The TLDR version: on 11/5, I ran a 50K relay on the Noland Trail in Virginia with my friends. Our team name was Last Freakin’ Dead, but we didn’t finish Dead Freakin’ Last. We completed the race in 7 hours and 10 minutes. It was the prettiest race I’ve ever run, and the company was awesome. Our team won the tent decorating contest!
The full version requires a little background. Sometime in 2004/2005 I became friends with a girl named Tiffany from Virginia on LiveJournal. Our friendship evolved from reading and commenting on each other’s LiveJournal posts to being friends on MySpace and Facebook to messaging each other here and there. We almost met in person in 2015 but it didn’t work out. I’m 2019, I joined my friend Jenny for a road trip to run Shamrock in Virginia Beach and finally got to meet Tiffany and her husband Zac in person. It was like we had grown up together (we basically had) and we vowed to make sure we planned trips to visit each other again in the next year or two.
Then COVID happened.
That year Tiffany and I got super close. We were both dealing with the pandemic similarly. We both had tough things we had to deal with in our personal lives and we supported each other. We said that once things were somewhat normal again, we would make plans to visit each other.
This past summer Tiffany sent me a link to a race Zac had found – it was the Noland Trail 50K Relay. I wasn’t super sure about a trail race but it looked like it wasn’t too technical, and I was all for a reason to see Tiffany. I asked Jenny if she would be up for the race, and it didn’t take much convincing once she learned that it was pirate themed.
It seemed so far away, and then all of a sudden before I knew it I was driving to Jenny’s house before sunrise last Thursday to start the trip. I was so excited when I realized we were in Tiffany’s neighborhood, and then pulling into her driveway. I gave her a big hug and the weekend adventures began!
On Friday, Jenny and I went to Virginia Beach to get lunch. We picked up some supplies to create the tent decor Jenny had envisioned. We got back to Tiffany’s and her friend Nicole arrived shortly after. Nicole was so fun, we definitely clicked right away. She and Jenny got their creative minds together for decorations. We had dinner together and then headed to bed. Getting up at 4:30am wasn’t going to be easy!
In the morning, Jenny and I got into our race costumes/outfits and I did our makeup. We got to the race and Jenny prepared to run the first two loops. At 7am, she was off and running, and we got to decorating. We finished decorating sometime after Jenny completed her first loop. I was up next to run after she completed loop number two.
I hit the trail running and immediately was in awe of the scenery around me. The trail was mostly packed dirt/sand, and there were definitely some hills and obstacles. I wanted to take so many pictures of the beautiful fall colors, water, and parts of the trail, but I also had to make sure that I didn’t trip and fall on my face. It was a tough course, especially being unseasonably warm, but it wasn’t impossible and I felt way better than I had felt in similar races with similar temperatures. I completed my 5.25 mile loop in 1:16:03, a 14:29 pace.
Although the unseasonably warm weather wasn’t ideal for running, it was lovely for hanging out in the tent waiting for our teammates to finish. Jenny and I grabbed lunch with our free lunch ticket from the Skrimp Shack. While we waited for everyone to complete their loops, someone from the race stopped by our tent. He told us to make sure we were around for the awards ceremony.
Awards were given out for best solo 50K runners as well as teams. Even though our team name was Last Freakin’ Dead, we didn’t finish dead last. We did manage to finish second to last, though 🤣 After the awards for solo and teams were given out, the winners of the decorating contest were announce. We took first place! We won a case of beer, Pirate Booty and gift cards. I was so proud of our team for putting together such a fun and creative tent, especially since we just brought whatever we had and it all went together so well.
Not long after we claimed our first place prize, our last runner Nicole came flying into the finish. We ran in with her and told her about winning the decorating contest. We broke down our tent and decorations after we got a team picture with it, and then went to check out the fall festival that was happening right outside of the race.
The race was awesome, and the time with friends was even better. I am so glad everything came together so we could go! Hopefully it won’t be years before I can see Tiffany and Zac again, and we can have more adventures together.