Thursday, September 27, 2012

A&F Challenge Recap

Photos by OHventures

Back in the hey day of college, I enjoyed a brief stint at the Abercrombie & Fitch store at Easton Town Center as a member of the Model/Impact Team. Ever since, I have been rocking moose-adorned polos of every color (except black of course) and smelling as "Fierce" as the noxious cologne that is pumped throughout every mall in mid-America. A little known fact to folks not living in the 614 area code is that the Abercrombie & Fitch Home Office (or as they call it - campus), is located in New Albany, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus).

An even lesser known fact is that each year (for the past 11 years), the campus holds its annual A&F Challenge, which is a 5K and bike race that aims to raise $1 million for the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Friends of mine (Laura, Ryan, and Bryan) all work at the home office and invited me to come out and run! I of course accepted the challenge, knowing that my entry fee would go toward a good cause, and that I would get to do yet ANOTHER 5K (don't mind the fact that I had just days before ran the Warrior Dash and in two days would ride in the Akron STOMP Bike Ride).

After crawling through rush hour traffic after work on Thursday, August 30, I made it to the secluded A&F campus in northeast Franklin County just in time for the race. My friend Laura gave me my bag of gear, I changed into my shirt, punned on my bib, downed a water, and lined up at the starting line! Amidst a group of cheering A&F employees and their guests, the announcer counted down and away we went!

Music was blaring (much like the kind you'd hear in any Abercrombie store across the country), which kept us motivated during the big run! I also kept my pace by picking a new friend out of the crowd and secretly making them my personal "coach" of sorts. I eventually made small talk with my secret pace keeper, whose name ended up being Wes. It made the race breeze by, and helped push me even when I wanted so badly to stop and walk. My knee was killing me by the end of the 2nd mile, but I managed to push through it as we zoomed through the well-manicured forestry of the snazzy A&F campus.

My final time was just over 27 minutes, which was fantastic given my history of 5Ks and my throbbing knee (my doctor is going to kill me for all of these races I insist on doing). I met up with my friend Laura (whose "guest" I was) and we made our way inside the home office building so I could use the restroom and gather my things. I bring this up because, apparently, this was a covert operation, since non-employees weren't really supposed to be inside! Scandalous!

With a beet red face, we went down to get our free beer and food. The spread was amazing, as it consisted of pasta salad with squash, fresh fruit, and salmon! This was some high class post-race grub! We all chugged some booze and rocked out to Walk The Moon, the band who is responsible for the infectious summer tune Anna Sun! Hearing that song live, surrounded by all the pretty and beautiful people at the Abercrombie & Fitch campus, after completing a sweaty and challenging 5K race with friends (both new and old) was such a fantastic feeling. I am so happy I got to take part in such an exclusive event and help fight cancer!

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