Two quirky things have happened to me since I began running. First, I always check the surrounding areas for races if I am planning a trip. Second, I tend to gravitate towards races that run through a college campus. Who doesn’t like feeling old, gross, and out of shape when running down sorority row?!

Due to these new quirks of mine, I suggested to my longest running (ha!) best friend that we register for the Charlottesville Ten Miler as Christmas gifts to each other instead of actual gifts. She’s about to pack her bags for medical school in Blacksburg, and the Ten Miler was one of the last things left on her “Things to Do in Charlottesville” list. Plus, it gave us something to do together and a little extra motivation to work out through the winter.

Going into this race, I really didn’t train like I should have. I ran the Disney Princess Half in February and I ran two or three longer runs in between that race and the Ten Miler, but nothing extremely rigorous. Sarah, on the other hand, had been training like nobody’s business. I specifically remember her text message after she ran 7 miles on a training run. She was so excited, and I was so proud of her. Then her appendix blew up.

Okay, well it wasn’t quite that dramatic. I mean, there was projectile vomiting involved, but her appendix didn’t rupture. It was just really inflamed, so she went under the knife 2.5 weeks before the race. Thankfully, she had a speedy recovery and, against my wishes, ran the race. Super proud of her, but super annoyed by her stubbornness. 😉

As we approached the start area at JPJ Arena, Sarah and her friends were telling me how hard this race was. I didn’t do much research prior to signing up because let’s be real…I see a race, I sign up for it. End of story. But as I was lacing my headphones through my shirt, Sarah was telling me about her boss losing all ten toenails when she ran the race. Her friend was saying how it was harder than most half-marathons. Needless to say, by the time the uphill start happened, I was a little freaked out.

I rallied though and Sarah told me to go on without her. So I made my way uphill towards the University of Virginia’s beautiful campus. The miles flew by surprisingly well. The temperature was chilly to start with, but perfect once I warmed up. At mile 5, mile 8, and mile 9.25, I vaguely recall wondering, “Why the heck am I doing this?” but I pushed up the hill and used the down-hills to my advantage. Let me tell you, running full speed downhill is the most fun I have had in a loooong time. I felt like a kid again!

Ultimately, I finished with a time of 1:37:19 and my fastest mile was 9:22 (insert squeals here!).  Now I’m just hoping the hills of UVA trained me for the hills of Rock’n’Roll Raleigh in April.

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