AROO!

In the early part of 2014, I was about 2 months into a workout routine and starting to feel pretty good about myself. Despite a lack of a serious gym routine for the past year well,  two years FINE pretty much since I’d moved to the city, I was holding my own on the treadmill, slowly building endurance and kind of kicking ass on weight training, pushing myself harder and harder each day at the gym. While surfing Facebook after a particularly awesome workout, I saw my sister T had tagged myself and our brother in a post, announcing that the Spartan Race had finally scheduled a Connecticut event, and were we interested in doing it? Blame it on the gym endorphins or the fact that the date hadn’t even been scheduled so it seemed pretty far-fetched we’d actually go through with it, but I sent back a resounding HELL YES almost immediately, and thus LB does a Spartan Race begins.

For those who aren’t familiar, the Spartan Race is an OCR (obstacle course race), where obstacles, ranging from flipping a tire to trudging through waist-deep mud and jumping over a 6 foot wall, pepper a running course – in this case, about four-and-a-half miles. My partner-in-crime R had signed up with me back in March, because at the time it seemed like a great idea. Three months to train ourselves to run and jump and crawl through mostly dangerous obstacles? Totally do-able! I was great about keeping up with a solid workout routine until about mid-May, when work exploded and I had a lot of travel planned. I went from total humblebrag confidence that I’d be able to kick the course’s ass to absolutely terrified that the race was going to end me. The weeks leading up to the weekend are a blur of work and personal nonsense and all sorts of craziness that culminated with me exhausted, frustrated and disappointed with myself while traveling to CT with R and her pooch after a long day of work on Friday.

Early Saturday morning, T, R, twinster’s boyfriend and I piled into the car after quadruple checking we had our signed waivers and race bags packed and ready, and made the trek up to Mohegan Sun for our 12:30 p.m. heat. We arrived probably too early, giving ourselves about an hour and a half to register, hydrate, pee, re-hydrate, pee again (I may have overhydrated) and shake up the nervous adrenaline that coursed through our veins like a drug as the minutes inched closer to our race time. Finally it was 12:15, time to line up, and time to face the first of many obstacles to come: the 6-foot wall jump required just to get to the Start Line. If that was a preview of the whole race, I was already nervous.

After much “AROO-ing” and a pump-up speech that sounded cheesy when I heard it before but got me super hyped to run the fuck out of this race while at the start line, we heard “3… 2… 1… AROO!” and took off. In one hour and forty-five minutes, T, R and I stuck together and supported each other through every one of the obstacles, the mud run, lifting the concrete balls, scrambling under barbed wire and running, running in between. We spotted each other crossing the traverse wall, shouted encouragement after failing the spear throw (WHICH EVERYONE FAILS I’m just saying) to keep counting and keep going through 30 hellish burpees. I twisted my ankle on a tire jump at around mile 2 and they walked with me until I was ready to run again, T fell backwards a little harder than expected off the cargo net and we limped with her until she felt okay, and we all walked down the final hill so R’s knees, beat up from years of lacrosse, could take a break.

Covered in mud, exhausted in the best possible way and grinning from ear to ear, the three of us finally reached the last hurdle – jumping over a fire pit before crossing the finish line. We took off and took some great action shots as we triumphantly kicked over the smoke and grabbed our medals, hugging and laughing and shrieking that we survived. A few more celebratory photos from papa B, who documented the event for us, and we walked to the beer tent to claim our free Shock Tops, which will forever live in my mind as the greatest beer I’ve ever earned. The rest of the night was spent reliving moments, retelling stories of funny spectators to moments we pushed each other a little harder to do a little more, shooting past our comfort zone in to Spartan glory.

I woke up sore in places I didn’t know existed on Sunday with a swollen ankle to boot, an injury that turned out to be HILARIOUS walking around the city and up-and-down the stairs from the subway to my building. Even this morning while getting dressed, putting on a bra (which let’s be honest, is already the worst part of the day) was like torture, my shoulder screaming at me to stop moving and get back to bed. Hobbling around the office with my wrapped foot, people keep asking what happened and if I’d ever do the race again.

Would I willingly subject myself to running in mud, under barbed wire, over fire and through wooden walls, lift tires, run up and down an 80 degree hill with 25 pounds of sand, climb a cargo net with questionable safety restraints, throw a spear into a hay barrel, climb up a rope wall, do burpees until I can’t feel any part of my body and more, all for a medal and a free beer?

Absofuckinglutely. AROO!

Advertisements

“All the beer is free”

Around 8 last night, I slammed my Chimay on a table on the Ninth Ward patio and demanded a selfie with my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H. The ensuing picture is equal parts hilarious and wonderful, snapped just a little too early so no one is completely ready, and yet we’re all mid-laugh and clearly having a blast. This was all taking place while surrounded by semi-celebrities, including a Disney star, a famous movie editor and an indie darling director, as well as the person I consider to be the most talented actor in the world, though the fact that we share a bloodline may make me biased. This was the afterparty for Night Has Settled, a new movie that had just shown at the Soho Film Festival, featuring my cousin, who may as well be my little brother. After the movie/Q&A finished, R, H, my fashionista C and I stopped at the party to hang out with my aunt and cousin, where we were greeted with my new favorite sentence in the English language: All the beer is free.

GET IN MY MOUF

GET IN MY MOUF

This entire past weekend was a gastronomic marathon, starting with Starbucks on Saturday, into Smorgasburg at the Fort Greene flea (with the above grilled cheese, natch), followed by happy hour at Serafina for pizza, finishing Saturday with sushi in the Upper West and then pre- and post-movie drinks with the whole family on Sunday. It was one of those weekends where things moved seamlessly, one activity into another into another, and yet I don’t feel exhausted or angry that it’s Monday. I’m full, certainly, and maybe a little perturbed with Sunday LB’s decision to order a cheesesteak after getting back from the afterparty (“THIS IS SO NECESSARY”) but spending a perfect spring weekend outside with some amazing people does wonders for a new week. Looking back at the ridiculous photos, from the selfies to the blurry action shots, to photos of my cousin on the Red Carpet, it’s easy to remember how much I love this city and why.

The city moves so quickly, people everywhere, cars, cabs, busses trying to mow you down. New York does everything to chew you up and spit you out only to take another bite, a broken subway during the morning commute, a super who refuses to work outside of 9-5 on weekdays, the couple next door that never stops fighting. The constant sensory overload means there’s nothing more I want to do at the end of a day than sit on my couch in the quiet, trying to find a minute of peace in my deep blue walls, shutting out the running list of things I need to do so I can try and relax for just a second, just a little bit of time. It’s not a place for everyone, and it’s not a life for everyone, because even those three seconds of peace are peppered with the Mister Softee truck that plays till 11 every night, the whirr of a plane overhead and the loud beat of the Latin music on repeat in the Heights.

Blinded by the wine

Blinded by the wine

Yet other times I lean my head back sometimes and sigh, drinking in the movement and the flow of the city that never sleeps. This is a place where magical things can happen in places as simple as the subway station, where you wander through Central Park twice in a day just because it’s there and it’s spring. It’s the most incredible people watching because you never know what you might see next; it’s taking a chance on a $1 record or six because there’s no reason not to. It’s spending a Sunday finally introducing your parents to the amazing people in your life that they’ve been hearing about for months (or maybe just a week) and watching your cousin on the big screen smoking fake cigarettes (I hope they were fake). And even if it can’t be all those things all the time, it’s a place where sometimes you walk into a bar on the Lower East Side after a perfect weekend, only to be told that all the beer is free.