After dragging my big sis Margaret along on my Upstate New York adventures all over Keuka Lake, Corning, and a glass-blowing workshop, we were both happy but exhausted. And my road trip wasn’t over yet! So we headed up to Margaret’s hometown of Rochester, New York, to really relax for a weekend. You know, lay around the house, play with her pup, BBQ in the back yard… and run a quick 10K. You know. All that low key stuff.
My sister Margaret is a passionate runner. I watched her run the Philadelphia marathon back in November, and that’s just one of dozens of races she enters each year. She’s also a running coach at her local running club, and helps slow-pokes like me motivate to get moving. When she asked if I wanted to join her in the Lilac Run at Rochester’s annual Lilac Festival, I saw there was a 5K and said sure, sign me up! However we quickly realized that the 5 and 10Ks had different start times and it would be logistically difficult for us to do different races.
So in a haze of hubris, I ambitiously signed up for the 10K as well. Many, many K’s. I knew Margaret would be running to place, however, and didn’t want to suffer alone. Thankfully, Bearded Bartender was returning to North America around this time from Thailand, and I was able to rope him into meeting us in Rochester to be my running buddy.
We did it. Margaret placed sixth in her age group at forty-five minutes. Go Margaret! My goal was a modest but, for me, a challenging one — seventy-five minutes. Considering I’d done next to no training (something I was definitely beating myself up for as we walked to the starting line) and was on antibiotics for strep throat, I was pretty anxious about setting any goal over than stepping over the finish line.
I definitely find it encouraging to run with others who are faster than me without making me feel guilty for holding them up. When I ran that 6K in Bangkok, Chris and Heather could have sprinted far ahead but instead kept me laughing and kept egging me on while we all chugged forward together. So I was grateful that BB agreed to run with me.
We ran steadily through the first 5K without stopping and then from there switched between bouts of power walking and stretches of running. The last 1K we ran — sprinted, almost — as I realized we were on the cusp of hitting my goal time. When we ran through with twenty seconds to spare I didn’t really register anything other than I wanted to collapse and throw up and possibly be hooked up to a spare IV of Diet Coke in one vein and water in another. After that sensation passed, I was pretty darn proud! Now that I’ve gotten through the mental block of whether or not I could cross the finish line of a 10K, I’m looking forward to signing up for another run and really seeing what I can do.
Blurry, but cute regardless!
Margaret lives right in the heart of Rochester and we were able to literally walk to and from her house and the racing route. After some serious showering and painkiller-administering, we rewarded ourselves for our efforts with a stroll over to the grounds of the Lilac Festival.
Flowers, food trucks, and fair grounds. What more could a girl ask for? That morning’s little jog (my sister will hate that I called it a jog, even ironically) was the longest I’d ever run before, and I was so sore it was somewhat painful to hobble around, but I think it was good that we were out and about to avoid stiffening up.
I love local fairs and festivals (I was super bummed to miss my hometown of Albany’s Tulip Fest by just a few days on my return to the US) and this one was no different. Free entertainment, plenty of sunshine, fun food, and people getting outside and enjoying the cities they live in. I’ve now been to Park Fest and the Lilac Festival — maybe I need to make it a goal to come see Margaret every summer and tick off a different event each visit.
Margaret’s been living in Rochester for over twenty years now, and over time I’ve seen a lot of the city’s interesting sights and eaten at its trendy restaurants. But my favorite spot? Easy. My sister’s house, where I could hang all day with her adorable furry friends, lounge around laughing at old photos, and dine on healthy and delicious meals that no one allowed me to go anywhere near the preparation of (my reputation for domestic failures precedes me.) Her place is one of those houses that really feels like a home.
10Ks aside, it really is the perfect place to relax.
After a weekend of running and relaxing in Rochester, BB and I were off to Ithaca! Laid back as the weekend was, it was a huge one for me in terms of checking off a huge fitness goal and pushing my mental boundaries of what I thought my body could achieve. And I have my big sis to thank for that. Cheers, Rochester!
Have you run any cool races lately? I’d love to get in the habit of looking out for more of them when I travel. It was the perfect event to plan a weekend around!