July 12, 2009

Night Before the Race / It’s My Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday, and rather than throw my customary big bash with all my friends, I decided I really wanted to see what Boyfriend would plan. I realized that this could have the potential to be setting him up for disaster – if he didn’t live up to my (admittedly high) standards, I didn’t want to be upset. To protect against this, I decided that I would have no expectations for the night. Anything he did would be wonderful. If it ended up being a surprise party with my best friends (what I really wanted), that would be great; but if it just ended up being him and I for a romantic night, I’d send out an invite and go out with my friends the next week.

Well, it turned out I needn’t have worried. Boyfriend started the day by taking me out to brunch at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South – I’ve been dying to try Sarabeth’s for a long time, and the pumpkin waffle topped with raisins, pumpkin seeds, sour cream and honey did not disappoint. Then, during the day, Boyfriend sent me constant e-mails with birthday wishes and general well-wishes about how my day was going. You have to understand, with Boyfriend’s crazy work, it’s amazing when I get to talk to him at all during the day; sending me multiple e-mails and calling me was totally above and beyond. Finally, after work, he treated me to a huge surprise.

Boyfriend had me meet him on a corner in the East Village – an area I don’t know too well. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but he brought me into an unmarked building that turned out to be a really amazing and top-secret sushi restaurant! It was beautifully decorated, and apparently a favorite of his managing director for entertaining really important clients. And the food! Oh my goodness. We started with “tuna tarts,” which were these little circles of a flatbread-like cracker (the lightest and tastiest flatbread cracker I’ve ever had) with tuna carpaccio on top; from there, we moved onto a platter of rolls like I’ve never seen before. It was presented like something on Top Chef – each set of rolls was fanned out around the huge circular platter, and the sauces were laid out exquisitely too, with some in small dishes and others smeared in a circle around the rim of the plate. My favorite was the arugula and crispy potato (not your standard sushi!) but Boyfriend flipped over the lobster tempura. All in all, not a single thing we didn’t like.

We had a few cocktails with dinner, which were also pretty amazing, but when we finished the sushi, Boyfriend urged me out of the restaurant, telling me that we had a schedule to keep. A schedule? what?! Boyfriend never plans things in advance, and I was so impressed that he had some sort of game plan for the evening – I was expecting that after dinner he’d just suggest wandering around till we found a cool place or something. Instead, he brought me to a bar in the NYU area that had a reputation for having tons of great beers – my new obsession. We sat and grabbed a drink, and Boyfriend kept looking around nervously. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he turned to me and said, “Baby, I have a confession to make. Please don’t be upset with me, but…” I couldn’t imagine what he was going to say, and I got a little nervous. Finally, he confessed, “I invited your friends here to surprise you, but I don’t know where they are. They were supposed to be here half an hour ago, but then we were fifteen minutes late from dinner, so I don’t know if maybe they left?” It was just as he said these words that my friend Mandy came in the door, and behind her was Boyfriend’s brother and my roommate. Amazing! I squealed with delight as the bar started filling up with all my closest friends, invited jointly by my roommate, who was more likely than Boyfriend to know who to invite and how to get in touch with them.

From there, the night was a blur. We all got ridiculously drunk – but not too much so. In the eVite, Boyfriend had written this cute little thing about how “one person will be throwing up in the bar bathroom; one person will go home with a stranger who is totally ugly and scary; and one person will be passed out on the sidewalk. Make sure you come and find out which one you will be!” Though we all did get drunk enough to probably do those things, none of them happened, and it just ended up being a wonderful occasion all around 🙂

My only worry came when I woke up this morning and realized how dehydrated I was. Tons of delicious food (including 2 AM pizza – so much for the fruit cart!) and tons of liquor and beer had contributed to a Laura that was very unprepared to pace a marathon. I immediately chugged a giant bottle of water in an attempt to make up for the dehydration damage, and set about to create an eating plan for the day to give myself the energy I needed to race.

The problem with the eating plan was with my flight times. My first flight was out of LGA at 2:50 – essentially right when I would want to be eating lunch for a Mountain Time marathon. Meanwhile, my next flight was from Denver to Missoula at 6:30 PM Mountain Time – so if I ate before, it would be a very late lunch/very early dinner, and if I ate after, it would be 9 PM and a very late dinner for an early morning marathon. Moreover, though I always try to eat a good breakfast the day before a race, I ate and drank so much last night that I just had no interest in food, and I knew that stuffing myself would only make things worse.

In compromise, I held off on food until noon, just before heading to the airport, and opted for a toasted English muffin with a bit of peanut butter – a nice light breakfast. At LGA, I picked up an apple to tide me over during the flight, and when I got to DEN, I wanted to go all out and eat something delicious. I recently came across a list of the best airport foods in the country, and one of the restaurants mentioned was Que Bueno Taqueria in DEN. Though Mexican food is normally not the best pre-marathon choice, I couldn’t help myself, and ordered a chicken burrito with tons of cilantro rice, light on the black beans, no cheese or sour cream, and extra lettuce and salsa. Would that fill me up and carb-load me sufficiently, or would the black beans and general heaviness of the burrito cause me to feel awful on the course? I didn’t know.

I got on the plane feeling absolutely stuffed, and I knew that I wouldn’t be hungry again in the short two hours it would take me to get to Missoula. I contemplated trying to get something light (a slice or two of garlic bread would be absolutely delicious), but realized that with my late arrival time, it might be hard to find a place to accommodate. Sure enough, while my hotel was in the middle of a decently thriving downtown district, there didn’t seem to be any takeout restaurants where I might be able to just get a small side of something. Instead, I headed to the hotel I was sharing with another Marathon Maniac, Donna, and settled in for a quiet night of reading and eventual sleep. I hope these poor drinking and eating habits don’t affect my race tomorrow! I’ll raise a glass of water in a toast to my Immodium, which will hopefully get me through.


18 thoughts on “Night Before the Race / It’s My Birthday!”

  1. Wow, sounds like he did not disappoint at all! You know, sometimes (e.g. birthdays), you just have to let loose and let someone else do the planning.

  2. Sounds like such a great birthday! how cute of BF to do all that for you! Hopefully you felt good for the race…but I am sure it was worth it!

  3. Happy Birthday! July 10 is my sister’s birthday too. We were just talking about famous people who share your birthday… little did I know I could have told her you do! 🙂

  4. A belated Happy Birthday to you, Laura! Way to leave us hanging for the race report …

    I am going to be in NYC over the summer, staying at a friends’ apartment on 34th at 1st. I have never visited New York as a runner! Do you have any advice for where I should run, starting out from there? Thanks!

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