A Most Epic Weekend & My Mini 10K

Molly Huddle, Lauren Fleshman, Erica Sara, and Linet Masai
Molly Huddle, Lauren Fleshman, me, and Linet Masai at an NYRR lunch before the 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 elite runners, and then headed to the elites’ hospitality suite.

Mini 10K elite tags

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 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 pregnant 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!

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.

Katherine Switzer, Buzunesh Deba, and Erica
Katherine Switzer, Buzunesh Deba, and me

After the race, I went back to Abbe’s & Bake’s place, showered and 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 word 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 shop 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!

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.

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Erica running with her son

Erica discovered her passion for jewelry design at just 10 years old, using scraps of leather to craft fabulous leather pins, earrings, and hair pieces for her family and friends. (Remember, it was the 80’s!)

Two decades later, all grown up and armed with a degree in business and years of fashion experience from Barneys NY and Coach, Erica set out to design a jewelry line for today’s modern, driven, fashion savvy, and influential woman.

Erica Sara Designs was born out of a dream to help others wear their dreams. The line offers chic, luxurious, and classic pieces, semi-precious gemstones and metals, and personal engravings. All at realistic prices.

Since launching, ESD has graced the pages of Shape, Women’s Health, Better Homes & Gardens, and US Weekly, just to name a few. Unique, universal and timeless, Erica’s pieces are sought out by everyone from bridal parties to marathoners, new moms to old friends.

Find your next Erica Sara Designs piece in the new Pillars Collection: an assortment of handcrafted sterling silver rings, cut and formed to order. Who lifts you, holds you up and makes you strong? Who are your pillars?