You know that on Monday night, I got the best present of all: a phone call from Joyce telling me that she wants to join next summer's bike trip. I still hadn't talked to my boss about the option to leave for two months, though, so there was no certainty about whether the trip could even happen. Still, Joyce's news made my week and provided excellent motivation to get that conversation over with.
On Wednesday night, I "road tripped" to the National Harbor with Nikki, Jamey, and Ingrid for Hot Chocolate packet pick-up. The expo wasn't the best I've seen but we got some sweet, sleek windbreakers to keep on sweating stylishly in.
This little piece of fabric is no month with a best friend, and I guess I "paid" for it in race fees, but I'm considering it a gift because it's just more fun that way. The bib is also pretty. It looks like chocolate swirling in a big, fat mug.
Yesterday, I went to work, not in my windbreaker unfortunately, and the good fortune kept coming. I spent the morning being nervous and, at around 3PM, I sat down with my boss and told her that I really enjoy working for her and for the organization but that my parents and I have had a long-time dream of riding our bikes across the country. I told her that we are hoping to do it next summer and that I want to know if it's possible for me to take two month's leave to do so. I handed her a proposal with a picture of me riding a bike on it that listed out all of the things I'd complete prior to leaving. She reacted so amazingly well, telling me that she is all for it and that she approves. I'm sure there are some more details to hash out, like getting through HR, but let me tell you friends, it is pretty much official:
I, with my parents and one of my best best friends, am going to ride my bike across America in the summer of 2012. As Joyce put it, epic bike adventures to commence. Planning begins now.
To celebrate, I met Nikki in Woodley park and ran down to the mall to see the newly-lit National Christmas tree. We unintentionally dressed as twins and were both in such a good mood. The first thing she said to me was "I'm so excited about this run" and I practically yelled back at her "ME TOO!"
Part of our shared excitement was for the fact that we planned to run slowly and talk and laugh. For the taper's sake, obviously. We eventually hit massive crowds of people coming from the tree lighting, which had apparently just ended. We had to stop and walk many times and at one point I led and just plowed through the crowd. Then, 17th street opened up and we could run on the street until we came to the ellipse and could see the tree in the distance.
It was awesome! The wonderful thing about this tree is that it grows in this spot all year long and doesn't need to be cut down somewhere and shipped in from afar (which the Rockefeller Center tree does). The stage and seats were still set up and it was almost as if we had gotten tickets to the lighting. No, it was better because we got to sweat our way there.
We also had a cool view of the White House and a nice man offered to take a picture of us with it. That weird little circle on my stomach aint sweat, unfortunately, but is spilled water from my leaky bottle.
We ran back, a little more steadily with less stopping, but still just as relaxed. It was great to just run and not pay attention to my watch at all. Getting faster has become really important to me, and I enjoy challenging myself to some harder runs, but it is also great to just run for run and talk the whole way. I have found the solution to my struggle with last runs before races: do them with Nikki. It was just like old times. And I passed even more lights on the way home.
Tonight, another great running friend, Hadley, is sleeping over. We are going to have a wild night of eating Vace's pasta, painting our nails, and getting in bed by 9 PM. I am the most fun host, obvi. Then, it's rise and shine at 5AM to pick up Nikki and head to the harbor to meet all our friends and run our hearts out in the freezing air.
Happy Friday! Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or Hannukuh or any other holiday) where you are? Tell me how!