i was fortunate enough that my cousin and her friends were still hanging around the beer tent when i finished my race (understandably, since most of them live in Richmond, they had other obligations after the race, and couldn't hang out with me all day). and i was also fortunate that my mom and my aunts "just happened" to be having a sister's getaway weekend in RVA this very same weekend. (they weren't at the finish, but we celebrated later over an awesome meal at Tarrant's.) my adopted training team was gone... i don't blame them for leaving me. heck, they really didn't even know i was on their team!! ha!
but somewhere on Brown's Island, there were people waiting for me. well, waiting to meet me. or, rather, they kinda sorta knew that maybe i would show up and introduce myself. enter the #runchat tweetup!! some of you know that earlier this year, i set out on a mission to meet some of the amazing people who live in my digital devices. and i've done a pretty decent job of making myself step out of my comfort zone to do just that. (i've had drinks in atlanta, drinks in wilmington, drinks in concord... erm. i'm sensing a trend here. a-hem.
anyhoo, i was really looking forward to this particular tweetup, as the #runchat community on twitter has provided me with countless moments of motivation, advice, empathy and sheer entertainment. after the 15K race last month, it was #runchat people who talked me through the merits of proper hydration and all that electrolyte mumbo jumbo. they urged me to try compression socks, and oohed and ahhed over pictures of my newest shoes. these guys get "it" - and have become my virtual running group. i was thrilled to find out that i would have a chance to meet some of these incredible people!
after wandering around a while with my complimentary race beer (guess i should add "drinks in richmond" to the list), i was able to track down liz, who had just finished her first half marathon, as well. in solidarity, we waited (and waited, and waited) for any sign of other #runchat people. (pro tip: finding people who look like "#runchat people" in the finish area of a race with 10,000+ participants who look like "running people" can be more challenging than one might think!) we happily chatted a lot of folks, and liz must have lent her cell phone to a half dozen who were trying to connect with their friends and family post race.
then there they were, in the designated spot: david and scott heather and jen and several other people. lots of introductions and high fives and hashing out of what had just happened on the course for each of us. stickers and temporary tattoos were passed around. smiles and hugs were shared. (not surprisingly, high fives and smiles are even better in person than they are on-line.) i am thrilled to have been able to spend time with these guys, and happy to call them my running group!
after a long walk back up that steep hill to my hotel, my afternoon was filled with text updates from jack's football game with intermittent periods of napping. and hydrating. cousin liz and i caught the tail end of the Taste the Local craft beer festival/fundraiser, where we met briana of Still Easier Than Chemo. she is running 12 half marathons in 12 months in memory of her mother. amazing!!
dinner was phenomenal, and bedtime was early! back home on Sunday, i realized just how easy it is to talk about my race experience to anyone who dare asks, "so, how was it?" i'm also pleased to report that my medal goes with just about every outfit i own! ;)
so what's next? another race, of course!! several, in fact. jack and i will run a few 5Ks over the upcoming holiday season. i'm participating in Runner's World Holiday Streak (run at least one mile every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas). my favorite trail run has done away with the 10K and added a 15K. and i have my sights set on another destination half in march or april (rock and roll D.C., anyone?)
(and, oh yeah. i totally took advantage of a discounted race fee and i'll see you next year, Richmond!)