My thoughts going into this race were as follows:
My feet hurt.
I want sleep.
I hate you 9+1.
My thoughts after this race were as follows:
My feet hurt.
I want sleep.
YAY I LOVE RUNNING AND FRIENDS.
Back to the beginning…after two late nights of dancing and singing and tailgating and dancing and singing some more…
…I was not super excited to participate in race #8 of my 9+1. Driving into the city was not my first choice of Sunday activities on a dreary, foggy morning. Not after an amazing (and late) night and about 4 hours of sleep, that is. However, from the start of my day, things went so smoothly that I was perpetually wondering if I missed something. The drive was only about 45 minutes door-to-door. (Considering my daily commute is 2 hours, an easy 45 minutes is phenomenal.) I thought I might get to Central Park and find out the race was the day before, or walk back to my car post-race to find that it had been towed. (I pulled right into a FREE parking spot only two blocks from Beth’s apartment. IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. But amazingly, it was legit and I didn’t have to pay a visit to a sketchball towing company with $200 cash.) +1 for me.
Now, back to that whole race thing…
I met Beth in her neighborhood and we walked to Central Park together. We met Annie, Jen, and Nicole near the starting line, and I think we pretty much all had the same feeling about the race. “Ugh” was a common expression. Annie, Beth and I decided our goal was simply to finish. Take it easy. Not so lofty. Totally perfect for that kind of Sunday.
We chatted as we ran and the miles ticked away quickly. At one point we were quiet for about 10 seconds, so I frantically shouted to the group to “quickly come up with something to talk about!” (I was in dire need of distraction. Without verbal stimulation I might have consciously realized I was running 5 miles.) Annie then shouts, “What’s your favorite color!?”
After giggling about her random choice of “discussion topics”, we each announced that we don’t have a favorite color. (Sorry Annie.)
The lovely Abby distracted us by jumping in around mile 3 (maybe?), and Jocelyn joined the group around mile 4. (Head on over and give them a big congrats – Abby recently BQ’d in her first marathon and Jocelyn went sub-4!) I don’t think I’ve ever really run a race in which I’ve stayed with a whole group of friends for every mile. If you haven’t, you should try it. I forgot how tired I was, I forgot I was running on rolling hills, I just enjoyed the experience. And laughed a lot.
We all crossed the finish line together strong and happy. Technically I PRd as I’ve never run a 5-mile race before. Fab! Mark it in the books. The Garmin says 49:48, NYRR says 50:11. Take what you will – for a sleepy, tired-legged, race, I felt great. Plus, Beth killed it; I wanted to cry out of excitement for her. And of course, Annie finished strong right alongside us. Mission “Finish” accomplished!
After some chatting (read: post-race free-bagel eating) we headed out with Jen to tack on a few more miles around the reservoir. I was totally uninterested in more miles, but I’m very susceptible to running peer pressure so I gave in and started the Garmin back up. Plus, I missed the reservoir and figured I should pay it a visit. That’s what friends do, right?
Our whole group ran some laps and in the end completed about 8 glorious miles.
8 miles. My favorite breakfast.
I was on a running high when we finished for sure…mainly because of the wonderful company. I’m pretty sure I never would have been at that race without my friends, and I certainly wouldn’t have run 8 miles without their support. I would absolutely have been sleeping. Instead, I was actually productive. Win!
Eventually Beth and I met up with Kristine for breakfast and chatted for at least an hour. I left the city feeling uplifted and happy – like I always do after a hearty dose of running and friends. I drove home quickly, lit a Christmas-y candle, and watched football and The Grinch. I then laid in bed from about 1pm until 8pm, and then went to bed around 10. (So much for a productive day.) But still…Best. Day. Ever.
You know you have true friends when you feel uplifted after spending time with them. Tell me about your friends! Who’s your BFF and why?!