Friday, October 12, 2012

17 Half Marathons done, 5 more to go!

17th  Half Marathon of 2012: Rock 'n Roll San Jose!!

Thursday, October 4th:

3 legs of flying today and finally we're in San I can say "Why yes, I DO know the way to San Jose"! Thanks to the USAirways Upgrade Fairy we were seated in First Class all the way, woo hoo! We made the short trip from the airport to our downtown hotel and went exploring a bit before hitting the sack. Apparently, it's Zombie Walk tonight and luckily, after flying all day, I feel like I fit right in!

Cool greeting upon hitting the streets of Downtown San Jose. If  I don't run well I think I'll claim to be suffering a touch of  the death.
Friday, October 5th:

As usual before every Half Marathon this year I have to scramble to finish my blog from the previous race. While Jim was in Concord, CA working with one of his distributors I hunkered down in the hotel to finish the blog from Denver. I also had emails and a few work tasks to knock out but by noon I was done with it all and ready to see some more of San Jose!

I decided the first stop should be the Expo, it's always nicer to get through packet pick-up and visit the vendor booths before the bigger crowds arrive. I walked the 3 blocks to the convention center under perfect California skies.
Another week, another Expo!

The 1/2 Marathon and Mini Marathon course map...almost life-sized.

San Jose 1/2 Marathon charm, middle left! Ba-ling!! Will I have room for the last 5?

Joey, the San Jose rep for Terryberry/Marathon Jewelry, helping Emily in the booth this weekend.

Hmmm... would be nice to try the World Tour next year!  Longer flights but fewer races!
The Expo wasn't as big as some of this year's events so it didn't take long to finish my business there. I got a call from Jim that he was on his way back sooner than expected so I went back to the hotel to drop my race gear then headed back to the Expo with him so he could pick up his packet. By then we were both ready for lunch. We decided to explore the various downtown neighborhoods in hopes of finding a good local restaurant.
Downtown San Jose, a few blocks from our Hyatt Place hotel.

Yay! We found Beth-food!

How could we go wrong at the Good Karma cafe?

Both of our meals were delicious! This was my plate, Chala Masala and Spicy Tofu Basil with steamed veggies and brown rice.

We sat outside along the sidewalk and people-watched as we finished our lunch.

This is where the VIP tent will be set up on Sunday. Hopefully I'll have a chance to visit this museum before leaving town.

These fountains were a huge hit with kids and dogs, and I had a great time hanging out nearby and watching the fun. This is the finish line area for Sunday's race.
Jim and I were so excited about our next excursion for the day. You may remember my mentioning Mark Canha, a former Greensboro Grasshopper baseball player whom we met while he was 'stationed' in town. This year Mark was promoted to the Miami Marlins "High A" team, the Jupiter (Florida) Hammerheads. I had hoped to get to see him play there but each time Jim had to go without me due to conflicts in my busy schedule. ANYWAY, Mark grew up in San Jose and told us that his parents would love to meet us while we were in town; they invited us to dinner tonight.
Jim, in front of the home of Elaine and David Canha... where Mark and his siblings grew up. 

I fell in love with the Canha's home. The front of the house had amazing curb appeal but that was nothing compared to the backyard oasis! They have a Bocce court that runs the full length of the property out back, hidden behind the fountain and flowers.

They also had a huge grill area, a dining area and this fire pit nook. 
This was the first meeting between Jim & I and Mark's folks so we all shared our favorite Mark stories in his absence. This was a photo David broke out of Mark...age 3 maybe?... playing golf at Pebble Beach. Apparently Mark was born a naturally gifted athlete, it makes perfect sense he's still at it!

Although we had initially planned to go out to a restaurant to eat, we were having such a great time at the house that David offered to make dinner for us here. He was amazing, just 'whipped up' a great salad, Penne pasta with tomatoes and garbanzos and grilled Hake. Amazing!! Thank you, Canhas, for an unforgettable evening... my abs are still hurting from all the laughs.
Saturday, October 6th:

The Hyatt Place has a wonderful free breakfast buffet, free WiFi and is conveniently located to everything we needed...PLUS, they had a really great rate if you used the Rock 'n Roll discount code upon booking. If you decide to run this race I can highly recommend a stay here.
My breakfast: cottage cheese, oatmeal and fresh fruit with coffee and OJ (not pictured).

Jim's breakfast: Pancakes with butter and syrup along with a Ham/Egg/Cheese sandwich.
Following breakfast I received an update that we had no media outlets interested in sharing our story, at least as far as we knew today. This is always disappointing since the whole point of this journey is to share the Get Back Up message, hoping to help others with mobility issues. However, this actually gave me a rare "free day" so we took the advice of Elaine and David Canha and went in search of historic Downtown Campbell and Los Gatos... both a short ride from downtown SJ.

This was a beautiful small town full of interesting boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.

Quiet and relaxing on an early Saturday morning.

Believe it or not, Jim was in search of a place to get his eyebrows "trimmed up" and waxed. He said to tell anyone who doubted his manhood that he was doing this purely to make him faster on race day.
(He did find a place and accomplished his mission!)
After Campbell we headed over to Los Gatos, where I realized I had forgotten to charge my phone last night so I didn't get any photos. :-(  This was probably my favorite spot in the San Jose area, at least as far as walking & shopping were concerned. Jim and I found some great presents for our families here and enjoyed window shopping for several hours in the gorgeous weather. Here's a link to the area if you're interested in checking it out:

When the afternoon was drawing to a close we headed back to San Jose to meet up with Carl Brance (Allard DM whom you may remember from the Portland race) to make plans for tomorrow's event. We invited Emily and Joey (from Marathon Jewelry) to join us for dinner in the swanky Santana Row district about 4 miles outside of the downtown SJ area. We met at Straits and sat outside under the heaters.
Overall our food was really good. This is probably the most interesting fish-dish presentation I had ever seen: Crispy fried Snapper with spicy basil sauce. 
We enjoyed our dinner but all of us had an early morning in store for us and headed back to our respective hotels. I had one more assignment to finish, the making of the Get Back Up sign, before I could fall asleep.

Sunday, October 7th--Race Day!!

A 6:00 am wake-up call felt like sleeping in compared to some of our adventures. There was a chill in the morning air but both Jim and I were excited to finally be running in cooler temperatures again. We made our way to the starting line area, about 7 blocks from the hotel, and immediately went for the coffee station!
After getting my cup of coffee I was thrilled to meet Roger Craig. Roger played football for the 49'ers during the "Montana Era" and has 3 Super Bowl rings! Roger also was the driving force behind bringing the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon to San Jose and he's planning to run it today with the other 5,000+ runners.

Carl finds his way to the start! He's planning to get video coverage along the course and will also help to coordinate with the media. He has a busy morning in store for him... I am so happy to have his help!

David "Clydesdale Runner" DeNeire refuses to miss a Rock 'n Roll event!

David with his friend, Rafael, Jim and Carl before the start.

Jim is ready to finish... and it's only the start.

Me, trying to keep warm before we get going.

We did it!!! Carl made his way all over the route today to get GREAT footage for our Get Back Up campaign. Roger finished his run in 1:51 and I in 1:59:16. 

I couldn't resist hammin' it up with Roger before he took off for the 49'ers game in San Fran today. I told him I was impressed with his time (he's 52 now and somehow escaped getting bad knees after so many years in Professional Football) and he said that his time included hopping up on a few of the band stages to ham it up along the course... what an athlete!

Carl, spreading the Get Back Up message...and his own experience with back surgery and footdrop...with a local reporter.

Kevin Gonzalez (front), another amazing Rock 'n Roll regular, had a PR at this race... congrats, Kevin! Behind him are finishers Rafael and David and two of the great Competitor Group staff.

Jim and Carl taking a much-earned break after the race.

This is Carl and I after we finished a lengthy interview with a reporter from the San Jose Mercury News. 

Emily and I take some time out to listen to the band and say our goodbyes until the next Half Marathon. See you in St. Louis, Emily! (I will actually be running in NYC next weekend for the RnR 10K but she won't be there.)    :-(

Friends to the Finish! Although they are tough to see in this shot, Ron Carino and Susan Carino (in the white hats) are the only husband and wife team we've met who are doing 10 or more RnR events in 2012. The best part about all of these races has been meeting so many wonderful new friends.
For anyone wishing to run a Rock 'n Roll event, or a first Half Marathon, or a 17th Half of the year... this course is beautiful, flat and fun. I highly recommend this!!

Immediately after the race festivities wrapped up we said our goodbyes to Carl and our other friends. We cleaned up back at the hotel and went out in search of more food and to watch the afternoon NFL and MLB games.
Fish Tacos from a restaurant in San Pedro square... I forgot to take a photo of the menu!

A walk through town to loosen up our legs after the run.

More of San Jose as the sun sets.

Another cool spot, an outdoor wine bar along Santana Row. We saw so many folks walking this area with the medals from the race around their neck.

A delicious cheese tray for an early evening bite.
Monday, October 8th:

We didn't have the stamina to stay out late last night after such a long day so it was an early night for us. Today we fly home but not until later in the afternoon so we decided to get our laundry done while we had a chance. If you've read the previous blogpost you'll know we're having plumbing issues back home and with only 1 and a half days at home before we leave again for the next event we didn't want to take chances!

On our way out of the hotel we saw the newspaper and checked to see if our story made it. It did, in the Local section "above the fold"!
This shot was taken, unbeknownst to me at the time, just as I was crossing the finish line.
While I was ecstatic to see our message get such great coverage, I was more than a bit distressed that some of the facts got distorted in translation.
The first correction to note: While I did play soccer before, during and after college... and I did go to UNC... I did not play for the championship varsity UNC squad famous for so much success. In this article it is implied that I did.

The second correction to note in the article:  

What I said: "While frustrated that amputees could run while I was struggling in my plastic AFO just to walk normally, my orthotists told me 'In regards to running we could actually do more for you if you were amputated'."

What he wrote: "The doctors wanted to amputate but Beth wouldn't hear of it"

And the third correction to note: 

I said we didn't know what my role would be in 2013 as far as the Get Back Up campaign was concerned; that I had only committed to the plan of running 22 races for 2012. 

He wrote that I may be going back to my advertising career.

For the record, I fully intend to continue this journey at least until the start of 2014... we just haven't figured out yet what we'll be doing next year...most likely it won't be 22 Half Marathons.

Oh well, the most important thing is that we did get great coverage and the details of footdrop and new brace technology were all perfectly accurate! Phone calls and emails began coming in immediately... mission accomplished thanks to the Mercury News!!

Now off to more important tasks of the day:

Another great Rock 'n Roll Half completed, this is the unusual medal. Official time: 1:59:16

Next up, a race to mess up my blog math! It will be another RnR event (which will bring the RnR total events to 21 by year's end) but since it is a 10K my Half total will still be 22. See you next week in NYC for the Rock 'n Roll New York 10K in Brooklyn. From there I will head to St. Louis for the 18th RnR Half... See you soon!

1 comment:

  1. And front page coverage. That's awesome! Congrats on #18. Can't wait to follow the rest of the story!