Where to start? After I ran my first slightly disastrous half-marathon, despite the 10# I gained during training (unfortunately decidedly not muscle - it was all, "I went running, therefore...Mmm, Spaghetti!!!"), I was hooked and then Carrie, from Life as we Know It, emailed and said she'd run with me next time. To be honest, I wasn't sure it would happen. It took me almost a month after the first race to start really running again and the odds of no kids getting sick and no tendons snapping in the meantime or on race day were low. Plus, I'm going to admit there was a bit of Beware! Stranger! from the Internet! Except she's as charming in private emails as she is online and I eventually convinced Matt she most likely was not the home invasion robbery sort. Besides, I'd already written about all our various electronics dying so she'd know there's not much left to take. (I jest!)
And the race we picked was at a BBQ and blues festival. What's not to love? Run, then eat, eat more, drink (well...some of us :), relax to some good tunes, and did I mention the BBQ? So in the process I also convinced my mom and her beau, and my brother & his wife to join us. Fun!
Carrie and her family drove all day to join us for dinner last Friday (well, and to see her parents too). I ran into my usual hosting issues (veggies done too early, forgot to buy butter and Parmesan - to go with pasta. wth? Forgot to offer dessert...The usual train wreck. Nobody ever visits for the food*). The potential for awkwardness was high (strangers!) but we had a fabulous evening. Carrie and her husband were delightful and the boys met at the door, exchanged names, and then ran off together and we barely heard from them all night. And their little girl, ohmygoodness... Squee! Cute!
*We all came down with some stomach ailment 4 days later. I am great at making friends - "Hey, it was really nice you meet you. You have a lovely family. By the way, I didn't happen to give you food poisoning, did I?" Surely it was coincidence? Right? Or excessive amounts of the aforementioned BBQ?
[Warning: Excessive exuberance to follow.]
Saturday morning we met up again at the starting line but we'd already chatted about our relative paces - I kept up with her for maybe 100’. But that's ok, I have a couple (*cough* 10) years on her. My brother was running too and he’d announced days earlier that while he’d held my hand during the first race, this time I was on my own. And you know what? I had an AWESOME race and didn’t stop to walk at all. I’m as slow as a turtle but I (obviously) got one of those elusive-bubbly-annoying-shut-up-already! Runner's Highs. It had rained all day Friday, with thunder storms expected Saturday, but it cleared up just for my race - a perfect, crisp, beautiful morning. The course wound thru a nature preserve and so I chugged along under trees, over streams, and across bridges. It was gorgeous. And my favorite running song* serendipitously played just as I hit a nasty huge hill which I proceeded to crush. (Ok, that might be a leeetle bit of an exaggeration. And, unlike Carrie, I didn't perform any good deeds mid-hill). She and my brother both reported unhappy races, no doubt making my giddiness even more annoying, but I rocked it. I shaved over FIFTEEN minutes off my first race time… though if you factor out the excessive walking last go ‘round I’m probably not actually faster, nor by any clinical description actually "fast", but still wheee!
[OK, I'm done.
Wait! One more:
The only real glitch was that after the race I had about as much interest in attending a crowded festival as I did in going home and scrubbing the bathtub. And the skies finally let loose torrents of rain. I felt bad I'd conned the extended family into coming out for an expensive event we spent maybe 3 hours at but I had good intentions. Also? As Carrie already pointed out, we took no photos. So here's my official T-shirt instead.