My sincerest apologies right from the get go here. Try as I might, I can not do this in one blog post. We’ve come far enough in our relationship here I do believe that you understand I lack a certain amount of brevity and to do this in one post would make this not a blog, but an online novel. So at the wise beyond her years suggestion of my sister Yoda (AKA RunSis), I’ll be breaking this up into parts to give you the full story because after following along all this time, you deserve nothing less (Plus then I get to drag out the fun of the marathon throughout my entire recovery week and continue to enjoy it).
So. The festivities of marathon weekend began on Friday. My parents, my girlies, and I all left shortly after my 4 year old and my mom got out of school (my mom’s a teacher, not really behind on her ABC’s or anything). We were running on a kind of tight schedule. I had somehow formulated this stellar plan, that we’d leave around 1PM, make the 3ish hour drive to Dayton, check into our hotel, sit down and have dinner at the nearby Olive Garden, scamper over to the expo to pick up our race packets and make it in plenty of time for my mom to get herself all warmed up and ready to go for her 5K at 6:30PM. Now maybe this sounds not entirely too intense of a schedule, but remember we were accompanied by an almost 2 year old and a 4 year old who, perhaps it goes without saying, but along with comes more than a little of the unexpected. (My husband, in case you’re wondering, had to work and made the trip down a little later).
By the time my parents pulled in the driveway, I had the bags packed and the girls ready to go (minus one last diaper change). All they had to do was add their luggage to the gear I had piled up to a near rear window obstruction level in the trunk (geez there’s a lot of gear to pack for a marathon…wait, maybe that was mostly for my teeny spectators).
Now, my dad drives. Period. He just always does. Before retiring he spent a lot of time working on road crews and he could probably successfully drive around the entire state of Michigan blindfolded were it not for you know, other cars, wild animals, and small children. So after my mom had climbed into the back and the girls were strapped into their respective car seats, he stood near the driver side waiting for the keys. “I’m drivin’” I told him. Which received that dad look. You know the one. The one that even when you are 32 years old with children of your own and it’s your car means something along the lines of “excuse me, but you might want to check yourself and what you just said.” That look. To which I replied, “I need to be in control right now” and then ran back into the house as quickly as possible to check one last time that I had everything. I grabbed one more sports bra and running top just in case. (In case of what, I’m not actually sure. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. And now that I think about it, I actually have no idea where that sports bra and running top are.)
But I did need to be in control. If something happened, and by something I mean literally anything, like a flat tire, one of my kids screaming their head off in the back seat, or even the world coming to an end (b/c you know, had that happened, I’d definitely been concerned about missing my marathon ;-), I wanted to be the one making the calls. That way I’d have no one to blame but myself should something go awry, even if that something awry had nothing to do with me driving. I realize this sort of makes no sense, but let me tell you, at the time, it totally did.
Fortunately, we got down there without a hitch. Only one “Mommy, I really really really got to go pee!” stop and not too much by way of traffic. But we still adjusted the schedule just a touch and skipped checking in at the hotel and headed straight for dinner. I’m not sure why exactly but sitting down and eating was EXTREMELY important to me. I didn’t want that night before the marathon meal to be rushed. It just felt like that would set the race off on the wrong foot. Somehow that meal was pre-race decompressing from all the anxiety leading up to the marathon.
Fortunately my sister agreed to check us in. (Her husband would be running the marathon too. His first. Woohoo!! More on Muffin Man to come) that way we wouldn’t have to mess with it later and could get right to bed following my mom’s race.
So it was straight to the good old Olive Garden for us. I wanted to stick with something I’d eaten from time to time pre-long run and being that we’re frequent fans of the OG near us, I figured the one in Dayton ought to be pretty much the same (Never thought I’d say this but, YAY! For restaurant chains and knowing pretty much exactly what you’re going to get ahead of time.) Plus I could get the girlies, plain noodles which I know sounds less than appetizing, but I’m pretty sure my kids could live off plain noodles and plain noodles alone. I’d seriously make it for them every night, if it didn’t turn my dining area into some kind of Italian pasta experiment gone massively wrong afterwards.
Noodles for them (and the floor). Shrimp Caprese and a little Bruschetta for me (and breadsticks, hence the picture)at the nicest Olive Garden I’ve ever been to. (Seriously. If you’re ever in north Dayton, check it out. It was fabulous.) Since it was only 4ish, when we sat down to eat and the big dinner crowds hadn’t arrived yet, we were in and out in a flash.
After dinner while I loaded the girls back into the car and my dad delighted them with those delectable little chocolate mints, my mom like some kind of superhero, went into the OG bathroom a school teacher and came out a running rock star. Then we were off to the expo and the race…
And that my friends is all you get for now. But there is oh so much more to come.
P.S. See I told you this wouldn’t be short. We’re not even at the expo yet. If you can’t stand the wait, go friend me on the daily mile and read my super short post on the marathon. And if you just want to know what the course is like, click here for my Racevine review. And to answer you’re question, no, I have no idea why all those slashes are in my review. I didn’t put them there.