I’ve arrived in Cocoa, FL and just got back from the Space Coast Marathon Expo to grab my race shirt and bib, and took a quick selfie in front of the Astronaut prop:
I almost NEVER wear a new race shirt, as I have learned when it comes do running, do NOTHING new on race day. I had to try it on though:
I almost never wear long-sleeve shirts, as I live in FL, but it’s a nice addition to the race shirt collection. I also checked out the bling and merch for one of my upcoming races next month, the Hot Chocolate 15k in Tampa, FL:
They always put on a fantastic event, so my wife Samantha and I are REALLY looking forward to that one. Besides, they had me at Chocolate. After leaving the expo, I went over to my hotel at the Melbourne All Suites Inn:
I setup my race clothes and bib for tomorrow morning, before heading out for dinner:
Those are my absolutely favorite shoes ever, the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 Peachtree Limited Edition. As I ran in the Peachtree 10k this year, I HAD to get them for that run. Hopefully they hold up during my 26.2 mile marathon tomorrow.
Okay, it’s time for dinner, and where else to go but Olive Garden. Hopefully one is nearby:
Awesome, love when that happens. I swear one of the BEST things of living in FL is there are Olive Garden’s EVERYWHERE. Plus I have never been to this one, over at the WEST MELBOURNE location:
My server was Megan, and she was fantastic! As I had my I ♥ Pasta shirt on, it always gets attention, typically because it’s an employee shirt so everyone assumes I work for OG… I was asked by one of the servers which location I worked at, and I let them know I didn’t, and have it because I did the whole Pasta Pass thing and such. That led to others in the restaurant inquiring, in very friendly and supportive manner. They ALL seemed to like the premise of 8 Weeks of Pasta. I spoke to one of the managers, I believe it was David, but I’m not positive. He was VERY friendly.
I ended up ordering off the Cucina Mia menu (which translates to My Kitchen), which is basically very similar to the Never Ending Pasta Bowl menu, except it’s a single meal. I picked Rigatoni, Asiago Garlic Alfredo & Meatballs:
You get (3) Meatballs with Cucina Mia, opposed to (2) with Never Ending Pasta Bowl. I also felt this had much more sauce, which I’d expect since the calorie count of this sauce jumps from 720 from Never Ending to 940 with the Cucina Mia. Totally worth it, but pro-tip: eat half 🙂 Plus that left extra calories for some Pasta e Fagioli and Breadsticks:
Out came another manager, Sue, who I REALLY liked a LOT. She is exactly the kind of manager OG should have. High expectations, customer focused, emphasizes presentation and minimizes turnover. I let her know that my meal was one of the best presentations I’ve had, as it had a TON of breadcrumbs and sauce and just looked very appetizing. She mentioned MOST of the staff are long time employees, many since inception of this location, and how she was saddened that her long-time sauce maker retired. The GM, Carlos, came out after and stopped by for a chat. He was AWESOME as well, very professional and friendly. I like GMs who are welcoming like that and he thanked me for stopping by his restaurant.
Here is the Ziosk which shows a meal cost of $13.68:
I packaged up half my meal, paid the bill, and went back to my room to sleep and mentally prepare for my marathon in the morning. 3:45am wake up call 🙂
Here is the nutritional information for this meal: