|My face is not included in this selfie because it was (a) salty, (b) red from the heat of the day, and (c) covered with Gu from an exploding Gu-packet incident I'd rather not talk about.|
"Pop" is not necessarily an accurate word, because Leesburg is almost an hour away. I ended up getting to the porta-potty lines later than I would have liked and thus, this was the first race I've done where I dashed up to the start well after the pack had left. I was not alone in my tardiness, and the announcers were like, "20K runners, just go ahead, get on in there over that starting line," not making a big deal of it at all. And it's kind of fun chasing the pack ("Wait for me, guys!").
The race starts in the old town part of Leesburg (and it's old, y'all -- established in 1722!). It's been awhile since I had been out there, and I was really impressed with how pretty it is and how very easy it was to get around and find parking. I parked a short walk from the start line, made my way to the porta- potties, had a nice chat with the woman in line in front of me, hustled to the start (as you know), and we were off.
After a quick loop around a local school, the course quickly turned on to the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, a former train right-of-way that was taken over and made into a really great resource for walkers, runners, and bikers (usually all at the same time). I have spent much time on the trail, but not out Leesburg way, so this was yet another reason to give this race a go.
And it was beautiful! The course was fairly flat, the scenery was bucolic and most of the race was shady. This was a good thing, because the unseasonably cool temperatures we'd been enjoying around here were a thing of the past and it was about 80 degrees at the end of the race.
|There were bikers who rode along the road you see here and cheer for the runners. I have never seen bikers and runners be as friendly toward each other as they were at this race today.|
The water stops were well-manned by local high school cross-country runners who were delightful and energetic. It was so warm, though, I was glad I brought my water belt and only supplemented at the water stops.
Much of the course was out and back, which I liked because you could look at the oncoming runners to try to spot your friends and also cheer at the fast folks who were in the lead. The only negative was that the trail got a little narrow at a few points, with runners going each way and with a few bikes thrown into the mix. But there were few enough runners that navigating was, by and large, very manageable.
|Pretty sweet scenery, no?|
After the race, I ran into Debbie, Bill, Murali, and Ravi, who make up 1/3 of the Ragnar team I will be running with next month! I had not known they would be there, so it was a great treat to see them. I am very pumped to run 200 miles with these folks:
|LOOK OUT DC RAGNAR!!!|
Come on, you know you want to sing along: