Last Thursday night fantastic husband and I embarked on a 1908 mile road trip to Bethlehem, PA for the Runner's World Festival and Half. We drove through the night, taking turns so we could sleep at intervals. Fantastic husband started out and drove us to Indiana. I drove across Ohio and a chunk of Pennsylvania. It wasn't too bad, as we happened upon a good Google Play station (Awesome Sing-Alongs) so we had a good mix of music to listen to.
I also ate about 3 pounds of grapes in an attempt to stay awake. Ordinarily I'm a constipated traveler. Let's just say that wasn't an issue this trip.
Bethlehem is a lovely town. I said at one point on the drive "I'm not sure what the population of Bethlehem is, but I don't think it's a huge town." Fantastic husband replied "So you're saying it's a *stifled laugh* LITTLE TOWN? Bethlehem is a LITTLE TOWN?"
He waited 900 miles to make that joke. I probably should've laughed. What can I say? I'm an asshole.
We couldn't check into the hotel because we arrived too early, but we needed to change for the trail race. Fortunately, our HTC connections came through for us and we had a place to get situated before going out to South Mountain Park. The trail race was 3.8 miles of ankle breaking loose rocks and tree roots with some grass thrown in. I've never run a technical trail before. It was...challenging. But honestly, it was fun. I finished in 55ish minutes, which I was pretty proud of. No falls, no twisted ankles. Also? Instant PR.
The aluminum water bottle was our race swag.
After surviving the trail race and waiting for our friends to finish, we went over to the race expo and got our stuff for the official Hat Trick. I was wearing a pair of capris that I don't usually wear, and they were practically sawing my legs apart at the calf. I tend to puff up on long car trips (and plane trips, etc) and that combined with too tight cuffs (seriously, Nike, some women have thick calves) left me with slight edema. I needed compression socks, so I bought myself a pair at the expo.
It was chilly on Saturday morning, but sunny. I opted for shorts and short sleeves for the 5k. The race went really well. I finished in 31:10 and felt strong throughout in spite of the hills. In a way I wish I would've pushed harder for the sub-30 (you know, since we were there with the sub-30 club), but I didn't train and I'm fine with a 10 minute mile. I was cold, though. Note to self: wear an extra layer for a short race.
The races started and ended at the Steel Stacks.
They were dominant in the skyline. Mammoth.
This decommissioned steelworks has been turned into a historical monument, with a catwalk lined with plaques. They are at once eerie and beautiful. Most of the buildings left from the works have been allowed to go elegantly derelict (fenced in for safety). They are haunting, with the trees already beginning to reclaim them. A stunning backdrop to be sure.
Post 5k selfie. How cute are we? I'm surprised more people don't want to punch me in the face.
Race 2 of 4.
Fantastic husband sub-30'd but didn't PR. After the 5k we had about an hour to kill and a handy jar of moonshine in the car. I might have gotten a teeny bit drunk before the start of the 10k.
Breakfast of motherfucking champions.
We ran/walked the 10k with a friend from HTC and a random lady we picked up around the 1 mile marker. Her name was Wendy and she was from the area, so we basically got a walking tour of Bethlehem complete with restaurant recommendations. Hashtag winning. And I didn't barf in spite of my drunken state. Hashtag double winning.
The post race food was great. They had the standard runner's fare of bagels and cookies and what have you, but they also had fruit. And raisins. Holy fuckballs do raisins taste incredible after a (sort of drunk) race.
Hey baby, whassup?
Obligatory post-race selfie.
Goddamn we're adorable.
After the morning's races we went back to the hotel for showers and some chill out time. Later on we went back down to the stacks for the Editor's dinner (don't ask-it was less than satisfying) and walked around taking pictures in the dark. This place is especially poignant at night. I could almost hear the voices of the workers who lost their lives here before unionization and safety standards. Or I could if I believed in that kind of supernatural bullshit.
Lit pink, I'm assuming for the October of it all.
Sunday morning dawned clear and quite cold. No snow as there was in northern PA, but below freezing. I had packed ALL THE SHIRTS, so I pulled out my pink Nike windshirt. I brought along a pair of muppet legs from last year's Fall 50 and combined with everything else, I was extremely very very pink. I wish I had counted how many people on the course and before and after the race had something to say about these silly party-store leggings. I was photographed, people petted me, and an old lady hugged me. It was a weird race.
There were a lot of hills, and I was untrained, but I only finished 4 minutes off my usual "untrained half" pace, so I was happy. No soreness, no blisters, just happiness. I finished with a couple of awesome ladies and was run in by the sub-30 group flag. It was a great day to half ass a half.
After waiting for the very last finisher in the half (dude, wait until the very last person finishes sometime-that shit is inspiring). We headed straight to a Thai restaurant for lunch. Then showers, and then we got very drunk. Well, I did. Very drunk. At something like 3pm. You go ahead and judge. It was fucking fun. Also I made $20 for kissing a chick. Toll money, bitches.
Monday we drove home. It took 13.5 hours. Fantastic husband and I have been on super long road trips before. We decided to live together during the first one. That's right. We spent a week in a car together and at the end decided we should move in together. You can talk about a lot of shit on a long road trip, and we always do. Sometimes we just sing along to the radio, we laugh a lot, and we explore odd topics and our personal histories. It is never dull. 12+ years in and we're still learning about each other. Plus there are conversations like these:
Me: No. No guns. I have my rage.
Him: You're against gun violence.
Me: Yes. Guns are wrong.
Him: But you'd run him off the road.
Him: No shooting, but a little tap on the bumper and...
Me: Straight into a ravine, yes.
He gets me.
Him: One day I'm going to get to a crash to find a woman with a broken pelvis from putting her legs on the dash.
Me: Try not to hit anything, m'kay?
So we got home, kissed the kids, put our clothes immediately into the washing machine, and waited for it to be bedtime. Incidentally the kids were happy to see us for like a millisecond, then scuttled off to watch cartoons. I felt the love.
I wasn't precisely off the wagon the last few days, in fact I stayed pretty well on course aside from the alcohol. In retrospect I didn't even drink very much, I was just tired and (let's keep this between us) I'm a serious lightweight. I used to be able to hold my liquor (for real, I drank a guy named Wild Bill under the table and I have witnesses who will attest to that). Now I'm fucking Two Drink Amy. One glass of wine leaves me a little silly. Two and I am the happiest person alive. Three? I'm kissing chicks for a twenty.
This morning the kids were off to school and I was back on the straight and narrow with a good breakfast followed by a WOD and an hour of yoga. One of these days I'm going to get arm balance. I will.
After yoga I picked up the dog from the kennel. She was ecstatic to see me, and was so happy to be in my lap. Might have had something to do with the peanut butter I gave her.
Am not dog. Am baby. LOVE ME.
I spent the afternoon just sort of putzing around the house. I gave myself a manicure and knitted a bit on my October sock project. I picked up the smalls and made dinner. Only L was willing to try the shrimp dish I made, so I got to eat all the shrimps.
ALL THE SHRIMPS!!
My affirmation for the weekend comes courtesy of a gentleman named Marcus that I met at RW Fest.
You don't have to be the best to make an impact. Your best can be impactful.
I really love this. I don't write this blog to inspire people. I really don't. I write it because I need a place to dump my crazy, and I do better with accountability (real or imagined). Lately people have been telling me that I inspire them, and honestly that feels strange. I don't think of myself as particularly worthy of admiration. I'm kind of a jerk, actually. But I feel that Marcus is right. Just because I'm not perfect doesn't mean that my little corner of the internet can't speak to people. Maybe watching me struggle with my (many and varied) demons is enough. I screw up a lot, but I try to always do my best...and if that is making an impact? That's pretty fucking great. I am inspired by so many of the people around me. To be a kinder person. A more patient parent. A better athlete. A harder worker. A worthy friend.
Two more weeks of Lurong and my October challenge at the studio. Both have made me stronger in more than one way. The next 7 months will be spent chasing a goal I've let slip away for too long. I've enlisted the help of a professional and some friends to keep me on track. I'm going to give it my best.
I hope it makes an impact.