Wednesday, February 29th:
This was a long day of travel and I spent many hours in airports due to the severe weather rolling across the middle of the country. Waiting wasn't fun but I felt so lucky to be safe and sound after seeing the devastating tornadoes that were being shown on airport monitors. My heart goes out to those who were affected.
Here's a photo taken out front of the hotel upon arrival on Leap Day... well, actually by the time I got to NOLA it was March 1st at 2:00a.m.... and look, still the city was alive!
Thursday, March 1st:
Woke up at 4:45 a.m. to get to Fox 8 News for a live TV interview on the local morning show. I haven't tried to post video links here, but if this works it will give you an idea of what it's like to get a few hours of sleep and then GET BACK UP to get the word out:
We did make it on the air but got cut off due to breaking news in NOLA. There was an officer-involved shooting which was later revealed as a tragic and complicated situation. Again, my hearts go out to those involved and hope the city of NOLA can keep healing in the wake of Katrina and the long, slow efforts of rebuilding the city and the trust of the people in the area. On a happier note, there were several local viewers who caught our story and at least one man is now in a ToeOFF brace and is elated to be BACK UP after years of thinking he would never walk normally (much less run!) again. Thank you, Fox 8, for helping to connect your viewers to real solutions.
Speaking of Hurricane Katrina, here's a memorial I passed as I walked around the city a bit:
On Thursday evening Jim and I walked around the French Quarter before retiring early. We found another cigar store... we have a few hand-rolled ones for you, Dad!
|Beautifully eerie night in the French Quarter.|
|Bourbon Street... had to stroll the most famous street in town!|
I worked in the hotel all day, trying to write my posts for the Pasadena race and catch up on all my emails. I also checked in to the race Expo, got my packet picked up and talked with media throughout the day trying to schedule some coverage for Sunday's event. On Friday evening my good friend, Ashley Graham, showed us around her new home town... I highly recommend Ashley as a tour guide, especially for her plethora of friendships with artists, musicians and chefs in the area! Here's one of the highlights of the limited nightlife I experienced while in NOLA...
Saturday, March 3rd:
The day before the race is always a bit unsettling... so much to do to make sure we have plans ironed out for race day, plus the usual "Get Back Up" sign to make (which involves a trek to a drug store to buy foam core and streamers). For the record, you can't buy streamers in the French Quarter. Anywhere. So we settled on a foil boa, plus one extra leftover Mardi Gras feather boa for me to wear. After everything was pretty much set for the race and all my race-day clothing options were fanned out on the floor of the hotel room, I decided I could meet Ashley out for dinner. Usually I eat in and go to sleep early, but tonight was special. 1) Ashley was free for dinner and I never get to see her anymore 2) The Tar Heels were playing Duke for the regular season ACC championship and 3) Both Ashley and I went to UNC. Clearly it was meant for us to watch the game on race-day Eve!
Ashley found us a great spot, 2 blocks from the hotel. It was a newly opened restaurant and sports bar, opened by Archie Manning (Peyton and Eli's dad) and we found open seats at the bar. They gave us snacks while we ordered... nothing I could eat 'cause they were Nawlins' pork skins... but that didn't stop me from being entertained by them. Notice anything in this photo?
|Waiting with the other early-risers on the first bus back to the French Quarter.|
Great friend, Ashley, up and downtown early to be our race support crew. She carried our "Get Back Up" sign along the course and everyone in our party got to see her many times on Sunday. Wonderful job, Ashley... you were always a sight for sore eyes (legs?)!
After the race, meeting up with other very special friends, John and Mary Kramer from Raleigh, NC. These two are Rock 'n Roll rockstars!!! Jim's on the right, smiling after finishing much better than he expected and Ashley still toting the sign after a very long morning.
The Competition! We seem to trade back and forth within 1 minute of each other... though she always finishes taller than me. :-(
|The race crew Queen, Miss Ashley! Also taller than me...|
|Post race restaurant (we sat at the bar since we couldn't seem to get out of our running shoes and didn't quite meet the dress code). Ashley recommended this, Bourbon Street Cafe, I think, and it did not disappoint.|
|My meal: "Redfish on the Half Shell with caramelized onions and new potatoes". YUM!|
|Ashley recommended this, I think it was called a "milk punch" and it was to-die-for! Egg-noggy frozen goodness with nutmeg... perfect on a hot day after a long run and a great meal.|
|Things that make you say "Hmmmmm......"|
Post race fun with the Kramers and Ashley (taking photo). This is the oldest bar in the French Quarter and has NO LIGHTING inside... it's all candlelight and very dark throughout. So we sat on the patio and took in the people-watching.
Cool area next to French Quarter, along Frenchman Street (or thereabouts). These houses are called "shotgun" homes because they're long and narrow and supposedly you can shoot a bullet from the front to the back without hitting any walls. This was on the Ashley Tour and next trip I hope to take her up on the tour of the greater NOLA area. On this day we stuck close to the Quarter but got to 3 places with great food and great music, all of which were recommended by Ashley. I will do the AT on every trip to NOLA, what fun!