“Which direction is the ocean?” – OBX Marathon Weekend Part I

I apologize for the extreme lack of chronological order of my race reports, but I figure it’s best to write the new ones while they are fresh in my memory. This past weekend, Kristen and I took a road trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Neither of us had ever been there before, and while I was looking up November marathons a few weeks ago (because I’m spontaneous like that), I noticed that there was one and thought it would be fun to go, since the race was pirate themed. They had something called the Blackbeard Challenge, where you could run the 8k on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday and get three medals total: one for the 8k, one for the marathon, and a special one for completing the challenge. Since I run for medals, I was immediately sold.

Kristen and I set off at around 1:30 for the 6 hour trip to our hotel in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Best name ever, right? Since we knew we wouldn’t make it to the expo on time (it closed at 7), we were trying to come up with interesting stuff to do along the way. Anyone who has ever driven on I-95 has seen those obnoxious signs for South of the Border. You know, that horribly tacky Mexican themed pseudo-theme park where  you never actually see any cars and you’re pretty sure people go to be kidnapped? Right.  Neither of us had ever been before, so obviously we decided to go there.

pedrosign-7It was a little bit like a horror movie. Everything is really deserted and then a tumbleweed would blow by. Wait, maybe that’s a western. Anyway, there were approximately 5 people, all of whom were at the gas station. No one buying fireworks. No one riding the rides. Two people taking pictures with every statue they could find. Oh, that was us.

303257_10150397300403467_512523466_8361821_21200705_n-7In what was perhaps the best moment of my whole life, there was a dinosaur statue there. Oh yes.

375660_10150397299463467_512523466_8361811_730397944_n-2-3Eventually, we had to move on because the sun was going to be setting soon and we were pretty sure we might get kidnapped and murdered at any moment. So we continued on our journey and ended up in OBX around 7:30, but not before Kristen had a slight panic attack about whether to drive east or west to get to the ocean.  I made fun of her for a really long time. We passed the Outer Banks Brewing Station on the way, so we obviously went back there for dinner after checking into our hotel.

brewery-7We woke up at 6:30 the next morning for the 8k/5k. Kristen originally was registered to do the 5k since her foot has been bothering her and she hasn’t been able to run much lately. However, the 8k was at 8am and the 5k was at 10am and she didn’t want to wait around that long, so she switched to the 8k with me. Boredom is a powerful motivator. Of course, since the whole weekend was pirate themed, we naturally had matching pirate race attire. Maybe it’s the sorority girl in me, but I really effing love themes.

386601_10150398102583467_512523466_8365636_1223349792_n-7The 8k was done mostly on a well packed dirt trail, but it’s not something either of us were used to running on. I was proud of Kristen for gutting it out because she hasn’t run 5 miles in…well… over a year. As a result, she hates all the race pictures and I love all of them because I was having the most fun ever.

386401_10150397310713467_512523466_8361873_1964876412_n-7Unbeknownst to us, we were chased by a pirate crossing the finish line. Seriously, if you don’t go to OBX for this race weekend, you’re missing out.

317173_10150397310468467_512523466_8361869_981470791_n-7Kristen got her first medal ever for completing this glorious event. The medals were totally badass – bloody pirate ships.

317224_10150397307183467_512523466_8361842_35976604_n-7After the race, we went to the Expo so I could pick up my number and packet for the marathon the next day. As previously detailed, I absolutely love race expos. They always end up costing me a fortune, although at this one I was fairly well restrained and just bought an OBX marathon wine glass ( I felt like that was kind of unique) and a marathon weekend sweatshirt. Not unique, but I’m always really damn cold.

I’m a huge nerd, so there’s really nothing I like more than getting up in the morning and running a race. It’s the perfect way to start the day. But the best day ever got even better when our hotel gave us vouchers for free breakfast at the glorious establishment of the Jolly Roger.

379071_10150397307743467_512523466_8361847_960963061_n-7Not only did the waitresses wear pirate outfits and give us eye patches and free breakfast, but the restaurant had various pirate themed stuff outside for strategic photo/blog purposes.  Again, heaven?

391988_10150397308308467_512523466_8361851_196084826_n-7

387598_10150397308653467_512523466_8361854_48344370_n-7We still had the whole day ahead of us, so we decided to go see the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse on the East Coast/in America/on Earth? I  think it’s in America. I said it wrong the whole weekend. It was about 60 miles away and we got to drive over a lot of bridges, which were basically just bird graveyards. Bird bodies everywhere. I hate birds, so I can honestly say this did not sadden me one bit, but I thought it might be a bit gauche to take a picture.

380301_10150397309413467_512523466_8361859_2125945461_n-7We got back to the hotel around 4:30 and decided to go to one of the pasta parties sponsored by a local restaurant. We almost didn’t go because we were so worn out from all the piratey excitement, but I figured eating before a marathon is important. We were done by 7 and passed out asleep by 8, because that’s what all the cool twentysomethings in OBX are doing. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.

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