This past weekend I took a whirlwind trip to the east coast to run the More | Fitness Magazine Women's Half Marathon with my sister.
See, about a year and a half ago (maybe 2?), sister asked me how she could get into running and I directed her to the best newbie resource I knew of: Couch-to-5k. Next thing you know, she's running her first 5k and nerding out about running and then the half marathon seed was planted. Muahahaaaa!
Y'all should know by now that I loooove sucking people into the world of running. It's a hobby of mine. Imagine how amazing it was to hear that my (older) sister was getting psyched to run a half marathon?? It's like double the fun.
She settled on the More | Fitness Half because it was an all women's race (unlike Nike, this race is completely closed to men) and pretty close to home. At first I thought about flying out and cheering, then I realized the race fell in perfectly with my training schedule and felt compelled to register. In my haste, I failed to recognize how rough traveling would be (on the bank account and body) and debated just eating the registration fee and cheering from afar...very far.
Apparently the airfare gods were on my side as I found reasonable last minute airfare and my 36 hour trip to the east coast was in the works. Here's how it all went down...
Wheels down Newark. Delayed. Did not pack for 37 degree weather. Begin worrying about my sparse packing job and how I plan on surviving on 2 hours sleep.
WARMTH! Choux Factory breakfast with friend and her friend. Loopy and plane infested. I do not recommend meeting new people in that state.
Itty bitty spot near the UN that serves tasty creme puffs (I recommend the original) at all hours. I opted for a chocolate choux (that I did not enjoy), an egg white veggie omelet (blah), and a massive coffee. It can get a little claustrophobic in there since it's a super narrow space with room for 2 small tables. Definitely get your choux to go!
Bright idea to kill time by getting manicures/pedicures/massages. While this seemed like a great idea at the time, we soon realized that we didn't know of nail salons in the area. Ah well. Found one eventually. I love massage chairs.
Meet up with sister and race packets. Race swag was pretty good. Reusable drawstring bag, delicious smelling Lady Speedstick, nifty 34-oz water bottle w/ice insert, cotton t-shirt, calcium vitamin chew, lady products, and a kazoo. Hm.
Wandering the streets of NYC. Checking out weird bear sculptures.
Late lunch with friend #2 at Chop't.
I miss Chop't. Full review here. My fave: Santa Fe Salad - fried onions + turkey (or grilled chicken), Tex-Mex ranch on the side. *drool*
Trek to hotel to check in. Stock up on water, snacks, caffeine. Veg to horrible late afternoon hotel TV. No sleeping allowed!
Dinner with friend #3 that trekked in all the way from NJ even after a monster lunch (hooray!).
Tasty sushi at Nomado 33 (full review here).
Race prep begins! Lots of pinning, outfit laying out, D-tag attaching and water drinking. Still not as tired as I should be. Wruh-wroh!
Eyes begin to close. Who knows if they actually stay shut.
Sister up and perky. Eyes pop open for some reason. Begin long wake up period. Snack on pretzel breakfast. Take 10 minute pauses between putting on items of clothing.
Freak out. Temps in mid-30s. Do not have enough clothes. No throw away clothes. Wind. It's official. Packing/planning fail.
Arrive at Central Park. Greeted by hoards of ladies decked out in pink and blue. Sister and I are in black/lilac and yellow/blue.
Wonder how we will stand out for our cheerleaders. Cold. I moved to California for a reason.
Aaannnd we're off! It took about 10-15 minutes for us to actually cross the start line and it was CROWDED. Once we got moving, the cold and wind didn't feel so bad. Game plan - run together for first couple miles. Meet up after race.
Spotted: our cheering section - nephews and brother-in-law equipped with signs around Mile 2! Wish I had gotten a picture :(
Weather is now perfect for just sleeves...though I do look like a fool now that I see the picture.
Zoom. Rocked headphones for the first time and they definitely helped me charge through the hills, which weren't as bad as I remember them being! I still wish other people didn't rock the headphones since I found myself saying 'excuse me' really loud and no one budged. Meh.
The crowds didn't let up at all during this race and there were even walkers and runners that would run/walk 3 abreast and some would hold hands! So frustrating, especially when we got to the bottleneck-y parts of the course. Also, the finish chute was literally a chute. I do appreciate all the spectators cheering on, but they spilled out into the course and made the narrow lane even narrower. Plus, I found myself zigzagging a lot during that last stretch to the finish.
I know, I know, this was supposed to be an easy long run, but it's hard to not get all fired up at the end!
I wanted to cocoon in the pile of mylar blankets it was so cold. Not sure how I'm awake at this point...must be the proud (running) momma in me! Nothing like seeing a newbie excited about finishing!
Tired yet? Yeah, now you know how I felt! There's more to come in Part II!