Saturday, September 14, 2013

42nd event on the GetBackUPToday Tour, 15th race of 2013: Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

15th Official Race of 2013: Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

Thursday, August 29th:

I woke up at 3:30am to get on the road by 4:15am for my drive to Virginia Beach. We lucked out with WAVY-TV and scored an early interview which is supposed to happen around 10am or so this morning so I want to get there in plenty of time. I'm driving solo since this year we don't have any other Greensboro friends joining us in the race and Jim will be going up tomorrow night after work. I'm actually looking forward to the drive--just me, my music and a large mug of coffee. Whoo hoo, 4-1/2 hours of ME TIME!

Deserted roads this early in the morning. My route is north on I-85 for about 2 hours (if I can escape the rush hour traffic around Durham) then due East on 58 for 2 hours and then through VaBeach to my sister's neighborhood in Christopher Farms. Depending upon traffic I should be there in 4 to 4.5 hours.
When I stopped for gas in Suffolk I read my message updates and got word that the reporter will be running late. I'm supposed to now meet him "sometime after 10:30am" at the Neptune statue on the boardwalk. This will give me plenty of time to get to my sister's house and unload the car before the interview. Can't wait to see my sis, my brother-in-law and my 2 nephews!

Thanks to very little early morning traffic I actually arrive earlier than expected and get to the Kubin's house just as Pete is heading off to work. Becky has taken this week off since it's the last week before the boys go back to school, so I get to spend even more time than usual with her. She has plans to go to the boys' schools for "meet-n-greets" with their new teachers today but decided to join me for my interview this morning before she heads the other direction to Jackson's school.

I can't believe how big they are since I saw them in July. Jackson, left, and Joey are eager to be my PR assistants this morning.
Well, the reporter is running late and due to the fact that he had another interview before mine we can't reach him to get an update on his arrival. We kill a bit of time shopping in a few boutiques but then realize we're all pretty hungry and decide to eat a very early lunch at a nearby sandwich shop. I was too busy enjoying the company of my family to remember to get photos but we ate at a small new chain restaurant, Fresh Farms Cafe, which was really very good. They have a great "eat local" philosophy...see the link for more information:

We sat outside while we ate but as the sun is getting higher it's already uncomfortably warm and ominous sign for the run this weekend. I get a text message from the reporter that he's on his way to the Neptune statue so we hurriedly finished our meal and walked the 4 blocks to the boardwalk. Becky is worried that the boys will be late for their school meeting but Jackson, especially, wants to see the news reporter in action so they opt to stick around with me. (When the boys visited me in Greensboro last month we went to the Children's Museum one day and I was so impressed with Jackson and Joey when they hit the "News Studio" room. Both of them put on a newscast show for me; Jackson was the main anchor while Joey did weather and a "Cooking with Ketchup" segment that he just made up. A peek at possible future careers??)

Although the reporter did say he was on his way, he gave no indication of how close he was. I'm quite used to the waiting game when it comes to media opportunities but I'm feeling bad for my nephews who've now been with me for 2 hours this morning and still no interview. Welcome to the glamour of television, boys!

Brothers killing time in the shade.

What fun it is to wait. Don't ask me what Joey's doing, he's often absorbed in his own world.
Finally, with many apologies, Nathan Epstein from WAVY-TV/Fox43Sports makes it to the statue for the interview! I am always so grateful for any opportunity to spread our Get Back UP information that I am not upset at all about the wait. I think even my nephews were forgiving when they heard how busy this reporter had been all morning.

Although I'm already uncomfortable in the heat I  make sure to wear my TeamUP jacket for the interview. Every time I wear it I think about the other Team UP ambassadors and I find myself missing them.... but for now I'm concentrating on being "on message". Jackson gets an up-close-and-in-person course on setting up the sound and the camera for the story.
By the way, big thanks to Becky for taking all of these photos while I'm with Nathan. Meanwhile, Jackson has taken it upon himself to do some "advertising for the cause" around the square. He's walking all around the area with the GBU sign and shouting "Get back up TODAY" to all who will listen...what a treasure!!!

I guess I forgot to mention the wind, but you can see that Jackson has a fight on his hands with my sign. I forgot to stabilize this sign before my arrival--it's the one I saved from last year's Vegas run so it has seen better days for sure!

Maybe it would have been better had I made a GBUT kite instead. :-)

Awesome pitchman!

Can I take my nephews on tour with me, PLEASE????

Joey chills out and watches all the drama around him.

Nathan was a pleasure to work with, he asked so many great questions and really took time to understand our full mission. Becky and the boys had to take off after about 30 minutes but Nathan still wanted to get more shots so I said goodbye to Becky, Jackson and Joey and headed to the boardwalk with Nathan.

Nathan wanted to get some good "local flavor" in the background for the story and since this is where the race will be finishing (on the boardwalk) we opted to get into the mix of the tourists. Did I mention the wind??? Both Nathan and I had to do numerous takes due to sand whipping into our eyes. Nathan did a series of shots with me running up and down the boardwalk, both of us weaving in and out of tourists to get the footage. It was really kind of fun, but even better was when Nathan asked if I'd help him "block" for his lead-ins. This was not blocking as in American football (darn, that would have been  REALLY exciting!) but blocking as in setting the camera's position to center Nathan in the frame as he walked and talked for his lead-in segment. I got to pretend I was Nathan, walking toward the camera introducing myself, while he got the camera positioning set. Then I got to look through the viewfinder to make sure he didn't get out of frame as he did his real introduction. After only 2 or 3 takes Nathan nailed the intro and said we were done for the day.

That's Nathan while I'm in the rare position of being behind the camera for a change--I loved getting to help with this!

Occasionally I meet reporters that travel with a photo journalist but more often these reporters travel solo. They have to be both the cameraman and the reporter, a real art and a fun process to watch. Nathan Epstein was indeed a talented professional and I thank him so much for the time he took with me today!
Here's the link to one of the finished clips Nathan put together. Thanks to WAVY TV and their sister station, Fox43 Sports, our story aired over and over throughout the weekend. I got many emails, inquiries and phone calls about the brace and was recognized by many of the runners on Sunday:

(As usual, these links don't remain active indefinitely but once we get the actual files we embed them on our Allard website for future viewing. For past clips go to and link to the "press room" and "TV media" for a list)

After the FANTASTIC hours with Nathan I made my way back to the Kubin's house to work while Becky and the boys ran all their back-to-school errands. Most of my work was catching up on emails and finishing my Chicago blog (why do I always wait to the last moment to get these things done? Dad, can I blame you for my procrastination gene? :-)  ) I really wanted to get my work done so I could enjoy time with the family while I'm here.

Jackson and Becky take off on a late afternoon bike ride to get their exercise in for the day.
Speaking of much-desired family time, once Pete got home from work I stopped my own work and spent the rest of the evening enjoying a relaxing evening at home with the Kubins. No photos of family time, sorry! After such an early start to my day I was dog-tired by 8:30pm and headed upstairs to bed by 9:00... I think I was asleep before the boys... ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, August 30th:

Jim called and said he was taking half day off so I hung around the house with my nephews all morning then headed to the Expo when Jim arrived in the afternoon. He got a one-way car rental so we could drive back to Greensboro together on Monday... on our way to the Expo we dropped off his car and got ready for yet another busy race weekend.

This promotional sign looks so innocent, but last year's race here was the hottest, most humid event I've EVER done. This year we're cautiously optimistic for better weather but the forecast looks to be similar so far.

Clearly the event organizers are taking no chances with a dangerous forecast. Jim, remembering how drenched he was at the starting line last year (thanks to the official 100% humidity/85 degrees before the sun came up) questions the clothing advice. "Layers" seems a bit overdressed to him.

This should be taken seriously by all runners on Sunday. We've seen far too many tragic issues because runners didn't heed advice, opting to try for PRs (personal records) despite unfavorable and dangerous racing conditions. For anyone new to endurance sports, please take the advice of professionals and understand your limits. No race is worth dying for.
The rest of Friday evening was family time, with the exception of one live radio interview (yay--another great score for the GBU message!), so I don't have any photos to share.

Saturday, August 31st:

I finally got my Chicago blog finished and posted, then did a quick fix on my Vegas GBUToday sign, so I was officially ready for the next race. We relaxed around the house during the morning, it is a holiday weekend after all and I refuse to feel guilty. Then we headed to the boardwalk for a nice lunch outside to get better acclimated to the heat and humidity. As usual, I'm on call for possible media so being near the boardwalk and Expo was a necessary condition for trying to enjoy the day without shirking my responsibilities.
Becky scopes out the boardwalk for a new restaurant she's been wanting to try.

We find the place she was looking for and arrive early enough to get a spot on the outdoor patio.

This was our lunch spot du jour.

Our view from the corner of Tortugas

This is the front of the patio overlooking the beach and boardwalk. Jim, Joey, Pete and Jackson lead the way.

Even in the shade the heat is taking its toll....we're all feeling relaxed and lazy as we wait for our food. Pete and Becky look so contemplative staring out over the ocean waves. For me this location is so different than what I see on a daily basis, I wonder if they take the sand and sea for granted. Becky has now spent more than half her life in VaBeach, wow. 
In the spirit of full disclosure, the ambiance of the restaurant was wonderful but the food was forgettable at best. Even the boys were unimpressed, but now Becky knows for sure that the Tortuga's patio is great for a seaside cocktail but for a meal there are dozens of better, tried-and-true choices nearby.

We walked along the boardwalk after lunch to enjoy the beach before going in search of frozen yogurt, the boys favorite summer dessert. On the way we paused to take in some of the sights:

This is a new monument, according to Becky, honoring local law enforcement. The inscriptions along the base are of officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

A very compelling, inspiring and yet somber memorial.

Jim tries to elevate the mood after reading the memorial inscriptions, hamming it up amidst the sea oats.

According to the wisdom of my nephews, bottom left, this is the most photographed place in VaBeach. Add one more to the growing numbers!

Big names at this weekend's event! Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon is always held in conjunction with The American Music Festival, which makes this weekend HUGE as the last blast of summer.
From the boardwalk we returned to the Kubin's neighborhood and took advantage of their friends' backyard pool. Thanks, John and Sharon, for your hospitality every year...can't wait to run with you again tomorrow!

Our final stop for the day was a trip to Town Center to meet briefly with Jayme Brendle (my friend and Allard rep for this territory) and then to an early dinner with the family and also with Emily Schulte. Regular blog readers know Emily of Terryberry/Rock 'n' Roll Jewelry... she's one of a handful of special friends I've made along the RnR tour and I am always so glad to spend time with her.

We chose to meet at Town Center since it was so close to both Jayme's and Emily's hotels but also because every restaurant on the beach would require a one-hour wait on such a busy holiday weekend. Becky recommended Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro which proved to be an excellent pick!

Dad, check out the Sous Vide option! :-) I always think of you and your new culinary toys when I see these. 

Fresh blackened Ahi tuna with  the most delicious avocado salad I've had in a long time.

This was, I think, Emily's grilled chicken salad.

Another view, featuring heirloom tomatoes and mandarin oranges.

The waitress ingeniously made a child proof "cup" for Joey who, upon seeing it, said delightedly "That's hil-A-rious!"

One dessert for 6 of us to share: Bread pudding with grilled bananas and mocha ice cream. (A satiated Joey reads Calvin & Hobbes in the background)
Immediately following this decadent dessert we walked over to the chocolatier across the promenade. Emily bought me some chocolates (a second installment on an earlier birthday gift)--YUM! Good thing I have a race to run tomorrow, I feel the need to run off all these wonderful calories.

Sunday, September 1st: RACE DAY!

Yet another early wakeup call, this time it's 4:15 am. to ride with John and Sharon Yager to the start line by 5:30 am. If you followed the blog last year you may remember that the Yagers, both schoolteachers in VaBeach, have run this race every single year since its inception. Amazing.

Julie, Jayme, Jim, Sharon and I walking to the start line area as the sun finally starts to peek over the horizon. 

Jayme reunites with the Vegas version of the GBU sign... she's the rep for my home state so I've gotten to see her several times this year. Julie, on the right, made the trip to support Jayme and the GBU campaign--the second time I get to see Julie this year! Thanks, my friends, for being such great fun to be around and for all of your support at these crazy events.

Rock 'n Roll gypsy sightings!

David "The Clydesdale Runner" DeNeire made it back this year for more punishment in the heat and humidity.

I got pulled away for a live media spot with the host news station for this event. I barely made it back to my starting corral before the gun went off--yikes!!

The gun has gone off but we're still slow to move forward in Corral 4. Ready to rock 'n roll!
I had issues with my Mophie (backup battery for my phone) lately so I couldn't use the remaining charge for photos along the race route. I did however speak with 2 reporters while I ran today, very cool to be running and "reporting" at the same time! I made plans with one of the reporters to meet at the VIP area once I'd finished the race (as best I could, keeping in mind the warnings about taking precautions in the heat) and went back to focusing on the last 3 miles.

Sharon and John both finish strong this year (amazing what training will do, right guys?) :-) Here they are enjoying a post-race meal while I'm waiting for WTKR news team.

Jayme and Julie take a well-deserved break after running all over the course this morning with our GBU sign.  I got to see them at 3 spots along the course, what fantastic motivation to keep running! Thank you, ladies, you made this run so much better.

Gypsies Joe Harris and David DeNeire are all smiles having this Half Marathon behind them. 

News Channel 3 meets us for our 4th media score of the weekend--woo hoo! Thanks to the BKI PR team for their diligence we had phenomenal coverage all weekend long.

Danny from WTKR films the real star of my accomplishments out here... the ToeOFF AFO (Ankle-Foot Orthosis)! Without this brace I wouldn't be BACK UP and running so I'm so happy to be able to raise awareness for this brace and other technology allowing people to return to a better quality of life. Thanks, Allard, for creating this brace! Here's a link to a portion of the story they aired (still working on getting the extended clip):

And thanks to Danny at News Channel 3/WTKR for a great interview we are spreading the word even farther throughout the Tidewater region.

The medal for the Half Marathon and the bonus Heavy Medal "Rock Idol" for doing 10 Rock 'n Roll events in the same year. 
After the race I took advantage of the Labor Day "holiday" to relax at the Yagers' pool with them and with my family. I officially unplugged from phone, pictures and email so there's no more to share--sorry! Thanks to everyone in VaBeach for an amazing weekend; the Get Back UP message is reaching more and more people everyday and it is so rewarding to be a part of this campaign.

See you all in Philadelphia!!

No comments:

Post a Comment