June 16, 2014

A Most Epic Weekend & my "min" Mini 10k

It's a beautiful Monday afternoon and I'm sitting in my backyard, sipping decaf iced coffee and getting a few hours of work in before Robert gets home from work. I can't stop thinking about this past weekend and how wonderful it was. The word epic keeps popping up in my head which must be a sign because I don't use that word lightly or often. But this past weekend was indeed epic, one to write about for sure, so here goes. Here's why this weekend was epic: good friends, delicious food, that race weekend energy I've been missing, and some opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.

I arrived in NYC on Friday afternoon, stopped by NYRR headquarters in midtown to drop off a last minute re-order of the Oakley Mini 10k necklaces commissioned for Oakley and the Elites, and then headed to the Elite hospitality suite. 
Um, pinch me? Yes, on Friday afternoon I had lunch at the suite. I arrived expecting that I'd just stop in and say hello to Jane Monti, but moments later, I found myself selecting lunch at a buffet while chatting with Molly Huddle and Amy Hastings. I did my best not to say anything embarrassing... I'm not sure if it worked. For the next two hours, I ate at a table among Molly, Amy, Sarah Hall, Lauren Fleshman, Adriana Nelson, the Montis and others I can't recall out of sheer excitement. What an experience! Everyone was lovely and friendly as we chatted about personal stuff like having babies, what to name them, home improvement projects, etc... I did my best not to ask them too many questions that might sound like interviewing, remembering that this was their private time and doing my best to respect that.

As I was getting ready to leave, Deena Kastor popped in and she was wearing one of her Erica Sara Designs necklaces! She gave me a big hug and noticing I was pregnant, as if I would be running the 10k the next day. I told her I was going to try to which she responded that she hadn't been able to run during her pregnancy- it was too uncomfortable. This made me feel so much better about all that I have been experiencing running-wise during my pregnancy. If Deena Kastor had trouble running during hers, I shouldn't feel so bad with how much I've been struggling, right? Then another quick stop in the one of the suite rooms to meet Diane Nukuri Johnson, Lauren Kleppin, and many more super fast women, and I was on my way to see my friends!

A walk in the park with Jess, dinner and a sleepover with Abbe & Bakes... some of my favorite moments of the weekend. As much as I feel at home in Lehigh Valley and don't regret my move there one bit, I miss my friends more than I could've ever expected. I met up with Jess for a walk around the reservoir where we caught up on business and personal stuff. When I lived in NYC, we tried to meet for a walk weekly and I've missed our hour chats like crazy. It was so super good to spend time with her!

And dinner at Abbe & Bakes. Holy amazing. First, I should back up and say thank you to them both for hosting me for the weekend. It can't be easy to have a pregnany chick who gets up hourly in the middle of the night to pee crashing on your couch. But as always, they were excellent friends and really came through for me. As I've mentioned before, Abbe is an outstanding chef and always comes up with the most unexpected flavor combos that are out of this world delicious. Friday night, she made a pasta tossed with carmelized onions, figs and prosciutto. Delicious would be an understatement. Abbe's promised to blog the recipe soon so I'll be sure to spread the link once it's available. But in the meantime, check out her blog full of other recipes that you'll totally dig

Next up, the Oakley Mini 10k on Saturday morning! I love race mornings in NYC! The energy of thousands of runners heading towards the start line at Central Park is one of the parts of racing that first got me addicted. Abbe and I jumped in a cab to Columbus circle and I quickly began bumping into folks I knew. More friends for the win! 
getting ready for Baby Reese's first Central Park race! With Abbe, Dani & Katie
I bumped into Leticia, Beth and Nicole and decided to start the race with them... and then we were off! My plan for this race was simple: to DNF. After some very stupid racing decisions the week before, I knew what my body could handle and my head was finally in the right place. My plan was to run slowly, without a watch and paying no attention to pace, to take it easy. I was to stop at every water station even if I wasn't sure I needed it, and to take a sip of water. I would stop at the porta potties to pee if I needed to, giving no care to how much time that would add to my finish time. And I would DNF somewhere between mile 3 & 4. That's where Bakes would be cheering on the UES and since I haven't run more than 4 miles since I found out I was pregnant, today would not be the day to try.

I looked for Ali at 68th and CPW, and was happy to see her cheering with Steve so I stopped and said hello. I might have commented on how difficult the race already felt and I hadn't even run a mile yet! Then I continued on my way. I remember looking up at one point and seeing that I was only at 79th street but feeling way tired. So I revised my plan: enter the park, run to mile 2 and if I didn't feel like continuing, take my bib off and DNF earlier than planned. Around mile 2, I bumped into Leticia, Beth and Nicole again and ran with Leticia a bit. We talked about our last run together, when we ran the last 10 miles of the NYCM course in 2012, days before the race was cancelled. Ah, memories ;) Then we hit harlem hills and I decided to walk. Just before mile 3, I DNFed and made my way to the east side to meet up with Bakes. There's something weird about not crossing the finish line once you've started a race. It feels so... so... unfinished. Sort of like "now what?" But I'm happy I did it. I proudly DNFd.

After the race, I went back to Abbe's & Bake's place, showered & changed, and headed to a private lunch with Oakley, NYRR and the elite women runners. Can I just say holy surreallness?!? (I know, not a real world but go with it). For the next few hours, I sat in between Linet Masai and Lauren Fleshman. Lauren gave me some great pregnancy and mom tips which I later jotted down on my iphone. I looked around the room several times and wondered how one earth I got there. Aside from Linet and Lauren, I was sitting with Molly Huddle (who won the Mini 10k and set a new American 10k women's only race record!), Mamitu Daska (second place), Gemma Steel (third this year),  Buzunesh Deba, (aka Buzu, 2nd at Boston this year)... Desi, Deena, Sara Hall, Amy Hastings were sitting at the table next to me. I met and talked shopped with Katherine Switzer who was wearing her ESD necklace just as so many other women in the room were. It was truly incredible; an afternoon I will never forget!
with Katherine Switzer & Buzu
with Molly Huddle, Lauren Fleshman & Linet Masai
My weekend of epic proportions concluded with a little cheering at the Portugal Day 5 miler followed by brunch with Jess W.  Another race, another wonderful friend... a perfect ending :)

Did you race the Mini 10k this weekend? Or another race? Leave a note and let me know how it was!!!

3 comments :

  1. So great to see you before the race Erica! The whole weekend sounds like it was wonderful!

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  2. What an awesome weekend you had! Love all the pictures! I love the necklaces you made!

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  3. So happy to see your good times with NYC pals and amazing things happening professionally as well :) Love you!

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