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Israel by the Seat of my Pants

I first got notice of the running conference in Israel, when I was looking on Dr. Metzl’s site for events in New York City. I sometimes try to get to his events, & if they fit my schedule, I sign up. I was looking into 2019, & he had planned a conference with Ron Golan, MD, and several other doctors in Israel.

I’m a flight attendant, and more than once I’ve joked, “I’m not flying solely for my health”.   I checked loads to see if there were standby seats available. It was a miracle, there were.  Tel Aviv goes out full, most of the time, and even to work the trip at my seniority of 27 years, it’s not a “cake walk” to get the trip.

For work into the New Year, I wanted to bring all kinds of good luck. So, I picked up a work trip to Dublin, Ireland that would be flying back on New Year’s eve.  I planned to change after I landed & go straight to Israel from there, landing in Tel Aviv on the 1st.

The flight departed on time, and late in the evening.  It leaves nearly at midnight & was a long flight over 9 hours. I didn’t know it until I got there, but two of my friends were working as purser and B-coordinator. That’s flight attendant jargon for lead positions over both coach and business cabins. Both men work extremely hard.  Ruslan and Markus, and it’s always a pleasure to see them both.   I brought candy too, from Ireland, for the crew. I opted out of food on the flight and just slept the whole way over.  I did wake up once, and had a cup of tea, and then back to the seat for the rest of the flight.

Pulling into Tel Aviv was a trip. I’d never been. I am not Jewish and don’t know a lick of Hebrew.   I was a touch nervous,  at first, that I’d have a language barrier issue. When I got to the customs agent, he spoke perfect English. He wasn’t messing around. He wanted to know details about where I was going in Israel, and who I’d be seeing. I even had to pull out race information on Tiberias and the conference information on Jordan’s website for him to see.  I also had to explain that I’d be going to Jerusalem after the conference. Fortunately, he didn’t ask too many details about my time in Jerusalem, as I was “winging” most of my time there.   I had planned to set up tours when I got to Tiberias.  I’m not generally a person for tours, as most of the world I’ve seen on my own, but for Israel, I knew I needed help.  There was going to be no way to cram in everything “Holy” in two days without a tour, and I needed help getting into Palestine.  With a tour, it’s just easier if you ask me.

I found places to stay in Tiberias and in Jerusalem off of Airbnb.  The rental car I found off of rentalcars.com. I got the insurance in Israel for the car. I do the same thing when I go to Ireland.

Landing there, it was 5:30 pm and we landed early. I got to the line for the rental car after customs clearance and just loved chatting with them. They did say point blank, not to take a car with Israeli car tags into Palestine, and don’t get lost, either. Thank God for Waze. I don’t know what I’d have done without the Waze app. Before leaving the US, Ron Golan, one of the doctors at the conference, said via email to be sure to have Waze, backups for it and etc.. With all of the bad press on TV and the issues with the Gaza strip, I figured the guys on the border wouldn’t have a sense of humor and a woman wouldn’t be welcomed at all in many of the places there. (I already knew you lost your rights as a woman if you step foot into Iran, and was not sure on the other parts of the middle east). I had to take things a bit more seriously than my usual “fly by the seat of the pants” even though in some fashion, I still was.

I withdrew 100.00 dollars worth of Shekels from the airport ATM to have local currency in shekels. It was plenty.  I’d use my debit or credit card for other purchases.  The drive from the Tel Aviv airport to Tiberias was 2 hours. It was dark, and I had to make one stop at a convenience store after getting off of Yitzhak Rabin highway.  The guys there didn’t speak much English, and looked at me like I was from outer space, so I decided I was definitely “from outer space” and hurried with my drink purchase.

The condo I was going to for three nights was off of the Sea of Galilee and about a 15 minute drive from the hospital in Tiberias where the conference was located. The whole time I was driving, I was thinking, “this is a trip”.

 

I got into Tiberias and had issues with getting into the condo. I found it, but had to eventually call the owners as it was impossible to communicate further through email.  I needed help retrieving the key.   They fortunately spoke enough English on the phone,  and a nice lady greeted me with a hug and a key to the condo.  She gave me the tour of the condo (in broken English) of where the hot water heater button was, how to turn on the heat and how to get the electonic blinds open. I had a radical view of the Sea of Galilee. Two mornings I had coffee in my room with the blinds open to see the water.  It was too cold to sit outside, least for me this trip.    One night a storm blew in and it was a relaxing view to watch.

The first day of Jordan’s conference was my favorite.  Greeters were happy to help me.   I sat far off to the right of the auditorium, & was greeted by a few local runners and store owners that knew English as a second language. Seeing Jordan is always a pleasure. He and his travel companion showed about 20 minutes after me and then Ron, Jordan’s friend, was there a few minutes later.  It was fun to hear Jordan pick on Ron.  “There ‘s a picture of the very young Ronnie”.    Had I been “Ronnie”, I would’ve played along, with a poke or two on something.

The first half of the conference was in both Hebrew and English and they had headsets for translation. I appreciated this. A few students had shared their thesis information in their speeches proving the benefits of running.  Other information I tuned out as I had realized I needed to get tours booked.   Before cutting out at 2 pm, I passed along  to Jordan to share, about 8 Chocolate Whiskey candy bars from Ireland. It’s good luck and good fortune to have anything from Ireland.   I’d just blown in from Dublin 2 days prior, so it was easy for me to do.   I wanted to do this for good luck in the New Year.

The second half of the first day, I had to leave. I’d received an email from the owner of the condo in Jerusalem where I’d be staying a couple of days later and realized I needed to plan my tours in advance. He had great advice I was glad I took. He also said that when I left Tiberias on Friday, I’d need to be there before sundown and sabbath start, as he’d be entirely out of contact with me or anyone else.  I knew it was probably serious, being sabbath in Israel.  I got the tours booked after a couple of hours.  I did it all from my phone.  I made sure I got to town before sabbath start.

The second conference day was fun, too. It was only half a day and I chatted a bit more with peeps. I caught up with Jordan and Ron before leaving, and met a couple from a nearby town. I decided too, I’d check out the local gym, @Olympus_tiberias. on Thursday night. I had a photo shoot in Canada scheduled two weeks after the conference and needed a weight room. It was great to meet the gym peeps. The owner charged the US equiv to 13.00 per day for use of his gym.  He invited me to the fitness class they had upstairs. So sweet, but I had to opt out, as I just needed an hour of weights.

I left Tiberias the next morning at 11 and jammed to local radio all the way to Jerusalem.    On the drive over, I still saw race peeps though I didn’t do the race.  I stopped at a gas station between Tiberias and Jerusalem and there was a race participant in the gas station getting water.  Given I walked in the convenience store and had questions about the gas pump, and being as I wasn’t dressed in what I assume was normal (skinny jeans and ankle high boots with a sweater and a scarf), my welcome wasn’t very warm.  I didn’t chat up the racer, or anyone else in the store.   I paid and got out quickly.  There was also a line to the gas pumps and I didn’t want to miff anyone off making them wait.

I read signs in English, fortunately, and it was a sunny day. When I got to Jerusalem, it was easier getting into the condo there. I followed all of the codes and texted the owner that the blow dryer was missing. I had the keys to the condo and realized I needed to get to the grocery store, as stores were already closing down at 3:30 and I’d have no food.  I quickly googled grocery stores and the only one still opened until 4:30 was 15 minutes away.  When I got to the store, I had to do a power shop in 15 minutes.  They were already packing up early.  Oatmeal, omelet makings, peanut butter, salad materials and packaged turkey.   I was set.

My first day on the tour, I’d planned Masada and the Dead Sea. It was a sunny day and one of the only ones with a warmer forecast that week. I had planned to get in the water in the Dead Sea. The tour was well worth it. I was picked up at the Crowne Plaza lobby by the tour van that had my name. I parked the rental car along the street and walked over. The day was great. I met people from the US, Germany and Russia. There were some hysterical students from Rutgers on another van, too.  They were at the Dead Sea doing film retakes of themselves.  Just a riot.   I was the most entertained by this as they were laughing saying, “no, no, we have to film like this”.

The surface of the Dead Sea was concrete hard, and jagged. It hurt to walk along it in bare feet. I had walked to the receeding water line from the spa and got in the water. The van driver said only one bacteria could grow in the water, but nothing else survived the high salt content. The views of Masada, a camp which was a retreat and safe haven to about 1,000 Jews was high up and they had a nice set up. The views were incredible. I was with a tour group and we had to go by cable car, but had I’d been solo, I’d have done the hike up Masada by foot. You could see the Dead Sea in view from Masada and everywhere else was desert. My phone said “welcome to Jordan” when I pulled into the lot with the tour group. So many machine gun guarded checkpoints, it made my van tour plan even more worth the money.

The next day was tour of the holy lands.  I parked the rental car at the exact same place.  Because it was Sunday, and there a normal workday, I got back with a parking ticket to worry over later.  There were no signs, nothing to indicate I wasn’t allowed to park there.  From what I gathered, I had parked in front of a condo that had rights to the spots.  I could’ve as easily shown up to no car, and a towing bill and God knows what else, so I got over the parking ticket in about 10 minutes.  The drive from the Crowne plaza was around a traffic circle that went back to the expressway and each time I passed a bridge that so resembled a Santiago Calatrava bridge I’d seen in Ireland called the Samuel Beckett Bridge (or locally known there as the Harp bridge).  When I got back to the condo in Jerusalem, I googled the bridges in Israel.  Sure enough, the design was what I had recognized, a Calatrava creation and called “the Chords” Bridge.  I instantly thought I was cool.  I had recognized two bridges by the same guy in two different countries.

On the tour of the holy lands, the first stop was to see the view of the Mount of Olives.  We drove around the city a bit and went straight to a lot where we’d change vans to enter Bethlehem.  The drivers explained that it might’ve seemed crazy, but it would save hassles, as with an Israeli tag, we’d likely get stopped, everyone would be questioned and possibly even have to prove where we were from with our passports.  I was glad to change vans.  In my youth, I was a bit more fearless, but even at that age, I wouldn’t have fooled with crossing territories in a foreign country.  If you foul up in a foreign country, you’re at their mercy.

 

 

It was a very windy and sunny day.  We walked from a cobblestoned road into town to the small door where we’d enter to see where Jesus was born.  Once we got there, we waited a short time to descend down steep stairs.  All ages were there, including men and women much older than 80 and determined to get down the stairs with no rails.  I was glad the millennials showed respect.  It was a dark sort of tunnel, and a cave like existence.  On the right was the actual birthplace that had a star on it that you could touch and see for a few seconds and then you had to cut out for the next person.  Once you turned around, a few feet away and behind. was the area where the manger was located. We got upstairs and I got a pic in the area named the Greek Orthodox church, which sat right above Jesus’ actual birthplace.  I’m not vastly religious, but did appreciate seeing everything.

The next stop was one of the only Christian owned stores in town.  In Bethlehem, the percentage of Christians was less than 13%.  I chatted in the store with some US locals from WA state.  They were a married couple and knew a lot about religion.

From there, we stopped off to have lunch and would spend an hour there.  I love chicken, and fortunately, they had a version of chicken there.  The seating was hard pressed though as many vans stopped in.  I quickly ate and found a place to charge my phone.  I got harassed by a man selling trinkets on the way out.  He made any trip to Canal street in NYC look like a walk in the park.  I didn’t buy anything, and asked him to knock it off.  I probably would’ve bought something had he just quit insulting me.

The next stop would be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  This would be my least favorite as it was where Jesus was crucified.  We saw the areas where He was placed on the cross, where the cross was located, and where He was prepared for burial after the crucifixion.   The mood there wasn’t as somber as I expected, but grim enough.

We went to the Wailing Wall next, which would be my favorite for the day.  I had read on the wall before taking off from the US and knew I was going to write down some prayer requests.  The tour guides gave us a 20 minutes to write stuff down.  What I thought was a bit archaic was that the men and women were divided in two  and the area for the women was smaller.  I had to wait a bit to find an empty section of the wall to stuff the prayer in.  Requests included stuff for me, health for my family and specific requests for a few friends who were dealing with health and wellness struggles.  If you can’t make it to the actual wall yourself, you can go online and ask that your prayer or wish request be placed there.  I crammed the slip of paper into empty grout and was careful not to move anyone else’s request.

David’s Tomb was one of the last things I saw. Two rooms separated the tomb for prayer.  Men & women were in separate rooms.  Click onto the link if you’re interested in hearing live prayer at the Tomb.  The men were to the right on the other side of the wall.

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I got back to the condo that night and decided to chill.  It was great.  I did get online though with my credit union and noticed my credit card had been jacked to the tune of 200.00 so I had to call the US to shut it down.  It pisses me off when this happens.  I have to redo all of my bill setups when I get a new card and it’s quite inconvenient.  It also provided additional worry about my other card.  I decided to get to the airport and turn the car in and count my lucky stars I had no other issues.  I waited in the airport about 6 hours.  I just felt that with the trip going so smoothly and ending with a credit card jack, that I needed to get out of dodge before anything else could happen.

It was a smooth flight back to the US, and a friendly crew.  I slept the whole way.  I travel in business attire and was grateful for business class both ways on standby, sheer luck.

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Wigs And Wishes

 

Attending the “Wigs & Wishes” event in Berlin, NJ last Sunday was just plain fabulous. The event, put on by salon owner & hair product @HSN marketer, Martino Cartier, was packed with laughs & a positive vibe.

I first became acquainted with Martino’s salon through a guy I used to date. I fly standby and was unable to make a flight last year to get home in FL (due to weather). My hair appointment was scheduled in FL and I had “serious root issues”. No woman, including myself, wants to have hair or  roots resembling a raccoon’s.  That week, I just wasn’t interested in that look.   I would’ve waited for my own hairdresser, but she was booked solid for two weeks at Zimmiz in FL.  I had to be at work in less than 3 days.

At the salon, the stylist explained they put on an event every year and to keep it in mind. Her boss, Martino, wasn’t in, but to put it in the back of my mind & made a note of the date.  I later researched it online.

Fast forward 10 months or so, and I’m pulling into Lucien’s manor in a rented Toyota ready to mingle.  I noticed a Lamborghini parked outside, so I got a picture on the way out.

The last charity event I had attended prior to this one was a March, The Jay Fund Event put on by Tom Coughlin, in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL.  (I wrote a blog on that one too,  bethadair.com/The-Jay-Fund-Event/).

Martino’s event started with a fab pack of ladies that assigned me a table number and sent me to coat check. From there, I entered an amazing room with chandelier’s, live band & tons of hors douvres. There was also a fun camera screen with several hats, glasses and wigs to take pictures in. I went ahead and gave it a whirl and asked the girls if they’d use my phone too, so I could post it to my social pages. They were glad to help.

 

 

I walked up to a table and started chatting with a sweet couple from Delaware. Gina, and her husband had come over to the event and she was proud to tell me she had on a wig designed by Martino.  She said she had been fighting an uphill battle with lymphoma & that she was almost done with her treatmemts.  She had three kids at home and she & her husband were a scream.   We tooled the rooms set up for auction.

Gina modeling her wig.

 

While we were trekking around, Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, introduced herself and modeled necklaces she was asking for bids on. The monies would benefit the event. We snapped pictures.

Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto, @GialloretoJaime

From there, we met Martino’s son, Brigade, and I got a pic and later with Martino. I could see the resemblance . Both men were full of energy and friendly in approaching everyone in attendance.

Myself with Brigade & Martino

Sponsors of the event included Lancôme cosmetics, HSN, Brazilian Blowout, Viviscal, Abbott Florist, Mike’s Hardscapes, Platinum House Streets.  I noticed too, items for auction included a donated @cj_wentz helmet who plays QB for the @Eagles.  The event had lots of local support.  I had flown into Philadelphia, as it was a closer drive than flying into Newark.

Calvin Klein Dress, size 2

After some bids were put in for auction, we went to a separate room for dinner.  Everything was first class, from the venue, to the staff working the event, to the food.  A three course meal offering  fish & steak as the main entree.  Coffee & cake were offered afterwards.   A cash bar was available .

Celebrities included NJ local @DanielleStaub , of the New Jersey Housewives, & celebrity stylist @CarsonKressley .  Carson was also on one of the boards in Philadelphia (unfortunately, I cannot recall which).    They were both a scream.  Both Danielle, (who at mid-50’s looks at least 10 years younger), & Carson, (who was equally as youthful in appearance), kept the crowd laughing.  Later, Martino would introduce cancer patients who would receive Wigs & wishes.

 

Back in 1997, i raised a few thousand dollars for a child with Leukemia w/the GA chapter of Leukemia team & training.  I ran my 1st NYC marathon for him at the same time.   I found it very emotionally taxing to be around a child who knew how sick he was, and hearing the expense of  treatments was equally as tough.   It was easier to run a marathon.   With this event, the amount of money raised brought a lot of smiles.  The terminally ill child receiving a dog from Martino, smiled too.

I had to leave around 9:30-10 pm as I had to make a 6 AM departure from Philadelphia the next morning. My table mates, (Mark Margu & his Dad both ran Henry Margu Wigs), had just gotten word of a gas explosion near their homes & wanted to get back to check on their house.

With rental car return the next morning, the drive and etc., I knew I’d be lucky to get 4 hours of sleep. I had been in NYC two days prior to this event working on volunteering with the NYC marathon (which was a total blast),  Beth Adair.com/NYC-Style-Volunteering/.  I took a day off travel in between & my vacation has been just the kickstart I wanted to get back in work mode.

I’m a flight attendant and work international trips, but like to work fun projects on the side.  I was grateful for a week of positive vibe with the peeps at the NYC marathon & at the gala in NJ with Wigs & Wishes.  I hope next years event is equally as fun.  If you would like to support this event, contact WigsandWishes.org online.

#workhardlaughharder

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NYC Style Volunteering

Most anyone that knows me, knows I love to be around anything with positive energy. I enjoy motivating others to their goals, & I enjoy laughing. Of course,  like anyone else, I’m occasionally faced with challenges, but who isn’t.

Earlier this year, I was trying to think of fun ways to market the Gate River Run & get motivated to work a little harder on some personal projects in fitness. Nothing spells serious motivation & a positive vibe better than being around a pack of runners who have voluntarily opted to take on a marathon, and travel to get there.

I registered to volunteer with the New York City marathon & requested to work at race number pickup. I was assigned two days from 9-2pm, & told I could stay longer,  if I wanted.

Fast forward to the first day of the expo & I was greeted by so many people who were happy to see me and one man, Glenn, wanted me to tell my coworkers about the app to find anyone in the race. I did this within the first hour of being there, & I went on the company Facebook workplace site of my employer & posted it.   After all, the CEO of my employer, Ed Bastian, was running the race.  There were also 16 other runners from Delta running the race, too.  One of my managers from the New York City base, Edwin Avelar, volunteered at the expo too.  He was a complete scream in stopping by between greeter jobs.  I hope everyone running the marathon has a blast.

After checking in, I was given a volunteer t-shirt & told which room to report to. I was about the 3rd person to arrive there.   The lady running orientation, Barbara Alpert, was a complete scream & very “no nonsense”. She told us with a lot of humor that she’d been volunteering with the race (on her vacation time from her job) for the last 30 years. She loved the energy of the runners & found it rewarding.  She gave solid direction, and summed up customer service in a matter of minutes.  It went like this, “Greet everyone with a smile, welcome them to our city, and stay off of your phones & devices when runners are around”.  I thoroughly enjoyed her cut and dry approach to the rules of the marathon.

I knew right off the bat, I was in the right room. I was looking for a “restart button” to my own work energy level & fitness training that had been stuck in “stagnant mode”. A mode similar to driving a manual transmission with a four cylinder engine (when you’re used to an 8 cylinder).

I’ve learned over the last few months that I’m not ready to retire anytime soon, with my career as a flight attendant, or with other work projects.  No sense either in taking on anything without my usual style of “Gung Ho”. I’m grateful I was permitted to work at the expo.

After orientation, I followed behind other volunteers and everyone settled in a number bracket, two by two. On day one, my coworker was Kevin Vargas, who worked for Adidas, lived in Brooklyn & was planning to run on Sunday. He was equally as motivated to check in runners & we were both waiting with bells on.  We decided we’d wish everyone a personal best.  I was especially glad he was fluent in Spanish as we had runners from Spain & Mexico.

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One thing I’ve learned in my own experience as a runner (going either abroad, or within the US), is to thank runners for making the trip to the race.  They worked the trip and race into their budgets.  I asked 95% of everyone I helped if it was their first race, or first NYC.

Language barriers were seldom a problem. Kevin was fluent in Spanish & on my other side (in the next booth). a man & his son were from Poland, & spoke Polish fluently. This was a blast with all three runners I checked in from Poland.  I turned them right over to my Polish friends so they could have a “homeland chatski”. It brought a lot of laughs.

Day one of my volunteer efforts included helping Ultramarathoner Mariano Ontanon get film (along with Kevin) for ESPN Run (@EspnRun) TV.  We did 4 takes and Mariano’s photographer, Alvaro Stocker,  was a scream.  I got a lot of laughs with this.  We had time to do different angles between other runners who were checking in.  Kevin knew Mariano’s  race experience & clued ne in.  Mariano won an Ultramarathon, totally out of my comprehension,  and a gift also possessed by Brian Ankers,’15 Connemara 100 winner .  (I met Brian and his family several years ago, great people).

 

Between runners, there were gaps and time to talk, and on day two my coworker was Celebrity  Fitness trainer Amber Rees, who helped co-found @bravebodyscape fitness.  I told her about Jordan Metzl, my friend who she didn’t know.   I had no idea how many different concepts there were in fitness before I met Amber.  The city was packed with them and it sounded so fun.  I shared my latest project with a photo shoot on the horizon & Amber was nothing but positive in encouraging anything.

 

 

I left on day one and chatted with runners in the expo on the Gate River Run (mostly with people in the United States), and on day two, I chatted with some workers of some of the booths.

The most common question I got was if I had done a NYC marathon.  I was glad I could say “Yes, 3, but I’m not running this year”.  The energy was so positive and I left motivated to work harder.

I encourage anyone to either run the marathon or volunteer to work the expo.  You’ll meet energetic people and get new ideas.

@bethadair13, Twitter & Instagram

#workhardlaughharder

 

 

 

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Strong Butt

[Jordan Metzl & myself.  Post race in PA, October 2018.  You can tell it was a tad brisk!]

If you’ve never heard the phrase “a strong butt is key to a happy running life”, let me be the first to introduce you to it. An entertaining phrase first coined by Dr. Jordan Metzl, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in New York City.

I first crossed paths with Jordan at a conference he held a few years back called “Running Strong”.  It was held along with a panel of other athletes.  I had heard him say the phrase before (on TV),  but never in person, and never with additional advice on how to train to make you a better runner.  I was intrigued.

Last weekend,  I was up in Bethlehem, PA  for an annual 10K race.  I try to make it there each year to see friends. After the 10k, Jordan held a seminar  in the auditorium of the Arts Quests center to share his knowledge on running.  I’ve attended a couple of Jordan’s #IronStrength classes in New York City.  They are free o’charge to the public, and you can find the dates and how to register by clicking on drjordanmetzl.com.   He’s even been known to do a “fitness throw down” with teaching classes inside the United Nations.  (I was unable to get into that class, but the pictures were a scream).

Proper form was the key message I got from Saturday’s seminar.  Keeping the strain off of your back & knees with proper foot strike, running form, core work & with weight training would make you a better runner, and also help keep you off of the injured list.  (Jordan had suggestions too, if you became injured.  As well as he offered his business cards to everyone attending).

Dr. Metzl explained he’d seen patients anywhere from ages 8-80+ who wanted to continue to run. Staying healthy and keeping up with moving through fitness was something he supports, and this was music to my ears. I’ll also add I belong to a gym frequented by many retired professional athletes. Probably three of the most amazing examples I can think of are Hal Higdon, George Hirsch & Amby Burfoot.  These three have kept fitness rolling & they’re all over 70.

Hal regularly  goes to the gym with his wife and you will find him circulating the weight room or beach at a speed similar to someone half his age.  I’ve seen him at my gym.

Amby ran the 2018 Boston Marathon (even in the heinous weather conditions). I don’t need to say anything else about how amazing that is.  If you’ve never met Amby, he enjoys motivating runners, and is nothing but a positive vibe.   His wife Cristina is also a runner, & ran Boston as well (Amby won Boston in 1968).  Can you imagine?  Winning Boston?  I still haven’t qualified.

[Amby Burfoot, myself, & George Hirsch (picture taken by Amby’s wife, Cristina,  the day before the 2018 Boston Marathon)]

George was at the start of the Onward Shay marathon last year, mingling with his girlfriend Loretta.   Onward Shay was created in memory of his deceased wife Shay who passed several years ago.  The entire community supported this race, & George has continuous support from Shay’s friends to keep it rolling.  The race is a week before the NYC marathon & includes a 1 mile race, a 5K, a10K, half & full marathon, & a relay marathon.  If you’re reading this and want to market your business in Boise, or suggest to your employer that they do, your best contact is Keith Hughes with Vertical Endurance (Find him on LinkedIn).

[Pic is pre-race to the 2017 Onward Shay, George is in the knit hat]

All three men (as well as Jordan) are great examples of staying active.  None of them have ever stopped their fitness.

Getting back to the seminar, one exercise Dr. Metzl recommended last weekend is the Plie Squat.  To keep the strain off of your back & stay strong.  Maintaining a healthy core is key, too.  I love weight training exercises & weight train 2-3 days a week. In my own training, I’ll do.a plié squat with a 10-25 lb. weight. The proper form with this exercise is having your feet in the second “ballet position” (feet turned slightly out), which will open the hip flexors.  Bending  your knees and holding the weight with both hands in plié fashion will work the glutes.   Down & up once, and there you have a rep. I like 20 reps for one set, and do a total of 3 sets per weight training session. (I’ll attach a picture of one position of a plié squat from a magazine photo shoot 3 years ago.  I weighed 3 lbs. less, yes, just 3)

(Shot taken by my phone off of my computer.  Unedited from 2015 demonstrating 1 position of the plié squat.)

Other forms of weight training to keep your “butt in check” would include straight leg deadlifts, regular squats and also lunges. It’s a good idea to consult a doctor before beginning any weight training or exercise routine. I also recommend meeting with a trainer who can look at your form. If you’re new to weight training, it’s best to start with the correct form.

The goal is to keep fit forever, and avoid injuries. If you get injured, by all means consult a doctor and take time off.  If it means pulling out of a race or contest, so be it.  Races and body building or bikini fitness contests will still be there in a couple of months.  If you need time offf, it’s better  to show up at your best.

 

 

Uncategorized

Let’s Go

So I pulled into Kansas City looking forward to a fun weekend packed with a gym visit, an @nfl game & a positive vibe. Anyone that knows me will tell you, I love a good laugh & I knew I’d find good ones with football.

Landing right on time with my employer, a major airline.  I was excited. The town was geared up for a Chiefs Game & knew their team anytime I got in a discussion with football.  They steered free & clear of talking  smack.   It would be a great match. According to getmoresports.com, both teams were showing to the start line with equal sacks (each team had 10), and neck & neck rushing yards (114  Jaguars, 113 Chiefs).  The Chiefs were ahead of the Jags in winning a game.

I got to my first night that I found on Airbnb. It was an apartment off of Main Street and convenient to a few parks. It was too rainy to rent a bike, but the rates were 3.00 for 30 minutes.   I decided I’d take a walk on Gameday, and googled gyms near me, too.  I’m trying to stick to my 3 days a week in the weight room & aim to clean up my diet.

 

I got to what I thought would be a Gold’s gym, but as it turned out, it was a World gym that sold to Genesis Fitness. Two time acquisition happening faster than google seemed to be able to keep up with.  This gym, Genesis,  was the closest.

  1. The gym where I left a copy of Oxygen Magazine AU, and contact information to reach Kansas City native Jordan Metzl, MD.

I had a fab workout. I frequently hit up gyms in cities in the US or abroad. This visit, was day rate “on the house”. So kind, but I was willing to pay the day rate of 15.00.   After an hour in the weight room, & a front desk employee saying “wow,  you’ve been here a minute, huh?”  (It was nice that they noticed my hour there).  I knew I had to pass along contacts for getting published with an international magazine, @oxygenmagau, and also refer the management to a couple of @ASICS partnered concepts, with one being, #ironstrength.  The man running Ironstrength,  Dr. Jordan Metzl, MD is originally from Kansas City.  It just made sense to pass the info. along.  He frequently holds free clinics in NYC, & in case he wanted to work in MO, he’d have a lead.   No one pays me to do these things, I enjoy it, & feel I should “pay back” as I sometimes literally “skid through life” on a smooth rolling course with getting into nice gyms worldwide, most of the time without paying a fee.  The other concept, RunSafer.com, I also mentioned to them is partnered with ASICS, too.

I’m an Ambassador for the Gate River Run 15K.  It’s an unpaid position,  but I love my “credentials”, &  it’s so nice that the race director, Doug Alred, thought enough of me to call me an Ambassador.  I’ve completed at least 8 Gate River Runs, & love the race.  It’s “off the chain” fun,  with a post race of 160+ kegs of Miller beer for all entrants, if they so desire.  My PR for the race is 1:10 (and change), & I was never able to beat that time.  Anyone that can run a fast race has my respect.  The record holder for the race did it in just over 42 minutes, insane!

Fast forward to @Jaguars game day, and was it ever fun!!.  While waiting in line, a mom shared she was raising her kid (a 2 YO), and 3 nephews under age 10.  I was glad to listen, as everyone needs to vent on occasion.  She was very funny, too, & helped me get my ticket pulled up from Ticketmaster.  Her husband had treated her to the Chiefs game with it being her birthday.

From there,  my “line waiting” friends transitioned the conversation to football betting and I was cracking up.  I know very little about how to bet on football.  I may pull a few slot machine handles in Vegas, but football betting is out of my league.  I did give a website addy to getmoresports.com.  I follow a couple of the Gronkowski ‘s  on LinkedIn.  GetMoreSports is put on by a two Gronk brothers and two other friends.    They also have a podcast.  Chris & his wife Brittany run Iceshaker, & I knew they’d get a kick out of the video.

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In the stadium, I had a seat on the 50 yard line & was revved I had a good view of the field.  The whole stadium was a “sea of red”  & songs that were jamming were “Whoomp! There it is” by Tag Team, & “Let’s Go”, by Calvin Harris.

About five minutes into my view and excitement, the guy sitting next to me asked where I got my ticket & said his friend usually sat there.  My seat was occupied by someone, so I took the seat that was empty.  Next thing you knew, we were all discussing how Ramsey was a good cornerback, but needed to amp up his “pickoff rate”, like Rasheen Mathis did before retiring.  They also knew Blake Bortles stats & though we didn’t chat much about him, we did notice two incomplete passes that were within a “grab and pull” length of a catch.  All I could do was laugh.  The best part was watching the scramble & sack of Patrick Mahones, and I laughed at that, too.

The Jags were in a shutout sitch with no points and KC was up 20 points in the 3rd quarter.  I was wondering if I was gonna be going back to Jacksonville with  a worse margin.  The Jags caught up a touch and the sun came out.  I completely expected a monsoon, as we’d gotten a good  “dousing” before the game, and weather peeps predicted worse.

 

In between 3rd & 4th quarter, the man sitting next to me, an attorney, asked what I did for a living.  I gave him the detailed version, with a mention that I used to model a touch.  He said his girlfriend was into fitness & figure competing,  so I gave him contacts for Oxygen Magazine Australia,  in case she wanted to try and get published with them.  He just gave me his phone and told me to text the info to her directly, and he went back to watching the game.   I still model on occasion, but very infrequently these days.  Modeling can be a cut throat business, and I try to maintain a positive vibe with it.  It took years to get in a reputable fitness magazine, & I like to motivate others to do the same.  Probably one of the fittest ladies I’ve ever seen was from Olathe, Kansas.

Oxygen Magazine Australia  is an international magazine.  I also read  Strong Fitness Magazine.

I left Arrowhead stadium happy.  Not that the Jags lost, but that they “showed up”.  The Jaguars didn’t “shut it down” after halftime & gave it their best shot.   I watched a good game and saw about 5 other Jags fans on my walk back to the hotel.

I also got a sense of “goal and fitness renewal” chatting about it.  My training has been a bit stagnant, so I plan to amp it up a notch & clean up my diet.  It’ll make for a rockin’ 2019.

#WorkHardLaughHarder

 

 

Uncategorized

Off the Chain

September 17, 2018

Last week,  I had a ball being in NYC, seeing friends and attending the Dr. Oz show as an audience guest. About a year ago or so, a close friend of 40 years, Tracy, wanted to go on Dr. Oz. The tickets are free but the timing for us both never seemed to jive until the week of the 11th.  I had been on vacation.

I got an email  from the Dr. Oz show that an athlete, Tim Tebow, would be interviewed on the 12th.  (I had been on their email list, as a year before Tracy wanted to go, but we couldn’t get our schedules to jive).   Tracy is an alum of the University of Florida, and Tim Tebow was their star player several years ago.  He would be interviewed and on the show to promote his book. It was the perfect fit for her first visit to a studio audience, & given I’m from FL & a UCF graduate, why not.

In 24 hours,  I had a couple of tickets lined up, the dress code policy and my van reservation from La Guardia to CT.  Tracy lives in the suburbs, in Darien.  We agreed to grab a Metro North ride on the morning  of Sept. 12th at 5:51.

“Off the chain” laughs are all you will get when the two of us are together.  It’s almost always been that way.   I joked NYC would need a sedative and knew we’d be the buffoons we  were in 8th grade.  Often, we are caught telling each other to calm down.  The funniest part to the morning for me was when Tracy ran in the guest room where I was staying, and asked to borrow my eye lash curler.  Just like old times.  It was second nature to grab it.

We sure had a good time. I had been on vacation & getting antsy, so flying to NYC was fun to do, even on September 11th.   Everyone greeting me had smiles and a positive vibe, but there was a somber feel in the air with it being the anniversary of the attacks.  I still haven’t forgotten the CNN clips of the Cantor Fitzgerald CEO crying on air at all of the employees that were killed.

Chivalry is always appreciated.  Pulling into CT on the Metro North (on the morning of the 12th) was no exception.  A nice, well dressed business man put my bags in the luggage racks, and another well dressed one took my bag down the stairs when we pulled into Grand Central station.  And yes, being from the South, I said “thank you honey”,  to both men, and we all went anonymously on our merry way.

The Dr. Oz show was well organized, and tight with security. We got through the screeners and waited to be called in for seating. It was no secret I was hoping for front row, and you better believe we followed the dress code. It was great to meet some people, and the well dressed couple behind us were from Queensland Brisbane, Australia. I was glad I was able to tell them about Oxygen Magazine Australia, and recommended they check it out when they got back home. I was in issue 78, an incredible gift and priviledge, so I had no choice but to promote.

Beth Adair (L), Tracy Wind (R)

Tim Tebow’s girlfriend, a stunning blonde, was seated a few people away.  They make a great couple.  I chatted up the girls next to me, too.  They were from the Bronx and we all tried to “behave” when we were supposed to.

The show “MC coordinator “ was a riot.  The only time Dr. Oz got annoyed was when he got a bit out of control talking about what he could do with a stethoscope in his strip tease.  I was cracking up, but Mehmet was shaking his head and gave him a look to “tone it down a notch”.  Hysterical.  Also, the nicest gift from the the show was a coupon to check out free food and wine with Rachel Ray and a few others later on.  Given I live in Florida, I mailed it to one of my best friends who lives in the Upper West side.  She said it was right up her alley, & she’d attend.

The funniest thing we did on tape was clap like the “Gator Chop”, when Tebow walked out,  laughing uncontrollably as we did it.  To keep a straight face, it was just like in school, we couldn’t look at each other much during taping.

Tim promoted his book, and chatted on the Ketogenic diet.  He used to play ball with my ex-husband’s son, Ben Franco, and they had a fabulous year.  Ben was a senior when Tebow was a junior at Nease High.  Ben, a slot receiver, had a blast with completions.  It was a radical year.  It was no wonder too, that  Tim got offered 75 or so full ride college scholarships.  Can you imagine?  75?

Other show guests included Rachael Ray and Dr. Jordan Thompson.  From Rachael, I learned to throw your soup in a ziplock plastic bag and freeze it for later.  From Dr. Thompson, I learned to keep a happy marriage, you need 90 minutes of actual conversation & a date night every week.  I joked when I left “well, first I just need to get the basics going, and maybe just get a steady boyfriend”.  I felt it was solid advice.

I had wanted to attend the  #IronStrength class by Dr. Jordan Metzl, MD, down at the United Nations, but couldn’t get in the class.  It was full.   Also, weather was hitting from the latest hurricane, so I knew I needed to see friends quickly, and get out of dodge.  They’d cancel flights, making standby ridiculous.  I was lucky I was even getting an afternoon flight.  Usually they are too full, and impossible, so much so, that I tend to rely on first flights of the day.  Instead of seeing Jordan, who I’ve met at clinics, I wrote a show idea on a slip of paper, in a “P.S.”, and put it in a box I hoped a show coordinator would see.

The box I register my name at, & put a P.S. suggestion.

Before leaving NYC, I did get to see Topher Yandell, a complete scream!   I like to call him Toph, and am always cracking up at his antics.   Such a pleasure to meet up for a bite to eat and then check out the view from his Uncle George’s apartment overlooking Central Park.  I know his Uncle George Hirsch through my running contacts at Runner’s World Magazine.  I took interest in a love story written by David Willey in an editorial a few years ago.   I just loved the story.  They met at a NJ marathon and later would marry.   It sure sounds like they had a blast together and George kept her legacy rolling in planting the Onward Shay marathon.

Beth Adair (L), Toph Yandell (R)
Beth Adair (L), Tracy Wind (R)

I never got to meet Shay, but did go to Boise and run the half marathon at the 2016 Onward Shay, and came back a year later with a relay team of 5 completely decked in Brooks gear.  SO fun!

I’ll be back to New York to volunteer on 11/1 & 11/2, previous to the NYC marathon.  My boss, CEO Ed Bastian, is running it this year, and we are all excited for him.  I’m envious I am not running, but grateful to be around the excitement and for my friendships in running. I’m also an ambassador of the Gate River Run, & hope to drop an invite to many runners.

I’ll have to depart the city before the actual race, as I’ll be at Wigs and Wishes, a charity benefit by Martino Cartier located at Lucien Manor somewhere in NJ.   Should be a blast and I’m looking forward to it:-)

Hoping all your gains are on the upswing and this blog post finds you well and happy.  Remember to work hard and laugh harder, at anything.

Blog

Murad Resolution

 

Over the last several years I noticed an increase in occasional breakouts. I had made no changes to my diet, I’ve been drinking at least 2 quarts of water a day since the age of 18, and had made no changes to my lifestyle, either. The only thing I could contribute the breakout to was a hormonal change, stress, or clogged pores. Given I’m nipping on the heels of menopause with age, I had hormonal tests done.

In the course of about 2 months, resulting in a hormonal test, and a trip to the dermotologist. I learned I wasn’t in menopause as of yet, and my pores had been clogged. I took a trip to a surgeon’s office for a consult (because there i knew I would find a highly trained aesthetician), for a vitalize peel, which helped and then switched my facial cleansers to Murad.

The product itself is great! I picked it after seeing at Sephora,. I bought the Murad Acne starter kit, which retailed at the time for 32.00, and have been using it ever since. I like the travel size ones best, which in my job as a flight attendant, are perfect.   Occasionally there is an ounce requirement I can’t exceed getting through security, notably when traveling to the United Kingdom. (I usually go to London a few times a year).  I’ve tried other products, and in my 40’s and now over 50, this one is the best!

Blog

Carpe Viam

 

Anyone in the running community will tell you, to get to the Boston Marathon is no easy feat and this year was extra special. It marked the 50th anniversary of Amby Burfoot’s @bostonmarathon win.  It was fun too, to invite locals down to FL for the @GateRiverRunJax.

I met Amby back in 2012. I had talked my good friend Marge into joining me for a “girls trip” weekend in Pennsylvania and running a 10K at the festival. She agreed to leave her family at home and take off “Thelma and Louise style” to PA.. I knew we’d see members of a magazine staff, & I knew elite runners would be there. What I didn’t know, was how much fun & how humble it would be to meet Amby.

Back then, Amby was selling one of his books, and chatting with runner’s from all over. We were talking with him about Florida and he had mentioned he and his wife were going to be moving to CT and had been looking at real estate. They had planned to set up one of their retirement homes in CT.

Over the course of the last 6 years, Amby has written two more books, traveled to Boise a couple of times with George Hirsch (former worldwide publisher, Chairman of the NYRR, & founder of @OnwardShay), gotten settled in CT and also traveled a few times to Mexico (where his wife Cristina is from).

Amby knows everybody, and I’ve even joked, “if you’re a runner, and Amby didn’t meet you, you didn’t exist”. If you ask me, he is just that hooked up with the running community.

Once I landed, got checked in to the hotel, and “Uber-ed” over, I walked right in and the first person I noticed was @DeenaKastor. She was signing books, getting photos with fans and had George not come over to say goodbye to her, I would have missed him and Amby! I quickly got a picture with everyone and was able to later chat with Amby on his current training and goals for the Boston Marathon this year.

Beth Adair, Deena Kastor

At the conference, I asked what kept him going and what his best advice was for anyone his age or near his age in keeping fit. He said to just “keep moving” and recommended walking. For the race on Monday, he said he’d be doing a 4:1 ratio of running to walking and said he was going to start training for shorter distances. Over the last many years, he’s completed the Manchester Road race over 50 times, been healed from depression caused by a C-diff infection (and was the most challenging health issue he’s dealt with ever) and has enjoyed training in CT and Mexico, “snowbird style”. He and his wife spend winters in Mexico.

Since 2015, I’ve been doing international trips as a flight attendant out of the New York City base and knew I’d be getting a unique gift for Amby to celebrate his 50th Boston Marathon. I had a trip to London, and while tooling around shopping, I was in Harrod’s and saw these great chocolate bars that resembled bars of gold. They were solid chocolate and a signature line to the Harrod’s brand packaged in gold packaging. I bought 5 (one bar for every 10 years) and gave them to Amby and his wife, as well as gave George Hirsch pictures when I saw him with friends last October, ( my running team was in Boise at Onward Shay). For many people like myself, it’s more fun to give gifts than get them, and gag gifts are even more fun.

After Marge and I attended the conference and met some fun followers, like John Young (@dwarfparatri), and met writers, Jonathan Beverly (@jbevrun), @DeenaKastor, & Scott Douglas. I got pics and had some laughs. Probably the most comical of the day was when Deena Kastor asked what race I attended to qualify for Boston. I answered, “well, I’m not exactly running, and haven’t qualified yet”. She laughed and made a few motivating comments as to how I’d do it later. Truth be known, I tried three times in the @nycmarathon, and I decided after the last one I completed in ’03, that I’m not going for it again until I’m 70. It’s a long way off, but till then, I’m crosstraining hard in the weight room and enjoying other forms of cardio in addition to my running.

The rest of the weekend was a riot, we checked out a few pubs, hit up a workout at @PlanetFitness in Revere and went shopping.  We stopped by the @BrooksRunning expo booth too, at Seaport to see some of the staff.   Marge got her daughter & husband a few things, too.

Marge is a business woman in the New York City area and gave me advice that I needed to write a blog posting once a week and circulate into a feed called “Scoop It’. This would help promote my brand on social media and generate more followers to what I hope to accomplish.  It was advised that to get your business more business, you have to get more web circulation through writing.  I’m grateful for such a fabulous friend!  I tend to surround myself with people who will motivate me to work harder and in turn, I try to motivate others.

I have a photo shoot with Paul Buceta up in Toronto in late May that I’m excited to do. I shared this with most everyone I chatted with this weekend. It will just be a blast! It’s for my campaign rolling, called “fitness over 50” and for @STRONGFitnessMag. Funny too, I was sitting at the pub @theblackroseboston and a man who missed his Boston qual by 20 seconds (and a touch miffed about it), was asking my opinions on his startup concept. It was a treat to offer advice on getting hooked up in social media, contacting a few contacts I had in Australia related to his business fitness concept and also to mention (since he and his girlfriend were from Toronto), to check out all of the @OxygenMagazine issues of the last year. (Oxygen Magazine is a Canadian magazine). I recommended too, he start writing a blog once a week (the new advice I was just given).  And, also, to check out any ladies fitness magazines, such as Strong Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and etc..

I don’t believe in a whole lot of coincidence, so it was great that I met this couple, and even if I never see them again, my “two beer stop in” to a pub in Fanueil Hall might’ve flipped a switch to motivate more health and wellness. It was funny too, the aggravation the man had with his “near-qual miss”, and the couple was entertained I showed up in a “no qual zone” just to see friends.  (No qual zone being my fun way of bypassing I hadn’t tried in a few years and have no plans for another 20).

I got the short phrase, and name of this blog post, “Carpe Viam”,  from an article Amby wrote on Ryan Shay. It means “seize the road” and when you are in Boston on marathon weekend, even if you can’t “seize the road”, you’ll “seize the vibe” and get motivated to get moving on a project. You might even motivate others to get projects going, too.

Until my next post, remember to work hard and laugh harder. I know I will be.

Uncategorized

Got Fitness?

I was asked sometime in the last few months, “What motivates your fitness?”. It was by an attorney. I have a diverse bunch of followers, and love it. To motivate any profession to train hard or start training in the gym or in fitness is nothing but a compliment. “Got fitness? Let’s get it going.”

To answer the question, it’s rather complex, but the goal in any workout for me is better health. Life for me flows better with a hard workout. If I can get it done before the day gets rolling, I can handle any stress that might crop up much better. I typically try to laugh everyday and usually find humor in most everything. I’m way past my twenties, and glad I’ve made it this far without serious health issues. With heredity, I’m faced with possible arthritis, blood pressure issues, type 2 diabetes and cancer. None of that sounds like a blast, but even if I had any of them, I’d still do the treatment. Fortunately, with hard training and a cleaner diet, you’ll see results, too.

I’m going to the @bostonmarathon this year, and can’t wait! I tried to qualify for the race in my thirties in ’97, ’99 and ’03 at the @nycmarathon. I wasn’t too heinously upset when it didn’t happen, as I came close once, uninjured & at a finish time of 4:16 (net chip time 4:11). I just figured all I need to do is get older, so I’ll wait till I’m 70 to try again. In the meantime, I’ll cross train hard and run casually, and likely not exceed distances of 15K. I wasn’t born with the God given talent to be, “fast out of the gate”.

This year is a special year. The Boston Marathon ’68 winner, Amby Burfoot (@amburf) is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his win. He’ll be running it, again. Just amazing! He’s in his 70’s and still training hard. I met Amby years ago, through an expo with Runner’s World Magazine. He was there in PA selling his books and very enthusiastic about running. He even convinced a friend she could do a marathon, which she later did, years later, at the New York City marathon.. Most runners understand the addiction, the “buzz”, and why you’d even want to try to run a marathon. What blew my mind was the fact he could do it so fast out of the gate. I look forward to seeing friends at the expo and meeting people that can do what I can’t do, it’ll be a blast.

My best advice if you’re challenged in your fitness or trying to get motivated to get back to training, is to keep it fun. Go buy a new shirt, keep up the positive vibe (even if that means putting negative people on the back burner awhile), download a new song, buy a bikini, even schedule a photo shoot. If money is tight, google positive quotes, & find optimistic things to read.

Hoping to see you all at the Boston Marathon, and if you can’t make it look for fun pictures on my social pages. I’ll try to find as many elites and fun people as possible. I just can’t wait!

Until then, work hard and laugh harder, and thanks for the follow:-)

Events

The Jay Fund Event

This year I got invited to attend the Jay Fund event hosted by the Coughlin’s. It’s no secret I’m a football fan, and in the fall, I check out more than just NFL football. I love watching SEC and occasional high school, too.

The event was held in Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown.   It is in the  category for one of the largest cities area wise in the United States.   It’s been home to the Jacksonville Jaguars since November of 1993. It’s no secret either that the team made it all the way to the Championship. I was more than psyched. I’m a fan, win or lose, and last season was especially fabulous to watch.

I hoped to meet as many Jags players as I could, see friends and of course, see Tom Coughlin. When I got to the event, I parked across the street and walked over. The wait time on getting in was easy, as the organizers were going through the line and scanning the bar codes for each entry. I forgot my printed entry and it was nice that all I had to do was pull it all up on my email and scan the code from there.

Right after I walked in I was greeted with wine tasting glasses and many tables full of exciting memorabilia to bid on throughout the night. All along each hall were tables of incredible hors d’oeuvres, and each table had two different kinds of red or white. I started with Chardonnay and that would be it, as I’d switch to water after half a glass and a few tasties from B.B.’s.  I’m not a heavy drinker, but do appreciate an occasional “taste”.

Onward to the escalator (and the photo ops) were lines of people everywhere. The first person I recognized was Sam Kouvaris. He is the sportscaster over at WJXT. I met his wife Linda and chatted a bit on their four grandkids. It’s always fun to see Sam. He’s worked hard for Jacksonville. I forgot to ask him if he’d seen Lex and Terry lately. Those two were a scream on local radio. I used to listen to them and had heard a show with Sam talking about the Gate River Run several years ago.

Later I saw some friends from the gym, Gregg Gosch, a LSU alum and former football player for their team. We couldn’t help but have a small chatski on Leonard Fournette. It was soon after, that I pretended to be catching the ball that Leonard had signed for the auction.  I also saw Jaguars memorabilia signed by QB Blake Bortles, who founded The Blake Bortles Foundation (@BB5Foundation).

Up the escalator I ran into some staff from Jacksonville Magazine, who couldn’t have been nicer. I got a few pictures and headed over to the second camera where I’d try on a Viking hat.

I circulated the room several times looking for any familiar faces and there he was, Tom Coughlin himself. Surrounded by many getting pictures and with a friendly member from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. I got in line, too. There was no time to “talk football”, but everyone was in positive vibe and rest assured, ready for this season.

After that, walking over by another food table I ran into Doug Marrone. I hadn’t met him, but since I’m not shy, I just asked if I could get a picture real quick. He was a scream, said “sure”, and I started the trend to at least 4 more photo ops with different people, for him. (They were all laughing, too). There was a girl next to me who was so funny, and said, “they need me to be his photographer, I know how to get good pictures”.

Meeting AJ Cann sure was fun, too. He was there with his girlfriend and I asked which number he was, and what his Twitter name was (@AJCann_60).  I could tag pictures later. I could tell he’d been raised in the South. Everything was “yes m’am, and “no m’am” on any question I’d asked. I had forgotten (when I was meeting him) he had played for the Gamecocks. My aunt Celia is a retired math professor from USC/Spartanburg and Gamecock football is talked about at the dinner table in her house (and my Dad’s) over every Sunday dinner during football season. It’s really quite entertaining.

Onward before I left, I saw Todd Philcox and his wife Katie. It was great catching up. I see him on occasion in the gym and he’s always talking about his kids, Lindsey and Tyler. I never walk off without a laugh when I talk to Todd. Todd played QB for a few NFL teams, played with the Jags in ’96 and retired with the Patriots in ’98.

Thanks for stopping by my site and reading my blog.  I’m having a lot of fun these days.  Remember to work hard, and laugh harder, I know I will be.

#workhardlaughharder