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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#130- REVEL Canyon City Marathon!

As a REVEL ambassador, I have run most of the REVEL races, except Canyon City in Azusa, CA (just outside of Los Angeles), but since I was not running The New York City Marathon this year, my schedule opened up and I was super happy to finally get to run this one.

Now, since I already have a few marathons run in California, I thought I might just run the half here, but after running a 4:27 at the Chicago Marathon (a week after the Yeti 100 Mile Endurance Run) with little effort and lots of walking and just having fun, I wondered how far off my fitness was from that 2019 Boston Qualifier? 

I did not have the best year of running this year with all that went on with me physically and emotionally, but I have worked hard the last few months getting my groove back. I have dropped a lot of the weight I put on and started training on a more regular schedule outside of just running races. So, I decided to give the Canyon City Marathon a go, just to see where I was.

I flew into Ontario, CA Friday morning. My plan was to just get and Uber to the expo, but when I saw that I could rent a car for $37.57 for the whole weekend (less than a one was Uber from the airport), I just rented a car. I was so glad I did.   


They were out of economy cars so I got a free upgrade. I think it suits me. 😂


I drove straight to the expo and picked up my race packet and looked around before starting my shift at the information booth.

Got my compression on at the expo. I NEED these for home!

Selfie at the expo!

After I got my stuff and looked around, I had an hour or so to kill, so I drove around Azusa and hit a grocery store for some quick breakfast items.


I got back to the expo and started my shift early just to have something to do. I was fun answering all the runner's questions from "Where are the buses picking us up?" to "How cold will it be at the start?"

So great to see fellow Manaic and REVEL ambassadors, Maria and Ed! This was a special race for Ed as this would be his 100th marathon!

After the expo, I went and had dinner at a place called Papa Pizza Pie. It was a pizza and pasta place that was pretty informal, but they had great pizza. I ordered a small pizza and took the rest back to the Airbnb I was staying at.

Since I wasn't sure I would be able to come until pretty much the last minute, I didn't book a hotel. That was OK, because I have been having great luck with Airbnb and saving a lot of money on hotel expenses. I found a tiny little private room in a house about two miles from the start. There was nothing in it, but a twin bed and a desk, but I would just be sleeping and showering there, so for $25 a night, I grabbed it. It was clean and quiet so that was all I needed.

I needed to be at the bus to the start no later than 4:30AM, so I was up at 3:45AM. I got dressed, made a bagel and cream cheese and stopped at the 7-11 to for a cup of hot tea for the bus ride.

When I got in line for the bus, I saw my friend Jenn Pellegrino and her friend Stephanie! We got on the bus and started the most frighting bus ride EVER!! This had nothing to do with the bus or the driver, but the road is very crooked and steep. Every turn looked like the bus was going over the edge and when you are afraid of heights, well it was pretty scary! 

Jenn, Stephanie and I trying to not look out the windows. Can you see the fear in our faces?

The start area was cold, but REVEL always does a great job of having extra Mylar blankets and gloves up there to keep as warm as possible. There were plenty of port-a-potties with pretty short lines considering I was on one of the later buses.

Just before the start we gathered as many Manaics as we could find and took a photo, loaded our drop bags on the truck and the race got started! 

Maniacs at the Start!

From the very start the scenery is gorgeous! Looking at the elevation chart, it looks like you just have a nice straight downhill run to the finish. If you believe that you would be wrong. Yes this has some great downhill sections on the first half, but the course has a lot of bends. I tried to run the tangents the best I could, but it was tough. 

Looks easy right? No.

It is so crooked!

The downhill sections are fast, so it can be hard to hold back. I was warned by many people about the hills in the second half, so I did my best to take it easy. If Big Cottonwood has taught me anything, it is to hold back enough to have legs left for the hard parts of the course.   

The course is gorgeous!

I the first half felt great. I wasn't going hard and was staying well under my BQ pace!

Mile 1 -8:49
Mile 2- 8:22
Mile 3- 9.15 (Bathroom Break #1)
Mile 4- 8:09 (EASY GIRL!)
Mile 5- 8:26
Mile 6- 8:40
Mile 7- 8:41
Mile 8- 8:30
Mile 9- 8:27
Mile 10- 8:29
Mile 11- 8:25
Mile 12- 8:27
Mile 13- 10:09 (Bathroom Break #2)

Stephanie and I having fun!


Can you see the runners?

Love these plants!

Still feeling GREAT!


The second half of the course is where the hills were. Now when I look at my elevation stats, the hills here didn't seem that significant. I guess they weren't if you were going in a straight line, they were long switch backs that made them feel twice as long and even going easy, 13 miles of real downhill still takes a toll on the legs.

Looking at my splits, the first climb came at mile 14.

Mile 14- 8:44
Mile 15- 9:35
Mile 16- 10:51

Just past mile 15 and still feeling good.

I felt OK on this hill and even the smaller climbs. Even though my pace slowed, I was still able to run them.

Mile 17- 9:20
Mile 18- 8:17


The next long climb started at mile 18.

Mile 19- 10:11
Mile 20- 10:31

Now going into this race, my intention was not to BQ, but to see how far I needed to be to get that 2019 BQ this year, but once I knew I had a really good shot at it, I didn't want to lose it! I knew if I could get to mile 20 in three hours, I would just have to maintain just under 10:00 miles for that BQ. I hit mile 20 in 3:00:18! YES! I HAVE GOT THIS!

Mile 21- 9:03
Mile 22- 8:54
Mile 23- 9:49

JUST STAY THE COURSE! YOU HAVE GOT THIS!!

At mile 23, I could feel my legs wanting to quit, but I pressed on the best I could.

Mile 24- 10:34 NOOOO! YOU MUST STAY UNDER 10:00!!

I am starting to struggle.

Then out of nowhere just before mile 25, my legs just would not move. COME ON LEGS GO!! They said no and I had to walk. I ran a little and my legs violently protested.

Mile 25- 11:37
Mile 26- 11:35
Last .2- 11:15

And just like that, in the last 1.5 miles, my BQ was gone. Final time 4:04:16. 😢


Finishing disappointed. 

After I finished, I sat down disappointed, but I realized that over the past year I had lost a lot of speed and fitness. This was the fastest marathon I had run since May of 2016! I immediately felt gratitude for where I am now. Am I where I want to be? Not yet, but I am headed in the right direction and for that I am proud of myself and I will celebrate that!

I finished!

Jenn, Stephanie and I at the finish!

Robert and I at the finish!

Finally got to see Run It Fast founder Joshua Holmes at a race!

Celebrating with my Cali friends!

I got the Triple Reveler Medal for running my 3rd Revel race this year!

This was definitely the hardest of all the REVEL courses, but it is still a MUST DO! REVEL races are so great. The course is beautiful, the swag is great, you get all your high quality pictures FOR FREE! What more could you ask?

I can't wait for REVEL Mt. Charleston!! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thank You Meb!

In 2009, I ran my first New York City Marathon. I was in a later start wave, so the elites had already been out for 45 minutes before my wave started. The NYC Marathon is one of the most competitive marathons in the world. Winning any of the majors is HUGE, but winning the largest marathon in the world, well that is a game changer.

I remember hitting mile seven or eight in Brooklyn when we started to approach a jumbo-tron. The crowd began to cheer louder and louder. When I got to the jumbo-tron, we saw Meb Keflezighi running down the finish chute in Central Park in first place!

The crowd started chanting USA! USA! Runners (including myself) stopped to witness the first American to win the NYC Marathon since 1982, cross the finish line. I get goosebumps just thinking about how absolutely AMAZING that was!! I ran the rest of that race so inspired. It is a memory I will never forget.

Meb had no idea as he crossed the finish line the effect he had on people miles away in Brooklyn and around the world. We as American were so proud of him.

Meb winning the 2009 NYC Marathon

With a win at the Boston Marathon in 2014, only one year after the bombing, amazing Olympic performances and finishes, that while not his best, showed the world not only what kind of athlete he is, but what kind of man he is. Meb in one word: INSPIRATIONAL.

Today Meb toes the line in the NYC Marathon in his last professional race. I for one will miss seeing him. He is the epitome of good sportsmanship, never giving up, and the poster boy for what you can achieve if you work hard enough. 

Thank you Meb for giving us all someone to root for. 

My BFF Meb and I! 😉

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#129- The Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

How did I end up running the Chicago Marathon the week after running the Yeti 100 Mile Endurance Run? Well that's a good question! 

I didn't put into the lottery as I had already run the Chicago Marathon in 2014, and while I loved it, I wasn't sure I would be able to walk let alone run 26.2 miles after running 100 miles. I did it after my 1st 100, but I was beat up after my 2nd and had to take a full 10 days off before I could even run easy. I didn't want to spend all that money on an entry and not run, especially in a lottery situation. I don't want to take a place and not run. So that was settled...I thought.

As I spoke about in my Yeti 100 post, I was going through a very difficult time at the beginning of the year. Life was not as I thought or wanted it to be, but I was seeking help to get through it and things were looking better. I was told to find ways to help others as when we help others, we ultimately help ourselves. I wasn't sure what I could do as I was already active in my community doing both political and social stuff, but when I was told to do some charity work with something I was passionate about, I drew a blank.

When I brought up this subject to my sister (who is the National Team Manager for Team Challenge, a Marathon, Half Marathon and Triathlon program that raises money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation), she told me that she had one more charity bib left for The Chicago Marathon. I had never run for charity. The thought of asking people for money, was something I wasn't really comfortable with, but I also have two great running friends that suffer with Crohn's and I have seen first hand how awful this disease can be. So, whether I was ready to run or not, I could still do my best to raise money for this great cause and I took the bib.

My fundraising went slowly at first, and even though I had plenty of time to raise the $1,500 I had committed to, I was nervous. I tried many things to raise money and I raised a little but, I needed to do something else. I reached out to a race director I knew and asked if he would donate a bib to his race that I could auction off and he said yes! I thought, heck I have run a lot of races and I know a lot of race directors. I started reaching out to people and to my surprise, 95% of them said yes too! It was then that the Team Challenge Race Auction was born! 35 races donated bibs and because of their generosity and the generosity of the many bidders, I raised over $3,000 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation!! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!! 

I got home from the Yeti 100 on Sunday and was back on a plane to Chicago on Thursday! My knee was still pretty sore from the the fall I took at the race, but I felt pretty confident that I could pull off a finish. I would be slow, but I thought I could finish.

My sister and I were staying at the Travelodge right literally steps from the starting line. Angel was already there when I arrived, so once I settled in we headed to Bar Louie for dinner.

The view from our room!

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$5 Cosmos? Yes Please!!

I know how busy the expo can be at the Chicago Marathon. You can wait in line for an hour to catch a shuttle if you wait until mid-day (shuttles ran back and forth from the Hilton, a block from our hotel), so I wanted to get there as early as possible. Friday morning I was up early and I hit the Starbucks and caught the shuttle!

This was the perfect time to go as I ran into my Arizona Track N' Trail friends, Jim, Linda and Jessica Ballard, whom I had a FANTASTIC time crossing the Grand Canyon with in May!

Love the Ballard's!! 💖

We got to the expo a little late for the opening ceremony celebrating the 40th running of the Chicago Marathon, but we did get there in time to score some cake! LOL!

Heading into the expo!

Cake at 9:30AM? Yes please!! 😋

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First things first! Linda and I enjoying our cake! 😁

After the cake, I went to collect my bib. Shortly after that I ran into one of my dearest friends, Elizabeth Gray. This woman is AMAZING!! She is a domestic violence advocate who is using her running and her voice to create awareness through her foundation Marathons Against Domestic Violence. She was in Chicago running and raising money for a local domestic violence shelter.

Got my bib!

So much fun hanging out with Elizabeth!! 💜💜

Elizabeth and I had such a blast at the expo and decided to get lunch and a cocktail. We grabbed and Uber and met my sister at our hotel and headed over to a Thai place next door. Only problem? No bar!! But the waitress directed us to the liquor store across the street and we picked up a bottle of sake and a bottle of cheap wine (which was just awful)!

Elizabeth and I are classy. This fine vintage had a screw top and was only $7.99! LOL!

After lunch we headed over to "Cloud Gate" (otherwise known as "The Bean"). I didn't get to see it last year (when I came as a spectator), so it was cool to see it in person!

Elizabeth, Angel and I at "Cloud Gate"

After we left "Cloud Gate" we said goodbye to Elizabeth and I helped my sister get things together for the Team Challenge reception later that evening.

Bill Underwood, one of the local Team Challenge Coaches, picked us up to take us to Bar Louie where the reception was being held. It was pouring rain, so even though it was close, it was nice not having to walk there with all the stuff my sister had to carry!

The reception was nice. It was great to not only meet others like me who raised funds (over $110,000 were raised!), but we also got to meet patients, who will benefit from the funds we raised. That was cool! 

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A few Team Challenge Members having fun at the reception!

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Getting off our feet!

After the Team Challenge reception, I grabbed an Uber over to my friend's Gabby and Jim's house for a party he was throwing. Wow! What an affair! Great food, great wine and great conversation. Just a FABULOUS time!! Love you Gabby!!

Great group of people at Gabby and Jim's home!

I love their puppies!! 💖

Gabby gave a bunch of us a ride back to our hotels and I pulled my stuff out to get ready for the International Chicago 5K the next morning! Now, I forgot I registered for this 5K, until my bib came in the mail a week before, but I thought this would be a good judge on whether I was ready and recovered enough to run the marathon. I am so glad I did it! It was a lot of fun! 

Hey It's Stacy! Another friend from the Arizona Track N' Trail group!

At the start with a cup of tea!

Getting ready to run!

We are off!

Looking forward to seeing this during the marathon!

Had to get a selfie!


I loved all the boats!

I finished feeling great!!

What a treat it was to see my friend (and fellow Yankees fan) Jorge volunteering (that is just the kind of guy he is)!

We got cool scarves!!

And a cool medal!

Loved the 5K!

After the 5K, I tagged along with my sister and a few Team Challenge members back to the expo. It was super crowded, but I had a good time watching the video of the course out in the lobby, while everyone did some shopping. That was pretty cool.

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My fellow teammates and I outside the expo!

After the expo, I was getting HANGRY!!! I had not had any food after the 5K and we were rolling up on lunch time. I NEEDED to eat. When everyone was done, we met up with some other team member at a breakfast place called Yolk. I stuffed my face with eggs, pancakes and iced tea until I couldn't move. I was happy.

After breakfast we walked down to Trader Joes and got some breakfast items for race morning and headed back to the hotel for a short nap.

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So much cool art in Chicago!!

After my nap I walked in the pouring rain down to Pizano's Pizza and Pasta for a pre-race dinner! It was fun to see everyone!

Such a great group of people!

I like a slice I can fold, but when in Chicago, you have to go deep dish!

After dinner, I walked back to the hotel (luckily it had stopped raining) and I got ready for race day.

Image may contain: people standingFlat Angie ready with ALL new stuff! If I am in pain or in chafing Hell, it's my own fault, but I WILL bring the ensemble! LOL! 😀

Unfortunately, due to the time change in the Team Challenge photo, I missed the Maniac pic. 😢 It was nice to get to see our whole team together though!

I had a temporary tattoo made with thanking the people who donated to my fundraising (including the RD's that donated bibs)!

2017 Team Challenge Chicago Marathon Team!

After the photo, we wished each other good luck and headed to our corrals. My friend Art and I were in the same corral so we walked over together. When we got into our corral the lines to the port-a-potties were LONG! We walked around the corner and saw a whole bank of potties with literally NO lines. I guess people didn't know about these ones because we got right in with no wait. SCORE!

Fountain pic!

Waiting in the corral!

As Art and I waited in the corral, a man tapped us on the shoulder and shook our hands. He said he has suffered with Crohn's for over 10 years and he thanked us for what we were doing. Art's husband, the FABULOUS Joe Cobucci ( of CNN fame 😉) has Crohn's so he already has a real connection, for me this meant a lot as this helped us realize that we all have a connection whether we know it or not!

It's GO time!

As the gun went off, my plan was just to run by feel. My legs were still a little tired from the 100 miler, but I would just go with the flow. I felt pretty good the first 5K hitting an average 9:33 pace.

So great seeing Jessica and Linda out there!

CHICAGO!!



I was staying pretty consistent hitting the 10K split at a 9:33 pace as well. This was well ahead where I thought I would be the week after running a 100, but it was still early in the race. I took my time enjoying the course. I did a couple Facebook live segments, stopped a the bathroom a couple times and took a lot of photos.

I ALWAYS break for Pomeranians! (Don't tell Zoe. I stopped for this one 3 times along the course!) 

Thank you volunteers!

It doesn't get more FABULOUS than this! Just sayin'

The King and I! LOL!

Around Mile 10.5 we hit Old Town!

At the half, I was still feeling great and I hit the half at a 9:18 pace, but around mile 15, my legs started feeling tired and the heat was starting to get to me.


The Mexican contingency really knew how to support the runners!! They were a blast!

Where's Nacho? 😁


There were a few of these huge misters on the course to cool off the runners!

By mile 18, my pace had slowed to a 10:06 pace. My legs were tired, but the heat was getting me more than my body. I just wanted to get to mile 23 where I knew I would see my sister. I didn't see her at all on the course and a little kick in the pants I knew would get me going! 

Around mile 21, we hit Chinatown!


I got to mile 23 and I scanned the crowd for my sister and the Team Challenge cheer squad, but didn't see them. I was so bummed! Then I ran into a couple other Team Challenge ladies and they told me that she was there. I somehow didn't see her and she didn't see me! Oh well.

With 3 miles left it was time to get this over with. I looked at my watch and knew if I kept going I would run at least a 4:30. That was about 30 minutes faster than I had anticipated! Heck, I was glad just for a finish, but a sub 4:30 on dead legs was a total win in my book!

As we got closer to the finish, I laughed as I saw that jumbo-tron that I mistook for the finish line in 2014, giving all I had left only to get closer to see not only was it not the finish line, we had to turn the corner and go over this hill (which is not that big, but it feels like Mount Everest when you are tired)!

I slugged my way up and over that last hill and there it was, the most beautiful sight in Chicago! Yep, there was the finish line! As I approached the finish line, I could hear the announcer calling out names of finishers and the country they came from. There are hundreds of people finishing at the same time so hearing your name is a long shot. Then it happened, I crossed the finish line an I heard "Hey we have Angie from Team Challenge finishing.....and your lipstick looks great!!! OMG!!! I threw my fist in the air and laughed hysterically as I yelled "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!" If you follow this blog, you know my red lipstick is a thing I do. If I feel bad I can still bring the glamour! LOL!   

There is nothing like seeing the finish line!!

I crossed the finish in 4:27:22 and I was totally cool with that! I walked over, got my medal, blanket, food and a beer and walked the one block back to the hotel.

Getting my medal!

It was too hot for that blanket, but I love how everyone looks like walking baked potatoes!

I LOVE the volunteers!!

Well that was fun!

I walked back to the hotel grabbed a shower and felt so hungry! I went down to the diner in the hotel and ordered a cheeseburger and fries and practically inhaled it. It was sooooo good!

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Yes, this happened, Don't judge! LOL

After lunch I went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap before my sister came back. She was meeting the rest of the team for pizza, but since I had pizza the night before, I opted to go to dinner with my dear friend Linda. Like Elizabeth, she was there for me when I was in my darkest moments. She has suffered way worse than I have and yet she was such a huge support. I also got to meet her new husband Stan, who was just a delight!

Linda and I. This lady is AMAZING!

The next day I got up early and hit the Willis Tower Sky Deck. The Willis tower was the tallest building in the USA before the Freedom Tower in NYC opened. There was a long wait, but the views of Chicago are amazing from that height. I am afraid of heights, but looking out the window was just cool!

The view of Chicgao from 103 stories up!

I was fine looking out the windows and I was looking forward to getting some pics out one of the three glass bottom boxes that stick out of the side of the building, that is until I took my first step out onto it. It felt like the bottom had fallen out and I had to sit down. I was so scared! I could not look down and asked my Team Challenge teammate, Ben take the a few pictures as quickly as possible as I felt like I may have a heart attack right there!!

I may look calm and happy, but I was screaming inside!

Such cool shots, but I almost peed my pants getting them!

After we got the pics, we got the heck out of there! I had to meet my sister before we both made our way to the airport.

Memories of a great weekend! Joan was my hero growing up!

This was outside our hotel and it reminded me of Utah and made me laugh too! I love it!

I said goodbye to my sister and we went to different airports. I took the train to O'Hare and talked to some runners on the way. I was fun to hear how other people's races went. The common theme was that the heat took it's toll on almost everyone, but I got back to Salt Lake City to rain and cold. I will take that heat on race day any day over the cold!

What a great weekend!

I just want to again thank everyone that supported me through this. This was not about running the Chicago Marathon. This was about doing something good for others that I felt a connection to.  I had to pay all my own expenses to get to Chicago, so all the money raised went right to the cause! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! 💖💖💖💖💖💖

The race is over, but the cause can still use donations. You can still donate to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation through my link until the end of the year. Click HERE to donate.

My friend Elizabeth is still raising funds in her quest to stomp out domestic violence too! Click HERE if you can help her cause! 💜

Thank you! 😃