Week 20: Splish Splash

Another week, another seven days of opportunities to play outside. Or inside. Sigh rain. But I made the most of it, including a lil’ SUP’in SUP’in with a friend in Reston after work on Thursday. It was the first sunny and warm day in…awhile (as my very pale stomach confirmed), and embarked in a multi-sport adventure that involved navigation skills (no thanks to Waze), upper body strength (inflating the paddle boards), knot-tying (I still haven’t been able to extricate my PFD from the tie-on), artwork (creating blood blisters when trying to snap together the paddle), and finally actually paddling. The water was peaceful and calm. No wind, no waves, no motor boats. I even got to exact some revenge on Canada geese by chasing them down with my board. Ha ha, that will teach their cousins to get out of my way when I’m biking elsewhere! The experience helped me conclude two important things: 1) I love stand up paddleboarding!!! 2) I hate setting up and deflating my board. Time to start drooling over some racing boards…

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But that was just a precursor to a very busy weekend…that was slightly less busy than it should have been. The original plan was to head west to Martinsburg, WV, on Friday after work, spend the night, and ride 50 miles in the CASA River Century with friends. However, this happened. So instead, I stayed home and rode two hours on the trainer, took a Body Pump class, and napped so hard. Because later that day, I journeyed north to the wilds of… Delaware.

Yes. Believe it or not, there’s a whole Xterra Trail Race series with several races in Delaware, and this was one of them. To spice things up even more, the area had its first wild bear sighting since colonial times. Would I see the fabled #delabear?

In short, no bear, but lots of mud. It had been raining all weekend in Delaware as well, but the race went on as scheduled. Similar to the Xterra off-road triathlon from earlier this month, the vibe here was very relaxed and friendly. Adventure Geek racing did a great job with the logistics, and all the volunteers and racers were wonderful. Usually, I see running races as a means to an end (to finish a triathlon, or cross-train for one), but this one was actually enjoyable. Because I had to fully concentrate on the muddy and slippery trail ahead of me, I couldn’t look at my watch or fret about my competition. I could only live in the present. Instant mindfulness! Plus, it was so fun to just run in the woods and get dirty, knowing that 24 hour later, I would be in back to back work meetings, wearing far less comfortable clothes (this being an example of why less and fewer are not interchangeable).

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I finished the race, beaming, a little sad to have not signed up for the half marathon as opposed to the 10k. Next year… As for results, the good news is that I was 6th place overall female, but the bad news is that was still 4th in my age group (apparently 35-39 is when women realize they like trail running?). However, first place in my age group was second overall, so I managed to eke out 3rd AG and a nifty pint glass. (Fun fact: had I been a 35-39 year old man, I would have placed first in my age group. Now that’s messed up.)

Afterward, we had lunch with Elliott’s dad at a delicious pub and then met up with my Rose PT teammate and new Delaware resident, Jocelyn “Wongstar” Neill. It was a short trip to Delaware but we’ll be back on the BWI parkway soon, because on Wednesday, we are flying to…CANADA.

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Remarkably, she is still smiling after I warned her about the sharks and jellyfish at her next race.
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