A Weekend Well Spent

It’s been a deliciously exhausting weekend.

Friday night happy hour yoga with the magical Erica Austin of Roanoke Yoga where I got to enjoy a this gorgeous view.

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But when I yoga, I go hard.

I’d painted my toenails for the specific purpose of trying to appear like a normal human for this yoga session. I even painted on the two missing toenails. Granted, the end result was that my right big toe ended up looking like a little old lady that paints her lipstick outside of her lips.

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There was a point during a forward fold that I noticed my feet. What the hell? All of the nail polish had disappeared from one of my toes. How hard was I going on that chaturanga?? Then we shifted back into downward facing dog and I noticed something red on my mat. Is that blood? I mean, I struggled a bit during star pose, but I don’t remember doing anything to draw blood. During the next child’s pose, I gave it a closer look. Toenail. It was my actual toenail. A full, perfectly painted toenail. Any other yoga and I might have considered picking it up and walking it to a trash can so as not to freak out the others. But this was Erica Austin yoga.

I knew my girl wasn’t even going to blink at a random toenail lying on a mat as she walked around to do her hands-on adjustments and neck massages. She understands runners. She gets that we have very specific yoga-ing needs and that sometimes pieces of us just fall off at inconvenient times. (It’s generally pieces we don’t need. Toenails really just get in the way of speed on the downhills.)

Erica is my people.

So, even with that little loss, it was a nice way to cap off a week and head into the weekend fully relaxed and recharged.

…for a 1am wake up call.

Because it has been a while since My Psychopaths have hit the mountains in the middle of the night. And Danny gets all whiny when he doesn’t get some midnight running in every now and then. So, we agreed to meet at 3am Saturday morning for a 20 mile run.

There is a cycle of emotions one goes through with the psychopath runs. The planning phase is exciting. Yes! We get to do a middle of the night run! We LOVE those!

Then your alarm goes off at 1am. And at 1:15. 1:20. 1:28. And you HATE middle of the night runs. And your friends. They’re the worst people in the world. Such bad life choices. And you message those worst people to tell them you’re running behind, leaving the house 10 minutes late and someone suggests moving the run to 3:30 and Endong reminds them that you don’t live in Uganda, so they can probably just wait.

Then you get to the meeting point and you all talk about how you didn’t want to wake up this early and you’re not really sure you want to be there. And why didn’t any of you cancel?

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But you smile anyway for the pre-run picture. And then you get out on those dark deserted roads and feel like you own the world. The night is yours. The city is yours. And it is magical. And you’ll spend some time talking. Some laughing. And you’ll spend some time just running on your own, in total silence. Total darkness. Total peace.

It’s perfect.

And maybe you won’t make it the full 20 miles. Maybe you’ll start whining about concerns that your Achilles is about to snap around mile 15. And maybe you’ll keep whining about it. For reals, y’all, this bitch is about to just snap in two. Who’s carrying me back to the car when it happens? And Kim says she can fireman carry up to 150 pounds, no problem (because you traded the tiny Brazilian in for the tall redhead around mile 12 – don’t make me explain this; we just do that sometimes). And you remind her that you are under 150 pounds by at least 10. And then maybe you whine some more. And maybe you whine enough that you gain support from Kim and Endong and convince Danny to just settle for 17 miles. Because 17 miles is not nothing.

And you’ll feel that beautiful satisfaction of having put in a day’s or even week’s worth of physical exertion before most people have even woken up. And you’ll reward yourselves by slowly shuffling into Our Daily Bread for hot coffee and breakfast, because your ankles won’t bend anymore lest your Achilles snap in two.

These psychopaths are my people.

And I needed that nourishment before heading on to an adoption event for Bedford Humane Society where I got in three hours of 40 pound resistance training with the beautiful adoptable Blue Eyes. At six months old, she has a sweet, sweet temperament, but she’s still filled with puppy energy (backed by a lot of strength) and excited about every person and animal that moves into her line of sight.

But the volunteers spent a long afternoon in the hot sun hoping to find even one home for one animal.

Because these rescuers are my people.

So, obviously I needed an early bedtime Saturday night. Because not only was I missing more than six hours of sleep, but Kim was making me wake up at 6am the next morning for some Spartan training.

And again, the last thing I wanted to do was drag my tired ass out of bed at 6am and drive an hour to Salem. But there’s this pride in the running community that even if none of you want to do a thing, none of you wants to be the one to say they don’t want to do the thing. Which is why we do all the things. (You’d think we’d stop getting sucked into this cycle, but we don’t really want to. We kinda like it.)

Now, Facebook reminded me that just four years ago, I was able to do this…

But today, in a park, on children’s playground equipment, I was reminded that I most absolutely cannot do that anymore. And I still haven’t made a single bit of progress on that damn rope. Because I can’t seem to grip anything anymore. Kim mentioned the whole fingertip push ups thing that freakishly strong Spartan Tara said would help me develop grip strength. I can do two. Kind of. Thankfully, no one remembered the whole  Fingertip Burpees? idea she had.

By the end we were just playing. Doing cartwheels and handstands and getting in our Day 17 Fitness Challenge.

But it was such an amazing way to spend a Sunday morning. With these powerful women, pushing ourselves to work harder. Get stronger. And in the midst of all of this female badassness was Wendy’s six year old daughter, working right along with us. Carrying buckets of rocks. Climbing ropes and monkey bars. Lifting kettle bells.

Learning to own her power. Finding her strong. Discovering what it means to surround yourself with women that will push you and celebrate you and build you up.

This is what I would want for my daughter if I had one. It’s what I want for my Girls on the Run and Heart and Sole girls.

It’s why I ask you to click here to donate to Girls on the Run. So we can spread this message to more girls.

These are the weekends that make you endlessly thankful to be a runner. Surrounded by psychopaths and magical yogis and badass Spartan chicks.

You could join us, you know? You’d like us. We’re pretty excellent people.

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