A wedding brought Bessy and me to the East: quick stop in Philadelphia to see her family then the ceremony was in Virginia. By chance, the timing was perfect for the final stop of our Rock ‘n Roll Tour Pass (An amazing deal of your choice of 3 RnR run races nationwide for just $200, and you can do the whole series for $400. Let’s not forget signing up last minute for one race can be $170).
We take a red eye flight so that we can get a taper run in before packet pick-up for Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Pre- “philly”-race fuel-up: signature cheese steak and soft pretzel. The pretzels are baked fresh out of the factory and with natural ingredients. Having an airbnb.com stay was perfect near the start, so we do a 1 mile warm up. The field was stacked, many elites out on the course as there was prize money on the line for the mostly flat and beautiful course. It tours you through historic sections of the city then an out and back on the Schuylkill River. T’was no P.R. for us but it was exciting to have Deena Kastor break the masters world record with a 1:09!
Bessy’s Mom volunteered at the finish line giving out medals, and got to see us both cross (first time ever).
After for the reward, we headed out to Sabrina’s Cafe for a delicious brunch: challah vanilla cream cheese stuffed french toast (B), and a blue cheese bacon frittada (R). Yea it was so good it happened to be our post run breakfast till the day we left.
We took the Amtrak down to Lynchburg, VA the location of the wedding. This allowed us to move around and keep our muscles active, and the on-board WiFi helps too. Once we arrive we discover this is a huge running community, besides the “Virginia is for Lovers” theme. While it had very nice paved trails, (thanks to the rails to trails program) Lynchburg is nicknamed “The City of the Seven Hills”; meaning training was not forgiving. There were banners all over promoting running, and by chance we found out a last minute race we can do the morning of the wedding. I did search earlier for races but this one wasn’t advertised on the internet as well as others. Turns out it was quite famous, running for the 41st year – Virginia 10-miler. Prize money was up for grabs and you can see past results having Kenyans and other world elite nations dominating the top. The record for this course was 46 minutes, insane per mile times of under 4:50, and this was no flat course! (337′ of elevation gain to finish the race) If I can give you an idea, those who did Boston: it is like doing Newton to Heartbreak Hill out and back. Better yet for the SoCal locals: doing Torrey Pines of the La Jolla Half Marathon, twice! As for the race fuel: Chicken salad, apple cider (the juice or hard), lots of country comfort foods.
Race morning, at the only hotel in downtown, we saw the elites getting ready. They were grabbing just fruits and coffee, no pre-packaged sports nutrition stuff, old school. I saved one runners race (didn’t read English too well) as I alerted him he took decaf by accident, we laughed it off and he said thanks.
Outside of the running community there were many triathletes here, and we got a chance to run with former KONA Pro Cat Phillips at this race, we connected quick cause that is how cool the tri community is! During the race she found us due to our TCSD kits, chatting to us easily while we were gasping for every breath.
Bessy grabbed 1st in her AG, so the celebration was at an excellent German style pastry bakery in a farmers market. Egg bakes of sausage and cheese, poppy seed struddles, cream puffs – Lorianne Bakery. So good we made multiple returns… unfortunately this being a blue law state, they were closed on Sunday (and no buses were running)!! That was OK as the wedding did fill us up. The city is not so densely urban, so as a detox and to explore on our final day, we walked 9 miles from downtown to the airport with our luggage – I think people call this ‘hiking’, but these were sidewalk-less streets so be aware.