Pam Does Virginia

Last Thursday I hopped on a plane headed to Virginia to see my bestest bud Michele!  We had been tossing around the notion of me making a trip up for a visit for a little while now, and when we began looking at dates that I could come and realized that one of the possibilities was the weekend of the Richmond Marathon that she JUST SO HAPPENED to already be registered for, I was all over it!

I landed in Charlottesville (how convenient to have an airport two miles from your house!) an hour and a half later than planned, (Thanks for sucking as always, US Airways.) just in time to get back to her house before her son got home from school.  Thursday evening was a relaxing, low-key evening consisting of Thai food (sweet, delicious, drool-worthy Thai food) and an elementary school chorus Veteran’s Day presentation.  And did I mention the Thai food?

On Friday, the plan was to be in Richmond around lunchtime.  Once we FINALLY got out of the city (traffic in C’ville was NUTS!), things were smooth sailing.  We were able to check into the hotel way earlier than the scheduled check-in time, walk to the Omni Hotel, and take advantage of the free shuttle to the expo.  Michele collected her bib, shirt, and goody bag (bib #12312!  Seriously, could you handpick a luckier sounding bib number???), and then we headed in.  Even though I wasn’t running, man, I love me an expo.  This one wasn’t bad.  It was a far cry from an RnR event expo, but hey, what can you expect.  I still spent more at this one than I have ever spent at an expo before.  Although that’s really not saying much.  I do love to look at everything at expos but I rarely buy much.  I added to my collection of Sweaty Bands, bought another sticker for my bib display album thingie, and bought a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that I bought at the CMM expo in April that I broke a couple of months ago.  After that it was back to the hotel to pick up the vehicle and head to dinner.

Dinner was a great time in itself!  Huge thanks to G and T for organizing a fabulous bloggy meetup/pasta party!!!  And what does every good little blogger do when presented with the opportunity?  That’s right, kids.  We take pictures!

That’s me, Jen, and T (Where did G go???) on the left.  I don’t know any of the other lovely ladies, but I’m sure they are all equally FABULOUS!  If any of them are you, speak up!)

Jen, G, and me

Me and Michele

And me & T

And I carb loaded with the best of them.  Because, hey, spectating is hard work too!  So with bellies full of pasta and beer (oh wait, that was just me?  oh yeah…), we all began calling it a night and going our separate ways.  There was sleep to be had and miles to be run early the next morning!

Saturday morning, J and I escorted Michele to her corral.

BRRRRRRR!!!! Thank goodness for Starbucks!

When it got close to time for the start, we wished her luck and headed to the start line to see everyone off.  After the half began, we headed to the starting corrals for the full and tried to connect with some of the other girls, but we had no luck.  Too many people, too little time.

Have any of you ever stuck around the starting area after a big race takes off?  Man, it’s like a wasteland!  It’s eerily quiet with clothes EVERYWHERE!!!  I resisted the urge to “shop” through them, but J couldn’t resist.  LOL  He snagged a long-sleeve race shirt for the half that someone had discarded.

So for the next two hours and change, it was me and a 10-year-old boy.  Luckily we had the foresight to toss his football into my backpack before we left the room that morning, so that gave us plenty to do.  Between the start and finish areas was a big park (Capital Square, I think?) with big grassy areas perfect for throwing and punting the football to each other, having long-throw contests, and rolling down hills blindfolded.  (Okay, that last part was just J, and I SWEAR he did it by choice!  CPS, I did NOT blindfold the kid and push him down a hill, I promise!)

Capital Square

When it was about time for people to start finishing, we made our way to the finish line.  About the time we came within earshot of the announcer, the first female finisher was crossing the finish line.  We stood there cheering people on, chatting with other spectators, and trying to find the best vantage point.  We ended up on the second floor of a parking garage with a PERFECT view!  We stood there eagerly watching for Michele to come zooming down the finishing stretch.  It was so exciting to be able to see a friend finishing strong!  We were yelling like crazy, but she never heard us because we were right across the street from the announcer’s speaker, which was quite loud.

2:06 baby!  You rock!!!!

We made our way back to the hotel and left Richmond shortly after.  But not before stopping off at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  Helloooooooooo pumpkin pecan cheesecake.  Because spectating burns calories too!

But if spectating didn’t burn them off, surely the next day did.  Charlottesville is only a couple of hours away from Washington DC, and I had never been, so Michele took me!  She’s been several times, so she’s got it all down pat.  This small-town girl would have been lost as last year’s Easter egg just trying to figure out the Metro.  So we went, and we walked, and we walked, and we walked some more, and along the way I got to see SO MANY things!

But all good things must come to an end.  Sunday was my last day in Virginia.  On Monday I had to fly back home to reality.  Job, laundry, dog hair, bills, responsibility, blah, blah, BLAH!!!!!!!  But it was fun while it lasted.  And it’ll be fun again.  The next time Virginia and I meet.  (<——-foreshadowing)