Wednesday, May 29, 2013

9th & 10th events of 2013: Portland, OR

Portland's Heart & Stroke 5K Walk & Portland Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

Wednesday, May 15th: Greensboro, NC

Jim had to fly out a day before I did so I took him to the airport this morning at 4:00am. Upon my return to the house in our downtown neighborhood I was startled by 2 foxes in my backyard! Yikes, with my adrenaline running high now there was no chance I was going back to sleep this morning. I spent the day working and packing for my trip to Portland tomorrow.

By the time I was able to get my phone out for a photo both foxes had retreated to the overgrown area in my backyard. Here's a peek at the bravest of the two. 
Thursday, May 16th:

I had the same flight out that Jim had yesterday so I am at the airport by 4:15 for my 5:15am departure. Today will be a long day of travel as I've got 3 planes to hop before finally arriving in Portland. I have work and a book to occupy me along the journey.

Found a perfect parking spot directly across from the day is starting out great!

I check in and wander the lonely halls of Piedmont Triad International Airport. Nothing is open yet, no coffee for me. 

I arrive in Charlotte just as the sun is coming up over the horizon. You can see downtown Charlotte way off in the distance. Now it's a plane to Phoenix and another to Portland... at least it's a beautiful day to fly.

Jim was riding along with one of his reps here in the Portland area this morning, they generously offered to pick me up at the airport and drop me at the hotel downtown before their afternoon meetings. Thanks, guys, for the lift! This is the view from my room upon arrival. 
An overcast, drizzly day thus far but I can see some sun peeking through the clouds. I didn't know it when I took this photo but one of my interviews this weekend was going to happen down in that plaza, Pioneer Courthouse Square.

After getting settled in at the hotel I went for a walk to exercise my travel-weary legs.

Pioneer Courthouse Square from ground level.
By the time I finished my walk it wasn't yet dinner time on the West Coast although I already felt like I was ready to go to bed, my body clock was struggling. Jim and I had plans to meet up with some of the Rock 'n Roll gypsies but I was also waiting to hear if I was going to meet a local Orthotist who also happens to be a 'challenged athlete'. Since everyone else was still working I took the opportunity to find a meeting place where we could get a bite to eat, but also a place close enough to the hotel in case I had to meet up with the Orthotist.
I found the Red Star Tavern around the corner from the hotel. I texted Jim and Merle (it's her birthday-week) with my locale and grabbed a bite to eat while I was waiting for everyone else to solidify their plans.

Mixed greens and pan-fried tofu...just what I needed!

Part of the Happy Hour menu at the Red Star. Luckily I was hungry at 5PM since my body clock was telling me it was 8PM after a VERY LONG day of travel.

Merle sighting! She finished her set-up for tomorrow's Expo and met Jim and I at the Red Star. She's holding the birthday present we had made for her in Indianapolis. Luckily it survived that trip and the one to Portland.

After catching up and making our Rock n' Roll plans for the weekend we decided to walk to The Nines hotel. Last year we celebrated Merle's birthday at the roof top restaurant there, we hoped to do so again now just in time for the sunset.

Our hotel was right in the middle of most everything we had on the schedule for the weekend. The area is called the Pioneer District but we were in the heart of it at Pioneer Square.

Sunset with friends on the roof at The Nines.

Jim and I pose with a great view of the Willamette River behind us. 

That's East Portland on the other side of the river, where the Heart and Stroke 5K will take place on Saturday morning. After a bit more food and fun with friends we were all ready to call it a night. I hope I can sleep in tomorrow!
Friday, May 17th:

I was able to sleep until almost 8:00 am while Jim had to get up early to meet up with his local distributors. I worked in the room for a few hours then made plans to ride to the Expo with my friend from high school, Christian, who lives out here with her husband and 3 girls. This year's Expo is in a different location, about a 15-minute drive from downtown so I was happy to have a free ride!

Christian takes advantage of last-minute registration so she can run with me on Sunday.

Another Birthday Girl sighting!

This is Steve Ryan with Champion Systems, the folks who made our "prototype" TeamUP jackets. We have some adjustments to make with the design but hopefully we'll get another order in soon, which will be available for purchase at some point in the year.

I already had a Portland charm on my Rock 'n Roll Marathon Jewelry bracelet but I was excited to get my new Boston Strong charm! Although I wasn't there at this year's event I wanted to show my support for all of my friends who were. The Boston Marathon has meant so much to me, both the history of it and the friends I've met through running it over the years. A perfect addition to my collection of memories!

And of course, the best friendship with Emily of Rock 'n Roll Marathon Jewelry!

After the Expo Christian took me to one of her favorite Portland sweet shops. Aren't we supposed to come here AFTER we run?!

We arrive late so there's only a small selection left. Christian tells me they make everything fresh each morning and close up once the last donut is sold for the day. 

We arrived in time for a cinnamon sugar  and a Meyer Lemon-filled donut. I had to have a bite right away but saved the rest until after dinner with Jim. 

I got a call for an invitation to be interviewed on Channel 7, a station that has a studio in Pioneer Courthouse Square a block from my hotel. I call Darren Smith (from TeamUP) to see if he will join me for the interview and then head to the Fred Meyer grocery store to get my GBU sign-making supplies. I couldn't resist an impulse buy at checkout...check out my new pet!

Darren and I ready to go live on Channel 7. Thanks to Jim for his photojournalist duties!

For my family.... What channel will we be on?...... SEVEN!
(an inside joke)

Thanks, Stephanie, for a great interview and for making Darren's 5th media appearance this week! Great publicity on behalf of TeamUP and spreading the word on how to Get Back UP in Portland.

Cool "life-sized" chess set in the Square. Every time we passed by there were people playing this free public-art game.

After our interview, Jim, Darren, Darren's son and I went for a quick bite at Qdoba to catch up on all the excitement since our TeamUP debut in Greensboro back in April. Darren has been a media-machine since then, utilizing all his new-found media skills thanks to the Bouvier-Kelly team for the crash course. He's been in the local paper and has had 4 TV interviews sharing his story and his partnerships with Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), Team ReFuel and Allard's TeamUP. Thanks, Darren, for helping others to achieve new heights!

After dinner it was back to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow's early morning walk for the Heart Association.

Saturday, May 18th:

5:30a.m...Rise and shine! Okay, well "rise" anyway. There's not so much "shine" this morning as a cool drizzle greets us upon our morning journey. Jim and I have both registered for the Portland Heart & Stroke Walk/5K across the river today. With stroke being a major cause of footdrop we really want to show our support and help to educate others on new developments in cardiac rehab and stroke prevention. So, we're off on the mile-walk to East Portland but before we get too far....

...a cup of Java to jumpstart the day!

Typical Portland morning on a cool day in May. So far just light drizzle as we make our way across the Hawthorne Bridge. We will be running across this bridge again tomorrow in the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

Another view from the bridge.

The time is about 7:00am and although the skies are a bit gloomy it's actually a great morning to be out walking.

We made it to the Heart & Stroke Walk in advance of the big crowds. Jim has finally woken up after his Venti Bold.

Taking advantage of the early arrival to get some photos.

Getting Back UP with Subway's superstar, Jared! 

Just one more thing I can do in my ToeOFF...thanks to my niece, Brittanie, for the inspiration!

Jim has one amazing revolution. :-)

That's all you get.

City of Roses royalty, showing their support this morning.

By 8:00 the masses are arriving.

Dozens of local teams competed to see who could raise the most money for the American Heart Association. It was wonderful to be among such a huge crowd of people celebrating "getting back up".

Andy Carson of Channel 12 is the emcee for the day. Yesterday he interviewed Darren at the Rock 'n' Roll Expo. Today he gets a double dose of TeamUP!

Thousands of people brave the rain to show support this morning.

And we're off!

This is the view behind us on the jam-packed walk ...

...and the view in front.

It really was fun to see how many people were here to walk for the AHA.

As far as the eye could see, along the river, across the river and back again...strength in numbers.

After the walk we choose the Morrison Bridge to cross back into downtown Portland.

No rain currently...and I think the sun is trying to Get Back UP over downtown.

When we finished the morning event Jim and I ran a few errands to get ready for tomorrow's half marathon and then met Christian at one of her family's favorite Portland eateries. Christian's girls have a track meet today and she has a tennis match tomorrow after the Half so we're trying to squeeze in as much visiting time with her as possible so we met her here on NW 23rd:

Who knew that Grilled PB& J's could be so exotic?! Christian has been raving about this place since I was in town last year but until now I never had the opportunity to try it.

I tried the "Spicy Thai PB&J": Challah bread, orange marmalade, sirracha, fresh basil, curry and homemade peanut butter. THIS WAS OUTSTANDING!!

Jim and Christian split two sandwiches. The Betty: Challah bread, 1-year cave aged Gruyere,  homemade bread-and-butter pickles, white pepper, sea salt and PBJ's peanut butter. The special sandwich of the day was the Smokin' Goat: Olive bread, PBJ's almond butter, applewood bacon, goat cheese and apricot jam. Both of these sandwiches got rave reviews.
After our funky lunch on the sidewalk at PBJs we took some time to check out the stores along NW23rd. Here's a bit of info on the area, a must-see while you're in Portland!,_Portland,_Oregon

Maria, this one's for you!! (That's Jim under there)

I must think I'm a bunny in a chipmunk body.

Christian and I find our photo online, which was taken at a booth at the Expo yesterday. We were practicing for the finish line tomorrow.... good thing we did 'cause I didn't realize how competitive she is!
Last year the Portland Timbers were in town when we were here and Christian treated us to a game at Jeld-Wen Field. This year the team is away so she invited us to watch it at her club, which overlooks the field. The Timbers are doing great this year and, as our adopted team (NC has no MLS team currently), we jump at the opportunity to view the game on "home turf" even though the team isn't actually here.

... otherwise known as The MAC.

Luckily we walked around the "Trendy-third" neighborhood long enough to get hungry again. We grabbed a light dinner at the MAC's sports pub while we watched the Timbers game with Christian and a few of her tennis partners. Mark, Christian's husband, joined us for a few moments but he was otherwise occupied by the Father-Daughter dance which was at TheMAC tonight also.

Hmm... perhaps Allison (front center) is playing "Carrie" tonight at the Father-daughter dance. :-)
Mark, Emily (back center), Christian and Ally at the Sports Pub in the MAC before the dance begins. Harper, the 3rd daughter, is attending a birthday party elsewhere this evening.

The view of Jeld-Wen field from inside the MAC. Jim says he could still make it on the MLS circuit if only he were given the chance. ;-)

The Timbers came back for a 2-2 tie against Vancouver in this evening's game. It was fun to be here (watching on TV) even if they weren't. And now, it's back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow's Half Marathon fun!!
Sunday, May 19th: RACE DAY!!!

When I was in the grocery store yesterday I couldn't resist the impulse buy of my new pet, Puggles--a helium-filled treasure, while Jim waited in the running-car outside. Upon my return to the vehicle he looked at my purchase and said "What are you planning to do with THAT?!"  Of course I told him I had no idea, but I saw Puggles and just had to have him. As per usual, Jim rolls his eyes at me but then finds a way to roll with my antics...
When we left the hotel early on Saturday morning to head to the start line area, I asked Jim if he would rather carry the Get Back UP sign (he usually does) or Puggles. To my shock and awe, Jim wanted Puggles!

I wish you all could have seen how popular Puggles was with everyone. What should have been a 15 minute walk took almost 30 minutes. Jim insisted on walking slowly so that Puggles would keep his feet on the ground; when the wind picked up it also scooped up Puggles who became airborne. So, not only did Jim walk decidedly slow but also he was stopped every few feet by men, women and children who wanted to pet or photograph Puggles!

Christian meets Puggles... Jim keeps a watchful eye on his new friend while we prepare for the start of the race.

Christian helps us to spread the Get Back UP message while donning one of the extra TeamUP jackets. Thanks, Christian!! Can't wait to run with you today.

All decked out in my Timbers socks while the sign is adorned with roses Christian bought for me. Portland is The City of Roses, hence the chosen accessory.

Christian takes Puggles for a walk and a photo-op.

Jim, Beth, Darren and Christian comprise today's version of TeamUP...ready to ROCK and ROLL!

Great friends, Half Fanatics and Rock 'n' Roll gypsies: Kevin Gonzalez and Ron Carino.

We're off! Perfect weather today for another 13.1 mile jog.

Christian photo-bombs the shot of RnR gypsies, Jim Austin and Kamika Smith (another great friend and Half Fanatic).

First water stop for the Trynamic Trio! (Christian, Jim and I all ran together this year)

Christian, who trained this year, is having a hard time slowing down for my post-surgery pace.  She makes the hills of Portland look easy, and I'm so thankful she opted to run with me. 

We used our 2 hours (plus 7 minutes) to catch up, ham it up and soak up the joys of a strong friendship along the 13.1 mile rain-free route.

Over the bridge into East Portland, Christian still in the lead as we walk through a water stop.

Staying hydrated in East Portland!

At the top of one of the longer hills along the course. Again, it was perfect weather for a run and we made the most of it by enjoying all the scenery along the way.
Christian conquering the hills in stunning fashion!
Gorgeous green views through a beautiful East Portland neighborhood. Jim is there on the left, Christian's in the lead still.

Friends to the Finish!!! Thank you, Christian, for a great run and a great weekend... just another Half Marathon, right? 

Celebrating her PR over last year (but she could have run much faster on her own if she didn't choose to run with me instead) and now she fuels up for her tennis match later this afternoon.

She's earned her Get Back UP medal...

...Thanks for your support, Christian!
The Portland Rock'n Roll medal plus the bonus Heavy Medal "Rock Legend" for completing 7 RnR events in 2013.

Puggles enjoys some VIP treats.

Rock Stars for a day!

The Trynamic Trio after a great run together.

Spreading the Get Back UP message in style...PR's for Christian AND Darren!
 Puggles is even jumping with excitement.

Jim and I with another great friend and RnR gypsy, Jim Campbell who does the sound/stage work for all the RnR events. Great to see you again, Jim!

Struttin' with TeamUP rock star, Darren Smith. I can't believe it was just 1 year ago when I met Darren here in Portland. And now, he's an important ambassador for TeamUP and for challenged athletes everywhere. What an honor to share this event with him on his own turf. Thanks for everything, Darren, you really are amazing!!!
Angie, this is the first autograph on my TeamUP jacket...just thought you'd appreciate this. TeamUP members beware! I'm gunning to get your signatures on here the next time I see you all!

Rock 'n Roll gypsies in the "Missing Man Formation" in honor of David DeNeiere who skipped his first RnR event in over 30 races. We missed you David! (Kamika Smith should have been here in this photo, too, but we couldn't find him at the Finish until a bit later...sorry Kamika, you were with us in spirit!)

Sadly, we have to say good-bye to Darren as he takes off to meet up with his family. Darren had 5 or 6 media spots by the time this week was over. Fantastic job, Darren... can't wait to follow you in your next adventures.
(By the way, I'm getting concerned about Jim's attachment to Puggles...not sure the FAA will let him fly home with us)

Puggles entertains the crowd at Kells Pub after the race. Jim is about to break the news to him that he may not make the trip home to NC.

Puggles takes the news hard.

After cleaning up and checking out of our hotel we meet up with Christian for the afternoon game at Jeld-Wen field...this time we get to see the NWSL Portland Thorns play the Washington Spirit! Christian stands below her name here as part of the Axe Society of the Portland Timbers, the pioneering class of season seat holders.

Entering Jeld-Wen Field for the Thorns game.

A packed house on a great day for soccer!

The Trynamic Trio enjoys watching other people run around after our morning at the Half Marathon.

Thorns win 2-0!

After the game we said good-bye to Christian and her family. We planned to grab a bite to eat then head to the airport for our flight home tonight... another 3-leg trip plus the Redeye flight out of Phoenix which will make for a very long day and night for us.

Not sure who is more sad about our leaving Portland, Puggles...

... or Jim.

Did I mention I was concerned about Jim's bonding so strongly with Puggles?

Best friends enjoying a sunny, beautiful day on our last day in Portland.

Back to the airport for us... I wish we didn't have to leave on such a perfect day.

The TSA actually loved Puggles, too. We knew we couldn't take him home with us (Puggles, not Jim) but Jim wasn't quite ready to part ways.

Puggles finds a new loving family!! As we were walking through the concourse this couple came up and wanted a photo of Puggles. They said their daughter loves Pugs so we thought this was a perfect opportunity to relinquish our Portland pet. Goodbye, my friend, we will miss you!

Jim needs a moment to grieve.

There just may have been a few tears.
Thank you to Portland and to all of our friends there for a FABULOUS weekend. We packed a lot in and reached so many people with the Get Back UP message. I wish you all could have seen Darren in action...a new media darling and an amazing ambassador for TeamUP!

Next event will be in Marquette, MI where I was born, followed by a run into Baycliff Health Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then the Seattle Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. Hope to see you along the way!