Friday, January 11, 2013

In a City of Runners sits an Oasis

RVA is a city of runners.

I see Runners everywhere. In fact, there has only been one time in my entire running life that I have run in RVA and not seen another runner. That was this year, on Christmas Day. I ran 4.98 miles, and it was the loneliest Christmas Day 8K ever.

That’s the one exception though. ‘Cos seriously, RVA RUNS.

Down in the city, along a historic tree lined street called Grove Ave, there sits a blue water cooler on a metal table. The round wire structure barely has room for the container and one small bowl. A shelf of Dixie cups is nestled underneath.

I’ve probably run past the legendary Grove Ave Water Stop 600 times in the last 5 years. I’m not sure how long it’s been there, to be honest. I never paid it much attention. But I suspect its been there a long, long time.

On my long run this week, I was once again reminded that a long run requires planning. For some reason, I forgot that detail. I never used to forget that detail.

I’m not much of a “GU” user. I rarely eat the Gummy Bears offered by Marathon Training Team. Mid-run Food is not my thing. But the morning of my 14 miler this week I did not eat enough breakfast. About a half a banana and a tbl of peanut butter was all I managed to ingest. I just wasn’t hungry.

So. About that....

 By mile 11 I was plodding along, a solid 3 miles from my car. My head was spinning a little, and I felt wonky. Definitely wonky, with a small dose of woozy creeping in. Not good things for the typical runner with 3 miles left to run. I turned onto Grove Ave, with the thought that I might be able to hit Starbucks and beg a packet of honey off them. With as much money as I spend in that Starbucks I thought “maybe”.

(Adam always has my coffee ready by the time I get to the front to pay...#itslikethat)

But about a block and half before the starbucks, I spotted The Grove Avenue Water Stop. And I thought, water might help. GAWS is advertised among runners as being open to the public, for the public runner. It’s like a little piece of runner mecca right here in RVA.

Still, I approached with trepidation, unsure of what I was going to find.

Well. I found clean cold water and a bowl of Clif Blocks.

Yes. Whole unopened packages of chews were waiting for the passing runner.

At first I hesitated. And then I thought about it and decided that if they didn’t want people to use them, they wouldn’t leave them here, AND that they’re runners, they would understand that I was in a pinch.

The nutrition made a huge difference for the finish of my run.

I got a little schmoopy as I ran away from the table about the fact that I live in a city of runners. Now, I don’t know that it SAVED MY LIFE. I can tell you, it saved my run.

This afternoon, I wrote to GAWS and thanked them on their Facebook Page

And next time I run, if I remember, I’ll drop an unopened package of Honey Stingers or Blocks in the bowl on the table for the next runner in a pinch.

'Cos RVA... yeah, we're a city of runners.

~savor the run~


(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

You almost lost me at gummy bears...yum...

What a neat story and city. How very cool. I got schmoopy just reading this.

Rene' said...

So jealous! Now about that running nutrition.....

Running for Oreos said...

That is so awesome!! Perfect timing, huh?