Friday, September 21, 2012

15 down, 7 to go!!

15th Half Marathon of 2012: Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia!

Before we get to the race event, I had another week of work to do...feel free to skip to the middle of the post for the Philly details!

Tuesday, September 4th: 

I left Virginia Beach for 1 day home in NC before boarding the plane to Boston for the AOPA National Meeting. Before I left town I needed to pick up the final edited version of the "Bracing for a Marathon" instructional video that was filmed with Dr. Fields. This was the first time I would see the final version and I was keeping my fingers crossed that the file format would work with both PC and MAC, not knowing what type of setup I would have for my presentation in Boston. Also, the video itself was 13 minutes long and I needed to write the final 17 minutes of the presentation once I got to Boston... Yes, yet again I am cutting things extremely close but this time it wasn't my fault!

So I went to the offices of Bouvier-Kelly to meet with Jennifer regarding the video. As luck would have it, we couldn't get the files to open on my laptop--they were far too large and in a format my computer didn't recognize. We had the backup DVD's but since I was hoping to incorporate the video into a Powerpoint presentation we were trying convert the file into a usable format. After attempting multiple strategies over two hours we gave up for the day; I was headed home to pack for my flight while Jenn worked with her team to see if she could post a file online once I got to Boston. 

Wednesday, September 5th:

I made it to Boston, checked into my hotel and realized my brain was too tired to work on my presentation tonight. I went to the lobby restaurant and grabbed a bite while visiting with all the orthotists and vendors who were beginning to fill the hotel for their national meeting. I saw so many people I knew that before I realized it was after 10pm and I was, I planned to play in a charity golf tournament first thing in the morning... better get myself to bed!!

Thursday, September 6th:

A 5:30 am wakeup call to get ready for the bus trip to the golf course. I am playing today with Jim Ingegneri, one of the Allard reps in the Northeast--you may remember him from the Providence race. Although I am excited to play golf today (as opposed to running another Half Marathon) I am totally stressed out about the presentation I need to work on. Today will be a long day and I will only have tomorrow to get it finished and to practice it.  For now, it's tee time.

Jim Ingegneri is ready to roll!

A view of all the teams before our 8:00am shotgun start

Jim teeing it up.

Allard was a hole sponsor so we took the opportunity for a glamour shot. :-)
We played well today and had a great time with our other two teammates, Dave (of Florida Brace) and Kimberly, who's husband is an orthotist from NY attending the meeting. The golf course provided us with a late lunch upon finishing 18 holes and after they awarded the trophies (we were 2 places out of the hardware, bummer) we boarded the bus back into Boston. As soon as Jim and I got back to the hotel we had to quickly clean up and change to meet for an afternoon workshop featuring Allard's braces.

The workshop was over at 5:00 but then I found out that I needed to attend the opening social at the Exhibit Hall until 8:30pm. Normally I could gear up for just about anything but not only was I extremely stressed out about my presentation but I was beginning to feel a scratchy throat coming on. Please, please, please don't let me be sick!! I haven't had a cold in 2 years and this year it's even more important to stay healthy.

I begged out of the company dinner after the social in hopes of getting to bed before 9:30 or 10pm, after all, it has been a very long day!

Friday, September 7th:

My worst fear was realized this morning, I woke up with a cold. My throat was sore and my head was completely stopped up. Great... just in time for my presentation tomorrow. I began the day with a trip to the drugstore for some Hall's cough drops, Zicam and some nasal spray. I already had my vitamins and EmergenC's with me so I hoped between these 5 things I'd make my way through this.

I spent the first half of the day writing my presentation and creating my slides in Powerpoint. My head was so foggy that I needed a break before practicing it and timing it for tomorrow morning's deadline. The Allard team wanted me in the booth for the Exhibit Hall hours so I made my way down and did my best to keep from spreading my germs--no handshakes or hugs this weekend in order to protect the general public!

The booth hours ended at 6pm, a long afternoon of standing in the booth "meeting and greeting" but I met so many great orthotists who make it their mission to get people like me "back up". After the booth duty I felt I really needed to join the team for dinner. I rarely get time to spend with the Allard folks and I was determined to make a go of it, although I could hardly breathe and my cough was getting worse.

Dinner at Legal Seafoods, a Boston tradition.
This is indoors after a seriously strong thunderstorm roared through Boston. We had to traverse the water to get back to the Sheraton from Legal Seafoods. 
The dinner went long, as you may imagine with a group of 12 people in an area of town congested with conference-goers. I plopped into my bed around 10:30 and struggled through a rough night with my cold.

Saturday, September 8th:

A beautiful day in Boston but I feel lousy and I'm very anxious about my presentation today. I wake up at dawn and go outside for a breath of fresh air before meeting Jackie for breakfast. Jackie is an orthotist with Allard and is going to review my presentation for errors or necessary additions.

Boylston Street in Boston. This stretch is actually the finish line for the Boston Marathon. Sigh. I miss running here!

Another view of Boylston.

The firehouse which is right at the final turn of the Boston Marathon on Hereford and Boylston.

After my breakfast meeting/review with Jackie I went to meet Angie Paez, she is my techno-guru and I needed her help making sure my computer would work with the theater's setup. Thanks to Angie I had everything working... now it was just up to me to make sure the talk went smoothly.


I'm on! There was a good crowd present for my talk and many great questions afterwards. I made it through with only 1 sneeze and a handful of coughs. Afterwards I got an invitation to present to a group of students in Philly--5 days from now! I promised I would try to make it happen but I took the invitation as a sign the presentation was decent at least.

AND IT'S FINALLY DONE!! Woo hoo!  Now I'm off to the Allard booth for another 2 hours then on the plane to get back home.

Sunday, September 9th:

I was so looking forward to meeting all of my friends for a Sunday of NFL but alas, I feel crappy and spend the next 2 days in bed trying to get over my cold before leaving for Philadelphia. One thing that did give me a bit of inspiration was a gift my husband brought back from his trip to Florida last week:

Our favorite Greensboro Grasshoppers from last season got promoted to Jupiter this season. I was hoping to make it to a game but my schedule had zero openings. Jim, however, was able to make it to a few games and brought this back for me.
It's signed by Jupiter Hammerhead's first baseman and great friend of ours, Mark Canha. He even signed it with our Get Back Up message... thanks Mark and Jim... I LOVE THIS!


Thursday, September 13th:

I'm not quite sure where the last few days went. I slept through the first 2 days at home then had to rally for some work obligations, laundry and packing for the flight to Philly today.

I got to the hotel in Philadelphia at noon and was planning to meet Professor Marc at Jefferson University to "lecture" in front of about 60-80 Physical Therapy students. I am still feeling a bit run down but the worst of my cold is behind me and I am excited to talk with these students.

The view from the top floor at the Edison Building on Jefferson University's campus.

The students are starting to file in.

More students arriving...

And even more...

I spent about an hour with the students and truly loved talking with them. A few of them will be running the Philadelphia race this weekend so I hope to see a few of them on the course. They asked so many great questions... the future is in good hands with this group!!! Thanks to you all for inviting me.

Friday, September 14th:

A perfect location in Downtown Philadelphia, thanks to Priceline this time. We're staying at the Sonesta in the Rittenhouse Square area which is convenient to everything I've got scheduled--no need for a car!

My husband joined me last night and this morning we're off to the Expo to check in... but not before grabbing a cup of coffee for the walk!

The coffee shop in the lobby of the Sonesta Hotel. 

City Hall in downtown Philly.

Historical Information along our walk to the Expo.

This town is full of amazing sculptures everywhere you look!

Great city for architecture buffs... so many styles within the skyscrapers downtown. Here's Gothic.

Checking in at the Expo.

I may "roll" this race instead of "rock" it but I'm happy to be here either way.

Hmmm... Running promo or deodorant promo?

Having a little Journey moment.

My friend, Emily, adding the Philly Bling to my bracelet.

It is always so nice to see friends on the road! I am so glad I got to meet Emily this year and I always look forward to seeing her.

The Bracelet gets bigger.

Another friend, Dorcas, running the Women's Running booth at the Expo. We had a great dinner with her and Merle, plus Laurie and Tina (of Injinji socks fame) last night. Now it's back to work for all of us!

And of course, there's Merle! We had such a great time last night... Jim chaperoned the 5 of us ladies and lived to tell about it. :-)

A race shirt that reveals my strategy for this week. I will be running with my stepmom and Merle, both of whom have a slightly slower pace than I do, but since I still have my cold lingering this is probably the wisest plan for me anyway.
When we're finished with our check-in for the race we take a different route back to the hotel. We found this odd little pub sandwiched between huge buildings and our curiosity got the best of us; we went in for a bite to eat.
We just missed the artist of this painting and got a cool story from the bartender about it's history.
We were pleasantly surprised by both the staff and the menu of this pub. In an Irish pub in downtown Philly I could order Vegan Wings with the spicy house-specialty "Pete's Sauce". YUM. Even my husband, the carnivore, enjoyed these.
Vegan wings, made of seitan, with celery, carrots and a delicious sauce.

While waiting for our food we checked out our Swag Bags from the race. The shirt for this one is really cool.

For the first time this year, we have a design on the back of the shirt as well. Very nice!
Upon our return to the hotel I set to work on my blog from Virginia Beach, then Jim and I headed back out to find a spot for dinner.
The Dandelion restaurant on 18th street in Rittenhouse Square.
Saturday, September 15th:

I am so excited for today!! I just found out that my sister, Maria, is coming up from Baltimore for the race--yea!!! I haven't seen her since Christmas and after the last event in Virginia Beach (with the entire family except for her) I feel so lucky to get this opportunity. Also, my dad and stepmom will arrive later today... this will be the first time EVER for me getting to run a race alongside Suzanne. She has been such a great running partner for about 30 years and yet we've never done an event together. My dad will be here to cheer us on and to take photographs, a big hobby of his.

For now, Jim and I are off to explore Philly on foot to stretch our legs before the run tomorrow. First stop, the Art Show in Rittenhouse Square:

You really have to see these in person to fully appreciate the talent of this Chinese artist. His technique and use of color is astonishing. While I'd love to have these on my wall at home, the $12,000.00 pricetag is outta my range!

More artists.

With art within the Square, the farmers' market runs along the outskirts of the square. 

Another great artist, I loved watching him paint!
More sights in Rittenhouse Square:

Careful, little one....

Chomp! She's gone.

Very beautiful Harley!

A break for a morning snack of Edamames...

And for my husband, Huevos Rancheros.

Back for more art...
We spent the entire morning walking and window shopping then headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner with Dad, Suzanne and Maria.
A great surprise with our Priceline hotel, a rooftop pool--my favorite!!

A perfect way to unwind before dinner.

These are soothing sights for someone with a lingering cold.
The city of Philadelphia was so busy with over 20,000 runners in town (along with their friends and families) that it was tricky to find a place to eat for an early dinner. We managed to luck out with this Italian place in the theater district near Washington Square--Ristaurante La Buca.
Dad and Jim in a packed, authentic Ristorante La Buca. Our waiter was a 60-70 yr. old Italian with a very thick accent.

Maria made it to town just in time for dinner!

Suzanne, perhaps regretting the fact that she's signed up to run with me tomorrow.

OMG, this was so delicious! It was a short-lived eggplant and buffalo mozzarella casserole. On the back plate, heirloom tomatoes, roasted red peppers and sauteed spinach... our assortment of appetizers.
After our wonderful dinner we walked the 30 minute trek back to the hotel where I immediately put Maria to work on my sign.
It's great to have a talented sister!

No time for laughing, Maria, get back to work!
Sunday, September 16th--RACE DAY!!!

A 4:45am wakeup for all of us and we're off to find the starting line.
Maria's sign looks perfect... and so does she, as usual. Me? I'm sporting my Sweaty Bands tee courtesy of Merle... this will be the first race I get to run with her, too.
A serene fountain along our early morning walk to the starting line.

Maria and Jim, resting up for a long day ahead.

Can you see the Go Pro camera on my head? I am going to attempt to film the entire race today from my "hat cam".

As the sun rises higher in the morning sky we've made our way to the VIP tent at the starting area.

The table of gents in the back are runners that have run this event for 35 YEARS IN A ROW! Wow, my hat is off to all of you.

The Philadelphia Art Museum (and the "Rocky steps") as the sun comes up over downtown Philly.

Still Life With Orchid and Sign. 

David "Clydesdale Runner" DeNeire ready to Rock another RnR event... what a machine!

My loves!!! I can't wait to run today with Suz and find Maria and Dad cheering for us along the way.
The Sweaty Band Team du jour!

We're off!! You can barely see the camera on my head as Suz and I make our way through the streets of Philly.
I have great footage of this moment (and so many more) on the video camera but I won't have the files ready to post for awhile. But this was a fun sight, to come upon my sister and dad cheering all the runners. This was near mile 4 and Maria was already hoarse!
We had to get the photo op on the course. Thanks, Merle, for taking the picture for us!
Almost 3 hours later and we did it!! My slowest but most fun race of the year since I ran all 13.1 with Suzanne and 11 miles with Merle before she took off for some faster final miles. Plus, my first race with   a hat camera! It will actually turn out to be the Sweaty Cam since I got so much footage of Merle who led the way for us.

David finishes another "short race" of 13.1 miles. Next weekend I will see him in Denver where he'll run the full marathon on Saturday before leaving that day for Montreal to run another full marathon on Sunday. He's a beast, not a Clydesdale!!

We so enjoyed our first race together! Thanks, Merle, for making today so much fun and for pacing Suz and I through the first 11 miles. Congrats on a great run!

And the most special moment of the weekend for me, meeting Mike Hanvey. He drove 2 hours to meet us at the end of the run today and I feel so honored. His "Get Back Up" story is amazing, once I get his permission to share all of the details I'll post it. For now, I can tell you that he was in a wheelchair for over a year before getting to try Allard's Blue Rocker braces and since then he's never looked back! He was able to get back to work finally, he tells me he hasn't missed one day since... in over 9 months. Way to go, Mike! You are my newest inspiration and I can't wait for you and your son to finally get to have that race you told me about. I am cheering for you all the way!!

2 people, 3 Allard braces! Way to go, Mike--you rock!!!
Remember the "vegan wings" pub from Friday? Well, we had told my dad so much about this that we all made our way back to share numerous plates of food after a long day of running and cheering:
Fergie's Pub... we recommend a stop here if you're in Philly!

Fergie's, from the side.
Next stop, Di Bruno Bros. market...
The cheese selection here is to-die-for! I couldn't pry my dad or Jim away.

Okay, I pulled them from one cheese display only to have them stop at another.

And another....

And finally, to make good on a promise: My dad gets a well-earned cigar walk. By his own admission my dad "doesn't do mornings" and this makes 2 races in a row where he was up and outside by 6:30 in the morning! Dad is over 70 and tough as nails. He was my technology expert today in setting up my Go Pro Head Cam, he walked the race course with my sister for 3 hours, he took numerous photos to document the day and didn't stop moving until the day's end. I love you, dad, you're amazing!!

Jim and Dad enjoying a stogie.

My official time for the Half Marathon, 2:49:25. For those of you runners who only think about going faster I offer this piece of advice: Every once in awhile, slow down and enjoy the day. I wouldn't trade my time with Suz today for the winner's trophy! What a special memory to have for the rest of my life... and the medal to remind me of another great day with my family.
See you in Denver!!!