Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Adam and Eve Half Marathon, Charlottesville VA

I'm now on Mars and going no further
The Adam and Eve Half Marathon was a bit of a random race for me. I've been ploughing my way through states this year, enough that I thought screw it I might as well 'moon' up or go up a level in Half Fanatics club (see criteria here). I don't go out of my way to meet any of these criteria (other than to join) I just like the camaraderie at races, race discounts and following their FB account makes me feel like a relatively normal person, BUT when I was one race short of moving to another level I decided to go for it and picked a race that had the right timing. That was it, no expectations at all.

The race being on Valentine's Day had an Adam & Eve theme (and Adam & Steve and Eve & Eve). A half marathon and 8k race were taking place at the same time. You could register for the race under any of these couples categories or as a lonely Eve or Adam. Since declaring your sexual preferences in the middle of Virginia seems a like weird thing to do, I took the categories as more of a team thing and as I was running by myself registered as an Eve. Singletons got a red shirt and couples got a green one. The winner of each category also got a prize.

Charlottesville is a very beautiful area (even their fields seem manicured) surrounded by wineries and not too far from the mountains. I wasn't sure what to expect from this race scenery wise I just knew it was going to be cold as hell! Before the race I layered up. Two pairs of pants layering!!! I'd been running in temperatures in the 70s less than two weeks before so the 9F at the start would be a bit of a shock to this old body. 

 The race started in the Darden Towe Park near a picnic shelter. Parking was available right beside the start and the two porta potties. I got there and picked up my bib and tech shirt as there was no expo or pickup the day before. I dipped in and out of the car once or twice to go pee and when everyone started shuffling towards the start line I joined them with chattering teeth. 
Within minutes we were off. The first mile I ran fastish 8.30s and I let myself so I'd get warmer fast. Most of that first mile I had to have a bandana over my mouth to help my breathing as the cold air hurt. Eventually I got used to it, warmed up and didn't need the bandana again.
Most of the course followed bicycle paths in the park that ran along the river with a few very short unpaved sections. The first 4-4.5 miles were an out and back (with a small loop) before we popped up onto the streets in a residential area for a few miles. The river trails were flat, the residential area hilly. Once we finished the road section it was back down to the river for a repeat of the trails. The exception to the flatness of the river sections was the start finish which had a nice climb for the last .3 miles of the race. In all it was a pretty nice run considering we were in the middle of a city. 
All I can say about the volunteers is God Bless them, if I was cold when running I can only imagine how cold they were at aid stations or directing traffic. The aid stations were every couple of miles and had gatorade, water and some had Gu gels. I didn't drink too much as a lot of the drinks were literally half frozen, not so nice on the tummy. Nothing the race could do about that. 
I didn't pay too much attention to my watch as I wanted to run by effort and keep a comfortable but not easy pace. That worked out well and I felt pretty much on top of the world for most of the race and had loads of fun high fiving etc with people coming the opposite direction on the out and backs. It got a little harder around mile 9 when we dropped back down to the river. Instantly, I felt like it was harder to run but I think that was a temperature change down by the got a lot colder and breezier again.

 I motivated myself by counting all the women running past me in the opposite direction and made myself keep going once I realized I was close to being in the top 10 women. Somewhere around mile 8 I passed another women and built up a gap to stay in 10th place (women only). I also chased down a guy for a couple of miles and passed him at mile 11. He stuck pretty close to me but staying ahead of him was great motivation. We had a chat and a laugh about it after we finished and apparently he was cursing me for the last mile, hoping I'd slow down...I did, but he did too! That last mile was by far the hardest. I'm sure it was mostly mental but I slowed a lot. My hip flexors tightened and then running the last part up hill sucked big time. I crossed the finish to get my medal and an apple (to go with the theme). I squeezed in just under 2 hours (chip time), it's been a while since that's happened so I was really happy.
 In the picnic area they had some mini muffins, cookies and water. It didn't seem like a lot even with <60 finishers in the half marathon but that might be down to the temperatures, who wants to eat frozen fruit etc. I hung around for a bit and eventually (since before the race they said there would be no formal awards) asked the timing guy if I got anything. I got first in my age group (30-39) and won a trio pack of Ferrero Chocolates as well as a postcard thing with a code for 15% off another race with that company. I definitely appreciated the chocolate but not so much the discount as I'm not sure I want to drive 5 hours to make use of it (we'll see). This is my first and possibly only time winning my age group so I would have like some sort of small keepsake but at least I got something.
Overall this is a pretty solid race, well organized and fun. My only quibble is that I thought it was a bit expensive. I signed up for $105 with the cheapest price being $70 which is still a lot for a very small, no frills race. They obviously put a lot of effort into getting nice medals and tech t-shirts but maybe next year they should try an expo or getting some sponsors to get the price down a little.

After I got my prize I hightailed it out of there pretty fast and made it back to the hotel with enough time to have a shower before checking out and driving off for some hiking. I think I'll come back to Charlottesville again, maybe not to run but for more wine tastings :)


  1. Great job, especially placing 1st in your AG! Expensive though, for sure!

    Races with these themes seem fun. Did people wear their race shirts during the race to declare their status? LOL

    1. I'm glad you think so too. I wasn't sure if I was being cheap but I've run enough halfs by now to know that over a hundred dollars usually gets you a bit more. Even just some hot coffee or something at the end to make it look like there was a bit more of an effort made.

      I did like the theme. Some people did wear their shirts but I think it was because it was another layer ha ha.,The field was a bit too spread out to make it a social thing but it was fun that they bought into the fact that it was on valentines