Monday, February 23, 2015

19th Event: Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Rock 'n' Roll LA 1/2 Marathon & Post-race Events

Please note: These posts for events occurring between October 2014 and February 2015 are overdue but I wanted to finish each of them to start fresh once again. Starting in May of last year I began to struggle with extreme fatigue, which I first thought was simply the result of a very strenuous travel-work-running schedule. I worked hard to get “adequate rest” before launching into my busiest season at the start of September but by then I knew something more serious must be involved. In between road trips I scheduled consults, tests and medical procedures all the while trying to keep up with my events and obligations through the fall and winter. I’m happy to say I was able to manage this…but just barely. For each meeting, race, event, appearance, meal, speaking engagement or celebration you see in my blog photos, the reality was that I would go immediately back to my rental car or hotel and collapse with exhaustion. Although writing a blog requires little physical exertion I found myself feeling lethargic and unable to focus so instead I took advantage of the private moments to rest and conserve as much of my energy as possible.  When I finish updating the missing events I will provide a detailed explanation of my health issues as I hope my doctors have finally determined the cause and likely solution to the fatigue. Thank you for your understanding and patience!

October 24th:

After almost 2 weeks at home I'm back on the road for 4 weeks, starting with my trip to LA today. Jim has some family obligations keeping him in town for a few days but he plans to meet me in LA the night before the race. Both of us will stay in the LA area after the race for separate work engagements then head directly to Phoenix for more work and more running. 

In recent weeks my health has been on the upswing after months of chronic fatigue, although I've recently been given a new medication and some restrictions. I've been instructed to curb my physical exertion outside of the actual race events and I have to eat on a strict schedule in keeping with instructions for my Rx, at least until we see how my body handles the changes. The next few weeks will be a challenge in more ways than usual but I'm up for it--I'm not going to take chances with my health!

When I board my second flight of the morning in Charlotte I spot
my friend and fellow RnR Gypsy, Mindy Evans, across the aisle.
She's heading to LA for the race too. Good morning, Mindy!

Looks like a great day to fly.

With the green landscape of NC miles behind me I get a peek
at the not-so-green greater LA area.
My plan today was to scout out the race day locations, get my race packet, find a grocery store to shop for my meals here this week then check into the apartment that Jim rented online. We thought he'd be here with me but when his plans changed I learned that I'd have a cool, big apartment all to myself for a few days. This is shaping up to be a perfect way to follow doctor's orders!

The Nokia Theatre and LA Live complex adjacent to the LA Convention Center.
Our rented apartment is in the up-and-coming South Park neighborhood directly
across the street from the Convention Center and Staples Center. 

This is the entrance to the apartment building. Thanks to Jim we
will be able to walk out the front door directly into
our starting corral for the Half Marathon.

Heading to the Expo at the Convention Center...

...where the first face I see is none other than friend
and fellow gypsy, Joe Harris. Great to see you, Joe!

The next friendly face I find is Emily Underwood,
a great way to start my day. Now if only Merle Trichon
were here it would be a perfect start...we miss you, Merle!

Sightseeing on the way to my apartment, I'm excited to see what it looks like:

OMG! The apartment building is fantastic and so is our little 1-bedroom, full kitchen rental! I've learned that the building is only up to about 1/3 occupancy which is why they're renting some out apartments as "hotel bids". The public spaces are incredible:

Rooftop garden and patios.

Rooftop luxury with incredible views of downtown LA
in the background.

Big screen TVs, fireplaces and comfy seating--all to myself!!

As much as I need my personal space to
tend to health issues, I really wish I had someone here
with which to share this luxury. 
For all of my event weekends I am on call for media opportunities and this means sticking close to race headquarters (Expo, Start- and Finish-line areas) because that's where the reporters usually want to meet. I often struggle with this because I'd rather be exploring these cities while in town but this weekend it will be easy thanks to the BEST ACCOMMODATIONS EVER which happen to be in spitting distance of all race happenings. Thank you, Jim Austin--wish you were here!

With a need for something healthy in my belly I made a quick stop at Tom's Urban restaurant en route to the grocery store, then it was back to the apartment to rest and relax:

The menu looked fabulous but I had a plan to take
advantage of the fully-equipped kitchen & fix my
own meals at the apartment. As it was now time to take a
dose of medication, I opted for a quick touch of protein--Wok
Charred Spicy Edamame--then off to the store.  YUM.

Can you believe I had this rooftop all to myself everyday and night except
for one brief hour where a group of 4 residents sat nearby?!

Such a peaceful oasis in the middle of downtown LA.
I'm going to sleep well tonight.
Saturday, October 25th:

As predicted, I had a wonderful night's sleep and awoke early due to my East Coast body clock. Usually I would go for a short run the day before a half marathon just to loosen up but today I'm restricted to walking per doctor's orders. I'm guessing that any potential media won't happen until the Expo opens later so I should have a few hours. Thus, I made a plan to do what no one else does in LA: WALK THE CITY.
The selection of free teas & coffees I had
at the apartment every day.

Beautiful sunrise in South Park, LA.

I'm going to try to hit as many of these neighborhoods as possible. I've
got a backpack full of bottled water, snacks and a picnic lunch so I'm
ready for my adventure.

Everything looks so beautiful this early in the a.m.

Well, I wouldn't be me if I didn't take some silly photos.
I can tell you though, it's much more difficult taking silly
selfies than when Jim is here to take photos for me.

Who said I'm alone in my adventure this morning?
I got to have coffee with legendary Chick Hearn!

I can track my progress along Angels Walk thanks to
these signs in every neighborhood downtown. I plan to
work my way north, beginning from the bottom of this map
in the South Park neighborhood.

There hasn't been much traffic so far this morning, but at this
point it's still before 7am on a Saturday. What little traffic there
is has been halted by a film crew, in production of
a car commercial. I stopped to watch for awhile but got irritated
by all the cars honking for permission to use the roadway.

I love this building, the LA Philharmonic/Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The powerful Peace On Earth sculpture at the Los
Angeles Music Center.

More beautiful views near the LA Music Center.

For reference, I started on the Southwestern-most point on this map
and am currently standing in Bunker Hill. From here I plan to hit Chinatown and perhaps
even more north (off of this map) to Echo Park Lake before turning around and
heading south along the central and eastern districts that I've missed. All totaled, my
walk should end up being about 6 miles, depending upon the routes I choose coming back.

Getting my kicks on Route 66.

When I came back through town about 2 hours later they
were still filming this car commercial.

Famous sights in the Fashion District.

Back for a high-noon dip in the pool
after my morning "hike" and picnic lunch. You'll
notice that I have the pool to myself, too.

I spent several of the afternoon hours working via computer and
making plans for upcoming events. This was the view from my
apartment balcony as I sat and worked.

This is the view directly below me.

With tomorrow being race day I needed to keep a low profile tonight and get plenty of rest. That didn't stop me from inviting Emily to the rooftop when she finished her hours at the Expo. She was able to pop right across the street and up to the roof for wine, fruit and cheese--thanks for joining me for "date night", Emily! I never know when I'll see you next so it's always a treat to spend one-on-one time with you.

Thanks for sharing my "private" rooftop oasis with me, Emily. I needed someone
to serve as a witness to all this luxury I've enjoyed here.
I think it was around this time that Jim told me his late flight from the east was delayed due to inclement weather. It appeared as though it may be canceled altogether so Jim was pretty upset that he may not make it to LA in time for the early race start tomorrow. We'll keep a good thought!

Sunday, October 26th: RACE DAY!!

Jim's flights were canceled after all and although he's en route this morning he won't make it in time for the race. We're hoping he makes it in time to meet me at VIP at the finish line (he purchased his tickets for that, too!) but we'll have to see.
Pouty-face selfie when I heard from Jim that he won't make it
in time for the race. So sorry, Jim--but better to be safe!

I make my way to the VIP lounge to check all my gear for the race
and to grab a quick bite. I have to meet a reporter soon but I just heard that
she's stuck in traffic so I'm waiting for her next call.

Pre-race yummies.

I'm assuming that some of this is for post-race fueling but who knows?
Maybe it's an LA thing to have sandwich veggies on your breakfast bagel?

For my little buddy, Andrew who has Juvenile Arthritis.
He and I have both been to doctors a lot in recent weeks
but we're hanging tough, aren't we Andrew?!

So far Joe Harris is the only RnR Gypsy I've seen this morning.

Finally, Jeff Smith from Allard is here. He got stuck in pre-race
traffic and was an hour later than expected. He's here just in
time for us to race to the start line to meet the reporter--let's go!

Somewhere in here is the news crew waiting to interview us.

Jeff is taking photos of the interview, but I neglected to
get the shots he took--sorry!

I finally see Al and Caryn at the end of the race,
they're entered into the costume contest but I've got to
run back to VIP to find Jim. I can't believe they
ran the 1/2 Marathon in those costumes--well done,
my friends!

Monday, October 27th:

Today was almost a "day off" for me. Jim had his work appointments around LA while I stayed in town to prepare for the next few days. I am traveling with Jeff Smith this week both here and in Phoenix so I took today to attend to my chores, catch up on my emails and make more progress planning the TeamUP weekend logistics.

Laundry day! This is actually a luxury to be able to have clean clothes
immediately following a Half Marathon. 

When Jim returned from his appointments we made our way to the seaside community of Marina Del Ray for dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed my time downtown but I wanted a water view from the Left Coast before I had to leave it. Here are a few shots of our visit in MDR and our healthy meal at Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market:

Tuesday, October 28th:

I shadowed Allard District Manager, Jeff Smith, for most of today ending with a 4-hour evening gait course in Culver City, CA.
I'm checking in the attendees because the speaker's flight was delayed
and Jeff had to go to the airport to get him.

While Jeff and his speaker are setting up their course materials
I use the time to share the Get Back UP Today
mission with these orthotists.

Wednesday, October 29th:

Today's agenda involves meeting Jeff in Oxnard, CA for another 4-hour gait course. I was told that in light traffic it would take me about 90 minutes to drive to Oxnard but was warned that I should start earlier because traffic could be a big problem. So, I had my breakfast, packed my belongings and checked out of my hotel. The course wouldn't be over until 4:30 and I'll have the same drive back to LA to make my 7:00pm flight to Phoenix later this evening...there will be no time to get back to my room.

Traffic was stop-and-go for a 15 mile stretch heading out of downtown...

...but lucky for me it was smooth sailing from there on.
This course was attended mainly by Physical Therapists as opposed to yesterday's O&P professionals. I'm always amazed by how much I learn in these courses, despite the fact that I've attended dozens of them as a guest or guest speaker on behalf of Allard USA. With new material and different consultants presenting each course the educational info seems ever-changing even though the core concepts remain the same.

While the course attendees got a break to eat...

...I left a bit early to make it back to LAX in time for my flight.
This was my meal at LAX, mediocre fish tacos. However, I had
to eat before I flew because it was time to take some medication, so
fish tacos it is!

Leaving LAX for PHX.

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