Ever since I almost won a medal in the Soldier’s Field 10 Miler (circa 2007), I have always had the secret goal of placing in a race. Year after year, I’ve finished close to the top of smaller races…but never have I won a spot on the winner’s stand. A couple years ago, I decided I needed to win a medal before my 30th birthday, because the next age bracket tends to be more competitive.
Well, I finally reached that elusive goal this on Saturday at the Gardiner 5K Cupcake Classic!
After a speedy race through the fields and country roads of Wrights Farm, I was awarded second place overall for females.
Leave it to me to medal in a race that is centered around cupcakes. However, when I decided to ride in another 5K on Sunday, I never expected to have a repeat performance…
A Country Cupcake Race
Before I share the details of my “double victory” weekend, let’s back up and discuss Saturday’s race and festival, because it was pretty amazing! About a month ago, I stepped into a cupcake shop down the street from our house. There aren’t many cupcake joints around here, so I was pleased when this cute bakery opened so close to us.
Unfortunately, the cupcake was a disappointment, but I did spot an advertisement for a cupcake festival nearby. When I saw that the a 5K would kick off the festival, I knew it was the perfect event for this cupcake-loving runner girl.
Since the BF recently attended a cupcake festival with me, I let him off the hook for this Saturday’s cupcake adventure. Plus I wanted to be free to roam cupcake utopia without worrying whether my normal non-cupcake-obsessed BF was entertained. The race started at 10:45, and I still needed to register, so after a quick warm-up, I left the house around 9:00.
The drive to the race was as country as it gets. Endless rolling hills, fields, horses. the works! I lived in Omaha for 18 years and never saw this much of the country.
After quickly registering for race, I strolled around the farm grounds and watched the cupcake vendors set up their delicious masterpieces. My mouth was salivating, and it was very tempting to grab a cupcake for an extra energy. But, I’m fairly certain a pre-race cupcake would not have help me run faster.
After touring the grounds, I couldn’t have been more pleased that I decided to attend this event. Unlike the previous festival we attended, it was very spread out and the wide open farm fields created a very relaxing atmosphere.
Though the cupcake festival has been around for 5 years, this was the first year for the 5K, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Check out the starting line sign.
Yep, I was officially runnin’ through the country!
The hour passed by relatively quickly, and before I knew it, we were standing at the starting line. I’ve run in many races, most of them through big cities. This race definitely had a different vibe, but I felt that familiar rush of adrenaline as we lined up at the starting line.
The starting gun went off, and I lunged forward. Since I hadn’t run in any races in a long time, I was planning on running conservatively. However, after a few minutes, I realized there were not many women ahead of me. I saw one woman inch closer to me out of the corner of my eye, and I decided no one would pass me for the remainder of the race.
And I kept to my promise! The course went through the rolling hills of the farm, and it was very picturesque. I didn’t stop to take a picture though…I was bookin’ it! The terrain was a bit challenging at times, particularly at the end, but I held my pace relatively steady and had enough left at the end to sprint the last quarter mile.
I really wanted to hear the results, but the cupcake festival was bustling around me, and it was very tempting! Thankfully, at about 12:30. they pooled everyone together for the announcement of the winners. I don’t even remember my time – all I remember is hearing that I got second place!
Clearly, the girl in first place had been there before, but I was smiling like a little school girl. “I’ve never won one of these things before!” I told the race organizer as I asked him to snap some photos on my iPhone. There were a couple hundred people sitting at the picnic tables eating lunch, and they were all clapping for me!
The race organizer handed me an envelope with my prize on the podium, and as I walked away, I dug in to check it out.
Cupcake Cash!! I won $30 in Cupcake Cash to buy whichever cupcakes my heart desired at the festival. Best.race.ever #IRunforCupcakes.
I didn’t want to miss any vendors, so I started at the end and made my way through, trying to be selective. I was much more impressed with the vendors at this festival than the one we attended a few weeks ago. They were also much more creative with the flavors. From Fried Chicken and Waffles to Caramel Corn and Apple Cider Donut, I wished that I had $100 Cupcake Dollars to spend!
In the end, I purchased about 10 cupcakes, including this delicious-looking “Cupcake in a Jar.”
I could have stayed at this festival all day! It reminded me of those country festivals I’ve seen in movies like Sweet Home Alabama. There was a country music band. line dancing, pony and wagon rides and even fried pickles!
I really wanted a fried pickle, but so did everyone else at the festival, so I settled for a pulled pork tamale, which hit the spot.
We had plans for later in the day, so after a big bite of my Chicken & Waffle Cupcake, I was off!
The Perfect Sometimes Healthy Day
Between the cupcakes and the victory, I was grinning from ear to ear. The only thing that could make this Saturday better was wine! Good thing we had already made plans to go wine tasting with our friends. Though many people don’t realize it, the Hudson Valley is home to several wineries, many of them very close to our house. As the weather gets nicer around here, one of our favorite ways to spend a free day is testing out another winery.
The Robibero Winery was located about 30 minutes from our house and down the street from the cupcake festival (we passed by on our way and couldn’t believe how crowded it had become!). Like other wineries, it was surrounded by lush green grass and sweeping mountain views. I forgot to take pictures of the scenery…my mind was focused on one thing: Wine!
We each tasted 6 wines, with most of the group focusing on the reds. I’m a sweet wine person, so I tasted all of the whites and a rose. I enjoyed all of the white wines and even purchased a bottle for later. We then decided to have a few glasses on the deck to take in the live music and enjoy some of my race winnings. One of the group favorites was “The Winner” from Woodstock Cupcakes, a cupcake that actually won Food Network’s recipe showdown. It was a simple old-fashioned chocolate cupcake with deep chocolate frosting, probably the most straight-forward cupcake that I purchased. But, the flavors were SO good.
The white wine paired extremely well with the Chicken & Waffle Cupcake!
We also enjoyed a brie cheese plate, and I discovered a delicious new combination: brie cheese, sweet crackers, raspberry jelly and salami. Sweet, savory, salty…the perfect bite!
The winery was even dog-friendly, so Cole got to taste it too.
We finished off the day with some healthy greens (to balance all the wine and cupcakes) and a bonfire. The salad was made of fresh lettuces from our friends’ garden, and I could taste the difference in freshness. It was really the perfect Sometimes Healthy Day (sorry I forgot to snap photos of all of us…I was having too much fun!)
A 5K After Wine
I drank a decent amount of wine on Saturday…after all, I was celebrating! However, I had tentative plans to meet with someone from Girls on the Run at a 5K in Newburgh. So, at 7 AM, I dragged my winey body out of bed to get ready for another race.
It was cold and rainy, and I was somewhat hungover. A race was really the last thing I wanted to do, but it was only 10 minutes away so I decided to tough it out. I arrived only 15 minutes before the race, quickly registered and made my way towards the starting line.
Thankfully, the race started exactly at 9 AM, because I was in no mood to stand around in the rain. The course was very different than Saturday’s 5K – city streets with very few hills. So, while it wasn’t quite as pretty, it was the perfect course for a speedy race. Again, I had planned to run conservatively, but once I took off and got in the groove, I figured I might as well try to run fast.
This time, I had let a lot of people get ahead of me in the beginning, but as the race went on, I continued to pass more and more people. By the end, I knew I had run a good race. My final time was about 23 minutes, good enough for second place in my age division!
I’ve never placed in a race before, and this weekend it happened twice! You know what they say, “When it rains it pours!”
We capped off the exciting dinner with a healthy crockpot dinner by the BF. The mix included chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, kidney beans, kale and fresh herbs from our garden (basil, oregano and rosemary). This meal was just what we needed at the end of a cold rainy day, and I would highly recommend it for those looking for a new crockpot creation.
My legs are a bit tired today, but it was worth it! The Hudson Valley is less competitive in racing than NYC, but the races are just as fun. And now, I can cross one more item off my “before 30″ bucket list! (Good thing, considering I turn 30 in 2 months).
What’s the best race you’ve ever run?
What’s on your “race bucket list”?
Any good crockpot recipes?