Wow, what a week it has been! You know things are busy when you’re just writing the second half of your weekend recap… and it’s already the new weekend.
So – when I left off, I was bitching about that stupid bouncer who told me I was too ugly to get into his club. Great end to my Saturday night, right? I headed to bed around 1:30am and wished I could just sleep all day… but I had signed up for a 10am running group through Urban Girl Squad, and it met all the way on the East side! I counted on 30 minutes to run there, and 30 minutes to get ready, since all I planned on doing was washing my face, brushing my teeth, and throwing on some running clothes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t shower before a race/run/etc – I’m just going to get all sweaty soon anyway, so what’s the point? It’s never stopped me from picking up cute guys in all my sweaty glory… perhaps because my sweat, unlike all of yours, is like sweet flowery perfume! (Riiiiight.)
Much to my surprise, I ended up waking around 7:45am and feeling fairly refreshed. Huh? I was confused, but went with it – this now solved my dilemma of when to squeeze in housework and packing for the week. The time flew by, but I felt super productive by the time I pulled on my gym clothes and sneakers and headed out.
It was a gorgeous fall day – crisp and fresh but not too brisk or cold. I was perfectly comfortable in my shorts and light long sleeved jacket. On the way over to the Athleta store, I was reminded of how nice it is to run to get somewhere, instead of always running in circles just to end up back where you started. Despite the fact that I was averaging a zippy 8 minute pace, I realized as I checked the time that I was going to just barely squeak in on time. This was a longer run than I thought! When I approached the store, I saw that there was an HSBC right across the street (and I was carrying a check to deposit for whenever I saw one), but it was 9:59am so no time then. Hopefully the bank would still accept my sweaty check after the run 🙂
At the store, a gaggle of women were waiting around for the run to start and making conversation with each other. I was far from the last one to arrive – but I seemed to be the only one who had arrived without any stuff to check, meaning I was also the only one who had been silly enough to go for a run beforehand! While I thought the distance to the store would only be around 2 miles, it turned out to be 2.8 – meaning that I would already be running close to 6 miles just to get to and from the run! The description of the run had indicated that the beginner group would be doing 1-2 miles at a 12+ minute pace, the intermediate group would do 3-4 miles at a 10-11 minute pace, and the advanced group would do 5-6 miles at a 9 minute pace. So… where did I fit in? I didn’t know. Given the length of my “commute” to and from the run, I wanted to do a short distance, but I wanted to do it fast. Ah, the problem with group runs 🙂
I say that totally tongue-in-cheek though. In truth, this was one of the best group runs I’d ever done! When we arrived at Athleta, they had breakfast waiting for us: bananas, yogurt, granola, juice, coffee, etc. Sweet! I had a tangerine as a light snack, not wanting to eat too much before I ran. I chatted with a few of the women, and by the time we walked over to Central Park to begin our run, I was already making new friends. Hooray for the friendliness of runners!
At the park, the coaches introduced themselves, and tried to break up the groups. When the advanced coach announced that she was going to do 8 minute miles, and how many of us were in for that, one other girl and I did the awkward look-around-to-see-who-else-is-raising-their-hands-as-you-sheepishly-raise-yours, and giggled as we caught sight of each other doing the same thing. “Okay,” the coach said, “how about if we make it 9 minute miles? Any more takers?” I was happy to go a bit slower anyway, and pleased when we ended up with a nice group of half a dozen women. And we were off!
Our leader took us into the park and along some of the trails, noting that the main loop was pretty crowded that day. I was psyched – I usually only run on the loop and around the reservoir when I’m at the park, so it was neat to have someone take me around some of the back trails! (Note to self: go on these more often). In the first few minutes of the run, our coach mentioned that she was running the Hartford Marathon in a few weeks and was really nervous about it. I told her I had run it twice, and we got to talking about the course, the incredible post-race food, etc… and then she asked me the question. The killer question. “So how many marathons have you run?”
I always struggle with that one. I’m proud of my accomplishment, yes, but I also don’t want to come off as bragging. I really ought to come up with a better way to accept the praise and answer the question, because now I can recite the awkward conversation that always ensues: “Um, I think 65.” (I seriously can never remember the number – I counted my states like crazy but never really cared about my total marathon count, and they were always different because I duplicated states). “65 MARATHON?!” “Um, yeah…” and then an explanation.
In this case, I had even more reason to be embarrassed: our coach promptly turned around and yelled to the group, “hey everyone, guess what? We have a world record runner here today!” As everyone looked to me for an explanation, I was initially a bit shy, but soon warmed up as I recounted some of my more memorable marathons. Meanwhile, we were keeping a pretty steady 9 minute pace on the hills – making me totally out of breath! By the end of the run, I was in the back of our group with some other tired runners, and feeling no shame at all for being back there. If there’s one thing I learned about running, it’s that it doesn’t matter where you are in the pack, as long as you have some good people around you! I had a ball chatting with the other women in the group.
Our group was the last to arrive back at the designated meeting point for the beginner and intermediate group, but when I pressed the stop button on my Cardiotrainer, I was impressed to find that we had run 5.1 miles at a 9:19 pace. That meant I did 8 miles total – my longest run since May! Sweaty and proud, we went through a stretching routine and then walked back to Athleta, chatting all along the way. Once back at the store, the staff handed us goody bags with Luna Bars, Hint water, and cute Athleta headbands – fabulous! Count me in for more of these group runs 🙂
I had planned to run back, but I was so wiped out and it was such a beautiful day that I decided to just walk. I originally had a date planned to go watch football at a bar, but my date had an emergency come up and had to cancel – total bummer! Lucky for me, my best friend was ready to fill in the gaps. After a shower and salad, I met up with him to head to Amsterdam Ale House for a pint – I deserved it after my long run that morning! Man, I forgot how rewarding it can feel to run for beer 🙂
One pint turned into two, and after all that running, they hit me harder than I was expecting… so by the time I got home, I was a bit “in my cups.” I planned to make something for dinner and also make some lentils to pack as a healthy lunch for Monday morning, but before I did so, I hopped onto the computer and tipsily IMed my friend Adam to tell him about my run. Upon finding that I was about to drunkenly cook, he egged me on and convinced me to make a video of it.
I ended up making a cooking show pretty similar to My Drunk Kitchen. The few people I sent the video to seemed to get a laugh out of it, and I’m torn. It was a ton of fun for me to make and ended up being a great feel-good ending to my weekend, but it was definitely pretty silly and self-indulgent. Plus, not sure that’s something I want floating around the interwebs to haunt me! Now considering whether to make more, or stick with just the blog (which I’m not doing so well updating anyway).
Happy Friday (already)!