Friday, November 6, 2015

10th & 11th Races of 2015: Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach and San Jose Half Marathons

A Preface to all September through November entries:
 For those of you who've been regular followers of Get Back UP Today you will know that I've always tried to finish a Race/Event blog before the next race or event. Unfortunately this year has been a challenging one for me due mainly to the major surgery I had in the Spring. While in many ways I "got back up" quickly over the initial 2-month recovery time, I slowly began to realize that total healing can take a lot longer. I've had to reconcile myself with the fact that healing doesn't necessarily proceed on a linear trajectory but instead can be a roller-coaster of progress and setbacks. I can reassure you that I'm doing very well on my path to a complete recovery but with having to squeeze so much into the second half of the year--and with my main focus on taking care of myself at every stage of my healing journey--something had to get placed on the back burner. This blog was that "something". So, in an effort to catch you up on all of my adventures in 2015, but in a manner that still leaves me with time and energy for all of my continuing events,  I will shorten my entries to  "photo-diary"-style featuring each weekend's highlights until I have brought you up to speed. Some of these will be out of chronological order, please forgive! Thank you for your understanding and for being a loyal reader!    --Beth

11th Race of 2015: Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon

Saturday, September 5th:

Happy Birthday to my stepdad, Bob Jackson (one day later)! This weekend will be a big family affair rather than an official work trip for me, and although we'll miss my Dad, Stepmom and older sister, Maria, this year we'll still be celebrating with a large number of other family members in town. 

With a slew of our clan staying at sister Becky's house, along with her hubby Pete and my nephews, Jackson and Joey, Jim and I were invited to stay across the street with our adopted family, John and Sharon Yager. The Yagers are an amazing couple--both teachers and both cancer survivors--and to add to their legacy they're also part of a select group of folks who've run every single VaBeach RnR Half Marathon. This year marks the 15th running of the event, which the Rock'n'Roll group is honoring with the "Legacy Runners" celebration:

This sign greeted all runners upon entering the Expo at the VaBeach Convention Center.

And (almost) last but not least, the Yagers. Thank you, John and Sharon, for your
inspiration, generosity and friendship over the years--and congrats on an amazing
string of Half Marathons these past 15 years!

Always love spotting Dorcas White working behind the scenes at all of these events.

Although I neglected to get a photo of my cousin, Sandy, she and I hit the Expo
together and then grabbed a quick bite of lunch before heading back to Becky & Pete's.
Sandy got a Chicken Avocado wrap with broccoli...

I got a mixed greens salad with hard boiled eggs, a custom-combination of
2 salads they had on the menu at Home Republic on Laskin Rd.

One day I'll come back to Home Republic when I don't have a race to run so I can
sample some of their award-wining craft beers.
After lunch Sandy and I waited for Jim, who had rented a one-way rental car and was dropping it off here on Laskin Road. Once we picked him up and got him through the Expo for packet pick-up we headed back to the Kubin house for a wonderful afternoon with family followed by an early, home-made dinner.
Thanks to Mom, Bob and Becky for preparing a perfect pre-race meal for all of us:
Grilled Salmon, Green Beans Gremolata, mixed greens salad, and Israeli Cous Cous.

Truly, it wasn't planned this way but it turned out that there was a "cool table", shown here...
(From left to right: mom, Sharon Yager, Becky, Sandy, Jackson and not pictured, Joey and me)

...and the "Old guys" table. LOL, sorry guys.
From left to right: Uncle Dan, Pete, Jim, John Yager, and the birthday boy, Bob.

Sunday, September 6th: RACE DAY!!

John, Sharon, Sandy, Jim and I headed out at 5:00am to make it to the starting line parking area before the road closures took effect. John and Sharon were featured on the local news stations earlier in the week and on this morning they were being interviewed by reporters at the chaotic start line...that's why I don't have any pre-race photos of them...sorry!

Obligatory start line selfie. Sandy's going for her VaBeach PR...good luck, Cuz!
Jim and I always slog through this race so that the heat and humidity don't take too
great a toll.

Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy selfie at the Finish Line VIP (by all accounts, the best VIP post-race amenities outside of Vegas).
Clockwise from behind me: Michelle, Ted, Jim, Sandy and Sherry. Congrats, Gypsies!

Commemorative 15-year medal. FYI: I ran the inaugural VaBeach plus every race afterwards,
except for the 2 years I was out due to spinal fusion surgery and subsequent foot drop. Thanks
to finding Allard's ToeOFF brace I haven't missed another run since!

My Stairway to Seven Heavy Medal, for finishing 7 RnR events so far this year. I'm hoping
to make Hall of Fame status this year despite my spring surgery setback, which means I need
to have a total of 15 events completed. Wish me luck!

Side note: The week after VaBeach we hosted friends in town for the National Folk Festival, held in our home town of Greensboro for the first time ever. Please check out the official website and plan to join us in Greensboro for the 2016 and 2017 festivals--it is an amazing event!!
Then, the following weekend after the festival we flew to St. Louis for my second-cousin's wedding. At some point I will post all the great photos from that weekend but trust me, a good time was had by all. Now, back to the race events beginning with the week after the St. Louis wedding...

San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 5K, 1/2 Marathon and BASEBALL FUN!

Friday, September 25th:

This race event is another non-work, non-TeamUP Tour Stop weekend but we're gonna make the most of it with our Gypsy family and some of our friends who live here in the Bay Area.

First stop, the Expo where I get to see Ron and Susan Carino and FINALLY get to meet
their "kids", Sprint and Dash, in the flesh. Too cute!!
I mentioned "our friends in the Bay Area" and by that I mean Marci and Mark Canha whom we first met when Mark played minor league ball for the Miami Marlins affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers. I've detailed more about them in blogs from years past, but the short story is that we befriended and assisted them when Mark was living in Greensboro as a Grasshopper (and when Marci--then girlfriend--came to visit from her college studies at Notre Dame that season.) Mark was only in Greensboro one season and moved up each year in the Marlins tier of minor league teams across the southeast. We stayed in touch the whole time, got to witness the marriage of Mark and Marci, enjoyed meeting Mark's parents when we were last in San Jose and finally met other family members at their wedding in San Antonio. As fate would have it, Mark got traded last year by the Marlins before making it to their Major League team with many of his teammates from the Grasshoppers. Rather than being a sad event, this was a major blessing as he got traded to his hometown-favorite team, The Oakland A's! He and Marci got to "move back home", where Mark's family still lives in nearby San Jose...and in a fantastic debut season in the Major Leagues, Mark has earned a valuable starting spot in a majority of their games this year.

Well, fortune shined on Jim and me this week since the Oakland A's had a home stand scheduled for the days we're in San Jose for the race! We made the most of it by making the 45-minute trip (each way) every day while we in town so we could watch Mark play on his home turf.

Sooo, after leaving the Expo we immediately hit the road for Oakland for our first A's home game:

We got there plenty early to avoid the projected traffic snarls since this weekend's home stand against rivals San Francisco
Giants is expected to be a sell-out each game. We made new friends and got invited to tailgate with other fans, even though
we came empty handed. Thank you to all the A's fans who treated us to food and drink, your generosity and hospitality
were so wonderful!!

We entered the stadium as soon as they opened the gates. Both Jim and I were hoping to buy some "Canha" souvenirs
before the start of the game.

I was disappointed that they didn't have any team gear (hats, shirts or
trading cards) with Canha's name on it. :-(  But, no worries!
I bought a zip-up hoodie and a Sharpie and I made my own Canha jersey!

I spent some time talking to first base coach, Tye Waller, while hoping to catch a glimpse
of Mark before the start of the game. Tye (also, Ty) is a former major league 3rd baseman
and has been with the A's since 2006. When I said that I hope Mark gets to stay with the A's
next year he gave a nice wink-and-a-smile and said, "We kinda like him, too."
So nice to hear!!
I finally saw Mark enter the dugout but he looked so focused, I feared he wouldn't be
coming out to sign autographs for the fans today. I eventually caught his eye and he
immediately ran over and gave me a big hug. Thank you, Mark Canha!! (and thanks
for signing autographs for the kids swarming at my side when you came over.)

About 45 minutes to game-time now...we're watching both teams warm up.

Marci made her way down from her seats with the rest of the players' wives so we
had a chance to say hello and to visit with her before the game started. So great to see you, Marci!

I'm getting so many comments on my Canha jersey...apparently he's made himself a fan favorite in his
rookie year here. We are so happy to hear that these folks like Mark as much as we do!

The game was a sellout and an exciting game to watch. Oakland A's win, 5-4!! Now, back down to San Jose for the night...

Saturday, September 26th: 5K RACE DAY!!

After our late night and long drive from Oakland it was an early start to the day here in San Jose. Jim and I both opted to run the "bonus" race, a 5K, in advance of tomorrow's Half Marathon. Here are the photo highlights:

Running this 5K to help raise awareness of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder,
and for all my wonderful friends at the CMTA chapters around the country

Looks like the Gypsies are all on board for the 5K this morning! Ron, Susan, Caryn, Jim, Al and I will be running
while Joe Harris will be volunteering at the start and finish lines.

One race in the books...we all finished upright! And most of us got water handed to
us at the finish line from superstar, Joe.

Jim and I said a quick good-bye (until tomorrow) to our fellow gypsies and went back to the room to shower and change. We then grabbed a quick coffee at a local-favorite coffee bar before racing back up to Oakland again for the 2nd game of the weekend...

This wasn't my coffee but it was so pretty I had to take a photo. I got mine to-go, and it was
probably the best decaf Americano I've ever had. Thanks, Caffe Frascati!

The drive up was easy but it took us almost an hour to make it into the parking area, yet
still we made it before the first pitch. This game had sold out before we could get tickets,
so we owe many thanks to Marci for getting us Standing Room Only tix
and leaving them at Will Call for us!

Another capacity crowd here at the Oakland A's field, and another perfect day for baseball!

Since we had SRO tix we took the opportunity to walk around and meet "the team".

Jim finally learns what it feels like to be the short guy.

The best Giants fan in the whole stadium. He's here with his cousin, and A's fan, and
has a great reason to wear the Giants jersey (other than being a die-hard fan of his
cousin's archival team)...

...apparently every year the Giants let the fans compete in designing each new season's patch.
This year he had the winning design so they gave him his own limited edition jersey!

We had the best time meeting new friends up in the nosebleed tier. Go, A's!!

When the game was over we went down to meet up with Mark's parents, Elaine and David.
I think from the jersey's you can tell who the real Canhas are!

After the game we went into Oakland for a great meal with Mark's family and friends.
I love the Canha clan, we always have so much fun with them.
(Marci, what's bugging you here? Lol)

Every time we've seen Mark and Marci at a game this year (in other ballparks across the country) we kept
forgetting to get a photo of the 4 of us. Thanks, Marci, for remembering this time! We love you we gotta race back down to San Jose for tomorrow morning's early race start...

Sunday, September 27th: Half Marathon RACE  DAY!!!

Wow, what a whirlwind of a weekend between Rock'n'Rolling and MajorLeague Baseball'ing! Today we've got the Half Marathon to complete, followed by another drive to Oakland and straight from the ballpark back to the airport in San Jose. Here are the highlights:

Another Gypsy Reunion outside of the VIP area at McCormick & Schmick's in Downtown San Jose.

The must-have Ron selfie!
Oops, we missed a few gypsies...Ron, "Take two!"
It seemed so much longer at the time...but fast-forward to my race finish where Dorcas handed
me my finisher's medal. Always so great to see you, my friend, but it's icing on the cake
when you have a medal ready for me.

Back at the VIP room I run into former San Francisco 49'er great, Roger Craig. Those of
you who follow this blog and/or the RnR races you'll know that he's the main reason there
is a San Jose Tour Stop...and he's a really great runner as well! You can tell from his bling
that he also completed the 5K and 1/2 Marathon this weekend. Well done, Roger!

I acquired a lot of bling myself this trip...4 medals in 1 weekend!

The post-race food at San Jose's VIP is great. Jim and I need to eat quickly though, we've
got a game and a plane to catch!
(I ordered an omelet with gourmet mushrooms and assorted veggies, yum.)

Joe Harris, who already has all of his Heavy Medals up to the Hall of Fame, earns
a bonus "Cali Combo" medal for running all the CA RnR half marathons this year.
Congrats, Joe!

The 1/2 Marathon medal on the left (10 year anniversary of this event) and the 5K on the right.

The "spinner" remix medal for doing both races...

...and the 8 Track Heavy Medal for completing 8 RnR races this year.

Then we were back on our way to Oakland, having packed up and checked out of the hotel room. We're hoping
the game doesn't go into extra innings 'cause we have an hour-long drive back down to San Jose to catch our flight home
this evening. What an adventure!!


  1. You are so awsome. You have done so much these last few months and had so much fun doing it. God Bless you in all you do. Love ya

  2. You are so awsome. You have done so much these last few months and had so much fun doing it. God Bless you in all you do. Love ya

  3. Beth and Jim, always awesome performance. You're in my heart and esteem forever. P.S. If you want to hear what is on that 8 track medal, I have a working machine when you visit. UP to the people always! Kent T loves ya!