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>Oh man, y’all. I rediscovered something about myself: I’m not a runner. Yesterday was the annual Richmond Monument Avenue 10k, which turned out to be a huge deal.

There were costumes (two people running in a huge Picasso painting rendition with face cut outs, vikings, Barbie and Ken still in the boxes, etc.), people cheering, music bands, lots of pitter-pattering feet, and plenty of cowbells.

Please enjoy the mind photos I captured during the longest run I’ve done:

* VCWhoooo? If you haven’t heard of VCU at this point, please lift upwards on the boulder covering your little cave. Push the rock to the side and come to the light. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story ended last night against Butler. However, there is more of the story to unfold. VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart will get offers from a number of elite basketball schools and every single tree along the 6.2 mile run bore a yellow sign printed with:  SaveShakaSmart.com. I would be so impressed with Coach Smart if he stayed with the team that brought him to the Final Four, but I understand if he takes the money and elite status. However, the morale boost that would follow Shaka deciding to stick with VCU would undoubtedly propel them back into the successful spotlight.

* The coolest VCU shirt I saw yesterday:

EIGHT
OH
Final
FOUR

* There are some UGLY calve tattoos in this world. For most of the run, I was within a few paces of one man with two circular tattoos centered in the back of his calves. Half of my drive to keep my pace came from my curiosity about those tattoos and what they were portraying. I saw another person with a calve tattoo that looked like Michael Jackson in a black dress holding a tennis racket above his head like he was about to SHAZAAM with a wicked backhand. I don’t understand.

* An hour before I was supposed to start the race, my cousin, a friend and I saw the first heats speed by. Speed. These people were sprinting. This was a collection of pure muscle and determination running in a pack. I’m impressed, you genetic champions.

The calm before the storm.

* A half an hour before my start time I caught a glimpse of my kindergarten crush. I had it bad for this kid in my five-year-old heart and it turns out I had good taste because he was in one of the first heats and finished the 6.2 miles within thirty minutes.

* During the first mile, I passed a man holding one of the signs channeling Westboro Baptist Church condemning “idolators” and others. I saw that first condemnation and decided to stop reading his hateful sign. If he wants to claim to be a Christian but act in an unloving way, I hope he realizes how un-Christian he really is.

* I ran most of the race with my cousin and friend and her good nature prevented her from telling me how much I was holding her back. At the fourth mile, I finally convinced her to leave me and she kicked butt on those last two miles!

Old school Shuffle

* Mile five was the longest mile on record. I started praying the rosary to give me strength, but I couldn’t even concentrate enough to complete three Hail Marys. Longest mile ever.

* How do people run without iPods? I don’t know, but I am grateful for my 18th birthday present, my iPod Shuffle. This old school gem started my race with Carbon Leaf and ended it with Darius Rucker. Not a bad transition.

* After the race, I went into the cathedral and spent some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. That made the whole thing worth it and I actually had a few tears in my eyes when I left the cathedral.

In conclusion, in my humble opinion, I don’t think a runner’s high exists. Some people are so talented at running, they claim this exists. Whatever you say.

All I know is that it took me ten minutes to get up the stairs today. Give me a swimming pool any day of the week.

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