It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

September 17, 2012

I'm on TV, Transformers & a Reunion

Yes, that's me with a Moon Man...I totally won Best New Artist :)
So as I mentioned in my last post - Disneyland Half Marthon Recap, I had scheduled my vacation around this race.  My sister Wendee lives in LA so it's an awesome place to visit and get in family time.  I had originally planned to fly in on Friday night and fly home Wed morning.  Then on Thursday, I would drive to KY to attend my 20 year High School Reunion.  It was going to be a GREAT week.

On the Wednesday prior to the race I received a text message from Wendee that read "Any chance you could stay a couple of extra days and go to the MTV Video Music Awards wih me on Thursday".  WHAT????  I was freaking out.  Wendee is an Ad Exec for a large company and she has had the opportunity to go to events like that alot.  She has gone to the Grammy's, the Oscars, the American Idol Finale......the list goes on and on.  But I have NEVER been to anything like this in my life.  I wanted to go so much, but I also really wanted to go to my reunion.  It was a 12  hour drive to KY from KC.  And if I didn't come home until Friday it was going to be almost impossible to make it there in time.  I stressed over it for a short time, and I looked into flights from LA to KY and from KC to KY, but couldn't justify them - it would cost me close to $1000 to fly.  Finally, after some fretting I just decided to buck up and make it all happen!  I would stay for the VMAs, I would fly home on Friday and I would drive to KY to attend my reunion.  I knew I would be completely exhuasted, but hey you only live once right???

So I will try to briefly recap the 10, yes 10 days of my vacation. 

Friday night - Fly to LA
Saturday - A brief 2 mile run to get the lead out, packet pickup, meet up wtih Caroline of Candadian Runner in Exile, shopping for VMA dress, and then check into hotel for the race
Sunday - Disneyland Half Marathon, some pool time, and a great Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner
This was the sign Jack made me and his Aunt Wendee before the race!! He's sweet and thoughtful like that!

Monday - RELAX.....Massage, Mani, Pedi & Movie
Tuesday - Universal Studios Hollywood - It was a HOT day but it was a blast.

The 3-D Transformers ride was AWESOME....if you are a total geek like me you would love it!

This guy was soooo cool!  Bumblebee :)

Just a little road work before we left!

Wednesday - A 3 mile run.  Wendee actually had to go the San Francisco for work :( but a friend of hers picked me up and we went out for Greek food and a little site seeing.
Giant plate of Greek food, couscous, humus, and chicken shawarma

Thursday - THE BIG DAY.  The VMAs.  I started the day with a 3 mile run and then a 4 mile bike ride over to the beach!!

Ahhhh...been awhile since my toes were in the sand
Then it was finally time to get ready for the VMAs.  We got invited to both a pre and post party.  Fun....both parties were for advertisers so there were no big celebrities or anything but they were still fun.  We had to be at the pre-party to get out tickets about it was pretty early in the day.  I knew it was going to be a long but super fun day.

Me & Wendee at the rooftop pre-party!

Pre-party....I normally couldn't imagine wearing a dress this short, but when in Rome right??
Finally - it was time for the VMAs.  We had no idea where we were going to sit.  When we walked to our seats we were 15 rows from the main stage.  AWESOME I said, these are GREAT seats!!  I have to admit, I probably would have enjoyed the VMAs a bit more maybe 10 years ago, as I wasn't a huge fan of many of the performers and even didn't know who some were - 2 Chainz???  Say what?  But the person I was looking forward to seeing was P!nk!  I LOVE HER!  Anyway, when we sat down we noticed a platform in front of us.  I didn't think much about it, but then a guy from the VMAs came over and said "You'll need to watch your feet,  there will be one performance here, and there will be a couple of other shots from here".  WHAT....we were front row for a secondary stage!!  Who is peforming I asked?  "P!nk" he responded.  I almost had a heart attack!  She was going to perform literally feet away from me.

I immediately begin texting people.  I'm going to be on TV.  I'm going to be right next to P!nk!  It's going to be an amazing night!

Before we knew it the host of the MTV Awards, was right in front us and we were on TV.  Jim sends me a text.  You are on TV, you are being such a tourist totally shifting to the side to make sure you are on TV....well of course I was :)

P!nk, yes she was that close.  I even touched her arm!

Watch the video and see me on TV.  I'm right behind P!nk, at one point it's just me and her on the screen...I'm totally texting, but still on TV.  After she goes to the main stage my TV debut is it's a quick view.

All in all we were on TV 3 times!!  Once behind the host Kevin Hart, once behind P!nk, and once behind Emma Watson...and the guy in the Mexican suit, I sitll don't know who he was.
Pic Jim sent me of us on TV.  That's Wendee on the left and me on the right behind Emma Watson and the Mexican suit guy.
It was such a fun night!!  I was so glad I had stayed.  We went to the post party for a bit (which was DJd by Pauley D from Jersey Shore) and then headed home so I could pack....... :(  Wow, my week had gone by soooo fast!

Friday - I leave LA at 9:15 am - a pretty early flight after a long day the day before.  I land in KC at 2:30 pm.  Jim meets me at the airport just so we can see each other for a few minutes since it's been a week.  He takes me to my car, and by 2:45pm I am on the road to KY.  Just like when I left, it is pouring rain!  The drive is slow....not good when I have so far to go.  The reunion actually started Friday but I knew I wouldn't make it to Friday night's event, I was just hopeful to make it to Saturday's event.  I had hoped to drive at least half way on Friday, but with the rain I didn't make it that far.  I did drive 6 hours, but only knocked off about 5 hours of the drive.  It rained all 6 hours!!  I would have 7 hours of driving the next day and I would lose another hour due to a time zone change.  It was going to be a long day.

Saturday - I got up early and showered and headed out.  I drove, and drove, and drove!  I finally reached my cousin's house where I'd be staying at 2:30 pm.  The reunion started at 6pm and was almost an hour away, so I'd have to leave just after 5pm.  Not much time at all.  I chatted with my cousin and her family and my uncle.  Tried to take a quick nap which didn't happen and then it was time to get up and get ready for the reunion.  At the last minute my cousin decided to come with me.  Yea!  I would have a date.  She graduated the year before me so knew almost all of my friends.

The reunion was awesome!  I was so glad I went.  It was great to catch up with old classmates and friends.  I just wished more people had come.  I couldn't help adding a few High Scool/20 Year Reunion pics.

Me & my friend of my BFFs from high school.  We even had our Senior Pics taken together.

Me & my friend Patrick.  He's still so much fun!

Me & my friend Valetta.  I wish I could still eat giant ice cream sundaes like that!!

Group Senior Prom Pic

20 Year Reunion Pic

 Sunday - I  woke up early the next morning, too early after not getting home til 1:30 am....but I was on the road by 9:30.  I made one quick stop in Lexington to visit my friend Coy from First in Philly!  And then drove to St Louis.  I opted to only drive 8 hours instead of the full 12.  I was totally exhausted by the time I reached the hotel.

Me & Coy!
Monday - I woke up fairly early, got some Starbucks and decided to relax at the hotel for a little while before heading home.  They had a great pool!  I lounged by the pool and read a book, then finally headed home about 12:30pm.  I got home about 4:30 pm exhausted....and so not ready to go back to work the next day.

One last little bit of vacation before heading home.

In the end, I had a fabulous vacation!  In 10 days I changed time zones 5 times, spent over 24 hours in my car, spent 7 hours on a plane, stayed in 3 different hotels, and 2 different homes and experienced so many things that will leave me with memories for years to come!!  It was amazing.  I did pay for all my fun, as my body was totally run down by the time I got home, and I got to enjoy a nasty cold for the next week.....oh well it was totally worth it!!

I know this was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed sharing my journey with me!  What a great vacation!

September 13, 2012

Disneyland Half Marathon - Double Bling

Well, as many of you know, after running the Walt Disneyworld Marathon in January, I had my eyes set on a new prize – the coveted Disney Coast to Coast medal!  All you have to do is run a marathon or half marathon at both Disneyworld in FL and Disneyland in CA in a 12 month period and you get an extra medal for your AMAZING accomplishment.  Disneyland does not have a marathon (thank goodness) so all I had to do was find my way to California for a half marathon and I’d be set.  The Disneyland Half Marathon is held over Labor Day weekend – perfect. 

Already in our corral...still dark
Lucky for me my middle sister lives in LA.  So in February, I e-mailed her and asked if Labor Day would be a good time for me to come out for a visit….and oh did she want to run a half marathon with me by chance.  I was actually kind of shocked when she said yes!  She has done a half marathon before, and even triathlons….way before I ever thought about doing either, but it had been several years since she had participated in an organized race.  I was super excited when she said yes.  I knew it would be fun to do the race together and I knew she’d be much more enthusiastic about the 5:45 am start time if we were in this thing together!

Me & Caroline
I arrived in LA late Friday night, but the race wasn’t until Sunday.  So Saturday my sister Wendee and I headed over to the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo to pick up our packets, and I also got to meet Caroline of Canadian Runner in Exile!  She was just as sweet as she seems in her blog.  It was exciting to finally meet her.  Wendee and I walked around the expo some and checked out what little merchandise they had left.  Man that stuff goes fast!  I had hoped to get a Coast to Coast t-shirt, but all they had left were plain unisex cotton tees….no thanks!  The expo was pretty typical of a larger race with the usual vendors.  It was nice, but nothing I hadn’t seen before.

After picking up our packets, we headed over to the hotel to relax.  Disney recommends you arrive at the race by 4:30 am to get into your start corrals.  My sister lives about 45 minutes from Disneyland, so we opted to get a hotel the night before so we didn’t have to get up even earlier.  The hotel was a quick 10 minute walk to the race which would be perfect….or so we thought more on that later.

Pre-race runs in the family!

We got up bright and early about 3:45 am on Sunday and got ready.  We snapped a quick world famous pre-race dance pic, got our gear together and headed out the door.  There were 7 corrals for this race A-G.  The corrals start 5 minutes apart.  I was assigned Corral D, but since Wendee didn’t have a qualifying race time in the past 12 months she was automatically assigned Corral G.  You can move back a corral, but not up, so we had no choice but to start in Corral G if we wanted to run together (which we of course did). 

We walked to the race – which was a short 10 minute walk – checked our gear in and then walked to our Corral.  I looked at my watch – it was 5:05 am.  The race didn’t start for another 40 minutes, and since we were in the last corral we wouldn’t start for well over an hour!  The time actually went by fairly quickly, but by the time 6:15 rolled around and we finally started we both had to go to the bathroom.  I was surprised there were no porta pottys in the corral lines – there were at the Disneyworld Marathon, but not here.  Once our corral final moved up we noticed that there were porta pottys just before the start line, so we opted to go ahead and go before our time officially started.  However, by doing this we were some of the very last people to start the race.  We were totally at the back of the pack. Disney has a strict 16 minute mile rule.  They have a final pacer with a big set of balloons….stay ahead of the balloons they told us.  I thought we should be fine, but I knew we were going to walk quite a bit of the race.  I had recently had a flare up with my back and my sister had only done 4 miles as her long run going into the race, so I really didn’t know what to expect!


I suggested we do a run/walk method from the beginning to conserve energy.  So we did a 5 minute run/1 minute walk and also walked the water stops.  This ended up working out great!   We were maintaining a decent pace and staying well ahead of the dreaded balloons!  The first mile or so is outside of the park, but of course since it’s early in the race it goes quickly.  Miles 2-3 are inside Disneyland which was so fun.  That’s why you do these races right?  We stopped a few times for some pictures with characters or just some pictures of the park.  Then from mile 3-9 you run on boring streets!  I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the route overall.  Yes, at the Disneyworld Marathon you are outside of the parks a lot too (probably 20 of the 26 miles), but at least you kind of run in and out several times.  This was a long, long stretch of nothing.  They didn’t even have characters or anything outside of the park.  Again, comparing to Disneyworld they had characters all along the route.  They did have cheerleaders, and cars, and things along the way, but all in all it was kind of boring. 

Angels Stadium
 Finally at mile 9 you get to enter the Anaheim Angels Stadium.  This is pretty cool.  You get to do one loop on the warning track around the field, and there is a huge crowd inside the stadium cheering you on.  They have the Jumbo Tron on so you can see yourself on TV.  However, it was terribly narrow, and there was pretty much no way to run through there.  You had to walk the entire time, which was ok with us, but I imagine others weren’t too happy about that.  After you leave the stadium it’s back to boring streets, you never go back inside the park again. 

Mile 12....almost done!
Overall, I still had a blast and was glad to experience this day with my sister, but I was pretty disappointed in the overall route.  Almost the entire route was on very narrow streets and with so many people racing, it was wall to wall people the entire time and it was often hard to run.  I would have to say that the Disneyworld Marathon was much better!  If you want to do a race at a Disney Park I would definitely recommend that Disneyworld over Disneyland. 

We ended up finishing the race in 2:55 which was pretty good I thought!  I had honestly thought we would be over 3 hours.  We finished the race and got our medal which was AWESOME.  And then I also got my coveted Coast to Coast medal!!  I loved having the double bling, and was surprised by just how many people also had both.

Coast to Coast on the left, finisher on the right
After the race my sister met up with a friend of hers who had also ran but had finished about 30 minutes ahead of us.  She asked us where we stayed the night before and we said the Sheraton – oh, she stayed there too she said!  Small world, we were both at the same hotel.  We left the race and started walking.  I said, we didn’t come this way, and she said, oh she was heading back to the shuttle bus.  We told her we didn’t take the shuttle because it was only like a 10 minute walk, so she said she’d walk back with us.  She put the address in her phone and we headed that way.  We walked and walked forever.  My sister said, man we must have taken a different route, because it was much shorter this morning.  She said, oh well it’s just up here on the corner and she named a couple of streets.  I said….um that’s nowhere near where we stayed.  It was then that we realized she had stayed at a completely different Sheraton.  Oops, there were 2!!!  I put our address into my phone, and we were 2 miles away from our hotel!!  We had just walked about 2 miles, and now we still had 2 more to go, after doing a half marathon!  We had to laugh so we wouldn’t cry.  We had literally been about ¾ of a mile from our hotel, and now we were going to walk 4 miles to get there!!  We had started walking to the hotel at 9:40 am.  I think we finally arrived around at 10:45!!  We were exhausted!  So with the extra mileage and the mileage to the race that morning, I guess we had done somewhere in the neighborhood of about 18 or 19 miles!  I laughed and said I guess we were ready for a marathon.  And remember, my sister’s longest run going into this race was 4 miles!! 

Yes, we will finish!!  That was an order!
When we finally got to the hotel, we asked for late check out – 4pm – awesome!  So we relaxed, went to the hot tub, and then hung by the pool before heading back home.  Overall, it was a great day!  It was so much fun to get to do the race with my sister!  It was a great bonding experience.

We had a wonderful few days afterwards as well…..but I’ll write about that in another post!  Let’s just say we ended up on TV later that week….so stay tuned.