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.