On a Saturday afternoon in mid-March, I finished a terrible 3-mile run. It was one of many terrible recent runs.
I don’t have a sports agent. Speaking frankly, only one person would care if I quit running. I am married to him. So I called him. He answered from a chair lift in Beaver Creek. I got right to the point.
Me: Matt, I want you to be the first to know. I’m taking a break from running.
Matt: Does this mean you’re not running the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler?
Me: Correct. No more questions.
Matt: And you’re not running the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in June?
Me: Exactly right. This interview is over. It’s my turn to order at Muffins Cafe. Love you.
I hung up the phone and I didn’t run for a month. I still found myself in DC the weekend of the Cherry Blossom race since Matt was running and I love our yearly trip. I used to live in DC and coming back for a weekend is always a delight.
One of my closest friends, Tricia, lives in DC and is the chief of staff in a congressional office. Tricia had convinced her entire team to sign up for the race with her. Then she didn’t train for it. A natural born leader, she planned to run the race anyway. The day before the race, we had the following exchange:
Tricia: You know, Nicole, you could always walk/run it with me since you have a bib.
Me: Err umm. Can I let you know later?
Tricia: The race is tomorrow. But yes. “Later” sounds good.
The night before the race, Matt and I joined a group of friends carb loading at an Italian restaurant in Eastern Market, a hip area of DC. I was just there for the ambiance. You know? I wasn’t planning on running so there was no need for me to bulk up on carbs. I’m just a regular gal eating in a totally reasonable way among friends.
Just kidding. Eating bread and pasta is the best. Dipping ciabatta in olive oil is my anti-drug. I got carried away. Three bread baskets later I realized I was eating as if I were climbing Mount Everest.
Plus everyone at the table was talking about the race. I got FOMO. Bingo bango I texted Tricia and said I’d love to run with her the next morning.
Too few hours later, I woke up and met Tricia at the starting line. Or like, one mile from the starting line since we decided to start in the back of the last corral. Matt jostled his way to the front of the pack and scored a major personal record. But if he wants to tell that story he can buy MrCuckoolemon.com and gab away on his own time.
Thirty minutes or so after the starting gun fired, Trish and I started the course. Five minutes later we took a bathroom break. I’ve never laughed so much during a race. Trish and I caught up, jogged and just generally kicked it together for the first five miles. We tried to avoid getting run over by the police car that closes the course and tails the last runners.
After five miles together, I took off on my own. I was by no means a speed racer but I tried to pick up the pace. Partly, I was eager to get off my feet.
I crossed the finish line and felt a different kind of proud. It was my slowest finish of any race, ever. That’s one way to look at it. But I also woke up one morning, without training and ran ten miles. That’s pretty cool. Plus, I got to hang out with one of my best friends doing something I
So I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler this year after all. If you want to know if I’m still retired, ask my agent.*
*I still do not have an agent.
For past Cherry Blossom Ten Miler recaps, check out these posts: