We Ran The Lights! Well... sort of

On Wednesday morning I remembered that the Run The Lights event at Hartwood Acres was tonight.  Hmmm... what's a girl to do?  Wednesday morning was something of a hurricane, with crazy wind and tree branches everywhere.  Would I really want to run in that?

I e-mailed my sister that afternoon to see if she was still interested in going.  Turns out she was not.  Shoot.  So now I either need to make the decision not to go or try to convince my husband to go with me.

Thankfully he made that decision for me.  He agreed to go with me as long as I was with walking instead of running.  I was ok with that.

So we headed out shortly before 7 p.m. and arrived around 7:20 or so.  It was then that we both realized that this is event is waaaaaaay bigger than we had ever imagined.  We had to wait in line just to pull into the parking lot.  Then we had to be directed by at least a half dozen police officers who were directing traffic until we were finally pointed to a parking space.  Phew.  I'm happy to report that that was the worst part of the evening.  I was majorly regretted my decision to do this when we were sitting in traffic for 15 minutes prior.

So we loaded a school bus and headed to Hartwood.  Once off the bus we gave a monetary donation, got some jingle bells, and utilized a really nasty port-a-potty that was so dark it was only usable thanks to the flashlight app on the Droid.

And then we were off.

First, I will say this - after walking through the lights at Hartwood Acres, I can't understand why anyone in their right mind would want to drive through them instead.  Walking through them is such a better experience.  You can see everything without having to crane your neck to look at your window.  You can hear the music.  It's a more all-encompassing experience and I highly recommend.

That said, Hartwood needs to extend this event to two nights instead of just one.  There were SO. MANY. PEOPLE. there.  It was ridiculous.  Some people were trying to run (it's called "Run the Lights" after all) but the majority of people were just walking.  And by "walking" I really mean taking a super leisurely stroll.  The path is really just a one lane road, so a family of 5 walking side by side can easily fill the entire path.  On top of that, many sections of the course were two-way traffic meaning that usually meant that only 3 or so people wide in either direction was appropriate unless you wanted to run into someone.

Whenever there was a clearing in the opposing traffic DH and I would jog around the clusters of slow walkers, then go back to walking until we caught up with the next cluster of slow people.  It was sometimes annoying, but we actually got a better workout since we don't usually incorporate short jogs in our normal walks together. 

We decided to skip the free cookies, hot chocolate, and coffee that was offered just after the Hartwood mansion.  After all, I skipped my CCAC exercise class to do this, so there was no way that I was going to negate my workout by eating more calories!

We finished in what felt like record time.  My general thoughts on this experience are as follows:
1. Do this at least once in your life - it's worth it
2. Go early or go late - do not go right after dinner

And, well, that's pretty much it!  It's so much cooler to walk through them than to drive, your donations go to charity so you can feel good about yourself, and you get a workout. Of course, it's not happening again until next year, but mark your calendars now!

(Or don't... since the date for next year hasn't actually been determined yet.  I've failed.)


Anonymous said...

This was a nice article to read, thank you for sharing it.

Event Director Dave said...

Very nice article.

A lot of volunteers worked very hard to get it down to ONLY 15 minutes of traffic to get parked.
16 buses were used to reduce bus wait time to the minimum.

The 2011 event is on Nov 16th.
The flyer is at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/calendar/2011/HW20111116.pdf

Event Director Dave

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