Saturday, September 26, 2009

The day (and night) before the (half) marathon

I sort of borrowed this title from Laura, so thanks, Laura, for the theme idea. :)

This afternoon my mother and I drove up to Bellingham for the Bellingham Bay Marathon (and half) tomorrow. Bellingham is only about an hour north of where we live, but the race does start at 7:30 a.m., so it's nice to be up here in advance.

Before going to the hotel we went directly to the number pick-up and race expo at the Hampton Inn by the airport. It's not a huge expo like Victoria or Vegas (in fact they don't even call it an expo, that was my term), but they had a number of booths and some browsing was clearly in order.

After I got my number, chip, and shirt my mom and I wandered through the vendors wares. We were both taken with a shirt that said "gotta run"--so we got one for me and one for my sister.

I was drawn to a Nathan gel belt in pink and grey, so I got one as a fashion alternative to my ubiquitous black waist pack.

My mom, in the meantime, was checking out a rack of $15 polarized sunglasses. After a lot of trying on, we each got a pair, me for running with my contacts in and her for driving in glaring conditions.

Then I spotted a rack of Spi-belts. I have read so much about these, all of it good. I really wanted something to carry my ipod in races where my pants don't have an ipod pocket and I don't want to wear a big contraption. They didn't have plain black, so I ended up getting one with a hot pink zipper and 13.1 printed on the pouch. We also got a rust-colored one (no logo) for my sister so she could carry her phone more easily on walks.

Then we escaped before any more money was spent.

Back to south Bellingham, where we checked in to the Fairhaven Village Inn. I was a little disappointed that morning coffee is not out till 7 (which is too late), but I was able to get an in-room coffee-maker (the last one they had!) so that was all right.

Our room is huge, and includes this little reading area (in picture) in the corner. We look onto the Village Green. The rooms on the other side overlook the water, but I chose this one for the better rate (plus we can look at the water anytime at my parents' house). We sat in these chairs to enjoy our first afternoon snack of tea and coffee (brought up from the library sitting room downstairs) and a piece of Pear Zucchini bread I brought along.

After an hour or so we decided to venture out and try to find breakfast for early tomorrow morning. We were successful at the Avenue Bread (more on that tomorrow), which also appears to be the source of the great bread at the 15K two weeks ago. We also got a chocolate chip cookie to share for another snack. :)

Before returning to the hotel, though, I wanted to locate a destination for dinner. A few blocks away I spotted Mambo Italiano (where we ate before the 15K twoyears ago). Just to be safe, I went inside to check on reservations. Good thing I did! The hostess told me they were overbooked, but she could get us in with just two. So I made a reservation for 7:15.

Then we hustled back to the hotel for a couple hours of rest time, magazine reading, more tea from the lobby, and our chocolate chip cookie (which wasn't very big at all when split in half!).

At 7:00 we headed out to walk the few blocks (uphill) to the restaurant. Thanks to the reservation we were seated almost immediately in a little booth. The only disadvantage to our seat in the front of the restaurant was the proximity to the door. At first it was still propped open from the day, which was VERY chilly, but even when they closed it we were still blasted with a draft every few minutes as the door opened and closed with comers and goers.

I was quite hungry, and fell on the bread basket as soon as it arrived. Usually I try not to eat too much bread...but I excused it in the name of carbing up. It was good bread, dense but soft, rather than chewy.

After some amount of indecision, I ordered seafood puttanesca and a side salad. My choices were somewhat limited because I didn't want a creamy sauce--no matter how deeelicious the dish sounded. I made that rule a year ago, after the Maine half. I had a delicious lobster pasta dish, probably alfredo or something similar. It didn't make me sick or anything, but I've always suspected that the creamy pasta contributed to my slightly slower than expected finish!

So I stuck to my tomato-based puttanesca. I ate all the seafood (salmon, prawns, mussels, clams) and about half the fettucine. The rest of it traveled back to the hotel and is now tucked into the ice chest for a snack tomorrow.

I've laid out my race number, gear, and clothes for tomorrow (though I still haven't decided among the three long-sleeved shirts I brought). We have a wake-up call for 5:25 and my phone is set for 5:30. I've checked the directions a couple times to confirm the race starts at 7:30 (remembering the almost-mishap in Las Vegas).

Now I am in bed watching Broadcast News. I've always loved that movie! (Best line*--Albert Brooks: "...and I'm in love with you...How do you like that? I buried the lead.") (Well, that and the shadow puppets. :) Lots of commercials on KVOS though. Hoping to get tomorrow's weather forecast soon, help me decide what shirt to wear.

*Actually, there are a lot of great lines in this movie.

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