Wednesday, June 22, 2011

grandma's recap ad nauseum, part 1

A little bling for the town
Ok, here goes!  I'm going to break this into a couple of posts because I just know you want ALL the details of my FIRST EVER marathon week-end.  Self-indulgent? Moi??  Yeah, ok, I know. Allow me to apologize in advance.

Picked AJ up at her hotel in St. Paul and we started the trek to Duluth.  Since we had both been hydrating so well we had to make a few stops along the way.  It's only a couple of hours in the car but holy crap, we were like toddlers in the midst of potty training we had to stop so many times.

The traffic became really nasty as we got closer to Duluth - soooo glad we hit the road as early as we did.

Such dorks.  We couldn't pass up this photo-op at the Expo.
Nothing says "marathon" like a stagecoach.
The expo was something of a clusterf--k,  although we did get a parking spot right outside the door to the DECC - front row, baby!  We grabbed our packets right away and then wandered around for a bit.  We both got a Grandma's Marathon tumbler and shot glass for future use; I stopped by the Injinji booth and got two pair of striped toe socks.  Cute!  The crowds were getting thicker by the minute and things started feeling a little claustrophobic; we were both getting hungry and crabby so we headed to our hotel.  Once we got all checked in we began obsessing about the weather and what we should wear. When AJ left Washington, the weather was predicted to be sunny and in the 70's so she only had short sleeve shirts and shorts with her. The latest weather report was predicting rain and highs in the 40's.  Oh, and maybe some thunderstorms thrown in for good measure, just to make it a little more interesting!
Mommy Juice

AJ decided she needed a long sleeve shirt for the race and I wanted to get some special sauce (read: Don Julio 1942 Tequila) for a little post-race tasty treat.  So we googled "liquor store" and "running store" and found options within walking distance AND close to where we were going to have dinner.  Winners!

The euphoria was short-lived, however.  No 1942 to be found at any of the liquor stores, so we had to settle for Anejo (yes, still tasty, but not "like buttah") and no long sleeve shirts at all at the running store - they were all at the race expo. WTF?? Why wouldn't they keep at least SOME of the inventory in-store?? Anywhoo.... Not winners.

Carb whore heaven!  The nearly empty plate held proscuitto
and gorgonzola crostini with fig jam.  Unbelievably tasty!
By this point we were both starving.  We had reservations for 7:00 at Va Bene Cafe but we were so hungry we changed them to 5:30 and then just ended up walking to the restaurant at 5:00 and getting seated.  I was ready to chew my arm off - I needed FOOD!  Side note: While I've heard the Michelina's pasta feed (which is held in the convention center) is supposed to be good, just the term "pasta feed" is enough to turn me off.  Not happening. AJ and I just couldn't do it.  Va Bene Cafe was a superb choice.  The restaurant is super cute, overlooks Lake Superior and the food is amazing.  Food wasn't served on paper plates and we weren't eating in what looked like a hockey arena. Winners again!

Dinner dilemma: AJ (who was about to toe the line of her 9th marathon) was going to have wine with dinner. I was on the fence. Should I drink wine the night before my first marathon??  Would it undo all my training efforts and ruin my marathon experience?  Would I be jeopardizing my goal of being able to finish the race??

The Mattel version of Google
Remember - this was my FIRST marathon so I get a little leeway for being drama-queenesque here.  Plus, I'd pretty much given up the booze during training - made me kinda nervous to re-introduce ETOH back into the ecosystem at this crucial time.

But I also really like wine.

Oh, the inner struggle.

So I again went to the google and asked, "Drinking wine before marathon bad?" (Sometimes I treat Google like a Magic 8 Ball - I've found they have similar reliability results.) And up popped the little factoid that "Olympian Deena Kastor enjoys a glass of red the night before big races--including her bronze-medal run in Athens." What's good enough for Deena is good enough for me!  And since it's on the internet I know it's true.  The glass of Jam Jar red was a wonderful accompaniment to my angel hair pasta and crostini.  I have no regrets.
Super cute poster in the Fitger's building.

Fully stuffed - no room for dessert even, which for me is unheard of - we headed back to the hotel.  Early to bed with alarms set for 4:45.  Maybe it was the wine but we were both pretty relaxed and slept like babies all night.

Ok, I guess I slept a little better than AJ. Apparently I snored a bit a fair amount a lot.

Oops.  Sorry AJ.

Next post:  RACE DAY!!


  1. Pasta "feed" = um, no thank you. AND I think that it was why the DECC was so insane for packet pickup - leave it to ME to hit it just an hour prior to the feeding frenzy. Not my wisest moment.

  2. Yay! I love the beginning of your race recap. I want to hear allllll about it - so no apologies, even if you talk about it for the next month!

    I loved the banners for the town. That makes it seem so festive. And great choice on dinner. It looks to die for. And I think its hysterical that you use Google like a Magic 8 ball. Actually, its less hysterical and more brilliant. I may have to start doing that to rationalize my behavior :)

  3. Great recap so far! I have found the expo to be over-stimulating. I pick up my packet and leave. It's just too much! We ate at Little Angie's Cantina which was right across the street from our hotel. I, too, had a glass of wine! It's all good!

    Looking forward to another recap!

  4. Ha ha ha... that pasta feed bit is hilarious!! Oink oink. Do they shovel it all out in troughs? Kinda sounds a little fun, actually.

    Keep writing! I love hearing about this!

  5. I wonder: was the pasta feed more like the one we did pre-race at Vittorio's or more like shoveling the cooked pasta into troughs like the Hungry Heifer?


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