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    Archive for November 2011

    I'm walkin', yes indeed...

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Lucy is officially a walker! This video captures only a small success. I've been reminded that it is very difficult to capture these things on video! Since it was shot, she has been walking up a storm and is able to now walk across entire rooms, down whole hallways and even on the slick kitchen floor. It has been amazing to see once again how quickly they can go from the first tentative steps to practically running. Now she is choosing to use walking as her main mode of transportation versus crawling. It has been such a joy to watch!


    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Mike picking up his marathon bib number
    It hardly seems possible that our New York trip that we've been planning for MONTHS is now over. The story begins with three years of an unsuccessful attempt to break through the NYC Marathon lottery system followed by automatic entry for Mike. Then I won two Delta ticket vouchers in a Travel Horror Story contest in which I shared my idiotic and stressful passport misplacement on a flight from the US to London for Mike's 30th birthday. On Friday, November 4th we finally boarded our plane with those free tickets and Mike's bag of running gear for his first running in the ING New York City Marathon. We arrived in New York in the afternoon, were picked up by our airport shuttle where we met an impressive guy who handles media and course planning for the marathon and were dropped off at our home for the next five nights. We had an amazing night of sushi and meeting new friends. The next morning we found our way to the marathon expo, which was not unlike every other single marathon expo we've ever been to. We picked up Mike's bib number, packet, loads of freebies and then headed out to explore Manhattan.
      Jessica at Rockefeller Center
    We checked out Rockefeller Center and the ice rink.
      Frank M. Cohen statue in Times Square
     And we fought the crowds at Times Square. The next morning Mike was to meet up with some friends to take the subway train to the Staten Island Ferry and the start line of the race. Unfortunately for us it was the daylight savings switch over that morning. Our hotel being the cheapy place it is did not provide an alarm clock in our room, so we attempted to set our cell phones for his early morning wakeup call of 4:30am. Neither cell phone's alarm went off and we were instead awakened by our friend Renee calling on the hotel room's phone. She asked if Mike was on his way down and I said no. She informed me that it was 5:05am (five minutes AFTER he was supposed to meet up with them in the lobby to catch the ferry at 5:45am). We both FREAKED out. Thankfully Mike has a pre-race night ritual of putting his race number on his shirt and setting out everything he needs in preparation for his departure the next morning, so he gathered everything up and RAN out the door as quickly as he could. He RAN to the subway train watching the time tick away and RAN to the ferry dock JUST in time to catch the 5:45am boat! He made it, under great stress and much hurrying. Phew!
      Male marathon leaders at mile 7 in Brooklyn
    Later that morning - MUCH later, thankfully. I set out via subway and foot to Brooklyn, right around the mile 7 marker. The crowds were thick, but not too crazy and I found a nice little spot on the shady side of the street (brrr). I watched in amazement as the lead men ran by and waited for a long time straining to try to catch a glimpse of Mike. I had my camera at the ready and even took a few practice shots, but as these things usually go, suddenly he showed up RIGHT in front of me. I never got my shot of him and wondered if he had even seen me, but I figured that I better move onto my next spectating spot, which was supposed to be around mile 17.
      Mike at mile 25 in Central Park
    The subway cars on the track that runs along the race course through the Upper East Side of Manhattan were filled beyond capacity. It was amazing to watch as people desperate to get on shoved themselves as hard as they could into the other people already on the train. I decided that this kind of fight was not for me, so I bounded up to street level and tried to get my bearings. I was just south of Central Park and about a block or two east of where I had heard would be the busiest spectating spot of the race - mile 16/25. I had wasted too much time trying to wait for an empty spot on the train, so I knew I had missed Mike at mile 16 and there was no way I would beat him to mile 17. I decided to cut my losses and head to somewhere close to mile 25. I walked toward the park, jumped over a row of benches and a fence to get to the race course and found myself a tiny spot under a tree. I knew my photos would be horrible, but in this spot I could at least possibly see Mike early enough to get the camera ready. When I got settled I watched as the sub-3 hour marathoners went by and waited. And waited. Thankfully my Mom was giving me updates on his time and she told me that he must have had a rough mile around 23 because he was running about a 10 minute per mile pace (about 2-3 minutes slower than normal). I was so happy to finally see him and to see that he was still smiling. I did the best I could do to try to get a photo of him through the tree branches, but most importantly was the fact that he had seen ME! He finished the race in 3 hours, 35 minutes and 48 seconds. It was a bit longer than he was hoping for, but he really did not anticipate how difficult the course is. I think most people would be surprised at how hilly NYC is and also at how high up some of the bridges on the course are (five bridges). If you ask Mike how the race went, he'd say "It was epic. I'm glad I did it. But I don't feel like I ever need to do this one again!" We relaxed a bit after the race, but then we had more cheering to do. We found a gastropub that was showing the Packers game and we were happy to watch them in the EIGHTH straight win for this season! A great way to top off an "epic" day!!
      Fred Lebow
    The next day we walked down to the race finish line and snapped some photos of good 'old Fred Lebow, the man who created the NYC Marathon.

    Mike at the finish line
    Mike at the finish line, albeit the day after the marathon.
    Chinatown Chinatown Chinatown IMG_5680
    Chinatown and Little Italy
    Quads are a bit sore from the marathon

    Stretching out those legs.
    IMG_5706 Empire State Building Brooklyn Bridge
    We stopped by lots of iconic scenes around New York City. We watched a taping of the show 
    I signed up on the show's website for tickets MONTHS before we arrived in New York and the first night we were in town they called and told us we won tickets to a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. It was such a fun experience. We saw Robert Pattinson from the Twilight movies, photographer Annie Lebowitz and musicians Graham Nash and David Crosby. Here's a link to the episode we were at. We were sitting on the band side of the stage, about 5 rows up.
      Mario Lopez filming Extra  
    We also caught a glimpse of Mario Lopez taping Extra!

    It was a great, "epic" trip and confirmed our love for the Big Apple!


    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    The Halloween season is officially over and we're busy taking down our decorations and storing away our costumes. It was a very successful year as is evident by the amount of candy we are currently hoarding in our house. Our little pink monster and Harry Potter had a great time showing off their costumes and going to the many Halloween activities we had planned. 
    Having way too much fun sorting his candy Haunted Hallways in Downtown Rochester Jessica as Adele Ghostbuster Mike before the Spirit Run
    Our Harry Potter pumpkin Trick-or-Treating