Friday, October 21, 2016

#115- The IMT Des Moines Marathon!

When I got the email from Tony Phillippi (one of the 3 founders of the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics), letting me know that they had decided on a place for our 2016 Reunion, I was pretty happy that they chose the IMT Des Moines Marathon! Now, I have never run the Des Moines Marathon (or any other marathon in Iowa), so having our reunion here meant I could knock off another state in my 50 state quest.

I am the Reunion Coordinator for the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics and it is a job I have had in the club for the last five years and I have a lot of fun with it.

When putting together a reunion, I try to work with the race director to make the race as fun for our members as possible (planning perks, dinners, after parties and activities) while helping draw our runners to the race.

This year I decided to take my little dog Zoe to the race with me. This was the first time she will have traveled with me after having her service animal certification and we were both super excited.

Zoe at the airport getting ready for her first flight!

I was lucky to get a non-stop flight to Des Moines fron Salt Lake City, which was only a two hour flight. Zoe did great. In fact, I sat next to a nice lady named Kathy on the way over and she loved Zoe the second she saw her. She wanted to hold her the entire flight and Zoe was all for it! (Zoe is an ESA, so she can be snuggled).

Zoe and her new friend Kathy on the plane.

The host hotel was at the Embassy Suites. This hotel had a free airport shuttle that took you right to the hotel. It would also drive you (and pick you up) within a two mile radius of the hotel, which meant I didn't need to rent a car.

Embassy Suites Hotel Des Moines Downtown, IA - Hotel Exterior from Des Moines River
The Embassy Suites was right on the Des Moines River.

The rooms were huge! Mine had a living room and kitchen area with a separate bedroom. The best part of staying at this hotel was the evening reception where guests were served an array of appetizers and free drinks (the Sangria was to die for)! They also did a made to order breakfast with omelets, pancakes, potatoes, fruit, etc.     

The view from my room.

The next morning I got up planning to be at the expo when they opened at 10:00AM. I was up early, so I thought I would finish up the slide show of photos of members that we would show at the meeting before heading out, but I looked at the clock on my computer and realized it was on mountain time! I was already late! I got the hotel shuttle to rush me over and the crazy day began!

Dan Ruiz, MM #2 Chris and I at the MM/HF booth! (Photo credit: Dan Ruiz)

I checked people in, gave them their reunion swag (free Press Pass and a MM or HF buff). I stayed busy the whole morning which surprised me as a lot of our group were running in Kansas City, MO as a part of the I-35 Challenge. Runners participating in the double would not be arriving until later in the afternoon/evening.

Every reunion we have a club meeting. It's where the Main Maniacs get up and talk about new things or changes within the club and we get to meet members we only know via social media. The meeting was supposed to start at 3:00PM, but at 3:15PM, I still had a line of people waiting to check in. I scooped up all the swag and we headed down to the conference room for the meeting.

Patti (aka Maniac Krez) spoiling Zoe at the meeting! (Photo credit: Steven Yee)

Zoe milking the attention from Ed Childress

The meeting went well and was well attended as people arriving from Kansas City were rolling in. I only got a chance to play about half my slide show as I wanted to finish it at the expo and there was no WiFi. It was fine though. 

When the meeting ended, I still had a line of people waiting to check in. This made me late for the dinner. Now I was so busy all day, I had no time to eat, or drink anything except the one bottle of water and a Kashi bar I brought. I was starving and I could already feel that I was a little dehydrated. I just wanted to get some food in me. Fueling is crucial for me the day before a race and I was failing miserably. 

Again, I schlepped the swag and Zoe up to the dinner. I grabbed a seat and started to quickly eat my salad. People were coming up to me in the middle of my dinner to get their stuff. This would not have annoyed me generally, but I was so hungry and nervous about not getting enough food in me, I was probably a little more short with people than I should have been (sorry if that was you) and I had to ask a couple people to wait until I finished my salad before checking them in. I then went to the back of the room and checked people in during Jeff Galloway's talk. I asked David Holman to let me know when my entree was there and I inhaled that when it arrived.  

Club members at the dinner! (Photo Credit: Dan Ruiz)

More members at the dinner. (Photo Credit: Dan Ruiz)

After the dinner we broke down the expo and headed back to the hotel. I was beat! I was still hungry and thirsty, so on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the store and I picked up some water and bananas and I went right to bed.

One of the many perks the Des Moines Marathon gave us was a private gathering area at the start. Not just any area, they rented out the entire Civic Center lobby just for us! It had real bathrooms and we were able to keep our drop bags there during the race (they hired someone to watch our stuff)!

From the time I get there, I was running around trying to make sure everything was in order. Was our tent at the finish line set up? Where were the reunion medals? If the tent wasn't set up yet, where would we store said reunion medals? Whew!

I finally got it together and rallied everyone out for out group photo. It was awesome to have so many members there!

In the Civic Center giving the last minute instructions. (Photo credit: Dan Ruiz)

Maniacs and Fanatics at the start!

Had to get a selfie!

I was already tired and I still felt really thristy. I had eaten half a bagel and a banana on my way to the start, but even though I also had a bottle of water, I could tell I was a little behind on my hydration. 

I got into my corral and sent my last text to Chris (#2), to let him know where the medals were and before I knew it, we were off with no time for mental preparation (which is sometimes good). 

Before we even started the race, we were already drenched. It wasn't raining, but we were at 100% humidity. This was the perfect Halloween weather. There was a thick warm fog covering the entire course which made it hard. It wasn't particularly hot (about 70 degrees), but the fog trapped everything in and by mile two (yes, I said two), I knew it was going to be a long day.

The President of the Maniacs/Fanatics, Steven Yee and our expo guy Garrett Anderson caught me and the three of us decided to stick together. We had tucked in behind the 4:10 pacer, which wasn't a huge stretch for us, but after about 6 miles, we were struggling. How could this be so hard so early?!

Maniacs with a Maniac black cat (it is even sitting on my head)!

I mean, I get it if I had run in Kansas City the day before, but I didn't and I was still struggling! Steven, Garrett and I joked about how being at the expo all day is a whole other kind of marathon, and they were right.

About mile 8 we head into Drake University Stadium (home of the famous Drake Relays)! It was so cool to come around the track where so many great runners have run and see ourselves on the jumbo-tron!

Running on the track at Drake Stadium was so cool!

We are on the jumbo-tron!

I was struggling and felt tired, but otherwise OK until we left the track. I got really hot and dizzy. I felt like I was going to faint, so I told Steven and Garrett to go on without me. I needed to walk off whatever was going on. I was having flash backs of my first DNF at Ogden and did NOT want one here, so I walked to cool down and get my head back.

 When I started running again, I ended up catching Steven and Garrett (who had stopped at the restroom). We all decided that no matter how slow we had to go, we would stick together to the finish.

Garrett, Steven and I with a big old cow! (Photo Credit: Steven Yee)

We were having as much fun as one could have running in a marathon totally exhausted and in 100% humidity. There were a few out and backs, so we got to see and cheer for other club members. That was really fun. The course is just gorgeous! 

I had zero leg turnover. My legs felt like lead and we were going a an easy pace. We decided that we would run to each mile marker, then take a short walk break. We did this all the way to mile 20. 

I remember feeling particularly bad and did not want to stop running before the mile 20 marker, so I pushed. We did our little walk break and started running again and my eyes started feeling really heavy. It was strange. I wasn't only tired, I was sleepy. The only time I have felt like that was when I was running 100 miles!

I kept going for another minute and then I started feeling like I was going to pass out. I could feel something was happening to I moved over to the side of the road and the next thing I knew I came to in the grass with Steven, Garrett and a fellow runner who also (luckily) was a paramedic, standing over me. 

The paramedic asked me some questions and took my pulse, then told me that I was severely dehydrated (I knew it!) From that point on we decided to walk the last five 1/2 miles in....OK that would take way to long! We just wanted to be done, so we ran where we could and walked the hills. 

I made sure to stop at every aid station to drink and let me tell you, I have never seen a race with more aid stations! It was AWESOME! There were aid stations at least every mile and when there wasn't an aid station, they had bike marshals on the course with water, candy, Vaseline, etc.  You would not go thirsty at this race unless (like me) you started out that way. 

Around mile 24, Steven, Garrett and I in front of the Iowa Capitol Building. (Photo credit: Steven Yee)

We took it easy the last couple of miles, but finished strong!

Coming into the finish! (Photo Credit: JM Gabriel)

Thanks to these two AWESOME dudes! I made it in!

Right after the race, I rushed to the Maniac tent to see how Chris was doing. He was good, but Steven stepped in to relieve him while I ran back to the hotel to grab a quick shower and pick up Zoe. 

The Des Moines Marathon went all out on our reunion medal! They turned out great! 

Zoe and I got back to the tent and relieved Steven so he could get back to the hotel for a shower before the after party.

Zoe trying to take over as Maniac Mascot!

Our after party was at Buffalo Wild Wings, where we celebrated, ate, drank and watched football!

Having fun at the after party! (Photo credit : Stacey Bolyard)

I love the 1/4 zip shirt and the medals!

Closer view of the medals. They connected by a magnet on the side! So cool!

Back of the reunion medal.

After the after party, we headed back to the hotel and got there with 30 minutes left on the guest reception, so Tony and I hit the bar for a couple free drinks and chatted with Kate Stoker and a few other Maniacs. After 2 glasses of Sangria, I was sleepy, so Zoe and I said good night and headed up to bed.

The next morning I got breakfast downstairs, said good bye to Tony, Chris and Steve. My plane did not take off until 6:00PM, so I got a late checkout of 1:00PM, had the hotel hold my bag and Zoe and I went out and explored downtown a little!

Crusoe Umbrella sits in Cowles Common where the race finishes. If you wondered what the medal depicted, here it is.

Zoe next to the peeing dog sculpture.

I rented a bike for $3.00 per 30 minutes and Zoe and I explored the city! 

Des Moines has the coolest Capitol Building!

Around 4:00PM, we headed back to the hotel, collected my luggage and had the free shuttle take us to the airport for our flight home.

Zoe saying good-bye to Des Moines.

Time for thank yous! HUGE THANKS to Race Director, Chris Burch! This guy was so nice and accommodating. ANYTHING we wanted, he provided it for us and we are so grateful. It RD's like Chris that make our reunions a success. This is a top notch event!!

THANK YOU to all the IMT Des Moines Marathon volunteers and staff for all their hard work.

THANK YOU Steven and Garrett for sticking with me when you could (and probably should) have took off! You guys are the BEST! Thanks to the paramedic pushing the running stroller for stopping to help me too!

AND, THANK YOU to ALL the Maniacs and Fanatics that make this club so AWESOME and THANKS to Steven (#1), Chris (#2), and Tony (#3) for giving me this opportunity! I LOVE throwing these parties. If anyone has any idea of things you would like to see at the next reunion (not sure where it will be yet), let me know and I will see how we can make it happen!

Pace out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boston Marathon Here I Come!

The 121st Boston Marathon registration opened on Monday, September 12th. Boston has a rolling registration. It is not first come first served. They accept runners from fastest to fast. The first two days (Monday and Tuesday) were open only to those runners who ran -20 minutes under their qualifying time

Wednesday and Thursday, was then opened to those who ran -10 minutes under and Friday and Saturday was open to those running -5 minutes under their qualifying time.

I space remained, registration would open again on Monday, September 19th, for all qualifiers. For a more in-depth explanation of the rolling registrations click here

I was one of the lucky -10 people so I registered first thing Wednesday morning. I was so excited! By Friday I started seeing all my fellow -10 people posting pics of their confirmation emails. I checked my inbox repeatedly throughout the day just waiting.

Friday passed with nothing. Saturday and Sunday? Nada. Surely it would come on Monday! A lot of the -5 people were getting their confirmations and I STILL had not received mine! I was getting nervous!

Now, I know this is a first world problem and with my qualifier, there was a strong chance that I was in, but until you receive that official confirmation, you still get nervous. All kind of things were rolling through my head. Did I fill out the form right? Was there a problem with my credit card? Everything.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to no confirmation email, so I shot them an email and posted on their Facebook page (both of which they probably just rolled their eyes at). 

I know I have no patience, but I just wanted to know! Then about 4:00pm, I opened my email looking for something else and the sound of angels singing with rays of light shooting off one specific email from the BAA! IT WAS HERE!

I let out a sigh of relief and all was right with the world.

Now for the next burning question, what colors will the jacket be this year?

Monday, September 19, 2016

#114- Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon!

This was my 5th Big Cottonwood Marathon! That's right folks I am a legacy (I have run every year since the beginning) and I was excited to host our Marathon Maniacs team again this year! There was only one problem (or two). My flight from Kauai was delayed so I did not land in Salt Lake City until 5:00pm Friday night.

 I had one hour to get to the Romano's Macaroni Grill  for the team dinner I had planned. My friend Stacy and her husband Daniel drove up from Denver and happened to be staying at a hotel near the airport with my other friend (and RR100 pacer) Andy. They were nice enough to pick me up and let me change clothes at their hotel before rushing over to the dinner. Of course I had no time to get to the expo or pick up the trophy for the Project Throwaway winner, Stacy picked all of that up for me too! THANK YOU STACY!

We had a great turnout for the dinner and the Project Throwaway contest was great regardless of the number of folks participating!

Fun group of Maniacs for dinner! 

Gabriel and Stacy both had AMAZING Project Throwaway outfits, but Stacy came out as this year's champion!

The other problem was that, if you read my Kaua'i Marathon post, you know that I took a pretty hard fall while on the Kalalau Trail and did some real damage to my elbow. I was worried that I had actually broke my arm and didn't think it would be a good idea to run if it was broken, so right after the dinner I rushed to the Instacare to have it examined and x-rays taken.

Good new was it wasn't broken, bad news was, it was infected. I told the doctor that I was supposed to run a marathon in the morning. He gave me two choices: 
  1. No running if I plan to run fast; or
  2. OK to run if I promise to run easy. 
He said running hard would only use the energy I need to heal and it would take longer. Running easy would still take energy, but less energy. He said running the race at all would prolong healing, but if I promised to go easy, he would not tell me I couldn't run. The fact that I had close to no sleep on the flight home and would not get to bed until at least 10:30PM (with a 2:30AM wake up call) running easy was already a part of the plan!

I got home at 10:30PM, but since I was still on Hawaii time (6:30PM there) I could not get to sleep. It was 1:00AM before I dozed off. When the alarm went off at 2:30AM, the thought of not running was more than a possibility. I was exhausted and in pain, but I sucked it up and rolled out of bed, got ready and made my way to the buses to meet our team.

It was freezing at the start. I was so glad I brought warm clothes as we sat up at Guardsman Pass (close to 10,000 feet up) for about an hour before the race started.   At 6:35AM all of the Maniacs met for a picture, we threw our bags in the gear truck and the race started.

Maniacs at the start.

I started running with my old friend Galen. I don't know if being in Hawaii for a week at sea level affected me or I was just tired, but I had to stop and walk in the first mile! I was nauseated and I could not breathe. Like I was having altitude sickness. I told Galen to keep going. I questioned whether it was a good idea to try and do this when I just wasn't feeling good, but I kept moving forward.

I stopped a port-a-potty around mile 4 and felt much better after that. I was going easy, but the nausea stopped and I carried on.

It was pretty cold! I kept my long sleeves and gloves on the entire way down the canyon.

Once I got my groove, I was feeling pretty good and running under 3:55 pace, but for some reason running down the canyon plays havoc on my stomach and I had to stop for bathroom break #2. This sucked as there 8 people in front of me and four potties. This would not have been an issue if two of the potties occupants were setting up house in there and by the time I got in and out 13 minutes had passed, but I had no choice. I HAD to go.

It took me a while to get my legs back after that long break, but I was feeling good trying to save enough for the out and back on Wasatch Blvd.

When I came out of the canyon, I still had some turnover in my legs to tackle the out and back. I felt pretty strong considering, then one more potty stop took the wind out of my sails and I struggled to get my legs back until the last 3 miles where I just cruised into the finish.

5th Big Cottonwood in the bag!

I ran a much slower race than I usually run at Big Cottonwood (4:14:13). The bathroom breaks killed me robbed my sub 4:00, but to be honest, the 4:14:13 even felt hard. The fact that I even finished given how tired and in pain I was, was a miracle.

After the race, I grabbed a shower and met a few Maniacs and we drove up to Snowbird for Oktoberfest!

Enjoying a cold one after the race!

Andy broke out the Maniac Lederhosen!

Andy and I playing a dancing game with a boiled egg between our foreheads. We lost!

I had finally hit the wall after we left Oktobetfest and I went home and crashed. I wanted to get a good night's sleep before meeting Cade and Dan at my place at 8:00AM.

I wanted to show people something unique, so I planned a drive up to the Fifth Water Hot Springs in Diamond Fork Canyon. We did a 2.5 mile hike up to the natural hot springs and had a nice soak in the hot water. It was a lot of fun!

Dan and I in the hot springs!

Cane, Dan and I having a soak!

Even though I didn't feel that great, I still had a great time at Big Cottonwood. We already have a Maniac team for next year! To join our team and save up to $10 click here!

The medal!

I also got the Revel Tripler for doing 3 Revel races this year!

Revel always does a great job, but Big Cottonwood is AWESOME!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

#113- The Kaua'i Marathon!

Once again, Bart has outdone himself. With my 50th Birthday approaching on September 21st, Bart's busy work schedule would not allow us to be together that day, so instead, he gave me an early gift and took me to Kaua'i, Hawaii for a week!

He has been an invited guest at the Kaua'i Marathon and Half Marathon since it's inception 8 years ago and since I needed Hawaii for my 50 States, he invited me to come along, run the marathon, run and hike Kauai's beautiful trails and just be together! This was my first visit to Hawaii, so I was excited.

Bart booked our flights so that we would meet in Phoenix (he was flying in from Philadelphia and I was coming from Salt Lake City) and fly from Phoenix to Lahui together.

After a six hour flight we landed in paradise. The warm humid air  hit me like a ton of bricks. I love the dry heat. Four days before race day and I was already nervous about the heat, but by the time Bart and I got to our condo at Suite Paradise in Poipu, there was a nice breeze (a bi-product of looming hurricane Lester).

An Egret greets us at our condo!

Bird of Paridise

Our condo was great. two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a deck with a view of the ocean. I could get used to this real fast!

I loved these flowers and wore one in my hair every chance I got!

The view from the deck of our condo!

Bart and I dropped our bags off at the condo and wasted no time walking down to the beach and like something you would see in a movie, a beautiful rainbow appeared!

This could not be more perfect!

Can you see the turtle?

After a walk on the beach and a few turtle sightings, we went back to the condo and got ready for the first of many parties we would attend. 

This was a nice outdoor reception held at a place called The Farm. We got there just as it was getting dark and they had cute lanterns on cocktail tables and we ate, drank and Bart introduced me to his old friends and we met new ones.

We parked in the lot below The Farm and walked up!

There was a beautiful view up there!

The food (catered by Living Foods Gourmet Market & Cafe) was incredible!

Such a lovely setting for a party.

As I said earlier, there was a hurricane heading for the Big Island and that brought some wind to Kauai. The party winded down as the wind picked up, but Bart and headed back to the condo early. We had had a long day of travel and with the 4 hour time difference for me (6 hours for Bart), we were exhausted. We went to sleep at 7:45PM! Yep, we know how to party with the best of them! Ha Ha!

At around 3:00am we got a wake up call. No not a phone call or a alarm clock, we were awaken by the pigeon of Kaua'i, a rooster! In 1992, Hurricane Iniki ripped across the island destrying chicken coops and releasing chickens and roosters all over the Island and now they are all over the place.I loved them! They were so cute and some of those roosters were beautiful, but after being at this race 7 times, Bart was less amused at the early wake up call. 

Rooster just walking down the street like a BOSS!

After we got up, we headed down to Living foods for breakfast. Then we hit the Mahaulepu Heritage Coast Trail for a beautiful and scenic trail run.

Bart had the  granola and fruit, but I had the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberries! OMH! SO GOOD! 

Bart's favorite running trail!

Bart was bookin!

Chickens in the woods!

Selfie on the trail!

Go Bart Go!

The views were AMAZING!

Black lava rocks on the beach.

I was curious what  kind of  religious structure this was.

There was lots of cool driftwood on the beach.

Check out the Facebook live video of our hike here!

We did about four miles on the trail then headed back to the condo to get showered and to head over to the expo. Bart was scheduled to speak and do a book signing and talk and I wanted to check out all the gear they had. I saw a pretty sweet backpack that I wanted (but alas could not afford). I got some pretty good stuff! Check out all the good stuff here!

Bart giving his presentation.

Does that sign say Pee? Ha Ha!

After the expo we went for a swim and then got ready for another party to be held at the host hotel, The Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa. What a beautiful place! This party was to welcome all of the VIPs and sponsors and it was so nice. 

I loved this painting in the Grand Hyatt.

Bart and I at the party.

The food was fantastic!

The music was great too!

Beautiful view with tiki torches.

The next morning we were at it again. This time Bart was hosting his shake out run in the morning and we hit the expo in the afternoon. There was a great turn out at the shake out run and we had a lot of fun!

Bart giving a little pep talk before the shake out run!

Me at the shakeout run with bad ass ultra runner Rich Hanna! He placed second in the marathon too! What an honor to meet him!

The start of the Keiki (kid's) run!

The Kaua'i Marathon Race Director, Bob Craver and I. Turns out he also knows my twin, Angel! Small world!

Bart and Aiden! Aiden is going striving to be the youngest boy to run a half marathon in all 50 States! 

Julie Weiss, Bart and I hanging at the expo!

Bart and I got our race numbers!

Bart and Half Marathon course record holder, Tyler McCandless giving a rundown on the course to first-timers and experienced runners alike.

After the expo Bart and I went for a dip in the ocean then met up with some new friends, Sasha and Bryan for a pre-race dinner (well, new friends for me, Bart knows everyone). We went to this great pizza place called Pizzetta in Koloa. What a great place! We didn't have a reservation, but not only did we get a table right away, we probably got the best table in the house! We were seated on the patio surrounded by gorgeous flowers, trees and tiki torches!

Spouting Horn!

Cactus on the beach?

I like this pre-race ritual!

Cute tree outside Pizzetta.

This tree was HUGE!

I will talk to anyone with a dog!

Cool flowers next to our table!

Bart, Bryan, Sasha and I enjoying some great pre-race pizza!

After dinner we got serious about race day. The race started at 6:00am, so we wanted to get there by 5:00am, but we were a little late. We ran to the start and barely had time to drop our bags (which had a change of clothes as the first thing on the agenda after the race was to jump int the ocean!) We did make it in time for Bart to say a few words and we were off!

Bart and Half Marathon course record holder, Tyler McCandless addressing the crowd at the start. (Tyler broke his own course record this year!)

Sneaking a selfie with the speedy folks!

After the National Anthem, a Hawaiian prayer is given and the native Hawaiians start the race.  

No starting pistol here! The race is started by blowing into conch shells!

Blurry pic, but you can see Bart and I  starting the race via conch shell!

Bart was running the half and was going to try and be right around 2:00, I was doing the full and thought running an easy 4:30 was doable. I found out shortly that I was delusional! 

ha unimpressed not funny not amused yeah right
I laugh at your dumb ass thinking you could run a 4:30 on this course in this heat!

I started at what I thought was conservative 10:00 minute miles and scoffed when Bart told me I should slow down. I didn't think I was going fast at all, but Bart know this course and by mile two, I was already dying from the heat and humidity! Note to self: When someone as experienced as Bart Yasso tells you what you are doing wrong, freaking listen, because when it comes to running in hilly, hot and humid conditions, you don't know squat! 

Even though it was tough, the course was one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run on. When we got to the first aid station, we were greeted by the prettiest ladies dancing the hula. Their movements were so beautiful and fluid, I just wanted to jump in and learn how to dance with them!

Hula girls at the first aid station!

Around mile six, we got to run through the Tunnel of Trees! 

The next aid station had cute hula girls too! So cute!

Around mile 11, the course splits. Big chickens on one side, little chickens on the other. Oh, how I wanted to be a little chicken when I saw them start down the hill towards the finish as I looked up the giant hill starting the second half.

Every race needs a rainbow!

At the split, you feel alone. Out of the 2,000 runners, only 300 were running the marathon. This course was tough. Every time I turned around there was another hill to climb. Now, I am pretty good on rolling hills, and this had rollers, but I stink at really long climbs (at  least right now) and the heat drained every bit of energy I had. 

Everything was so green and lush.

This hill was tough, but so beautiful. If you are going to suffer, I can think of worse places to do it!

More beautiful dancers!

At one point I made the decision that I would need to run this race as if I was running an ultra. The heat started making me nauseated. I could not think of eating another gel, so when I got to an aid station, I looked for the fruit and ice. I sat in the shade of the medical tent and let the guys put ice on my neck while sipped sports drink, making sure I was out of there in less than 2 minutes. This helped a lot. At one point I took the Buff I wore around my wrist (to wipe the sweat out of my eyes) and filled it with ice and put it around my neck (tucking the ends in to my bra). That helped cool me off and probably saved my race.

These drummers were awesome! No matter how bad I felt, the aid stations always made me smile and got me back on track!

There were even Hula boys!!

When my easy 4:30 went out the window, I thought for sure I could stay under 5:00 hours! At mile 20, I had picked up the pace and was hauling on the downhill sections, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Schitt's Creek fool schittscreek dan levy catherine o'hara

At mile 24, I could see even the 5:00 hour goal was dead, so I took my time chatting with another suffering runner and finished the last mile as strong as I could! 5:11:02 and 10th in my age group.

I still had a Shaka and a smile in me at the finish!

After the race, I was feeling pretty low. It had been a few years since I ran a marathon that slow (not counting Vermont as we ran that slow on purpose). Then Bart showed me the results:
  • In the Marathon only 25 people ran under 4:00 hours! 
  • Only 100 finished sub 5:00 hours (that includes the previous sub 4:00 people)!
  • More than half the marathon field finished in over 5:00 hours.
This made me feel a little better.

Bart was in the middle of presenting the awards when I finished. He saw me as I walked into the finish area and told me to go sit in the shade tent, which I immediately did. I kicked off my shoes and I saw Elizabeth Lim, who was so sweet to grab me an iced coffee from the Kauai Coffee booth (that stuff is like crack. I drank so much at the expo I had to go in disguise to get refills! Ha Ha!)

Bart finished the awards and went and got me some food and we sat in the grass relaxing!

HUGE CONGRATS to Lisa Davis for completing her 50 States! She carried Old Glory the whole race, and for that she deserves two medals!

HUGE CONGRATS to Bart for placing 2nd in his age group in the Half Marathon!

After the race we went for a swim, showered, took a quick nap and got ready for the post-race party and celebration!

The post-race party was held in at private space at The Shops at Kukui'ula. There we all talked, ate more delicious food catered by Living Foods and drank. Everyone was celebrating a job well done as well as the fact that Hurricane Lester left us alone!

Bart and I at the post-race party!

We were both pretty tired, so we didn't stay that long. I crashed so hard when we got back to the condo, I don't even remember falling asleep!

The next morning Bart and I hit the Heritage trail again, but no sooner did we start, Bart got a call to go golf and Bart LOVES to play golf, so we headed back to he could get cleaned up.

I took the opportunity to shop for a few souvenirs and hit the grocery store. Bart is so nice to me, I wanted to make him a nice lunch when he came home. We had lunch and later that night we hit the trail again!

The next day we headed for Waimea Canyon! This is like the Grand Canyon of Kaua'i! We did 8 miles through the canyon, stopping at the top for a swim in Wiapoo Falls!

We got a great view of the falls from the road!

Heading on the trail!

Such pretty flowers!

We made it to the top of the falls!

We could not pass up the opportunity to swim in the waterfall!

After our swim, we ran into Sasha and Bryan!

This flower looks like a bunny.

I love the texture on these leaves!

After we got back to the condo, we took a nap and Bart took me out to Eating House 1849  for my Birthday dinner. It was busy so Bart and I waited at the bar where I had a Lychee Sangria that was so delicious, I wanted to suck on every piece of ice in it!

Bart had a wonderful blackened tofu dish and I had a great ramen bowl which was one of their most popular dishes.

As if we didn't get enough trails, the next day we saved the best for last! We drove to the Napali Coast and hit the Kalalau Trail! This is by far the most beautiful trail I have ever been on!

Hitting the trail!

So much bamboo!

I did NOT want to run on this!

There were kittens on the trail! I called her Napali.

This trail was very rugged with lots of slippery rocks.

There were three water crossings before we made it to the Hanakapi'ai Falls.

The weather on the trail is crazy! One second it's sunny and the next it's raining. The terrain was tough after the beach where most people turn back. The rocks are wet and moss covered, so even in my Altra Lone Peak 2.5's I was sliding all over.

Before one of the water crossings, there was a beautiful smaller waterfall and we thought it would be fun to swim in the water. Bart started down into the water, but as I started down, I slipped on a rock and fell, hitting my elbow really hard on the rock. 

My elbow started bleeding and luckily I had a buff with me, which I wrapped around it to stop the bleeding. We decided to skip the swim there and just head straight to Hanakapi'ai Falls. As I started across the water, I slipped again cracking my leg on a rock and scraping up my leg. I finally got across the water and within a few minutes we were at the falls. The pain was so worth it to see something so spectacular.

Bart and I swimming in Hanakapi'ai Falls!

The falls were just stunning!

After the swim we started to head back down the trail, and you guessed it, I fell again. Now I was extremely paranoid about falling and just wanted to get back. When we finally got back, Bart and I took a swim in the ocean and went back to the condo.

I wanted to get back to the condo, but not before fawning over more chickens!

Now from the time I fell, until the time we got back to the condo, it had been about 4 hours and my arm was really swollen, red and very painful. I took a shower, cleaned out my wound, took some Ibuprofen and got some ice on it.

My arm after the fall.

Bart made me feel so much better by taking me out to Mexican food at this great place called Mariachi's where we ate salty chips, enchiladas and I had a margarita to numb the pain. Then we went home and slept like rocks!

On our last day in Kauai, we went for a swim, had breakfast at Joe's On The Green, and went to the Keahua Arboretum to check out the Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees of Kauai. I learned of these trees when I saw my friend Cheralynn's  photos of them that she took on her trip to Kauai. I had never seen anything like them and I HAD to check them out!

The bark on the trees shed each year exposing different colors under each layer!

They are pretty spectacular!

This big guy was just hanging out!

When we got back, we packed our stuff, took in one last sunset, and headed to the airport.

Our last sunset in Kaua'i.

This was the experience of a life time! There is no way I could thank Bart enough for this wonderful vacation. He is so amazing to me and I only hope I could do half as much for him as he does for me. THANK YOU baby! You have already made 50 FABULOUS! XXOO

THANK YOU to Bob Craver and EVERYONE at the Kaua'i for making me feel so welcome (I still need my drink at the Red Rooster Lounge). I know this marathon is tough, but the race staff and volunteers are top notch! Everything was so well done and I had the time of my life! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Not every marathon has to be run downhill, some times we need a challenge to make us stronger and better runners. If you are looking for a challenge while running in one of the most beautiful places on earth, with amazing aid and organization? Definitely run the Kauai Marathon or Half Marathon. You will LOVE IT!!  

State #30