(Or at least my stomach does. And my liver.)
It’s no secret that we love Chattanooga. It has always been where we go when we want a short/affordable/minimal effort vacation. I grew up visiting Chattanooga for Family Reunions when I had an Aunt and Uncle that lived there…and those trips are some of the fondest family gatherings in my memories. As an adult we stopped there often as it’s a good middle point between here and Knoxville. My Dad taught me to love the pedestrian walking bridge, he also chaperoned a field trip to the Aquarium which is another one of my fondest memories. All in all? I just love Chattanooga.
Donnie and I have made several trips there with the kids and during those times we’ve discovered more and more things we love about the area. Once we camped and discovered the Wilderness Outdoor Theater where we saw our first Drive-In movie. We had strawberry/jalapeno soda at a Kickstarter funded soda shop. I ran my first trail marathon there, Donnie has done two triathlons there and in September will do his first Ironman there.
All of this is to show you that WE LOVE CHATTANOOGA.
And yet, still? We discovered even more awesome on this trip.
And remember – we were supposed to make this same trip last year but my late summer miscarriage/D&C thwarted those plans. So! This was a trip over a year in the making.
We stayed at the Delta Queen. We chose this because A) It was at the start/finish of the marathon and B) It’s a 100-year old boat parked on my favorite river in the world. OF COURSE WE WERE STAYING. It’s also not really kid friendly, which meant we should take advantage of the experience while were there there sans munchkins. Also? IT’S A BOAT. Did I mention that? And let me tell you – staying on that thing makes you truly appreciate space. There is no way to be modest or cute about getting ready for a marathon in a room that small. Donnie was foam rolling in the most contorted position to make use of the tiny bit of floor and I was greasing up my chaffing-prone spots out in the open because there was only room in the bathroom for the toilet and the shower.
We ate early the night before the marathon at a place on the North side of the River (opposite of the aquarium) called Marco’s. I usually prefer a grilled chicken/starch type of pre-race meal but they have good custom pasta that allowed me to still stay light and not risk a tummy ache. It was also a LOT of food and we were able to sit outside on a gorgeous night. Win/Win!
We got back to the boat and tried to go to bed early but there were a lot of people milling around in the common area (the boat was full of wired racers) so it was probably 9pm or so before we got to sleep. I know you’re thinking, “That’s early!” but for me? Not so much.
I packed my tiny Keurig so I could have MY coffee in the morning as that’s my pre-run ritual and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my few years as a runner it is – DON’T F*CK WITH YOUR ROUTINE BEFORE A RACE. Seriously. That’s rule #1. Donnie even packed his custom oatmeal mixture to make and I packed my flatbreads and peanut butter. We were not going to leave it up to the hotel to provide us with breakfast. That’s the quickest way to induce poorly-timed pooping.
Put that on a shirt.
I told you about the race already. But I didn’t tell you about Donnie’s race. He went in aiming for a 3:30 but wasn’t sure how that would work since he just did a half-ironman last week. Also – he’s gotten so much faster in the last year but hasn’t really figured out how that translates to his marathon. So! He was going to test out 3:30 and just see how it felt.
Son-of-a-bitch finished in 3:15 and placed 2nd in his age group! That’s only 5 minutes off of a Boston Qualifying time! And he wasn’t really trying too hard. JERKFACE.
After the race we ate lunch at this great Mexican place Taco Mamacita and then wandered around the Bluff View art district on the South side of the river for awhile. It was a great way to keep our legs loose after the race and it was GORGEOUS.
Then we met up with our group again for dinner at the one place so far we had been to before. One of our favorite places in Chattanooga: The Big River Grille. Where I ate yummy food and drank all of the miles I had run earlier that day. IT WAS DELICIOUS.
I actually got up the next morning to run a bit, as that’s my post-race ritual as well, if I can. It keeps me from being too sore. I ran backwards along the course and it was gorgeous. I didn’t realize how beautiful it was the day before because I was so focused on finishing. It was a great run.
We met our group one last time at a place for breakfast the next morning called Aretha Frankensteins. We were told to go there: PRONTO, but to expect a wait. And they weren’t lying. There was most definitely a wait. Outside in the cold because the sun was barely up. But still – even after the wait in the cold – BEST. BREAKFAST. EVER.
I have recently taken a real interest in Art and I am even looking to take an online art course so it only felt right that whilst we were out and about that we found an Art Museum. After our late breakfast we decided to hit up the Hunter Art Museum, another place we knew we couldn’t visit as peacefully with the kids. It was gorgeous. A great museum and a beautiful day to enjoy some of the outdoor displays.
Finally, we ate dinner at still ANOTHER place we had never visited: Brewhaus. Great food, AMAZING view, and a pumpkin ale from Schlafly’s on tap that tasted like a damn PUMPKIN PIE. It was delicious. Definitely worth they hype.
The next morning was the first time I felt not-so-awesome of the entire trip because that lovely Pumpkin Ale? Was 8% ABV. And it knocked me off my feet and made me feel a tiny bit hungover the next day. Still? TOTALLY WORTH IT.
All in all? It was the perfect anniversary trip. Loved it dearly. Loved having the time with Donnie without the screaming kids. Loved the good food and great beer. Loved the walking all over one of our favorite cities. Loved it all. I would do the same trip every year if we could.
2 thoughts on “My Heart Belongs To Chattanooga”
I always wondered what it would be like to sleep on one of those River Boats as we have one by us now that we’ve moved. We went on it for a luncheon and then just a touristy cruise / history trip, but never slept.
Anywho, CONGRATULATIONS to you and Donnie 🙂 Through thick and thin, you stuck together through it all. A perfect team. Here’s to many, many, many more years of togetherness, health and happiness! oh and races too! xoxo
You are totally selling me on Chattanooga! I live in Raleigh, but I’m from up north, so haven’t done as much exploring in the South yet–maybe we’ll have to do a road trip. And I totally need me a waffle from Aretha Frankenstein’s. And congrats on the run!