Hoping I Didn’t Do Too Much the Day Before the NYC Marathon

So, after the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, I realized that I had plenty of time to head back to my hotel, shower, change and make it to Madison Square Garden for the All Access Tour. I was feeling great after the 5K. So, I thought….why not?

I’m so glad that I did this tour! It was so much fun!

Out tour started on the main concourse. All round this area are pictures of memorable moments that happened at Madison Square Garden over the years. It’s  not limited to sports either.

Yep. The Laker fan in me loved that Kobe was featured for his performance that set a record for most points scored at the Garden.

By the way, if you want to do a search for these moments, there’s this large touch screen for you to find your moment and where it’s located in the concourse. I love this idea!

Here’s one moment I thought was fascinating. On the night before the World Trade Center was attacked by those two airplanes, Michael Jackson gave his final public concert ever….and it was at Madison Square Garden.

Not only do they have the small pictures, but they also have displays around the Garden of the MOST memorable moments. I remember this one. The time John Sparks dunked over Michael Jordan and Horace Grant.

Madison Square Garden also hosted the first fight between Ali and Frazier. By the way….as a fun fact. The current Madison Square Garden is not the first. I believe Madison Square Garden existed in three other locations before landing where it is at currently.

So, after heading around the main concourse, we headed to the Suites.

Ahhhh, the suite life! If only I were rich enough to afford these kind of seats.

The view from the suites is pretty great.

They even have monitors in front of the front row!

Oh to dream! Madison Square Garden has a level of suites that are on the floor level as well. They aren’t like these ones because you have to walk out to your court-side seats.

Next, we headed up to the seats on the cat walk, high above.

The tour guide called these the best seats in the house because you can see everything.

If you notice, there are seats behind me. I asked the tour guide if those seats have an obstructed view because of the seats on the cat walk. He told me that there were no obstructed view seats at the Garden. Pretty impressive!

After the cat-walk, we headed down to the locker rooms. Here’s where the NY Knicks and NY Rangers would enter the court or ice.

Here I am in the New York Knicks locker room!

Across the hall is the locker room for the New York Rangers hockey team.

We ended the tour with a view from the floor level seating. We couldn’t go out because they were setting up for an UFC event. But, all in all, this was a spectacular tour!

After grabbing some genuine New York Pizza, I was off on the subway to Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, when I got to the team store for a tour, I was informed that they weren’t doing tours until Monday. Oh well. Sometimes, the best laid plans don’t work out.

Since I was there, I decided to at least walk around the stadium.

I’ve got to admit. Having a “Babe Ruth Plaza” with not Babe Ruth statue is a failure in my book. Come on Yankees. Possibly the greatest player of all time and no statue?

This looked like the main entrance gate for the stadium.

Had to take the selfie with the main Yankee logo!

On one side of the stadium, there are displays like the one above for some of the more famous Yankee players over the years. This one is for ace closer Mariano Rivera.

Back in the Yankee Store, we got a brief glimpse into the stadium. Although, no views of the field. I may have not taken the tour I wanted, but at least I got to see what I could of this stadium. Maybe next time.

Up next was a meet-up with the NYC Marathon Runners Facebook group that helped me so much in planning my trip to the NYC. On the way, I passed the place where the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld worked!

So, I had to take a selfie. Right?

I also passed by the “Hope Sculpture.” This was all on my way to the Hyatt Midtown for the meetup.

Photo Courtesy of Christine Cook

This group was so much fun to interact with and helped me so much as I was getting ready for this trip to New York City! Even though I didn’t know them as much as I know people from the #Team Run Disney or the We Run Social groups, I learned that runners are runners.

Photo Courtesy of Christine Cook


Once we get started talking around running and our past races, it’s all good. I even met some folks that are fellow runDisney fans!

After the meet-up, I decided to head out to find Tom’s Restaurant. It’s the one that they used as the facade for Monk’s on Seinfeld. I misread my directions and realized that I should have gotten off the subway right as the doors were closing. Oh well, I got off at the next stop and realized I was just a little further up Broadway than I would have been otherwise. As I walked back, I passed by Columbia University. While this is a fantastic university on it’s own. It’s also the place where Carol Seaver of Growing Pains went to college!

Not too far from Columbia was Tom’s Restaurant.

It was a Seinfeld kind of afternoon! After getting a couple pics, I had to decide whether to go by the Apollo Theater or not. This is where I was thinking hard about the fact that I would be running a marathon the next day. So, I opted to skip the Apollo Theater.

I did make my way to Carnegie Hall, though. It was sort of on the way to dinner.

It’s interesting how Carnegie Hall is just sort of there. It’s not like Lincoln Center which has a massive amount of space around it. Carnegie Hall is just sort of among other buildings.

Remember when I said I was going to “sing at Carnegie Hall?” Well, the video above is that. I’ve got to admit that I felt totally weird doing this. As strangers passed by, I thought about skipping this part. But, then, I thought…why not? These strangers will never see me again. So, I launched into my song.

After singing “at” Carnegie Hall, I headed off to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for my carbo-loading spaghetti and meatballs. Ellen’s is as advertised. The entertainment was spectacular and totally fun!

This is the best video I got out of the night.

I’m kind of bummed that this video didn’t turn out better because the waiter killed it on this song from Mulan. There were some spectacular performances and some that were just good ones. I was pretty impressed to find out that Ellen’s wait staff has placed approximately 220 performers on Broadway in its history!

As for the meal itself…well, the food wasn’t the best. I had read this ahead of time. However, I thought…how can you screw up spaghetti and meatballs? Well, the meatballs were mostly cold when I got them. The spaghetti was fine. So, I skipped the meatballs and just ate as much of the spaghetti as I could. One thing I won’t complain about is the portion size. It’s more like a meal for 2. I’m sure that I could have shared my meal with the wife (is she were there) and we would have finished it. However, once I saw the plate, I knew I wasn’t going to finish the entire thing and was okay with that. I went to Ellen’s for the entertainment and I wasn’t disappointed in the entertainment at all.

After a fun time at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, I headed back to my hotel to chill out and spend some time Facetiming my wife and boy. I got back to the hotel around 3 hours before I needed to get to sleep for the big day. I had an amazing day before the race. My hope was that the three hours in the hotel room would be enough down time to leave me ready for the big race. The finish line was calling and it was time to get some sleep.

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Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K was Too Much Fun for Words!

So, on the day before the NYC Marathon, I was up a little early to run in the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. I was pretty excited for this race from the moment I first heard about it. This run would serve as my final run before the big marathon. I took it light and easy. I planned on using my marathon run/walk intervals with occasional stops for pics. There was no need to burn up all my energy on the 5K. The whole reason I signed up for this race was to get to the finish line feeling good. Since both this 5K and the NYC Marathon finish at the same place, I thought this race would be good because I’d get to that finish line at least once with a huge smile on my face and feeling good. Read more ›

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Finishing Day 2 of My NYC Marathon Trip with Phantom of the Opera!

So, after the Expo, I headed back to my hotel to drop off the merchandise I purchased. Then, I was back on the subway heading to Lincoln Center to get a tour.

My subway stop was Columbus Circle Station.

I had to walk from Columbus Circle to Lincoln Center. Don’t worry, it wasn’t very far at all.

After getting my ticket for the tour, I had a little time. So, I walked over to Julliard.

It was my dream, back in the day, to go to Julliard for grad school. I was a trumpet player with dreams of playing in a symphony orchestra one day. Sadly, it was a dream not meant to be. I hit wall in my progress and left those dreams of being an orchestral trumpet player behind. So, being at Julliard was a thrill for me! If only was a little better, I might have gone to school here! Even though I’m not an orchestral trumpet player and never went to Julliard, I think my life is pretty okay. Working for Disney isn’t a bad gig at all.

After a quick walk around Julliard and a visit to their bookstore, it was time to head off for my tour. Sadly, with all the things going on at Lincoln Center, we didn’t get to take very many photos. I did get this one in the main lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House. The stairs you seen in the background are not part of the structure of the building. They actually float! Also, the way the stairs were designed allow you to float up and down them. True story! At the Metropolitan Opera, they perform almost every day. This building is so much more than meets the eye. There was a tech rehearsal going on when we were there. We got to look in the theatre, but no photos allowed because of the rehearsal.

As part of the Lincoln Center complex there is a unique part to it. Lincoln Center is home to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Yep. A performing arts library. In this library, among other things, they have video of every Broadway show that has been performed! If you wanted to see the original cast of West Side Story, you could check it out and watch it at the library! The library also has a little theater where many free performances are held. Next time I’m in New York City, I might have to schedule a day just to hang out here!

Lincoln Center was opened in the 1960’s. The land was a dump before they started working on it. The Rockefeller’s were one of the families behind building Lincoln Center. As they were in construction, they used the land to film West Side Story. So, while we were on our tour, we were also on a movie set! In the years since it’s opened. Lincoln Center has expanded and they have made it a really nice, relaxing place to just hang out. They added things like what you see above.

Our tour ended by taking in the last 15 minutes from this matinee performance of the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. We watched the final 15 minutes of Rhapsody in Blue from a special room to the side of the stage. It was seriously amazing!

At the end of our tour, the tour guide snapped this pic of me in Lincoln Center.

By the way, the fountain puts on quite a show!

My tour ended late. So, I wasn’t going to make the last tour of Radio City Music Hall as planned. I knew this was a long shot before I arrived in NYC. So, instead, I walked around and made my way to the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and the Performing Arts. This is where the school that inspired the TV Show and movie “Fame” is currently housed. This current location allowed two performing arts high schools to combine into one.

On my way back to my hotel to get ready for Phantom of the Opera, I stopped by the School of Performing Arts which is where the school that inspired “Fame” was located when the movie and TV Show were filmed. I believe they used the outside of this school as their facade.

Being a fan of the show and movie, I had to stop by. After all, this school was literally right behind the hotel I stayed at!

Since my tour of Radio City Music Hall was a bust, I decided to make my way over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I would have to walk through Central Park to get there. So, I decided to stop by the Marathon Pavilion on the way.

I’m glad I did! I got my first glimpse of the finish line for the NYC Marathon!

Also, right by where the the race MC’s would be is the statue of Fred Lebow…founder of the NYC Marathon.

I’m not sure what this is.

It could just be an area to watch the race. Or an area where the media could interview the elites? I don’t know.

I ventured inside the pavilion and looked for my name on this wall.

There is is! I’m official!

It was just below the first “L” in the picture.

I loved this map of the race route!

After hanging out at the pavilion for a little bit, I was off through Central Park. My first stop on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the Bethesda Fountain. I can just hear “How Does She Know?” from “Enchanted!” Of course, many films and television shows have used the Bethesda Fountain. This is the first one that came to mind.

I also found the Alice in Wonderland sculpture! Getting this picture wasn’t easy. There were some kids that had their fun climbing all over it. Once they were done, I was ready for this pic.

Then, it was off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I only had about an hour and a half to spend in the museum. I know. Not enough time. But, it did give me a taste of this famous museum.

I loved these guys!

Some of the areas were just so grand in scale.

The stained glass windows were beautiful!

This area I passed as I was attempting to leave. Ancient Egypt artifacts were amazing! I wished that I found this area earlier.

This view of Central Park is not only amazing, but featured in “When Harry Met Sally.” I didn’t remember it when I was taking the photo. However, on my plane flight home, I watched this movie. When I saw the scene in the movie, I was like….I was just there!

Sadly, my time at the Met came to an end and I headed back to the hotel. Along the way I passed by the theatre where Wicked is playing! I love how all these great Broadway shows are so close to each other!

After getting to my hotel, I needed a change of clothes because I wasn’t prepared for how warm it was going to be that day. Then, I headed off to get my ticket at Will Call for Phantom of the Opera!

I went to Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar for dinner. The meal was amazing! It was too much food, but oh so good! I chose this spot because of how close it is to Phantom of the Opera.

Before I knew it, I was off to see Phantom of the Opera on BROADWAY!

I didn’t think I’d get to take pics inside the theater. But, so many others were taking pics, that I had to take a few myself. As you can see, I had a pretty decent view. Let’s just say, I LOVED every minute of this performance of Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen this musical many times (the first time was with Michael Crawford as the Phantom!). I love the show. But, seeing on Broadway made this one special. Plus, the cast was AMAZING! When Christine got to singing “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” in the second half, I was moved to tears. The show was well sung and powerfully acted. It was everything I had hoped it would be and something I’ll not soon forget.

After Phantom, I made my way over to Carlos’s Bake Shop. This is the Times Square shop of TV’s Cake Boss for an after show dessert.

Y’all, the food looked AMAZING!

How do you choose ONE thing?

I was good and chose a Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake. It was the BOMB! I’m sure that anything I would have chosen would have been amazing as well.

The stop at Carlos’s Bake Shop was exactly as advertised. It was a great way to end a great first full day in New York City!

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From Top of the Rock to the NYC Marathon Expo – NYC Marathon Trip Report

There’s so much to cover on this trip because I really did cram all I could of NYC into this trip. So, I’m going to have to divide a few of the days into parts. For Day 2, this is totally necessary and you’ll see why.

I deliberated a lot before heading to New York about whether or not to hit up both the Top of the Rock AND the Empire State Building. Once I found out that the New York Pass did not cover the Tour of NBC Studios, it made things really easy. I should start my trip at the Top of the Rock (so I can actually see Central Park in the daylight) and end my trip at the Empire State Building. Read more ›

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Let the NYC Marathon Trip Reports Begin

I can’t believe that this trip began almost 2 weeks ago! In the vein of keeping it real, this trip almost didn’t happen. On the day I was supposed to fly, my irrational fear of getting airsick almost kept me from even driving to LAX. Thankfully, my wife stepped in and told me to get out the door. I didn’t need to let some jitters derail me from this trip I have been dreaming of for almost 2 years. Boy, was she right. I’m glad I stepped out the door and made it to LAX. From there, this trip was pure awesomeness! Read more ›

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My Next Race
Hollywood 5KApril 8th, 2018
4 months to go.
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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Full Marathon - 6:21:46 - 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon
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