Mile Matters with J&A Racing
In the blink of a goopy, Cyclops eye, another race weekend has come and gone. This is The Tale of the 2019 Wicked 10K! So, Gather round boys and ghouls, it’s story time!
Once Upon a Time…
As soon as my alarm went off at 5:30am on race morning, I jumped out of bed to transform into the 1990’s basketball star, Dennis Rodman. And not just as Dennis, but as Dennis’ big publicity stunt, when he announced he would get married. On his “wedding day” he showed up in the middle of NYC wearing a full wedding gown and veil at a bookstore, to promote his new book “Bad As I Wanna Be.” The whole event was as wild and crazy as he is as a person. (Also, for those of you wanting to get your hands on a used copy, you can get it for literally one cent, on Amazon).
I sprayed my hair multiple colors, slammed a cup of coffee and pulled on a giant white skirt that mimicked the look of a big poufy wedding dress. When I bought it at the thrift store, I had tried it on along with a few other options which included an actual full bridal gown. As a little girl, I had imagined what it would be like to try on a wedding dress for the first time. I’d dreamt it a million times. My mind would wander with possibilities… We’d be in a chic bridal gown boutique with champagne in hand. A faceless shop assistant would secure me into a big ball gown and lace up the corseted back. I’d stand on a pedestal in front of giant mirrors, surrounded by my mom, grandma and friends. In a dramatic turn to face them, they would gasp, rendered speechless at how impossibly beautiful I looked. Not once in my childhood dreams did, I imagine myself tugging a tattered dress into a thrift store dressing room, trying to look like Dennis Rodman… but that is exactly how I tried on my very first wedding dress.
With my full costume on, my boyfriend Steve and I headed into the darkness and drove from Norfolk to Virginia Beach. A beautiful sunrise welcomed us, and I knew that the weather was on our side. It was perfectly moderate: both sunny and slightly crisp. Ideal conditions. Upon arrival, and the sun beginning to fully emerge, all the costumes became more visible.
Two Ways to Run Wicked.
It was immediately apparent that there are two ways you can run the Wicked 10K. You can run it like every other race, in a tank and shorts and try to be a fast as you can be. Or, you can truly make it a fun run, and dress up in a costume. Personally, my favorite costumes to see are the group costumes, where their full range of mobility is prohibited. Not because I think I’ll be able to beat them (that is a bonus!), but because that is when creativity shines.
Steve and I had looked at the course map in the race guide and found 4 spots where he could easily see me on the course. We parted ways as he walked to the first spot, and I met up with my friend Lexi in our corral. Even at the starting line I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear my giant wedding skirt for the whole 6.2 mile race or not. My strategy was to wear it for as long as I could and then rip it off, if it got annoying. Same went for the basketball hoop prop I made and carried.
Soon enough it was our turn to take off, and we headed to the oceanfront. Blow up inflatable costumes seemed to surround us. A horse casually trotted by us and let out a “neeeeigh”. Let me tell you something. When you feel like you’re in the groove, and running like a beautiful machine, your ego gets kicked to the proverbial curb when someone in an inflatable horse costume effortlessly gallops by you.
“Welcome to Wicked, where anything can happen!”
While we laughed about the horse, we tried to pass several sea anemones, by darting around them. As we whizzed by, one of the dozens of appendages whacked Lexi in the face. Because it was a balloon, it was hilarious. “Welcome to Wicked, where anything can happen!” She said, as the ultimate good sport. We laughed our way down the street, hitting the water stop just before The Zombie Zone.
The miles were flying by because there was so much to look at! At first, we were entertained by costumes, then we spotted the spooky details of the race! Zombies absentmindedly parted the stream of runners, with fake blood splattered on the street. Torn rags dangled above us, waving in the wind, adding to a disheveled look and scary vibe.
All forms of entertainment were so engrossing that I still hadn’t even turned on my headphones. We laughed and cheered and chatted along the way. Some people shouted out “runaway bride!” Or “are you an NBA wife?” When they saw me. When someone understood the true reference of my costume, it made it all worth it.
Running in the skirt worked out better than I thought, thanks to the layers of structured tulle fabric that freed up some room for my feet to pound the pavement. A wise investment at only $4.99.
Lexi and I kept cruising along, gladly hitting each water stop. The volunteers cheered and passed us cups, anticipating our every move.
Once we passed the hydration cheer zone, the mood shifted. Creepy pennywise characters slowly waved to us, each with their solemn, singular red balloon.
Around mile 4 we passed another zombie area with smoke, that revealed the greatest detail of all… a zombie stuck in a sewer with his arms coming out onto the street! It both startled me and made me laugh! This detail was epic!
Turning onto the boardwalk our beloved breeze transitioned into heat. As soon as I saw King Neptune, I felt close to the finish. I wanted to gun it but then realized we still had over a mile to go. At one point I wanted to walk and tried to float the idea by Lexi who just looked ahead and said “nope!”. It’s always good to run with someone who pushes you.
Our 6.2 mile run was complete!
We ran through the final cheer zone and finished strong. Our 6.2 mile run was complete! We high fived, hugged and met up with Steve, who as a spectator was kind enough to hang onto my stuff. Lexi picked up her bag she had checked in the Dry Bag area. If you haven’t used this feature at a J&A Racing event you should! There’s nothing like taking of your sweaty shoes and socks and trading them for flip flops at the end of a long run.
Proudly donning our medals, I ripped off my skirt, wadded it up and jammed it into the new swag bag I was given. It was already coming in handy! We met up with a big group of our friends and grabbed some ciders and beers.
The running might have been done, but the people watching had just begun!
“The Little Beauty Shop of Horrors” was a group of about 6 people who walked with homemade chairs, skeletons reading Cosmo, and hair drying devices above their heads. I give them 10 billion points for creativity.
The PacMan group costume was elaborate with a game console, cherries and ghosts!
What always gets me are the kids costumes. Just near us was a baby learning to walk, dressed like chicken. Falling on her little costumed toosh in the sand, she was just about the cutest thing I saw all day.
What I love about these races is that there’s something for everybody. You can race like you’re trying to get a PR, or dress up in a crazy costume, and no matter what you’ll probably have a great experience.
With the sun above me, sparkling ocean in front of me, friends next to me, and a Weezer cover in the background, I felt so lucky to be part of this event. We spent a few hours soaking in the sun, enjoying our cold drinks. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. As we all ventured to our cars, we talked about our next race, where no-doubt more memories will be made.
- J&A Racing Ambassador
- Originally from Oregon
- Training for the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon
- Loves hiking in National Parks, visiting art museums, and hanging out with her boyfriend and our dog