run + beer + grill = awesome

Dan lives just near Trophy Brewing Company (a cute new brewing company in Raleigh, though all our hipster friends point out the numerous breweries that keep popping up in Raleigh, I still like it). A few of us met up one week on a Wed night for a run at Dan’s, and wandered over the Trophy. The next week, Dan, Bruce, and I went for a run, then immediately following for a beer. There were other runners. We had even seen them out on our run!

How dare other people run and drink beer in our vicinity?

A week later, I noticed on their facebook page that Trophy holds a run group every Wednesday night. Just a note- they must have started that the week we noticed them, because we would have noticed sweaty people in running attire before then…

So Wednesday, we decided to join their social run. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?)

We overheard her explaining the pace groups and mileage to people. Cheetahs were sub-8, Gazelles were 8-9 minute pace. I stopped paying attention then, but I think Lions were 9-10 minute pace. Then she asked each person how far they planned to go- 1 mile? 3 miles? 5 miles?

I’m a quick study.

I just grabbed the sharpie and wrote my name (no one can ever guess that “Shan-Dee” is spelled Chandi), GAZELLE, 5miles. And she (shocked) took the sharpie back and directed her line of questioning to Dan and Dave. “Don, is it?” … [picture Dave and I calling Dan “Don” the rest of the night, as if it were hilarious]. Dave wanted to contest that he was not a Gazelle. I said loudly They are Cheetahs everyone; they’re just sticking with me tonight. I’m a gazelle. Sorry for the confusion. The check-in girl didn’t get my humor.


She handed out route cards. I glanced at it, and made an eye for the Cheetahs, thinking I could keep them in sight, as Dan and Dave slipped their name tags into their pockets. And finally, everyone checked in, donning their name tags, holding hands, and skipping through Glenwood South. Kidding! Just the name tags.

We started off a nice little route, past Moonlight Pizza Co., and over through Glenwood South (a slow steady downhill), then made our way over to Peace/Clark, which is a slow, grueling, steady uphill (for about 2 miles?). For some reason, I was the pack leader. Maybe because none of the boys in the frilly Gazelle group wanted to hold a piece of paper. Either way, I was setting the pace for us. And somehow ended up in front of the Cheetahs. 8:08 for the first mile. In the second mile, I tried to push it since the Cheetahs were still behind (8:33), and I think it’s common courtesy not to stop/slow on an uphill if it’s congested and paces haven’t really split yet. Finally, in the third mile, the Cheetahs passed, and Dan, Dave, and few other guys were able to slow/mellow a little (8:38).

We made a few turns through the Cameron Park/ University (NCSU) area, and eventually back down Dixie Trail to Hillsborough. At that point, I was experiencing that stupid cramp again. And every time I slowed, the pains were worse, so I pushed the 8:30 pace. And told the boys, I was going to slow at Hillsborough. I didn’t slow down any, but they sped up. Dan and Dave finally took off, showing their true Cheetah prowess, hunting down a few gazelle… (See what I did there? Yeah… Yeah, You’re welcome for that!).

When I got past the 5 mile marker, I slowed and jogged it in around the last curve until I saw Dan and Dave and the others congregating outside Trophy.

We chatted a little. Everyone was shocked that we went 830s, but then agreed that it felt hard, so maybe it wasn’t so shocking (they were trying to go closer to 9s, but maybe a tiny girl [me] gave them a little motivation to go faster/harder).

Overall: 5.12 miles, 43:38

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

What did I think about the run?

  • It was a great route (I did the 5-mile), showcasing some nice neighborhoods of Raleigh, and lower traffic areas for a downtown run.
  • It seemed like a fun, laid-back group of people (but then who isn’t when it’s a run with beers after?)
  • It was well organized.
  • [Don’t tell anybody this, but…] I kinda like that they make you wear name tags. It creates a social atmosphere, where everyone is there to meet other people. Which is nice. And it’s kind of like initiation, and I guess you could (in theory) glance at a person’s speed before falling in tow with them. Whoa! He’s a Cheetah, 5miler! I only want to be a Lion, 3miler tonight…
  • Trophy’s beers are pretty good. It’s a laid-back environment, and they seem to have a good “tap turn-over”, so there are 3 or 4 that are always available (i.e., Trophy Wife, Best in Show, Biggest Flirt), plus 2-3 that seems to rotate out very quickly.
  • I’ll definitely go again. It’s too convenient not to go. And they have a 1-mile, 12-13 minute option, which is PERFECT for newbie runners, but ranged up to (I think this was everyone in our group) half marathon and marathoners, looking to work a little speed.

And then Dave had brought over a steak and chicken. Thanks bro! So we grilled out, and baked some amazing asparagus and sweet potatoes. We hung out on Dan’s patio, catching up, drinking Dan’s beers, while he grilled. Yum! Thanks boys!

Hello spring!
I have missed you so so much!

best kinds of relays

When we first signed up for the Palmetto200, I felt the anticipation of competition. It wasn’t until today that I felt it again, upon hearing that our frenemies (best way to describe them based on the driving competition) on another team would be starting 30 minutes ahead of us, and were wondering when we would finish.

So the best kinds of relays (I’ve decided) are when you know another team. Bonus points is there is some underlying beef between you. For instance, apparently Jarod (on my Tuna team) and Casey (on the Big Katunas) do not like each other, on principle, and were smack-talking on the sidelines.

They stole Dave.

‘Nuf said.

They are going down. Oh, sweetie, the smack talk has just begun!
(There is a sassy black woman inside of me. High five, bro. Cards Against Humanity flashback)

Okay, no really, it will be fun. And we will play back and forth. And I think there is enough varied speed in our runners that we will probably ping pong a good bit.

But, it does feel satisfying to know their start time is before ours (because they’re a little slower than us).

Again, I repeat: They stole Dave

[Dave is Dan’s best friend, who got confused and ended up on the wrong team… We found great replacements, and I am truly happy with our van’s end result, but they stole Dave! hahaha]

Let the games… BEGIN!

Sometimes I date…

This is my all-about-Dan post.

Where to begin? We met on a hot August day. Nah, I’m kidding. Though it might have been August. Telling about how I met him is parallel to how our Tuna 200 team was created. We were looking for extra people, and I guess Sarah posted it on facebook. And Dave, a guy she played kickball with for a season, decided he had always wanted to do a relay. And talked his best friend, Dan, into signing up with the other 10 strangers.

So, we all met one night after work to divide the legs. I guess that’s how we met. Though that part isn’t too exciting. I remember first impression- he seemed shy and humble about his vet status (he had done 2-3 relays before?). Dan and Dave were the outsiders- of the 12 on our team, 9 had trained together for 4 months in the spring, including 3-4 runs per week. Honestly, I remember telling Dan “Sarah will be here soon” (as if he knew her, not realizing he was not Dave, and did not know Sarah). And him looking at me blankly, like “ummm okay.” (Probably thinking Sarah’s the team captain right? Why is she singling me out to tell me this?)

Dan and Dave are quite the pair. Dave is younger, energetic, and talkative. On the other hand, Dan is more reserved; he holds back and listens before he talks. So you can see why they’re best friends. And they really bring the best out in each other.

Well, Allison and I wanted to get to know them since we’d be spending 24+ hours in a van with them, running. So we invited them (and all the other relay runners) to a tempo run, which soon became a standing tradition for me and the boys. I didn’t really get to know them over night. I eventually ended up going for a 8.5 mile run with Dave (look back). Then, that Saturday, I met the boys for a drink.

That night is when I started realizing I may like Dan (which for me, was a problem- we have mutual friends, and still had like a month until our relay race, and I tend to mess things up really quickly, so I did not want to like him). We talked a lot that night. Though I wasn’t like “OH MY GOD! I LIKE HIM SO MUCH!” … I was thinking, “yeah, maybe I do like him…” I did a few more runs with the boys.

Then, I had a few lone runs with Dan. D’oh!  I could swallow any thoughts or feelings in a group. The first lone run with Dan was miserable, as in kind of hilly (and my third run in 24 hours), and I could feel my legs cramping up. And he runs about 1-2 minutes/mile faster than me (my “easy” pace is 9:30; his “easy” pace is about 8:00). The next one- it was supposed to be me, Dave, and Dan. And Dave cancelled (again!). But I still needed to get in a somewhat-fast 8-10 miles for the day, and Dan had been itching for a longer run. So he planned it out. And we met at his place. I didn’t write about this at the time, because, well, because I wasn’t sure if he felt the same way as I did.

But, it was a great run. Like, one of those runs, where you are easily going 30-seconds faster than your easy pace, but don’t even notice, because the conversation is flowing. And the person you’re running with is challenging you with hills and speeding up slightly, then falling back some. We ran 8.7 miles, at 8:45 pace. Much faster than usual for me. And then, we walked around a bit. And got some water. I think it was also this like perfect September weather- and was just getting dark as we got back toward his place.

And I knew I was bitten. And I had 2 weeks until Tuna200, so I basically made sure I avoided him, as I may do something incredibly stupid before spending 24+ hours in a van with him, and 4 other running friends.

It sounds silly, but even being around him (and Dave) during the relay made me feel more at-ease. The two of them were like my family, we all took care of each other.

So, after the relay…

I was sick. And in a stick-to-my-training-plan-so-I-don’t-fuck-up-the-past-five-months’-training mode, so no unplanned speedwork, no longer than 6-mile runs on weeknights. And then it was Dave (a different Dave)’s birthday. And he had met Dan and Dave, and liked the idea of not being surrounded by girls on his birthday, so he said I could invite them. And Dave (Dan’s bestie) was out of town, so I hesitated at inviting just Dan out. But decided it was okay, and little bit of a bold move, but I’d see if we could hang out just the two of us.

And with some liquid courage, moves were made and accepted. I don’t mean to be vague. But it all happened so fast, that I’m not sure who kissed who first. Though, I think I was definitely being flirtatious and a little handsy.

And I spent the night at Dan’s that night. Well, we didn’t really sleep. But I’ll be classy. Honestly, we talked a lot (too). About how I really liked him, but didn’t want to fuck up any friendship, because I also really liked him as a friend, and how he really liked me, but he totally respected me and didn’t want to make any moves, and feel like a dick because I wasn’t interested. He reassured me it was more than a one-time thing. And I think he wanted to make the walk of shame with me through the marathon to prove a point, that he wasn’t ashamed, and didn’t want to hide “us” from our friends.

And the next weekend, I was in Richmond for the marathon (but he came over Wednesday night to help me carb load at Mellow Mushroom). And I went to his place Sunday night after the marathon, to unwind and get a little stretch and massage (and he is genuinely interested when I recap my “and then, at mile 23. oh my gosh!” stories). And then, the next weekend, he was in Chicago, visiting his sister. But he came over that Wednesday night. I told him he was going to have to take me out on a real date. And he didn’t even blink, like Of course! I was planning on it!

And then, I saw him last Wednesday (before Thanksgiving), and we did the Turkey Trot “together”, in that we stood together before, and looked for each other after we finished (I maintained 8:30s- miraculously, while he maintained 7:00s). Can I just say I am awkward? I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up Wed night, and then the three of us went to grab a beer. That was the first time I’d seen Dave since Dan and I started dating (and Dave knows all the details). And at one point, Dan totally moved his chair so it was next to mine, and I think I recoiled. Like the idea of being PDA in front of Dave just threw me. But then! Thursday morning is was like 30 degrees, and I (stupidly) was wearing a tank with arm sleeves, so I was a little cold, and just kept snuggling into him for warmth before the race. Apparently my need for warmth supersedes my need to not be that couple

So, Saturday, he took me out. On a real date. I met him at his place, because he basically lives in downtown Raleigh (I live in the suburbs; it’s closer to work). But he was all dressed up, like dress pants, button down. The works. And had gotten me flowers (and put them in a coffee mug in the sink- he didn’t have a vase).

(I hate roses)

We went to this nice small-plate/ tapas restaurant, where I ordered a $20 glass of wine. Oops! (Talk about awkward moments. I’d been reading the wine list upside-down, and was asking the waiter for a spicy red. And glanced down and saw they had a Spanish Tempranillo, and began saying it as I basically had a stroke when I saw the price. There were no other Tempranillo’s on the menu, so I couldn’t play it off as anything else. And Dan just started ordering his wine, without blinking. Probably because he didn’t see the price, until the check came. But, then, he knows me. And knows I wouldn’t purposely order the most expensive wine, or even knowingly do that). But dinner was great! The fish tacos were the best thing on the menu- with a wasabi guacamole. Delicious!

What? You don’t want to read about the food?

Also, it was like 28 degrees that night. So I was snuggling into him as we were walking back to the car. And he said ‘See? You do couple things’ and I replied ‘Yes, when it’s cold :)’ So, I would love to say that he dropped me off. And I gave him a kiss goodnight, etc. But that did not happen. I had already stayed the night several times, so Saturday was no different. And for the first time in spending the night with him, I slept through the night. It was great! One of those forget you are sleeping until the morning sun hits your eyes. And I woke up next to someone who genuinely cares about me. It’s been a little bit since that’s happened for me.

And we had coffee. And bananas. I’ll have to remind him to stock up on eggs/sausage/cheese/something that can be cooked in the future… And then, I was off to Sheryl’s studio for the best yoga ever. And back home.

My GBF (gay best friend), Josh, is in town for training for work this week. So, Dan and I are meeting him at my favorite Mexican place- Chubby’s. Thursday, we are going to see fun. And Saturday, he is hosting a Holiday Christmas Party, which my presence has been requested. Oh, and next Sunday is a Holiday Game Night, my friends do at every major (and minor) holidays, which he was invited to. My friends have basically adopted him as one of us. He just fits in my life. Which is nice.

awkward first running date

I think every first running encounter is like a first date. You don’t really know them. You don’t know how they run. Do they charge the hills? Or go slow and steady? I’m not even sure I know what I do. Are they a stickler for pace, and check their Garmin every five minutes? Or do they just go out, without even glancing at a watch?

Now a 3-miler is like a lunch date or coffee date. A long run as a “first date” is like a true dinner date- 8pm on a weekend. If they bring Nuun, it’s like bringing roses. A tempo or hills is like a fifth date. That’s serious stuff. And this is only if it’s one on one. In a group, it totally doesn’t matter. If it goes well, you have a new running buddy, someone to lean on when you’re dreading a workout, but know meeting someone will get your butt out there. If it goes badly, usually, you just don’t go with them one on one again.

I have a good group of running friends in the Raleigh area. (In case anyone is sick of their own location, Raleigh is great for the 20-40 yr old age range… And there’s probably 15 running stores/groups in the area. 1 in every 3 or 4 people are a runner or cyclist. At any age range. There are multiple running group/ social runs every day of the week in every area). Clearly, I have a good running circle here; when we started talking about doing Tuna, which is a 12-person relay, we had to split into two separate teams because 18 people wanted to do it… And there were still others who weren’t sure.

So it seemed like everyone was meeting up Monday night for a nog run.


Then everyone backed out, except the boys (Dan and Dave). Dan runs about a 8:00 pace… So ummmm. And Dave “wanted to get in 8 miles for a nice long run for the week”… And I kinda said I would would with Dave. That meant I’d be third wheel. Oh, and this guy I once hooked up with is like a KING at Nog Runs. Like, every time I go, I see him. I prefer not to see him if it’s already an awkward encounter.

But Dave still wants to run 8 miles. Doesn’t he know I’m socially awkward and do not like to run with random people, especially boys?!?! So much so, that my gay best friend (upon hearing I was meeting up with a boy last night for a run) has asked me four times “So are you trying to date him?”

Since I said I’d run with him earlier in the day, and I know he’s faster than me, so the run will kick my ass and he agreed to meet at my house…. I email him the route and tell him to meet me after work.

I knew this was going to be awkward. But decided it would be a good time to 1) push outside my comfort zone, and 2) push my speed a little. I’ve met him twice before. He seems a little shy, or maybe just intimidated by the amount of energy that the other 8 of us have, since we all trained for Nashville together. Either way, I know he is about my age. And is a NY Giants fan (thank you for that fb post last week). And he has only been running a year or so. So I can add a 3) Get to know what will annoy me about him before spending 24 hours in a van with him…

So he texts to say he’s at my complex,  and I walk down, and he’s stretching. Okay, I stretch like crazy after a run, and throughout the day at work. And while waiting in a long line. Like a normal person. Who stretches for 10 minutes before a run?  … But he is stretching in my parking lot. Okay.

I slowly played with my phone, saying I had to load the map, to make sure I knew all the turns- which btw, turns out I didn’t.

After we began our run, I quickly realized we were going out too fast. And there were some larger hills in this route. I kept trying to slow down the pace, but it would quickly pick back up. I eventually gave up hope, and decide to just keep up.

And truthfully, I knew most of the route pretty well- except about 2 miles of it. I realized that when the sidewalk ended abruptly and we went from running in suburban haven (he stopped at a park along the way for bathroom… and commented on how nice it was) to country ass road with no shoulder. During rush hour. I tried to awkwardly take the lead, but he kept running beside me. I was thinking ‘Ummm, dude, cars are bigger than us. And I know from experience, it hurts when they hit you’ (it took a while for me to learn the ‘look both ways’ on our busy street growing up. No, I am not joking, I got hit by cars like 3 or 4 times. To the point where my mom freaked out whenever she heard brakes and I was outside).

Alright, you won’t get behind me… I guess I will jump into the 3 foot tall grass and just run that way. He is still in the middle of the road. Then I looked up “Oh, sweet Upchurch Meadow. That’s our turn.”  Then as we get back into the suburban hell and enter a round-about, I realize that was not our turn. Our turn was Upchurch Carpenter. Whoops!

me: “Ummm…. so I think we were supposed to go down that road a little longer… Ummm… I know there’s a way out from here, but ummm… let me pull up my phone… Oh, okay, yeah the next turn”

We took the next turn, but apparently my maps did not consider that road an actual road, so it actually should have been the next next turn.

me: “That was fun. Um, let’s turn around. Quick out and back. Adding mileage. … And this f***ing hill!”

(He was really laid back about it all.)

We eventually got back out to the road, just in time before my most dreaded hill of the workout. I usually run hill repeats here. And hate it every time. There’s this tavern that mocks me at the top- “ha ha! you’re still 2 miles from your house… ha ha! you don’t get to enjoy my delicious beers!”

As we begin our trek up my dreaded hill, he starts to tell me some story- Oh, about how he bought a new townhouse, where it is, how much he bought it for, how he saved money with this or that, how it’s just smarter to buy, he was wasting so much money renting, he still feels too young to settle down, but too old to get wasted and crash at Dan’s place, about [pointless other things I can’t remember]… Awww, that’s nice. He knows I hate this hill, so he’s making useless conversation until we get to the top. And actually that hill wasn’t too bad after all.

He also tells me he has eaten at the aforementioned tavern we pass almost at the top of the hill. I wanted to shove him into the steady 630pm traffic. But that would take too much energy. I wasn’t even paying attention at that point. He couldn’t have asked me to buy his townhouse off him because he just realized it’s a crackhouse, and my reply would have been “[heavy breathing and slight nod of acknowledgement]”…

After that hill started our slow and steady descent. Then, I could breathe. I could converse like a normal human being. And this shy boy was starting to feel the endorphins and was suddenly chatty cathy. And he was apparently already feeling the pain from the run. The thought occurred to me that I could turn back. (Since we went a different route out, I almost always go the same route back, and on my own would have made it into a 10 miler without realizing it)

We walked from the entrance of my complex to my building. I was thinking we did a 8 mile loop.

We made small talk. I awkwardly stood in my kitchen with my cold Nuun, covered in salty sweat, and dirt. And chafing still from Sat’s long run.

me: “Yeah… so this was fun”

Dave: “Yeah we should do it again”

me: “Okay. Yeah. See you Wednesday. …Or not. Whatever. It’s just … whatever”

Dave: “Yeah, okay. No, I’ll probably be there”

So, maybe in reading it, it doesn’t sound that awkward.

However, awkward makes me fast. I didn’t calculate splits, because I figured knowing how fast we were going would freak me out. This was my longest “mid” distance so far. All in all, 8.6 miles, in 1:21… And I didn’t stop my watch (my iPhone) at the lights… So a sub 9:30 pace. Very nice! (My “race pace” is 9:30-10:00; my tempo pace is 8:30-9:00… so it was between the two. AND my first 8+ miles on a weeknight)

Go awkward moments. Maybe I will have to take Dan out on a run to get faster. Oh wait, never mind. He’s a sub 8:00 pacer. I’d probably cry. Seriously, I’d be so humiliated, I would pretend I was lost and run back to my apartment, and not answer my door. Note to self: do not meet Dan at your apartment for a run, as there is no escape then.

Thanks for reading. I know that was long.