The Hills Are Alive

This weekend we hit the road for Oxford, MS, to run the 21st Annual Double Decker Spring Run. The race, which includes a 5K, 10K, and Kids’ 1-mile fun run, is part of the Double Decker Arts Festival. We left Tupelo Friday night, and after picking up our race packets, enjoyed dinner at Old Venice Pizza Company and live music on the Oxford Square as part of the festival.

Saturday morning came very early as we made our way to the race start at the Oxford YMCA. Located in the same shopping center as Big Bad Breakfast, I contemplated skipping out on the race for hot coffee and the pain perdue, but chose to go ahead and run since I had already pinned on my race bib.

I wore my mermaid Sparkle Skirt, last sported at the Princess Half Marathon, for this hilly race through Oxford. I had no less than ten people compliment my flashy skort before, during, and after the race. I can’t say enough about how much I love my Sparkle Skirts! They are comfortable, stay in place throughout your run, and are super cute. The array of pockets allow you to take anything you may need with you. They are definitely the only skirt in which I run, and I can’t wait to add more of them to my running wardrobe. But, I digress.

Saturday was perfect running weather. The 10K started at 7:30 a.m., with each of the other races beginning in 15 minute increments following. We started the race running down a big hill, which I have never done before, so when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was running at a pace over two minutes per mile faster than my normal pace, I quickly slowed down, being fully aware that there were many hills to come.

After a few rolling hills, we ran up a gradual incline on Jackson Avenue that would eventually take us onto the campus of the University of Mississippi, with more hills. William Faulkner, one of the South’s greatest literary minds, grew up in Oxford at Rowan Oak. The neighborhood surrounding his homeplace, aptly named Faulkner’s  Woods, is full of tree-lined streets, stately old homes, and hill after hill after hill. Faulkner’s writing is notoriously challenging and the elevations throughout this area that bear his name are no different.

I’ve been spoiled by all of the races I have run with throngs of cheering spectators lining the entire course. While this race wasn’t quite that, a highlight was another Oxford literary figure, Curtis Wilkie, cheering us on from his front yard. I just wish I had stopped for a quick pic with him! 

As we neared the end, the course took us along the edge of the Square and onto Lamar as we finished right back where we started. Just like the city of Oxford, the race was picturesque and fun, and I hope that this will become an annual race date on our calendar. 

Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the Double Decker Arts Festival, browsing the artists’ booths, listening to live music, and eating some fabulous food. After a fun-filled weekend in Oxford, we headed home with some new race bling, a couple of art purchases, and three exhausted people, making it a great weekend for all.

2016 Miles to Go: 884

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