Rock-n-Roll NOLA Expo

After writing about how disappointed I was with the Rock-n-Roll series being all about the money on Friday, my running girls and I headed over to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts.  After driving around in circles for a bit (navigating New Orleans isn’t the easiest) we finally found a place to park and headed into the convention center.

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We snaked our way through the convention center, admist a muck (ok, maybe that word is a bit harsh) of pre-teen cheerleaders in WAY too heavy makeup; apparently there was a cheer competition or something going on, too.

The first stop at the expo was picking up the bibs and doing a last minute corral change.  When I had registered for this back in May I put 4:30 as my estimated finish time; however, my goal was to break 4:30 so I moved up two corrals.

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

Marathon #2 in less then 18 hours! EEEEP

After the last minute corral change, it was we headed to pick up our shirts.  I have to give RnR props because their expo is expertly executed.  Before you can enter the vendor booths you have to pick up your bib, swag bag and tee’s.

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Awesome participant tee. I looooove it!!

Then it was time for the FREEEEEBIES!! And the expo did not disappoint with the freebies.  We stopped at the Brooks store first where I won a free cotton tee and my friend Stacey won a pair of free shoes. HECK YES!!

We stopped at different booths and sample various products.  I headed to the Perform Pain Relief booth and was incredibly surprised to find that they were handing out full size products…Um, yes please!

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After taking some silly pictures, we headed over the the KT Tape booth.  My friend Lorena has been having some horrible IT band issues and her massage therapist recommended she get taped before the race.  I had decided to get taped too to see if it would help with my foot issues.  I was somewhat skeptical but knew I’d find out soon enough.  I figured that even if it failed, the KT Tape still looked cool.

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I have to admit, I felt slightly like a legit athlete with this stuff on…

Then it was time to take all of our freebies and bid adieu to the expo.  My running girls and I were starving and we still had to check into the hotel.

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Scccchhhhwaaaag!

After navigating the parking garage from hell we finally arrived at our hotel.  We ditched our race gear and headed to find some grub.  We had decided ahead of time to eat at Chef John Besh’s restaurant, Domenica.

Outside of Domenca.  It was gorgeous.

Outside of Domenica. It was gorgeous.

And like the true non-city dwellers we are, none of us thought to call ahead for reservations.  We got there just before 7 and they said they wouldn’t have a table until 10. Whaaaaaaaaat? My tummy needed food ASAP.  So we ended up ordering at the bar and then heading back to the hotel.  I ordered the Calabrese pizza which was thin crust topped with spicy salami, fresh mozzarella, capers & olives.  Maybe not the smartest pre-race meal (sodium wise) but it ’twas yummy.

mmmmmmmmmmm Get in mah bellay

mmmmmmmmmmm
Get in mah bellay

And then it was time for bed.  I knew those 26.2 miles weren’t going to run themselves in the morning.  After all was said and done, I had finally started to get excited about running my 2nd marathon.

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Ready to Rock-n-Roll!

Question:  What do you do at expos? Do you take advantage of the freebies or just get your race stuff and go?

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Belated Birthday Fun Post

Did you vote yesterday? I did!  I go to bed early so when I went to bed last night the exit polls were still neck-in-neck.  I’m curious to see what the final result is.

Today starts day 3 of my no sugar challenge and I’m officially over the pouty stage – yay!  I think the 2 year personality that lives inside me realized that no matter how many ‘I want fruit tantrums’ she threw I wasn’t giving in. Y’all I promise I don’t actually have any dissociative  identity or multiple personality disorders.  This detox hasn’t been the easiest but I’ll give a recap of week one on Monday.

Last week when I was recapping the Marine Corps Marathon and also my MCM weekend fun I mentioned that my birthday was the same day as the marathon.  I wanted to do a separate recap since I have amazing family who went out of the way to make sure my birthday was special.  I love my family!!

Ha!!! There was also a tiara and sash that went along with this button – thanks Mary.

So my birthday festivities actually spanned several days and started with Jody and I enjoying a nice and quiet early birthday dinner at Kora in DC on Friday.   Then Saturday after the MCM expo Mary (my ‘runspiration’) and I headed back to the hotel while our hubbies did some sight-seeing.  This started birthday day #2!

I was surprised to find a lovely golden package sitting on my bed.  I was so confused because I had no idea where it came from.  Turns out my cousin Bridget mailed the package to the hotel so I would have it before the marathon / my birthday!  I. Was. Floored.

It was such a thoughtful gesture; but wait, it gets better! This birthday was actually my golden birthday so she wrapped everything in gold paper and each gift had a gold theme.  I mean, seriously, who thinks of something this creative?!

Just a few of the goodies Bridget sent me.

Rocking my new scarf and the ‘go wild on your birthday’ monkey.

After opening and savoring all of the goodies my cousin sent me, I decided to open a box that my Dad mailed from Colorado.  It had a super sweet card with plenty of motivation to help me run the marathon.  He sent a t-shirt and very cool glass/pewter mug that he had made commemorating the MCM and my Run for Roger.  My mom had already given me my birthday gift which was my race gear for the MCM.

The vino was for a post-marathon toast.

Sunday, day 3 of my birthday weekend: or what’s also known as my actual birthday.  I was somewhat pre-occupied the morning of my birthday (go figure, right?) but after the race, and after getting my husband successfully out of DC before Hurricane Sandy hit, we headed out to eat for a dual purposed celebratory dinner….To celebrate finishing the marathon and also to celebrate my birthday!

We were all craving some down-home all American grub so we ended up at Ted’s Montana Grill, a steak place.  I ordered a “spicy” (yeah, right) bison burger with jalapenos and cilantro and washed it down with a tasty sangria.  Totally not clean, but well earned.

Mary and Greg surprised me with an awesome 26.2 necklace and car decal.

I was seriously stuffed from supper so I had no room for dessert.   Which brings me to birthday #4.  It’s like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day…It just keeps going and going and going.  Since I didn’t eat any cake on my birthday I felt kind of off.  It’s not a birthday until you’ve had cake, right? So I found the largest carrot cake cupcakes ever (like the size of my head…alright, slight exaggeration) and Jody and I went to town scarfing them down.

And with the disappearance of the last morsel of carrot cake, so my birthday extravaganza came to an end.  I can honestly say, hands-down, that this is one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had.  I will never forget running a marathon in memory of my brother on my birthday, nor will I ever forget how my family went out of their way to make sure the marathon didn’t overshadow birthday fun.  I definitely think 28 is going to be a great year!

Question:  What’s your favorite birthday memory?  Do you have a favorite age?

MCM Weekend Fun

Happy Halloween y’all!! I hope you have something spooktacular planned for tonight! Me? I’m just going to take it easy at home.  I know, I’m such an old lady…

I did it!! I’m officially a ‘marathoner’!!  It was the most amazing experience and I seriously can’t wait to do it again!  But before I recap the race, I want to recap the weekend first.  It would be sensory overload for me to try to mash everything into one post.

*MARATHONER*

The weekend festivities officially started Friday with Jody and I flying to DC. I was so excited to board the plane with him because up until late Thursday afternoon we were thinking that he wasn’t going to be able to go thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully he was able to get his flight worked out to where he left right after the race.  Me = happy!

We had a layover in Atlanta where we grabbed a highly overpriced turkey panini before boarding the plane to DC.  After a very uneventful flight –just the way I like it– we arrived.  I’m a sucker for American flags so it was nice being greeted by the red, white, and blue.

We hopped the shuttle to our hotel and enjoyed a splendid sunset from our room before heading out to grab some grub.

Jody and I decided to claim Friday night for ourselves since the rest of the weekend would be spent doing marathon stuff.  We ended up at Kora where I ordered a hand-tossed pizza (carbs, right?) and a super tasty pineapple-lime mojito.  Then we went back to the hotel and waited for Mary (she’s like a mom to me) and her husband Greg to arrive.  Mary’s been training in San Antonio to run this race with me.

The next day we headed to the expo to pick up our bibs, t-shirts and free stuff.  It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to me to pick up my bib.  I’m always afraid that something’s going to go wrong.  Like me forgetting my e-card, or me getting lost in their system.  But, like normal, everything went fine.

After picking up my shirt and bib we headed across the street to the expo.  I have to admit that I was fairly disappointed in the expo.  I don’t know if it was because we hit it the last day or what but it just had a wonky feel to it.  I wasn’t crazy about the vendors and there wasn’t very many freebies.  C’mon, we all know freebies are the best part of the expo.

One really fun thing at the expo was they had a Marine Corps band playing some swing songs.  This made my former band nerd self incredibly happy.  It was really cute because there was an elderly guy (obviously retired military) that plucked a young girl out of the crowd and started twirling her around to the music.  You could tell that he was having a great time!

This was a really cool tribute bike in memory of fallen Marines.

Wall of motivational blurbs for the runners.

After the expo we met up with my hubby for lunch.  (Jody had to stay at the hotel to work on a presentation that he was giving Monday – boooo.) Mary and I opted to carb-up for the marathon during lunch instead of having a heavy supper to make sure everything digested well.  I ordered some sort of chicken farfalle pasta in a spicy vodka cream sauce.  Maybe not the safest pre-marathon meal but I like to live on the edge a bit.  Also, I knew I’d have at least 16 hours if my system decided not to like it.  And it. was. tasty!

After lunch, Mary and I took the Metro back to the hotel to relax while the guys went and did some sight-seeing.  We stopped and picked up some celebratory wine for after the marathon.  I also had a mini birthday celebration at the hotel thanks to my dad and my cousin Bridget but I’m saving that for my birthday post.

Finally, it was time to head to bed.  I laid out all of my gear that way I wouldn’t have to search for stuff the next morning.

With Hurricane Sandy I didn’t know what type of gear to wear I needed. So I had cold weather and warm weather laid out. I opted for warm weather.

This is when it started to hit me that I was running a marathon in just a few hours.  I don’t know why but I didn’t experience any pre-race jitters.  I was incredibly excited but I didn’t have any of the doubts or second guessing like I expected.  I think after spending so much time preparing for the race I was just ready to run it; there’s only so many emotions you can go through before you’re just ready to be done.

Then it was beddy-by time for Gina.  I needed to get some beauty rest before the 3:45 alarm went off.  It was definitely a great weekend and a great kickoff to the run.  The only bummer was my training girls stayed at a different hotel so we didn’t get to do a lot  together. I did get to meet up with them at the race. 🙂

Stay tuned….The race recap is next!

Question:  Do you typically get pre-race jitters or are you just ready to get it over with?