Days like this, I don’t even know where to begin – Monument Ave 10K & more

…so I’ll work backward. Even though I’ve still got a big afternoon ahead. And what I am sure will be a fantastic Sunday and an even more exciting Monday. So many  astounding things just keep happening, right out of the blue. If it weren’t so enjoyable – and relaxing at the same time – it would be tiring. But it’s pleasant. It is really, really pleasant.

It seems unusual, even from my perspective, which I’m aware is often unusual to start. But Alex and I met my friend Ed and did the Monument Avenue 10K here in Richmond this morning. Which was, as I posted on my facebook page just before Mile 2, a “10,000 meter celebration.” And I mean that sincerely. From the moment Ed and Alex and I walked and rolled across the starting mats until the moment we crossed the finishing mats 10,000 meters – and 2+ hours and many, many, many great people and dogs later – it was a non stop celebration.

Allow me to digress. Years ago I read a book by the late David Foster Wallace called Everything and More – A Compact History of Infinity. In it I learned something that now seems obvious. Take any line – 10 inches, 10 million miles, any distance. In today’s case, take a line 10 kilometers long. That line can be divided into an infinite number of points. Here is what I learned – imagine the distance between any two of that infinite number of points. Even that distance can be divided into an infinite number of points. On the 10,000 meter long line Alex and Ed and I walked and rolled today, every point was joyful. Days like this are so rare. They are so priceless. Just one adds indescribable value to a life made up of many, many, many days.

But I begin this post after we crossed the finish line. Alex and I went most of the way back with Ed, then headed for our car. While walking we passed a little store front at 119 E Main Street. The name of the store: Lavender’s Cafe and Specialty Shoppe. Seriously. There were a few people inside, all employees. I think it is employee owned and operated. We met Norman – the Creative Design Chef – and Shelley, the Catering Coordinator and Manager. We also met Brenda, a natural sales person if ever there was one. I’m glad I only had $10 in cash instead of my credit card; I probably would have left with the whole store. I was cold and I wanted hot food and a cup of coffee. I also needed to use their restroom. I left the $10 in Alex’s wise care while I used the facilities. I got an enormous cup of coffee that would put Starbucks right out of business. I got – can you believe this? – a cup of Lavender Lemonade. Incredible. After your first glass you will wonder how you will ever find anything to match it again. Right now you are perhaps thinking “How can this guy’s day possibly get any better?” That’s what I was thinking. Until Norman brought out a bowl of his hot, homemade collard greens. If you have walked in shorts for 2+ hours in the damp chill of an early spring morning, it is precisely what you want to eat. I could have curled up and taken a nap right there. If Norman hadn’t topped himself yet again. With the one item that anyone who knows me is aware I am constitutionally incapable of refusing. Home made chocolate. No, that is not a misprint. None of this is. I might even think it was a hallucination or a dream but I’ve got all the wrappers and cups and cards and pictures to prove it. So, I – Jay McLaughlin – walk in shorts for 2+ hours with my friends on a chilly spring morning. And on the way back to the car I find – for the first time in my life – all in the same place – coffee that’s better than anything served by that big chain. Lavender lemonade. Seriously. Who knew? Hot home cooked collard greens. And home-made chocolate! If I’d walked across that finish line and someone said “what would you like to find on your way back to the car?”, do you think I could have imagined this? Could you have imagined it? Another thing about me, if you know me at all, is that I’m fond of repeating (ad infinitum) “you can’t make this stuff up.” Seriously – is fiction ever this incredible? No way.

Lavender Cafe

Plus – look at the three of them – it’s like they only hire models at this place or something. Besides being nice, and being great cooks and sales people and hosts, they’re all beautiful. I think maybe there was magic today. They look like that, and they make lavender lemonade and collard greens and home-made chocolate? Maybe they’re angels or something.

Lavender’s Cafe & Specialty Shoppe    119 E Main St.   Richmond, VA 23219   804.385.3741 7 AM – 6 PM – Mon – Sat

On to the race start – Ed, Alex and me:

Alex, Ed and Jay - Starting Line, 2011 Monument Ave. 10K

A few miles into the walk we met Adele, a 10 week old Weimaraner, a new competitor in my ongoing favorite-dog competition:

Adele - a 10 week old beauty!

Here she is giving me a kiss, knowing that will boost her in the competition. She knows that when pretty girls kiss me I’ll do anything they ask:

Adele kissing the judge:

A while later I came across a woman holding this great sign:

Every day IS a bonus!

This is their website; check it out:

Anyway. What a day. Now I’m off to a friend’s house to watch VCU play Butler for a spot in the NCAA championship game! Have a great day,


Postscript: It’s now evening and unfortunately the Rams ended their gallant charge toward the championship. But I had a superb time at my friends John and Donielda’s Final Four party. Tons of great people, nice kids, nice dogs, beautiful home, delicious food, a wonderful afternoon. Next year I hope to be in the same place, watching the Rams play for the National Championship!

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Fun, People, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Days like this, I don’t even know where to begin – Monument Ave 10K & more

  1. Grace says:

    Yesterday morning I was wondering if you, Alex and Ed had a good 10K. Ending the race with chocolate answered my question! What a big day for you and for Richmond. Oh, loved the pic of you getting a kiss!

  2. Home made chocolate. Man. What a treat. And Adele, what a love bug. I asked the guy about her, he said yeah, pick her up, I’m getting her used to people. She was a doll. I think my total “race” time was around 2:15. Blistering pace of 22 or 23 min./mile. Alex said if I hadn’t stopped to pet every dog I saw I would have finished an hour earlier. But my goal wasn’t to finish an hour earlier – it was to enjoy myself. And boy did I ever succeed. I think I even set a PR!

  3. Hi Jay,

    Thank you for sharing your 10k experience! It is eye-opening to read how every moment can be (and should be) cherished. We are glad our event could be a part of such a wonderful day.

    • Thanks for putting on such an outstanding event! It’s great to enjoy the people and the dogs and the scenery and music and the weather. Looking forward to 2012! And I hope VCU will be in the Final Four again!

  4. Pingback: Some people have all the luck… | NEWFAZE

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