I went to the mall on Friday and looked for leftover prom dresses on the clearance racks. I found this beauty (disaster) for a whopping $6.99!
On Saturday morning I finally managed to convince Shane to join me. I ran out to Walmart and bought him a red beach coverup dress to run in. I barely made it back to the house in time to get us ready and out the door but we made it to Bella Notte in the Strip District right on time.
We were immediately introduced to Rotten and Squirrelio and a few others. I was instructed to introduce myself as 'Just Sara' so the regulars would know I was a 'new boot'. Shane went to make the donations for us and change. The run was benefitting a member recovering from a traumatic arm injury. The cost was only $20 and a little pride.
I ordered a beer and started chatting with some of the regulars. They were very friendly and welcoming. Once I started to look around I noticed the looks on the faces of people walking by and I couldn't help furtively snapping pics of their expressions. The best part was that Pittsburgh Pride, an Adam Lambert concert, and the Arts Festival were all going on at the same time so for us to be the most shocking thing these people had seen all day was awesome.
About an hour after the specified 'start' time everyone had finally arrived and was inebriated enough to begin. We had a 'circle' to start off where the 'new boots' were made to stand apart and introduce themselves while the members yelled things at us. The course markings were also explained.
Back checks, false path, arrows, and Beer nears!
As soon as everyone had some understanding of what we were up to it was time to run. We headed right down the middle of the road, stopped traffic and crossed into a parking lot where I followed my first false trail. I got to jump some concrete jersey barriers and run across a field to catch up to my husband with the lead group.
We were up and down steps, around fountains, and in and out of alleys before we finally ended up at the first beer stop, a tiny bar that didn't even have a sign right next to the stage where Adam Lambert was doing his sound check for the finale of the Pride Parade!
I grabbed a drink and hung out watching the sound check and talking to some of the members. I met many runners with crazy names such as Sock Puppet, Spermit, Betty Crockashit, Dinosoreass, and Donkey Ho Te. I've never met such crazy adults in my life! I totally fit right in!
Beer Stop #1
After about a half hour we headed out again. Through tunnels, over fences, and through fields. People were clapping and cheering as the herd of 60-ish runners in red dresses ran through. I kept waiting for the police milling around to start grabbing us and writing citations but they seemed more amused than anything. And no one ever did answer my question about who carries the bail money...
The second beer stop was the Tilted Kilt and we spent quite a long time there eating fries and mozzarella sticks and drinking. We overtook most of the patio and the back room and I guess we scared off a birthday party because they left their signs behind. 'Look Who's Old', 'Happy Birthday', and '65' were all conveniently already stapled to sticks. So instead of pace signs we now had birthday signs as we headed out for beer stop 3.
The third beer stop ended up being someone's apartment. We congregated outside and a folding table and a keg were brought out. There were also chips, cookies, and water. Unfortunately it was getting rather late and we needed to pick up our kids soon. So Shane and I missed out on the rest of the hash and headed back to our car.
Wonder (Woman) Unders?
Overall, I would say this was an awesome experience. Next time I get the opportunity I will know to leave Shane at home with the kids (he wasn't really into running around downtown in a dress and bar hopping) so I can stay for the whole time. I will also know better than to stick with the lead group. I ended up with 6.75 miles during what was supposed to be a 4-5 mile run thanks to following every false trail and check. (Not that I minded!) Finally, I will know to carry cash and my ID. I only had one beer and spent the rest of the time drinking pop and water. The one waitress even tried to card me for a Pepsi!
So, if you've ever thought about going to a hash or if drinking and running sound like the perfect day to you then I highly recommend looking up your local chapter and going all in! Just don't wear new shoes for your first hash... take my word on it.