Monthly Archives: March 2014

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? I’m running the TCS NYC Marathon in November 2014

This past November I watched the New York City (NYC) Marathon on tv.  I thought it was awesome.  You run through all five boroughs of New York City – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx.  The race had great crowd support.  50,000 people running.  No real stringent time requirements.  Close to my in-laws and other family who could hopefully cheer me on.  I fell in love and wanted to try it on my own.

Registration opened for the NYC Marathon on December 2.  I applied.  I mean after all, one only has a 12% chance of getting into the actual marathon via the lottery.  There were 77,087 applicants for only 9,170 spots. I figured I would apply every year, and the year that I got in would be the year that I actually run a marathon.  I figured there was no chance I would get in, especially my first year applying.

Well, I was wrong.  I was actually accepted into the NYC Marathon.  I’m still in disbelief.  It is surreal.  Talk to my sister and she will tell you how excited I was.

Yesterday was the drawing. I knew the drawing would occur during the whole day Wednesday, March 26th.  My husband took my daughter to school so I was able to start working a little earlier than usual.  The first thing I did once I sat down at my computer was to check the New York Road Runners (NYRR) website (around 8:30 AM).  When I logged onto that website there was a pop up (see screen shot below) that said “Welcome, Class of 2014”.  I was surprised at how excited I was seeing that.  Then I realized that probably everyone was getting that pop-up.  What a cruel tease the NYC Marathon was playing on us.  I confirmed a couple of hours later that everyone was getting this message regardless if they were in or not. PopUpAfter I realized the pop-up was probably being displayed to everyone, I checked out my NYRR page.  I noticed that at the top it said I was registered (see screen shot below) in the NYC Marathon.  I had never paid too much attention to this before but I swore it never said I was registered previously.  Now I was starting to get nervously excited.  I had not realized how much I wanted this until I started getting excited. A friend of mine told me that her page still showed her as not registered, so I was hopeful. Registered2 So now I’m starting to go crazy.  Did I get in?  Am I still in the drawing?  I clicked on the Races and Registrations link and saw this (see below): InDrawing So apparently I’m still in the drawing and not in the marathon?  I decided to check the bank account associated with my credit card.  I noticed a pending charge on there (and forgot how much the marathon cost).  I clicked for more details and found out it was a Pending Charge from NYRR!  I had never been so excited to see a pending charge.  The NYRR instructions said this (see screen shot below), but I was still afraid to believe it.  It basically said, if your card was charged, you were in.   I know it said this and I re-read it several times…but when you want something so badly you are afraid to believe it without more concrete evidence. I called my bank to confirm and they said the charge went through at 6:41 AM. Successfull I had people trying to talk some sense into me telling me I was in for sure.  I was still afraid to accept that.  I’ve only applied once yet I know people who have applied several years and have  never gotten in.  I knew of people who knew for sure that they were in as their status had changed on their NYRR page.  But mine was not changing!  Finally, around 1:13 PM I noticed this tweet (see below).  After seeing that I double checked my bank account.  For some reason the NYRR charge was no longer showing.  OMG.  I could not believe this.  First I thought I was in, then I thought I was not in, then I was pretty sure I was in, then I was convinced they realized they had made a mistake and cancelled my bank transaction.  I called my bank yet again to confirm the charge was still there.  They confirmed it was but it was just not visible at this time for some reason.  Around 1:30 PM I finally accepted that I was in the NYC 2014 Marathon! Twitter At this point since I was pretty sure I was in I decided to make a hotel reservation for the night before the race.  I noticed on twitter a lot of people seemed to be in the same position as me – they thought they were accepted but they were not sure.  I realized once everyone got the official notice that they were in, people would be booking hotels.  So I made a reservation at the race headquarters hotel around 2:00 PM.  I thought it was kind of pricey, but it was refundable and the race headquarters….and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I booked.  Well, I am glad I did.  Later that night I started looking for other hotels with cheaper rates – I could not find anything.  I also checked the Sheraton Times Square website around 11 PM and at that point all rooms were booked.  My advice is reserve early, even before you know if you are in the marathon or not. Anyway, now that I was “in” I still wanted real confirmation.  I finally got the email confirmation at 5:42 PM. email Once I received the official email I immediately posted in on Facebook.  About an hour later I noticed my NYRR page was finally updated: Accepted2 Looks like I am officially part of the TCS New York City Marathon Class of 2014!  I am excited and scared all at the same time.

Categories: NYC Marathon | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring Break Trip to Charleston

Next month my kids have spring break at their schools. Neither my husband nor I have taken a real vacation from work since our trip to Europe this summer. I wanted to go somewhere with the kids but did not want to spend a whole lot of money. I also don’t want to risk going north where we could potentially see more snow. So we are heading south to Charleston, SC. Charleston is one of my favorite vacation spots.

Charleston is a great place to visit. I love it as there are great historical sights to see – there are old homes and also Fort Sumter (to name a couple of things). There are also lots of other things to do in the area besides historical sites. Charleston is also near beaches. While I don’t think the water is warm enough for my kids to swim in during April they will have fun playing in the sand. The last time we were in Charleston we took a trip to a barrier island and we will also probably do the same thing again.

There are also marshes/swamps within an hour drive. We have stopped twice at a place with a boardwalk over swamp land. It is always a fun walk to take as you wonder if you are going to run into an alligator or snake.

I am considering taking a day trip when we are down there to Savannah, GA. I have been told I went there as a kid (which basically means we got gas there once). I am sure I can persuade my kids to do a day trip there as they will be excited about adding another state to the list of states they have been to.

Anyway, this trip is a little more than a month away and I have done no research on the area besides what I know. I now have some family that lives in the area where as the last time we were there no family lived there. I am planning on us just relaxing and playing it by ear. If the kids want to spend the day at the beach that is fine. One day we’ll probably go to Fort Sumter and the aquarium. This is basically a trip for the kids so I will probably let them drive most of the decisions for the trip.

Normally if we are going somewhere for an extended time I will book an apartment on VRBO.com but for this trip we are just staying at a Residence Inn. I figured we will be visiting family some and won’t be at our hotel much at all. The family in the area lives within a block or two of the beach….Anyway, I also like the flexibility the Residence Inn provides – I can cancel up to the day we are supposed to arrive. So if we decide not to go anywhere for spring break we have not lost any money. Additionally, Residence Inns have kitchens. I do take advantage of those when we are on vacation. Often at the end of the day the kids are tired and don’t want to go out for a meal. I can very quickly make something simple for everyone. Finally, there is a pool at the hotel. My kids will enjoy swimming in the pool when we are not out doing other things.

Categories: Charleston, South Carolina, Residence Inn by Marriott | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Why I travel Now Instead of Waiting For Retirement

Since the start of 2014 I have been reminded that life is short and in an instant our situation could change. In a town a couple of hours away a mother was out for a morning run with her husband and was hit by a car and died instantly. Locally, last week another woman was helping her child into her car and she was stuck by a dump truck, and subsequently died from her injuries.

On a personal level in January I learned that one of my former co-workers was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon cancer. He has a three year old and his wife is pregnant with their second. Last weekend I reconnected with an elementary school friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and is still undergoing chemo treatments. Last night I learned that the mother of my son’s good friend was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

These examples remind me to live life to the fullest and enjoy every day we have on this earth. I am constantly thankful for my health and that of my kids and my husband. I realize that one day these could change in a second and as a result we might be limited to where and when we can travel.

My kids are in elementary school and growing up way to fast. When I think of my favorite memories of them most involve a family trip. Perhaps it’s because when we are on a family trip my husband and I are not glued to our work computers and can instead focus all of our attention to our kids. Perhaps it’s because we are in a new location with new experiences. Perhaps it’s because of the joy I see on my kids faces when they do or see something new.

I thoroughly enjoy traveling with my kids as well. I am slightly saddened that they won’t be coming to Scotland with my husband and I but I remind myself that it’s a special trip to celebrate our anniversary. I don’t want to send my kids off to college and have memories of trips my husband and I took without the kids….instead I want to have memories of the trips my husband and I had with the kids. I want to recall the excitement they had on the alpine slide in Austria, or relaxing on a lake in Minnesota, or going to Disney World, or witnessing the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

What if my husband and I waited for retirement to make our big trips? What if by that time I need knee surgery or we are no longer capable of walking long distances? What happens if one of us (or both) does not make it to retirement? I don’t want to miss out on making these memories now thinking I will be able to make them later. I want to live life now, and live it with my kids.

So with that, I will end this post and start looking through my travel book for Italy. We may not be going there for another year or year and a half, but I think now seems like the ideal time to plan the next big family vacation adventure.

Categories: Deep Thoughts, Kids | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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