Dominion Riverrock 2012 Filthy 5K Mud Run

On my birthday last year, I made a list of things I wanted to do before my next birthday. One of the items on that list was “run a 5K.”I have never been a fan of running; in fact, I despise it. I find road running mentally boring and physically exhausting. However, I felt that running a race was something I should try at least once. When the Monument Avenue 10K registration came up around my half-birthday, I signed up and completed it. I checked another thing off my list with plenty of time to spare.

But it didn’t stop there. I have mentioned before that I have been trail running lately. I started running the Buttermilk Trail nine weeks ago in preparation for my next race, the Dominion Riverrock Filthy 5K. It’s a fun run, nothing competitive about it (at least for me), but I still wanted to be prepared. After suffering a bad ankle sprain last Fall that put me in a walking cast for a few weeks, I didn’t want to take any chances with my newly rehabbed ankle on the rocks and roots of the James River Park trails. So I started slow with a few friends about two months ago, and we were very prepared (and really psyched!) by the time the race rolled around this weekend. Knowing I would end up wallowing in a mud pit at the end of the run, I dressed pretty in pink for a Miss Piggy kind of vibe. I’m a sucker for a theme!

BEFORE

I discovered during training that I absolutely love trail running, and no one was more surprised by that than me. I had always hated running, but I genuinely looked forward to our after work runs on the Buttermilk Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed every Sunday morning long run, followed by coffee and breakfast at Crossroads Forest Hill. I think that the main reason I have trouble running on roads is the boredom factor. Trail running engages your mind; you can’t take your eyes off the ground for more than a second or you will trip up on a rock, tree root, or mud puddle. Having your friends with you for the adventure doesn’t hurt either.

I made a pact with my training buddies to leave no man behind during the race this weekend. It is so much more fun to run with friends, from getting simultaneous side stitches on the Belvidere bridge, to climbing over rock walls, getting smacked in the face with tree branches, splashing each other while wading waist-deep in the river, and finally crawling through the mud pit together with the finish line in sight. The only disappointing part about the race was that many of the runners in our wave were really cautious on the trail portions of the run, and they slowed down to a brisk walk for the parts of the race course that we had looked forward to the most. Although we felt pretty hardcore when we managed to pass them while bounding up rocks and leaping over roots. The muddy parts hardly fazed us. We had a blast!

Too legit to quit!

Overall, this was a fantastic, fun, well-organized run. We took advantage of the bottlenecks and walked a bit when we had to due to congestion on the course. We probably couldn’t have run the whole thing anyway, so we welcomed the breaks along the way and then finished strong. Check out this shot of Team Buttermilk, taken shortly after the run.

AFTER

Of course it isn’t a vegology worthy event if there isn’t a good food story to tell. The first way I turned this fun activity into an opportunity to eat great food was by hosting a pasta party at my house on Wednesday night. I made penne alla norma for dinner and my friends brought wine, bread and salad to share. The second way I managed to sneak a food adventure into the picture was in my post-race dinner. I had heard that the Riverrock organizers had made an effort to include healthier food vendors in addition to the standard carnival-type fare served on Brown’s Island. So Kyle and I searched for a healthy dinner after I washed off and changed. Riverrock did not disappoint!

It took me about eight minutes to find the vegetarian food truck, Goatocado. Serving up fresh smoothies and teas, sandwiches, salads and sides, Goatocado had exactly what I was looking for between dashing through the mud and dancing the night away.

Kyle and I grabbed a pair of sandwiches with steamed edamame on the side, and fetched a couple of beers to wash it all down. Check out Goatocado’s great sandwich options!

click to zoom

Kyle ordered the Mountain Tropp and I had the HuMoose. It was so dark (9:00 PM!) that I couldn’t get a decent picture of the food. But trust me, it was exactly what I needed and I hope I see these guys around more often. I have seen them at some of the farmers’ markets around town before, but I don’t catch them often enough. After enjoying our food, we watched Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys in a free concert on Brown’s Island. My body was exhausted from the run but I found the energy to kick off my shoes and dance like a fool for a couple more hours before calling it a night.

I ❤ Riverrock!

 

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A Few of My (New) Favorite Things

First things first, I have to give a shout out to John Robinson of Robinson Imagery, who posted a preview of our engagement photos today. Kyle and I had a blast during our engagement session this weekend, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the photos soon. Thanks John!

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I treated myself to a little spring break last week and I had ten consecutive days off work. Please don’t tell my boss; the time off was legit, but I don’t think anyone had really counted it up yet. Ten days is a lot of time, so I avoided announcing the total, in an effort to keep from shocking him and thereby causing him to change his mind. Perhaps even more shocking is that until day one of vacation, I didn’t have many plans for my time off. For the first time ever, Kyle and I both took off work and did not plan a trip. We just kind of winged it. . . and it was fantastic! A ten-day long staycation allows for a great deal of thoughtful reflection and self-discovery. Also, it provides you the opportunity to do some exploring close to home and to try out things you never had before.

New favorite thing: yoga on mountaintops.

I thought it would be fun to share a few of the highlights, so that you locals may discover some new activities and places to visit in central Virginia. If you’re not local to central Virginia, either bookmark these for your next visit or use them as inspiration to find similar things near your own “close to home.”

The Monument Avenue 10K

You would have to be a real Eeyore to not feel encouraged during this race. I really don’t like running, but I loved doing this 10K. I walked most of the way, as planned, but even as a walker you feel like a rock star. There were so many clever signs like the one above, and tons of people cheering you on from the Monument Avenue median and sidewalks. The excitement and energy was inescapable the whole way. This race really was a party, and I am so glad I did it for the first time ever this year.

Patios South of the River

I have been to Legend’s deck before, but as a new resident of the Forest Hill area, I have developed a new appreciation for the space. In the Fan and Museum District, every other restaurant has outdoor seating, and nearly every residence has a porch or balcony. This is not the case south of the James. Legend Brewing Company is my new top choice for patio drinking and dining, for their delicious locally brewed beer and for their fantastic view of the downtown Richmond skyline. Also, this is a great spot for a little carbohydrate replenishment after the Monument Avenue 10K.

Crossroads Forest Hill is also a great happy hour spot with outdoor seating and live music on the weekends. Their beer list is so good that I often think I’m dreaming when I read over it. They have a consistently excellent selection of beers there. They also serve wine and small plates during their happy hour from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.

Flight Night at Secco Wine Bar

Right now you may be thinking this post is getting a little alcohol-heavy. And you would be right. It was vacation! I’m no saint! However I promise we will get to less alcohol-centric activities soon.

But first, allow me to introduce you to Flight Night at Secco Wine Bar. Every Monday, Secco features 3-glass flights of wine. I checked it out last week with some of the VAis4Bloggers crew. For $10 you could order Dealer’s Choice, which was a mixed bag of 3 random wines. For $11 you could get the Flight of the Week, which was Spanish Reds last week. That’s what I ordered and I was not disappointed. For $12 you could choose your own 3 wines off their extensive menu. They were pretty good sized pours and I had a great variety of wines to try. It was a wonderful way to start the week. Check it out!

Homemade Non-Dairy Milks at Para Coffee

After all that booze, shall we get a tad more wholesome? Nah, that’s impossible when you’re talking about nut milks. I had to title this section Non-Dairy Milks because Kyle chuckles every time I say “homemade nut milk.” But that’s what it is! Para Coffee in Charlottesville has started making their own nut milks from almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios, and they offer these non-dairy options in their lattes and other milk-based espresso drinks. I stopped in last week and had an iced pistachio milk latte and it was a real treat. I don’t even want to see the nutritional information, so please don’t tell me how much fat is in a cup of pistachio milk. I’m not interested. That said, I personally would not have one of these nut milk lattes every day, however this is something I will try again soon. It’s so different, you have to try it at least once.

Spice Diva

I have wanted to visit Spice Diva in Charlottesville for awhile and I finally got the opportunity last week. All the spices smell so good and they offer a wide variety of things that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. The blends are really unique too. I picked up an African style curry powder, applewood smoked sea salt, and a spice rub meant for meat that I want to try out in some vegetarian dishes soon. The owner couldn’t be more friendly, and I am excited to test out the exotic spices I picked up on my first trip there.

Hiking in Nelson County, VA

I already knew I loved hiking in this area, but recently I have found several more hikes that I want to try out. We have done Humpback Rocks (a few times), Crabtree Falls, and Spy Rock (as of last week). Next I want to do Cole Mountain and Mount Pleasant. I am addicted to the gorgeous mountain views that are your reward for making it to the top. What other hikes should I put on my list?

 

I have held back a few more food adventures and day trip activities that I plan to share in a separate post. My ten days off work were so packed with fun discoveries that it feels like my break was even longer than it was. We considered so many different vacation destinations before settling on staying close to home. I can’t believe I would have missed out on all the things our area has to offer, while in search of greener pastures, a plane or train ticket away from here.

Have you taken time lately to explore your own backyard?