Sunday, March 28, 2010
I've had such a great March, super-busy and super-fun! This weekend was made of 100% awesome.
BILLALEX70, JOPAPGH and other motivated Sparkers had been talking about meeting up for a race at the end of last year. What came up was this race, Just A Short Run. It's a perfect mix - 5K, 8.1 mile, half marathon, half marathon relay and 30K. There were Sparkers in every one-man group!
Leaving work at noon on Friday, I drove over to Pittsburgh and hit Gullifty's for some chocolate cake (hello, cheat meal!) - if you've never had their dessert, you can't know why the 3-hour drive is totally worth it. 2/3 of it is in the fridge, awaiting future NOM. Crazy that I used to be able to demolish a slab of cake no problem, now I can really enjoy the thing.
Got my race packet and drove around a little before I met up with some friends. Kept the night early (I know!) and got to the hotel around 10pm. Next morning I put on the hoodie & running tights (did I mention my new rule of not running outside when it's below freezing? Well, no one told Mother Nature, dangit!) and headed downstairs to meet the other out-of-towners: BILLALEX70, TAMZTIME (with DD and parentals in tow), JAN_FRANZEN and his wife Cathy, AMCG2002 and her hubby Dennis, and LYNNANN43, our local navigation system.
BOBBYD31 and MIAMIA7 were able to score us a sweet parking spot near the start line and we made contact with PATRICLES43, PRETTYKITTY26 and DJS-DEBBIE before the beginning of the race. My plan was to run 10-minute miles, which was fairly challenging because I like to run hard. I did just that: chip time 1:20:37, which is a 9:57/mile!
BOBBYD31 and I paced together for the first mile or so, then I waved him on - the first hill pulled me back in mile 2 (which is always my worst mile, I did a 11:25) but I had to mentally and physically restrain myself through miles 4-6 to just stay a little bit ahead of the 9:55 pace group. This I feel proud of - that I could mentally pull myself back without feeling like a slacker loser - and found it challenging. The course was rolling hills on asphalt, hillier than Ohio but not unmanagable. Pittsburgh runners must have killer quads!
There was a nice welcome home at the finish line and we lined up again to cheer our other Sparkfriends in. We all did so well and MIAMIA7 placed in the 5K for her age group. :) It was COLD COLD COLD - I never did warm up!
We dispersed to wash up and change for lunch, then reconvened at On The Border for our recovery meal. Between the 11 Sparkers in attendance, we calculated that our group had lost almost 1,000 pounds! Woo-hoo! :D The emails that have gone around this weekend are a true testament to strength (in body, mind and spirit) in numbers. I find everyone I've met through SP to be an inspiration to me and I'm always looking to meet more people who GET IT!
After the race, I met up with my best friend again, did some more hanging out & dinner. The evening ended as the girls curled up on my lap with a stack of storybooks. We'll be doing a lot more together since our lives are calmer than they have been in the past. We couldn't believe it had been so long since we'd seen each other & that just can't happen when we're only 3 hours apart (and so much cool stuff happens in Pgh).
Made it home last night around midnight, slept in (8:30am!), lifted weights, had some sushi with my sister, nephew and niece (who says pickled ginger tastes like lemonade). We're doing a kids' run and 5K next weekend, should be tons of fun.
I'm so glad to have met and reconnected with everyone this weekend, it was an energizing experience. JOPAPGH, we missed you and hope the next event will see you there!