Monday, February 14, 2011

Half Marathon in New Orleans - Part 3

Afterwards............ Boy do my knees hurt.  I did take an ice bath to reduce the soreness.  Then, hot shower and quick nap.  Have I mentioned that my knees still hurt?

We went back to the French Quarter and ate at Cafe Pontalba.  I was starving and hoping that the restaurant we chose was within close walking distance.  We couldn't decide if we should go to Pat O'Briens afterwards.  So, we flipped a coin.  Luckily, the coin told us to go.  We all had a hurricane!

It was great sitting outside visiting with different people who had run in the race.  Afterwards, we made a stop at Cafe Du Monde.  But, our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs.  We order 24 beignets, but had about 16 left over.  They were so good - what a sugar rush.

After sleeping late, we made the trip back home.  To celebrate Valentine's Day, we went Macaroni Grill for lunch in Mobile.  When we got home, Kelly Bennett had decorated our house with this congratulations sign.  It was a great weekend and a fabulous experience.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Half Marathon in New Orleans - Part 2

In order to make it to the 7:00 a.m. start, I had to get up at 4:45 a.m.  But, I didn't really sleep that night anyway.  I sure didn't was to oversleep and miss the race.  I had come to far!  Luckily, I was able to park at the finish line (Delgado Community College) and take a shuttle to the start line.  I sat next to an older gentleman from New Orleans who was running the full marathon.  He gave me a great pep talk and escorted me to the start line.  Our racing coach had told us to wear old clothes to stay warm at the start line.  I ditched my old pajama pants at the start line.  But, I wore AJ's long sleeved shirt through mile 3.  Race officials collect the discarded clothes for the homeless.

The corral start was a little overwhemling, but exciting.  My legs and feet were so cold and numb through the first 2 miles.  I was amazed at all the spectators cheering.  One local cheerleading group was dressed like KISS with full make-up.  Another group of men were outfitted in red dresses passing out water.  Along the route, people were handing out slices of king cake, Krispy Kreme donuts, beer, mimosas, oysters, etc.  Some people were standing in front of their homes cheering in their pajamas, drinking coffee.  I am so glad that I wore my DetermiNation shirt.  There were DetermiNation coaches and supporters throughout the race.  They had cowbells and a few ran alongside me for a bit.  On the back of my race shirt, I put all the names of my supporters.  It felt good to know that so many people were "behind" me.

At mile 5, I saw the Dybas.  They took my picture and cheered me on.  It definitely gave me a lift to see someone that I knew.

I felt pretty good through mile 7.  Then, my left knee started feeling a little sore.  Kelly Bennett had given me gummy bears and told me to have a couple every few miles.  That gave me a boost too.  I had 2 gummy bears at mile 6 and 4 at mile 10.  I didn't eat anything else during the race.  I also didn't want to have to stop at any of the porta potties.

At mile 11, both knees were really killing me.  But, only 2.1 miles to go.  I felt really good cardio-wise all the way through the end.  I saw AJ at what ended up being .02 from the finish line. I saw him before he saw me.  Seeing him definitely pepped me up.  He told me that the Hodos were about another .01 down the route.  They took this picture.

At least I had some people still behind me.  I finished in 2 hours and 46 minutes.  I had hoped to finish in 2 hours and 30 minutes.  But, I DID FINISH. 

I met AJ and the Hodos at the finish. Then, we went to the DetermiNation tent. The literally had a red carpet out for us and cheered us into the tent. That was very special. They had a goodie bag for me and were so welcoming. I met up with my other teammates and with other runners who had raised money for the American Cancer Society.  These are some pictures that they took for the ACS brochure.

My team raised $22K+, the second most amount raised.  We were only behind the American Cancer Society home office... and they had 24 members.

When we left the tent, I was interviewed about why I ran.  To see my story, see this:
I am glad I have a supportive husband.  And, my bib and medal!  Yea.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Half Marathon in New Orleans - Part 1

We left Auburn for New Orleans at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 12. The closer we got to the city, the more nervous I became. We stopped off at the condo in Metairie to drop off our bags. One of my construction alums graciously let us use his corporate condo for the weekend. Then, we went to the convention center to pick up my race packet at the Expo. Wow - the Expo was overwhelming. There were tons of people everywhere.

David and AJ were patient at the Expo

With the sign at the Expo


We had dinner at Cafe Masperos in the French Quarter and then went for a walk. I ordered pasta to "carb load" for the race.  A Carnival cruise set was setting sail on the river.  It was pretty cool to see.  We also saw a fiverboat and 3 of the largest rats I have ever seen.  Yikes!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Voyage to a Championship - Day 2

We are in... Vegas!  As part of our whirlwind trip, we decided to take a party bus with the Las Vegas Auburn Club instead of driving a car. The bus was scheduled to leave Excalibur.  On Sunday morning, we timed the walk from MGM Grand to the bus pick up at Excalibur - 14 minutes give or take.  We wanted to be prepared on game day.

Mom and I had the great idea to walk the Strip for exercise.  In order to reach our distance goal, we ended up walking for an hour and 15 minutes.  We also time the walk from MGM to the Flamingo.  Mom, Dad, Jeff, and I attended Auburn party at the Flamingo.  It was hosted by the Las Vegas Auburn Club and we met Freddie Carney!  Freddie is president of the LVAC and put together all the buses for game day.

Jeff and I on the bridge from NYNY to Excalibur, in front of the MGM Grand. 

My parents at the Auburn party. 

 Mom and I with Freddie Carney.

Auburn party

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Voyage to a Championship - Day 1

The first day finally arrived for our epic trip. A lot of things had to come together for Auburn to be in the position to play for a national championship. A lot of things had to come together for me and AJ to take this trip. After a long month from the SEC Championship and our invitation to play in the BCS game, we finally arrived at the Atlanta airport. I don't think AJ slept a full night from Dec. 4 to Jan. 8 because he has been so excited.

The contents of my suitcase were orange and blue.  The Atlanta airport was orange and blue.  I was so nervous about losing our game tickets.  I even devised a plan so that AJ would be on one side of the security gate and I would be on the other so we could keep an eye on the tickets. 

At the gate, I used my charm and sweet talking to get AJ on an exit aisle seat.  Then, the gate agent called me back up and got ME on the exit row.  On the plane, I sat next to newlyweds from Austrailia.  As everyone boarded, they asked me - Is there some sort of sporting event going on?  They had no idea......

AJ and his dad, Tony, at the gate  ready to board the plane.

My brother, Jeff, was able to come with us too.

Mom with her #2 button.

Me and mom at the gate.

We arrived in Vegas around 10:30 p.m. Unable to contain our excitement, Jeff and I decided to head to the West Wing Bar at the MGM Grand.  We had a great time catching up.  We counted how many Auburn bowls games we have attended.  We have both gone to 17 games, but not the same 17.  I thought that was amazing.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Review - No Wonder I Am Tired

Like everyone else, it is time to reflect on 2010.  What did I really accomplish?  I have to say this was a pretty good year.  I achieved 3 major personal goals.  I also traveled a lot and had a ton of fun.  I pretty much covered most of Florida during 2010.  As best as I can remember, in 2010 I traveled to:

- Tampa, FL
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Orlando, FL
- Destin, FL (twice)
- Dallas, TX
- Washington, DC
- Miami/South Beach, FL
- Fairhope, AL
- Pensacola, FL
- New Orleans, LA (twice)
- Mobile, AL
- Cozumel, Mexico
- New York, New York

My Top 10 Adventures/Events/Ideas of 2010 (in no particular order):
1.  In addition to traveling, I greatly enjoyed Auburn's undefeated season and my unexpected trip to the SEC Championship game. 
2.  Another highlight of the year was the cruise I took with 4 of my college sorority sisters. 
3.  I celebrated my 20th high school reunion and saw some "old" friends. 
4.  I took one of my friends to the airport so he could fly to his new job in Afghanistan.  (I also think he might be the only reader I have on this blog)...  Haha - Hey Steve.
5.  I studied for and passed the CFRE exam (Certified Fundraising Executive)
6.  I started training to run in a half marathon in February 2011 AND to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
7.  I spent a lot of time at the Atlanta Braves games.  I probably went to more games in 2010 than in all the other years combined. 
8.  I pushed myself professionally.
9.  I am cooking new recipes, trying different wines, and writing more on my blog.
10.  I was selected to take on the role of president-elect for Junior League.

On to 2011....
I have 3 new goals to achieve.  Two of these will be more difficult to achieve than any of the ones from 2010.  But, if you don't try, you can't succeed, right? 

I hope that 2011 will start with a bang and a National Championship.  I cannot wait to go to the game on January 10.  I have the highest of expectations for my Auburn Tigers and for this trip. 

Stay tuned.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Go Round

AJ and I went on our annual trip to the Merry Go Round in the Valley.  I think I have been every year since I was born (except for my senior year in high school when I had my tonsils out.).  I also think that only people from the Valley call it the Merry Go Round. 

I don't think it could have been any colder that night.  Of course, we didn't have on coats or gloves.  Oh, we love to be spontaneous.   

AJ shivering on the horse.