The Book Group is the Quilting Bee of the 21st Century. Although there are some book groups that are co-ed and some that are just guys, a vast preponderance of bookgroups are women who like to get together, drink some wine, eat some sinfully delicious food and talk. The talking may or may not center around the book – it just depends on the group. My bookgroup not only meets once a month to discuss what we read (among other things), we spend 1 weekend every October at a house at Stinson Beach where we up the ante on the extra-curricular book group stuff and just enjoy each other’s company.
We bring some wine
and some more wine
and some champagne and orange juice
and food – lots of food.
Our favorite house has a hot tub, and an outdoor fire pit and an indoor fireplace and a lagoon on one side.
The actual beach is across the street.
Friday I set out for this long anticipated beach weekend, stopping in SF to pick up my race packet for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Then I headed over the bridge and through heavy, scary fog on the winding and scary road that runs along the cliffs with the waves crashing below. It was terrifying and all I could think of was what it would be like to make that drive at 0dark30 on Sunday morning. Thus was born my first crack at a cheap excuse not to race but as it stood I was still planning on racing Sunday and that had serious implications for how I needed to conduct myself Friday and Saturday. Somewhat painful implications as it turned out.
Friday night was my night to party and let me tell you – I got trashed. Seriously trashed. I drank and hot tubbed and ate about 5 pounds of Brie and made pizzas and laughed harder than I have laughed for years. I probably aged my face 10 years in the process but it was worth it – it was so well worth it. I drank quite a bit of water but alas, Saturday morning dawned clear and bright, complete with the kind of hangover you associate with crazy high school parties where you drink a concoction of whatever booze you could steal from your parents all mixed together and carefully blended with Coke – ugh. I drank some more water, my friend shoved 1/2 a banana under my nose and made me eat it and then I dozed for a bit, overcome with banana vapors and nausea.
When it was time for a beach walk I rallied, took some Tylenol and headed out. I love the beach and it was a perfect day The swell was high, the surfers were out and I would not be denied. I had the second moment where I started to think I would not go run the Nike – I would just send my chip back and write a letter asking for my necklace seeing as I had paid for it. After all, what is more important – running a race or spending another night getting wasted in the hot tub and then going for a beach walk in the morning? I mean really – I HAVE PRIORITIES!
Alas, – the voice within wasn’t letting me off that easy so Saturday night was my night to be good and good I was. I had 1/2 a glass of wine, ate a delicious dinner of sea bass, potatoes and salad and drank a lot of water. I thought about skipping the race one more time and then thought about how there is no honor in tossing off an event you have committed to because you want to defile your body with alcohol and go for a beach walk. Fun perhaps, but no honor. Then I thought, “I could have it all! I could have the beautiful beach weekend AND the race and then some more beach.” I envisioned myself returning to the House of Debauchery, triumphant and be-medaled and watching as one by one my friends dropped to one knee in admiration of my triumph over sloth and depravity. It was with that thought that I got all my stuff for the race together and went to bed with my cell phone set to wake me up at 4:30 AM.
In the morning I tip-toed around but I think I woke up everyone in the house – but just for a moment. The ride out was fine – crystal clear. I got to the start line where I was consumed in a sea of women excited to toe the line – many of them for the first time ever. Finally we were o ff – through the financial district, through Fisherman’s Wharf, along the water and then over the hill to a most spectacular vista of the Golden Gate Bridge. The sky was a perfect Cerulean and clear and sharp – you could see for miles. The run was a visual feast from the crazy people in costumes to the San Francisco vistas. I felt much better this year than I did last year and managed to jog up all the hills and run strong on the other side.
As I was coming close to the finish I heard someone yell my name – it was Jen, my new best blogging/triathlating local bud who has hopefully joined my run club with her husband. I crossed the line, got my necklace, got my t-shirt, tried to walk back and find Jen but got a little lost and finally struck out for my car. 40 minutes later I was back at the beach. Half of the group had already left and although everyone was impressed that I got up and ran my race there was a distinct lack of genuflecting… sigh…..
I enjoyed another round of hot tubbing and sun soaking but alas it was soon time to clean the place up, pack up our stuff and hit the road. We admired our handwork with the wine before tossing out the evidence of our once a year bacchanal.
My race was fine – I finished in 2:29 something. Not fabulous and not a PR but better than last year and more than good enough. I was happy. I did rather enjoy having it all this weekend but next year I’m going to make sure that the beach trip and a race do not coincide as we know it’s all about pacing and racing Sunday has me going out too hard and fast on Friday – and that’s not a winning strategy.