In Which Jenn Recaps The Kings Dominion Run & Ride 10K

Guys. Guys guys. I ran a race in an amusement park and it wasn’t runDisney.

Last Sunday, the ever-popular, ever-magnificent Elizabeth and I got up at 4:30am and drove down to Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell, VA. The hour-and-a-half-sans-traffic trip went smoothly, and we arrived in plenty of time to pick up our packets and prep for our runs. The morning included a 10k, a 5k, and a 1 mile fun run, with me slated to run the 10k and Elizabeth the 5k.

Packet pickup was quick and easy with no line despite it being the morning of. Packets consisted of pretty much just a bib and safety pins, the included park ticket, and a shirt – a short-sleeved tech tee (YEAH!) for the 10k-ers and cotton tees for everybody else. I also received a “Fastpass” equivalent in my packet, but Elizabeth did not; uncertain if that was an error or a 10k-only thing.

This was all good and simple. The bad bit: the weather. Late May or no, the morning highs were in the low-to-mid 50s with on-again-off-again rain. Needless to say I wore long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. BUT I WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT IT.

The start area was by the picnic pavilions, and the race stepped off in stages, with the 10k starting at 7:40am, the 5k five minutes later, and the 1 miler at 8:30am. That’s about where my knowledge of the 1 miler drops off, but I do know the course for both the 5k and 10k were precisely the same – the 10k people just looped it twice. I don’t love that kind of setup, but since both loops were entirely within the park I was willing to go along.

The races weren’t large enough to warrant waves or corrals, but it was chip-timed. We lined up, they counted us down, and we let fly, crossing into the park within a couple of yards.

The course began at the front of the park, dubbed International Street and dominated by Parisian fountains and a one-third scale replica on the Eiffel Tower. We breezed on past that and I think into Old Virginia? I’m not 100% remembering how we got to the next part. I know exactly what that next part was, though: DINOSAURS ALIVE!

I was super excited to realize we were running into this area, which is a minor upcharge in the park, although to be honest I can’t fathom why. It’s just a walking trail featuring audio-animatronic dinosaurs, some of which move on their own and some of which can be made to move by pressing buttons. Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty awesome and my favorite part of the race, but I’d hardly pay an extra $5 for it. Whatever; I got to see it twice for free. (Also, they had a carnotaurus and I was all HELLO FRIEND!)

Then if I remember correctly we took some service roads or some such into the Soak City Water Park section, which was rather hilariously staffed by lifeguards. Oh yes, I’m definitely going to try to sneak a dip in the wave pool because I’M NOT ALREADY COLD AND WET ENOUGH. Rain: The Water Park That Follows You Everywhere And Will Not Be Denied.

Next up was I believe Candy Apple Grove followed by Safari Village followed by the admittedly adorable Planet Snoopy (did I mention Snoopy was there? No character ops on the course though, sadly). Then, if you were running the 5k, you made it back to the picnic pavilions and the finish! Or, if you were in the 10K: REPEAT.

It really wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t in super great racing shape, a combination of my own stupidity (lack of hydration; forgetting my snack) and one of my knees deciding to act up slightly, but it really wasn’t that bad. Like I said, the dinosaurs were fun. The rain slacked off during the second time around. and after all, I knew I only had another 5K to go. No sweat, right?

What surprised me a little was the traffic. This being a shared course, I started passing not just 10K people but 5K people, as early as something like 3.25 miles. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not about to speed shame anyone; getting out there and doing a 5K however slowly is a helluva lot better than not doing one at all – but I’m glad the race organizers capped the 5K at a small enough number that I never had to dodge slower participants. There was always plenty of room (with the exception of the start) and I therefore advise the race organizers, wherever they are, to keep the numbers steady.

The finish was fun, with plenty of cheering crowds and an announcer calling names at the finish. The volunteers distributing medals were so enthusiastic I was still in the process of slowing to a walk when one was handed to me!

What was weird was that my GPS came up pretty short: it registered 5.95 miles at the end, including a little bit of extra where I started it slightly early/stopped it slightly late. Odd. Here are my official stats, anyway, since they look more impressive.

I found Elizabeth, who had finished her 5K when I was just starting mile 5 (recap from her coming!). We hopped in the food line, which was nicely stocked with PowerAde and water but rather disappointing the food department: un-toasted bagels and cream cheese or nada. We took them because we were hungry, it was all rather cold and boring. Probably the area that could use the most improvement.

After our sad breakfast we changed in the bathrooms (real bathrooms! I love amusement park races) and got ready to enter KINGS DOMINION! Elizabeth and I will give you a full rundown of our park experiences at a later date.

In short, I wouldn’t say this is a must-do race for me, but I’ll consider it next time it comes around assuming the prices don’t skyrocket. Especially if we’re promised better food. And weather. C’mon, May, get it together.

Have you ever run a non-Disney amusement park race?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Commandeers Elizabeth’s Race Prep

Hi guys! As you may recall, Elizabeth and I are running the Run & Ride Kings Dominion 5k and 10k, respectively, on Sunday. I thought you might like to see this email I sent her on the logistics of our trip and races. Not that you’ll be running this precise race, probably, but it’ll get you in the headspace of a destination race, right? Onward for some advice! Note: Please always check before using my futon.

Okay, as promised, here is a Logistical Email & Race Packing List! Full of information you probably already know because I’m a paranoiac like that! Divided into sections with unnecessarily high levels of verbiage!

What time do you plan to get here? I’m thinking with our early wake up call we’ll want to be hitting the proverbial hay by 10pm, but it’s up to you. We could grab dinner or something beforehand or not; again, your call! We have a fold-out couch AND a futon plus plenty of blankets and pillows so you should be good on that front (although feel free to bring your own stuff if it would make you more comfortable).
Packet pickup has thankfully been extended to 7:30am. It takes just over an hour and a half to get to Kings Dominion from my place with no traffic – and there shouldn’t be any this early in the morning on a Sunday – but I still want to make sure we have plenty of buffer. I’m thinking we get up at 4:30am with an intended 5am departure time. This will also give us time for a quick coffee pit stop if you want one. 🙂
We’ll be able to park free with our confirmation email (I’ll pull mine up on my phone). According to the most recent race email, packet pickup is in the bus parking area, pavilion entrance. We need photo IDs and race waivers to get our packets, although the latter can be done online in advance. If you need me to print one for you, let me know! 
Our park tickets and t-shirt and stuff will be included in that, so we’ll want to use some of that extra time to walk our stuff back to the car. We might want to eat a snack at this time too.
The 10k starts at 7:40am and the 5k starts at 7:45am. I’m not 100% sure what the means in terms of how time will shake out but my guess is you’ll finish before me. I guess shoot me a text when you’re done, I’ll do the same, and we’ll find each other in the post-race food area?
It’s still a ways away, but right now Weather Underground is showing Sunday as partly cloudy with a low of 52 and a high of 73; small chance of precipitation listed as possible showers/storms, but percentages are pretty low. Hopefully that DOES NOT come to pass. Well, at least not the storm part; I’ve run in the rain and survived just fine, but lightning generally means less or even no race at all. Regardless, it doesn’t look like it’ll be cold, per se, but the morning will be brisk. Good for running, but we’ll want to take that into account when packing. Which brings me to…
This list will be a long series of DUH moments, but I like to be thorough because, as I mentioned, I am a crazed paranoiac. This is race-related only; I trust you already know to bring, like, your wallet and bag and stuff. If there’s something on this list you don’t have let me know; I may be able to lend you something.
For the race
– Snack
– Running shoes
– Running pants
– Running shirt
– Running jacket OR throwaway jacket (depends on how warm you expect to get. If you think you might want to toss your jacket mid-race, bring something old or hit a thrift store for a cheap sweatshirt you’re comfortable never seeing again; alternatively you may simply wish to wear a long-sleeved shirt)
– Running socks
– Running bra
– Headphones (optional; these are “allowed” but “discouraged” officially, but I like to run with music); along with an iPod if you don’t use your phone for music
– Hair ties/bobby pins/headband/etc.
– Vaseline or some such to lubricate potential chafing areas
– Hat if you want one; ditto sunglasses depending on how the weather is looking
– Plastic sandwich bag to cover your phone in case it’s raining
– GPS watch if you have one (this may be just a me thing)
Post race
Change of:
– Shoes (optional but you may want to change them, especially if the race is at all rainy)
– Socks (again, optional, but see above)
– Shirt
– Pants/shorts
– Bra
– Underwear
– Hoodie/jacket
– Deodorant and/or wipes for post-race cleanup
I hear we need to ride a roller coaster called Volcano.
That’s all the word vomit I have at this time. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Extreme regret that you agreed to do this with me in the first place?

<3 <3 <3

P.S. This may be my all time favorite website ride description: “[Rebel Yell is] not the biggest, tallest or fastest ride at Kings Dominion, but certainly a ride with class.”
So what do you think? What advice would you give or alter along the vein of destination races? Am I completely insane individual you would never race with? Sure, but like, imagine having to BE me.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has A Race Schedule Addendum

I’m adding a race to my schedule!

Surprised? I was too. Once my schedule is set I’m not generally in the market for additions. But this is an unusual race: it’s the inaugural Run & Ride 10k at Kings Dominion amusement park in Virginia!

I’m not usually one for 5Ks and 10Ks, preferring to set my sights on higher mileage. But this race is unique: I’ll be running through Kings Dominion itself, weaving around roller coasters and high fiving Snoopy, who is apparently on loan from Knotts Berry Farm or something? It’s so hard to keep track of who’s got the rights to IP sometimes.

As a major added bonus, registration includes admission to the park. Despite its reasonably close proximity, I’ve never been to Kings Dominion (we’ve always breezed on by in favor of Busch Gardens Williamsburg). I’m excited to give their roller coasters a go.

Anyway. There’s that. But more importantly: there’s this: there’s also a 5k option, and Elizabeth has signed up for it! Yes, we shall each run a race, freshen up, and hop into the park together!

The races (10k, 5k, and a 1 mile fun run) are on May 22 and as far as I’m aware the code ACTIVESAVE15 will still net you 15% off if you’re interested. The Run & Ride race series stops in other amusement parks too; click here to check ’em all out.

Woo! I’m excited! But I feel by this point I’ve made so many changes I really ought to update my race schedule. Here’s what I’ll be running really (knock on wood).

  1. Run & Ride Kings Dominion 10K, May 22
  2. ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon, June 4
  3. Tessitura Network 5K (Maybe; depends on whether I go to the conference), sometime in August
  4. Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, September 18
  5. National Capital 20 Miler, September 25
  6. Marine Corps Marathon, October 30
  7. Wine & Dine Half Marathon, November 5
  8. 2017 BONUS: WDW Marathon, January 8

Who’s running with me?!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!