But first, I need to announce the winner of the Grape Gallop Race Entry Giveaway.
Congratulations to Hope, the lucky winner! I informed Hope last week, but I didn’t have time to announce it on my blog til now. If you’re sad you didn’t win but are still interested, you can register for Grape Gallop using the code FASTPACED17 for $3 off.
Last week Ben and I enjoyed a quick little weekend getaway of sorts in Princeton, New Jersey. Earlier this year, I was a race ambassador for the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon. In exchange for promoting the event, I earned a free race entry to any event that CGI Racing put on. None of their fall road races worked with my schedule, so I asked if I could transfer my free entry to my husband for their Olympic Tri. They were very kind to permit this and so, we went!
Before we left, we had a stressful time madly looking for Ben’s cycling shoes. They disappeared. Completely. After searching in vain for two hours, Ben decided to complete the cycling portion in running shoes.
We stayed at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village because it was dog-friendly. Bandit looooves hotels, especially fancy high-end ones. It’s funny how she knows which ones are the luxury hotels because she behaves totally different from her usual behavior. The fancier the hotel, the sooner she jumps onto the bed, lays down, and looks at us in a snooty manner (literally her nose is up in the air like a snob) as if to say, “This will do, peasants, this will do.”
A nice perk of staying at the Westin is that for $5 you can get rent New Balance running shoes and clothes, and get a pair of new socks for free. This is a part of the RunWestin program. We’ve stayed at a number of Westins and whenever we do, we always take advantage of this program.
We wanted a quiet relaxing night, so we ordered pizza for delivery. I love getting delivery when staying at a hotel. It’s so decadent to eat in bed while bingeing on TV.
Sunday morning, I drove Ben to the swim start/finish area at Mercer County Park, which is the same park where I did the Perfect 10-Miler a year and a half ago. Originally I thought I would do a long run in the park while waiting for Ben to finish, but on Google maps I noticed that the Delaware & Raritan Canal Tow Path was nearby. There was no way I could pass that up, so I told Ben that I would drop him off, go run on the towpath, shower and get Bandit, and return in time to see him finish.
Well, the dropping off, running, showering, and grabbing Bandit part worked out. Much to my surprise, when I was driving back to the park, I found out that CGI and the police closed off EVERY road going into the park. I had no way of getting back to Ben. After a half hour, they slowly starting reopening the roads. A small side road that led to finish area was opened first, so I used it to get to Ben. As I got closer, I discovered that the road that would take me all the way to the finish area was STILL closed. A worker kindly let me through the barrier so I could get to the parking lot. It was a lot of fuss and trouble and had I known this was going to happen, I would have simply run in the park.
Bandit and I found Ben and much to my surprise, Marco, Ben’s old running partner was there too! Ben and Marco used to run together all the time when Ben lived in Jersey City, but we both moved away. Marco’s interests have moved onto triathlons. Marco found Ben at the swim start and they were hanging out waiting for me to arrive. Marco was a bit bummed because he got terrible leg cramps during the run portion and a penalty for accidental drafting, but he still ended up with 2nd place for the first responder division.
Ben had a pretty good tri considering that as usual, he didn’t train, swam without a wetsuit because the water was too warm, and had to cycle without his cycling shoes. By the way, while cycling in running shoes while using clip pedals is possible, Ben does not recommend it. The good thing about it is that Ben had a very speedy T2 transition time because he didn’t have to change shoes. Ha!
Marco collected his medal, we headed over to our hotel to wash up and grab some drinks to catch up. It had been a loooong time since we last saw him (at our wedding two years ago), so we were eager to hear what was been going on in his life.
We had a lovely weekend in Princeton. Ben greatly enjoyed the New Jersey State Triathlon (they also have a sprint distance). He was impressed by how well organized they were. In his experience, the non-Ironman triathlons tend to be more haphazard and less professional, but he said that CGI put together a great event that he would gladly do again next year. We also really loved the salted caramel cookies by Manifesto Cookies that were in the post-race food bag. Ben’s not a sweets guy, but he went nuts over the salty-sweet delight. So if you ever see Manifesto Cookies, definitely go get them.
Thanks, CGI Racing, for a great triathlon!