Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Runners World Cover Search Finalists-New York City Trip

As part of being a top 10 finalist in the Runners World Cover Search I was invited to New York City for a 2 day photo/video shoot and to hang out with the other 9 finalists.  I was both nervous and excited about this.  Sometimes meeting new people can be a little nerve racking for me but I was really looking forward to meeting these inspiring and diverse group of runners, all with amazing stories and different journeys.  You can read everyone's stories by clicking here.

I needed to get a run in before my flight left so I got the kids dropped off to school, got my 11 miles in, did some last minute things around the house before heading to the airport.  The airport is about 1 hour drive from my house.  My flight left on Tuesday afternoon from Indianapolis.  It was a direct flight to Newark Airport which was nice.  I got through security the fastest I have ever have.  Not too many afternoon flights so I had plenty of time before my flight left.  I arrived in Newark around 5pm.  By the time I got my bags and left the airport it was about 5:30.  Traffic is crazy at that time a day so the taxi from the airport took almost 2 hours to get to the hotel.  We all stayed at the The New Yorker which is located on 8th Avenue.  It was a great location and within walking distance of everything.  I got settled into the room and was really hungry at this point.  I walked a couple of blocks and saw a Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant so be liking a good burger decided that would be the place to eat.  I had already decided after dinner where I would be stopping for desert on the way back to the hotel.  I spotted a Carlos Bakery and was already craving a lobster tail and cannoli for desert.  This is by far my favorite bake shop with all the goodies I crave.  I got my treats and went back to my hotel room to try to get some sleep before our group run in the morning.

At 6:15 am we all would be meeting Bart Yasso in the lobby for a run.  Did I just say that?  BART YASSO!!!  Wondered if we'd be doing any Yasso 800s!!  Everyone made their introductions and then we were off for our group run.  It all seemed surreal.  I was running with all these inspiring group of runners with Bart Yasso leading the way.  We ran a few miles along the Hudson River then headed back to get ready for our photo shoot.  It was so awesome!!  The group just clicked from the beginning and some life long friendships were formed.  It's really hard to explain the feeling of awesomeness from this trip and all these amazing runners I met.  As I think back on it I miss my running friends everyday and still feel like we should be running together every morning.  It was just awesome!!

We got back to the hotel, got cleaned up and headed to  Jack Studio for our photo/video shoot. We walked to the studio from our hotel.  They told us to bring all different types of clothes for the photo shoot.  They wanted clothes that were white, black, grey and blue.  We were instructed to bring all different clothes.  Long sleeve, short sleeve, shorts, pants.  I had one of the biggest bags for clothes and carried that bag on my shoulder for quite a while walking to the studio.  It was really starting to get heavy after a while.  We arrived at the studio for our photo and video shoot around 9 that morning. This was such a blast! I had never been to a photo shoot before!!  Who would want to photograph my ugly mug anyway. Besides the clothes we brought the studio had all sorts of clothes for us to try on.   It was awesome. There were people with video camera and cameras, big lighting and white backdrop.  I didn't know what to expect but was getting really nervous at this point seeing all this.  They had breakfast waiting for us when we got to the studio.  It really hit the spot.

We had a lot of time to chat while we were waiting for our turn in the photo shoot so we all got to hang out and get to know each other better.  All the time getting to hang out with some of the judges David Willey, the editor of Runners World; Tish Hamilton, the executive editor of Runners World; and Bart Yasso, the chief running officer of Runners World along with Natalie Morales from the Today Show(she is even more beautiful than I imagined).

It was finally time for my photo shoot.  They had me wearing a navy blue C9 by Champion short sleeve shirt I had brought from home, blue Asics shorts that were at the studio, smart wool socks I had brought from home, Brooks Adrenaline GTS Kaleidoscope shoes and my Run Nerds Rock Coaching hat.  I had to have makeup done (yes they put makeup on me) and they did my hair (the hair took like 2 seconds to do as I don't have much other than the nose hairs they plucked out, hahaha)  The photographer was great!!  He made it fun and made me feel comfortable out there.  After the photo shoot we got some group shots together then I did a video where the Runners World crew asked me some questions.  The video will be out soon as a get to know the finalists leading up to the announcement of who the Cover Winners are.  We actually got done with the photo shoot early so what did we all decide to do before dinner?  Go for another run of course.  This time we headed to Central Park for a run.  Some of the runners did part of the loop and some of us did the whole loop which is a little over 6 miles.  We ran from the hotel to the park so with the 2 runs and all the walking we did that day we put in almost 18 miles for the day.  Pretty active day.  We finished up our run at Central Park and my groin which has been acting up the last couple weeks was really bothering me so I decided to catch a cab back.  We tried to catch a cab back but that time of day it was almost impossible to catch one so we ended up walking back to the hotel which gave us about 12 minutes to get showered, changed and down in the lobby and ready to head to dinner.  I was back down in 11 minutes.  Almost like running a race at that point too!!  We took a cab to dinner.  I was in a cab with Bart Yasso.  Yeah, that cool runner dude named Bart Yasso.  I was taking a cab to dinner with him.

We ate dinner at this awesome restaurant called The Park. We sat in the patio area, the doors were open and weather was perfect.  I ordered a New York Strip and the steak was perfect.  I sat next to Michael Wardian, this incredible ultra runner and was able to take in everything he was saying and talking about at dinner.  This dude is just beyond beast mode and it was really awesome to get to talk to him.  Dinner was going really well until I got a piece of steak stuck in my throat.  I wasn't really choking but could feel it lodged there.  I was still able to breathe but something just didn't feel right.  Luckily we were on the patio and I was sitting on the end because I threw that piece of steak up.  Michael asked me if I was OK and he ended up taking me out and we walked on the sidewalk.  I started to feel better but something still didn't feel right as I still felt like something was stuck in my throat although I could still breath OK.  I got back to the restaurant and went to the restroom and lets just say I wasn't able to enjoy my steak anymore but at least it wasn't lodged in my throat anymore. Thanks for taking care of me Michael.  He's an ultra runner and sees that shit all the time anyway so I'm sure it wasn't a big deal to him but it sure meant a lot to me him being there.  After dinner we walked back to the hotel.  I was feeling much better now although my groin was still sore from being irritated from the running.  I had some sweets left from Carlos Bakery from the day before and I gobbled those up and went to bed hoping to get up for the group run again in the morning before heading to the Asics showroom.

The next morning we met up for another group run and went south along the Hudson River and got to see the Statue of Liberty and then decided to run over to the Today Show and catch some of the show!!  This was so awesome!! Duran Duran was on stage playing!!  They were one of my favorite bands growing up.  So glad we got to make the impromptu trip to the Today Show.  Taking the trip made it tight to get to the Asics showroom on time but we made it.

We were greeted with warm welcomes from everyone at Asics and given a bag with Asics clothes and a new pair of Asics shoes.  It was a wonderful addition to this surreal trip to New York City!!  Here we had breakfast and did another video interview.   Asics is one of the major sponsors of the contest. The walls were covered with Asics shoes!!  A runners dream room!!

Once we got finished up at Asics, it was time to check out of the hotel and head to the airport. It was really sad to have to say good bye to everyone.  I didn't want it to end, but we are planning a “Runner’s World Cover Search Class of 2015 Reunion” at a race or possibly a relay sometime in the near future. Several of the finalists are running Chicago in a few weeks and we are having another small meet up there.

My flight didn't leave till 9pm that evening but as I was checking into the hotel I saw I could upgrade my flight to an earlier flight.  They had a flight leaving at 2:40 pm so I decided to go for it.  If everything went well I could be back in Indy and possibly make my daughters volleyball game that night at 6pm. I was able to make the 2:40 pm flight.  As I was on board and the flight attendant was making the announcements, she announced that the Captain of the flight was David Siddons.  I had went to High School with a David Siddons and knew he was a pilot but what were the chances.  After we arrived safely back in Indy as I was getting off the plane it was the same David Siddons I went to high school with.  I told him I was surprised his crazy ass didn't try to flip the plane upside down on us.  We talked for a little bit and I still had time to get to my daughters volleyball game.  I made it to the game just 5 minutes after it started.  It was a neat surprise for her because she had no idea I was coming.

I wanted to thank all the Run Nerds Rock followers for the almost 40,000 votes I received during the voting period.  Without you, none of this would have been possible.  Thank you to Runners World for this amazing trip and opportunity and Asics for all the cool running clothes and shoes given to us.  I formed some amazing and unforgettable life long friendships on this trip.  2 days I could have never imagined.  Each one of these runners deserve to be on the cover and all their stories are so inspiring to me.  I am just lucky to be a part and to even know these amazing group of people.  Whatever happens with the Runners World cover and whoever they choose for the cover I already feel like a winner just for being able to meet all these amazing, inspiring runners.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  This is an experience that I will never forget.  I love each and everyone of you and love my Runners World Cover Search Class of 2015 friends.