Monday, September 3, 2012

Marathon Monday: Revived

I am training for the Columbus Marathon and following a schedule based on the "Train Like A Mother" finish it plan. These posts document my training.

The week, in running:
Tuesday: 6.5 miles, tempo (+stroller)
Thursday: 8 miles, easy (2 parts, separated by coffee break - 5.2 miles + 2.8 miles)
Saturday: Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon
Sunday: 3 miles, easy

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Most marathon training plans schedule a half marathon eight to 10 weeks out from the big race. The half experience allows a runner to test the fueling strategies that have been practiced, try shoes and clothing and feel the energy of a crowd. The race experience also allows for a shift in focus, to have attention diverted and a re-dedication to training.

And that's exactly what the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon provided.

I arrived at the race hotel, the Hyatt, just after 6 p.m. I was tired and frustrated, having been dumb enough to take the ass backward GPS way to the city and getting stuck in a good 45 minutes of traffic. Thankfully, the excitement of seeing my busy friend L for the first time in weeks melted away the bad feelings, and I settled in for what would be a good 24 hours.

The drive had done a number on my appetite, and I told my friend in the friendliest way possible that I would no longer be her friend if we didn't get something to eat. Immediately.

We walked a few blocks to the delicious yet deserted Coal Pizza Co. The restaurant bakes its pies in a 900-degree coal oven and offers a great number of toppings, including goat cheese (which I considered a compromise in my dairy-limited existence).

L was gracious enough to split the pesto pie that featured olives, tomatoes, pesto and goat cheese. The crust was thin and crisp and the pizza felt overwhelmingly light, unlike so many other pizzas you find. We also shared an arugula salad with goat cheese (again, for the win), walnuts, poached pears and balsamic vinaigrette. 

It was wonderful food and an even more wonderful experience. It felt like the first time in a long while where I could go to a restaurant and enjoy myself. There were no green beans to cut or food to pick up off the floor. I didn't have to walk around while my tablemate finished her meal, and I didn't feel rushed in the slightest.

After we filled our bellies, we headed back to the hotel to wander the expo during its last half hour. The expo  was decidedly small and there were no freebies to be had but we had a great time chatting with the race director of the Carmel Marathon (more on that later), running into Penny and Laura and solidifying our post-race brunch plans.

Cafe Patachou dubs itself as a student union for adults but I would dub it a Chicago-caliber restaurant in Indiana.

The menu features omelets (a favorite of Bon Apetit magazine!) made with free range eggs and local ingredients; gourmet coffee made with filtered water that you refill on your own; and cinnamon toast.

"Cinnamon toast?" you ask. "You mention cinnamon toast?"

Yes. I. Do.

Thick, buttery pieces of sourdough with cinnamon-sugar on top. It was out of this world. I would have never thought to order it but Todd from the Carmel Marathon told us to order the omelet of the day and the cinnamon toast. He's a smart guy. And I listened.

Sort of.

The omelet of the day featured chicken, arugula and Parmesan - very delicious sounding - but I couldn't resist the California Dreamer, filled with avocado and jalapeno and topped with sour cream. It was spicy and delicious - just like me. I also got to try the Hippie with a Benz (mushrooms, spinach, tomato and feta), courtesy of Laura who took up my offer to split two things we both wanted. I liked both but preferred the Hippie (the jalapenos were a tad too much), and I loved that the dishes were served with fruit or a mixed green salad. There was no temptation to get greasy, fried potatoes.

Of course, what I loved the most was the experience. We were out on the patio, in a big city, and I felt a million miles from home. We ate. Drank. Talked. Even though Mark delivered the bad news about our dishwasher and garage door while we were waiting for food, I felt renewed and thankful for the experience the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon provided. I feel ready(ish) and excited to take on Columbus in 48 days.

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