Keeping The Tradition Alive

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A few years ago Chrysa came to me and said, “I want to do this race in Carolina Beach on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.” I thought for a minute, remembered that I like both beer and running, and said, “sure!” We have been doing this race every year since.

Now that we live a gypsy lifestyle the question became, will we still do the run? The answer was simple.  We must do the run!  For most of the last year we have been living away from family and our established network of friends.  This run is a tradition for Chrysa and I.  It’s one of the benchmarks that keep us on track.  We had to have the familiarity of running through Carolina Beach.  Without this tradition, how would we mark the passage of time? So would we still do the run?  In short the answer was yes. Tradition keeps you grounded and couples who run together stay together. We made the necessary arrangements, packed our running shoes, and headed to North Carolina.

The game plan was pretty straightforward.

  1. Thursday – Get up early and drive to Raleigh. Arrive in time to surprise our friends in the River Run Club.
  2. Friday – Visit our old jobs to say hey (we missed them on the last visit). Drive to Carolina Beach, check into the hotel and catch dinner.
  3. Saturday – Do the run and enjoy the all day after party. Also, more dinner…
  4. Sunday – Drive back to Oneonta

According to Google maps the drive from Oneonta to Raleigh should take about 10.5 hours. Chrysa and I would be taking the Jeep, a vehicle not known for its speed, so I planned for 12. We managed to get out the door and on the road by 6AM. Readers of this blog know that is a pretty big deal for us. Chrysa and I are not exactly punctual when it comes to hitting the road.

We had been in contact with Tara and Anj of the River Run Club and we knew they wanted to start running at 6:45 PM. We really didn’t have any margin for error. If we stopped too much, or hit any traffic, it was game over. Happily, we got into town right on time. We checked into our hotel and even had time to change into our running gear.

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Tara and Anj did an amazing job wrangling the run clubbers. Chrysa and I loved to see the shocked looks on their faces when they spotted us. It was really great to see everyone again. When we move to a new town we immediately seek out the local run club. It’s a great way to meet friendly people who share an interest. That being said, River Run Club was our first, and they will always be special to us.

After being trapped in the car all day it felt great to run. The best part was that we were running outside…in shorts…and short sleeves…in, you know, the sun! The schedule called for hill repeats on Mt. Trashmore. Nothing gets the heart pumping like hill repeats. The view from “the mount” doesn’t hurt either.  After the run we met up at The Hop Yard. We played catch up with everyone over great beers in a fantastic atmosphere.  At the end of the night we even got some of Bob’s home brew!

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Chrysa got up early and took the car to go to UNC to visit her work gang. They are the night crew so they were just getting out of work. Chrysa went out for breakfast with them while I slept in. I was beat after a long day behind the wheel. I did manage to get up and do a workout at the hotel gym. I then ruined that workout with the continental breakfast. Easy come easy go I guess.

When Chysa got back we checked out and headed over to Kennedy Office to see my old crew. Everyone was pretty much where I left them. It was great sharing stories from the road and hearing how everyone was doing. The work is one thing, but the people really make the difference. Visiting Kennedy really crystalized that fact for me. I need to visit more.

We decided to spray down the Jeep prior to leaving Raleigh. There was a nice coating of salt and road grime on the poor girl and, after just one day down south, we were already sick of having the grossest car in town. It’s only a couple hours from Raleigh to Carolina Beach and, after a quick packet pickup stop, we checked into our hotel. We always stay at the Courtyard Marriot for this race. The hotel is nice and the location is perfect. The hotel even opens onto the boardwalk.

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It was about dinner time so we hit the pavement looking for food. We stopped into the Shuckin’ Shack but the place was really crowded. We ended up just having a beer, but we had a great conversation with the brother of the race founder.

We had dinner at The Deck House. We were at the beach so we had to get our fill of seafood. We both got the special combination platter, complete with lobster tail, it was awesome.  I work in the seafood department of the local grocery store.  You would think that I would want no part of eating seafood.  So far that hasn’t been the case.  I wonder when that change happens?  My co-workers don’t eat the stuff anymore.

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Saturday was race day! We got up early and donned our green running gear and hit the streets to join the gathering crowd. Thankfully the rain was mostly holding off. Usually this race starts or ends on the sand. The race organizers had to do something different this year since the boardwalk was closed. They decided to put the registration area close to the main drag and the start/finish line further into the neighborhood. The new setup worked pretty well. People didn’t get bunched into one area.

The race starts with the traditional Irish Blessing.

May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back May the sun shine warm upon your face And the rain fall softly on your fields And until we meet again, May God hold  you in the hollow of his hand

Then it’s ready, set, go..

Chrysa and I run this race side by side every year. We are not out to PR or set a course record. We are out to enjoy our experience. Besides, it’s hard to attempt a PR while wearing green field hockey socks! The course takes you through the beautiful residential part of Carolina Beach. I really hope we end up someplace like this someday. It was really fun to take in the sights and get the full race experience. I just love when there are people on the side of the road cheering you on. It really makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Chrysa and I really love this race. The money generated from the race benefits area residents battling cancer. The money actually goes directly to the families. Chrysa and I have spoken to the race director and he has personally delivered checks. The Lo Tide Run is also just plain old fun and the after party can’t be beat.

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After the race Chrysa and I hit up The Lazy Pirate for the official post-race party. We got a table right in the center of the covered out door area. We ate and drank and listened to the awesome band and just enjoyed our get away. Running and day drinking leads quickly to nap time. After napping we were hungry again, so it was off to The Sea Witch for shrimp and even more Guinness!

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The car ride back to New York was blissfully uneventful. We took the risk and drove the Washington DC route and it paid off. The only real snarl was in Harrisonburg PA, but we got through that without incident. The worse part was coming home to snow.

We had a great time in North Carolina. Our determination to keep the tradition alive paid off. Hopefully you will read a similar post to this one around this time next year.

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1 Comment

  1. Anj

    Great post, it was so great to see you both! Keep us posted when the Carolina Beach run is next year and We are there!

    Reply

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