A Weekend Full of Labor: 8 Accidental Miles from Philadelphia to Manayunk

Given how much Noah and I traveled through the summer — from Croatia to the Catskills, from St. Louis to Lake Michigan, from New York to Philadelphia (several times for the last one), Labor Day provided the opportunity we had been waiting for to sit back, relax, and watch an ungodly amount of TV. And it was about freaking time, too.

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(Sea Bass came along for the ride, teaching me a thing or two about cat naps along the way. Nice work, gate. Keep sleeping and stuff.)

After legitimately refusing to go out on Friday–trading the bar for a quiet dinner followed by an early evening in bed–I woke up feeling refreshed and revived on Saturday morning (as opposed to hungover and miserable). Man, it feels good to be a grownup. (Fair warning, the rest of Saturday was not as refined.)

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Saturday, we kicked off the morning with a brief bootcamp workout in Rittenhouse Square led by one of Noah’s Wharton colleagues. It was cool and crisp and perfect outside, and I was glad to get the workout over with 1) before the humidity, which hit the city on Sunday, and 2) prior to a day of college-esque debauchery.

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After watching the first good Michigan football game in about seven years, we went to night one of Made in America, a great little (re: 80,000 people packed) concert that’s basically in our new backyard. To put it in perspective, the main stage was right in front of the museum, which is an 8-minute run from my front door.

The concert itself was a lot of fun, the crowd patriotically clad in head to toe red, white and blue. There were stars and stripes and glittery temporary tattoos everywhere. The air was filled with the scent of Old Bay-coated french fries. And Kanye headlined. Yeezus, did he kill it from start to end. I was also pretty stoked to finally witness one of his world-renowned rants in person.

If boot camp didn’t kill me, then being on my feet at the concert all day, drinking multiple 20 oz. cans of Bud Light, most certainly did. On Sunday, being the natural masochist that I am, on tired legs and aching calves, I convinced Noah to go out for a run.

The goal was to keep it light. 5 miles from our apartment in Center City to a little town next door called Manayunk — also on the Schuylkill — was all that we wanted to accomplish. And that would have been perfect, had Manayunk actually been 5 miles away. Instead, about 2.5 miles into the run, just as we passed the spot where I usually turn around on weekday mornings, Noah was all hold up, we need to stop. 

Why, you ask?

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Just at this point, we saw a sign for Manayunk; the town was 4.8 miles from where we were, for a total of 2.5 + 4.8 miles of running. Now, I’m not a mathematician here, folks, but based on my calculations, that was the end of our short, easy run.

I should add that Sunday was incredibly hot, muggy and drizzling; not September-like weather at all. Fortunately, the run itself turned out to be exactly what we needed. Long. A little exhausting. Very much a stretch both physically and mentally — especially after a day of fried food and booze. But perfect.

With most of you folks — Noah, my husband, included — smack in the middle of fall marathon training (he’s running New York City, in case you hadn’t heard), I know that 8 miles is laughable. The old me — the one that ran a handful of halves in a year’s time — might have overlooked the mileage too.

But to the me of the last couple of years, 8 miles felt like a real accomplishment. It is a real accomplishment. And I was proud of what I did — especially when the last couple of years have been limited to 5 miles or less (thanks, body, for breaking down every time I train for a race).

In truth, I doubt that this 8 mile business will become a thing; it certainly won’t be a habit. It was, however, nice to know that I’m still capable of more than I think I am, and that I can achieve more than I set out to in the first place.

Tell me: When’s the last time you pushed yourself beyond your limits? It doesn’t just have to be running-related (though kudos if it is)!


Bootcamp and Other Poor Life Decisions

I can’t possibly express in words how unabashedly happy I am at this moment to be sitting in a comfy pair of sweatpants, in my new Phillies’ t-shirt (confession: I just had to look down to figure out whether it’s spelled with an “ie” or a “y”), with a half a glass of wine and a heaping bowl of greens. It’s been four weeks and counting since I’ve last been in my new apartment on a weekend, and although I’m still having trouble seeing it as such, I’m nevertheless glad to be just chillin’ at “home.”

Everything they say about turning 27 is true. The year (and this summer, specifically) has been packed to the brim with weddings galore.

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Over the last four weeks, Noah and I traveled to three. Each one, might I add, was in a separate city.

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(Definitely not in Kansas Philadelphia anymore.)

In this somewhat frazzled state of being — driving from one wedding to another, and throwing a few frantic airport situations in the mix — I’ve been running and working out as a means of simply staying in shape. That’s a tough concept for me to digest. For the longest time, running has been my solace. To run without a sense of calm has made me feel as though I need to learn how to walk again.

With everything that’s been going on though, I’ve hardly had the time to think in the shower let alone think while on the run. As for the weekends, well, let’s just say the workouts have been sparse. From upstate New York to St. Louis to the vineyards of western Michigan, the hardest workouts I’ve partaken in have been lifting the wine glass from the table to my mouth. Let me tell you, my biceps look better than ever. (Cue the sarcasm police right meow.)

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On the bright side, whereas I had been feeling homesick since moving from New York to Philadelphia, the last few weekends have been filled with friends both new and old.

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(Dancing Stumbling over my feet with my best bud from college.)

First, there was my best childhood friend’s wedding (how cliche sounding is that). This wedding was in the Catskills. I drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of cheese.

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Then two weekends ago, it was St. Louis. I did not run, drank Bloody Mary’s at breakfast and ate a lot of BBQ.

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And finally this past weekend, I was in New Buffalo Michigan for a bachelorette party (no running, just vineyard-ing) followed by Ann Arbor. I was in Ann Arbor for three days, and I managed to sneak in just one glorious run. This was an absolute must for me. Ann Arbor is where I learned to love running, and every time I return, I make a serious effort to cover off on my No. 1 favorite river-side route. Obviously, I ended it on The University of Michigan campus.

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By the time I got home on Sunday night, I was exhausted. I managed to wake up on Monday morning and bang out 5.5 miles along the Schuylkill. On Tuesday, I could have thrown my iPhone out the window I was so annoyed at the sound of my alarm.

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That brings us to Tuesday night.

I had three options on Tuesday after work:

5:30 Vinyasa Yoga

6:30 Spin

6:45 Bootcamp

I literally planned all day to go to any class at the gym (yes, I joined a gym; I know, soooo unlike me) besides bootcamp. But then, 5:30 rolled around, and I was still buried in work. And then 6:30 slowly approached, and as much as I wanted to bounce, I simply couldn’t. 6:45 bootcamp it would be.

Now, I’ll keep my review short. I’ve done my fair share of Jillian Michaels videos from my living room floor. I’ve squatted, I’ve kicked, I’ve grunted and wanted to pass out. I’ve laughed my way through Hot Figure 4 class in Manhattan, knowing full well that I couldn’t complete more than 25% of the movements.

But never in my life have I wanted to just punch someone in the face and walk out of the room like I wanted to tonight. It’s not that it was hard; it’s that I didn’t like being told what to do. Not after being in an office all day. Not after flying back and forth across the country all week. Not after being unable to exercise at my leisure and run at a grandmas-are-faster-than-me pace. I wanted to run the show again, and this outspoken bootcamp instructor just wouldn’t let me do my thing. (I supposed that’s her job, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Anyway, it’s been a long, long journey since I got married, switched jobs, moved to Philadelphia, traveled to Croatia (I know, I still owe you several recaps from my honeymoon), and hit up three weddings in a four-week span. Maybe it took bootcamp to kick me in the pants and knock this into my head, but for now, I think I’m ready to return to my beloved morning run. Put me in coach. I wanna fly.

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I usually turn to running during stressful or busy periods of my life, but for some reason, when I moved, I pushed it away. Have you ever found it more difficult to run under crazed or overwhelming circumstances?