Friday was a big day. We had to pack for little man and for ourselves. He was going to be spending two night with his grandparents and we were going to check into the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront for the night (traffic in and out of the downtown area on race morning is purported to be insane, and since Mr PugRunner didn’t want to have any extra stress on that day, he booked a room one mile from the start line). We also had to attend the Runners Expo at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds in order to pick up our packets for the race on Saturday.
Let the games begin.
My mom thought it would be a good idea for us to come to their house for lunch, and head out from there, just to make sure little man was comfortable (this would be his first sleepover at their new house and kids can sometimes be particular), so we headed their way. We enjoyed some yummy sandwiches and good company before saying our goodbyes and starting over to the expo.
The expo was pretty busy for 2:00 on a Friday afternoon.
Packet pickup was isolated in one large room. It was extremely easy and took almost no time at all. We had our bib numbers already and so we went to the appropriate lines to claim our bibs, and then over to the next table to pick up our bags and t-shirts. After that, we crossed a timing mat to make sure our names and information registered in the system and we were in the next room with the vendor booths.
We collected our beer glasses and then started checking out the displays.
There were a lot of great booths, but there was one thing I saw that really intrigued me. Riplaces. I have the worst time getting my laces properly adjusted and I loved the idea of these little individual bungee cords positioned on the shoes. After some more wandering and thinking about it, I picked out aqua bungees with gray fasteners. (I have not yet tried them, because of the whole “nothing new on race day” rule, but I will be, soon, and cannot wait to report back).
We had to drive back to my friends’ house to drop off bibs for a few people, and by then, it was time to start thinking about dinner. We wanted something Italian, but we didn’t want one of our usual places. Mr PugRunner had heard of a place called Picasso’s from another runner friend, and since it was on th way back to the hotel, we decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a try.
Dinner was perfection. Everything on the menu is made fresh, including the pasta, which was a real treat. Mr PugRunner ordered the lasagna bolognese and I got the shrimp scampi sans shrimp (I just can’t handle seafood the day before a race).
I wish I was less nervous so I could have appreciated it more. I drank several large glasses of water and one of pinot noir (to take the edge off my anxiety). As we were leaving, we stopped at the Walgreen’s next door to grab some bottles of water and a granola bar for me for breakfast (I left mine at the house).
Fed and supplied, we drove back to downtown Jacksonville and checked in to the Hyatt.
It was a lovely hotel, and we got our room on the 19th floor, just a short distance from the rooftop pool. The view was spectacular.
In our room, we started getting organized for the morning. First, we checked out all our cool swag and goodies from the expo.
And then we set out our race clothes and supplies.
We were in bed around 8:00, and since we weren’t ready to fall asleep, we rented American Hustle through the hotel tv. Fantastic film – we both loved it.
The alarm was set for 5:00 AM so we would have enough time to shower, get breakfast and board the shuttle to the starting line. In just a few hours, we would be participating in our first Gate River Run and taking on the Green Monster for the first time!
What are some things you do to make race morning easier and less stressful?