This is a weird race weekend to write about since I usually write the race report second, while this time it was first, since that was the chain of events. So immediately after the race, in what is quickly becoming a T-Rex Tradition (that rolls nicely off the tongue, doesn’t it?) , we hightailed it back to the hotel so I could beg the management to let me have just a sliiiightttllly later checkout and not subject my friend to the marathon stench for longer than necessary. Unfortunately, the tight timeline means that we missed the complimentary beer and brats that were being served back at the German club to all the runners. I’m not much on eating right after a race, but I felt this was nonetheless important information for those of you who may be considering doing the race next year thanks to my glowing race report.
Anyway, the fact that the marathon was on Saturday morning and my flight wasn’t until Sunday night meant that Jackie and I basically had a ton of time to do things. First on the list, naturally, was visiting a local brewery on the way to her parents’ house in Allentown, so we stopped at Round Guys Brewing Company in Lansdale, PA, selected solely based on the fact that their advertised pint glass has a fat man on it. I love such things. We happened to get lucky, because apparently they aren’t usually allowed to sell actual pints of beer yet – it’s usually just growlers – but they can on special occasions while they await their liquor license. And wouldn’t you know it? The Lansdale car show (or something) was going on that day. Thank God, because seriously, my researching ability lately has been seriously sub-par.
Round Guys Brewing Company is the type of bar that smartly serves delicious free popcorn that comes out of one of those delightful little machines you really wanted as a kid but your parents would never let you have. Salty popcorn makes you more thirsty, obviously. That aside, I really love popcorn, so I ate approximately 3 bags of it. And by “ate,” I mean “threw popcorn in the general direction of my face” because about half of it landed on the floor. Jackie was totally appalled, but I blamed it on a post-marathon haze. In reality, I just suck at eating.
We headed over to Jackie’s childhood home in Allentown, PA, where her parents still live. Back in college and my early 20s, Jackie’s parents became like a second set of parents to me, so I was excited to see them. After dinner, we headed out on a quest to Longacre’s, a dairy bar that makes their own ice cream. On the way there, I noticed we were driving through a town called Emmaus, better known as the headquarters of Runner’s World magazine.
Me: “JACKIE! OMG! We’re in Emmaus?! That’s where Runner’s World is!!”
Jackie: “Yeah. It’s a Rodale company.”
Me: “JACKIE!! OMG CAN WE GO THERE? Maybe Bart Yasso will be there!”
Jackie: “I mean…”
So I became pretty obsessed with the idea. But first, I had bigger fish to fry – picking out ice cream, naturally.
Our journey to the dairy bar also took us through some Amish country, which…don’t even get me started on how obsessed I am with the Amish. It’s a little unhealthy. I know they’re a little inbred. I just find them so adorable. In fact, one day I’m going to take a special trip JUST to do a half marathon so I can go run with the Amish at the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon. The Amish are the volunteers at the aid stations and many of the runners are Amish. Ok, I’m freaking out and I’m not even doing it this year. Breathe, Danielle.
Ok, I’m getting a little distracted. Jackie and I set out for Allentown BrewWorks, brewery #2, after ice cream. Jackie assured me she knew where it was based on the description from her mother, so we set off.
Except Jackie’s mother’s directions took us to a golf course, which, while there was a BrewWorks restaurant there, was probably not open at 10:30 pm and wasn’t exactly what we were looking for anyway. SO I looked up the real address, at which point Jackie immediately started hate spiraling.
Jackie: “It’s where? WEST Hamilton? Oh hell no. Are you kidding me? We’ll die there.”
Me: “We will not. Murderers don’t frequent breweries.”
Jackie: “No no. You don’t get it. BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN WEST HAMILTON.”
I convinced her to keep driving, and in the ultimate display of cosmic justice, the brewery was precisely one block outside the sketchy part of town in a perfectly safe and well lit area. It was actually quite classy, minus the fact that there was a “White Party” going on there. It’s not a Klan rally, just a party where everyone wears apparently grossly inappropriate outfits in all white. I can never unsee some of the thigh I saw.
Unfortunately, I made a pretty poor decision regarding the beer, and I wasn’t a fan. Didn’t stop me from buying a pint glass of course – gotta commemorate the journey, as they say. Not to mention, Jackie and I had much more important plans – Allentown had recently opened its first White Castle.
I know what you’re thinking. How is possible that a junk food aficionado such as myself has never been to a White Castle? Well, believe it. It’s true. So we joined
every high person in Allentown other upstanding citizens for a taste of the famous sliders, and ordered the ever-trendy sweet potato fries.
Truth be told, I wasn’t blown away. It was acceptable, sure. Not bad. But not worthy of making a movie about or including in a song (I’m looking at you, Eminem). By the way, I just realized how much of this blog revolves around food and beer. Hmmm.
Sunday morning dawned bright and early and I forced Jackie to accompany me on a nature walk. Actually, I wanted her to run with me, but she conveniently left her shoes at home and only had a pair of sweet Adidas sneakers, circa 1999, at her disposal.
So our nature walk turned into more of a trip to a park, and we rode all the rides at the park. Is that what you call them, rides? Anyway, it reminded me of being a kid again, and I found myself wondering at what age you lose that feeling. Like, if you’re sitting on a swing at the park, pumping your legs back and forth and trying to go as high as you can, do you ever not feel like you’re 7? If so, what age does that happen? I’d like to know so I can off myself before then. And on that note, remember trying to get the swing to go as high as possible when you were a kid and then jumping off at the highest possible point? WTF was that? Who thought that was a good idea? I’m just saying, the fact that anyone makes it past childhood is somewhat of a miracle.
Sunday was Father’s Day, so Jackie’s family was having a cookout and making a bunch of delicious food on the grill. Jackie was in charge of all the grilling and food preparation, so she asked that I hang out outside with her while she cook. I did just that and promptly laid down in the grass in her back yard while she grilled. I am great company. And it was 11 am. Too bad she isn’t a blogger and doesn’t know to take pictures of these moments.
After lunch, we said goodbye to her family and headed back to Baltimore, which still wasn’t two hours away. Jackie stealthily took us home in the opposite direction of Emmaus, so I was unable to force her to take me to
stalk Bart Yasso check out the Runner’s World headquarters, where everyone was sure to be at 2pm on a Sunday. We had big plans anyway – brewery #3, the Heavy Seas Alehouse. Heavy Seas was in a part of Baltimore that was slightly questionable, which is pretty much the same as saying it was in Baltimore. Jackie had come up with this idea all on her own because she knows I love breweries and themes, and this one had a pirate theme! Phenomenal. It was also “Sailebration!” which is basically a giant party for sailors and navies from all over the world. As we drove around Baltimore looking for the brewery, I just kept yelling out the window “It’s a SAILLLLLLEBRATION!” to all the sailors I saw. I’m sure they felt very welcome.
The restaurant was kind of oddly expensive, which was notable only because apparently it was THE place to be for families with small children on Sunday in the late afternoon. One mother had to keep taking her screaming baby out of the restaurant. Eventually, one of the hostesses started smiling at the kid and got him to stop crying, so what did the mother do? If your answer was “hand her baby to a total stranger for the next hour while not ONCE looking up from her dinner to make sure the kid hadn’t been kidnapped” then you would be correct. We literally could not believe it. I don’t even like kids but I like them enough to not just hand them off to strangers! Jesus.
The restaurant had a sign on the wall that said “Sailors tell stories…pirates make legends!” which is apparently the slogan of the restaurant. Thus, I have dubbed myself a pirate of marathoning. I like to think of myself as doing some pretty epic shit during marathons and living to tell about it. Maybe it’s a little inflated to call them legends, but I do what I want. Would that make me a pirate dinosaur or a dinosaur pirate? I don’t know.
On the way out, I saw something that reminded me of
all my greatest dreams home. HOW DID WE NOT KNOW THIS EXISTED?
And so with that, the weekend came to a close and Jackie dropped me back off at BWI for the flight home. So I’m walking through the airport, minding my own business, excessively texting people when out of the corner of my eye I see a girl who looks like my friend Katie, and she nearly collides with me. I look up and sure enough it IS Katie, who is always oblivious, so I grab her arm and commence freak out!
Katie is one of my sorority sisters, so we went to the University of Maryland together. She now lives in Charleston, and I’m lucky enough to see her pretty regularly since I work down there a lot. She was on her way back to Charleston from Ohio and had a connecting flight at BWI. Guess whose flight was leaving out of the gate right next to mine five minutes after my flight? Yup. The world is pretty awesome sometimes. For all the Maryland ADPis – Katie’s phone had died and she left her charger in Ohio so she was frantically trying to find the store where they sold tech stuff and was confused about where to go. Typical.
I didn’t get home from Greenville until almost midnight Sunday night. I was completely exhausted, but I had such a good weekend. The whole weekend, Jackie and her parents kept commenting on how busy we were, how little time we had, etc, but it was funny, because I didn’t feel like that at all! I’m usually at a race location for about 18 hours total, including sleep, so to me, it felt like a vacation. You know you’re a Marathon Maniac when a race trip lasts 48 total hours and you feel like you’ve been there forever.