I know, I know. But hear me out. I just don't see the purpose in setting ridiculous expectations for a magical day or night out just because of what the day on the calendar says. I said that if the only reason for trying to go out was because we thought we should, then I didn't want to go out.
And so we didn't.
However, my Valentine's weekend ended up being pretty rad.
// Cupid's Chocolate Chase 5K and Mocha Mile //
This race was in its inaugural year but it was by far one of my favorite local events ... ever. As the name implies, there was chocolate – and lots of it. DeBrand's Fine Chocolates provided truffles; Fort Wayne Chocolate Fountain set up two chocolate fountains; the coffee shop Mocha Lounge had hot chocolate; and Summit City Brewerks had samples of its mocha stout. A local winery, Two EE's, even had wine slushies for sale. More over, it was so well organized and the money raised went to a good cause – ALS.
Oh, and my BRF Tami was running it, and she had some plans for me.
After my near PR at the Fanny Freezer, Tami decided that we were going to go for record times at the race. We often push each other during training runs and workouts so it seemed like a great setup to really race together.
The only obstacle? The weather. According to my weather app, it was 5 degrees at the start with a -7 windchill. We had got a dusting the night before and about half of the course had snow underfoot. The worst of it was, for me, that I let it all psych me out. It just didn't seem possible to set a PR in those conditions, and I gave myself an out before I even toed the line.
I'm going to let you in a secret: It is possible to do it, even on the worst of days.
Tami's plan, which I didn't really know about, was to take off. I would follow or run my own race. It was up to me. For most of the 5K, she was probably a tenth of a mile ahead. Sometimes she was farther up and sometimes I was closing in. The distance depended on how much fight I had at the moment, which wasn't much I admit. But I plugged along.
As I got closer, I realized that a PR was still possible. I dug. Deep. I rounded a corner as I approached the finish and my run buddy Joe was there volunteering, waiting to give me a high five. I saw the clock. It said 24:XX. I pushed. And I crossed the line at 25:17 - still 2 seconds slower than my PR.
But my chip time? 25:10, baby. A 5-second PR! My ultimate goal is a sub-25 but I've got time for that.
// Olympic Marathon Trials //
Some people have the Super Bowl, I have the trial. Mark took Miles to the library, and I set myself up on the couch. I had a plate of nachos, four baskets of laundry to fold and my friend on Voxer. We had hoped to watch the race together but kids and snow ... le sigh. It's life. So we traded remarks the entire race. It was a blast.
And, I found myself a bit surprised when I started rooting for Kara Goucher. I think the best three made the team (and I was seriously inspired by the Flanagan-Cragg teamwork) but Goucher fought. She didn't give in. She did so much better than I would have thought. The only disappointment is that the cameras didn't show more of the fight for third and fourth. You barely saw those people on camera after the first 10K.
// Valentine's Day group run //
What better way to celebrate the day of love than doing what you love with the people who love it as much as you?
I think there was a group of 8 or 10 of us – three women and a whole gaggle of guys. Joe and I ran the first four together and met the group for 6 more. It was still cold but the sun shone and the pace, albeit brisk, felt good. At the end, Joe passed out Amish donut holes, Pat had truffles and Sandy had cookies.
Seriously, it couldn't get better.
// Fancy dinner //
Miles has seriously been in to Valentine's Day, coloring pictures of hearts and writing mom on them. He'd eagerly rip them out of his notebook and give them to me. It was so sweet.
His enthusiasm made me realize that Valentine's isn't just a romantic holiday but one to celebrate all love. I thought it might be nice to celebrate, then, as a family.
Miles loves to cook with me so I came up with an idea: We would make a fancy dinner together. Steak, crab cakes, creamed spinach and baked potatoes. Miles could easily help with the spinach and seasoning the steaks, and he's even adept enough to flip crab cakes in the pan.
I pumped him up about our special meal, so much so that he told his Sunday school class about it, and was ready to help. He did so well.
To make it more special, I dug out some candles, changed the tablecloth and put my roses on the table. I kept everyone out of the dining room as much as possible until it was time to eat. It was awesome.
Until Miles gagged on the spinach and threw up on the table ... but you'll have that.
How did you spend your Valentine's Day?