First I want to give major thanks to my dear friend, Freshman. (Freshman is really her nickname and what I usually call her instead of her real name. We met in college when I was a junior and she was the sole freshman in our little group of upperclassmen. So, Freshman was applied to her and I made it stick for over 20 years!) She was absolutely amazing to me. She picked me up at late o’clock from the airport, made an early morning trip to the grocery store to get me Gatorade and pre-race cake, drove me to the expo, patiently waited while I did all my expo things, drove the last 6 miles of the course, made and fed me tamales, woke up at dark o’clock to drive me to the bus shuttle stop, drove me around in circles when I couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to be dropped off because I was too addlepated about the race, dealt with my pre-race nerves, steeled herself for post-race sulkiness on my part if the race hadn’t gone well (thank goodness, it did!), waited for me at our designated spot, cheered loudly and proudly as I ran by, picked me up post race, took care of me because I was weak and tired afterward, and finally drove me to the airport late at night because I had to take a red-eye back to NYC. She was a rock star. And she did all this without my asking her to be my race sherpa. When I told her I was going to Sac for CIM, she immediate response was, “I’ll be your race sherpa.”
Ben was sad he couldn’t make it out to CA to see me and it’s usually he who takes care of me post-race, so it meant a lot to me that I had Freshman. She took care of a lot of pre-race anxiety and nerves with her usual calm, unflappable self. I could have taken care of myself, but let’s face it, it’s nicer when it’s delegated to other people.
On the Friday flight to Sac, minutes before we about to deplane, a girl I had been sitting next to the entire flight asked what I was doing. We chitchatted and then I asked about her. It turned out she was moving to Sac from NYC and this was the big move. She didn’t know a soul in the city. Knowing that it’s hard to make friends as an adult, I took her name and number, so I could force Freshman to be friends with her. We invited her to Freshman’s tamale party Saturday evening so she could meet Freshman and other people. We all had a marvelous time and I’m glad that new friendships were formed.
Freshman hosted a tamale party to thank all her supporters for a fundraiser that she held earlier in the year. I LOVE tamales. It’s really hard to find good tamales, so I was particularly excited about learning how to make tamales.
It is horribly difficult making tamales. Her uncle made the spreading of the masa on a corn husk seem so easy, but I made a lumpy mess of it. His was nice and thin, and smooth. Mine was lumpy, full of patchy holes, and thick. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get the masa to spread smoothly onto the husk. It rolled right off with the spoon. Not to mention I was slow. When I got one done, the uncle had already done five. And then he simply redid mine. I was a lot more helpful by not helping. “We” made three different types of tamales: pork with red sauce; a vegetarian one with chicken, potato and carrots (the chicken is what made it vegetarian in their mind); and a sweet one with pineapples. The sweet one was easier to make because the masa was looser, more like a cake batter, and I had to simply put a spoonful on a husk and then tie it up into a pretty little bundle. That I could do easily and I (finally) impressed Freshman’s aunt with how adept I was in making pretty bundles of corn husks. Seriously, you could have tied a string around it and used it as a Christmas tree decoration.
The tamales steam for several hours and then you let them rest. Once done, you open a bundle to find a delicious self-contained packet of joy. The homemade salsa was also insanely good. I ate way too much and gave myself a bit of a bellyache, but it was totally worth it and #teamnoregrets. Because of the marathon the next day, I bid everyone an early good-night and was sound asleep in my bedroom on the other side of the house.
After the marathon, I took a soak in Freshman’s hot tub. I know several runners who like to do an ice bath, but I can’t do it. I don’t even like dipping my legs in ice cold water for a few seconds. Much to my happiness (and how I personally feel as well), the NY Times reported on a study that indicated that perhaps warming muscles after strenuous exercise was better for you. I’m fully aware of the drawbacks of this study, but I DON’T CARE. I love confirmation bias when it works for me.
At 2:30 I got to have a long lunch with the lovely Charlotte of I Run Like a Girl. I started following Charlotte when she moved to Astoria (my old hood), then she moved back to Manhattan, and earlier this year, she made a HUGE change and moved to San Francisco (so very envious). Charlotte was actually one of the few people who knew I was doing CIM because when she announced she was doing it on her blog, I had just decided to do it too. I was so excited that I told her that I was going to be there. I was pretty good about keeping it a secret, but there were a few leaks. I’ve been blogging (on various platforms, including LJ) for a long time and I’ve always loved meeting people that I’ve become friends with through comments and posts. Everyone I’ve met always been wonderful and exactly what I thought they would be like based on what they’ve written. We chatted about various things about running, blogging, and other things in our lives. We were terrible bloggers because it wasn’t until this morning I realized that we had forgotten to take photos. If there are no photos on social media, did it even happen?????
OMG, I love tamales. But now I don’t want to make them, so I’ll just stick to eating them!
Eating tamales > making tamales
Great friends who help out during races are the best. Every time I read a post of yours, I feel like we could hang out more and more. I absolutely love tamales and despite loving cook, I refuse tackling to make them. A friend who takes care of a runner and offers homemade tamales is certainly a keeper. I love that you grabbed that girls number to share with your friend. Moving somewhere new is so hard. I always tell people to accept the help. We have all been there and want to make the experience great.
Yes, we should hang out more! 😀
I’ve done two major moves in my life as an adult (not including college), so I know how hard it is. I’ll always be grateful to my best friend in Toronto who went out of her way to include me in her group when I first arrived. She made it clear to everyone that I was to be invited to everything they did and I try to repay the kindness forward.
That is such a great attitude to take in life. Rock is always good about footing the bill at dinner with college students or those who just moved to the city. He always tells them that someone did that for him and when they are in a position to do so, make sure they repay the favor to others.
I’m so touched, thank you for the shout out!! I so enjoyed meeting in person and being a part of each other’s CIM journeys. It totally occurred to me too that we didn’t get a picture haha, we will have to get it next time 🙂
Our blogging licenses will be revoked. LOL.
I have a friend at work who’s Mexican and grew up learning to make tamales with her mom and even she says making them is a ton of work. She usually only makes them for special occasions. Sounds like you have a great friend!
Christmas tamales! I was always jealous of my Mexican-American friends who always had Christmas tamales to eat.
I got to bring a few back to Ben, which he greatly appreciated. Homemade tamales are the best.
I know- much better than the turkey or ham we usually got for Christmas!