Thursday, October 31, 2013

FedEx Field Recap: Washington Redskins vs Detroit Lions

Stop numero dos on my NFL Bucket List was to see my Redskins play the Lions at home. Even thought I lived in DC, I had never been to a Redskins home game. I was in town for a meeting and this was the perfect opportunity to catch a game and add another stadium to my bucket list. I was looking through old blog posts and realized that I had not yet written a recap for FedEx Field. Because I am writing this in Week 9 instead of Week 2 when it happened, it will consist mostly of pictures.

Thanks to my friend and PGPD we were able to get front row service to the game and premium parking. I have great friends in great places.

The line to get into the stadium. Unfortunately,  a lot of people didn't know about the clear bag policy.

Skins coming out of the tunnel.

Let the band play ...

First series.
How cute is this family in their matching RGIII jerseys? Too much cute.

Obligatory in-venue selfie.

My fellow Skins fans and PG County's finest.

At one point during a Detroit rally, the DJ thought it was a good idea to play "Lose Yourself." Who thought playing the opposing team's rally call was a good idea? Major fail Mr. Dj. Major fail. They scored on that drive. I blame you.
This guy stood most of the game. Everyone behind him was mad. It is not a reasonable expectation to ask someone to sit down. If you want to sit and be comfortable, buy a suite ticket or stay home.
After the game, all smiles even though we lost.


Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

On Sunday, October 27 I completed my third marathon. The Marine Corps Marathon, aka the People's Marathon, was held in Washington DC. We were worried that the marathon would not happen at all due to the government shut down, but two days before the race director planned to make the official decision to either continue with or cancel the marathon, the government shutdown ended. Hallelujah we were on!

I flew to DC on Friday (thanks to a meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday, I was able to get the job to pay for the flight. Win!) to kick off marathon weekend. The crazy thing about this marathon is that I was not very excited about it. I tried updating my status on social media to somehow excite myself by proxy, but it didn't work. I was very laissez-fair about the whole thing, which will likely be reflected in this recap. I experienced some bull a mishap with my lodging and had to scramble at the last minute to find somewhere to stay. I almost called the whole thing off, but luckily a good friend from Coastal helped me out (Chants help each other). 

Thanks Tim!

Tim picked me up from the airport and we drove into DC to attend the expo. Thank goodness we decided to go to the expo early Friday afternoon because I heard there were ridiculous lines and 2-hour plus wait times on Saturday. Even as we left the expo Friday afternoon, there was a line of at least 50 people wrapped around stanchions outside of the packet pick up tent. We went inside a tent to pick up my packet then across the street to the DC Armory for the Expo. Because of increased security measures, there was a line to get inside. They had to do bag and ID checks. Luckily, Tim is military so we were able to use his ID to get into the shorter, military/no bag line.

The expo was electric and here is where I finally felt a glimmer of excitement. Marines were everywhere helping distribute t-shirts, greet runners and offer encouragement. They even encouraged me to try on my race shirt to make sure it fit. He said that it runs a little small. Usually at race expos, runners are tossed whatever t-shirt size we indicated on the registration form. I really appreciated the care they put into making sure I had the best-fitting shirt. After I picked up my shirt and clear, bag-check bag, we decided to check out the Brooks Running Store. They had an amazing display (sorry, I didn't get a picture) with running mannequins and were selling the official MCM gear. I picked up a few things and looked for the check out. The line to purchase items at the Brooks store was - I promise you - longer than the line at Space Mountain. I remember asking a sales associate "Are we at Disney?" Speaking of, I want to run the Disney marathon. Towards the end of the line, Brooks employees were handing out water. They were very apologetic for the long line and were doing all that they could to make it go faster. I guess a lot of us runners wanted to by our gear from Brooks. I was all Katt Williams, "Don't worry, I'll wait ..." After spending $25 more than my allotted budget we decided to take some pics and head out.

My MCM goal was to beat Oprah. How funny is it that they created this banner?

Every MCM runner's goal is to "Beat the Bridge"

After the expo we made our way to PF Chang's for yet another carb-loading session. I ordered the crab fried rice again (I had eaten it earlier in the week in Indy).

Because two nights before is the mort important night for sleep, I made sure to go to bed early. On Saturday, we made our way back to DC to map out our race day route. Tim lives in Frederick, Maryland which is about 45 miles outside of DC so we had to plan our route to a DC metro, then use the metro to get to the start line. We devised a plan to park near the Friendship Heights Metro stop and ride into the city. I timed everything. The time to get to the metro stop, time spent on the metro to the Pentagon stop and time to walk from the Pentagon to the start line. It was actually a mile and a quarter walk from the metro stop to the starting corrals. 

We passed Runners Village
This is the coral I will line up in on race morning.

Wearing the jacket I waited an hour to purchase at the Expo.

I am definitely glad we were able to do that the day before because 1.25 mile walk would have aggravated me on race morning, not knowing that it would be that long. After doing the necessary recon in DC we headed back for more carbs (this time spaghetti from Romano's Macaroni Grill) and some college football.

We had a few games going on his TV and streaming Baylor vs Kansas via the Watch ESPN app on my iPad. Its amazing how fast and effective the Baylor offense is. We laughed at how the Kansas sideline looked stunned after every scoring play. Their fans must have foreseen the impending butt whooping because only a quarter of the stadium was occupied. You're better than that Kansas. But when you are up against the nation's highest-scoring offense, maybe it is best to watch the massacre from the comforts of your own home rather than in the cold Kansas stadium. Baylor's offense finished with 743 yards and 8 of their 9 scoring drives took fewer than 2 minutes. You gotta watch the first few minutes of a Baylor  football game the same way you have to watch the first few minutes of Scandal. You'll miss so much.

I typically don't sleep well the night before a race. I wake up several times throughout the night frantically looking at my watch. I keep thinking I somehow missed the start. One thing I have done to help me is to place a water bottle next to the bed. Every time I wake up, I use it as an opportunity to stay hydrated by taking a sip of water. Yes, I will eventually have to get up and use the restroom, but I'll be up anyway.

Sunday is race day and in the next post I will recap the marathon itself.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No Virginia, I am not an intern

I have been traveling a lot lately and by a lot I mean, I have traveled every week in September and thus far in October. I will travel nearly every week of November, except the week of Thanksgiving (and that is by choice).

When I travel to various conferences, conventions and meetings I have the opportunity to meet a lot of  interesting people. Which brings me to a recurringly awkward (and sometimes offensive) occurrence: The Introduction. I have no problems with introducing myself to people or striking up a conversation, but what I do have a problem with is people automatically assuming that I am an intern. I understand that I may look young, but why do people think it is appropriate to ask me, "Are you an intern?" or ever so presumptuously ask, "When did you start your internship?" What further exacerbates me is when I respond that I am not an intern, they almost always follow up with, "Were you an intern?" No. No. and No. I am not an intern. I was not an intern and I do not appreciate this line of questioning. Now that I have answered your question, why do you now assume that I must be a former intern. What is that about? Why can't you just ask me what I do and let me explain it? Why is it so important for you to make this distinction. Will our conversation be different if I had answered yes?

At first this did not bother me (about 3 years or so), but lately it has been getting under my skin. I used to hear it and take it as a compliment, "Awww they think I look young enough to be an intern." I would travel to athletic events and folks would assume I am one of the athletes.  People would always ask, "What school do you play at?" Depending on where I was going or coming from I would reply with, "I run track at Georgia, play volleyball at Butler, etc ..." I loved that one.

I remember arguing with a woman about being in the command center office we set up at an event. She kept trying to tell me I couldn't go in there and that I needed to check in and find my team. I gave her the suck-my-teeth, eye-roll-and-walk-away move and continued to where I was supposed to be. She had egg all over her face when she followed me into the command center and my executive vice president let her kindly know that I was presenting at the conference.

It didn't dawn on me that this might not be a good thing until earlier this year when I was in a meeting a the NFL offices. This was the second time we convened on this particular topic. A woman whom I have met and worked with previously, introduced herself to me and then asked "Are you an intern?" I replied no and that I have been working with this organization for five years. I casually reminded her of the things we had worked on together. That interaction opened my eyes to the fact that not only do they think I am an intern, they also don't know who I am. I have worked in this industry for five years and people I have worked with before didn't remember me. That is a problem. It opened my eyes to the fact that maybe they don't just think I look young, but something else about me might be giving them the impression that I am an intern. I pride myself on my appearance and the clothes I wear on business trips, so I don't think that is it, but I am not so arrogant as to rule it out as a possibility. Maybe its my haircut? It does make me look 12.

The girl on the right is in High School. This was an event where I was asked several times to find my team
My most recent occurrence was during a meeting last week in San Diego. I found an empty table at the awards luncheon and decided that I'd let the people come to me. That sounds more arrogant that it really is. My intention was to find a seat where I could see the stage without turning my neck (I am still nursing a neck injury from a bad car accident two years ago) and to instead of looking for someone to sit next to/network with, I would just sit down and see who else sat down as well. Kind of like natural selection, but not really. A co-worker sat on my left and women from other organizations joined us. The woman on my right immediately introduced herself and her organization. My co-worker and I did the same. A few minutes later, she turns to me and says, "When did you start your internship?" I replied, "Excuse me?" I was trying to give her an opportunity to ask that question differently. She didn't take the bait and repeated her question as if I didn't hear her "When did you start your internship?" Then I had to let her know, "I am not an intern." Perplexed, she followed with "When did you finish your internship?" I took a slow deep breath, finished chewing my bread and replied "I was never an intern. I am an associate director." With egg all over her face she tried to backtrack with "Oh you work for ____. That is such a great organization to work for." Girl bye! I have no interest in talking to you anymore. Why she couldn't just ask me what I do, I have no idea. Why did she have to assume some forgone conclusion? She could have afforded me the same respect I gave her in asking "What do you do for your organization?" What is so hard about asking an open-ended question? This way you don't put your foot in your mouth (or put toe jam on an idiot cracker as Roxy from Army Wives said on the show once.)

I know it was a little petty to ignore her for the rest of the 2 hour luncheon and not engage in conversation with her or her colleagues, but I was thoroughly annoyed by this encounter. I am not sure what the lesson to be learned from all of this is because I can't and won't try to control what people think of me or the idiotic things they say. Perhaps I can preempt the awkwardness by introduce myself first, including my position.

at the conference posing with the Queen and sharing a laugh with Oprah

Does this sort of thing happen to y'all? How do you handle it? I would love to hear your suggestions on how I can respond professionally.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Qualcomm Stadium Recap: Colts vs Chargers

Last weekend, I was in San Diego for a conference and with the flight and hotel already paid for I seized the opportunity to check off another stadium from my NFL Bucket List. Before the game, I grabbed the most amazing fish tacos with a friend.

As we ate, I was accosted by locals for wearing my Colts jersey. It was all in good fun though as most of them ended the conversation with "as long as you aren't wearing silver and black."

We got to the game before kickoff and checked out the various food vendors. 

I will say that of the few stadiums I have been to thus far, Qualcomm definitely has the most eccentric selection of food. There was a "Farm to Fan" stand with fresh, organic food offerings, large Fat Tuesday-esque frozen drinks and tacos at almost every concession stand. So far Qualcomm gets my vote for best food.

After going to the wrong section, we finally made it to our awesome seats. My view of the field was great, but the field was slanted so I could see the action on the goal line to the 30, but each yard after that was harder and harder to see. I couldn't get a accurate picture so you'll have to take my word for it. I was surprised to see so many Colts fans in the stadium. The row behind me was full of Colts fans who traveled from Indianapolis. And there were lots of empty seats. Although, this game was supposedly sold out, a lot of those ticket holders didn't show. I was in row 9 and there were empty seats in row 1. How are front row seats at a Monday Night Football game empty?

The rest of the game was mildly exciting, but honestly I was very tired. The game started at 5:30 Pacific time, but I felt every bit of 8:30 pm Eastern and 11:30 pm when it ended.  To liven things up, a fight broke out sometime before half time. Later that night, I saw a report on the news that this was the third game this season where fights broke out. To combat the problem, San Diego law enforcement will now place undercover officers throughout the stadium ... in opposing team jerseys. That should be interesting. Be careful who you talk trash to at Qualcomm.

How could I forget this awesome couple?

They were all over each other the entire game. She found every excuse to touch his butt and his Lion mask captured a lot of attention.

I don't know where the lion's mane ends and his begins.