Saturday, June 7, 2014

... I’ve traveled all this way for something - I take it in but don’t look down ...

Hello, all!

I took a brief break from writing to pack up my room (and ship off my students) for the summer. My desk got a new coat of bright yellow paint and a curvy waved line detail that turned out rather well. The paterfamilias was very sweet and helped me learn the fine art of spray painting (without causing TOO many streaks). Now kiddos will NEVER confuse my desk for another teacher's desk!

Naturally, I slept like a log on Thursday night and slept in on Friday, but I was not able to resist planning a very full weekend, McLain and I went up for the  Asheville Half Marathon. This was only my second half - and the terrain was very different than my first. The Diva in Myrtle Beach was fun and flat and fast. I had some concerns about the hills on this course! Before we left, McLain did a very daring thing - he gave me a driving lesson. A driving lesson on a hilly road in a stick shift car! While I am still not a pro, I have some good skills and a basic proficiency at starting and shifting and not stalling - mostly.

McLain let me book the hotel for our Asheville excursion, and on my/our budget the Asheville Super 8 was our best option. I am usually a snobby hotel princess, but the limited time frame for booking and limited budget made this our closest option. The Super 8 was a few miles away, making it less than ideal for a bar crawl or girl's night. However, it was clean and in good repair - our non-smoking room was truly non-smoking and the staff was helpful and friendly. A word of warning - the local cops like to camp out in this parking lot to pull over people who are speeding. We saw 6 cops in that parking lot at once!

Packet pick-up was smooth, although we arrived at the expo at almost closing time. I got my bib and goodie bag, but had limited time to peruse the displays. I DID meet a wonderful lady who was representing her mixers! She started SCALES in Charleston a few years ago and the mixers are simply fabulous. She let us try her Sour mix and Bloody Mary mix in some adult beverages and they were out of this world.They are available at WalMart, BiLo, and Ingles.

When we reached the hotel I looked through the goodie bag and we found some interesting fliers for the Asheville area. I also got a bag of rice? Based off of the coupons in the bag, we determined that we should go to the LAB for dinner. All of the brews were in house and the eats were locally sourced. I got the pommes frites and the Hawaiian Andouille Wrap. McLain got the Unlawful Falafel and the hand-cut fries. We split the Brussels and Belly appetizer. I got a 1st Gear Cream Ale. It was all wonderful. And, as in all good watering holes, we meet nice folks and had great conversation. Carbed up and relaxed, I was ready to run!

The half was also a 10K event as well. There were some areas where the courses diverged. The run was a mass start (and started ON TIME). Overall, it was well organized, and well-run. There were some issues with water stations, but they were minor. There we less people cheering than at the Diva, but the scenery was MUCH better and the course was challenging.

My finish was much better than I anticipated (2:07:something - which is a PR for time). I was able to get a quick shower and check out of the Super 8 and made it back to the festival to get an Organic Fuel (tasty!) and a complimentary Sierra Nevada Summerfest.

After, McLain and I walked down to Wicked Weed Brewery and had some lunch. Asheville has no shortage of good eats and drinks - I had a  (ham + salami + cornichon + fig mascarpone) sandwich and McLain got the (beef patty + house kimchi + hoisin bbq + garlic toast) burger. And, THE BEER Y'ALL - I had a Imperial Coolcumber and a XXXIII Rosemary Ginger Saison. The fella got a
Genesis Blonde Sour. They were all delicious. We tried to get a growler fill - but there are some weird NC growler fill laws and we were only able to come home with the XXXII Prickly Pear Saison. We had to leave the Sangria Blanc behind.

I had earned a sweet treat - in my mind at least! We stopped by French Broad Chocolate Lounge, which I could spend a day and a small fortune in. I love chocolate so much - but I limited myself to just a hot cocoa today - a ganache based drinking chocolate with maple & smoked sea salt. SO GOOD.

This was McLain's first Asheville trip - but I think we will be back! If not the two of us, I may make excuses just to go back there for the eats. I loved going to Lindy Focus years back, so this wasn't my first rodeo - but Asheville is worth the odd roads and awkward pedestrians. Just be prepared to pay for parking!

Stay tuned for a Fabletics Review!

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