Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thrifty Thursday for June!

I'm BAAAAaaaaack!  Now that I have finally started to settle into the routine of work, training for my races (like PA Ragnar this weekend--EEEK!) and cross training I can finally add blogging back into the mix.  I've missed thrifting so much, but still totally worth what little free time I have left.  So since I missed May, here is an extra long entry with my finds!!

Love a good, bright long sleeved running shirt.  It makes it easier to stand out during races and can be super fun to wear casually too.  
Nike Dri-Fit Knit Epic Crew:  Originally $85, paid $10.

I didn't really understand wearing wool on winter runs until I got a wool nike hoodie while thrifting when I first started getting into thrifting as a hobby.  Now if I find it (and if it fits) I love to stock up on it!!  
Nike Dri-Fit Wool Hoodie:  Originally $90, paid $6.50!!

Case in point:  Icebreaker.  It is a fantastic brand based out of New Zealand.  Everything is super lightweight and made really well.  This jacket had a tiny hole in it that looked like it had been cut with scissors.  Enter my sewing skills:  I just sewed it up with some purple thread and now it's barely even noticeable!!  
Icebreaker Victory Long Sleeve Zip:  Originally $150, paid $7!!!

Love a good shade of purple.  All the seams make me a little nervous that it might chafe on long runs, but still worth a shot!  
Athleta Run On Tank:  Originally $39, paid $9.

Support tanks:  Not just super convenient, but SO comfy when done right.  (I don't really wear them for running, but it's great for a day outside working in the yard!)  
Athleta PR Tank:  Originally $59, paid $9.

Purses are one of those things where I am mostly fearless because it is actually so easy to clean them.  Most leather bags you can toss into soapy water for a soak, and liners can be pulled out for a good scrubbing.  Then you can stuff it with towels to reshape it while it dries.  Once dry, you can use a leather conditioner to bring the leather back to life.  (Take note, this is the quick way to clean a leather bag.  Your mileage may vary based on the condition of the bag when you get it.)  With this one it's in mostly good shape (except for some minor issues) and the leather still has that lovely leathery smell.  
Fossil Hayden Satchel in Berry:  Originally $218, paid $9.

CW-X makes great compression leggings, but they are always so expensive that they can be cost prohibitive.  Until I find them while thrifting in amazing shape.  
CW-X Pro Tights:  Originally $115, paid $10.

Two pairs of CW-X leggings in my size in the same trip?!  Yes, please!  
CW-X Stabilyx 3/4 tights:  Originally $95, paid $10.

I really enjoy Lululemon's clothes, but have a hard time justifying the price.  And I've never set foot in a Lululemon store.  It can be hard to find the right size while out thrifting, but when you do it is so worth it!  
Lululemon Method Wrap: Originally $118, paid $15.

Anyone find anything good while thrift shopping?  Or racing this weekend??  I have my first Road Ragnar this weekend in Pennsylvania!  (I am so nervous!  I'm going to be running over 17 miles and I've never run that far before, even if it is stretched out over about 24 hours with the entire relay being nearly 40 hours.)  

Friday, May 5, 2017

2017 Blue Ridge Half Marathon Race Recap!

I lived in Southwest Virginia for almost 7 years.  Every year this race came around it made the local news and even after becoming a runner I thought "I could never do that race."

Then I applied for a race ambassadorship and got into the program, which included free race entry to the distance of your choice.  

And I signed up for the half marathon.

The second I completed the transaction and got the confirmation email I started freaking out.  The race is touted as "America's Toughest Road Marathon."  (So naturally the shorter distance races are also ridiculously tough.)  Then I was reminded of this quote:

When I went to the DC RnR expo, fortunately there was a booth for this race.  In the short time I had, I spoke with the race rep and he essentially said that it's a great race, but don't expect to PR.  That made me feel a whole lot better, especially after seeing that there was a 6 hour cut off time for the race.

Shortly after that conversation and looking at (and playing with) the race map, I decided to set my goal time of under 3 hours.  It's 35 minutes more than my half marathon PR, and allowed for a generous 13:43 pace.

Before I knew it, I was packing my bag to head down for race day.  The weather wasn't looking great and called for rain so I told my husband I would drive down to the race without him.  I asked my Oiselle teammates for advice on what to wear and I was pretty insistent on wearing a rain jacket.  They basically talked me out of that and into wearing my singlet, capris, a hat and arm sleeves.  I was skeptical, but took their advice and was so glad I did.  I threw everything into a bag and started the 4 hour drive to Roanoke.

The expo for the race was small just as expected.  First you walk through the lines outside to get your bib, which went really fast.  Along with my bib I was handed a ticket to receive my free Farm to Feet wool socks.

Inside the expo after passing a Roanoke tourism table, you immediately saw an area for Foot Levelers to perform an analysis of your feet.

I actually opted against the foot analysis.  I am currently fighting plantar fasciitis.  I don't need somebody else to tell me what to do to help it because it's actually starting to get a lot better through massage and wearing proper footwear.

I walked past that and got my free socks in the Roanoke style.  (Farm to Feet is a company in Mount Airy, NC and all the styles of socks are named after cities in southwest Virginia and North Carolina.)

Then I headed up the stairs to the left to get my shirt!

The shirt is super soft and I love the design!  (However the fabric is a little thin.)

My race shirt, socks and bib!

 The back of the shirt.  (The shirt did not photograph well by itself--the top picture is a better representation of the color.  But it does show how see through the fabric is!  Fortunately while on it was not that obvious.)

Afterwards I headed to the other side of the building and checked out the race merchandise being sold by Fleet Feet Roanoke.  There was a good range of items at different price points--mugs and stickers to hoodies, posters and hats.  They also had the basics for sale just in case you forgot anything at home.

Since it was getting late in the day, I decided to head to one of my favorite restaurants (Macado's) and get some carry-out for dinner.  I got one of my favorite sandwiches and a bag of pretzels and headed to my hotel to start winding down for race day.

I brought in all my bags and immediately turned on the tv and found a movie on television to watch while eating my sandwich on the big comfy bed.  It was basically the perfect way to spend the evening after a long drive and before a long race.

There was one problem though:  I just could not get into the race mentally.  I was there physically, I had everything I needed, but I did NOT want to do it.  The weather kept going back and forth between rain and thunderstorms.  But I kept telling myself:  "You made this drive.  You are doing this race.  You may not PR.  But you will finish.  You've got this."

After eating I laid out my clothes and confirmed I had everything I could possibly need and then some.   

I was ready as I would ever be for this race.  Soon after taking the picture I moved everything over, set my alarm, and went to sleep.  It would be a long day.

The next morning I woke up feeling well rested and somewhat ready to race.

At 6:30 I hopped into my car and headed to the Elmwood Park Garage.  I was definitely nervous about the parking situation especially when having to navigate the street closures, but quickly felt relieved when we came upon the 3rd level and there was plenty of parking left!  (That's one thing I miss--parking is always plentiful and usually free in SWVA!)

After parking and taking a couple deep breaths I got out of my car and walked the short distance to Elmwood Park.  (Seriously.  It was like a 5 minute walk.)  I then got my bearings of where everything was and made my way to the VIP area.  (Being a blogger sometimes has its advantages--along with the free entry to the race, the organizers gave me access to the VIP area!)  One of the perks of the VIP area was pre-race snacks!

And the view was pretty sweet too despite the cloudy morning!

Oh, and of course there was access to the inside of the library.  And more importantly:  THE BATHROOMS!  YOU GUYS!!!  I HAD ACCESS TO REAL BATHROOMS!!!

And I took full advantage of that.

I also took advantage of the chance to meet some of the other bloggers for the race.  One person was attempting the double marathon and had just finished her first loop when I came out on the patio.  I heard her say the Mill Mountain star was all lit up that night and I can only imagine how awe-inspiring it was to see that bright star up close.

At about 7:20 I made my way to the starting line for the 7:35 start time.  All three races that day were set to start at the same time.  There was a 10k, half marathon, and full marathon.  (The few people running the double marathon were set to start their second loop of the full marathon with everyone else.)

At this moment it got real.  OMG.  I was about to start the country's toughest race.

Brave face.

I totally accidentally took this picture while walking to the start, but it was so appropriate for how I felt.
Game on, Guys.  Game.  On.

The first mile or so was pretty easy.  Then we hit the beginning of Mill Mountain.  Not a hill.  Legit MOUNTAIN.

My face in that picture seriously says it all.  The humidity was insane because of the impending rain.  It was also feeling a little warm.  I was SO happy to not have worn a jacket.  My legs were screaming "WHAT IS GOING ON?!  WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?!"  Then as we started to hit a little plateau, a weird thing happened as my feet started to level out with the road.  This huge wave of relief hit my legs.  Then I had to keep going up.

When I finally saw the back of the Mill Mountain star, I felt like the worst had passed.  It was the longest incline of the whole race, and I had made it to the top of the mountain I had driven past so much.  And the sky appeared for just a little while.

We then made our way around to the front of the star.  It was simply breathtaking to see that star upclose. 

And then of course there was also the view of the Roanoke Valley.

At this point one of my Oiselle teammates caught up with me.  It made that downhill so much easier.  That whole climb to the top I kept contemplating downgrading to the 10k and sending my husband a text saying I was having a hard time.  But then when my fellow bird caught up with me and helped get my mind off of the race, it made life so much easier.  Soon we had to part ways and I continued on the Roanoke River Greenway.

The rest of the race was a blur and mentally cursing every single incline.  And getting passed by the top marathoners.  (Remember:  They left at the same time as everyone else.  So these guys were seriously fast.)  The rain finally came during miles 7.5 to 10 and it was perfect timing.  It wasn't too heavy (the trees also helped deflect some it) and came just as I was really starting to feel warm.

Soon we were back in the city and I was headed down to the finish line.  I could hardly believe it.  There was nobody around.  It was my chance to finally do a great finish line picture by myself.  (Everytime I try to go for one, somebody gets in front of me or sticks an arm out blocking me.)  

Head up, wings out!

Afterwards I got my medal and made a couple rounds through the snack line.  (They kept putting out new things--the first time I went through they only had bananas and water.  Then they put out granola bars.)  Once I finished my banana and bottle of water #1, I remembered I still had VIP access.  So I made my way back to the balcony and got coffee along with a few more snacks.  After chatting with a few other VIPs, I realized the time and had to get back to my hotel and on the road home.  On the way back to my car, I saw that some pizzas had been delivered to the snack table and grabbed a couple slices for lunch on the drive home.  

Somehow I managed to pack up all my stuff, get a quick shower and check out with 4 minutes to spare.  Once I got into my car I took a few minutes to eat my pizza, check my email and text with my husband letting him know that I was about to head home.  Just as I pulled out of my parking space, the rain started.  It was perfect timing, however it rained the entire drive home.  Once I arrived back home and comfortable, I saw a message from a friend showing me this post on the race's Facebook page.

I couldn't believe it.  I had finished about 2 hours before this happened, but was leaving the city just as they were starting to pull the runners.  I heard a lot of runners kept going, but many also just accepted their fate and got on the buses.  I was so thankful to be able to finish the race.

Post race recovery was definitely tough.  On Saturday I could walk fairly normally.  Sunday I felt very stiff and even just stepping off a curb made me wince.  (We won't talk about stairs.)  I massaged my quads as much as I could with my tiger tail roller, but that could only do so much.  I couldn't walk normally until the following Wednesday.  (Which worked out perfectly since I had to leave for my Ragnar Trail race the next day.)

Overall, I would totally do this race again.  It was worth every moment of agony going up every mountain.  The crowds were fabulous, the volunteers were wonderful and the views made it all completely worth it even if they were obscured to some extent by the rain and clouds.  It's also kind of amazing to have the ability now to say "I ran the country's toughest half marathon!"  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Boston Marathon Weekend: Marathon Monday!!

The day started with waking up to my roommate's alarm.  Then my alarm.  Then her alarm.  Then my alarm again.  (I usually have 2 alarms--one telling me to wake up and another telling me when I have to be out the door.  That alarm is set to go off every Monday since it's the one day I have to get up extra early.)  Since my roommate had 2 different options to get to the race, she set two alarms--one for the early shuttle with the Hyland's athletes, and a second to get to the race with everybody else.  She ended up getting up at the first alarm and leaving when my second alarm went off.  At that point I sat up and said bye to her and got ready to go out on my own run.  Just a quick 5k or as much as I could squeeze in during the time I had before my commuter train to Wellesley Square.  The night before I quickly plotted a route to Boston Common (5 miles) but then that morning I realized there wasn't enough time so I decided to run from the hotel to the finish line area and back.  Naturally, I had to take lots of pictures during the run.

Had to get to the Citgo sign!

 Love this!

 The very last turn in the race!!

The Boston Fire Department 

The final stretch of the race!

And of course another stop by the Citgo sign!  It was warm already by this point.

It was so incredibly amazing to get to see the course just before the race started and all the last minute preparations that go into it.  Seeing all the police officers walking around already and others getting their morning briefing.  All the other runners taking pictures and just enjoying the run before the insanity of the day set in.  The sox fans getting to the bars nice and early for the game.  The air was abuzz with the excitement and it was a great feeling to be in Boston on MARATHON MONDAY!

After sprinting back to the hotel and taking the fastest shower EVER I managed to get to the commuter train with three minutes to spare!!  Once in Wellesley Square, I joined Lesko and Heather from the Oiselle main office (or "the Nest" to us Volee members!) and a couple other birds to start cheering.  

That's me to the left in the purple bird tank top and galaxy print tights! 
(Picture from the Oiselle blog)

It was so much fun cowbelling for all the runners!  We got to see so many of my favorite elites!!

The eventual winner of the women's wheelchair division, Manuela Schar!

"Wait, did that guy just blow a snot rocket?"
(looks at picture)

That's Tatyana McFadden in the middle!  This is the closest picture I got of her because I was cheering for her once she got closer.
(She came in fourth in the women's wheelchair division.)

After watching more of the wheelchair division pass by, we saw a police escort start to come through along with a pickup truck with a clock facing the runners.  It could only mean one thing--the runners were coming!  First were the elite women.

That's Olympian Des Linden wearing the white rimmed sunglasses towards the front and Jordan Hasay (her marathon debut) bringing up the rear.

After a few more women runners and another police escort, the elite men came through.

The men's elite group!  Galen Rupp is in the middle of the group wearing a white hat and singlet.

Then Jared Ward passed by with Meb coming up behind.

The man, the legend.  MEB!  Can't believe this was his last Boston Marathon and I'm so honored to have been able to see him run part of it.

The story behind this man is incredible!

Michael Wardian came through looking strong! 

Shortly after Michael Wardian passed by us, the rest of the runners began coming through.  I was so excited to get to see so many Oiselle birds running the race and it was even more exciting since I knew so many of them at this point.  (Seriously, read Heather's post.  It's pretty awesome.)

Once my roommate's wave started I kept checking my phone to try and estimate when she would pass by us.  I looked at her splits and estimated it would be between 12:40 and 12:50--the last possible second I could stay to watch because I needed to be on the 1:10 commuter rail train back to Boston to catch my flight.  At about 12:45ish, she passed us!!  I screamed for her and then another bird saw her friend and was ready to go too.  So Laura, the Canadian bird who is 10 years younger and twice as beautiful, and I started to head to the commuter rail station that was so close, yet so far.

Because we needed to cross the street.  (Did not think this one through.)  We started walking down the street to find an opening and asked a policeman if he knew of how we could get across.  He didn't have any useful information so we kept walking to the closest water stop.  Fortunately there was a gap there so at an opening we dashed across.  Naturally being so graceful, I slipped on some cups and nearly took a runner down with me while I'm yelling "I'm sorry!  I'm so sorry!"  Laura and I then ran to the station and made it there in time.

And then we waited.

And waited.

Laura checked how much an Uber would cost--$35 at this point.  Not terrible, but we decided to see what happens with the train.  We had time.  (But it was fleeting because it was after 1:00, and I had a 5:30 plane to catch.)

Then while waiting we noticed a sign saying the trains were only on one set of tracks.  Other passengers argued over which side the train would be on and Laura and I opted to go on an overpass to watch for it.  After 40 minutes passed, a train finally appeared.  I yelled out "OUTBOUND!  IT'S ON THE OUTBOUND SIDE!!!" and everybody on the inbound side and on the overpass ran to the outbound side.  

Then the train arrived and it wasn't that packed looking.  But they weren't letting anybody on.  And they let about half a dozen people off.  And the train sat there for what felt like an eternity (could've been 5 minutes, maybe 10.  At that point I just knew I was really upset along with everybody else on the platform and freaking out because I had a 5:30 plane to catch.)

Laura checks her phone for an Uber.  $100.

Commence cursing in my head wondering what we would do.  (But instead stuffing my face with a protein bar to keep from being mean.)  After a few minutes we checked again how much an Uber would cost:  $160.

After some pacing and a few of us putting our heads together, Laura called the MBTA Customer Service line.  She repeats the stuff the representative is saying to her, meanwhile myself and another woman are trying to figure out how close the nearest subway stop was.  Four miles.  Okay, we could run that.  But one of the ladies with us didn't feel confident about it.  So we looked at how much an Uber would cost.  $15.  Between myself, Laura and the other woman, it was $5 a head.  Boom.  Done.  So Laura called the Uber to meet us at a nearby apartment building and we rode almost the whole way to the subway stop.  While in the car I got the best possible email:  My flight was delayed.  By an hour.  SWEET RELIEF!  I could actually make my flight now!

While in the car, the other woman in the Uber with us tells us how she's never seen her husband twice on the course but has always wanted to surprise him.  Since the streets were closed, our driver asks a parking attendant for the hospital next to the subway station how to get to the subway and the attendant says "Oh you better hurry!  They're getting ready to close the subway!"  So now cue the freaking out and extra urgency to get back to the city.  

The Uber lets us off as close as he can get to the subway stop because of the closed roads and wishes us luck.  We head down the hill and see the marathoners running and the woman yells out "OH MY GOD!  THAT'S MY HUSBAND!"  And she starts jumping and yelling his name!  They both look surprised and overjoyed to see one another.  He then comes over with his guide and says that he was really struggling at this point and we told the pair how hard it was just to get to that point.  The guide offers to call us an Uber, and we decline but he exchanges numbers with the other woman and we tell him if we don't get on the subway we'll take him up on his offer.  By then the endorphins are really going and I'm really amazed at how magical Boston really can be, especially on Marathon Monday.

While walking we see some policemen spectating and ask them about the subway closing.  He says he hasn't heard anything about it, but we figure if something is happening he would be among the first to know.  (Another wave of relief.)  We then get to the subway stop overjoyed to see the trains were still running and at least one part of the transit system was still reliable.  Then another part of the group that wandered off before we got the Uber showed up and they tell us they just walked the whole way!  So we all get on the train and I get off at a stop about half a mile from my hotel and say goodbye to my new friends.  It is now 4:00 and I have 2 and a half hours to get to the airport.  Easy peasy.  Right?  Haha.  Not that type of story!

So in half an hour I speed walk back to the hotel, throw the rest of my stuff into my bags and situate them so I can carry them onto the plane and eat my leftovers from Eataly for a ridiculously late lunch.  I make it to the subway station and on a train at 4:40.  Great.  Half an hour and I'm at the airport I'm doing great on time!  

Again, not that type of story.

More delays due to the Marathon.

Insert more cursing.  Fast forward to me getting off at the airport stop and onto a shuttle at 5:30.  My plane was due to start boarding at 5:50.  There was nothing I could do but I kept checking my watch and think about how if my flight was on time I would've been watching my plane take off.  Once I got to the terminal, I grabbed my bag and sprinted inside.  I printed off my ticket because I like to have something tangible and the kiosk yelled at me for printing it so close to my departure.  (Really?  I had no idea it was so close.  GIVE ME THE TICKET!)  And thankfully I had just recently gotten my TSA Precheck clearance.  Because I ran over to the TSA Precheck line, and a marathoner saw how frazzled I looked and offered to let me go ahead, along with the 5 others in line.  (Yes!  Marathon magic FTW!!)  Then naturally I got stuck behind a little old lady who couldn't figure out how to situate her bags on the scanner.  Then her bracelet kept setting off the metal detector.  Finally though at 5:45.  I CAN DO THIS!!  I arrive at the gate with 2 minutes to spare.

Only to find out....

The previous flight hadn't even deplaned yet.

So I essentially made it to the plane with 15 minutes to spare.  The journey back to the hotel should've taken 20 minutes on the train and about a 15 minute walk.  Instead it took THREE HOURS.

I was so happy with how everything had fallen into place just perfectly even though it was so ridiculously stressful at the time.  I had never been so happy to sit down on a plane, take out my phone to play some games while having the tv on as background noise.

The magic of #marathonmonday (or maybe #spandos or #balega ?) was strong today. First it took me THREE hours to get back to the hotel because the commuter rail was completely messed up. (Trains were 40 minutes late, packed and they wouldn't let anyone on but stopped for 10 minutes just to flaunt it.) Another #oisellevolee bird and I kept trying to find an uber but the price kept going up. ($160?!) Long story short, we took a $15 uber to the nearest subway station. (Cut to me freaking out about missing my plane and getting an email about a flight delay while in the uber.) Then I woofed down my leftovers from #eatalyboston grabbed my stuff and ran out the door. Only to be met with delays on the subway. Thanks to #tsaprecheck I managed to get to my gate 3 minutes before they started boarding. And that's the short version of what happened today. Longer version coming soon on the blog. . . #jetblueflyfiftw #jetblue #iearnedthedamnpurplechips #mbtafail #wellesleysquare #cowbellcorner #cowbellblisters #oiselledmv #oisellevolee #bondiband #bondibandambassador #hshive #teamzensah #balegasocks #balegabestsocksever #impilove
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It basically took the entire flight to calm down from the insanity of getting to the airport and just to process what all had happened.

I was SO happy to see my husband after landing and it took just about the whole drive home to tell him the story of how I managed to make the flight.  He only got bits and pieces of information as it was happening and a lot of it was something to the effect of "I don't think I'm going to make the flight"  "Nope."  "Wait...maybe?"  "Yes."  "No."  You get the idea.

All in all, I would totally do it over again.  And I'll get to do it to some extent, since I'm signed up for the Boston Distance Medley which has a 10k in June (where I'll get to see Meb run again!) and a half marathon in October.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Boston Marathon Weekend: Sunday!

So the day started out with a stop to a local coffee shop for a Oiselle meetup.  (I decided against running with everybody because of the Hyland's brunch with my roommate.)

I'm to the left in the black t-shirt.  
(Picture borrowed from the Oiselle blog)

After finishing my cold brew coffee I hopped back onto the T with my roommate and we went to the fancy brunch for the Hyland's athletes, family, friends and staff in town for the race.  It was amazing.  You really couldn't beat the view from the rooftop!

As if that wasn't cool enough, we found Dave McGillivray there!  He was talking about when Meb won the Marathon in 2014 and how everybody was really rooting for him.  The catch was although Dave was on a scooter alongside the elites he couldn't cheer on the runners.  So a couple of days before the race, Meb told Dave his strategy.  Then on race day Dave kept motioning to him to ask if it was going okay and Meb would just barely nod in his direction.

Not going to lie.  It was ridiculously awesome to get to rub elbows with runners like Alison Desir (founder of Harlem Run), Candice Huffine (a plus-sized model recently featured in Runner's World), Rahaf Khatib (a runner trying to raise money for Syrian refugees, @runlikeahijabi) just to name a few.

After having a lovely brunch and a couple of these cupcakes...

My roommate and I decided to split ways since she wanted to get some rest for the Marathon and get some work done.  To give her some time to get work done I ended up going towards the expo again just to have a look around and track down Eataly.

While en route to the expo I saw ultramarathoner Scott Jurek doing meet n greets in front of the Clif Bar kiosk and figured why not go say hi?  There wasn't that much of a line and I had nowhere to be!  I ended up asking him what his advice for a first time marathoner is, and he said to take nutrition (gu, chews, etc.) every half an hour even if you don't think you need it.

Naturally I also got some full sized Clif bar samples of peanut butter banana, chocolate peanut butter filled, and peanut butter filled along with some of the new ginger ale flavored shot blox.  (I love ginger--why haven't running companies gotten on that until now??  It's supposed to be great for nausea and stomach issues and runners are notorious for having all kinds of stomach issues while running!  Even if it doesn't actually help, I love ginger!)

After getting the Clif bars, I found Eataly and returned to the expo since there wasn't a line to get in just to see if I missed anything.  (I hadn't, but I got a few more freebies like samples of the new Nuun Performance and Kind bars!)

After the expo I checked out the Runner's World pop up store (not much there since the space was mostly for talks by famous runners like Bart Yasso) and the Adidas Runbase store.  The Runbase store was kinda crazy and the prices were too, but I got to see the 3D layout of the Marathon course!

And they had this chalkboard out front

By the time I got out, Scott was done doing meet and greets so they took down the velvet rope for the line and I could get a great picture of this!

Isn't it weird to think about how women have only been able to run the marathon in the last 50 years?

After that I headed just next door to Eataly.  (Seriously, it was next door to the expo the entire time!  I must've walked past it a dozen times until I actually paid attention!)  It was basically Italian foodie heaven.

Each one of those wheels of parmesan was about the size of a car tire and weigh about 84lbs!!  (And yes, that is a sign that says "Please don't touch the cheese wheels.")

They had pasta in every size and shape you could imagine, all kinds of sauces, steaks aging in refrigerators in full view, imported cheeses, gelato, and best of all several places to eat!  I ended up grabbing two reasonably priced bags of pasta in shapes I had never seen before (which is saying something after being to Italy) and headed to the prepared food counter.  Since it was mid-afternoon by this point I decided to bring some food back to the hotel and call it a day.  I got a rotisserie chicken salad, eggplant caponata, and a fregola pasta salad.  (Fregola is a pasta that looks really similar to israeli couscous.)  After checking out the finish line one last time...

 The tree where the first bomb went off 

The far end of the finish line!

I thought this would be a fun photo to take since not many people can get this kind of view!

Then I headed back to my hotel with my shoulders sore from the hoodie and overload of clif bars samples in my drawstring bag and a little paper bag full of food.  I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and packing since I would be heading home the next day immediately after spectating the Marathon.