Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I can make it ANYWHERE

I went to New York City for the weekend. I heard they were having a marathon and I thought it sounded worth watching. You know, because that's the way I am.
One of the many posters in the Subway stations. Laura looks super pumped to die.

What began back in February as a tentative gchat question to Laura of, "Um...if one were to come watch you run the marathon, where might one stay?" turned into a most memorable and glorious weekend of food, fun, and sisterly bonding. Laura was running her first marathon and, dang it, that's a freaky huge accomplishment. Someone should BE THERE. I nominated myself to be that someone.

As luck would have it, I have a wonderfully supportive and loving (and capable!) husband who was happy to let me go. It also helps that he thinks Laura is one of the coolest people on the planet. It also helps that I wrote a numbered list of the important events he needed to make sure the kids attended (i.e. school, meals, etc.) and left meals in the refrigerator for him to reheat (whether or not he chose to actually do that was on him).

So Friday morning I drove to the airport and sat on an airplane in peace and quiet, sipping a soda and knitting while listening to a book on my ipod. It was the best plane ride I've had in a very long time. All too soon we were flying in low over NYC, completing a hairpin turn resulting in some unpleasant G-forces, and landing. Ahhh, the city.

We feasted on New York pizza that night and I was delighted with how lovely and polite everyone was. Where is the NYC attitude? Where is the rudeness?? Oh well, I was living it up. Laura lives a few blocks north of Central Park in Harlem and riding the subway was a real treat. The last time I was in NYC it was for work and they paid for cabs. This time I was going local.
Laura, looking totally bangin at the finish line.

Saturday morning we met up with one of Laura's friends who was graciously holding a place in line for rush tickets to see "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" starring Daniel Radcliffe (and John Larroquette). Daniel was, in a word, charming. He danced his little bouncy heart out. He's actually a delightful singer! I just kept thinking, "Your mother must be so PROUD!" It was a great performance, and I highly recommend it. I later told the kids I had seen Harry Potter on stage, but being someone else. They were super jealous.
Outside the Harry Potter Theater (I think that's the name of it...)

Between getting the tickets and watching the show, we paid a visit to the Waffle Truck. I don't know if that's the official name, but it's official adjective is DELICIOUS. The portions aren't large, but holy cow those waffles must be secretly deep fried or coated in magic or something. I have never tasted such a delicious waffle. And the girl cooking them up was very good to try to act the part of hostile New Yorker. I also managed to stock up on 4 more jars of Spekuloos (think of nutella, but instead of chocolate and hazelnuts, think ground up gingerbread cookies in a spreadable form)(sidenote: you may not take spekuloos in your carry-on. I suspect this is because the authorities knew how exquisite it is and wanted it for themselves. Tragedy narrowly averted as I had to check my bag and almost miss my flight. It was worth it, though).
Waffle Truck!
Marathon Day has been summarized by my warrior sister. What can I say - she's an animal. A couple days before the race I asked on a runner's forum if being a support runner was illegal. Holy bananas, people had opinions. Even despite me prefacing it by saying I had no intention of running in Central Park (let alone getting near the finish line), people kept saying I had no business crossing the finish line. Um, I KNOW. I would feel like an idiot, even if they didn't have bandit catchers there. Someone told me I would be "taking the glory away" from my sister, or ruining it for her. Um...the whole point would be to SUPPORT her. So Laura and I had a good laugh about how I could ruin it for her. Maybe heckle her? Kick her? Run ahead, yelling, "I'm running faster than you!"?
Laura's race essentials
Cheering at a marathon is way more fun than you think. It's just so fun to yell at people, especially those with their names on their shirts, things like, "You've got this, Brad!" and "You're looking so hot, Natalie!" and "You're an animal, Bob! Keep it up!" I recommend this activity to everyone. I loved the guy who stood there with a giant bowl of what I can only imagine was his children's Halloween candy for runners-by.

I also had the extreme pleasure of finally meeting a dear friend. I've known her for 9 years, from an online mothers' support group, but never had the opportunity to meet her. She lives in New Jersey and happily volunteered to meet me in the city. It was so great to finally give her a hug! We've emailed and talked on the phone, but it was so lovely to just be with her. And she was great to cheer at the marathon with me. Thank you, Shira!!

Shira! (excuse the crappy quality thanks to glamorous subway lighting)

I joined up with Laura just before mile 19 and, instead of punching her in the face, brought along an assortment of things either shoved in my compression socks or clutched in my hands: vaseline, bandaids, sport beans, chapstick, cameraphone, etc.
Looking excited for mile 19. Do you know how hard it is to take a picture
and upload it to Facebook while running? VERY.

We ran and chatted (ok, so mostly me chatting) and I was a little sad to leave her at mile 23, but I promised I wouldn't go farther so off I went. There was Shira to ride the subway with me to the end of the marathon and keep me company while we made our way through the masses to find Laura.
It was so great to finally see Laura and her salt-encrusted face, give her heat-sheet covered body a big hug, and admire her medal. I was so dang proud of her, and so dang excited to be there. That night we celebrated by eating the best cheeseburgers, cheese fries and milkshakes at the Shake Shack. I rashly told Laura that the next time she ran a marathon, I would join her (by cheering and running 4 miles with her and then eating a ton afterward). What can I say, I'm a devoted sister.
Cameraphone picture of cheeseburger and Marathon Medal
New York City is a great place to be, but it was also super fun to just be a person there. No really touristy stuff, just walking around, riding the subway, doing what the people do. (how condescending does THAT sound?!) And, on my last day, as we exited a subway stop, one woman yelled at another woman, who yelled back, and a little spat ensued where each one claimed to be important and in a hurry so they should stop pushing...I grinned widely and Laura and mouthed, "It's HAPPENING!" I had finally found some grumpy New Yorkers. I could depart in peace.

I loved being there. I loved being a part of it. It all. New York. And I don't say it nearly enough, but I love Laura. I look forward to future shenanigans. And hopefully they will include milkshakes.

Cheering on from the stands (well, a day early, but still)


NancyO said...

Good times! Yay for Laura and yay for you for going.

laura said...


TripleM said...

2 things: I'm absolutely positive that the "You look hot, Natalie" was directed at me for when I was dying at they end of my first marathon. Thank you very much! and 2, I must agree on the Shake Shack. My little brother 'took us there' (though that would insinuate that he paid, which he didn't) when I was in NYC in May. So yummy!! Ok, 3: I wish I could've gone with you. It's a lot of fun to not be a tourist there. Maybe that's where our next girls reunion should be...