Rick pass us we headed towards the finish so we could meet back up with him. We headed into the school as the snow turned into sleet. The people still out on the course braved ice pellets and a bit of black ice, but for the most part the weather had held off and the race was a success. Congratulations to all of the dedicated runners who persevered through the elements!
|Rick coming in to the finish line|
photo courtesy Potomac River Running