Baystate Weekend (non-race) with pictures

Since my race recap was a LOT of words (thanks for reading and commenting!) I thought I’d go picture-heavy for the non-race stuff. I don’t have any photos of the race itself as I didn’t carry my iPhone and didn’t have anyone waiting for me at the end. I’m sure there will be photos of the race online at some point (though not of me) if you want to see what it looks like. You can also check out Nicole’s recap and follow-up posts. I may still have one more race-related post coming, thinking about it.

Here’s what greeted me on arrival

fall at Manchester airport

fall at Manchester airport

I didn’t take any photos of the expo on Friday, so let’s move on to Saturday.

I got up to do a shakeout run to the start/finish and back, in part so I would know where I was going on Sunday! After warming up on the hotel treadmill and doing drills in the small fitness center (yes, even for a shakeout run, you know me and my routine), I checked my map one more time and the guidance folks at the expo gave me and headed out the back door of the hotel, to be greeted with this terrific view:

 

canal behind hotel

canal behind hotel

Lowell - The Venice of America

Lowell – The Venice of America

another canal view

another canal view

canalway/walkway toward the race venue

canalway/walkway toward the race venue

I headed up the canal way – that little ramp you can see is where I started my 2.3 mile shakeout run. The first mile felt loose and good, the second was tighter in my hams/glutes. My hips were painfully tight from the super-pillowy-soft bed, making me wish my chiro was handy. They hurt almost all day, making me worried for the race! I even thought about sleeping on the floor, but decided not to, and was fine on race day.

I ran over to the Tsongas Center (finish) and high school (start) – which are across the street from each other. I ran what I thought from the course video I’d watched was part of the finish (it was, just in the other direction!) noting that the pavement had a lot of potholes and rough surfaces in it, reminding myself to be careful at the end of the race when I’d be tired and perhaps my foot placement less careful. I headed back to the hotel on the other side of the streets I’d run, so I could look at different shops. I saw a running outlet store and decided to swing back there later.

Once back at the hotel, ate my usual weekday (pre-long run day and thus pre-race day) breakfast of asparagus, paleo bread turkey sandwich, sweet potato. Then showered and did my Whartons, arranged to meet up with my sister later. I walked over to the running outlet store I’d seen, only to find it closed (someone had been in it on my run) and figured out that they were closed because they were part of Marx Running, and thus at the expo. Oh well. Saw a t-shirt I’d seen at the expo and decided against getting for DH, but took a pic to send him, and he concurred I’d made the right choice not getting it. Walked around a bit more, found the place I planned to have dinner post-race with my sis & BIL and a coffeehouse I’d seen online. For some reason, being in the Northeast was making me crave coffee more than ever, and I thought I might take the risk of a little on the day before the race but I decided to wait for my sister.

My sister arrived and we headed over to LifeAlive, which had been highly recommended by Nicole and others. I didn’t want to load up on veggies by this point in the day (1:30) so wanted to try the famous FoMu coconut milk ice cream they served. I liked the vibe of the place, but the service was a fail. It took 10-15 minutes for me to get my little cup of ice cream, which it wasn’t all that great anyway so I only ate a few bites. (I like pints I’ve gotten in the store better.) Also, no coffee for me here as they didn’t make decaf! Fortunately, I’d called ahead and knew this so avoided being surprised on site. I also noted that they do their dishwashing by hand – which I can appreciate – but it raises a cross-contamination risk for me, so they’re off the list in the future. The food I saw being served looked quite good, and cute decor. I did get a Not Your Sugar Mama’s chocolate bar (oh, to eat gluten-free oats! look at the chocolate chip cookies on their web site!) and a Budi Bar that I will try once I’m back running decent mileage (both are in fridge now).

 

LifeAlive restaurant

LifeAlive restaurant

Not Your Sugar Mama's Salted Caramel bar

Not Your Sugar Mama’s Salted Caramel bar – gluten, dairy and grain free! from a place on Martha’s Vineyard

Not Your Sugar Mama's Salted Caramel bar  - back label

Not Your Sugar Mama’s Salted Caramel bar – back label of ingredients, nutrition info

 

Budi Bar - front label

Budi Bar – front label – another gluten, grain and dairy free local treat

Budi Bar - back label

Budi bar – back label with ingredients, nutrition info

From LifeAlive, we wandered over to a “coffeehaus” called Brew’d Awakening, small and funky, even had a live musician on Saturday afternoon! Another service fail however, as they left the chocolate out of my sister’s mocha and my Americano tasted burned. They fixed my sister’s by adding some syrup, but we were both disappointed. I seriously thought about buying some of the local gluten-free, dairy-free treats they had on display – if I were eating “just” gluten-free, they would have gone back to the hotel, no question! But rice, sorghum and pea flours are among those I’m currently not eating and didn’t want to tempt myself. The apple cinnamon donuts, blueberry pie (!) to bake/micro and the HOMEMADE POP-TART were super tempting though. Took the picture in case I go back to eating GF grain and want them to ship me some yumminess. Looks like Something Sweet Without Wheat may not ship all their items, but I bet my sister could be persuaded to pick me up any goodies that they won’t ship like the pop tarts and pies and ship them anyway!

Something Sweet Without Wheat treats

Something Sweet Without Wheat treats – blueberry pie and pop tart!

We took our less-than-sublime coffee beverages back to the hotel and sat outside being soothed by the rushing water and chatting, until we were chilled by breezes turning into gusts and adjourned back to my room.

 

chillin' with my sis by the canal

chillin’ with my sis by the canal

We chatted a bit longer, then it was time for me to start cooking my pre-race dinner: shredded carrots, baby bok choy, sliced mushrooms and coconut aminos along with more of the smoked turkey sliced lunchmeat I’d had for breakfast. (I’m a pretty decent hotel microwave cook by this point.) Also on the evening meal plan were dried bananas, the rest of the vanilla maple Arctic Zero from the night before and some so-so sweet potato chips that I had to keep salting – I mistakenly bought the no salt version.

I spent some time laying out my race kit (see race recap for those pix) and talking to DH about singlet v. short-sleeve and other consuming thoughts. He said he thought I hadn’t eaten enough calories during the day (he was probably right, due to timing I wound up skipping lunch) and convinced me to cook another sweet potato, but after I got off the phone with him I decided it would sit too heavily in my stomach and put it in the fridge, where it came in handy post-race – after my recovery drink, while getting cleaned up.

Sunday, the race!

I’d researched a restaurant called Fuse Bistro for post-race that looked to be very gluten-free friendly but turned out to be something of a fail. I’d planned on getting their burger (BBQ sauce on the side, no bun of course) and sweet potato fries and maybe one of their two rib appetizers. When I stopped in the day before to make sure that we wouldn’t need a reservation, I asked about some of the GF items, to be told that making, for example, the short rib appetizer GF meant leaving off the sauce. Boring, no thanks.

Turns out I should have done more research. Fortunately, on Sunday, even in my post-race depleted (physically and mentally) state, I thought, “hey wait, what else do they serve that’s fried?” I asked the server if they fried the GF items in a separate fryer and she said “no, but not much of the flour stays behind, and we have a guy here who’s gluten free and fine with it and we’ve never had any complaints”…..I worked really hard not to cry or lose my temper. (remember, this is something like 3h post marathon!) I just explained to the server that they didn’t really understand GF and they needed to tell people all these details. I also said that if I’d gotten sick after eating there, I wouldn’t call them to complain – I just wouldn’t go back and I’d tell other people about the experience. (She was nice and well-meaning, but this gives you some idea of the risks I have eating out – imagine this kind of oversight for a pre-race dinner!)

So I wound up with a (tasty enough) burger patty, one piece of bacon, and some spring mix (didn’t eat the lettuce/pickle/tomato/onion as they don’t agree with me). I got the huge side of fries and truffled salt that came with the meal for my sis/BIL, who said they were excellent, took the rest home with them. The BBQ sauce resembled no BBQ sauce I’d even had (BIL concurred) and wasn’t that good. I didn’t bother to try the sherry vinaigrette, just ate the spring mix dry. Not the best post-race meal, and not the one I’d been craving.

my burger and bacon

my burger and bacon – the burger is under the bacon, which is broken into multiple segments but is only one piece

On the other hand, both my sis and BIL really enjoyed their meals and plan to put the restaurant in their regular rotation, as they’re in the area fairly often. I will say that the prices are quite reasonable for the quality and quantity of food.

My sister’s meal: fried chicken breast, pumpkin waffle, red gravy, butternut squash with port-soaked cranberries.

fried chicken and pumpkin waffle

fried chicken and pumpkin waffle

My BIL’s ahi tuna burger with “tater tots” which turned out to be huge deep fried “coins” of yukon gold mashed potatoes and cheese.

ahi tuna burger with "tater tots"

ahi tuna burger with “tater tots”

He also got a “blueberry beer”, from a local company. Both he and my sis said it was good, subtle but not overwhelming.

blueberry beer

blueberry beer

They were full enough that I couldn’t entice them to have any of the dessert so I could live vicariously. Warm pumpkin cake or an ice cream sandwich with housemade salted caramel ice cream sounded really good to me (even though I wouldn’t be eating any), but they didn’t go for it.

We dropped my BIL off at the hotel, then my incredibly kind sister drove me 10 miles each way to a Whole Foods for more vanilla maple Arctic Zero and some taro chips so I could at least have some treats in the evening in the hotel room while I watched Netflix and read.

Monday morning, up and at ’em around 6am, got myself down to the fitness center for an hour on the comfiest, smoothest, quietest exercise bike I’ve ever ridden. It was Matrix brand, like the treadmill I walked on for my warmups and the elliptical (in the picture) I tried momentarily on Monday till I thought “bad idea right after a marathon”.

great exercise bike

great exercise bike

I enjoyed the fall leaves in Massachusetts and New Hampshire on my way back to the Manchester airport. After only a brief delay, I was safely back in Northern Virginia. But wait….there’s one more thing… when I dragged my suitcase up the front steps, I was reminded once again how lucky I am to have DH….new Boston flowers to celebrate my new BQ! (and because the other ones keep dying in the unseasonably warm temps)

new Boston flowers!

new Boston flowers!

more new Boston flowers!

more new Boston flowers!

That’s all, hope you enjoyed the photo tour of the weekend!