The Backyard Burn #3 at Lake Fairfax Park was sticky and humid and everyone was tearing their soggy clothes off mid-run.

Brady gets some air (for his chest too).

I was barely a mile into the run when I started clawing at my shirt, trying to tuck it into my sports bra so my belly could breathe a little.

The day before at VHTRC’s Bull Run Run 50-miler, they’d had a record number of drops. The air was thick with humidity, it just sapped all your energy. Folks were droppin’ like flies.

2018 WUS baby crop
(Hanging out at the BRR finish line is so much better than running the race.)

But let me tell you: a crap day at a Backyard Burn 10-miler is so many Everests better than a crap day at Bull Run Run. On top of the muggy weather, our whole family’s been sick lately, and Aaron also had a terrible day at the Boston Marathon. But the joy of putting my ultra runner days behind me (I’m making a small exception for Highland Sky in June) is that when I feel like death, 1 hour is so doable compared to 10 hours.

Trevor, the posterboy for BRR tending to be a suckfest.
(Seriously, Trevor, this was the best of the lot.)

The race began auspiciously when found my first four-leaf clover of 2019 at the start line. I handed it to another Reston pal Frank, and wished him a good race. And I went out hard, really wanting to run with Brady. But I realized quick the legs just didn’t that day, and quickly scaled it back.

I guess I have to keep running these damn things until I finally beat Brady.
(Brady was 1st overall; I ended up 3rd overall/1st woman)

The Backyard Burn course loops around Lake Fairfax Park, hitting all the great landmarks: the lake, the water park, the cricket grounds, the soccer fields, the RV park, and, of course, the back of Aaron’s house, which he still owns as a rental property.

At first, I had not been impressed when Aaron told me he lived in Reston. ‘Reston’ had been a dirty word growing up. One of the traumatic events of my childhood was when my grandparents sold their lovely stone house on 10 wooded acres in McLean and bought a cheap townhouse next to a highway in Reston. It was walking distance of the Town Center and thought to be more practical. I sulked every time we visited.

You can learn a lot about someone from their home. Aaron’s house was peppered with surprises. A far cry from the dirtbag trail runner bachelor pad I was expecting. I marveled at the fancy soaps in the bathroom. And glasses that had been bought from a store as a set, not just an sundry collection from different athletic events. The only whiff that a runner lived there was upstairs you had the Grubby Nap Room. An entire master suite with no furniture dedicated solely to collapsing on the carpeted floor when you’re too tired to shower after a long run. Brilliant. And the back door led to a new-growth forest that was sliced in every direction by mountain bike trails.

So many memories running around this lake with Aaron 8 years ago when we started dating.

The whole race was made possible because Aaron still has lots of running friends in Reston. Lindsey, Gary, and their daughter Ava were are the world’s best babysitters and took care of Bjorn all morning. The outer suburbs are kind of weird, and full of some really terrible chains restaurants. But I miss Reston’s forests, and trails (with working water fountains, no less), and friends. And how darn quick you can tick off an entire errand list. Without even paying for parking.


One Response to A crap day at BYB is still heaps better than a crap day at BRR

  1. Trevor says:

    I think I’m still trying to get down a mini powdered donut I popped in at the aid station two minutes before this photo. It really helps accentuate the misery.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.