When you think of a “girls’ weekend,” items on the agenda tend to center around wine, spas, sightseeing and shopping. Popularized by movies and TV shows, it seems like this is what most women participate in when they get away for the weekend together. Maybe even a shot of tequila if they are feeling adventurous …
Well, how about driving five hours to a deserted beach town to dress up in holiday gear and do a race sponsored by Mr. Sam Adams?
Don’t be skeptical, because I have to say this one of the most fun weekends I have had in a long time. Sara, Jamie, Nadya and I headed down to Virginia Beach this past Friday to participate in the Surf N Santa 10 Miler and Frosty’s 5K early Saturday morning.
After arriving at our destination, we checked into our hotel and started crafting. By midnight, our shirts were hung across the room with care. (We decided to go as Santa’s reindeer. I was Blitzen, Sara was Prancer, Nadya was Dasher and Jamie was Vixen.)
Despite the fact that it was a Friday night, there was no boozing for this crew. Our alarms were set for 6 a.m., so that we had enough time to staple festive bows to our shirts, attach holiday stickers to our faces and pick up our race packets.
Almost all particpants were in the spirit as well, and we saw several fully dressed Santas, a few Mrs. Clauses, a Sam Adams impersonator, more reindeer and plenty of elves.
The race started at 8 a.m. from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and took the 3,500 participants around the town of Virginia Beach. (900 people did the 5K, Sara included.) My legs felt like lead from the start, and that feeling never let it up. It was one of those races where I felt every step, and the distance between mile markers seemed endless.
After running most of the first mile through the downtown, we made a quick turn onto the boardwalk. Directly to our right, we were greeted by the scenic view of the ocean crashing into the sand.
We were also kindly greeted by very strong wind gusts, as well as jokes posted on signs every few yards. (Sample: “How many reindeer does it take to change a light bulb? Eight! One to screw in the light bulb and seven to hold Rudolph down.” I have plenty more where that came from if you are interested.)
After only a mile or so on the boardwalk, we turned back onto the main strip, and past the convention center again, where the 10 mile runners split from the 5Kers.
We headed down the same path again, and turned back onto the boardwalk (where the wind gusts had only gotten stronger) for a longer stretch of three miles.
After what seemed like forever, we finally turned off the boardwalk, and back out onto the main drag. I tried to give the last mile the final kick, but I was huffing, puffing and fading fast. I hated this race.
“BLITZEN!” I heard over my very loud music. Huh? Oh right. Me.
A middle-aged man was running besides me. I pulled out an earbud. “I’ve been behind you the whole race. Come on,” he said. “You have got this. PICK IT UP!”
“I’m dying,” I wheezed. “That wind was brutal.”
“MOVE IT,” he said.
Well … alright then.
So, my new friend and I gave it all we had and crossed the finish line together and then exchanged a sweaty congratulatory hug.
That’s one thing I love about runners: we’re a friendly bunch.
And one other thing? We know how to party. The post-race celebration included a live band, free Sam Adams beers and snacks. All before noon.
Even better? This race brought PR (personal records) for all four of us! We celebrated by relaxing with a Harry Potter marathon in the afternoon, and then enjoying dinner and drinks at 501 City Grille. Being the wild runners we are, we were tucked in by midnight.
And you know what? It was the perfect girls’ weekend indeed.