There’s no greater compliment that I can receive than “you inspired me to run”. Sometimes I hear feedback like, “Well, I was going to bail on this run but then I heard a voice in my head that sounded very much like you telling me I can and I will and I kept going!” And other times apparently people are cursing me in their heads. Either which way, I’ll take what I can get!
My high school bestie, Keri and I were chatting a couple of months ago while she was doing the Couch to 5k program and I told her that she should pick a race and we’d do it together.
Meet my friend of 21 years, Keri! We don’t see each other nearly enough but when we do, it’s like no time has passed.
Keri picked the DC Electric Run, we signed up as soon as registration opened (in April) and began planning! In July I happened to be in Philadelphia, where I run many of my races, when their Electric Run got shut down because of a particularly bad thunder and lightning storm. It was the same weekend as the Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale fest and Jog ‘n Hog and I saw many disappointed runners throughout the city. Thankfully we didn’t have the same fate but I definitely felt for those people (as we all ran through the rain together in search of taxis!).
We paid the extra $5 for race day pick up since neither of us are particularly close to the packet pickup locations – National Harbor is about forty minutes from Keri’s abode – and arrived super duper early to claim a good parking spot in one of the garages. Our first stop was packet pickup and since we arrived right at the beginning of the time window, we waltzed right up and got hooked up with shirts, bibs, glow bracelets and glow glasses. It’s worth noting that the women’s shirts run fairly small (I got a XL, for reference).
For the love of Pete, somebody help this giant! The Awakening.
Since we had plenty of time, we wandered around National Harbor before settling at McLoone’s for dinner. Perfect weather lead to eating outside where we got to see other Electric Run participants, a wedding party, boats, and all around general awesomeness. We saw a couple of the Electric Run’s “Worlds” set up and ready to go!
After our dinner we ditched our race packets in the car and readied ourselves for the run. We came prepared with at least 60 glow bracelets which adorned not only our wrists but our necks (two hooked together), shoes (pretty sure this isn’t what SKORA had in mind), and hair.
We headed into the corral area a little after 7pm where they were checking bracelets to make sure that everyone was on the up and up. Finding ourselves close to the starting line, we knew that we’d be going out in the first wave.
Now… it was time for the sun to get the heck off our lawn so we could Electric Run! GO ON, sun. Shoo!
There was a really, really tall dude standing right next to us. Keri isn’t shy (*I’m so demure*) so she asked if he’d take a picture for us. I love this picture because it really gives you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the crowd. And what an awesomely diverse crowd it was!
Getting darker! We were antsy at this point – time was creeping along but the Electric Run’s DJ, MC, and staff did a great job keeping the interest going with giveaways of glow sticks, glow rings, hats, and other fun stuff.
The race started around 10 minutes after 8pm and we were off into the Electric Run experience!
Something I’ve noticed during “fun runs” like the Electric Run and The Color Run is that there are a lot of people who plan to walk the entire course, which is GREAT, because they are out and moving. However, I think that as walkers, many don’t realize the etiquette that runners have come to expect during events (walkers to the right, runners to the left). It would be pretty rad if the event coordinators could make mention of this, perhaps in both race documents and while the participants are lining up and they’re hyping the crowd.
Once the crowd thinned a bit, we were able to find a really nice, comfortable pace and take pictures along the way.
Each of the “worlds” had speakers with music pumping! I think the phrases “HOW FREAKING COOL IS THIS?” “SO FREAKING COOL!” were the only ones that Keri and I uttered for awhile. It was very “Dude!” “Sweet!” of us.
BECAUSE… IT WAS SO FREAKING COOL.
Once we went through a couple of tunnels, we found ourselves on gravel, right along the water. I have to say that this course ranks in the top three favorites. (And there were hills, so I think that really says a lot.) It was absolutely gorgeous! There were volunteers along the course, pointing us in the right direction. I suppose the “wrong” direction would have been swimming and since none of us had signed up for an aquathon, we continued along on the path.
The first hydration station we reached had Rockstar Energy Drink but we were in search of plain old water. Thankfully, there was a lovely table of water cups just ahead!
Soon after we hit the water station, we got to a really gravelly portion of the course. Not to mention, it wasn’t too well lit. And oh, there was a hill. We took this part slow and tried to see where we were going based on the glowing luminaries ahead. It might have been helpful to have little luminaries along the path in the particularly dark areas. Oh, if only I were in charge of the world!
I think that Umbrella Land was one of my favorite parts of the course. Just as we arrived Coldplay’s “Paradise” started playing and it was just so perfect. It was dark, the night bugs were talking, the umbrellas were floating in the trees (that’s not something you see every day) and we were running. Honestly, it reminded me a bit of when we used to dance in the headlights of our cars at night. Yes, we really used to do that. I blame Footloose and being theater geeks.
Keri and I were talking after the run and she said she couldn’t stop smiling (like the first day she rode a bike as an adult) and I agree. IT WAS REALLY FREAKING COOL. Ahem.
See how cool I am?
Just after we ran under the glowing arches, we came to light-up walls with projections on them. Ran through that and wound up right near a father and son duo. The son was probably around eight (my older son’s age) and the dad was giving the pep talk that I’ve given so many times. “Just a half mile to go! You’ve got this! You’re looking strong, buddy!”
Keri wasn’t sure the significance of the mouse – but we rolled with it! When the dad said we were only a half mile out, it made both of us kind of sad. We wanted it to go on forever!
Just after we went through these lit up trees, we hit a steep uphill. But there were actually spectators at this point in the course and we knew that we were nearly done so naturally we tapped into their energy and RAN up that hill. I think Keri might have actually said “WEE!” at one point.
And thankfully, where there’s an uphill, it’s usually followed by the downhill! We flew through the streets of National Harbor, lined with spectators and picked up steam as we went. Faster and faster, we ran through an area of fog (thanks to the fog machine) and then saw the FINISH arch! Keri was so happy speeding along, she nearly missed the fact that we were AT the finish!
We grabbed the post race water and granola bars, took a very glow-y picture, and made our way to the post race par-tay!
Thanks to Keri for this video – I was dancing. Naturally!
I’m so very grateful that not only did I get to experience this race but that I got to run it with Keri. I think I’ve said this before; I was the girl who walked the mile in gym class. Keri was the girl who walked right next to me. For us to do this and enjoy it all these years later? Ah-maz-ing.
Ever do an Electric Run or night race? My next night race will be runDisney’s Wine and Dine! And I’ll be cheering at the Philly Rock ‘n Roll half marathon this weekend – look for me with my bright yellow sign, hopefully with a Scoot a Doot shoe logo if I’m able to get crafty. 😉