Thursday, November 4th
On Thursday morning, Chad and I boarded a plane in Lexington, KY that was bound for the bright lights of New York City. I was so excited to get to the airport and get the gears in motion for our vacation to New York. We had been planning for the trip for exactly one year - Chad's parents called to invite us to go with them to New York for the 2010 NYC Marathon on the day of the 2009 NYC marathon. When we found out that we would be going, I immediately entered the lottery for the marathon. I didn't get in, but I was ok with that. I was looking forward to being a Grade A Tourist on this trip - walking for blocks, taking pictures of everything, and eating all of the food that NYC has to offer - without having to worry about resting up for Marathon Sunday.
After a short flight to Charlotte, NC., we switched planes and headed to LaGuardia. Our flight was scheduled to arrive around 1:30, and Chad's parents would be arriving from Louisiana around 2:00. Once we arrived at LaGuardia we picked up our bags and then managed to successfully use the airport shuttle to get from the US Airways terminal over to the Continental terminal. Now I grew up in Houston, which is a pretty big city, but it is absolutely nothing like New York. And Chad gets nervous in big crowds. And our time in central Kentucky has us accustomed to a slower pace of life. It was kind of like "country comes to town" there for a few minutes, so successfully managing the airport shuttle on our own was quite an accomplishment.
Once we made it to the Continental terminal we staked out their baggage claim area and then headed over to a small food court to get a snack. After splitting a piece of pizza, we headed back to the baggage claim and Chad's parents arrived pretty soon. It was so good to see them! I felt much better after we met up with them - it was so comforting to know that we wouldn't have to traverse through New York on our own anymore. Even though at this point we had only had to manage the airport on our own, ha ha.
It was a cold and rainy day, and a lot of flights were delayed. A limo driver came up to us and asked if we needed a ride - he said his client's flight was delayed, so he could give us a good deal on a quick ride to our hotel. We couldn't really pass up the offer to arrive at our hotel in a white stretch limo, so we followed him to the parking garage. I probably should have been thinking "this guy is probably going to take us to an old warehouse, kill us, and then dump us in the East River" but all I was thinking was "limo, limo, limo, limo." We hopped in the limo and headed to mid-town Manhattan.
We pulled up to the Hampton Inn - Times Square North and got checked in. This hotel was perfect - the rooms were very comfortable, they had a 24/7 complimentary coffee and tea bar, and a free continental breakfast every morning. But the best part was the location. We were in the heart of midtown - just a few blocks from Broadway, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, and Central Park. It was awesome and I highly recommend this hotel.
After we got checked in and dropped our bags off, we headed across the street to the Cosmic Diner for a late lunch. It felt very Seinfeld-esque, and I ordered the chicken noodle soup. It was the perfect meal for a cold and rainy day. After lunch, we met up with Mr. Doug and Mrs. Leslie Gaithright. Mr. Doug is Mr. David's running partner, and they have been planning on running this race together for years.
(Note: even after five years of marriage, I still refer to Chad's parents as Mr. David and Mrs. Suzy, and Chad refers to my parents as Mr. Ron and Mrs. Jan - this might seem weird, but this is what we called each others parents when we were dating, and it just stuck. I can't imagine calling them David and Suzy, although I know they wouldn't mind at all. Must be a Southern thing! I will be referring to them a lot in these posts, so I just wanted to give a little explanation!)
So after lunch we met up with the Gaithrights and hopped on a free shuttle bus from our hotel to the marathon expo at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. I was really looking forward to going to the expo, even though I wasn't running! I knew there would be all kinds of vendors and speakers and interesting stuff to see. Once we got to the convention center, Mr. David and Mr. Doug got in line to pick up their packets, and the rest of us walked around the expo. I saw Bart Yasso speaking at the Runner's World booth, and then I saw Mark Remy signing books. I bought a shirt and a hat at the Asics' Village (which was amazing, I could have done some serious damage in there), and then bought shirts from the New Balance booth and the Mizuno booth. All of the vendors had such cool New York 2010 merchandise that I just had to pick some up. Plus I had been saving for a year for this very moment! I was glad we went to the expo on the very first night so that I would know what kind of spending money I had to work with for the rest of the trip. : ) Who knows what kind of damage I will do when I finally run the dang thing!
After the expo, we headed back our neck of the woods and walked around Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza and then stopped at Junior's for dinner. I had a BLT that was pretty amazing. We were pretty stuffed, but we had to try their world famous cheesecake. For dessert we all split a black and white cookie and a piece of original cheesecake. It was incredible - definitely worth the hype!
Here are some pictures from Day 1: