Good Afternoon! It’s a gloomy one here, wet and rainy! I am so happy that was not the weather this past Saturday when I ran the Divas Half Marathon out in Leesburg, VA. The temperature was in the low 70s for the race, which is a little warmer than ideal, but there was no rain! I have been wanting to do a Divas race ever since I found out you get to run in a tutu! Sometime last January I came across the registration for the DC Wine Country race on September 24th. It was only $65 to register, I figured I would sign up and if something came up where I could not race it wouldn’t be a big loss. After the 1/2 Ironman I pulled back on my training intensity, so it was only a few weeks ago that I started to throw in a few longer runs here and there and decided that I was going to go ahead and race it!
I’m really glad I did because it was a fun race! It is female focussed, which means that men can race but their results don’t count towards placing or awards. I only saw 3 men, (one of which was wearing a tutu – I think he lost a bet with his wife 🙂 ) but according to the results there were 14 men that participated out of the 978 participants. In your race pack you are given a bright pink tutu that you can opt to wear on race day. I would say about 50% of racers opted in, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t?! In case you are wondering, I did not even notice the tutu and don’t think it hindered my running ability in any way! Even if not wearing a tutu, almost all racers had on some pink, we looked like a pink sea moving across the starting line!
The race start organization was very well done, often I feel like everyone is rushing around and stressed out, but all the organizers seemed calm and the pre-race music was fun and lively. Because of the music at the start I made a last minute decision to ditch my phone and head phones for the race… I wish I hadn’t done that because there really was not much on course entertainment and I spent a good majority of the race alone. I should have figured that would be the case since the race started and finished at a winery and the surrounding neighborhoods where we ran were quiet and rural. Oh well… it was peaceful, though I probably could have ran faster if I had had music to distract me from the inevitable pain that comes with a 1/2 marathon 🙂
The first 6 miles or so I felt pretty good. Since it was a small race I was up near the front pack which gave me a boost of confidence. But the race was SO hilly, literally I felt like the whole time we were either going up a hill or coming down one. Some of the hills were really long too which I was not expecting at all. Right around mile 6/7 there was what seemed like a mile long hill – I was NOT prepared for that! After that, the rest of the race I felt pretty beat. I was drinking water and gatorade at every aid station. There was an aid station about every 1.5 miles which was really nice. BUT there was no fuel at any of them! No GUs, no bars, no bananas… I guess Divas don’t eat?! I clearly did not pay close attention to any of the pre-race information, haha.
Just before the finish they have a boa and tiara station so you can cross in true Diva style!
The race was not an out and back, but a lot of it snaked through the same paths twice. Because of this you got to see a lot of other racers and cheer each other on. This was especially nice because there were very few spectators on the course so there wasn’t much sideline support. Since the race is kind of in the middle of no where and a lot of the roads were shut down for racers it was hard for spectators to watch anywhere but the start and the finish. It was fun to see all the Divas outfits and everyone was so nice and spirited. The race organizers did a great job of marking the turns and had staff out to make sure you went the right way, except for the last mile where I literally thought I had gone the wrong way. I actually asked some people walking by if they thought I was going the right way — they must have thought I was crazy because at that point I was only about a quarter mile from the finish!
I ended up finishing 14th overall and 2nd in my age group. I am happy with where I finished, but my time was 15 minutes off my fastest 1/2 time. The hills made this race tough to get a PR, but I know I can be faster. My next race is not until March so I am hoping between now and then I can step up my training and try to get some of my speed back!
The post race party is always the best part! Lots of free snacks and giveaways! The Minute Rice tent was a hit, Walter and I both got free Ready to Serve rice bowls!
The race was held at Tarara Winery and they were giving complimentary wine tastings – a fun post race activity!
Shout out to Walter for getting up at 5am on a Saturday, putting up with nearly 1000 Divas and for being my biggest fan! Though Layla wasn’t allowed to “run like a Diva” she did get to dress up like one when we got home 🙂
The Diva Run Series hosts both 5ks and Half Marathons in more than 10 locations in North America. If you are interested in “running like a diva” you can find more information on race locations and how to register here.