Thursday, March 1, 2012

Post-race St. Pete, Pre-race Pasadena!

The Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon was the weekend right after St. Pete, so I did some work in Florida following that race, then traveled to California from there.

Monday and Tuesday, February 13-14, 2012

Spent some time walking around Tampa area just to get the legs loose from the race on Sunday. Happened by an O & P facility in the area, these folks are heroes to those of us with mobility issues!

Also took an afternoon to do laundry so I would have clean clothes to run in when I got to Pasadena. The laundromat was actually quite nice...Rainbow or Rainbow Market, something like that. It was cheap, clean and in a great neighborhood. Sorry, didn't get photos of this fascinating afternoon.

Wednesday, February 15th
Flew to Burbank airport via Phoenix... all flights wonderfully uneventful and on-time! The weather was cold (by CA standards) at 40 degrees and windy but by the time I got to my hotel I did feel like I was in paradise:
Flowers like these were EVERYWHERE I looked!

I got my hotel via Priceline again (no, I don't get paid to mention them but I share this information because it's been such a great tool for me on this journey) and ended up at the Westin in Old Pasadena--highly recommend this hotel! The parking is extra, $14 per day, but if you don't need to have a car for your stay this is a GREAT walking area. Upon arrival I realized that I was just in time to catch the second half of the Tarheels game, we were playing Miami and I expected a close game. So I asked the locals for a good spot for viewing and to get a bite to eat... they sent me to Barney's Beanery and I was not disappointed!
There's not a bad seat in the house if you're a sports fan!

You can take your pick of any sport, any team, any time.

The "bus" inside Barney's, with patrons watching basketball from inside the bus.
So after the game it was back to the room for me. Local time, it was only 8pm but I was pooped after a very long day of travel! P.S. Tarheels managed to escape Miami with a win.

Thursday, February 16th

I slept in 'til 6a.m. (well, according to my East Coast body clock it was really 9a.m. so I did actually sleep late) and went for a 6-mile, easy run around Old Pasadena. Going for a run is always such a great way to see the area; I got advice on the route from the concierge--they actually had laminated cards printed out for exactly this purpose. Here are some views of the immediate hotel area:
Nice view of the mountains in the background, this is Los Robles Ave. where the Westin is located.

This is a view from the promenade that runs behind the hotel and into the shopping areas of Old Pasadena.

Another view of the promenade. This area is really beautiful, with water running through it and art pieces installed all around.
The turtle fountain in the promenade... a good luck omen, thanks to my friend, Cecil

After the run I hunkered down in the hotel room for the rest of the day to work on the computer and catch up on phone calls. Then I ventured back out to find a place to get dinner--I had seen some cool spots along my run earlier in the morning and got some advice from city locals as to their favorites.
Hard to see, but this is the outside of Haven Gastropub, a local fave.

The menu. They offered many of these dishes at a discount between 4pm and 6pm nightly--YUM!
Friday, February 17th
Woke up early this morning, 5a.m. PST, to keep my body clock on track. Went for a short 3-mile jog then breakfast at Barney's Beanery. I found out that Barney's has been around for a hundred years almost and has been a long-time favorite of locals and celebs. It got its name because it features great coffee and great chili (hence, "Beanery) but offers all sorts of food all day long.
Barney's Beanery by the light of day
After breakfast it was a short walk to the convention center to check in for the Marathon Expo, always fun to see what the new race bibs and t-shirts look like. At the Expo, like the other Rock and Roll events, they had Dodge vehicles out front and inside the building. Dodge is a major sponsor for these events and so I've seen the newest models on display. In Pasadena, Dodge was offering $25 gift cards if you test-drove any model. I wanted to try the new Dart... a used Dodge Dart Swinger was my first car ever.  That's right, the "Swinger" sisters and I were sooooo cool in high school :-) Alas, they didn't have that model available yet so I drove the Journey. It was actually quite a nice ride.

My chaperone in front of the Detroit Tigers-version of the Journey; blue exterior, white leather with orange stitching interior.


Inside the Expo
After packet pick-up I went in search of lunch. I had heard of a great brew-pub near Glendale that offered many vegetarian and vegan dishes in a cool atmosphere so I embarked upon finding it.... with success!
You gotta love the places who have their priorities in order! This was the entrance to The Pub at Golden Road Brewery 
A bit of the menu items at The Pub at Golden Road.

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