Number’s ready…
Lucky numbers 7 & 3’s, CHECK
Clothes are laid out…
sneak peak at special shirts, I SPY a SHAMROCK

Shoes are laced…

er, not quite.  

Happy 2012 Yuengling SHAMROCK Marathon Weekend!  

My training buddy Cait and I have been soo excited for this weekend to get here, who doesn’t love a fun run + beer on St. Patrick’s Day?? Gotta love that this race is sponsored by Yuengling and every runner gets FREE beer after the race.  Calories don’t count on race days. 
After work this evening, we headed to the Virginia Beach Convention Center for the race Expo to pick up our race packets and t-shirts.  
And to meet this little man: LARRY THE LEPRECHAUN.  Who on second glance looks terrified of me.  I actually look paler than a ghost so I really don’t blame him, I would probably be scared of me too!

After browsing for a bit, but not too long because I don’ we found the LIVESTRONG booth.  Cait is a ROCKSTAR Livestrong fundraiser, like seriously, its her thang.  She raised over $1,000 just this race alone for the Livestrong Foundation, started by Lance Armstrong.  The Livestrong Foundation raises money for cancer research, and provides assistance and support to patients and their families impacted by cancer.   

J&A Racing who puts on the races at the Oceanfront teamed up with LIVESTRONG–
LIVE LOVE RACE (and raise money for an awesome cause!)

 While the sun was still shining (barely) we booked it to the next event of the evening.  Because of her rockstarness, Cait had been invited to a VIP dinner on the beach with LIVESTRONG.  And she invited ME as her guest of honor.  I mean who am I? And why are these inspiring people like Cait friends with me? Well I guess I am kinda cool, and I love fundraising and doing good things so I suppose we have a few things in common.  Plus Cait is my #1 running buddy 🙂

This picture is actually lying.  MASSIVE thunderstorms had hit by this point, but luckily we were in the comfort of a tent that still gave us a view of the water and lightening. 

 Watching summer thunderstorms happens to be one of my all time favorite activities, and tonight totally tempted me that summer had already arrived.  (fail on taking a picture of the lightening by the way, you’ll have to take my word for it)  Leis, special lemon drop cocktails, and beach themed table arrangements only further tricked me into thinking it was June already.

 How cute is she?  OH thats right, this was about thirty seconds after she asked me “Did we close the sunroof?”  The color drained from my cheeks, because we were a good five blocks from the car and it was raining cats and dogs.  So A) I wasn’t going to go back to my MINI to check on it and B) it was too late to prevent any damage, my car would’ve been filled to the brim already.  Unnecessary anxiety.  I promptly excused myself and headed to the bar for lemon drop #2. 

WARNING: Food porn to follow. 

While we sipped our cocktails, liquor for me and red wine for Cait, we were served some DELISH apps.  So we tried one of each. 

Crab cake: roll was sub-par, but crab meat was juicy.  I do prefer my crab cakes slightly less fried, but lettuce was a crisp bonus!  See Lemon Drop in background with yummy sugar rimmed glass plasticware.  PS I rarely drink cocktails, usually I do liquor + soda water + lime, so tonight was an extra special treat-  not too sour, not too sweet!
A trio of bruschettas: apple/brie, smoked salmon/roasted tomato, spinach artichoke- Actually ended up not trying the apple/brie even though I absolutely adore brie (I think it was because I had had a green apple in the afternoon, so I was apple-ed OUT! I am weird about food sometimes, but gotta listen to your palate!)
Spinach artichoke was nothing special, but SMOKED SALMON was incredible.

I actually went back for a second taste of the smoked salmon bruschetta, and was lucky enough to have a special table delivery!  Addition included avocado, YUM-O.  Funniest part of the night was that Cait gave up bready carbs for lent, so we literally had a tiny pile of bread on our table.  And were joking with the waiter about it.  Cait gave up bread and I have cut majorly back on sugar (except for those twizzlers I had at work, oops!) so we were quite the pair. 

After appetizers was a buffet style main course.  SO MUCH GREEN (you would think it was St. Patrick’s Day or something!).  These people get the VEG-LUTION.  I just made that up, embarrassing, but I think it explains my obsession with veggies.

Clockwise from the lemon: salad with tomatos/greens/mozzarella and a sweet balsamic fig dressing, fingerling potatoes (soft on inside, crispy on outside), roasted salmon, braised pork, and asparagus!

 Of course I had to try everything, except the chicken pasta dish.  It was super cheesy and my salad had plentttyyyy of cheese to satisfy that part of my palate.  Pork was AWESOME though.  Yum.  I need to make a pork tenderloin at home next week, so sweet and juicy.  Have also had a love-hate relationship with asparagus over the past year, and today was a LOVE asparagus type of day.  I think I don’t like that they make my pee smell, but I am gradually getting over that issue (TMI, sorry!).  In other news, roasted/baked/sauteed salmon is off of my palate list.  I think I have been enjoying salmon smoked so often that cooking it any other way just hasn’t appealed to me! Strange how taste buds work huh?

Salad was by far my favorite part of the meal though.  Cait and I joked that we could’ve just had a whole plate of salad.  The cheese made it SO filling! Absolutely fantastic. 

You don’t think my cutting back on sugar meant skipping tonight do you? Absolutely not, especially with LIVESTRONG themed desserts.  As delicious as dinner/drinks/appetizers were, these totally stole the show. 

lemon zest cupcake with raspberry cream frosting

Psssst between you, me, Cait and our waiter, she may or may not have indulged in some carbilicous [def tried to spell check that word, yet another one of my original vocab words]  Totally worth it though.  I even sampled a bite!  But this was more of my type dessert:

Chocolate mousse topped brownie with fresh whipped cream.
No, didn’t finish the mousse, but yes, definitely ate the fondant
LIVESTRONG bracelet on top.  What a cute detail!

 Following dessert was a short but sweet recognition ceremony for all of the top fundraising individuals and teams.  One man alone raised almost $10,000!!  2nd and 3rd placers raised $2,000-$3,000.  Still soo impressive.

I was blown away at the intimacy of tonights event.  LIVESTRONG has also touched me as a five star charity, but tonight made me realize how real the people are who work for it.  It is a really a global organization with local ties.  The CFO, based in Austin, TX along with tons of his staff + local volunteers were there tonight, and all seemed to have personal connections with the race directors and a sincere interest in meeting the VIP fundraisers.  After tonight, I am already pumped to help out Cait next year, and maybe even join forces with her to try to raise $3,000+ dollars.  Think we can do it?  I think we can.  Nothin is lucky about cancer, that is for sure. 

Stay posted for my sunglasses picture of the night, it is going to be emailed to me sometime tomorrow 🙂  Its a fun one, I promise!

updated to add:

For now I am going to leave ya with the LIVESTRONG manifesto as they call it, and as it was read tonight and presented to J&A Racing for being STELLAR partners in this event.

We believe in life.

Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
We kick in the moment you’re diagnosed.
We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage.
We believe in your right to live without pain.
We believe in information. Not pity.
And in straight, open talk about cancer.
With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. Your healthcare team. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with.
This is no time to pull punches.
You’re in the fight of your life.
We’re about the hard stuff.
Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion.
And a third, or a fourth, if that’s what it takes.
We’re about preventing cancer. Finding it early. Getting smart about clinical trials.
And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends.
It’s your life. You will have it your way.
We’re about the practical stuff.
Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers.
It’s knowing your rights.
It’s your life.
Take no prisoners.
We’re about the fight.
We’re your advocate before policymakers. Your champion within the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs.
And we know the fight never ends.
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.
Founded and inspired by Lance Armstrong, one of the toughest cancer survivors on the planet.

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