Back in March of this year, Marc and I had booked a 15k race – the Boilermaker in Utica – with a group of our friends. As the race weekend started to approach, we were both hesitant to actually go. Marc and I were tired from back to back weekend trips, we were working a full day Friday, and we just wanted to relax. After a week of hemming and hawing, Friday came along and we kind of just went with it. It turned out to be a really fun weekend.
On Friday, I picked Marc up from midtown at around 8pm and headed up on our way to Turning Stone Casino. The drive was insane. It started to downpour an hour out of the city. It was already dark by then, so with the heavy rain and oncoming traffic, I had almost zero visibility. We drove incredibly slow. Some cars even turned on their hazard lights – I guess that’s a thing people do here. Our friends who left a couple hours before us witnessed an accident on the other side of the highway in the same pouring rain. Very scary but we eventually made it to the casino at 1am.
You would think we would sleep upon our arrival…but my friends love to gamble and people didn’t start going to sleep until 4-6am. I personally can’t stand the stress of gambling. It’s overly thrilling for me…to the point it’s not even fun anymore. EVEN if I only have pennies on the line. It’s like a scary and gory movie. NOT fun. Needless to say, I was one of the first ones to sleep.
This was also the day my friends started playing Pokemon Go. So they were wandering around catching Pokemon in the casino. Being the stubborn person I am, I refused to download it.
Best of Utica
We headed to Tsiang’s mom’s place on Saturday morning and she had prepared a huge pot of pho for us! Homemade pho – yum. I love Vietnamese food. It was delicious. She even made fried egg rolls – also amazing! We somehow ended up eating for two hours.
After lunch, we picked up our bibs, picked up a bunch of free shit, and “explored” Utica. Unfortunately, it started raining, so we ended up planning to the suburban thing: hang out at a mall and watch a movie. Luckily, on our way to the movies, we discovered a trampoline park, Rockin’ Jump! It ended up being incredibly fun. They had a dunking zone, dodge ball area, stunt bag area, general jumping area, and the x-beam fighting thing with a pool of foam to land in.
Not sure the jumping gym was a great idea because my muscles were a bit tight the next day for the race. Oops. We were lucky with the weather – just a little humid, not too sunny. This was one of my least favorite rates because it was so crowded. Marc and I were one of the last ones to start and they didn’t space out the groups at the start. Everyone just…went all together. It was horrible. At one point at mile 2-3, they split the group into two roads and then at mile 4, they merged the group into a super narrow golf course walkway. I basically walked this mile. It was annoying and boring. The view at the end of the park was beautiful though. After that, I was just on go. Loved the popsicles. Ran through some sprinklers to cool off. The race was definitely a challenge since I was completely untrained. Last time I ran was in May. We got boxes of Ciobani yogurt at the finish line and David went to buy a Utica tomato pie – “Utica tomato pie is served a room temperature with no melted mozzarella cheese. The basic layout of tomato pie is easy: Squares of dough topped with sauce and parmesean cheese” (http://lite987.com/what-is-utica-style-tomato-pie/). SO GOOD!
It ended up being a great weekend. The highlights of the trip for me: homemade pho, tomato pie, trampoline park, completing another race untrained and good fun with friends! Of course I also loved watching them catch Pokemon…and yes, I downloaded the game myself two days later and am now part of this Pokemon Go craze. Let’s see how long this lasts.