Friday, October 19, 2012

Just a short 10K in Brooklyn, thanks to Rock 'n Roll NYC!

First, let's do the math: This race was my 16th Rock 'n Roll event of 2012. So far this year I have done 17 Half Marathons (15 of which were RnR events), two 10Ks, one 5K and many, many training runs all over the US.

Wednesday, October 10th:

I arrived home yesterday morning after an overnight flight from San Jose and immediately set to work getting ready for my trip to NYC. I knew today would be a very busy day of trying to squeeze in "home life" requirements as well as an added media opportunity with a local TV station, WGHP Fox 8 News, so my time is limited before leaving again tomorrow.

After a morning full of appointments, I met the reporter across town at Guilford Battleground Park on a beautiful fall day. This park, a local treasure, is rife with Revolutionary War history and gorgeous trails & paths--perfect for a day of running in front of a camera!

(If you're in town, please take some time to visit this national park--here's the link to the pertinent info:

While I am always excited for media coverage for our Get Back Up message, some interview sessions are better than others. Today was fantastic! The cameraman was so energetic, an avid outdoorsman, and he had so many fun ideas of filming with his traditional set-up along with some experimental video using his Go Pro camera on a pole while he ran beside me/behind me/in front of me. I was with him for a little over an hour and got the opportunity to work up a sweat with all the running back and forth... multitasking interview with a workout!!

David Weatherly of WGHP Fox 8 news. Thanks, David, for a great day in the park!

Thank you to channel 8 for sharing our story with your viewers, the calls started coming in immediately after the story aired. This means more people will Get Back Up! Here's the link to the story:

Thursday, October 11th:

Back on the plane at 5:30am headed to NYC where, immediately upon arrival I had to get to the hotel in Brooklyn from JFK then head out to meet a New York Daily News reporter. The traffic was heavy into town from the airport but I arrived just in the nick of time thanks to the savvy taxi driver!

When I got to the hotel I discovered I was about 7 blocks from the reporter's office and had to run, literally, to make it to him in time for our scheduled appointment. Upon arrival there I got a text that he was running late... whew, I would have time to relax and catch my breath before we met. I used the extra 15 minutes to take in some of the downtown Brooklyn sights...

I bought a vegan muffin here after realizing I had eaten nothing but a small bowl of oatmeal since 4:30am and it was now after 1pm!

Fresh veggies on the streets of NY every day. Sigh, there are some things Greensboro could improve upon.

Two of my favorites... Brussels sprouts and tomatoes! I really miss cooking at home.

It's Fall!

I am standing at the "You are here" spot.

I got the call that Joseph Tepper was ready to roll so I headed back down the street to introduce myself. He was a great guy, originally from Chicago and working on his graduate journalism degree at NYU while reporting for the NY Daily News. We got a lot of opportunity to talk because he wanted to take the subway down to Prospect Park, the sight of Saturday's race. This was a fantastic perk for me since I would have to go there anyway for packet pickup tomorrow and he would show me the best way to get there. Unfortunately I didn't have my phone fully charged so I wasn't able to get a shot of Joseph or the park today, but I will provide park photos when I get there on Friday.

Thanks, Joseph, for a great afternoon and for helping us spread the Get Back Up message with NYC! Also, thanks so much for the tips on what to see and do in my limited time in the city. 

One minor correction for the story, an honest mistake with such a rushed deadline to meet, but Joseph credited me with being 6 years younger. It feels great to be "40" again... ha!!

Here's the link:

We finished the interview and photos on a spectacular day in the park then headed back to the downtown area. I felt fully comfortable now finding my way around the area via subway thanks to my quick tutorial. I got back to the hotel quickly and changed into warmer clothes as the sun was getting lower in the sky. On Joseph's recommendation I then set off to find the area of Brooklyn called "DUMBO" which, I learned, stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Joseph said that some of the best views of Manhattan could be found here, as well as great views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.


Despite the great technology of my ToeOFF brace I still trip and fall on occasion which is just a fact of life when you have foot drop. These days I mainly trip only when the terrain is uneven and/or I am not paying attention to every step... case in point for today. As I was making my way down towards Dumbo, looking up at the bridges in front of me, I took a very hard tumble on broken pavement.

For those of you with foot drop I'm sure you know this slow-motion sensation of realizing suddenly that you've misstepped and there's nothing you can do in the seemingly eternal time it takes to actually hit the ground.

I fell on broken glass, as if the fall itself didn't do enough damage, and I banged up both of my knees rather thoroughly even while wearing jeans. As I was on the ground struggling to find a place to put my hands where there was no glass, mercifully 2 homeless men came from across the street to help me up. Falling is a great equalizer. I was quite shaken up and these two men were so wonderful to me but shamefully I did not get their names. Whoever you are, I am so grateful for your assistance and your caring comfort. Once I gathered my wits about me I did go back to find you but your sleeping bags were moved. My best thoughts and wishes for you are out in the universe now, I hope they find you somehow!

So with the shaking that comes from an unwanted adrenaline rush I found a coffee shop that would allow me entrance to their sinks to wash the blood off of my hands and knees. Another wonderful show of humanity: they allowed me behind the counter where there was only room for one person and went out of my sight as I stood in front of their open cash register!

FYI: I did buy coffee and tipped generously!

Okay, back to my afternoon...

Joseph was right, the view of the city and the Manhattan bridge was stunning.

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan in the background.

The sun is setting behind the Brooklyn Bridge.

I'm walking through a gorgeous riverside park with great close-up views of the architecture in Dumbo. That's the Brooklyn bridge in the background.

My chariot awaits! The carousel on the water in Dumbo.

Another view of the Manhattan bridge with the water splashing up on me.

This was worth the wait for nightfall! What a beautiful evening here in Brooklyn with no one to share it with. :-(

My walk back up to the downtown area... so peaceful and serene that it's hard to believe I'm in such a big, busy borough. 

Tourist guides posted under the busy Manhattan bridge expressway.
Again, a romantic walk back to my hotel... I can see why people "heart" New York!

My "Hipster-ized" version of the view. I added this to my Hipster app postcards, even though I really don't know what I'm doing with Hipster.
Friday, October 12th:

I got a great night's sleep after a long day yesterday and woke up early to start the day. Jim was joining me in town after working with his customers in DC and the NYC area the last 2 days. I was able to escort Jim through the subway connections and into the center of Prospect Park for packet pickup. This was the first (only?) outdoor Expo that I've seen on the Rock 'n Roll circuit. Today was a windier day in the city and the vendors were struggling with the added challenge.

Rock 'n Roll Expo NYC.

These banners and the tents were flapping wildly, loudly, throughout the park.

Some of the vendors braving the chilly morning in the park. Sadly, no Sweaty Band Merle or Marathon Jewelry Emily this trip. :-(  I miss you ladies!
Prospect Park, a 585-acre oasis of natural beauty and historic buildings, was a maze of trails and creeks and paved paths. Here's a link to more information and below I'm posting some of the scenery:

The Audubon center in the background and a glimpse of my skinned knee.

Nothing like a great park to make you feel like a kid again...skinned knees and climbing trees!!

Great botanical history in the park.

A Camperdown Elm.

Fifty paces outside of the park oasis and it's back to the urban oasis...

The Q line tracks.
With the race early tomorrow morning and a dinner engagement tonight with Laurie Lasky, the local District Manager for Allard, I needed to get my sign made and my race gear prepped.

I'm showing this view and the next for perspective: My backside is touching the wall behind me as I stand at the side of the bed...

...and on the other side of the Double bed, I could sit on the windowsill and finish my sign as it lay on the bed. This room at the Indigo in Brooklyn was TEENSY TINY!!! You can barely make out my suitcase on the floor in the background, I had to step over it to get around the bed.

The view standing in the doorway to the room. The other patrons of the hotel made the same comment we did: "The elevators are roomier than the rooms!"

Sign done and gear all prepped for tomorrow's 10K, Jim and I walked around the corner to Juniors to meet Laurie and her friend, Diane. Laurie and I needed to make a plan for how we would meet up at Prospect Park in the morning and, of course, we all needed to eat.

Jim at Juniors.
I have a photo of Laurie and Diane, both native New Yorkers, at the table with us but I've made a vow not to post anything without consent. Laurie doesn't like to have her photo taken and Diane was caught mid-mouthful of her Reuben sandwich... so just take my word for it that they treated us to a great dinner...and cheesecake!... at Juniors.

Back at the hotel after dinner. Here's a photo mural of a staircase outside the door of our room. I guess it's here to make the hallways seem less claustrophobic but Jim thinks it's here to satisfy my odd compulsion to take goofy photos. He humors me though, begrudgingly.
My turn to play!!

Hee hee... fun with photo murals.

And now, just a chance for full wingspan before entering the tiny box of a room we're staying in.
Saturday, October 13th--RACE DAY!!

We're up early on a freezing morning, actually freezing when you factor in the wind chill. While this is a welcome change from running in hot and/or humid conditions it makes for a brisk walk to the park.

Sleepy but cozy in multiple layers during a coffee break out of the wind.
We found our way from the subway stop into the center of Prospect Park via a different route than yesterday. Upon arrival we made our way to the VIP hospitality tent to say hello to our Rock 'n Roll family.
Once again the flower arrangements are beautiful, adding warmth and cheer to a cold and blustery morning.

It took us so long to get to the center of the park that we only had time to drop our gear and jog the half mile to the actual starting corrals.

I'm telling on myself here: not only was this photo being taken during the singing of our National Anthem but I've also not removed my headwear. Bad citizen! We had to slide through the white gates in the background to pop into the corral in time to take off, barely made it!!!
Although I couldn't feel my thumbs until about mile 3 the race today was spectacular. The course itself wound around and through parts of Prospect Park, a gently rolling run with great scenery and fabulous music thanks to 5 bands throughout the day. Jim and I ran with David DeNeire (a running legend!) and celebrated together at the finish.

The A-team. OK, maybe just a team. :-)

After a very confusing morning of walking almost 7 miles in the 585-acre maze of Prospect Park, Laurie finally finds us!! Let this serve as a warning to any spectators who plan to come to the RnR NY run next year: find a map, find your bearings and don't trust anyone who tells you which way to walk! And don't "walk toward the music" because on this circuitous course with many bands playing on different stages you can't be certain you're heading to the finish line stage.

A relieved Laurie, no longer lost in the park, cheering us on at the finish line.

A chilly but gorgeous day in Brooklyn.

After the race winners received their bouquets and awards, David and I took a moment to steal the table arrangements for our Victory Photo. Look Ma, we won!

David took "Gear Check" too literally this time. He stowed his luggage at the VIP tent and, after finishing the 10K, headed straight to the airport for Canada where he'll run the Toronto Marathon in the morning.  Stuff of legends...
Meanwhile, Jim and I peruse the hot food options.

More fresh fruit and flowers!

Adrian, our server for the morning, did not have the luxury of raising his core temperature like the runners did.

I have permission from Laurie to post this shot. The Second-Place female, Aziza Aliyu of Ethiopia, insisted that Laurie take her prize bouquet home to enjoy (but Aziza did keep her prize money to herself!) Congratulations to Aziza who finished in a time of 34:30, just 5 seconds outside of first place. 

I met another amazing athlete who Got Back Up. I am so sorry I don't have his name! I meant to get his info after giving him my card but we got sidetracked and then separated. If you're reading this, please send me an email so we can pick up the conversation where we left off. Also, congratulations on a great run today!
After the race we were all ready to get to someplace warm. A nice surprise for Laurie was the offer from the RnR staff to take with her the flowers and vases. The RnR team travel to each event and cannot transport certain items, the flowers are given away or discarded each race. Since Laurie is local it was easy for her to take them...Thanks, Malia, for this treat!

We joked that Laurie's minivan looked like a floral delivery service. I was seated in the back trying to make sure the bouquets didn't topple.

Laurie kept a few of the vases and delivered other arrangements to her aunt and her friends living nearby.
We were only too happy to leave the hotel room again after getting cleaned up and changed after the race. After all, our room was stiflingly small and the lure of Manhattan on a crisp, clear Fall day was irresistible. Our plan was to take the subway into the city and meet Laurie for a late lunch after her visit with her elderly aunt. Here are some highlights from our day in the city:

The farmers market in Union Square, a decades-old tradition on Saturdays in Manhattan.

More of the market patrons.

That's me, wandering off towards temptations in all directions...

Somehow I was able to resist, but these looked and smelled so scrumptious.

More deliciousness.

Great fall plants and herbs for sale.

"I miss me Mum!"  (Hi, Mom!!)

Mums the word.
(Sorry, no more awful puns.)

According to Jim's one dietary rule, "Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head" I would have to resist this beautiful cauliflower.

I don't know my flora...can anyone tell me what these are?

Heading south on Broadway after leaving Union Square we came upon another street festival. I was starving by now and needed to wait to eat until we met up with Laurie in China Town. Somehow I maintained restraint among all the fabulous smells of the numerous grilled, smoked and roasted savory treats.

Looking north on Broadway.

Must. Walk. Away.

Are you kidding me?! Red velvet whoopie pies?!! You're killing me!
Finally! We made our way to China Town for Dim Sum at Ping's with Laurie. More later, right now I need to eat...

Tasty vegetarian samplings of Dim Sum.

Thankfully they had a "point and pick" picture version or I would never know how to order here... our servers spoke no English and we spoke no Chinese.

Another photo of Laurie which she allowed me to post. :-)
Thank you, Laurie, for spending time with us, supporting our race today and for your great tips on NY "must sees". It was nice to finally see you in your own backyard... I will miss you until I get to see you again in January. Thanks again!
With full bellies Jim and I made our way through China Town and back north to catch the subway back to Brooklyn. We hated having to leave Manhattan so early but we had a 4:00am taxi reservation tomorrow. We took in the last of the scenery we could squeeze in, then back to our tiny room.
Fresh seafood in Chinatown.

My stepdad, Bob, would be in heaven right now...

I might have to hand in my Vegetarian Card for failing to be able to name these fruits and vegetables.

I wish I could stay longer to learn more about all of these foods.

Goodbye, Manhattan!

Back into Brooklyn and I just couldn't resist this photo opp. Look closely. My husband is such a good sport.
Sunday, October 14th:

Yikes, it was an early morning! We woke up at 3:00am in order to get packed, showered and down to the taxi awaiting us. This may seem like an easy task but with no room for 1 person to walk in our room it was brutal with 2 of us trying to get packed and ready. Somehow we made it and were at JFK by 4:15am, right on schedule.

One final thank-you to "Mama Laurie" for sending us on our way yesterday with homemade pumpkin bread and cookies. Nothing was open this early at JFK except Starbucks so the pumpkin bread made for a PERFECT breakfast treat!
Laurie even tucked in a knife with our bread... you can tell she's an amazing mom!

MMMmmmmmm.... breakfast a la Laurie.

The 2012 Rock n Roll NYC medal. My official time for the 10K:  53 minutes and 23 seconds.

See you in St. Louis!!

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