Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 down, 15 to go!!

Hello, Friends!

Many of you have asked me why I'm not more timely in posting my race summaries and instead of making excuses I will just say that I vow to do better. My original promise to myself was to make sure I posted my most recent race summary before I ran the next one; I kept this promise for all but one race so far. I got tripped up by the St. Pete/Pasadena, back-to-back weeks of coast-to coast-travel and thus was late delivering both.

So my Spring Resolution (well it is a season of renewal, right?) is to honor my original promise of finishing my last-race blog before the next race starts. Yes, you heard it here first. Why is this such a big deal? Well, today marks the start of a 6-out-of-7 week travel stretch... with a Half Marathon every week for the next 4 weeks, a weekend off, then another Half in week 6 followed by a national conference meeting in Atlanta in week 7. 

I will have to be on my game to keep my promise!!

Thursday, March 8th:

After the New Orleans RnR Half Marathon, I was home for 2 days before jumping back on a plane. Before I write more, this day was my sister's birthday so another shout-out to her: Happy Birthday, Maria!! 
Maria, on the right, with me in Camden Yards after a game last year.

Instead of celebrating with Maria I was on my way to New Jersey (Allard USA's headquarters) to meet some very special people. Yes, this was 2 weeks before I left for Half Number 5 in Dallas but I wanted to fill you in on my activities outside of the Half Marathon arenas.

My first stop in NJ was to visit Vince Burke's fitness facility, Infinity, and to meet some of his clients who wear ToeOFFs. What a great experience!! Outside of a handful of runners who are now wearing the ToeOFF I have never met any other athlete with my same challenges. At Vince's place I got the opportunity to work out with 4 other athletes, all from different backgrounds and with different diagnoses, but all using the ToeOFF products to Get Back Up. Vince and his team are fabulous. They focus on getting their clients back up no matter what it takes and are creative and dedicated in their approach to this task. We did at least an hour workout, from warm-ups to interval training to strengthening exercises, all suited to meet our individual physical limitations but designed to propel us towards better overall fitness. I encourage you to check out their website as I believe their techniques represent the future of athletic training for all populations.

Here's a photo of my newest friends:

One woman was missing from this photo, she had to get back to her job, but featured here are 2 runners, one starting baseball pitcher and one all-around athlete... along with Vince and another trainer at Infinity.

Friday, March 9th:

I got to spend Friday at Allard's HQ in Rockaway, NJ... meeting the team of folks who make Getting Back Up possible for so many, many people. Yes, it was a day of meetings, planning and strategizing, but also full of a fun pizza lunch and "fun runs" around the office park. The main reason for my trip this weekend, however, was to meet and support another amazing ToeOFF wearer... I planned to run with him at a 5K race in Morristown NJ the next day and so I made an early night of it to make sure I was prepared for the race.

Saturday, March 10th:

A blustery, cold day for a 5K! I was off to meet Jamie Button and instead of telling you his story I will post some links to the news articles featuring him--I hope you read these:

So I met Jamie at the starting line, literally, as reporters were trying to photograph & interview us before the gun went off. It was so chaotic at the start that we barely got to say "hi" to each other before taking off. The race was nice, a 5K for a change of pace, but I was really happy to finish so I could chat with Jamie more. Here's a shot of us after the run:

Jamie's first race back after his injury in November. He beat me to the finish line but in my mind we are both winners!

Jamie had qualified for the Boston Marathon before his injury and was determined to make it to the starting line in April. SPOILER ALERT!!! Jamie unbelievably was able to Get Back Up in time for Boston, truly amazing! 

Sunday, March 11th:

Returned to Greensboro just as Daylight Savings Time begins. Woo-hoo!! Days are getting longer now!!

March 12-16th:

4 days of taking care of business at home, including taking care of my taxes (Thank You, DMJ!!), getting my hair cut, catching up on office paperwork and meeting with Dr. Fields to work on a big presentation for an Atlanta meeting next week.

March 16th-18th:

Back on a plane again, this time to accompany my husband on a business trip to Chicago for St. Patty's Day. Mulcrone and Associates were celebrating their 40th anniversary and we were invited to the festivities thanks to a great working relationship with my husband's manufacturing company. 

Small affair, huh? This was a fabulous event and we were treated to a bagpipe performance and and a song from a beautiful Irish soprano. 

The Mulcrone team.

While we were in Chicago my nephews, Joey (left) and Jackson (right) were running a St. Patty's Day race in Virginia Beach. I hate that I missed Joey's first-ever race event, but his big-bro, Jackson, gave him all the advice he needed. These 2 were making their Aunt Beth so proud!!

Heading to the St. Patty's Day parade!

End of the parade route vista... never in my life have I seen so many people dressed in green.

Speaking of green, I sported mine as well! In the background you'll find the Chicago River which gets dyed green every year before the parade.

The day in Chicago was perfect. 80 degrees for a high... in March, in Chicago!!

Monday, March 19th:

Returned home in time to make it to see Bruce Springsteen on his Wrecking Ball tour! I have the best friends ever... they made sure to include me for this superb concert... Thank you, Mark & Michelle, Ed & Melissa!!
Still rockin'! This photo was taken by a friend of mine, Mary Law...who also happens to have footdrop!
For a great review of the concert, please read the following, written by my friend and neighbor, Grant Britt:

Wednesday, March 21st-23rd:

Back on a plane for the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists 2012 annual meeting in Atlanta. In between all of my travels I have been working with my physician, Dr. Karl "Bert" Fields, on creating a presentation called "Bracing for a Marathon". This project has been a lot of work but I was excited to be able to provide this information to other orthotists. 

If you don't know, the brace that I wear (Allard's ToeOFF) is a fabulous orthosis but it took much more than putting it on to get me back up and running consistently. Dr. Fields has been working with me for years, analyzing my running gait, assessing my strengths and weaknesses and developing orthotic inserts to keep me running strong. The process has been a trial-and-error journey, along with much expertise from Dr. Fields when it comes to running and gait dynamics. 

We are currently trying to put together an instructional video based upon the presentation I gave, which included a Powerpoint feature along with video of my interview with Dr. Fields. The interview provided the details of everything that had to be considered when "bracing me for a marathon" including Dr. Fields' requirements for me: perfecting my running style to be better balanced to ease stress on my body as well as the brace. 

I was very nervous about the presentation but thrilled that it was a standing-room-only event... the need is great to show how orthotic devices can outperform previous limitations by understanding & addressing all aspects of gait dynamics.

When we get the video done I will post it on this blog!

Friday, March 23rd:

After last night's presentation I'm back on the plane, heading to Dallas for my 5th Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon of the year! I had very little time in Dallas due to the Atlanta meeting so pre-race media preparations were more difficult than usual. I spent much of the evening coordinating via email and phone, hoping to give ourselves as great a chance as possible for getting local coverage to support our Get Back Up mission.

Saturday, March 24th--Pre-Race Day!!

My husband flew in and we went straight to the Expo to get our race packets. I usually don't buy much at the Expo's (except gifts for friends and family) but at this race I actually splurged. Here's one of my new favorite booths...the Rock 'n Roll Marathon Jewelry vendors. I bought the coolest charm bracelet ever from these folks. If you get a chance to stop by, please say hello to them and tell them I sent you! And if you can't make it to an Expo, check 'em out online at:
Not the best photo, but you can see that it has a race-bib charm for each of the RnR cities. I am missing Pasadena, they were out of them at the booth, but I will be collecting as many as I can this year. The "anchor" charm is a guitar pick with Rock 'n Roll Runner engraved on it. Hopefully I will make it to 20!!

Jim and I, with our bonus medals on (for running 5 RnR events in the same year) along with our newest purchases: my race-charm bracelet and Jim's RnR dog tag necklace.

Another of my new favorite booths...the Sweaty Bands girls!! Here's a link to their product, the assortment of styles and patterns is quite impressive. The Sweaty Bands not only look great, they work great too. And the women I met who travel around the country for SB are fabulous, can't wait to see them again in Nashville!  Check out the official website:

And for the record, no, I do not get commission from any of the Expo vendors, I just like to pass along the information for products that I love!!

Outside the Expo on the walk back to hotel. Yet another perfect day in Dallas!!

I got to pick this up at the Expo, you get this as a bonus medal for completing 5 RnR events in the same year.  Pretty cool, huh?

The flip side. Apparently I'm certified now. :-)
Pre-race Dallas sights!
Rosa Parks Memorial.

Wall inscription behind Ms. Parks.

Memorial beside the Sixth Floor Museum (formerly the Texas School Book Depository), this is Dealey Plaza--overlooking the site of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Lunch spot, The Nodding Donkey in a cool neighborhood in Dallas.
Another view of the restaurant, featuring open-air seating and beautiful patio.

Nodding Donkey from the street.
Sunday, March25th--RACE DAY FINALLY!!

Up at 4:00a.m. again... no clock photo this time, you'll just have to take my word for it. The following photos should support my claim that I was up and out pre-dawn:

Drove our car to the race finish parking lot so we'd have transport back to the hotel.

Some other runners off to an early start... planning ahead is so critical for a successful day!

On the shuttle, a school bus actually, heading back to hotel to get dressed for today's run.

It's still dark when we get back to the hotel!!

The pre-race crew! Kelly Millard, on the left, is a District Manager and she brought her friend for race support.  Here we are waiting to meet up with 2 reporters... I actually got a call on my cell as I took this shot.

It is so great to have support at these races. Kelly went above and beyond the call of duty with her awesome banner!

Running with the bulls, Texas-style! These bulls are right beside the starting corrals...for extra motivation maybe? Photo courtesy of Kelly Millard.

Ha! For once a TV reporter asked to speak to my husband...he did great!

Yeah, we did it!!

Finish line festivities.

No RnR event is complete without an Elvis sighting!

A familiar face! Drew Pelletier was quoted on our TV interview in NOLA and thus we became friends. He will be at a few of the RnR events this year, this one just happens to be in his home town. See you in Nashville, Drew!

The Medal!! Sorry it's sideways! Just turn your computer around already.

Me, reflecting with Ms. Rosa Parks after the race before heading for home.  Rosa Got Back Up by sitting down... you go, girl!!

Monday, March 26th--HOME SWEET HOME!!

Was so excited to see that I didn't completely miss my tulip bloom! Please ignore the long grass and the non-mulched beds... you may have guessed I've been busy doing things besides yard work!!

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