I would like to dedicate this entry to the memory of Mr. Doug Brance, the father of Allard's Northwest District Sales Manager, Carl Brance. Mr. Brance died suddenly just a few weeks before Carl joined me here in San Jose, which was understandably a very difficult time for Carl and his family.
To Carl, the first person I met who wore an Allard brace,
We've formed a bond over the last 7 years which began because of the brace/footdrop we had in common. Our friendship, however, developed because of who we are on the inside...and I am so grateful to now have both you and Ashley in my life, you are beautiful, amazing souls. While I did not get to meet your dad I know he was a wonderful and loving man because I know YOU...and I know how much he loved you and influenced the man you have become.
I always enjoy my time with you and this week was no different, though I truly wish it could have been a more happy occasion for you. I will never forget a conversation we had a few years back, where we discussed "life with foot drop" and the journey of reclaiming our lives after serious injury--this particular conversation was pivotal in my decision to share my personal journey with others.
The epiphany I had while talking with you was that our visible disability (the limp, the shape of our atrophied leg, the bulky brace) was truly the least of our challenges. Rather, it was the invisible challenges that were the most difficult for both of us to navigate; the depression, the anger, the fear, the loss, the seeming isolation.
To this day I remind myself that I may never know what types of invisible injuries people may be facing. Despite looking otherwise "normal" a person can be experiencing profound loss or pain in any given moment... and thus everyone should be treated with compassion and respect. I don't think anyone you worked with here in San Jose knew the grief you were going through because you were so focused and professional while helping others. But I knew.
Carl, you didn't have to be here this week--everyone would have understood--and yet it is so in line with who you are to want to be here to help others in their own journey of healing. I am forever grateful to you for so many things, but most of all I'm grateful to be able to call such a passionate, kind soul my friend. Thank you for joining me in San Jose and thank you for being the man your dad was so proud of.
Events No. 15 & 16 of 2014: San Jose Rock 'n' Roll 5K and Half Marathon
Thursday, October 2nd:
I left Greensboro at 4:50am aboard the first of 3 flights to San Jose. By the time I got to my connection in Phoenix the sun was finally up (visible from the ground too, not just from 10,000 ft in the air). I'm always surprised to see how brown everything looks in some areas of AZ and CA because flying home to NC the vistas are lush and green at least 85% of the year. Even in winter there are so many conifers in NC that we still see green when everything else is dormant.
|My view as we depart Phoenix airport for San Jose.|
|En route over the southwest desert regions.|
|Approaching California finally...|
|And a great view of the Pacific Ocean for my|
first time since June!
|Finally, I'm seeing some green again.|
|San Jose airport vicinity...|
|...and on the ground in San Jose!|
|A gorgeous day in downtown San Jose!|
|This is for our friends in Dublin, Marta and Eddie, whom we|
met in the Temple Bar neighborhood. I never knew the connection before
my first trip to Ireland. Hi Marta, Hi Eddie...hope you're both doing well!
|While Jim was off taking care of our rental car and parking passes|
I took the opportunity to tour the art museum, which I wasn't able to
do during my first trip to San Jose 2 years ago.
|What a fun excursion...especially on such a hot day here in SJ...and a great|
way to start my weekend.
|I had the Kale Bowl with steamed kale, black beans and quinoa topped|
with a delicious cilantro-lime tahini dressing.
|Jim had the spicy basil tofu along with the vegan drumsticks (sorry,|
forgot to take photo of his appetizer).
Following our delicious early dinner we took the long, scenic route back to our hotel to scope out some possible restaurant options for tomorrow's dinner with Carl Brance, the Allard rep for northern California. We walked to the newly-expanded San Pedro Square Market and found some great restaurants in the market and along the streets adjacent to the Square.
|The newer side of the San Pedro market.|
|The view of the house from the street. On the left and right side|
are the 2 main market buildings.
With my internal clock still set to EDT I awoke at 4am local time and spent several productive hours working via computer in my hotel room. Carl Brance and I were supposed to have a presentation at Santa Clara Hospital today but due to an unforeseen circumstance they had to cancel our meeting and reschedule with Carl for later in the month. Oh well, that will give me more time to catch up on work and still get everything else done from today's list!
|I've been up for about 3 hours and finally see the sun rising, this|
is the view from my hotel room in downtown San Jose.
|Looking out the other way you'll find the San Jose Convention Center,|
the building in the foreground of this photo, which is how far I have
to walk to get my race packets later today...less than 1/2 a block!
|It may be "lovely" to some people, but for those of us running this|
weekend the heat wave will be a bit uncomfortable!
|According to the article there's been more than 1 week-long heat wave|
here in the northern California area. This week's will have temps reach
the 90's for an October "Indian Summer."
|We happened upon this worker who was putting up|
"No Parking" signs in advance of this weekend's Rock 'n' Roll races.
With the 5K and Half Marathon on Sat/Sun respectively this gentleman
told us that they had 1,900 signs to post--wow!!!
|Jim is trying to find all the shade he can.|
|The best shady stretch of our run was below the streets of San Jose|
along the "river". Here we're heading back up to street level after
a mile or so along a very dry riverbed...no water to be seen anywhere!
|Back to the streets!|
|Crossing the final bridge back to the hotel after an 'easy'|
3-mile jog in soaring temps.
|The Rock 'n' Roll officials allow early-entry into the Expo for TourPass holders, however due to|
confusing verbiage we were still 1/2 hour early. So, we bought a coffee at the
Convention Center and enjoyed some quality time with Ron Carino...
|...and Joe Harris...|
|...before we finally got inside the Expo to see...|
|...Emily Schulte Underwood!|
The restaurant we chose was called "SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant" and had high ratings from online resources and locals. Plus, they had room for us if we showed up before 5pm which wasn't the case for some of the other nice restaurants in this area. Here's the link to the restaurant, followed by photos from our early-evening dinner:
|This was a feature from the Happy Hour Appetizer Specials: Seared tuna bites with|
winter root vegetable chips.
|Our view of the outside patio as it begins to fill up for the night.|
|The interior view from our table facing the bar area. There are only a few couples seated|
here now, but by the time our dinner arrived this place was almost full.
|Jim happily samples a local micro-brew along with our Tuna and Olives appetizers.|
|Carl orders steak with green beans and potatoes...|
|...and gets ready to dig in.|
|I'm surrounded by carnivores!!!|
|Jim demonstrates that this time his sandwich is NOT actually bigger than his head.|
|I chose the pan-seared Salmon entree with panzanella heirloom tomato salad...though I skipped all the bread|
and ate everything else on my plate.
|Just in case you didn't believe me about the current heat wave here, check out tonight's temperature as we make our|
way back to the room for the night!
The best thing about West Coast races for me is that it feels like I'm sleeping in, even with waking up at 5:00AM. Today we're meeting Carl in the lobby of our hotel which is only 1 block from the starting line of this morning's 5K, which starts at 7:30AM. Here are the photos from the morning's events:
|Jim wasted no time in hitting the Starbucks this morning.|
(And from the looks of this photo it hasn't quite kicked in!)
|Carl comes walking in right on time...just before 6:30AM|
|What a handsome pair!|
|TeamUP ready to Rock'nRoll!|
|Jim and Carl follow along to the start line area. The sun|
is starting to rise but due to the hot forecast we'd rather the sun
stay hidden until we finish the run!
|I've asked Carl to hold our TeamUP jackets for us while we run. He said he would|
as long as I clarified that he was not holding my purse.
|For the record...|
|TeamUP selfie before the 5K. Thanks for coming out|
to support the TeamUP efforts, Carl!!
|National Anthem before the start of the 5K.|
|Here's Carl at the mile 1 marker, dutifully taking photos!|
|This is me taking a picture of Carl taking a picture of me at Mile 1.|
|That's Carl on the far right as I'm coming down the straightaway to the Finish Line in the distance. Thanks to the sign he's so easy to find!!|
|Carl took this photo as I passed by en route to the Finish Line. Look at how great my Ypsilon is doing!|
|Another race done!|
|I saw Carl in 3 different spots along the course|
today...what a great 1-man support crew!
|Friend and fellow RnR Gypsy, Sherry Ricker, finishes her 5K.|
|Gypsies Michelle, Joe and Susan have also crossed the 5K finish line.|
|Carl has a bit of fun demonstrating how bad he feels after today's race-support duties.|
|Cooling off in the fountains after the race.|
|Carl finds Roger Craig (San Fran 49'ers great!) at the Finish Line festival. Roger ran the 5K|
today also and plans to run the Half tomorrow before heading back to San Fran to watch
Sunday's NFL matchup.
|Thanks, Roger, for helping with my sign!|
|Roger and Jim share a few laughs while Carl photo-bombs them from the background.|
|Thanks for helping to support TeamUP and all the other runners in the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Racefest, Roger!|
|After the race it was back to the Expo to secure a parking pass for Carl, he will need it|
for tomorrow's Half Marathon events.
|Carl makes it look easy to take first place!|
|From the Expo it was a short walk to the corner for Jim's second Starbucks of the day.|
Great (Gypsy) minds must think alike--we found Joe Harris doing the same thing.
|Not a great photo but this is the view I had as the sun was making it's way over|
the building and onto the pool deck for the afternoon. Ahhhhh...
|We chose the brand-new Spuds kiosk for our lunch (this is only their 2nd day open). I ordered the Vegetarian baked potato|
with Quinoa, Tofu, Black Beans, Kale and other assorted veggies...delicious!
|The nondescript Spuds counter inside San Pedro Square Market.|
|Jim ordered the American Baked Potato filled with fresh corn, tomato, bacon, onions, |
pulled pork and topped with creme fraiche.
|This was for Laurie Lasky back in NJ: It may not be the Reading Market but it's got|
all that Jim needs! :-)
|I ordered the Salmon Nicoise Salad...|
|Jim ordered the Angus Steak and Frites. OMG--his "frites" were Garlic Fries and|
smelled sooooo good. I resisted the urge to eat them but I was enjoying the aroma.
|Jim and I were within walking distance to both the finish line|
area (3 blocks away) and the starting line (10 blocks away). This
is Jim in the elevator giving me his "I NEED COFFEE" stare.
|Joe Harris is everywhere! We find him just outside the VIP lounge (being hosted this year|
by McCormick & Schmicks restaurant) as the sun slowly begins to rise.
|Carl has been here awaiting us for half an hour already.|
|I just got a call that a local news station wants to interview us now, over at the starting|
line. With that being more than 1/2-mile away I need to check all my post-race gear here
at VIP before leaving. One thing I have to do first: take my "I Run 4 Andrew" photo
so I can post it for Andrew and his mom on the "I Run 4 Michael" site.
(for more info: http://www.whoirun4.com)
|We skipped pre-race breakfast in order to get the great media opportunity. Carl did his best|
all weekend with the sign, always holding it high for people to notice and inquire about.
|I love Carl's shirt, the CMTA sells these as another way to create awareness for|
Charcot- ("Shark O") Marie-Tooth disorder.
|Thanks, Norbert, for this opportunity to share the TeamUP and Get Back UP message with|
the San Jose area!
|Rock 'n' Roll Gypsies are everywhere!|
|Carl was able to make his way back to the Finish Line for this shot. Thank you,|
Allard and my new Ypsilon brace for getting me through another Half Marathon!
|Carl and I enjoy a bit of rest after 2 days of race events.|
|Meanwhile, we learn from Joe Harris (whose plate this is) that all the food items on|
the menu are complimentary for those of us with VIP bands. Wow--we thought these were
all for purchase--now we're going to stay for breakfast!
|Jim is eyeing Joe's bacon...|
|...but Joe has a knife and is not afraid to use it! Congratulations on another great race, Joe!|
|The cocktails were for sale, the food items were complimentary. I ordered a veggie omelet,|
Jim ordered an omelet with ham and cheese. Neither lasted long enough for me to get photos.
|Jim couldn't resist...he ordered the BACON Bloody Mary....sheesh.|
|Al Hernandez multi-tasks as a beacon for our fellow gypsies to find us (everyone now|
knows to look for the GetBackUP sign) and as a photographer for some other friends.
|YAY!!! Kamika Smith crosses the finish line--we haven't seen Kamika since the Seattle|
race back in June.
|So many gypsies, so much hardware! Everyone ran both events this weekend which makes for a lot of bling in one photo.|
|We've missed you, Kamika! We'll be in NC for TeamUP weekend while you guys are running Avengers & Las Vegas.|
Sniff....(wiping tears)...we will miss being with you for another double-double this year, take lots of photos!!
|Medal for the San Jose 5K|
|Medal for the San Jose Half Marathon|
|Side 1 of the Remix medal, for running|
both the 5K and Half Marathon...
|...spinning Remix medal...|
|...Side 2 of the San Jose Remix medal.|
Immediately after finishing the races and saying good-bye to our Gypsy friends we headed back to the hotel to check out. We had an afternoon flight from San Jose to LA, where we then had the Sunday overnight/red-eye flight to Charlotte then one more to Greensboro, arriving just in time to work a full day Monday!
Next stop: Cannonball Run Half Marathon at home in Greensboro--woo hoo!