This past weekend, I spent the most amazing four days visiting my friend Tam in the beautiful city of Philadelphia.
I took off work both Friday and Monday, so it truly was a long weekend for me.
On Friday I began the drive to Philly. We do own a GPS, but Theo needs it for work, so I was left to rely on good ol’ Google maps and my trusty Atlas. I actually did fine, and didn’t get lost once- not even when I got to the city!
The whole way there I was TERRIFIED. Terrified of having to parallel park. Parallel parking is the reason I failed my drivers test- twice. Parallel parking has not happened once since I got my license- two years ago. Thankfully, when I arrived, two of my good ol’ city friends were waiting, saving me a wonderful parking space, and ready to park my car for me! Wooohooo! It was a little bit of a fiasco parking my boat-car, but we eventually got it!
It was so wonderful to see Abbie, who drove in to Philly just to see me! We went and got some Chai and had a nice little chat outside of a cute cafe. It was SO wonderful seeing these two!
After Chai, Tam and I went to a pizza place that served huge slices of pizza. Delicious! There is a cop in the background of this picture, but that is because there were about 8 cops on their break in the restaurant. Ha! We spent the rest of the evening finding a parking spot, walking the 1.5 miles home from that parking spot, relaxing and catching up- oh, friendship is so wonderful!
On Saturday, we actually slept in a little bit, and then got up to get going with our day! We had some pancakes for breakfast, then headed to the race expo to pick up our bibs. Because of my stress fracture, I decided it was not a good idea to run the half marathon, but I couldn’t get a refund. So I decided that I wanted to pick up my bib and my shirt, because there was no point in NOT getting a free shirt, after I paid the huge fee to run the race and then couldn’t.
After the expo, we walked all the way back to my car- and rejoiced when it was actually there- then drove the 45 minutes to Princeton, without a GPS. We only got lost once! My cousin plays football for Princeton, and I wanted to take advantage of being so close. Not only did I get to see Seth play, but I also got to see my Uncle Tim and Aunt Laurie, two of my cousins and my brother and sister-in-law! How awesome is that????? We also got to join the football players and their families for a meal after the game.
We drove safely back to Philly, and spent the next 45 minutes looking for a parking space for my huge car. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had had a smart car, though- there was NO parking spaces to be found. No free ones, no parking meter ones. None. Tam and I were both frustrated beyond belief, had to pee, and were exhausted from our long day. We were both in tears when we finally decided to call the important men in our life and beg them to let us pay for a spot in a parking garage. Of course, the dear men in our life said yes (it was the tears, I tell ya!) and we just parked my car in a parking garage (and even that was almost full!). We went directly to bed, because the next day was race day for Tam!
Tam got up suppper early to head to the start line, and I slept in a little bit later. Armed with a map, and a camera, I headed out to the race course to do some cheering! I marked three spots that I wanted to stand- at mile 1, at mile 6 and at the finish. I got to mile one just in time to see the front runners, and waited about 15 minutes for Tam to run by. There were THOUSANDS of runners, and many times there was a HUGE pack of runners that just ran by. I finally gave up, because I knew she would be running around a 10 minute mile. What I didn’t know is that there were so many runners that Tam’s corral didn’t even cross the start line until 20 minutes after the gun! Sheesh! I made my way to mile 6, where I got to see all the front runners. It was pretty cool to be watching. Thousands of people passed me, again in chunks, and I was about to give up on seeing Tam when I heard her yell, “Suz! Suzy! SUUUUUUZZZZ!” and then she was gone. Hahaha.
I then made my way to the finish line area. On the way I stopped and got myself some Starbucks, which I have never done in my life. I was cold and I hadn’t had breakfast, and I knew I had some time to kill before getting to the finish line. On the way to the finish line, I started to worry a bit because I had forgotten to get a clear bag for my stuff. I started taking everything out of my messenger bag and stuffing it in my pockets. I was frantically looking for a homeless person to give my bag to, instead of just having it taken away or throwing it in the trash, but I didn’t see anyone. I got to the security at the gate and they asked to look in my bag but hardly batted an eye at the fact that I was carrying a large purse-like bag to the finish line. Great security there, race authorities, you sure are preventing another Boston with all of your effort. *sarcasm* But at least I go to keep my bag!
The finish line was SO. FUN. I got there right at the two hour mark, and I got to see lots of exciting things. The announcer was so funny and he kept everyone entertained while people were crossing the finish line. At around 2:10, the announcer announced that the FULL marathon finishers were just coming around the bed. And then there he was: the fastest African I ever did see! Sprinting to the finish of that full marathon. And then the 2nd place guy, also an African. And then the third place guy, a white dude running his first marathon. Um, that was so cool! At one point, a lady finishing the half just collapsed about 100 meters from the finish line. I don’t know if she tripped or fainted or what. But several volunteers helped her up and walked/carried her to the finish line. That was pretty cool, too! Another man proposed to his girlfriend right before crossing the finish line. Ok, so finish lines are the place to be! And then came Tam! I snapped pictures as fast as I could and yelled her name as loud as I could, but I was still pretty far from the finish with all the barricades that they had set up. Afterwards, I met up with her and we snapped a bunch of pictures of her awesome victory- a half marathon in under two hours! So proud!
We headed back to Tam’s place after the race, showered and just relaxed a little bit. We then grabbed our stuff and went out for brunch. After brunch, we got on the public transit system and headed for the zoo! I absolutely love zoo’s, and it was the perfect day to head to the zoo. The weather was perfect, and it wasn’t too crowded. We were both (Tam especially) really exhausted, but it was still a lot of fun.
We wound up the weekend finding a perfect parking spot for my car, making a delicious dinner and watching a movie together.
By 8:00, the next day, I was on the road and arrived home 9 hours later. I am still trying to get into the routine of things, and catch up on all the housework I missed!
And the moral of the story is…
Don’t EVER drive your massive car to the city….
…..and friendships are WONDERFUL.
P.S. I forgot my camera, so most of these pictures are taken with my iphone. The pictures that are not taken with the iphone are taken with Tam’s camera, and I stole the pictures from her.