Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Leigh For The Win

Last night we got home late for the millionth consecutive night.  Leigh got home before us, and I found these when I hauled sleeping Cooper in from his carseat...

That one's a keeper!

On a more running related note, I came across this article on my facebook feed, it links to this article from The Globe and Mail.  Both articles talk about iron stores (ferritin) and athletic performance and recovery.  I found out 6 days before running Ottawa that my ferritin level is very (VERY) low.  At the height of my taper I started to panic.  Was the fatigue I was feeling more then end of training cycle fatigue, was it fatigue that wouldn't be remedied by my taper, how would it effect my race?  As you know by now, the race went well...But I must admit that I wonder if my training and my race performance was effected.  What if, what if, what if??

Endurance athletes have higher iron needs then others due to a number of factors, with female endurance athletes even more at risk of iron depletion.  Iron loss through heavy sweating, GI issues, red blood cell destruction from heel strike hemolysis (red blood cell damage from repeated foot strike), and blood loss from menstruation all work together to make keeping iron levels up a losing battle.    I eat a fairly high iron diet, although most coming from non-heme sources like dark leafy greens, beans, whole grains, fortified cereal, and very little coming from heme sources like red meat.  But despite this my levels have tanked.  The articles talk about how low ferritin negatively effects energy metabolism, immune function, and brain processes, and other sources have talked about low ferritin slowing physical recovery from hard running efforts.

We are over 4 weeks out from Ottawa and I am still tired.  I was sick for a week.  My legs still feel heavy on many of my runs, and I am finding it tough mentally to push through.  It seems to be getting better, but recovery has been slow.  On the other hand, Leigh is back to normal...Or maybe better then normal.  I have reprimanded him several times over the last few weeks because he comes home from his runs reporting very very fast splits.  I have to reprimand him because running too fast to frequently is a sure fire way to end up injured and hanging out with Ben regularly, and because I'm jealous that I don't have that pep back in my legs.  So while Leigh is out running blazing fast training runs, you can find me eating spinach, downing iron supplements and slogging through until my legs decide to wake up.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Time I Ran So Fast The Stroller Exploded

Ok, so that's not entirely accurate.  On Wednesday morning I set my alarm for 6am so I could get my 60 minute run in before Leigh left for work.  I had worked nights Monday night and was some kind of tired, so when my alarm went off I promptly fell back to sleep, missing my opportunity for a solo run.  The boys and I headed out and did 6.24 miles in 60 minutes (a 9:40 pace...which for me is blazing fast with over 100 lbs of kids and stroller).

It was later on our trip to the park that the stroller handle partially broke.  I was optimistic at this point that it was fixable.  And then on the way home, this...

In case you can't tell, the entire handle is snapped off on one side.  The plastic joint is broken completely in two.  Very NOT fixable, and this stroller is no longer manufactured, so we could not replace the part.

Going without a jogger is simply not an option. Far more important then running with it...Walking with the boys in the afternoon is currently the only way (that I don't have to pay for gas for) that I can get this to happen...

And trust me...Everyone who is around Cooper from 4pm until bedtime NEEDS that to happen.  Lucas and I have also been enjoying our afternoon adventures while Cooper is having his nap...

So we first turned to kijiji where I spent hours looking for a new double jogger.  We went and looked at a couple and learned that either our kids are freaks freakishly tall, or most joggers are simply not built tall enough.  Even 2 year old Cooper looked something like this...

Remember when the Dodo's were taking Big Bird home on Follow That Bird and his head stuck out the top of the car?
So that's how we ended up with this little beauty.

My dad's 30 year old bike is photo bombing
And with some amazing luck and a mistake on the part of an employee at Speed River Bicycle we got a great deal on it.  We stopped by on the way to soccer last night to have a look and price things out.  We talked it over and decided to go for it.  When I went back today I learned that we were quoted the clearance price for a single version not the price of the double which was not on sale.  The stars aligned and the guy that was helping me was awesome, and honoured the price they quoted us.  So we are back on the road again, and (thank goodness) Cooper is back to napping.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Good Eats

The boys and I made a Costco run on Friday where we found these...

When we got home and I tried them I texted Leigh this photo and informed him that he would be lucky if there were any left by the time he got home.  They actually lasted until this morning when I polished off the bag when I got home from my night shift.  Best breakfast ever.   Because I want everyone to experience this little taste of heaven I thought I would share it with you here.  RUN to Costco and get yourself many bags of these.  You won't be sorry.

Here are a few other things being devoured around here these days.

We learned about Nuttzo from the gals over at Another Mother Runner.  We love peanut and almond butter so it was highly likely that Nuttzo would be a hit as well.  It is 7 nut and seed butter and it is awesome.  We found was the best deal.  We had some shipping issues and dealt directly with Danielle (the owner) who was amazing to deal with.  Fantastic product and fantastic customer service.

 These don't look like much...Well I guess they actually look sort of gross, but give them a chance.  These homemade Lara Bars are a snack staple.  Even the boys are crazy about them.  They start with ground almonds, flax or chia, coconut, and dates.  Then we add other ingredients mint extract, cocoa, and mini chocolate chips, or dried cranberries, dried apples and cinnamon are favourites.

Next in the lineup, these sideways cherry tomatoes (the photo is not cooperating and won't turn).  These are the sweetest cherry tomatoes ever, Lucas eats them like candy and they are so sweet Cooper thinks they are grapes.

 Summer requires popsicles, and these are TO DIE FOR.  We get them at No Frills.  Banana and Strawberry are by far our favourites.  We bought mango ones as well, but have been feeding those ones to the boys.

 Here's a little gander into the bottom drawer of our freezer.  The most important things in life, smoothie fruit and our ice cream maker bowl.

And now the fun stuff...

Eggs benedict and berries for father's day breakfast.  The boys 'helped' make breakfast, by helped I mean made a huge mess.  Usually eggs benedict is reserved for Christmas morning and Leigh is the usually the chef.  The kids and I should be on Masterchef.

I made Leigh's favourite cupcakes for our father's day shindig with my side of the family.  They are homemade (read; actually good) hostess copycats.  Instead of the trademark loopy icing I wrote dad, cause it was father's day...Get it!?!

And last but not least I made this Snickers Cake for Leigh's father's day celebration at home.  It was STUPID good.  Best cake ever.  Like so good that I sent the leftovers to work with Leigh on Monday morning to save me from myself.  Instead I just ate more Popcorners.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

I have the privilege of having the world's very best Dad's in my life. 

I grew up with a dad who made it clear in everything he did and still does that his family is the most important thing in the world.  The kind of dad who would hold hands with his little daughters and skip through a parking lot.  The kind of dad who would leave work early to make sure he was in the stands for a volleyball or basketball game.  The kind of dad who always opens the car door for his wife.  The kind of dad who knows how to work, and taught us how to work.  The kind of grandfather who plain and simple adores (ADORES!!!) his grandchildren.  The kind of grandfather who can get the kids riled up, but then somehow has the ability to make them go to sleep.  The kind of dad who 100 times out of 100 would make his own life more difficult to make sure his kids were happy, and safe, and knew they were worthwhile and loved.

I see my Dad's influence in the way my brother is with his 2 little girls.  I love to see my big (6'7") brother so tender with his little girls.  He's the kind of dad that so actively engages in playing Mary Poppins or Sound of Music because that is what is important to his daughter.  The kind of dad who bakes cookies with his daughters when mommy is out before bed time.  The kind of uncle who acts like a dad with our boys, who adores his nephews who adore him right back.

If you know my father in law, you know where Leigh learned how to be an amazing dad.  He's the kind of dad who is immediately and completely interested in whatever his kids are.  Knowing very little about sports he always made time to not only be at Leigh's games but be engaged and interested, to make his kids feel like the most important people on the planet.  The kind of dad who has made so many sacrifices to provide for his family.  The kind of dad who is patient and tender no matter what.  The kind of grandfather who glows when he is with his grandchildren.

And now my children are so blessed to have a dad who has taken so many of these things, and made them the fabric of who he is as a father.  He's the kind of dad will take an hour long bike ride that covers a distance of 1 mile so that Lucas can practice on his bike.  The kind of dad who coaches 4 year old soccer.  The kind of dad who teaches summer school so that his children can have a (mostly) stay at home parent.  The kind of dad who shows up at karate when we think he's going to be late at work.  The kind of dad who makes up the best bedtime songs and stories.  The kind of dad who can make an adventure out of anything.  The kind of dad who can be brought to tears with the pride he feels in his sons, and with the fear and uncertainty we can all face as parents.  The kind of dad who started from day one making sure his boys would grow up to be confident, capable, caring, compassionate, and considerate.  The kind of dad who quietly goes about being a dad, who quietly dedicates the whole of who he is to his family, who quietly is the hero to two very important little boys.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

We Did NOT Expect That.....

As Lexie posted about last week we are back on the training plan bandwagon as we prepare for the Sears Run in September (fundraising link). It is an ultra marathon training plan. For those interested, an ultra is defined as anything longer than a marathon. The plan is like a marathon training plan that Lance Armstrong would use on steroids. A few things that are new to us:

1) REALLY REALLY long runs. the longest run on this plan is 26 miles as opposed to the 22 miles on the last plan. I mean really? A marathon as a training run? That one will be tough.

2) No speed work. Because Ultras are all about spending time on your feet and making the distance, the training is less about getting faster and more about going long. This is good news for me because speed work never really was my strong suit, obviously.

3) Longer Taper. Simple; more time for your legs to recover to prepare to hit that 31 mile distance.

4) Timed Runs. All of the mid-week runs in this plan do not have distances attached to them but rather times. For example this week was: Monday - Rest, Tuesday - 45min-1hr easy, Wednesday - 45 minute Hilly run, Thursday - 1:15-1:30 easy, Friday - Off or XC, Saturday 10 Miles, Sunday - 1-hour medium effort run.

5) Recovery Runs. This is the one that killed us today. The plan has the long run on Saturdays. This is good because we always do our long runs on Saturdays anyhow. But a new addition is a 1 hour recovery run EVERY Sunday of the training plan. So after doing our 10-miler yesterday, we headed off today for our 1 hour recovery run with the stroller. It was super tough. My legs have never felt so dead on a run. I think it was a combination of the heat, tired legs, and only being 2 weeks out of the Marathon. Needless to say, neither of us expected that or will be looking forward to it for next week.

So our week 1 recap:

Monday: Lexie - 1 hour run, Leigh - 50 Minute run
Tuesday: Lexie - Cross Train, Leigh - Rest
Wednesday: Lexie - 1.5 hour run (9.5 miles), Leigh - 45 minute run
Thursday: Lexie - Rest, Leigh - 7 mile run
Friday: Lexie - 45 min. hilly run, Leigh - Rest
Saturday: Lexie - 10 miles, Leigh - 10 miles
Sunday: 1 hour family stroller run!

A good start to the first week of training and we both feel great!


Saturday, 8 June 2013

The One Where We Run....Far

I (Leigh) have been charged with writing our official Tamarack Ottawa Marathon race report. Lexie claims this is my job because I "am better at remembering the details" but we all know the truth is that spending an extra 28 minutes out on the course afford me the opportunity to observe much more than her. When you run as fast as she does, everything is just a blur. In my defense, I am in the faster than the average marathoner in my age group. Here is some proof:

Also, I beat the following celebrities: Ethan Zohn (Survivor winner), Oprah, Drew Carey, Al Gore, The Subway Guy, Katie Holmes (sans supportive undergarments), and Al Roker. In Al Gore's defense, it was really hot the day he ran, hotter than average.

Lexie is right, I do remember much more than her. On the drive back from Ottawa I kept say things like "Did you see some cool thing in some part of the race" and she would just reply "No, I must have been running too fast to see that" OK, that never happened, but I can't confirm or deny whether or not she thought it.

I'll start with race morning. We woke up bright and early (5:00 am). The race was starting at 7:00 am, it was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel, but there are certain types of business that needed to be taken care of before running long. We woke up, took care of business (several times) got dressed, filled our fuel belts with some combination of Gatorade, Nuun, Shot Bloks, and Honey Stinger Waffles. I also got a Facebook message from Tobey all the way Down Under that helped get me pumped up:

We stretched all the right muscles, took some pics (see below), and headed out the door. Lexie was smart and brought some garbage bags that we made into ponchos to keep us warm/dry (it was threatening to rain all morning). We expected to see some more poncho wearers but our style was clearly too exclusive.

One of the perks of stay at the Race Weekend host hotel was that all the elites were also staying there. On our way out of the hotel we saw a bunch of the elites, including the lady that won the marathon, which would be way cooler if I didn't run with olympians all the time.

We started making our way towards the start line from the hotel and we realized if the rain held off, it was going to be a perfect day for a run. It was cool, but not cold and just a little bit of wind. We got to the starting line, and to our luck found a port-a-potty with a short line. We pottied it up, not to be confused with partying it up, and made our way to the starting line. We were both in yellow corral (3:30-4:00 finish). For the sake of full disclosure I had no plans to run sub-4, but didn't feel like wasting time at the expo changing my bib number. We spent the next bunch of minutes waiting for the gun to go off, during which not much exciting happened other than some guy kept bending over to stretch and sticking his butt into me, but it kept my mind of the painful 26.2 miles starting me down.

The gun went and off we went!

Miles 1-5: My Legs are already tight and I make a rookie mistake.

I made a major running faux pas by wearing new running shorts on marathon day. I found some shorts with a built in compression shorts at MEC the day before the marathon after much searching and my coach Lexie said they should be fine to wear. They were great, but I had to spend the first half mile tightening them back up while running and slinging my fuel belt over my shoulder, it was fun!

The first 5 miles were along the Rideau Canal into the Little Italy section of Ottawa, it was a beautiful section of the run with great spectator support (much like the rest of the run). Given the nature of the taper my legs felt weird during this part of the marathon, not sore at all, but super tight. It eventually loosened up, and after that I felt great. I had no problem keeping my 9:45 minute per mile pace and managed to zone out for a bit. I was still worried about my knee, but my pace was good and the support was awesome. I didn't turn on my music until the halfway point so I really focused on soaking in the environment during these first few miles.

One of the best parts of these miles was the number of free high fives being given out. Lots of kids and adults were dishing out high fives, and seeing as I was running alone, I took as many as I could. There was also a series of funny signs including "Fast girls have good times" get it?

Miles 5-10: I love water stops, volunteers, and body glide

These miles were ones that I really zoned our for. They were through the Westboro neighbourhood in Ottawa. They crowds started to thin out around here and it was around this point I started to think that I might actually finish this thing. When those thoughts arose, I tried to push them back. I'm not a very superstitious person, but I wanted to be able to focus on the moment and not think too far ahead, because there were many miles still to come. Near the end of this section of the race we started to run along the Ottawa River. It got a little colder at this point, but the scenery was beautiful. I spent 2km near the 9-10 mile mark looking for Lexie amongst the faster runners that had turned around and were heading back the other way along the Ottawa River. I had no luck, but it was a great way to waste 15 minutes.

The spectators continued to be amazing through these miles. Lots of cheering and entertaining signs. It was also around this point that I started to hit up the water stops. This race had THE BEST water stops ever. Each water stop had lots of tables with Gatorade and water. The Gatorade and water tables were separated from each other and the volunteers were AH-MAZING at advertising which was which. But the best two parts of the water stops were; 1) The volunteers handing out the water were also fantastic cheerleaders. At least 5 volunteers at each stop would say something encouraging to me as I ran by and it was a huge pick me up. I can't say enough about how great they were. Volunteers really do make a race and we were so grateful for them. These were the best we have ever seen at a race 2) The water stops had tables on both sides of the road. This meant that if you did want water/Gatorade you could choose the side that had the least traffic. But more importantly, if you didn't want water, you could just continue to run through the middle of the road and not worry about the usual congestion that happens around this point of a race.

Miles 10-15: They told me this course was flat!

Around mile 10 we turned around and started heading East along the Ottawa River. At this point I figured that I was probably near the back of the pack, then I got a chance to see that there were in fact a large number of people behind me, which was slightly calming. I took in the sights of the Ottawa River to my left and tried to ignore the rolling hills that were making my legs start to feel funny. Around mile 13 we headed over the Ottawa River and into Gatineau/Hull (Ottawa is the only marathon that runs in two provinces!). Hitting the halfway point was huge as I knew I had been able to hold a good pace and I still felt strong. My injured knee was starting to hurt a bit, but as my hero Ben told me, that was an inevitability. All I can say about miles 13-15 is that given the sample we saw during our run, I don't see myself ever returning to Gatineau, unless I'm running through it again, hopefully at a much faster clip.

Mile 13 is also where I decided I would put my music on to try and break up the run a bit. Luckily this little ditty was blasting through Gatineau and made it more exciting.

Around Mile 15 I realized I was really going to be able to get it done. I'm not sure I really believed that beforehand, but I knew now that even if I had to walk, I was going to become a marathoner, and that was a pretty special feeling.

Mile 15-20: Crying Makes Running Hard

As we exited QC and headed back into Ontario, I was feeling great, pace was still right on target and I started to think about goals. I wasn't sure if sub 4:20 was a goal, or sub 4:15. I decided on sub 4:15 because it would force me to push a little harder. It was also at this point that I decided I was not going to walk. NO. MATTER. WHAT. It was at this point in the race I started to get a little lonely. I thought a lot about the boys and I knew I would need to think of them to make it through to the end. As we turned to head across the Alexandria Bridge I saw two boys, around the same age as mine, sitting in a jogging stroller cheering. I smiled at them, and then something weird happened. With no notice, I got teary and choked up. I heard marathons were emotional, but I didn't expect it that early in the race. I actually said to myself out loud "you can't run and cry at the same time" so I pushed the emotion back and was rewarded with this view:

Miles 15-20 were some of the most beautiful of the course. We ran across the bridge above with some beautiful views of the Parliament Buildings, along Sussex Dr past the Canadian Mint and the Prime Minister's residence and past some more beautiful views of the Ottawa River.

This point was also where the pain really started to set in. My knee was predictably sore and the general fatigue of the race was setting in. At one point we could see some faster marathoners coming back the other way and they also looked very uncomfortable. Shared misery is a comforting thing, if that makes any sense.

As I neared mile 20 I was excited, I knew I could do a 10k no matter what and I was pretty pumped to hit a personal distance record. The pain was constant, but I just embraced it and focused on my music. My pace dropped into the 10 min/mile range for a couple of miles in here when the real pain started, but I was able to pick it back up again after a while. I was going to do this thing!

Mile 20-25: The Mantra

The spectator support waned a bit between mile 18 and 20, but it picked up right after mile 20 and didn't let up for the next 10km (including some guy a bear costume!) and it was much needed. I wanted to push through this part and try and get sub 4:15 but my body was starting to revolt. My brain kept saying "Hey, just walk a little, its fine" and you know what I said?

They say every marathoner needs a mantra near the end. Not to get too sappy, but mine was simply "Cooper". When I wanted to walk I just said his name and thought of the pain he has endured and it gave me the push I needed.

I was sore, but running strong through to mile 23. My confidence was high and I was excited to be so close to being done. Just as I though about kicking it up into another gear, something scary happened. Cramps. Where you ask? EVERY-FREAKING-WHERE. My groin, my hamstrings, my quads, my calves. Because I was feeling so good at mile 21, I had emptied my fuel belt bottles and figured I could just drink at water stations. Bad plan, I needed electrolytes and I needed them ASAP and I had none. So I took my last piece of food out of my shorts, a Honey Stinger Waffle. I was a little sick of sugar at this point and thought something a little more solid might be a good source of electrolytes. WRONG! I put it in my mouth them spit it out everywhere. It was dry and made me want to VERP. So I just kept running until I hit water stations. The cramping wasn't constant so I would slow a bit when it hit and then let is pass then kick the pace back up again when it subsided. To combat it I drank 3-4 cups of Gatorade at each of the water stations I hit in the last 3ish miles and it seemed to keep the cramping somewhat at bay. The pace dropped slightly during miles 23-25 but I still felt okay. Oddly enough when the cramping started my knee pain diminished. That, I was not complaining about.

Marathoners often speak about "The Wall". Neither Lexie or I really experienced this, other than our brains telling us to slow down or walk. Why? Candy, it does the body good.

Mile 25: Where did all these people come from?

The marathon had stayed pretty thinned out for most of the race. I was running with the same people for most of it and there were maybe 6 or so of us in a given 100m span. Until mile 25 that was. One of the only complaints I have about this race was that in the last 2 miles the marathon and half marathon merged. This was bothersome on two levels. One being that it got clogged with runners doing a slightly slower pace (2:15ish Half Marathoners) which caused me to duck and weave for the last mile or so. It also made it harder for me to get my Gatorade because the water stations were busier. Second, some of the half marathoners were pushing hard in the last mile, which was mostly annoying because I was jealous I didn't have any more energy to push with. Mile 25 was a repeat of mile 1, so I just put my head down and focused on pushing as hard as a could to the finish. I just kept telling myself, "You can do anything for a mile".

The last .2

This is the part of the race where I really allowed myself to soak in the fact that I was about to do something stupid awesome and become a marathoner. I started to get a little emotional again as I scanned the crowd for Lexie. She was going to try to see my finish but the finish line was pretty locked down, presumably due to the events at the Boston Marathon. Luckily for me, she didn't make it. My crying face is not conducive to a beautiful finish line photo. I pushed with everything I had down the chute and in another example of poor race etiquette stopped running the second I crossed the line. But I had done it, finished my first Marathon, ran the whole time, and stayed under 10 minute miles. To say I was please would be like saying Lucas likes watermelon. In other words a HUGE understatement.

The End

Because of the tight finish line security it took a while for me to get out of the finish line area and to the pre-ordained meeting spot Lexie and I had decided upon. I gathered my space blanket, my medal from a super nice lady, and worked my way out of the finishers area.

When I got to our meeting point I assumed (correctly) that Lexie had gone to the finish line to watch for me and was stuck in the crush of spectators on her way back to meet me. I checked my phone and answered a few text messages. Because there were so many people the internet on my phone wouldn't cooperate as I desperately tried to determine Lexie's time.

About 15 minutes later she arrived. We both beamed at each other. We had achieved a goal we had both worked so hard and sacrificed for. Lexie cried when we locked eyes. I was wearing sunglasses, so there is no proof of me shedding any tears. We hugged, shared our times, giggled like little school girls and started to walk SLOOOOOOWLY back to our hotel.

We had done it, and we already knew we were going to do it again.

Monday, 3 June 2013

We Have a Plan

Seven days...Seven whole days with no training plan, no chart on the fridge bossing me around, no mental checkmarks after my morning run...I missed my training plan.  Don't know how I survived those 7 days.  We are just under 16 weeks away from The Sears Great Canadian Run so even though we are still recovering from our marathon, it's time to get back in the saddle and back on a training plan.  Finding a 50K training plan is not like finding a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, or even a marathon plan.  They are few and far between, with most of the information out there being guidelines on how to develop your own training plan.  We did find this plan, and decided that it works for us.  It eases us in to (very) long (20+ miles) runs slowly which we are hoping will allow us enough time to fully recover.  We will be tweaking it a little, flip flopping a couple of runs and adding some miles to make it work around our vacation, but this is the one.

Headed out this morning for an easy 45 to 60 minutes (obviously I did 60 mins...I have issues).  Felt good to be back.

Check #1 of 50K training.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Ottawa Marathon Weekend-Part 1

Every day this week I have thought about how I wish we could go back and live last weekend again and again.  The question is, is running a marathon that much fun, or is it like having a baby; once it's over you forget the pain and only then decide you want to do it again? 

Our weekend started off with obsessive, and excessive packing, and double checking, and adding a lot of extra (just in case items).  We ditched dropped off the kids with my mom and we were on the road by 2 pm, FINALLY Ottawa race weekend was underway.  

Naturally we spent much of the car ride chatting about the race, our goals, and our expectations.  Definitely a lot of nervous chatter as we geared up to face a huge challenge and make a (literal) run at a long term goal.  One potty stop, 2 This American Life podcasts, and a whole bunch of carbo loading candy later we arrived at Ottawa City Hall.  Trouble was, the race expo was not in fact at Ottawa City Hall, but rather at the Ottawa Convention Centre...Oops.  Our walk over to the Convention Centre afforded us the opportunity to check out the start of the marathon route, and the finish area, and to pose for some festive photos.

Leigh and his running buddy (or the Olympian he sees for a split second on the trail on occasion)

We arrived at the expo, and then things got real.  We picked up our bibs and not only did they say "marathon" on them, but they officially assigned us to the yellow (3:30-4hr) corral.  Next we got our shirts and they said marathon on them too.  It would seem we were in it for the long haul.  We only faced one minor glitch, Leigh was registered as a 0 year old, he didn't seek to change this in the hopes that he could place ahead of the other infant runners and win his age group.  We walked around the expo briefly before deciding we needed to go check in at our hotel and get some grub.

Chimo Hotel was not what it's 3 1/2 star rating, and positive internet reviews led us to believe it would be.  This place was a dive.  Luck was on our side and the employee at the desk was very understanding, he checked us out of the hotel and called Priceline to request that they refund us.  We were homeless for the weekend, but not for long.  We were also lucky to find that the Marriot that was the official race hotel still had a room!  So off we went on our merry way and got an awesome, huge, quiet corner room.

By then we were starving!  We (of course) had done our internet restaurant research, and headed to The Smoque Shack.  It sure didn't look like much from the outside...

But it was a whole different story on the inside.  This place was OUTSTANDING.  What looked from the outside like a tiny hole in the wall sort of place was in fact spacious and very nicely finished.  Even better then the space, was the food.  We ranked it right up there with our favourite NYC restaurant, another amazing BBQ place, Blue Smoke.  Our phone photography certainly doesn't do the food justice...

I'm pretty sure that thoughts of going back for a repeat of the Mac and Cheese you see in the top right corner carried me though miles 21 to 26.2.

We hit up Menchies like carbo loading was our job and headed back to the hotel and off to bed.

We started Saturday with the very last run on our training plan, listed as a "very easy 3 miles."  Very easy indeed as you can see by all the pictures we stopped to take.  I think we stopped more times then Lucas does on a 10 minute bike ride.

We hit Stone Faced Dolly's for brunch (the ricotta blueberry pancakes were awesome), mec for some race fuel, a quick trip back to the expo, and back to the hotel for what else...

After a few episodes of Flashpoint and a good rest for our legs we headed out for dinner.  Our traditional pre-race dinner is pizza and The Grand came highly recommended, it did not disappoint.

We were concerned that Menchies might go out of business without us, so we made a quick froyo stop, and then walked over to watch some of the 10K race.  It was difficult to get to the finish line (increased security??) so we headed back to the hotel and packed it in for a fitful nights sleep.