After the expo, we headed back to our hotels and then met up at the Millenium hotel to head to dinner. Finding someplace to eat was an adventure in itself. We ended up finding a Hooters and Hardy’s and while they were “tempting,” we decided we wanted something more fun. So, we ended up walking down to the Casino and eating at a restaurant called “Stadium” in the casino. They even had an ipad on the table for you to play games so some of the group decided to play angry birds while we waited for our food.
A bit of back story for those of you who may not realize it – my stomach does horrible things when I run, horrible things! So, when I am getting ready for a long run or race I do a two day high carb, low fat, low fiber, low protein diet. Combine that with Imodium and I can normally get through with minimal problems. This would mean that I needed to stick to this diet on Friday and Saturday. Needless to say, with traveling this wasn’t very easy. I ended up eating a chicken wrap and fries at Chili’s in the airport in Chicago for lunch on Friday. I was careful at the expo and didn’t try any new energy products or anything. And I did my best at dinner too – I had pasta. We can ignore the small detail that it was the cheesiest and richest alfredo sauce I have ever had, and that it came with garlic bread that was definitely not “low fat.” Either way, I enjoyed every bite – it was SO good. It was a great time with great company. I love spending time with these girls, they are a blast and a half and there is never a dull moment!
|The cheesiest Alfredo ever, yummo!|
|Photo borrowed from Wells L|
After dinner we walked back to our hotels, luckily my hotel was along the way to the one everyone else was staying at so I wasn’t walking alone in the dark. We planned to meet up the next morning for breakfast. Once in my room I called Tommy and talked to him for a bit then decided to hit the hay so I could be as rested as possible. It was fantastic to stretch out in bed and stare out at the arch – so awe inspiring.
|This was taken in the morning, but you get the idea.|
After a fairly decent nights sleep I was up very early. I took my sweet time getting ready and then spent a bit of time wandering around the streets of downtown St Louis. I also called Tommy to have him sign me up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon in Lynchburg next April – they had just opened registration and I wanted to make sure I got a place.
|I'm not a baseball fan, but had to get a picture of Cardinal stadium.|
I decided at breakfast that I wasn’t going to be able to stick to the normal pre-race diet so I went all out and got all sorts of yummy things off the breakfast buffet – French toast with brown sugar sprinkled on it, crispy bacon, hash browns, strawberries, and pineapple. And diet pepsi too since it was included in the cost and I wanted to “get my money’s worth.” Hah.
After breakfast we took a few more pictures in the hotel lobby and headed out drive the course and go bead shopping. Thanks to “MOA” (good friend of Wells L) for driving us around St Louis – you did a fantastic job and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to try to navigate those streets myself. I am really glad we drove the course because it gave me a sense of familiarity and gave me a sense of where to expect the hills and such. We ran into a HUGE group of people riding their bikes in the middle of the street who seemed to have no regard for the drivers on the road and were holding up traffic terribly. Wells L asked them what they were doing (we wondered if it was a race) and a smart ass guy answered back “Drugs!” Later on we asked again, and found out they were doing a bar tour (bar hopping) on bikes. No wonder they were being stupid on the road. After about a mile, we were able to pass them and drive the rest of the course. Next came the bead store - I am not a crafty person but Wells L offered to make me a bracelet to remember the trip if I picked out some beads. It took me a while but I finally found some that I liked – can’t wait to see what she comes up with!
On our way to the bead store “MOA” was talking about a cupcake place in town. After shopping we all decided that a cupcake was the perfect way to round out our afternoon so we went on the hunt for a place called “The Cup.” They had a wide selection of adorable looking cupcakes, but being me, I just HAD to get the Peanut Butter Cup one. So good – a dark chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream frosting with crumbled peanut butter cups on top with a cute seasonal plastic spider on top - SO good. If I hadn’t had a race the next day I would have been tempted to get more for later in the day! With our sugar craving satisfied we headed to the Gateway Arch where we met up with another friend of Wells L.
The Arch was a point of anxiety for me. While I was super excited to go see the Arch up close and personal and check out the area I was TERRIFIED of going up in the arch. But, I figured what better time to go for it then when I had a group of girls around to be my support crew. I mean, this trip was all about challenging myself and doing things I normally wouldn’t (hence the flying!). Surprisingly enough, once we were in the pods headed up to the top of the Arch my fears pretty much dissipated. A word about the pods – they are TINY, the doors to enter them are only about 4.5 feet tall. They cram 5 adults into this tiny little pod – luckily the ride up only lasts about 4 minutes and the ride down takes about 3 minutes. Once we exited the pods at the top of the Arch my fear returned momentarily, but after a good 30 seconds I was feeling comfortable and enjoying the views. I am SO glad I pushed my comfort zone and did this – thanks girls for putting up with my ridiculous fears! From the Arch I could see the pool on the roof of my hotel – I wish it had been earlier in the year and warmer, I think it would be awesome to use a pool on the roof of a huge building.
|Me in front of the arch - not sure whats up with the posing of my arm.|
|Checking out the view from the top of the arch|
|Imagine 4 other adults crammed into this pod with me.|
After the Arch visit, it was time for food again! Common theme this weekend – but what is a girls’ weekend without fabulous food? MOA being familiar with the area recommended a restaurant called “Zia’s” which was “on the Hill.” The Hill is the Italian area of St Louis so we figured the food was probably fantastic. MOA did a fantastic job of getting us there and we got our name on the wait list. There was quite a wait, but we expected it. A few of us walked around the area while waiting – they had a ton of cute little houses, meat markets, bakeries, etc. It reminded me a lot of my time in Philadelphia. After what seemed like forever, we got a table and ordered our food. While I had been “bad” all day I ordered a “safe” dinner – pasta and marinara sauce. When the food came out it was quite possibly the biggest bowl of pasta I had ever seen, but it was good and very flavorful.
It was pretty late when I got back to the hotel but I called Tommy and did a little video chat with Natalie. I couldn’t stay on the phone long because I needed to shave my legs and get everything laid out and set up for the race the next morning. It was very late when I got to bed and I didn’t sleep well for fear of oversleeping.