This was my first out of state half-marathon!! Whoop whoop! And boy, what a weekend it was...
My original plan was to take a shower Friday morning, and leave around 10am. However, I discoverd The Cat™ had expressed her displeasure at a lonely weekend by peeing all over my clothes. So, I threw them in the washer to wash overnight and I would dry them in the morning.
Well, The Kiddo decided she needed to do laundry (at like midnight), so she took my wet clothes out of the washer and left them in a laundry basket while she did her laundry. Upon finishing her laundry she neglected to plug the water heater back in (we have one plug in the laundry room, so either the dryer or water heater get power, but not both at the same time). PLUS, she left my clothes in the laundry basket all night!
Unfortunately, I didn't discover she didn't plug the water heater back in until the next morning, AFTER my not-so-hot shower. I trudged to the laundry room, plugged the water heater back in, saw that my laundry was still soaking wet in the laundry basket and was about to go ballistic. Instead, I just threw my laundry in the dryer and attempted to touch up my manicure.
And of course, I smudged half my nails, so I had to start over. Then, smart me, realized that I couldn't pack with wet nails! Oh, for God's sake, this is NOT a great start to what I was hoping would be a great weekend.
Finally, though, my nails were dry, my laundry was dry, I was dry, so I could finally pack, get our shit together and get out the door.
We hit up a local McDonald's for lunch ($20) so we could eat on the road. The time on our receipt was about 11:52am.
|Large fry, pie, large coffee! Pronto!|
Traffic was light until we got to Starke, at about 1:45. I've heard locals complain about the traffic in Starke, but I've never experienced it. Well, we got to experience it for the first time when we were already behind schedule... It took FORTY-FIVE minutes to travel about 2 or 3 miles!!!
After Starke, traffic opened up again, until we got to Baldwin; this is where people travelling on US-301 meet up with Interstate 10. There is a very long entrance ramp to I-10, which I'm familiar with, so we went a snail's pace in the left lane, while assholes zoomed past us on the right, then tried to shove into the turn lane. (Nope, too bad, so sad - I'm the bitch in the blue car that won't let you in when you do that.) It took another 30 minutes just to enter the interstate. (Sadly, after sitting in that traffic for a 1/2 hour, right before we turned onto the interstate, I realized I could have bypassed all this crazy traffic by crossing under the interstate and entering it from the other direction... sigh.)
Ironically, traffic in Jacksonville itself was pretty tame! That was the traffic I was originally most worried about. We finally made it to the Georgia line around 2:20, and traffic began backing up again! No idea why, but it would bunch and clear, bunch and clear. I got so frustrated at one point, we decided to exit and go to the Georgia Rest Area/Welcome Center (long-standing tradition of photos at WCs). When we got off at that exit however, it was CLOSED!! So we had to get right back on the damn interstate!
|Florida Georgia Line|
|Hey, what's the hold up?!|
|Whoa, that's a lot of cars back there!|
|Seriously, what's the slow down?|
|I like SUBTRACTING time from my Garmin, not adding time!|
Finally, moving again, we made it to the exit to Interstate 16 which will take us into Savannah. This road is moving much more smoothly and we arrived on E Jones Street around 5pm (yeah, a total of TWO hours after our original arrival time).
When I was looking for hotels in Savannah, I was astonished (kind of) at the price of hotels. If I wanted cheap, I needed to be by the interstate. If I wanted close, I had to pay out the ass. Somehow, I discovered VRBO.com, which is a website for owners to rent out vacation homes. It's kind of like AirBnB,I guess, but I'm not familiar with that. I found a nice rental that was about 10 blocks away from the start line!! Total cost for two nights (rental + tax + maid fee) was $305!! I couldn't get ONE night at the Forsyth for that price. So after reading reviews, I took a leap of faith and booked it.
We arrived at the house, and had to park about a block away, since this house dind't have a dedicated parking lot or driveway. Also, each side of the street had restrictions on when you could park there, due to street sweepers (we had to move the car each night). It was just beginning to rain, so we decided to wait until after going to the Expo to unpack the car.
|I don't envy people who have to deal with this all the time!|
We grabbed whatever we would need for the time being (purses, file of information, etc) and headed into the house (after getting the key from the upstairs key safe). I didn't take photos of the inside of the house, but if you go to the link I posted earlier you can see all of them there.
I thought that, for what we paid, for the area it was in, it was a good deal. Yes, it was small, but WAY bigger than a hotel. I wouldn't want to live there, but staying two nights was plenty doable.
Once inside, Hubby had a seat and I handed him the map I'd printed out of where the Expo was. When I printed out the map, there was no "N" on it to show where North was. Google Maps always show North as the top of the map, so I didn't think anything of it. Hubby stared at it for a while, trying to get his bearings, then we all grabbed our umbrellas - rain was coming soon! - and we took off towards the Expo. He felt no need to bring the map; he was confident in his navigation skills.
We walked about 15 minutes in the wrong direction before he realized we were going the wrong way. Meanwhile I had been behind him, after 5 minutes, saying to the Kiddo that I thought we were going the wrong way (when we passed Kroger, which I knew was the opposite direction from the Expo - and on the map - I began saying so, but he didn't listen). So, we turned back the way we came, past Jones, and on to the hotel. The race info said we needed the Harris Street Entrance, but there were no signs on the building, and we didn't know what street we were currently on, so Hubby was getting grumpy at this point. Also, there was a high school prom happening at the same time, in a different ballroom. We (meaning me) decided to go up to the corner of the street - where street signs are - to see if there was any signage there, and lo and behold, we found the entrance. Finally - I wanted to be here by 2pm at the latest. We rolled in to this expo at 5pm.
We entered into the packet pickup area, which was very pretty, and very empty.
|Packet Pickup Area|
|Where we got the bag and a Bath Bomb (I don't have a bathtub...)|
I got my bib and my bag. The bag was instead of a race shirt, which I thought was cool because 1) does anyone wear all their race shirts? and 2) most race shirts don't fit my huge boobs. Bags fit everyone!
|Front of bag, embroidered with race logo|
|Inside of bag - slip pocket, zip pocket (as deep as a standard pen) and key holder|
|Looking down at bag - there is a LARGE slip pocket at the top|
|She was very cheerful!|
|The towel is probably 4 feet wide! Really nice!|
I was able to extricate myself, but felt really bad. He didn't look like he was making any sales.
The majority of the Expo was dedicated to all of the New Balance for Women stuff.
|Spend less on manniquins, NB, and spend more on shirts for big boobs|
Besides, NB and the honey guy, there were only about 10 vendors in the space. There were no samples. No freebies. Nothing that I generally associate with an Expo. It was a really weird expo, and I was not impressed.
In the hallway outside, we discovered there were wagons full of icy cold Coke products, so we each grabbed one of those for the walk back to the apartment.
Outside, we discovered it was raining. Not a little bitty stingin' rain but not a big ol' fat rain either. Just enough of a rain that was enough to soak you and be annoying. We sat under a covered area and tried to figure out what to do for dinner (of course, if everything had gone to plan, we would have had plenty of time to figure out what to do for dinner...) Our phones weren't picking up anything except what was close, and none of it sounded good to my picky eaters, so we ended up swimming back to the apartment, grabbing the Garmin out of the car and seeing what it said was available.
|Rain Rain, Go Away!|
|Subway is on the opposite corner - we have to swim!|
After getting subs (with cookies and bottled drinks), we swam back to the apartment to begin the horrible task of unpacking the car in this storm. I was kicking myself for not doing it earlier, but I was in such a rush to get to the Expo since we were running so late, I thought we'd have more time before the rain started...
My original plan was to double park right in front of the apartment and let them grab bags right at the front door, then circle the block (so I wouldn't get a ticket) and repeat until the car was empty. Hubby suggested we park across the street, where he saw an open spot directly across from where the apartment was, but when I pulled up, I saw it was a handicap spot. I refuse to park in handicap spots, so I pulled back to the open spot behind it. Hubby argued that it was too far and I should pull up in front of the handicap spot. Well, no, that won't work... it's way too close to the stop sign, and I didn't want to a) get hit by a car or 2) get a ticket for parking too close to a stop sign (GA law says you can't park closer than 30 feet away from a stop sign). He didn't like my original plan (the double-park repeat), so I pulled back into the original spot behind the handicap spot and parked. As you would expect, we all got soaked, running luggage into the house. As you can also expect, a grumpy husband in the rain equals a grumpier husband in the house, soaked to the hilt.
He tried to be helpful, and told me that the best way to get to the next block was to go in some sort of conviluted circle to avoid one-way streets. I wasn't quite sure why he thought that, but I was going to do it anyway, so he'd chill out, but in the car, a sign on the next block (where I was going to park) caught my eye, so I pulled forward to read it. It turned out to not apply to our parking situation, so never mind. I ended up going further down the road, doing a three-point turn and parking, then running back to the house.
As soon as I got back into the damn aparment, he began to give me shit about 'half-assing' the parking situation and not doing it the way he told me. Ugh, whatever. I don't see where either way was more beneficial to the other, so just be quiet.
Tensions and the stress of the day boiled over and he and I just got into a huge fight. He was pissed about the weather, and said something stupid thta "this never happens at races when you stay home!" (Uh, okay, so?) I eventually gave up, because I'd gotten to the point where I would say something truly mean and make it worse. I used the pent-up anger at him to unpack.
Eventually I sat to eat in the living room (the kitchen has a bar and a table that seats 2) but I wasn't all that hungry (stress and anger zap my appetite). I think I only ate about 1/2 of it, plus my cookie. I either stuffed the rest of it in the fridge or gave it to the Kiddo; I can't remember.
I set out all my race stuff and headed to bed, trying to chill out, but I was still mad. Just because MY WAY doesn't equal HIS WAY doesn't mean my way is wrong. Jesus!
Saturday morning, my alarm woke me up at 5am, though it took me two snoozes to drag my ass out of bed. I was feeling better today; I didn't want to kill anyone after the disaster of last night.
I prepped and dressed in the bathroom, then woke up Hubby and the Kiddo. I attempted to eat a bagel with cream cheese (it's nice to have an actual kitchen for a race weekend!). Unfortunately, my body didn't want the bagel, so I was only able to eat about half of it.
Because we're terrible planners, we'd not figured out a way for Hubby to track me (since the race only gave splits), so we tried to set up Runtastic, but that was a bust. It didn't do live tracking, which is what Hubby was wanting. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, I suppose...
I wanted to leave around 6:15ish, but he thought that was too early, so we ended up leaving around 6:30-6:40. The walk to the park was very easy, it took maybe 10 minutes? I've been to races where the garage was further away than that! Also, the rain had finally stopped, so no need for a rain jacket or extra layers, which was good.
Our first stop was to view the finish line area, so that the family would know where they need to be.
|A very wet finish line, but look at the Fountain!|
|Yeah, so I'm gonna do this today...|
|I'm a sucker for a reusable grocery bag|
|Not very busy yet this morning|
|A nice amount of Gear Check stations|
|"Never Mess with a Woman Who Runs 3.1 Miles for Fun"|
|Here I am, way back here|
|Start Line Selfie!|
|That little girl doesn't seem all that thrilled|
|Hello Mile 1!|
|Dude, there's Mac & Cheese down there!|
I made it to Mile 2 and still feeling pretty good. Now that I'm warmed up, I was skipping some intervals (running instead of walking).
|Jeez, only 10 more to go...|
|You Go Girl!|
After Mile 3, we turned onto Price Sreet, which would have been beautiful and full of blooming azaleas, if not for the horrible storm last night. It was still a beautiful street, even in the aftermath.
|This road would be beautiful in spring!|
|A very blurry Mile 5|
|Yes, I name my inhaler|
We turned into some neighborhoods that I deemed The Space Alien Section because of how it looked on the course map. It was boring. Not many spectators out, but there were a few. I passed a house with a beautiful vintage car. I'm not sure what kind it was, and I can't tell now from the photo.
|Baby, can I drive your car?|
|Mile 5, keep going|
|She's been just in front of me the whole race|
I caught up to Friendly Gal near Mile 6. She wanted to chat with me, and since we were going about the same speed, we kind of walked together for a bit.
|I caught up with her|
|Turn Around spot, back into the park|
Mile 7 was inside a very pretty park.
|Mile 7, headed towards the bottom of the park (park is on the left)|
|Yummy, new flavor I haven't tried!|
|Putting the "droplet" for water at the "tip" of the park? That took balls!|
|The Cone Picker-Upper is over in those trees... way too close to me|
|Mile 8, outside of the park|
|RIP, $5 Big Lots earbuds... you were good to me!|
I ended up being that asshole I hate at races... I cranked up my iPod so I could still hear my music and interval beeps. Luckily, since I'm basically alone, there was no one to really annoy with my music!
By Mile 9, I was done with this... I was annoyed with the weather (though it was cool and breezy), I was still annoyed with Hubby, I was annoyed my headphones died, I was annoyed that I was so close to the end, I was annoyed that my first out-of-state race wasn't as awesome as I'd hoped.
|Mile 9 with no one around|
|Mile 10 - where did Friendly Girl go?|
At Mile 11, I passed Clary's Cafe, which is very famous to anyone who's read (or watched) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I read it many years ago before our first trip to Savannah, but I wasn't able to get into it, so I didn't know Clary's was a big deal until I researched food in Savannah for this trip.
|A bastion of pancakes|
|They didn't seem to care that they were Mile 11|
|Finally, Mile 12|
|Please? My apartment is only 2 blocks away!|
But anyway... I made it to Mile 13.
|I can see the fountain! It's so close!|
|Blue Shirt Lady looks like she's just out for a morning walk|
|Move! Get out of my way!!!|
|Thank you Jesus, I finished!|
I also got a goodie bag and hugs from my family. I was able to get my photo in front of the "professional backdrop" without having to use the professional photographer (he very kindly turned his head and pretended not to see me).
|Goodie bag included banana, orange, water and blueberry mini-muffins|
|Professional backdrop photo (hubby doesn't understand to zoom in on these)|
|Not the shot I wanted, but oh well|
It seemed to take a lot longer to get back to the apartment, but I'm sure it was because I was walking much slower than I did this morning!
At the apartment, I took a somewhat hot bath in a sad little bathtub. After that, I chilled in bed in my towels while I chilled out with Twitter a nutty bar and some Slim Jims.
Eventually, I felt up to getting dressed. I was starving!
We walked to Clary's and it wasn't as busy as it was before - there were only 1-2 groups ahead of us. We sat on the bench outside and waited for them to call our name.
Once inside, we perused the menu. I'd read a lot of reviews of this place and knew that breakfast would be the way to go. Plus, I love breakfast, so it's really a no-brainer. The menu had a nice selection and variety, though. One side was all breakfast, while the opposite side was lunch.
|View of Clary's from our table in the 2nd half of the restaurant|
|Description of The Oglethorpe|
|At least it's a good-lookin' burger and fries|
|Over easy eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and toast|
|The Gluttony - what did I get myself into?|
Next, I buttered and syruped the pancakes and dug in... oh those are heavenly. Light, fluffy, not too thick or heavy. Amazing!
The potatoes were spectacular and the bacon, oh the bacon... it was that perfect crispy but still chewy texture that I adore!
It was so damn tasty that I was making sexual yummy noises and rolling my eyes with every bite that I took! Was it really that good, or was I just hungry? Could be both, but I'm pretty sure it JUST THAT GOOD. Seriosly, I would bathe in that bacon.
I was only able to get through one and some of the pancakes and 1 egg, but I ate all the bacon and most of the potatoes. I felt bad that I wasn't able to eat all of it! If any of it saved well, I would have brought it home, but we were going to walk around town anyway, so I threw in the napkin.
After rolling myself out of Clary's, we walked a few blocks to a DOT Stop - this is a great service that Savannah provides! Fare-free transportation to 20 stops in the Historic District. While walking, we passed a beautiful wedding, just finishing in one of the local squares.
|I wonder what a Lafayette Square Wedding costs?|
|Cathedral of St. John the Baptist|
|Beautiful fountain in Lafayette Square|
|Andrew Lowe House|
Apparently, this is a well-used service, as there were not three seats together (or even close). Hubby and I squeezed into the No Leg Room Row at the very front, and the Kiddo sat way in the back. She enjoyed the family-free time, I'm sure.
|She's back there... somewhere|
Way back, probably 15 years ago, Hubby and I had a Kid-Free vacation in Savannah, which was quite nice! While walking along River Street, we checked out all the various candy and fudge shops and discovered Savannah Sweets - they were the ONLY shop I'd ever seen that made nutless Maple Fudge. You can find maple fudge just about everywhere, but it always has some sort of nut in it (usually pecan). Well, I don't like nuts in my fudge, so I was ecstatic to find this. He and I split a quarter-pound of fudge while sitting on the sidewalk near that hotel that the street goes under (it was cooler under there, in the Georgia heat!) and I just fell in love with this fudge. We were too broke to go back and get more fudge, though, so it became this delicasy always connected to the town. Any time we returned to Savannah, we got fudge.
We got off the DOT near the middle of River Street and very carefully made our way down one of the ramps (stairs were NOT an option for me today!). We walked down one way of River Street, then made our way back.
More importantly, though - when did River Street become overrun by hobos and drunkards? I'm all for people imbibing responsibly, but the amount of public drunkenness noticed at 4pm on a Saturday was disgusting. We ended up walking on the river-side of the street and only crossing over if a store caught my eye. Which, many of them did not. It was a sad outing; no fudge, no shirts, no cool souvenirs and a ruined nostalgia for River Street. So we left.
|Normal people on the left; drunks on the right|
It's apparently very popular... the line was not just out the door but it was practically around the block.
|There's ice cream up there somewhere (and a Subway!)|
|Dessert Menu Top|
|Dessert Menu Bottom|
|Food Menu Top|
|Food Menu Bottom|
|Inside, close to ice cream coolers, looking towards register|
|Sugar cone with Peppermint Ice Cream|
On Sunday, sadly, we had to vacate the apartment. Since this wasn't a hotel, 'check out' consisted of taking out the trash, putting any laundry (like towels) in the dryer, putting the key back in the key safe and texting the owner that we have left. It was all very simple, and without a doubt, when we return to Savannah we will definitely check out this VRBO property again.
|Exterior of the apartment (we were at the bottom)|
I began plugging in nickels and dimes and was about two dollars in when a lovely old man, out walking his dog, called out to me...
"Parking is free on the weekends, honey!"*
Seriously? Was he being a dick? Was he right? I went ahead and threw in some more change, just in case he was being a dick, and we headed over to Congress Street.
|The most expensive free parking in Savannah|
We were a little early, so we were given one of those buzzy pager things and invited to wait in the Gift Shop Lounge area.
|Check In Podium, 1st Floor Buffet in the background|
|At the podium, looking towards the 1st floor dining room|
|Not. Creepy. At. All.|
|I love the hell out of this shirt!|
|I really wanted this|
|But I wanted this more... I should have gotten it.|
|This was our 3rd or 4th time here - never eaten on any other floor!|
|At our table, looking towards the buffet area|
|Duck Face Selfies (yeah, I voluntarily share this)|
|Paula Deen Biscuits|
|The Kiddo and her Sprite|
They aren't the best photos, but I tried to take a picture of everything available on the Brunch Buffet.
|Yes, this is the entire hot buffet - it's worth it though!|
|BBQ Pulled Pork|
|Corn Souffle, Fried Fish, Rice and Mashed Potatoes|
|Mac n Cheese, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Black Eye Peas, Greens and some other beans in the back|
|Biscuit, Fried Chicken, Fried Fish, Mac, Rice, Mashed, Oxtail, Pulled Pork, Croutons|
|Close-up of oxtail|
|Gratuitious Medal Shot with Food|
|Hubby eating the food|
|Hubby loving the food|
|Hubby and the Kiddo, amazingly photogenic today|
|Hubby took a lot of time taking this pic - I have no idea why...|
|Gooey Butter Cake and Lemonade|
Our waiter Tony V was amazing, and I felt the need to share his photo on the internet for everyone to appreciate! He kept all the drinks full, all the plates cleared and had a great attitude, enjoying himself with all his tables.
|Tony V taking a group pic with the table next to us|
|Tony shot with us|
|I have that same lemon juicer, and it's AWESOME!|
|Thanks for a great meal, TL&S! Be back soon!|
It's not a big mall, but we did visit Savannah Sweets, Barnes & Noble, Game Stop, JCPenney, and a cool candy store called Rocket Fizz (EDIT: it's since closed).
|"And here we see two Gamerus Nerdicus in their natural habitat"|
Once we'd filled our bag to the top, I happened to make the comment that "shoving to make more room is probably frowned upon" to which the cashier said we could shove as much as we wanted! Okay! So, I squished the hell out of the taffy to make room for more candy! (When we got home, I weighed it, and it was close to FOUR POUNDS of candy! Well worth $8!)
|Our shoved-to-the-brim bag of candy|
|Reece's Pieces-covered Oreo|
|They even pack up the fudge nicely|
|One pound - banana for scale|
|Nicely packaged pralines|
|Naked Caramel Praline and Chocolate Caramel Praline|
|My fudge (on top) and my share of taffy (bottom)|
|It stayed cold all the way home! The drink, not the medal|