Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Race No.5 of 2013: Dallas Half Marathon

Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon

Friday, March 22nd:

It was another 3:30am wake-up call to get to the airport in time for our 5:20am departure. A short flight to Charlotte, change planes for Dallas and we arrive right on time. Jim has a meeting with one of his distributors so I tag along in exchange for the free transport to my hotel afterwards...not a bad trade.

The parking lot outside of Jim's distributors in Lewisville, TX. 
Not that the parking lot in the above shot wasn't fantastic, but when I found out I needed to kill an hour-and-a-half while Jim met with his people I opted for a field trip. I drove to nearby "historic downtown Carrollton" to pick up postcards and my sign-making supplies. 

This is Historic Carrollton.

There wasn't a whole lot to this area so after my quick errands I grabbed a sandwich here at the Broadway Bistro Cafe.

Although it doesn't look like much from the outside, this place was quite charming. I was very impressed with the quality of my meal and the friendliness of the staff.
I opted for the Vegetarian sandwich of the day served on a "light wheat round", it was delicious! Check out their menu in the link below:

I found the sink and fixtures quite amusing here at the Broadway Bistro. Is it just me or do you see a Kangaroo or a Texas Longhorn staring at you? Wow, I'm gonna have to take it easy on the coffee consumption!
Before I could finish my sandwich I got a call from Jim saying that I didn't have to go back to pick him up. Apparently Carrollton was on the way for Jim's distributor and he offered to drop him here to make it easier on me--how nice!
With Jim back, he's now back in the driver's seat and on the way to drop me at the hotel so I can work.
The Half Marathon starts at 8:00am on Sunday but tomorrow there's another event tied to the RnR race, the ING Kid's Run which starts at 8:00am Saturday. I've been informed that we may have a media opportunity there so I need to get my sign finished today to support the kids running tomorrow. With Jim off working this is the perfect time to knock this out, then I will log a few hours of computer time to take care of some non-race work I need to finish.

UNC plays tonight so I feel an urge to support my team while I create my sign.

I had to buy a new set of markers for my sign-making but I guess I should be happy that my old set lasted all of 2012 plus 3 months into 2013 before finally drying out. 
Due to my 3:30am start this morning I find myself completely dragging by the time I've finished with the high-priority work assignments on my afternoon list. I am still waiting for confirmation on PR opportunities, especially tomorrow's early event, and I just found out that there will be no Allard rep here for the races this weekend. That makes coordination a little easier with only Jim and myself to worry about but that makes it much more difficult for interviews. I won't have anyone to hold the GBU sign on Sunday (so far this year it's been my friends and family who've taken over this responsibility with no Allard or PR reps on the sidelines for any of the 2013 events) and I will have to run with my phone in-hand so I don't miss any calls from the local stations.

With no PR ops materializing for this evening I actually have the chance to catch up with some of the Rock 'n' Roll "gypsies". Merle and I met one year ago to the day here in Dallas while watching UNC in the NCAA tournament last year and we had hoped to celebrate together today. However, it turns out that Merle isn't feeling very good; the grueling travel schedule and being in contact with thousands of people for her job has taken its toll and resulted in her first cold of 2013. :-(   She needs to preserve her vocal chords for tomorrow's long Expo day so she opted to skip the game tonight.

The other gypsy friend I had hoped to catch up with is Emily of RnR Jewelry. Today is her birthday and she's here solo so Jim and I want to make it fun for her. As it happens, we're all in the same hotel which is great since all of us are exhausted and need to make an early night of it. We make a plan to meet at 7PM in the hotel sports pub for dinner and the birthday celebration...and, of course, to watch UNC play Villanova.

The restaurant is completely packed but Jim scores a table right in front of the big screen, perfect for viewing the games.

I think there are 3 separate conventions meeting here at the downtown Sheraton this weekend. Every restaurant is full and there are long lines for elevators.
A Deloria-family tradition on birthdays is "SILLY". No matter how old my sisters and I get (or my parents, for that matter) we always find ways to bring "silly" to the party. Because Emily is my RnR sister she gets treated to the same tradition, along with a few small gifts that I've brought for her from home.

Silliness on tap for tonight: Self-adhesive googly eyes and wax lips!!

Jim and 2 well-placed googly-eyes before Emily arrives.

Me, quite happy with Jim for grabbing the best seats in the house for UNC basketball and dinner with Emily.

Yes, she did get a few serious gifts but I think she was most impressed by the googly-eyes....

...and the wax lips!! I can't help but think Jim looks an awful lot like a muppet tonight.

The tables around us were laughing along with us, we gave them their own set of googly-eyes to play with. This table in particular had a great time with them...silly is quite contagious it seems.
A more subdued Emily in her new Texas-style party hat.

Everything's bigger in Texas...yeee haw!

Happy Birthday, Emily! It was so great to spend some time catching up outside of our normal work environments.

We decided that while Jim and I are dead-ringers for muppets....
...Emily has apparently missed her calling as a Desperate Housewife! :-) We were laughing so hard it was almost impossible to get a photo in-focus!
After a wonderful dinner and celebrating with Emily we all made an early night of it by retiring immediately after the UNC game was over. UNC won, by the way...woo hoo!!

Saturday, March 23:

We awoke to strong thunderstorms and frequent lightning which meant a cancelation or delay of the ING Kids' Run this morning. I got a call from our Greensboro PR rep that I wouldn't need to head downtown for the event...there were other events garnering local media attention plus the inclement weather was causing problems for everyone. I don't exactly get to sleep in but I am excited to enjoy a cup of coffee and light breakfast in my room this morning.

After breakfast it was off to the Expo to check in to the race and to say hi to our RnR friends. I've been instructed to stay close to the Expo for potential interviews again today so we pack a light bag and make the trek to the Convention Center. We opted to walk the mile-or-so distance since we'd have to follow the same route to the starting line's always better to know where you're going on race day!

Downtown Dallas, we're following the DART tracks to the Convention Center.

We made it!

This is Pioneer Plaza, the starting line of tomorrow's race. These Longhorns are already in full race mode!

As if I needed more incentive to run!

This is for my friend, Cecil...Hiya, Michelle!!

The Expo is hoppin' today.

Merle-sighting! I can hear how hoarse she is, poor girl... she's not going to get a break today judging by the long lines at Sweaty Bands.

We missed you last night, Merle, but it's always so great to see you. Take good care of's gonna be another long year for all of us.

Jim is either trying out new inserts or auditioning for a Sock Hop. You decide.

Happy Almost-Birthday, Tricia Lamar!!

I needed to stay close to the Expo for potential interviews but I didn't feel like staying inside the Convention Center all afternoon. Jim and I made the quick trek over to the West End area to check a few basketball scores and to see the sights on a very windy, cold day here in Dallas.
As it so often happens these days, I rarely get to see my family and when I do it is far away from my home. One of my aunts lives outside of Dallas, in Sherman, TX, and so my stepdad and mom planned this weekend to go visit her and my Grandma Jackson. This is a treat for me since I get to have dinner with them tonight AND tomorrow after the race...that means face-time with all 4 parents, an aunt, uncle, cousin and sister within a span of 8 days!!! Wonderful!!

When I got cleared from on-call PR duty my Aunt Dorothy took Jim, Mom, Bob and me to some of her favorite Dallas antique shops. We had a great time visiting and shopping. (That's Bob's head at the bottom of the picture)

Another look at the West End area of Dallas.

Wow, Cecil...another turtle sighting. I love looking through these vintage cards in antique shops.

An early dinner at the long-standing local favorite, S&D Oyster House on McKinney Row in another great area of Dallas.

We got the last table before the waiting list began...and it's only 5:30pm.

The menu.

The restaurant with patrons outside waiting to be seated.

More shops and restaurants along McKinney street.

We had hoped to eat here tomorrow but they are closed on Sundays.

Looks like it will be worth a return trip to Dallas to sample more of the local fare.
We had a great dinner and short walk with my family but with tomorrow being race day we will need our rest. I spend the remainder of the early evening trying to finish my DC blog entry before tomorrow's race.

Sunday, March 24th: RACE DAY!

I still can't believe I had spinal fusion surgery less than 7 weeks ago and I'm completing my 3rd Half Marathon since getting out of the hospital. Today I wake up to roaring winds and temps near freezing... I wonder if I shoulda' called in sick instead. :-)  Kidding of course... I realize that there are so many people struggling with mobility issues who would trade places with me in a second. I do not take it for granted that I can be out here at all (especially after 3 major back surgeries!) and so I do not let the weather affect my attitude when it comes to spreading the Get Back UP message.
I do, however, let Jim struggle with the Get Back UP message as written on my sign. The wind is so strong he's battling just to hang onto it! Here we are making our pre-dawn journey towards the starting line area a mile away. I actually used packing tape to completely cover the streamers; they needed to be reinforced due to the high winds. Even with the added tape the streamers are flying everywhere and the sign actually folded in half with one strong gust catching it just right.

Friendly (frozen) faces at the start! Joe, David, Jim and Lisa all brave the temps today.
Marathon Radio Show in the house! 

The runners are all trying to huddle under the heaters as long as possible before dumping their layers to head to the start corrals.

David, me, Jim and Lisa wishing we were in the tropics right now.

I gave up my warm sweat pants and am shivering while waiting to get started. Hopefully the RnR crew will transport my sign to the finish line since I have no race support today. If not, I have to say goodbye to my sign handle (aka Swiffer handle) which has served me so well for 15 months. 

A chilly start on a blustery day...winds are forecast for steady 20mph with gusts up to 30.

It's actually quite warm surrounded by a sea of runners at the start.

This is a beautiful neighborhood in Dallas near the Dallas Country Club. Per doctor's orders I dutifully take my walk breaks along the 13.1 mile route.
A spectator takes a photo for Jim and me along another walk break.

Finish line flowers at the VIP tent.

Immediately upon crossing the finish line I had to look for 3 TV reporters, which I learned about through a series of texts while I was on the course running my Half Marathon. What did I do before cell phones?!  Jim and I got separated amidst the finish line chaos so I had no one to capture photos of the interviews we got with the local ABC, CBS and Fox stations. By the time I completed the interviews (the last one took a half hour to get started) Jim and I were frozen to the core and needed to get out of the cold and wind. We grabbed a cab back to the hotel because we couldn't wait another minute for the well spent!!! Sorry, but my hands were too numb to get any more finish photos!

POST RACE family time:

Dorothy played chauffeur both last night and this afternoon/evening and picked up Jim and I at our hotel for some afternoon fun. We started by hitting a few more antique shops then stepped into the Libertine Pub, a place Bob had previously scouted for watching the next UNC game. We planned to stay at the Libertine for only one half of the game...we had dinner reservations elsewhere...but we were so impressed by the food and the staff at the Libertine we canceled our reservations and parked ourselves here for the remainder of our afternoon/evening together.

Sadly, it is just now occurring to me that I didn't get one single photo of my mom, Aunt Dorothy or Bob together with Jim and me. :-( I guess after the hectic pace of these weekends I escape into the joy of family time and forget that technically I'm still working. 

Here's a photo I got from Libertine's website, although we had a different perspective of the front of the restaurant since we saw it in broad daylight only:

I did remember to get photos of our food at Libertine...

Dorothy's hand reaching in for delicious garlic-broth mussels and shoestring fries.

Another view before this dish completely disappeared.

Another shared cheese/charcuterie plate...also spectacular for pub fare.

A view of the interior to my right. In front of me was the bar with several TVs and one large screen projection for the UNC game...which we lost. Boo hoo. :-(

I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich after this morning's half marathon and this one was SOOOOOOO GOOOOD! A blend of gourmet cheeses with avocado and tomato slices on perfectly-grilled fresh bread.

Mom got the Mediterranean Plate: Roasted garlic (that's not a brain to the right of the Tzatziki  sauce!), pickled veggies, hummus, feta cheese, warm pita bread, lamb meatballs, greek olives and sweet grapes.

I forgot what type of meat sandwich Jim ordered but he loved it.

Bob got some sort of seafood po-boy, which he also loved. Everyone was a fan of these shoestring fries!

Dorothy got a redfish/pasta special with hushpuppies. Again, fabulous food for a sports pub! I will definitely come back to the Libertine on a return trip to Dallas.
Sufficiently stuffed from our dinners we left the Libertine and headed back to downtown Dallas. Dorothy dropped off Jim and I at the Sheraton then headed back to Sherman with Mom and Bob. We had two nice afternoons to visit with them, not as much time as I would have liked but it was really great getting any family-time so far from home. Thanks to you all for making your plans around my job!! I love you so much.

Now it's back to the room to pack, Jim has an early work meeting and I plan to head to the airport at the same time he leaves to see if I can board an earlier flight home tomorrow. See you in Greensboro!!

Another 2013 Half completed! Official time (still on orders to walk/run per Dr. Roy) was 2:13:27. We got our Rock Star medals for completing 5 RnR events so far in 2013...and we're only 3 months into the year!
One final note: Thanks to WFAA-ABCtv in Dallas for airing our interview multiple times! I awoke to a dozen emails/calls regarding the coverage. Hopefully many more people in the Dallas area will be Gettin' Back UP soon! (While a few details got lost in translation, it's the message that matters so I try not to get upset about inaccuracies...see link below as long as it will stay active)

NOTE: I was made aware that the above link has not worked for everyone. To view this interview  please go to:              Click on "Media coverage" and then "TV coverage" and select WFAA/Dallas/3-24-13.


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