Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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Fun In Charlotte
Hi from Charlotte — again!
It’s been such a great trip so far and I’m heartbroken that in just 12 hours I’ll be on my way to the airport to fly back to NYC.
You know I love you, New York, but Charlotte has been pretty good to me.
A quick recap of the trip:
After our run yesterday, Becky and I showered and were off to run some wedding-related errands.
We bought stamps to mail the Save the Dates, and then went to Office Max to buy pens with which to address the Save the Dates.
It’s Saturday night at this point. We still have not addressed a single Save the Date. Oops.
We have plenty of time. I’ll do them on the plane…right?
We went to an adorable jewelry store then met up with Becky’s fiance, John, for lunch at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar.
Oh. My. Yum.
I built my own burger with grilled onions and tomato on a whole wheat bun.
Sweet potato fries and a side of fruit, too. It was a huge, gluttonous lunch.
What do you do after you eat a massive midday meal?
You go bridesmaid dress shopping, of course.
So yes, with a burger in my belly, I tried on many, many bridesmaid dresses and modeled them for the bride-to-be.
The great thing about Becky is that she has a pretty good idea of what she wants in her bridesmaid dresses. I tried on mostly strapless dresses with a few different cuts. None of the dresses were in the color she wants, but we still got a good idea of what we both like.
And what we don’t like.
Here are a few options we ruled out:
After narrowing the selection to two dresses, we rewarded ourselves for all our hard work (joking) by getting pedicures.
And then more rewarding: Yoforia!
Yoforia was no 16 Handles, of course, but it was pretty darn good. We loaded up our cups like champions.
After a grocery shopping trip, it was time to gorge on dinner.
We went to Mama Ricotta’s, which is a cute Italian spot in Charlotte. I got whole wheat spaghetti primavera, which was good, but the highlight of the meal was the Nutella and peanut butter pie we got for dessert.
It didn’t last long.
We went to bed with very full bellies.
The game plan for this morning was to wake up early and get my long run in. John is about to start training for the Chicago Marathon (he ran it last year, too!) and has a group he runs with regularly on Saturday mornings.
He agreed to let me tag along to cover the 11 miles Coach Cane wanted me running.
I was up all night last night.
I fell asleep fine, but at 2:30 am I woke up with intense stomach pains and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I spent most of the night in the bathroom until it was time to actually get up at 5:30.
Honestly, I was super nervous about today’s run.
I’d be running with a group of strangers.
I’d be running in a “foreign” city — not knowing where there might be bathrooms available.
I’d also be running for the first real time since starting the Steroids and wasn’t sure how much they had helped.
So yeah. I was nervous.
I felt OK when we left the house to drive to the local YMCA where we’d meet the group. John, his friend Derek and I ran 1.5 miles together before the rest of the group arrived.
In that first mile and a half, I had to ask to stop. I ran into a Westin hotel (lovely!) to use the bathroom and felt OK afterward. It was awkward having to ask my best friend’s fiance to take a rest stop immediately after starting running, but the guys were really cool about it.
We circled back to the Y and met up with a handful of other runners — all badasses.
We maintained a solid pace at first, and made frequent water stops, which was nice.
I was further excited and comforted when one of the other lady runners suggested stopping at Mile 5 to use the Dunkin Donuts bathroom. You read my mind, Cathy!
After that bathroom stop, I felt great.
Our pace was solid. Totally comfortable but not too fast.
Running through Charlotte was beautiful. I loved being in a new city with new roads to explore, and I was so impressed with how many runners were out and about.
We even joined up with a 5K at one point!
I was pumped about how many water fountains there were along the route, too.
In the end we covered 12 miles.
I did it!
I psyched myself out so much this morning. I was on practically no sleep and my stomach showed few signs of cooperation.
But the run happened. It was a huge confidence boost and I can’t wait to keep training and hopefully recovering.
Thanks for running with me, John!
Guess what, Crohn’s Disease? You’re not going to win this battle.
I was in an awesome mood after the run, and the day only got better from there.
Because the plan was to spend the entire day on a pontoon boat cruising around Lake Norman!
The day on the water was mostly perfect. I was blown away by the craziness that’s known as the “Sand Bar” in the middle of the lake.
It starts like this, when the first boats arrive:
One by one, boats start showing up and tying themselves up to other boats. Strangers become friends.
Everyone is drinking.
So we basically hung around, people watched, I took several naps (per usual) and enjoyed the amazing weather.
Then, around 4:30, the “amazing weather” started to look a little scary. In the distance — toward the marina, where we had to end up by 6 pm to return the boat — the sky was black.
It was terrifying.
So we packed up our crap and sailed out. We made it about 5 minutes from the sandbar fiesta before things got bad.
The rain started pouring, the waves in the lake got huge and it was basically impossible to drive the boat. We were all soaked from the water coming down from above and over the side of the boat, and more than once the pontoon was up on its side. We were all scrambling for life vests, thinking this was how we were going to go.
We hit one particularly massive wave that completely soaked the boat. We had to kick water out the front so we didn’t start sinking.
Seriously. Crazy stuff.
Eventually — with several scared passengers on board — we made it back to the marina.
Horrifying at the time, but oh so fun to look back on.
We came home, took blisteringly hot showers then hit up a Greek restaurant for dinner. Now it’s just shy of 10 pm and we are discussing going to bed.
Party animals? You bet.
I’ve got a few hours left in Charlotte which will be spent sleeping through the night (fingers crossed), an early morning breakfast date and figuring out how to pack 125 Save the Dates in my already stuffed suitcase.
Thanks for a great trip, Charlotte! You’ve been kind to me.
Until next time…