Saturday, October 5, 2013

18th Event of 2013: Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon

18th Race of 2013: Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon

Thursday, September 26th:

By the time I got home from Montreal it was very early on Tuesday morning and today I'm off again for Providence. The past 48 hours have been filled with very little sleep, sadly, but I did manage to get a full "office day" in, clean the house, wash/dry/pack clothes for this weekend's race, upload all the Montreal photos and begin that blog entry, catch up via phone with my family and friends (was hard while out of the country to handle any phone communications), book flights for Cleveland trip, schedule upcoming events with folks in Denver, and complete a phone interview with the Providence Journal which will hopefully run in tomorrow's edition. 

After a long afternoon of flying (with a few of the usual delays) we finally arrive in Providence and I'm so ready to hit the pillow of my next hotel room...

Narrowly avoided "next day arrival", although my luggage technically arrived on Friday at 12:07am. :-)
Friday, September 26th:
Jim was off to Boston at 6:00am this morning for his work there today, so I left the room at the same time in search of coffee. This is a shot of our hotel, the old Westin (now an Omni) right next door to the convention center and Providence Journal HQ. The Omni's coffee shop wasn't open yet and I was directed to the nearby Biltmore Hotel where they had a Starbucks...

The sun is just now coming up in downtown Providence and there's hardly anyone out and about. After barely 5 1/2 hours of sleep myself, I wish I wasn't up yet either.

I got my coffee and also discovered an open CVS where I purchased foam core (for my sign) and wrapping paper (for Jim's birthday presents, which I remembered to pack at the last minute!). This is a view from my hotel room upon my return from the early excursion. The Statehouse is in the background--the race will start and finish there on Sunday. The building to the left is connected by an above-street walkway to our hotel; the CVS is in that shopping mall.

Before I worked on my blog I made sure to wrap and hide Jim's presents in case he returned from Boston earlier than expected. Done and done!

A nice surprise delivered to my hotel room this morning: The Providence Journal with Carolyn Thornton's article in the sports section (from our phone interview yesterday).

Cool--the Rock n Roll Gypsies make the paper! I love our new RnR family and can't wait to see more of them here in Providence.
While I get to work making my Get Back UP sign you can check out the link to Carolyn's article:

With the presents wrapped and my sign made it's almost lunchtime but thanks to Carolyn's great article I have new emails/inquiries to answer. I spend most of the afternoon on the phone and on the computer, with a quick break to the "coffee kiosk" for a grab-n-go tuna sandwich mid-afternoon. I check in with the PR team (Liz Summers is my contact this weekend) and find out that I don't have any meetings or interviews on the schedule for this evening. Also, the Allard rep for this area--Jim Ingegneri--was working elsewhere this week so I don't have any appointments with him and just plan to see him at the race start on Sunday. Wow, after the whirlwind week in Montreal this almost feels like a vacation! ( I said almost.)

Before I knew it Jim was back from his day in Boston and he called for me to meet him outside the hotel so he wouldn't have to park before we went in search of dinner. I actually forgot to take my phone with me, left it charging in the room, so I have no photos of our dinner at a nearby Italian diner but here's the link to the restaurant on Federal Hill:
The last few nights of shortened sleep hours caught up to me and I was fast asleep by 9:00pm.

Saturday, September 28th:

After a great night's sleep I woke up totally refreshed at 6:00a.m. Jim and I made coffee in the room and read the Providence Journal (courtesy of the Omni's delivery to our room each morning!) then Jim got to open one of his birthday presents early... A Tottenham Spurs jersey and scarf. In honor of Terry Nile (very dear friend who has a beautiful Get Back UP story of his own!) we adopted his home team in the English Premier League a few years back. Thanks to NBCSports Channel and new this year, the EPL games are now broadcast every weekend. Tottenham plays Chelsea at 7:30am. today so we go in search of someplace to watch it...

Not too surprisingly, we're having a difficult time finding a place open this early that is also showing the soccer match. We head over to East Providence, outside of the downtown financial "Monday-Friday" district, to try our luck. In the meantime, we're following the game via webcast and the Spurs go up 1-nil! COYS!

On my Urbanspoon App I found a highly rated brunch spot in East Providence. Although they weren't showing the match we opted to eat breakfast then find a place to watch the second half.

The Brickway on Wickenden was wonderful! It reminds us of Smith Street Diner back home in downtown Greensboro (minus the 'bigger than your head' biscuits).

We had a spot at a window table but this was the view in the main dining area.

My breakfast: perfectly poached eggs on English muffin with avocado, sweet tomatoes and provolone--delicious!!

More art along the bricks at the Brickway.

In case there's any doubt where Jim's true soccer loyalty lies, he's wearing his USA jacket of his Spurs jersey.

I can now personally recommend the Brickway. As for Jim, he actually told the staff here that his omelet was the best he's EVER had. Wow, that's a high compliment indeed.

Before we head back downtown we spend about 15 minutes enjoying the beautiful weather in East Providence. This is India Point Park along the harbor where we'll be running tomorrow.

A better view of the park with the water in the background.

Success! An open pub with all TVs on English Premier Soccer. By this time Chelsea had evened the score and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Oh well, the Spurs are still second in the league behind the evil Arse. Happy Early Birthday pint for Jim. :-)

As we were leaving the pub to meet a TV reporter who wants to air the Get Back UP message we run into our dear friends from NC--John and Mary Kramer! Sorry about the poor photo quality... I guess I didn't check the focus due to my excitement over seeing these two.

John "The Penguin Runner" Bingham (and Runner's World columnist) is doing his part to help out at the RnR Expo here in Providence!

After getting our race bags we go back out front to meet Dana Griffin from ABC TV. This is Jim, ready for his closeup.

Spreading the GBU message at the Expo...

Dana was another very talented and attentive journalist. When asking her questions it was obvious that she really grasped the challenges facing those with mobility issues. Her comments were so thoughtful and her demeanor so warm that it was easy for me to focus on the mission and not worry about the camera.

Thank you,'s a Get Back UP medal for your efforts toward sharing our story.

Next year we may be running together--she's feeling the call of the gypsies!

Now it's Jim's turn...A star is born!

Thanks again, Dana--what a pleasure it was to meet you and to spend a great hour with you today!

Here's a link to the story that aired Saturday evening:

Upon saying goodbye to Dana we dropped our race gear back at the room then set out to see if we could find John and Mary before Jim's friends came into town to take him to dinner for his birthday.
We found them and their friends, Christina and Andy, at Murphey's Deli around the corner from our hotel.

Christina, Mary, Andy and John enjoying pre-race fare at Murphy's. Christina will be running her very first Half Marathon tomorrow and has the butterflies to show for it.

Jim had to try the local delicacy...baked, stuffed quahog, affectionately known as "Stuffies".
As is the case so often in the last 22 months, the only time we get to spend with our NC friends is somewhere on the road during one of these race events. It's been months since we've seen John and Mary--the last time was in February at the DC Half I think--and we've really missed them. We had so much fun with them and their friends that I hated to leave for the night. Originally we had plans to eat with them at Cassorini's on Federal Hill but Jim wanted to visit with his RI friends and I had to head back to the room for media follow-up and make plans for meeting Jim Igneneri tomorrow. So, we parted ways and made a loose plan for finding each other at the race tomorrow.

Back in the room I took advantage of the time Jim was gone and made a birthday sign to use at the run tomorrow. I ordered a room service pizza... not recommended in the least...and was fast asleep by the time Jim returned from an evening with Jena and Pat.

Sunday, September 29th--RACE DAY and JIM'S BIRTHDAY!!

Happy Birthday, Jim! Now--wake up and get ready to run!!

I love this poster, showing the date of Jim's birthday on this--his first--birthday race.

While Jim went in search of coffee I headed to the start line area at the State House. Jim Ingegneri planned to meet me here at the "G" sign, which is where my signs are currently resting. There are letters A through Z here in the grass in front of the State House, designated as the Family Reunion area for the race. We chose "G" for Get Back UP.

Another typical "0-Dark-Thirty" morning at a stop on the Rock 'n Roll Tour.

The race starts at 7:00am and the sun is finally making it's way up by 6:30. In the background you can see some of the other Family Reunion letters along with the State House building.

The Jims! Jim Ingegneri is right on time and ready for his second RnR Providence run. He's an old pro now and already works the signs!

Jim Austin works the flip side of the sign that I made for him today. I plan to run the race with this sign while Jim I. totes the GBU sign around downtown Providence.

Everyone wants to wish Jim a Happy Birthday this morning.

Our course map for today. You can see the Start and Finish markers at the grounds of the State House but also see that most of our run will be in East Providence. The back half of the race includes a scenic tour along the water.
Despicable Me characters--and a Minion in the back--want to celebrate with Jim at the starting corral.

The view from our Corral 3 starting block. Jim just saw Mary in front of us but I can't see over the crowd to say "hi" so he waves to her on my behalf.

The view behind us as the sun comes up on a beautiful morning to run.

I plan to run with this sign in one hand and my phone in the other (for photos). Let's see how many people we can get to wish Jim a Happy Birthday.

This woman, Kelly Hawk, saw our sign in Corral 3 and came up to introduce herself. Today is her birthday, too--Happy Birthday, Kelly!!

And we're off! This is somewhere past Mile 1 and we're looking for Jim I. with the GBU sign somewhere along here...

...We find him making friends with other spectators along the course. The "Mermaid Guy" (hard to tell here, but that was an inflatable mermaid he was holding up for his friends to spot him) decided our GBU sign was easier to spot than his mermaid and made good use of sticking close to Jim. 

One of the neighborhoods we run through on our way through downtown and into East Providence.

Jim I. makes his way over to the Mile 3 spot and is so easy to find thanks to the GBU sign. Jim A., on the right, sporting his CMTA shirt and enjoying the first few miles of his birthday run. Already he's had about a hundred greetings!

Happy Birthday from the Water Stop Volunteers!

Jim got a lot of laughs as people read the back of the sign. 

The portion of the course along the water was gorgeous. A cloud cover settled over the harbor once we left downtown and this spot was especially quiet and eerie. 

Race cheerleaders from a local school wish Jim a Happy Birthday.

Greetings, Jim, from the Endurance Sports Connection Pig!

Another Jim I. sighting near mile 10! Thanks to Al Hernandez (another infamous RnR gypsy friend) for running with us today and for taking this photo.

The Mile 12 band, Pointe Blank, got in on the birthday wishes. By the race's end, Jim had been serenaded with the birthday song 5 times.

Jim Ingegneri was fantastic along the course today and deserves a medal for the miles he logged with the GBU sign. Christina, left, was thrilled with her personal best run and first Half Marathon. Mary had a great run despite a slightly injured foot, I survived the run juggling the sign and my phone the whole race (with welcome respite offered by Jim who carried the sign for several intervals), Jim Austin says he doesn't want to run another race now that he's run one with constant attention focused on him, and Al Hernandez sacrificed a great race time for a fun race time by joining us on his hometown course. And, thanks to Mary for making her own VIP party--we even had mimosas to celebrate our day.

Not only was Jim helping with the Get Back UP mission today, he was also cheering his brother-in-law, Jonathan,  through his Half Marathon today. Jonathan has a full marathon in 2 weeks and was a bit nervous about testing his training today... but he's all smiles at the end with a great showing today!

A beautiful day to Get Back UP.

Mary makes us laugh... while the rest of us are warm in shorts and and short sleeves, she's completely bundled up with the weather in the mid 70's.

John Kramer takes the time to wish Jim a Happy Birthday. Congrats on yet another Half Marathon, John! We wish you guys luck in your upcoming NYC Marathon!
More greetings at Jim's Finish Line party...

Another successful race completed! I was recognized along the course, thanks to Dana's story on ABC-TV6,  and was able to provide information to several people wanting to know more about Allard's bracing technology. Not only that, I was able to put the spotlight on Jim for a change--it was incredible to see how many people wished him a happy day! We said good-bye to all of our gypsy friends and also to Jim Ingegneri then headed to the room to get ready for Jim's birthday celebration with Pat and Jena.
Jena takes her turn wishing Jim well. Here we're heading into Twin River Casino where Pat and Jena wanted to take Jim for his birthday. We had a blast with them at Twin River but alas, none of us won our fortune so it was back to work again after tonight.

Monday, September 30th:

As I said, it was back to work for Jim and I both on Monday. Jim headed back out to Boston for meetings with his reps and distributor's while I downloaded photos from the weekend and worked on my end-of-month office responsibilities. What a let down after such a fun day yesterday... and yet, it was actually a nice treat to have a quiet day to myself to get caught up on my work. No big news to report on the day, and I took the day off as far as photos were concerned. When Jim got back from Boston we were both exhausted and had a long day of travel and work ahead of us tomorrow so we ordered take-out from an Italian spot nearby and called it a night.

Tuesday, October 1st:

I can't believe it's October already. It seems only yesterday that I was in the hospital having my spinal fusion surgery and wondering if I'd be able to run at all this year...but that was back in January! And now I've got 18 events under my belt this year with 7 more Half Marathon/Events to go in the next 8 weeks. Gotta keep moving...
We checked out of the hotel and wanted to spend some time walking around Providence before getting on the plane. We spent time in the Federal Hill area and decided to grab an early lunch while here.

A perfect day for lunch outside.

The Menu...

My lunch: homemade veggie ravioli and marinara sauce--delish!

Our table was back there, far right, on this beautiful morning in Little Italy, Providence-style.

As we're leaving, diners are filling the seats to start the lunch rush.

Jen Buehler, I didn't get to scope out the food (was closed during daytime hours) but it looks great! Thinking of you, Andrew and Siena!

Not sure if it's just a coincidence but with the Government Shutdown in place, there are no lines at all at Security here at the airport.

Jim buys himself a birthday massage before boarding the plane in Providence. I think he's actually sleeping right now!

Wow, an O&P "kiosk" at the airport... not a sight I see everyday.

Where are the Allard braces? Why no dynamic response/floor reaction AFO's (ankle-foot-orthoses)?!! My work here is not yet done....
Bye, Providence!

See you in few days in Cleveland, OH!

No comments:

Post a Comment