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Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Tribute to Robert Merriman.

This morning I got word that my friend Robert Merriman died. Robert was not only a fixture in our running community, he was a good friend to all who knew him. Robert was not an elite athlete, but where he stood head and shoulders above any athlete, was his ability to make everyone feel included and special. He was a true friend in every sense of the word.

I haven't seen Robert in a while. Six months ago he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer . When he got sick and stopped running, I didn't get to see him as much. The times I did see him he looked good, so this this is surprising news.  It's my fault for not keeping up with him as much as I should have, but he has been on mind a lot over the past couple of weeks. 

We used to go run/hike Corner Canyon a lot as he lived about a mile from my apartment. In fact, Robert was the one who introduced me to my favorite loop starting at the Coyote Hollow Trail Head. I never knew that part of the trail existed and without Robert, I may have missed out on some of the most beautiful runs of my life

Robert, Terri and I in Corner Canyon.

Zoe following Robert in Corner Canyon.

Robert was the first one to get a group run going. People loved him and when he organized something, people showed up!

This run a Liberty Park, Robert came over on his break from work just to be there. 

One of our many runs down Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Robert and I were about the same pace for a while so it was really fun to run races with him too. 

At the finish of the Thankful 13!

I remember this race as Robert and I were both trying to run a sub 2:00. We pushed each other for the last 2 miles and we both got our sub 2:00! 💗

The day I saw Robert at Costco. It was one of the few times I saw him out of running clothes!

I couldn't believe when I saw Robert in the Dallas Airport on my way to a race!

Another Big Cottonwood Run

Kandi, Robert and I on one of our Big Cottonwood runs.

Robert was also one to never leave anyone behind regardless of pace. As I said before,  he made everyone feel included.

I had taken my first DNF the weekend before at the Ogden Marathon, due to some freak dizziness. I wasn't quite ready to jump into a 50 miler so soon, but during the 2016 Squaw Peak 50, Robert was so great. I was still struggling with dizzy spells and he stayed with me the whole time, even when (as pictured) I would have to stop and put my head between my legs, like four times). I dropped at 20, partly because I was ill and partly out of guilt that I was slowing him down. I knew he would have stayed with me that whole race. That is just the kind of guy he was. 

Robert took this photo of me during the Squaw Peak 50 in 2016. 

Robert was also very generous. One day he posted that he had an almost brand new tread mill (30 miles on it) for sale. When I saw the price was $50, I immediately thought it was a typo and he meant to say $500. I responded that I would take it off his hands for $50 LOL! When he asked me when I could pick it up, I was shocked!

When I got to his house, I asked him why he was selling a practically new treadmill for $50, when he could easily get more for it? He said that he had a treadmill and he wanted some one in our group to enjoy it. I could not believe how nice that was.

The day Robert practically gave me this treadmill! I will run on it with a new sense of gratitude now. In fact, I think I will name it Robert. 😊  

Robert and I at the Run 4 Fun Picnic.

Robert was Canadian. When he got sick, our community showed our support by wearing Canadian flags at races!

I busted out the Maniac Canadian shirt for Deseret last year! 

We had signs!

We had flags!!

I love this pic of Joshua, Robert and I!

Robert, I pray that you are up there running trails where you don't get hurt when you fall. We love you so much. THANK YOU for being a part of and enriching the lives of all who knew you.

To his sweet family, I hope you find comfort that he was so loved by everyone and thus so are you. THANK YOU for sharing your husband and father with all of us. WE are blessed to have known him.

RIP Robert. 💖

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#131 (or #128) The Tucson Marathon

So since I had not entered my stats on the Marathon Maniac data base since 2015, I thought I had better get caught up, but as I went through all my blog posts, I came up 3 marathons short! So, I either didn't write about 3 marathons or I have miscounted. I keep all my bibs, so I will have to look through them to get the correct number, so for now I have run 131 or 128 marathons/ultras. 😀 Now onto the Tucson Marathon!

The Tucson Marathon was the 5th and final race in the 2017 Signature Race Series (SRS), so as the coordinator of the series, this was a work trip with a race thrown in. My first thought was to only run the half marathon, but when I saw the course, I thought I might try for a Boston qualifier. If you remember from my last report at Revel Canyon City, I was so close to a BQ until my legs revolted 1.5 miles from the finish. I thought I would give it another go at Tucson and see how it worked out.

I flew into Tucson on Thursday night and met Tony Phillippi and Garret Anderson at the airport. We grabbed a rental car and headed to the Best Western Foothills to get some rest before a long day at the expo.

The next morning we worked the expo seeing friends, checking in club members and handing out the final 2017 Signature Race series pin!

Stephanie, Garrett, Tony, Lorinda and I at the expo.

Around 12:00PM, Tony and I took a ride to the finish line to make sure we got our table and banners up. This is where our members would pick up their SRS medals.

After the expo I planned a big dinner at the Olive Garden close by. It was so much fun to get to chat with members I had never met before.

Fun at the Maniac/Fanatic Dinner

After dinner we went back to the hotel and I got ready for race morning!

Flat Angie ready to go!

One great thing about this race, is that not only did you ride up to the start in a comfortable coach bus, they let you stay on the bus until the race started! No standing outside in the cold for an hour. The temperatures were going to be in the low 70's, but it was in the 40's at the start. Not freezing. but it was nice to stay on the bus.

I had the Maniac photo scheduled for 6:30AM, but people didn't want to get off the bus! We gathered together a few of us for the pic though. 

The few Maniacs that got off the warm buses! LOL!

I got back on the bus after the photo and started loading my drop bag. There were long lines at the port-a-potties by then, so I just used the bathroom on the bus with no waiting! (Note to self, never sit at the back of the bus full of runners that have to use the bathroom. The drive up got pretty smelly!)

I left the bus 5 minutes before the start, dropped my bag in the bus collecting them and got to the start as the gun went off.

I got to the start just before the gun went off!

I started the race with Garrett and Chris Bouchard (Maniac Ambassador from Dallas). We were all looking for that sub 4:00 marathon. We didn't stick together very long. Chris left me and I settled in with the 3:55 pace group. 

I was running very comfortably with them until around mile 11 when we hit this very hilly section of the course. I love rolling courses, but this hill was zapping me, so I decided to pull back and save my legs. I knew if I didn't let them get to far in front of me, I could catch them on the downhill.

I did not take many photos, but I thought this little motel looked like something out of the movie "Cars"! So cute!

The hills continued for the next 2 miles. It took me another mile or so to slowly inch my way back to the 3:55 pacer. There was a good group with us. At this point everyone was running like soldiers. We all ran in unison and nobody talked. We meant business!

I felt good. We continued this way until mile 20, when we hit a long stretch of uphill. Now, it wasn't a mountain, but it felt like one. After what happened at Canyon City, I did not want to lose my BQ in the last 1.5 miles! I had some cushion, I just has to keep running.

Then came mile 23. The rolling hills from mile 23 to 26 did me in. I had to walk a little and I could feel that cushion slipping away. The 3:55 pacer was long gone, but I gave all I had to get the sub 4 BQ!

When I saw the mile 26 mile marker, I knew I was close. I would have to leave it all out there if it was going to happen. I pushed as hard as I could and crossed the line in 3:59:47. A Boston qualifier -13 seconds!

I fell to the ground and just sobbed. I know that this BQ is not enough to get me into the race, but this was my fastest time since May 7th, 2016!! After all the things this year that made me feel horrible about myself (heartbreak, humiliation, anxiety, depression,  weight gain), the Yeti 100 and this small BQ, gives me hope, that the old (fun, positive, upbeat) Angie is coming back and that fuels me to do to work hard and do better.

After the race I went over to the Maniac/Fanatic table, where Stephanie LaBoo was handing out the SRS medals. THANK YOU STEPHANIE!

Lorinda, Stephanie and I handing out SRS medals.

Tony (MM#3) and and I chillin' ! Congrats to Tony for running his fastest race of the year and a BQ and NYC qualifiers!

The race medal. I love the cactus.

7 people completed the entire 2017 Signature Race Series. 
Tony Phillippi
Chris Bouchard
Angie Whitworth Pace (me)
Bill Noflz
Cheri Damito
Corey Hlavacek and
Marshall Robert

The SRS puzzle is complete (with cat)!

After the race Tony and I hit a local sports bar for food, Margaritas and pool (he's a shark! LOL!)

I will just drink this Margarita while Tony kicks my butt at pool! 

I slept great that night and the next morning we grabbed breakfast and Stephanie and Lorinda picked me up an dove me to the airport on their way. 

Yeah, we needed this pic! LOL

We cannot thank Race Director, Pam Reed and the rest of the Tucson Marathon staff for all they did for us. The Tucson Marathon is a fantastic, fast and fun race. If you want to get out of the cold to run, this is the race for you! 

Side note: Since I was to busy trying to run fast, I had no time or energy for photos. I was super bummed that I didn't get in any cactus photos, but Stephanie LaBoo took a bunch and shared her's! Enjoy!

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


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!!