Sunday, March 24, 2013

Event No. 4: Rockin' the Nation's Capital!

4th Rock 'n' Roll event of 2013: USA Half Marathon in DC

NOTE: Although I had the best of intentions to provide more information, discussion and revelations regarding my GBU journey in 2013 this blog continues (so far) to be a mere photo-diary. I've been working on a HUGE new project since January in addition to my usual duties and I've had so little time to do anything else. This project will be announced soon and the kick-off celebration is in 2 weeks so hopefully after that I'll be able to tend to my other goals. For now, here's the basic information from DC.

 Thursday, March 14:

I can't believe I'm leaving town just as the ACC Tournament gets underway here in Greensboro...

As I'm departing from the GSO airport fans are arriving from all over the Eastern seaboard to see the ACC tourney this weekend. Oh well, maybe next year I'll get to see a game in person...
Upon arrival in DC Jim and I head straight to my parents' house in Arlington, VA. We'll be staying a few nights with them surrounding the Rock 'n Roll events this weekend so I get bonus family time on this trip, always a plus!
While Jim was working in the northern Virginia area today Dad and I make the trip to the DC Armory for packet pick-up. Dad's in front of a very busy Sweaty Bands booth waiting to say hello to our friend Merle. 

And there she is! Merle and I plan to run together this weekend...she will hold me to a walk-run pace to keep my doctors happy.
I may have lost out on court-side seats in Greensboro but I've found a Tarheel sista'.

After seeing Merle I visit with Emily at RnR Marathon Jewelry to pick up the first new charm since last December in Las Vegas. This one is the USA2013 charm. 
A gorgeous day outside of the Armory expo, though the weather forecast is for rain and wind on Saturday.
My dad was such a trooper going with me to pick up our race packets. The drive into the city was fine but on the way home we hit major traffic due to an Obama motorcade and the CPAC convention took us over an hour to get back. It wouldn't have been such a big deal but dad had started roasting onions for his homemade vegetarian French Onion Soup and we worried they would burn.

Just in time! Dad took the onions out of the oven and started the two-hour stovetop caramelizing process. You can't tell from this photo how great the roasted onions smelled. Mmmmmmm...can't wait!

Dad hard at work to accommodate his vegetarian daughter...thanks, Dad, for this labor of love!

Suzanne made a great salad to go with the soup.

This picture definitely doesn't do this dish justice. I learned my dad's trick of cutting the fresh sourdough bread into croutons after toasting--perfect bite-sized pieces covered with melted gruyere. YUM!
Friday, March 15:

Suzanne, Jim and I all rose early to get ready for our individual work days. We let my dad sleep in. He is so not a morning person and yet tomorrow he plans to be up around 4am to get Suz downtown for the race (Jim and I will stay in a hotel tonight very near the race start). Dad's been such a warrior over this past year with all the race support...eating vegetarian fare (cooking it at home for me & trying it at restaurants in other cities), helping me construct my signs, rising hours before dawn and being the best cheerleader ever at races in 3 different cities so far.

I don't know if I do a great job conveying how much coordination has to happen to successfully navigate each race event but it's quite significant. To have the luxury of staying with friends and family on the road is a big break for me but also a lot of adjustment and work for our hosts. This week my parents are the hosts and they've gone above and beyond in their efforts for us. Dad and Suz, I love you both so much and I really do treasure your involvement in this journey of mine. Hopefully your memories of these weekends will not include the chaos, the deadlines, the curfews, the traffic or the stress I subject you to and instead will only reflect the fun, the laughs and the love!!

I share coffee and breakfast with Jim before he leaves the house then get to work on my sign. My dad is probably one-in-a-mllion fathers who have poster-sized foam core sheets, thick plastic sheeting, Exacto knives and plenty of markers on hand. Jackpot! I knock out the Get Back UP sign then head into the city to check into the hotel and to make sure I'm easily available for potential media opportunities.

Suz dropped me at the nearby Metro stop on her way to the office...luckily I've missed the morning rush-hour.

Dad and Suz live in a perfect Arlington location very close to the East Falls Church station.

Although it's still early I was able to check into our hotel. I scored big-time this weekend with a low-budget Priceline bid and wound up with a fabulous room at the Mayflower Renaissance right downtown. This is what you see stepping out of the elevator on our floor.

Everything was so spacious and beautiful, I can't believe I won my bid for this!

After hotel check-in I make my way to Georgetown to run a few errands. Today is a gorgeous day to walk around so I take advantage of the time to loosen up my legs a bit. If I didn't have to be "on call" for interviews today I could easily lose myself in a day of shopping here.

The Old Stone House is "the only surviving pre-Revolutionary building in the capital. The house stands on its original site, lot#3, one of eighty lots surveyed in the port of Georgetown in 1751." I always love walking through this spot, it's such an anomaly among all the other restaurants and retail shops here.

The grounds behind the Old Stone House.

The facade of the OSH which sits on M Street just blocks from the Wisconsin Avenue major intersection.

I stopped for a light bite...and, okay, I admit it... to catch the early scores from the ACC tourney. I noticed from the street that they were showing the games so I didn't even notice that this restaurant catered almost solely to carnivores. I opted for a baked potato smothered with delicious cole slaw and loved every bite. 

I was here at 11am before the lunch crowd rushed in. Apparently this is a local favorite for fans of ribs and barbecue because the place was full when I left.

I received a phone call that we may have an interview opportunity at the Expo so I make my way towards downtown. I will pass several Metro stations on the way and plan to hop on board if the interview pans out.

Well, after a long afternoon of being strung along with possible media ops nothing actually panned out for the day. In the interim I was busy on my computer and phones trying to tackle other facets of my workload. Usually on the day before a race I have an easy "work day" because most races are held on Sunday. With today being Friday I didn't have the luxury of sparse calls and emails, I kept a frenetic pace and suddenly the entire day was gone. Suzanne called and said she was on the way with my bags (and with Jim!) so I tried to wrap things up for the evening. I didn't realize it until 6pm but I had left my phone charger at dad's place so I didn't get photos of the rest of the evening. With an early start tomorrow I opted for an easy sandwich at Merle's hotel where we watched most of the UNC game before I headed back to the Mayflower for bed.

Saturday, March 16:

Our 4:30am wakeup call was a rude awakening but soon I'm up and eager to get to the start line area. I am amazed to get a text from my cousin, Sandy, that she's already up and heading to the Metro to meet us. I haven't seen Sandy in years, our schedules have been in complete conflict for every major family gathering in the last 3 years...starting with her missing our wedding when she was in Australia. I am so excited to see her!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a stickler for being on time, especially for a race. Rarely does anyone beat me to a meeting place and yet with a few glitches in my morning plans I'm 15 minutes late already--Yikes. Sandy, Dad and Suz are already at the Wilford hotel near the start line so Jim and I hustle to meet them.
Dad, Sandy and Suz all fighting the urge to go back to bed.

Merle and George sharing a hug and a laugh.

Suz tries to figure out her wardrobe...the weather has been threatening rain and wind but right now skies look clear. No one knows exactly which layers to don and which to doff.

Finally time with my youngest cousin! Sandy just moved into the city last week, what a stroke of good fortune for me.

Jim and I looking forward to yet another 13.1 miles...both happy to be healthy at another start line.

OK, so Jim's happy to be healthy but maybe not so happy at another start line...I think he's totally considering brunch and coffee instead of the Half Marathon here.

My walk-run partner for the day is revved up and raring to go! Merle's running shirt will make it easy for me to keep track of her in the crowd.

The playing of the national anthem at the start.

Suzanne, who happens to be a morning person, is all smiles and bouncing around ready to run. Suz opted to run her "good dog" pace today instead of walk-run intervals so we will see her again at the finish line.

Another shot of the start line area, these are the runners behind us in the corral.

Ready, set....


No, none of those folks are me.

Believe it or not, I am in this shot. If you look straight down from the flag on the right then two runners over to the left of the flag you can see me with my white hat, white/blue/teal shirt and black skorts. Thanks to Cousin Sandy for the start line shots!

Merle set her interval watch for 5:1's (5 minutes running/1 minute walking) to make sure I still followed doctor's orders. Merle usually has some knee pain in her left leg but today it was her right giving her issues. Nothing major, just needed to stretch it out a bit along the way.

Merle didn't find the pot of gold but settled for a photo op with a leprechaun. 

Look, Dr. Roy...I'm still following your rules! Happily the weather is cooperating and we've seen only a few light sprinkles today.
We did it! Another great Half Marathon under my belt 6 weeks from spinal fusion surgery and all is well. We make our way to the Finish Line celebration area where dad is with a reporter waiting to interview me for our Get Back Up campaign.
On the way to the VIP tent I see my friend Emily hard at work on her final day here in DC. See you in Dallas!

Spreading the Get Back UP message!
I was so excited to see my Uncle Dan (Sandy's dad, my mom's brother) at the finish area. Unfortunately I didn't get photos because things were a bit hectic there. Dan wasn't feeling too well and yet he still made the trek into the city from Potomac, MD...thank you, Uncle Dan! We made plans to visit more at dad's house for brunch tomorrow then decided to find a warmer environment. We had all had a very long day and were ready to get out of the cold and wind. Jim and I spent the rest of the day in the hotel room catching up on sleep, emails and sub-par network TV.

Sunday, March 17th:

Happy St. Patty's Day! We got up early but enjoyed a leisurely morning of coffee and reading the paper in our hotel before heading back over to dad and Suz' house for brunch. Sandy met us at the hotel, Suz generously offered to pick us up so we didn't have to lug our suitcases through the Metro stops.

When we got to the house the smell of waffles and bacon was amazing! Okay, I suppose as a vegetarian I shouldn't enjoy the smell of bacon and yet, to this day, there is still no veggie-substitute for the smell of bacon frying. I watched everyone else scarf it down while I enjoyed the wafting aroma.
I did eat my dad's waffles--he's the Wafflista in the family and makes the very best--and I also had Suz' veggie omelet. Thanks for the feast, guys!

While dad and Suz were cooking, Sandy and I were cooking up fun before the arrival of my sister, Maria, and my Uncle Dan:

A twisted sense of humor runs in the family!

It was Sandy's idea for the straight-jacket. Just sayin'.

Enjoying family time after a long weekend.

Sandy definitely earned her GBU medal yesterday, thanks for supporting us and I'm looking forward to running one of these with you soon!

Jim gets ready for tomorrows meetings.

Another dinner on our last night in the DC area.

A great way to end the weekend, thanks again to all of you for supporting me on this journey.

Maria always gets a little punchy after carbs. :-)

Another one down! Official time 2:23 thanks to Merle for keeping us on a solid run-walk pace to make sure I didn't get in trouble with my doctors.

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