Racing + Music Festival Attendance....I'm going to put this out there up front: these are two parts of my life that I frankly never thought would come together in one weekend. But for Bonnaroo 2013, they did!
If you aren't familiar with Bonnaroo, there are few better ways to explain it than to say it's a music lover's veritable paradise set in the middle of a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN with over 80,000 of your closest music-crazy friends. Four days of musicians supplemented by comedy and film on multiple stages covering every genre of music, from big headliners like Tom Petty and Paul McCartney...to indie faves Grizzly Bear and The National...throw in county up-and-comer Kasey Musgraves...with a mix of rappers NAS, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky and some all-star superjams on top. Full lineup here, but you'll get a better feel for it if you watch this amazing short film (5 min; totally worth it) from footage of last year's fest. The first minute of the film is the group's road trip to TN; about a minute in, you'll start seeing the festival grounds, stages and some of the crazy characters you see walking around. People-watching heaven.
I am fortunate to be friends with KTP, who -- in addition to loving live music of all kinds and being otherwise awesome all around -- is a true Bonnaroo goddess, and makes all the logistical arrangements for our little crew.
KTP, TR, "Rodney" and I did Bonnaroo together in 2011 -- which was pre-Hubs for me -- so this was a return trip for me but his first. Welcome to Bonnaroo, Hubs!
About 3 weeks out, we found out that the fest would be adding a new event this year -- a 5K run on Saturday, christened the First Annual Roo Run. Entrants were required to pre-register and make a well-deserved donation to the Bonnaroo Works Fund, which contributes to the future development of the farm and surrounding communities. Done. KTP, TR and I all signed up; the race filled up very quickly.
We were having second thoughts, however, after a late night on Friday. We all crashed in our RV well after 2 AM with thoughts of seeing how we felt when we woke up. I heard some mumblings of "I'm not sure that they even thought anyone would actually show up to race; I'm thinking it was just a stealth fundraiser for the Works Fund." I went to bed tired and dehydrated but really happy, and thought we'd probably end up making the call the next AM.
The next morning, I dragged my sorry *ss out of bed. Without much thought about it (or I would have probably thought myself right out of it), I quickly got dressed and sunscreened up which in turn led my running mates to shrug and do the same thing. Peer pressure works for us.
I wasn't able to get to the farm in time to pick up my race bib the day before when most people did, so The Hubs went with me to get mine.
Water bottle in hand, we trudged down the packed dirt/gravel roads toward bib pickup and the starting line. Unfortunately, that put me there almost an hour before gun time; in this heat and humidity, no bueno. KTP and TR met us there shortly thereafter, but agreed that there was really no reason to do so. *If* we ever do this race again, we agree -- not showing up until the very, very last minute.
KTP and TR saw a guy with a pre-race roadie of Miller Lite heading over to join the pack. Not sure I have ever seen a *pre* race beer at any event, ever.
The crowd started to gather and form three packs: fast, medium and slow, with the fast jokers, including TR, in the front with some collegiate cross-country guys and other, serious for-real runners. KTP and I situated ourselves in the middle of the medium group, where there were a number of marathon/half marathon runners near us, including one girl who was running her first 5K, but had already done a half (the half being her first race ever! That's pretty cool to me, to jump right out there.)
17 minutes after the supposed 9 AM start, we were off. Took me longer to settle into feeling all right than it normally does in a 5K; my body just couldn't get into the "OK, this is what we are doing now; I'll go with it" groove. I am really glad that I had KTP beside me for this one; I always run better with a partner when I am feeling skraggly and skruggling.
Most of the route was on a packed dirt/gravel combo, making for a dusty run. There were 2 sections which were on blacktop, with some shade in spots and with some nice scenery.
I could have used more of that / less dirt road, frankly. On the other hand, running on the dirt road winding through the fest grounds gave us a chance to see much more of the farm than we normally would staying in the VIP RV area.
This guy -- in full animal suit, toga and lampshade on head -- started in our group. While waiting for the gun to go off, he predicted he would not finish, but he did! While he crossed the line several minutes behind us, he finished in style.....doing a Jaegermeister shot. Not even kidding. The Hubs heard him proclaim "The power of Jaeger compels me!" Again, not your standard race behavior but pretty entertaining nonetheless.
Most of the fest-goers had no idea what was going on when the pack passed by them, but in addition to some volunteers with water at the mile markers (thank you; I picked up water at every one, which I generally don't do on a 5K), there were a few folks seated along the route ready to cheer us on.
I LOVED this girl's sign, as it was so true for me..."Seemed like a great idea a month ago!" Yep, it did. Nonetheless, KTP and I finished it together and met our super-speedy award-winning TR, who was already chilling at the finish line! He smoked it, as we knew he would. I was glad to have kept it under 30 min under these conditions, and we did.
Obviously, the race was a side show for the weekend's main event -- the tunes. I'd even venture to say that the race was secondary even to the food of the trip, which was almost as legendary as to the tunes to our little group.
We can't wait for the next festival together!