Here's the best part about the running community, it's the most inclusive and supportive group around. It doesn't matter if it's a group run or a race, everyone has a story and something they're running for. Regardless of whether it's a time goal, a personal goal, or whether they just want to finish, the energy during the Runner's World Half Marathon Weekend will leave you feeling inspired and happy to be apart of something so incredibly bad ass and special.
Before we got to Bethlehem, we all got to pick teams as apart of the Influencer Olympics. I teamed up with my friend Sarah Attar because she is quite possibly one of the most inspiring and kick ass women I know. If you don't follow Sarah, go do it right now. She was one of the first female athletes to get to represent Saudi Arabia in the Olympics and she continues to break the glass ceiling and lead the charge for women's rights around the world. In addition to being an amazing person, she's also HILARIOUS. Obviously we were roommates.
The fun started on Thursday when I hopped in a car with the two badass women behind Beachy Media to road trip down to Bethlehem. After checking into our hotel, we had some time to get situated and checkout our swag bags (BALEGA SOCKS FOR DAYS!!! You know you're a runner when you get way to hyped about a dozen pairs of socks).
Throughout the entire weekend, we were spoiled with meals straight out of Shalane Flannagan and Elyse Kopecky's new cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow.
All joking aside, everything we ate was amazing. I eat well, don't get me wrong, but the meals we got to enjoy were nothing like the things I would ever think to make for myself. I'm actually excited to step outside of my comfort zone to eat new things. I'm a creature of habit (and I'm lazy) but I love to cook so I'm really looking forward to recreating the fish tacos with mango and avocado dressing. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Seriously, they were delicious. Like really, really, really f*cking delicious. So delicious that I'm ordering groceries to make them tonight RIGHT NOW.)
After running around and causing trouble at Runner's World, I kidnapped Sarah to get in a car with two of my friends John Honerkamp and Brogan Graham to go carve pumpkins. (Because that's the sort of things we do.) Sarah was racing the next day so I promised her that we'd be back by 11. (Sarah learned very quickly that I'm a liar but who can say no to pumpkin carving!) Turns out, I'm a terrible pumpkin carver so Sarah had to fix mine when I crashed and burned. But all the fun was had.
Friday was all about the November Project pop up workout and the first ever Buck Farm Beer Mile. We convened before sunrise below the stacks and did one HELL OF A NOVEMBER PROJECT WORKOUT. I promised Coach Josh that I'd take it easy since I'm still recovering from Chicago but I ended up on a team with two dudes who were ready to rumble so I got really competitive and we kicked ass and took names. (Also important to note that it wasn't really a competition. But we took it very seriously.)
Post NP, we had some breakfast and learned all the things about Altra from it's founder Golden Harper before heading back to the hotel. Sarah went out to kick ass in the trail race and I went back to the hotel to finish up my post Chicago Marathon Q & A.
Then I hopped in the car with Rachel and took off for Buck Farm. The beer mile was BUCKETS (or should I say a kegs?) of fun. There is quite literally nothing more in this world that I love more than a beer mile with Brogan Graham. BG goes ALL OUT. The trophies for the top three finishers were amazing, we got custom Buck Farm Beer Mile hats, and super groovy bandanas courtesy of the North Face (#NeverStopBeerMiling). I did my first beer mile with BG back in February and I finished third so my hopes were high.
We were looking for a 1-2 finish and we didn't disappoint. (I got second. BG took first.) I took my trophy with me everywhere I went for the rest of the weekend because I was very, very proud because the beer mile is probably the only running event that I'm good at.
Saturday was the 5K and 10K races and because I wasn't running, I took the liberty of reminding people that we're all a bunch of crazy runners with my silly sign.
Post race, we crashed yoga for runners with the incredible Goldie Graham. My hips were KILLING me post Chicago and doing yoga with Goldie was a God send. I felt SO much better afterwards and I've been doing yoga every day since. Goldie changes lives.
We spent the rest of the day hanging around town before heading back to the Stacks for the Runner's World 50th Anniversary pasta dinner. (I of course brought my beer mile trophy so everyone knew that I got 2nd place in the beer mile.)
It was moments after this picture was taken that Goldie finally peer pressured me into running the Half Marathon. The second she told me that she wanted to fun run it, I was in. AND FUN RUN WE DID.
I don't think I've ever had that much fun during a race in my life. It may not have been the smartest move for my recovery post Chicago Marathon but mentally, it was the best move ever. I've been in go mode trying to BQ and I haven't really been taking the time to have fun running.
I think my favorite part about being around Goldie and Brogan is their contagious appetite for life. They are two people who live their lives pursuing the best versions of themselves. There's something infectious about being around people who just want to make the most out of every single moment and looking back on this weekend, I have nothing but kick ass memories.
When you're training for a goal, it's easy for running to both take over your life and become a burden. Running, regardless of your fitness level, is hard. It's not always easy and being able to really enjoy yourself and find the fun amidst the challenge is one of the best skills you can ever develop. My training changed when Dr. Bob gave me the advice to choose not to suffer. I realized that I'd been doing that all along when I ran for fun. I never once dreaded a run or wished I were doing something else. If you can make the moments that aren't enjoyable fun, anything is possible.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.