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TBT....That time that we ran with the bulls....in Virginia!!!

In case you haven't figured this out by now, I'm a bit crazy in that adrenaline junkie kind of way. I purposely look for stuff sometimes because I know that it'll freak my mother out. So when my good friend Janine from Get Off That Couch called to say that she found running with the bulls in Virginia, it was a no brainer.

We took a roadtrip from NJ down to Virginia for their inaugural event in August 2013. At the time that we booked our run, they weren't scheduled to  have any events in our area (although they've now gone nationwide!). So we booked a hotel and drove down Friday afternoon to prep for the Saturday event. And by prep, I mean we went to Texas Roadhouse for our "last supper".

We weren't really sure what to expect-they claimed that there were safety precautions in place to lessen the chance of injury. They really did make an effort-their track included climbable fences on both sides, little nooks to duck into. Most of the horns on the bulls were dulled down also. So while you aren't as likely to get gored, make no mistake-those are still 1500lb + bulls charging you. The course is also shorter than Spain at 1/4 mile as opposed to a 1/2.

The empty track

They broke up the registration into several waves-we decided to wait for wave #2 just in case anything went catastrophically wrong in the first one. It also gave us some time to think about where we wanted to situate ourselves, and watch for mistakes that anyone else made.

Lots of people got into the spirit with the white & red dress-some were more creative than others.

Courtesy of Dave Parrish Photography

For each wave, they would bring out the participants and go over the rules. They released the first wave of bulls....who looked just as confused as everyone else  because they came out of their pen and just stopped. After a little encouraging, they were off. It was almost comical.  Soon after, it was our turn!!

The "before". Don't judge me for having a beer before noon-I needed the liquid courage.
So we weren't sure what was going to happen now that it was our turn. We headed out onto the track and anxiously awaited the bulls. 

Our attempt at a selfie from on the track before we started (note: this was a violation of their rules)

They let them out of their pens, and this time they didn't stop! For the record, bulls run very fast. The point isn't to race them-it never has been. The fun of it is trying to keep up with them for a few seconds before they leave you in the dust. I'd like to tell you there was video of this epic event to show you. But I don't have anything to post, for you see, I delegated this very important task to my husband since he wasn't running....and he got excited and shot video of the ground while he was watching us. Epic fail on his part. He's officially been banned from taking videos of the stupid things that we do, and I'm happy to report that I've since invested in a GoPro.

with our celebratory beers, which are included in the registration price.

The running with the bulls registration also includes admission to their version of LaTomatina . (Note: If you don't want to run with the bulls, you can purchase a ticket for only the tomato royale). This was also something that we've both wanted to do. Two birds, one stone. So we strapped on our eye protection and headed over.

What was pretty much the only damn rule was that you had to squeeze the tomato in your hand before throwing it-because getting pelted with a whole, un-squished tomato sucks hardcore. And the reason I know is because NOONE WAS SQUISHING THEIR DAMN TOMATOES. This ended up being the big disappointment of the day. 

They had all of the tomatoes grouped in a pile instead of spreading them out. If you weren't in the very front of the crowd when they opened the flood gates, it was difficult to come by them.

This is what I mean by if you weren't in the front when they opened the flood gates, it was hard to get near the tomato pile. Ironically, we didn't get trampled with the bulls, but both of us nearly got knocked down and trampled trying to get into the tomato royale.

 And after taking a direct hit to the throat by a solid tomato, I was over it. I finished the day looking like I got my ass beat because I was so black and blue.

Courtesy of Wesley Reaves Photography

There was definitely room for improvement-but you have to remember, this was their very first event and there are always glitches to work out and ways to do it better next time. They did email us all asking for feedback, which we gladly provided. They're coming to the Philly area in June, and I'm debating doing it again, but we shall see.

Until next time!

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