No day makes me feel luckier to be living in Richmond, VA than Monument 10K day.
I know I wrote something similar this time last year, but I can’t resist trying to put the experience of running in this past Saturday’s event into words.
So I was lucky enough to catch Youth Lagoon on Saturday, March 24, at Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., along with my friend Travis (you might remember him as the pioneer of the Gaga Challenge) and our music-loving wifeys. The following Friday, our better halves proved that the “better” is short for “better judgement,” as both of our spouses decided to rest up in Richmond in preparation for the Monument 10K, while Travis and I espoused certain sleep deprivation and inflated race times by driving west to Charlottesville with my buddy Josh to catch Reptar at the Southern. Both shows were great, and there was something especially cool about seeing one up in Travis’ neck of the woods and one closer to Richmond inside of a week (OK, so Charlottesville isn’t exactly my neck of the woods, but ever since the Jefferson started stealing a sizable percentage of the good central VA shows, it’s starting to feel that way… but I digress). I thought a fun way to report back on this mini concert series would be for Travis and me to do some yearbook-style superlatives, so let’s dive right in…
One of the best things about living in Richmond is the Monument 10K. It’s an incredible event, well worth a trip if you live out of town. There’s so much to love. The frenetic energy. The coordinated costumes. The overflowing goodwill that inspires RVA residents to line the course and cheer on the runners, even when it’s cold and rainy. The fact that many of those residents are holding solo cups that are themselves overflowing with bloody marys and mimosas. The nightmarish brunch scene after the race is over. Wait… that part sucks. All that aside, the best part has to be the live music. A staggering number of local bands plug into strategically located generators and provide entertainment throughout the race, right up until the very last walkers are swept off the course by the van of shame. It’s a herculean musical effort, given that it starts at dawn, lasts up to four hours and the only pay is a race t-shirt and a case of water. So maybe you can understand why I feel guilty as hell that, after several years of playing this gig myself, I ran the race for the very first time last Saturday and… I uhhh… listened to my iPod the entire time. As sacrilegious as this may be, I CAN’T HELP IT — I love the solipsistic trance induced by running with music blasting directly off my ear drums via earbuds and mp3s. It is, without exaggeration, one of my favorite things in the entire universe. And as perfect as Dana Buoy and Fun. proved to be for inducing my hyp-jog-ic state, unbeknownst to me, my friend Travis was taking this idea to a whooooole ‘nuther level. You’re going to think I’m lying when I say this, but I’m not… Travis listened to the Sultan & Ned Shepard remix of Lady Gaga’s song “The Edge of Glory” on repeat FOR THE ENTIRE 10K. That’s 6.2 miles of Gaga. Wild, right? As I understand it, they’ve used similar methods at Gitmo to extract information from suspected terrorists. The moment he told me about his marathon Gaga (non)mix, I knew what I had to do — I had to throw myself into the belly of the very same beast. And that’s just what I did early Wednesday evening, taking off on a 5-mile run with the wind in my face and Lady Gaga burrowing her way deeper and deeper into my consciousness with every step. It was intense, but I lasted 42:34. I believe Travis lasted a solid 20 or so minutes more in the 10K. So… how long can you last? Download the remix here (you can preview the shorter radio edit below) and see how long you can listen on repeat. You don’t have to be running; you can be driving, gardening, cooking, whatever. But proceed with caution. The Gaga Challenge is not for the faint of heart. I have seen the edge of glory, and what has been seen cannot be un-seen. Good luck and godspeed.