All tails were twitching as the week progressed. We were all excited about getting to hug each other, finally meeting some of “the people in our phones”, and spending more time with friends that we don’t get to see often. Sixty four LAST (Low and Slow Team) teammates, many of which who had only interacted online, were all heading to Philadelphia to run Broad Street Run 10 miler as a part of our the American Cancer Society’s Determination fundraising team.
My ankle had been bothering me all week since Leatherman’s Loop 10K and I hadn’t run at all since then. I saw my acupuncturist right before leaving and he put more pins in me than I think he ever has and also stretched me out a bit. (He is wonderful and if you are in the New York City area, I highly recommend you go see Russ at Runner Clinic NYC.) The train ride was uneventful and I started to get really excited to hug my friend Jeremy who I had been chatting with for weeks about training, races, and all things running. By the time I hit the cab we were texting and as soon as I had checked in, he headed over to my hotel. (I ended up staying in a different hotel than the rest of the team.) He walked into the lobby with his orange sweatshirt on and I was so excited that I probably seemed like a crazy person. We decided to wander around and find somewhere to get some cider and fries.
We managed to find the loudest pub in Philly, I believe. We had a few drinks and fries and chatted. Before we knew it, it was nearing time to meet the team for dinner. I grabbed a jacket at my hotel and we headed to the team hotel to meet the team. I was really glad that I came in a day early when I saw the size of the group. It was only about 10-15 people for dinner, but I had only really talked to Jeremy before. As much as I seem like an outgoing extrovert, I actually teeter on the extrovert/introvert line and forced interactions with groups of strangers can be a little nerve-wracking for me.
At dinner I sat with Jeremy and a lovely couple, Teresa and Jeff. Jeff has similar food restrictions to me so that helped break the ice. I got to have some good conversations with Therese and Andy, too. And of course, Stephanie and Ed were so much fun. There were some moments after dinner when I felt a little awkward, but all-in-all it was a good time. After dinner, I left everyone after the first block to head back to my hotel. Day 1 done.
The next morning, Saturday, I was really excited to run to the museum steps. The team shakeout run was only 1-2 miles so I had made plans with Jeremy to do 3 miles out and back from his hotel. He is much faster than me, but we managed hit a good pace that was a little faster than usual for me and still comfortable. It was really nice to have company for the run. We ran to the top of the steps, snapped a selfie, ran to the Rocky statue, snapped a selfie then ran back to the hotel and decided to have breakfast. We went to Green Eggs — one of my favorites in Philly. YUM! Therese and Anneke stopped for a minute to say, “hi” too. After breakfast, we went back to our rooms and got ready for lunch.
There were quite a bit more people for lunch than dinner and I lost Jeremy almost immediately. I paired up with Michelle who has similar food restrictions. Sarah and Mindy joined us at our table. Luckily some of my teammates are much more outgoing than me (and my fuschia hair seemed to make me easily recognizable) so lunch was less stressful than anticipated. I had several good convos then headed to the expo with one of my favorites, Richie, his lovely wife, Danielle, and a soon to be favorite, Jeff. We wandered the expo, took some photos, and eventually bumped into the rest of the team. I got some more quality time in with Teresa before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Saturday night was our Determination team dinner. Again, I stuck close to Jeremy and Jeff ended up close, too. (#posse) There were lots of stories shared during the dinner as well as cheers for all the money that had been raised. There were post-dinner drinks, but it was already getting late so I opted to head back to my hotel. (And missed our team flag signing, unfortunately.) Spent almost an hour getting everything ready for the next morning, doing my PT exercises, rolling out, and finally got to bed by 10pm with an alarm set for 5am.
I’m going to skip over race morning as I will be posting a detailed race report. After getting showered after the race, I met my remaining teammates for lunch. I got to spend time with Richie, Jeff, Jeremy, and Michelle which made me so happy. As lunch wrapped, we took some photos and people headed out. I was so sad that the weekend was starting to wind down. Little did I know, there was still a lot of awesome to come!
After almost everyone headed out, Sarah, Nicole, Pam, Michelle, and I hopped to a smaller table and hung out for hours drinking and talking. IT WAS AWESOME. Jeremy eventually made his way back, too. Eventually it was time to eat again and we ended up at Charlie Was A Sinner, an awesome vegan restaurant. Some of our teammates from smaller towns found the menu a little different, but luckily decided to be adventurous. The food was excellent! And I got to have a dessert which never happens! After dinner we made plans for a morning run and I again parted ways to head back to my hotel.
The next morning, Monday, I did NOT want to get out of bed. After several nights of less than usual sleep and several days of lots of activity, I was beat. But I really wanted to run with my friends so I sucked it up. We did the same route that I had done with Jeremy on Friday, took lots of selfies, and had an awesome time. When we got back to the hotel, Pam was the first to leave us. I wanted to cry. Nicole, Sarah, Jeremy, and I had breakfast in the hotel. Then Sarah headed upstairs. UGH. I hate goodbyes! Then it was a hug goodbye for Nicole. My heart was just flat out breaking at this point. And then it was time to hug Jeremy goodbye. He was my partner-in-crime all weekend. How was I supposed to go back to real life without him?! We hugged for a long, but not long enough time. I walked him to the elevator or he walked me halfway to the door–I don’t know. I think at this point we were just eeking out more seconds. As I walked back to my hotel, I felt like I might cry. What did these strangers do to me? ❤