Wicked 10k Race Weekend

This weekend is summed up as the weekend of firsts. First time, running with someone during a race, first time meeting L (after 7-8years of emails, phone calls and texts), first time not really training for a race and first time just running a race for fun. A weekend full of firsts and every single one of them were great.

I did start off training for this race with a goal of breaking 50 minutes. It is rather doable, in fact, I believe I can get down into the 48 minutes, but a few urticaria outbreaks and a really bad chest infection made training or any type of physical activity problematic. I was out for a good solid 3 weeks. In addition, my friend, L, PR’d her half marathon the weekend before, so we both needed a good solid fun run.

The Wicked 10k is held in Virginia Beach usually the weekend before Halloween. The course is flat (of course, its held in southeastern Virginia!) and finishes along the broad walk with an ocean view to your left.  You can find out more about the race, here. You can expect to see many racers dressed up in a wide variety costumes. Those who choose to dress up can be entered into the costume contest. If you choose to participate in the costume contest it takes place before the race and at the post-race party. You can check out some of the costume winners at the Wicked 10k Facebook page, here. There was live music playing during the race and the bands are good. You definitely will have a few zombies hanging around the course, so watch out!. Truly, a fun Halloween race.

The race is run by J&A Racing. They are the owners of the Shamrock Marathon Weekend. I have run many of their races and most of them numerous times. J&A Racing runs the Big Blue 5k, the Shamrock Marathon Weekend, Wicked 10k, Santa 5 Miler, the Crawlin’ Crab Half, and the Harbor Lights Festival. All the races are held in the southeastern part of Virginia, better known as Hampton Roads. I have never had one complaint about any of the races I have run by J&A Racing. Packet pick-up is easy and the vendors present are great. Many of the vendors are local companies and depending on the race, you will find a few military foundations at the expos. Race day is well-organized, corals are managed and water stops are well maintained. You can find more about J&A racing and the races they run, here.

Several weeks before the Wicked 10k, L and I tried diligently to figure out a costume. After all the brainstorming, we came up with not dressing up. We decided instead to support a newly founded non-profit organization that supports Special Operations Forces (SOF) military dogs called Warrior Dog Foundation. The foundation helps find retired or injured dogs that cannot return to service homes, helps those dogs injured in service recover and is home for those dogs that cannot make the transition into family life. Their organization website can be found, here.

There are many ways to support this organization. Here is how…

  1. Catch up on some reading and learn about what these dogs do
    • Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines by Gary Brozek and Mike Ritland
      • Here is a link that will give you may options from reading to listening  (portion of sales goes to the foundation)
  2. Sport some logo gear…
    • Find logo gear, here
      • Just a side note, to-date, there is no size chart. I have found women sizes run a little small. I am normally a medium, but passed that along to L. L normally wears a small, but the medium worked for her.  Men’s shirts are pretty true to size. J had no problems. In addition, material is good quality and there is no shrinking after washing. The company that makes the shirts is Forged, another great US company, find out more about them, here.
  3. Make a direct Monetary Donation
    • There are three main pillars for donation, K9 Outreach, Education and Handler and Gold Family Support. You can find a link on the top right corner below the menu bar on their website or you can click this link to make a donation. The organization uses Paypal for direct donations. If you like to support your USPS service, you can send checks to Warrior Dog Foundation, PO box 2450 Denver, CO 80201.
  4. You can send them items they need. As a former worker of a nonprofit organization, I suggest reaching out to them directly. You can do so via this email address, info@warriordogfoundation.org. I make this suggestion because you will know what they need and use. You will not purchase and send items they do not use or cannot use. Keep in mind, not everything can be used and most of the time organizations get overloaded with certain items and not enough of other needed items.

Before, moving back to the race. Remember to keep your receipts for Uncle Sam, especially the last two listed item, since they are tax-deductible. 🙂 There are numerous reasons to support this organization, whatever your reason is any action helps even if it is just helping to spread the word. For our family, our reasons are close to our hearts and those close to us know most of the details.

You can find the Warrior Dog Foundation on Facebook, here. Instagram photos, here. Twitter, here.

Race Day had a rather uneventful morning, which is great! M woke up with little hassle and J got his cup of coffee before leaving the house. Not bad for starting the morning at 5 with two of the worst morning people, I know. We arrived at the race start around 7 in the morning. Parking was easy and well-organized. We were able to park near the Virginia Beach Convection Center, the location of the starting line. L and I did some warming up and J got a picture of us before we headed to the starting line.  And yes, we got some blue paw print socks. If you would like a pair yourself, here is the link. They are not compression socks, but they stay up and keep your lower legs warm.

L & I before the race
L & I before the race

One of the nice things about this race is the corrals. They are actually managed and each corral has a gap of one minute. The race is rather large about 10,000 participates this year, I think. We started in corral two with Wonder Woman, the Playboy Bunny, Forrest Gump and numerous other characters. J was with M near the starting line and captured the beginning of the race.

Skelton Biker
Skelton Biker
Skelton Biker
Skelton Biker
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Can’t miss those Wicked 10k Arm bands
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Team Hoyt
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Ghostbusters

The race was rather uneventful. L and I kept a pretty set pace around 8:50 minute miles with a two stops at two of the three water stations. We passed some zombies, live music, some dancers performing “Thriller” and numerous costumes. With the costumes,  if you can think it up — it was there. L & I finished our easy run in  54:58 on a beautiful day for a run.

At the finish
At the finish

We wrapped up the race with a picture with the King Neptune Statue. You don’t fly from California to Virginia Beach oceanfront without stopping by and taking a picture. Even though, it adds about a two-mile walk after a running 6.2 miles. 🙂

All and all, a great race followed by a long run of 10 miles that put my weekly mileage at 30. Not a bad way to start into training for hiking season which starts the first week of November. I decided to add two half-marathons to the “to-do list” one in February and the other March. Also, to that list I added not letting another 7 to 8 years pass before seeing L, again. In the meantime, may the fun times of training begin….

Here is one of my favorite costumes from the race. Fabulous job. You can find a clip of this costume at the after party doing some dancing on the Wicked 10k Facebook page.

My Fav Costume
My Fav Costume

Lastly, I can’t have a post like this without the pups …Here’s one with L, Abby, Gabe and I.

L & I with Gabe and Abby
L & I with Gabe and Abby

LLTB

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Oceana Airshow 2014

It’s been quite a bit of time since my last post. I am a bit sorry for that, but not really. We have had lots of things going on. We are back to our “other” home in Virginia. After being gone for several months, things need a good cleaning and OMG the mail needed to be sorted and addressed. The latter should be a torture tactic. Seriously, the amount of junk mail was insane (and I was in direct marketing!!), the trips to my neighbors with their mail (Oops!!) and the rest of the ‘regular’ mail.  Three USPS mail service boxes and numerous boxes from UPS and FedEx was just a daily workout in itself.  But that is all under the bridge, including the cleaning because nothing beats lying down to sleep in ‘your’ bed in ‘your’ room.

In other great news, our little Miss M has started her first ‘year’ of preschool. And she is doing great! Preschool is only M,W,F for three hours. It’s enough time to do additional studying, run some errands or run some miles without chasing a toddler. In fact, when I’m extremely lucky, I get to spend a cup of coffee with my husband, while he works and I study.  That’s ground coffee beans with hot water in a cup, not “coffee coffee”. If you missed that, it’s probably a good thing. Anywhos… Oceana Airshow….

After a year of ‘sea frustration’, the Oceana Airshow is back.

J and I have been attending this event since our first year of marriage or maybe it was one year before. Truly, that depends on if you talk to myself or my husband. Either way, that’s 10 or 11 years. Both ways it’s a good amount of years. He took me to my first one and I’m sure he will take me to my last one, too.

The Oceana Airshow has been our way of saying farewell to the Summer and happily welcoming Fall. Even if, the cooler weather doesn’t come for another several weeks.  There is only one other location we would want to be and that is mountain side.

Several years ago, when Air Power Over Hampton Roads was around, we welcomed the Summer with their program. Air Power Over Hampton Roads is the Air Force’s airshow. It was a great show, but I got to say the Navy has the whole parking and directing traffic very well-organized. During, the Air Power show, the B-2 bomber make a pass overhead and when the F-22 Raptor is active, you get to see that jet ‘slide’. I did not miss type. It slides, during a pilot directed move. It’s pretty freakin’ incredible.  Anyhow, both are pretty amazing to see. Maybe one day the show will be back or Oceana will have one or two of those ‘planes’ on the flight schedule. Either way, I’m glad to see the F-22 Raptor back in action, even though the man hours are high and costly to maintain.

B2
B2
F22
F22 — Raptor

Back to Oceana Airshow, I will get the complaints out of the way. After spending time working in conjunction with the USCG, USN and USAF’s Morale, Well-Being and Recreation (MWR) programs, I was disappointed to see that the USCG was not present at this event. They had no static display nor were they part of the show.  I am not biased towards the USCG, my family blood runs through the Army and Navy. It’s just the USCG does not receive enough recognition for their work protecting of this Country, its citizens and their work overseas. If you did not know, the USCG does work overseas ranging from humanitarian  efforts to security. Yes, I know they are part of DHS and not DOD.  I’m not sure if this is a funding issue, invitation, or something else.  And, well, that sums up my complaints with the airshow.

On to the noticeable changes, there are two main changes. First, there was a noticeable decline in vendors. What I mean by this is,  I found there were more company vendors present than vendors of purchasable items. Not just vendors that sold logo items, but the fun and unique items. In addition, the static displays were decreased. It is a little bit disappointing. The displays were mostly fixed winged planes.  Security has changed, which is somewhat nice to see.

This year, we passed on the preferred parking. Not the best decision, not the worst. Preferred parking gets you to a special lot that is closer to the main gate. Honestly, depending on your time of arrival and the parking pattern for that year, you may park close to the preferred parking area. However, we did purchase our Executive Sponsor Chalet (ESC) tickets. We have been doing so for about 5 years. The tickets are well worth the cost of $60. Your ticket price gives you the benefit of all you can eat and drink with limited wait in-line time, bathrooms in the ESC area, seating and most importantly, you have an enclosed area with a prime location called ‘Center Stage’. The enclosed area means you are accompanied with the other guests that pay the cost to be in this enclosed area and some of the performers in the show. You are given a wristband on entrance so you can come and go as you please.

We order our tickets usually a week or two before the event. We like to have a general idea of the weather for the event. You can purchase the tickets online, here.  Keep in mind that the tickets are non-refundable, but the money goes to the Navy’s MWR program. Also, purchasing your tickets day of the event may be problematic since there is only so many people allowed in the ESC area.

Will Call and the ESC entrance are in two different locations, but close to each other. I would say within a half a football field distance. I do not truly get this step up, but whatever. I would have thought the Corporate and ESC tickets/booth would have been placed in-between those two groups compared to those that select the bleacher and reserved are rather in the same location. We do not mind the walk, after 14 miles up and down a mountain, 50 ft on a flat surface is a walk in the park.  At will call, you can either pickup your  pre-order tickets or purchase your tickets to the specialized location. If you ordered online early enough, your tickets with be ‘snail’ mailed to you.  We have never waited in a line over five minutes to pick up tickets.

The Airshow is a wonderful event. The skills of all the pilots, sky jumpers, wing walkers and drivers are one of the best in their fields if not the best. Seeing them push the limits of their planes, their body and skills is quite an experience.

Whenever you can go to the Airshow, my advice is go. I give this as free advice, even if it is not your thing you maybe surprised on what you learn, the people you meet and most importantly you are supporting the MWR program, therefore supporting your military members and families.  Oceana is not the only location that this airshow takes place. You can find the locations of this show here. It is a great day for you, your family and/or friends.

We had some perfect weather for some great photos! The Blue Angels show was called short due to rain. Overall, it was a great time and M had a wonderful experience at her first airshow.

Here are some pictures from the current airshow and some past shows….

F18FSuperhornet
F18F Superhornet 2014
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2014
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2014
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2014
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Sky jumper 2014
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Using our carrier at the event — windy day 2014
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Geico Skytypers 2014
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Wing walker 2014
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Wing walker 2014

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Above is Stage 1, Stage 2 then Stage 3 of awesomeness aka vapor 🙂

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Blue Angels 2014

Some pictures from the past….

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Above images in sequence, Blue Angels, having some fun planes 5 and 6.

Static Display
Static Display
Static Display2
Static Display
Static Display3
Static Display

Last but not least, the one and only… FAAAAAAAAAAAAT Albert!

FatAlbert
Fat Albert

Even though, the weather this year was not the best. I want to send a thank you to all the sponsors, supports and active duty personnel. Especially, to the military police and the crew that managed the ESC gates. See you next year….