Monday, March 7, 2016

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 miler

I've had a conversation with several friends and family members lately along the lines that people around here treat the Delaware River as if it is a giant wall -- one that is impossible to pass through. There are people who won't cross this great barrier to shop or network or run races. Mind you, I live about 10 minutes from this great "barrier," and do not have such a fear of it. I could easily use one of four bridges to go to Pennsylvania, all but one of which is free.

I mention this great divide because last year when I was having troubles finding new, fun races to do on my side of the "barrier," a friend told me about RunBucks, an organization that hosts about a dozen really fun races a year, most of which are in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, 11 minutes from our house. (Click on the Washington Crossing link to see a reenactment of General Washington crossing this great "Barrier.") RunBucks organizes very low-key races. They have a 10 miler in May they bill as the alternative to Philadelphia's Broad Street Run -- same distance, same day, much cheaper, no lottery, about 1% of the number of participants. Other races include Run the Lights -- a 2 mile family fun race through Shady Brook Farms's annual light display, a Mother's Day women's race for WomenSpace, a Halloween 8K race, and a New Year's Eve midnight 5K.

This year they added the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4-miler. You had me at tomato soup.

The biggest downside to the runBucks races is the easiest way to get to them from my house is by taking the narrowest bridge that still allows two-way traffic -- the Washington Crossing Bridge. Back when Hummers were popular, I don't know how this bridge stayed two way. Ideally when you cross it you have your passenger fold in their mirror, while the driver does the same. I wish my Corolla had a button to fold in the mirrors. Yes, it is that tight.

One of the pluses to doing their races is they are very low-key and very inexpensive. I think registration was around $20 for this race ($35 day of), which got you a running bib, a marked course (but not a private one as it was open to the general public), a finisher's mug for the first 250 finishers (they had 180 runners), and the aforementioned grilled cheese and tomato soup in the finisher's area. If you wanted a sweatshirt, they were available for an additional $17.50. If you didn't want one, you didn't buy it. Likewise with the blankets (which were also prizes for winning your age category). There was no goody bag or extra pieces of paper, literally at the registration tent you got a bib and (if you needed them) safety pins.

Super Librarian Gabrielle and I at the start of the race. Note I was going for a grilled cheese colored top and tomato soup skirt. It was a cold start to the race -- about 35 and cloudy. We waited in the car for the start of the race debating if we should run or just go home and skip it. The forecast said it would be 40 at the start, it sure didn't feel like it.

The course started with the Valley of Concentration Circle, otherwise known as the "Spiral of Death." This .75 mile extra before hitting the towpath allowed the runners to spread out to the right paces before we had to go more single-file. It meant we crossed the finish line (which looked like it could double as the start line) at the .75 mile mark. We then went up a mile and a half on the towpath, and turned around again. I felt my pace was just right -- I got to the narrow under the bridge part before the bulk of the fast runners on their way back. I was with people a little slower than me, so I felt good passing them without being passed by a lot of people. One downside to this spiral of death (which I heard refers more to when it appears at the end of the race than at the beginning) is at at the 1/2 mile mark it took us right past our car. Awfully tempting, fortunately by then I had warmed up. Don didn't seem to warm up until we were in the toasty warm car driving home.

<---Don and I at the start

There is Don:

Don coming to the end of the race. Looking good!

Finish line mugs and food:

My Nike+ watch could not find the satellite. I recorded a time of 44:41, and a distance of only 3.71 miles. It gave me a 12:00 pace instead of 11:10 pace. *groan* 

1502326Jacquelyn PillsburyFLawrence TownshipNJUS44:47.311:114646.1
1632325Don PillsburyMLawrence TownshipNJUS49:01.412:155239.7
I would be up for doing this race again.

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