Hope everyone had a great weekend.
I had SUCH a great time in Philly.
I left work around 6:00 PM on Friday and took a train to New Brunswick, NJ with my friend Lauren. She then drove me to Philly, which was SO fun! It feels so weird being in a car-and I love it. We had the windows down, the music cranked, and spent at least 90% of the time laughing hysterically. So good for the soul.
I got to Philly around 10:00 PM and Erica, Leah and I immediately headed out for drinks and a late dinner.
We put our names in at a wine bar for dinner and then went to an outdoor beer garden for drinks. The beer garden had lights strung overhead and was so cute! Sorry no pictures-it was dark and we were outside. You’ll have to trust me.
Dinner was amazing-we went to Zavino and shared 2 pizzas.
Erica and I also shared a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, while Leah got the Miti Bleu Martini: Gin or Vodka, Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives, Prosciutto. Erica and I tried it and it was really good and salty from the prosciutto. Definitely a creative martini.
One of the pizzas we got was The Stache: (Whole Wheat) Pistachio Pesto, Fior Di Latte, Parmigiano Reggiano, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, Baby Arugula. This pizza was phenomenal!
The other one was a special called The Philly. I can’t remember exactly what all was on it, other than pulled pork and horseradish. It was also really good.
After dinner, Erica and I headed back to the beer garden to catch up more and enjoy the perfect weather.
Saturday morning we walked to Rittenhouse Square for brunch at Parc. I got my usual brunch fav: Eggs Benedict. I just can’t stray. It was so good and it was so nice to enjoy a leisurely brunch with Erica and Leah.
After brunch we wandered around Philly all afternoon before going to the Race Expo.
We went a little crazy at this headband store.
For dinner Saturday night we went to Barbuzzo.
I started with the Grilled Figs and Watermelon: la quercia prosciutto rossa, valdeon, marcona almonds, vin cotto, extra virgin olive oil, herbs.
For my entree I got the Pan Seared Gnocchi: with smoked corn, seared trumpet mushrooms, guanciale, cherry tomatoes and truffle butter.
We laughed at ourselves because when the waiter asked if we wanted anything to drink, all 3 of us at the same time reluctantly said: “nooooo…just water”. We really wanted wine.
Since we skipped the wine, and dinner was pretty small portions, we decided dessert was in order.
Enter FroYo. In bed. Duhh.
I got Nutella and Peanut Butter with coconut and butterscotch chips. Hit. The. Spot.
Then it was early to bed for an early wake-up call.
We woke up to 3 different iPhones going off at 6:00 AM on a Sunday. Ughh.
I went into this half-marathon with zero expectations. I even considered just cheering Erica and Leah on from the sidelines.
But by the time Sunday morning rolled around, I was admittedly pretty excited and positive about the whole thing. I was ready for a fresh start, and to me this was the perfect opportunity to reboot myself, and kick off a new (my favorite!!!) season.
But I also knew that I needed to be realistic (read: not beat myself up for what I used to be capable of) about essentially having not worked out consistently essentially since April. A “good week” (i.e. 5 times workouts in a week) here and there over the course of 4 months is not going to cut it.
So I went into it telling myself to NOT compare myself to past half-marathons, to past fitness levels, etc.
I told myself I could probably make 3 miles since I would have so many people around me to motivate me. That was my goal.
Do the first 3 miles without stopping, then you can walk as needed.
We all 3 got in line together, and Erica and Leah, the rock stars they are, took off…
I got in a comfortable pace that I knew I could maintain for 3 miles-and that would allow me to actually cross the finish line (rather than drop out of the race)… then something weird happened… I felt awesome.
Sure, I could tell I was horribly out of shape-even at my slow pace I was sucking air, and I could tell I had 15 extra pounds weighing on my joints than when I last ran… but it felt SO good. Mentally, spiritually, even physically.
The first 3.5 miles took us all around downtown Philly-past a number of monuments, which was AWESOME.
The weather was cool and crisp and FALL-LIKE (eee!) and it was a gorgeous morning.
As I got into a steady pace and was enjoying the atmosphere, I suddenly felt incredibly at peace.
All the sudden I was SO happy and felt SO lucky because I was doing this for ME. Yes, I was unprepared, I’m out of shape, overweight (for me), and running almost 2 minutes slower per mile than I am used to running, but I chose to go to Philly, to pay to enter this run, and to DO IT.
I was listening to the Kanye West & Jay-Z station on Pandora (one of my favorite stations to run to) and when Kanye’s song Runaway came on, I literally got chills. Yes, it’s kind of a silly song, but for some reason in that moment, as I was slogging along, in a new city, completely on my own, doing something JUST FOR ME, knowing two of my girlfriends were also somewhere out their pushing their own limits, I felt SO renewed.
I was 100% on my own, only I could accomplish this, and I was facing the fear-the fear of moving on, of being alone, of CHANGING MY OWN LIFE, and I was DOING IT ANYWAY.
When one realizes this, it a powerful wave of emotion.
So I kept going.
At mile 8 my right foot started hurting.
By mile 9 I had searing pain depending on how I stepped down.
I’ve struggled with plantar fasciitis in the past, which is an overuse injury (usually from increasing training way too fast-ummm 0 to 13.1 miles definitely qualifies).
I considered stopping, and I told myself to not be stupid and risk a serious injury, so I was careful to not let it get to a point I could not tolerate.
But I was also completely shocked that I had over 9 miles under my belt and was still feeling strong cardiovascularly considering how out of shape I am.
I knew I could make it if I kept going, and I’m too competitive and stubborn to stop. It’s really a huge change in my mindset the fact that I did this run at all.
Up until, oh about year 23 into my life, I refused to do things I wasn’t prepared for, things I didn’t know if I could do well. I’m glad I’m over that unhealthy sense of pride and perfection-it was too easy to “never be good enough” back then.
But yesterday? I was not trying to impress anyone. I was not worried how slow or out of shape I looked.
I was thankful with every step I took that I can run.
Grateful that my body is still so strong, and has so much endurance, after mistreating it so much for so long, and for having zero respect for it for so long. For ignoring all the miraculous things it is capable of, and focusing it’s worth only on what it looks like. Or doesn’t look like.
I was thankful for the chance to be re-born, so to speak.
And then I saw a woman holding a sign that said: “Today Is Your Day To Get Back Up.”
More chills. Serious chills. Chill city.
That’s what I was here to do after all-way back when I registered and thought I’d train all summer. I was here to pick up the pieces of me.
When I crossed the finish line, Pandora picked a great song: Biggie!!!!. BrookLYN!!! Which put the biggest smile on my face and helped me kick it to the end.
I couldn’t believe I managed to run the entire 13.1 miles without a walk break or stopping.
It really is mental.
I wanted this SO badly.
Not so much the finishing, but what finishing symbolized.
Completing this race, to me, symbolizes that I am starting anew, I am reborn, I am ready to get back to the things that matter to me, the things that make me feel like Laura.
Caring about my treating my body right, being an athlete, and enjoying pushing my body to it’s greatest physical limits feels like Laura. I forgot the feeling of complete physical exhaustion, where you feel SO accomplished and fulfilled at what you just accomplished, because you pushed your body to new limits you didn’t think it was capable of.
I used to feel that almost daily when I swam. It’s an indescribable feeling and one that I didn’t even realize I missed so badly.
When I finished, I was more proud of myself than the other 2 half-marathons I’ve done-which were significantly faster.
Yes, those felt great because I put in the work and then was rewarded with positive results in my times, but this time I was SO much more proud of myself. I truly felt-still feel-very fulfilled.
I managed to find Erica and Leah really quickly at the finish line and that’s when the pain in my foot really hit.
I could hardly move.
We had to catch a cab back to the hotel (only 1.5 miles away-would have been an awesome cool down if I wasn’t Gimp City).
We got a late check-out so we had some time to relax, leisurely shower (one of the best feelings in the WORLD!), and Erica ran to get me ice (thanks, Rica!! ) for my foot. Putting ice on it felt like pure glory.
We then checked out and headed to a celebratory lunch at Devon, back at Rittenhouse Square.
We all finally got our glasses of wine and toasted!
Erica and I both got glasses of a Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Barbara (called Seaglass-loved the name ) which was super light and refreshing.
I hadn’t eaten anything at all yet (and 13.1 miles will get your metabolism jump-started!) so I was worried it would go straight to my head… we sipped really slowly though, so it was fine.
To eat I got the Grilled Salmon Panzanella, which tasted like just about the best thing EVER at that point: spinach, montrachet goat cheese, balsamic roasted onions, vine ripe tomatoes, basil oil, balsamic vinaigrette.
We also split the calamari to start. It was also SO good: jalapeños and carrots, sweet n’ sour, creole remoulade and really unique (and delicious!) with the addition of fried carrots and jalapenos in the mix.
Then it was time to race me to the train station… which I barely made.
By the time I got home to NYC, I could hardly walk. In fact, I could not pick up my foot. I was seriously terrified I’d have to waste one of my PTO days today because of my foot.
But when I woke up this morning it was better. I had to catch a cab to work (and looked like such a fool between my running shoes with my skirt and being gimp city, gimp gimp city), but I made it through work and even walked home! Hooray!
So now it’s lots more ice and hopefully another long night of sleep. I’m a big fan of the whole RICE-rest, ice, compression, elevation-thing-as well as the 3 day rule-if it’s not better in 3 days it is probably more than an overuse injury and time to see a doc.****
Decide That You Want It
More Than You’re Afraid Of It.
We have ~3.5 months left of 2012… is there something you have been wanting to accomplish, change, overcome, or learn?
Something you’ve been afraid of trying for fear of failing? Or not being good enough?
I decided I don’t want to wait until 2013 to start re-defining who I am and what’s important to me.
I’m starting now. I hope you join me.
Have a great night!
What Would You Attempt
If You Knew You Could
*** I am NOT a medical professional and this should NOT be seen as medical advice-this is simply what I have learned works for me from previous injuries and stints with PT (physical therapy).