About 5 months ago when Teresa Baker and I started talking about running the Casper Marathon, the planning was pretty easy, but as we got a week out, things started to unravel for me. Between other’s last minute cancellations (which doubled my expense) and other personal issues, it looked as though I might have had to bag Casper this year. In order to save my liver (which I would have eaten out with envy if I couldn’t go), I got resourceful and was able to make it work. Whew!
Sue, Teresa, Lindsay, Skyler and I met at Teresa’s house at 6:00pm Friday night and we headed out. Sue drove 3 hours to Rock Springs where we stayed the night, then got up and drove the remaining 3 ½ hours to Casper. We went right to the host hotel where we got all checked in, dropped our bags in our rooms and headed down to the packet pick up. The short sleeved tech-shirts were really nice and our bibs had our names on them (which was nice later in the race). We also received a Casper Marathon timing chip. The great score of the “expo” was the nice terry cloth robe with the Casper Marathon logo embroidered on it for $10 and the long sleeved tech shirts (also with the logo printed on the front) for $5!! Sweet! We all loaded up!!
After we got our packets we walked out to the lobby and saw a huge line of marathoners checking in. It was there we saw our friends and fellow Maniacs from our sister city of Sarasota! It was so great seeing Greg, Mary, Paul, & Donna again after Tacoma!! After they got checked in, we all met at the hotel bar for beers, diet cokes (for me) and appetizers. We were still awaiting the arrival of Bob B. and Franz, who started out early Saturday morning to drive straight to Casper. In our calculations they were only about an hour or so behind us.
When the hour turned into two, we started wondering what happened to them. Then they walked in. Bob and Franz were both sporting huge cowboy hats! OMH!!! The table ROARED with laughter when we saw them!! Seems in order to save some time they decided to take a “short cut” which took them on some dirt roads for like 2 hours! Bob’s Lexus was now an off road vehicle! Hee Hee!! After lunch, we all headed to our rooms for a little nap before the pasta dinner.
The pasta dinner was great. Not only was the food good, the room was full of Maniac and 50 Staters!! We were a bunch of newbies compared to this crowd! We all sat around laughing and having a great time with all of our new friends! After the pasta dinner and a quick trip to the store, we headed up to our rooms to prepare for race morning.
The race began at 6:30am so we were out to catch the bus to the start at 5:45am. The shuttle bus was a little yellow school bus which didn’t hold very many people, so we hung out in the lobby until it was our turn. Skyler and Lindsay were running their first marathon so Teresa, Sue and Franz were going to try and pace him, while Bob was going to pace Lindsay (they were sooooo cute in their matching father/daughter shirts). We made it to the start just in time to hit the bathrooms one more time, take some photos and we were off!
While I really wanted to stick Teresa, Franz & Sue for a while, I didn’t want to go out to fast and bonk, so I said good bye at mile 1 and got mentally prepared to run the rest of the race alone. Now, I have run many marathons alone, but only in races with 25-45,000 people! This marathon had 175 people, big difference. But, I put on my big girl panties and tried to run a smart race. I was happy to find some awesome folks and fellow Maniacs to run with as well!
The course got hot a little sooner than expected. I had shed all my layers by mile 1. I tried to stay focused on hydrating and felt great for most of the race. The course was really beautiful.
We ran along this river path which reminded us all of the Jordan River Parkway where we run our long runs. I loved that part of the race because the big trees created some much needed shade. There were more hills than expected, but nothing like Tacoma! Even with the heat, elevation and hills, I felt pretty strong until mile 18, when I started to feel the wall approaching. I slowed my pace, took extra walk break, ate some trail mix and tried to get my head back in the game. I stayed steady until mile 20. I took my last GU and I felt once it kicked in, I felt like I could finish. By this time in the race it was HOT! The aid stations were tremendous with ice cold water and sports drink. I drank ½ my water and poured the other ½ over my head. It felt sooooo good!
Between mile 22-23 I caught up to Teresa. When I came up behind her I asked “want some company?” and she replied “yes please!” I was so happy to see her! Running with someone the last few miles can really help take your mind off the pain. We continued until mile 23 when we picked up this young guy named Joseph, who was running his 1st marathon. He was having a hard time so Teresa asked him to stay with us and he did. Right before mile 25 Teresa looked at her watch and said to me, “At mile 25 you need to leave us. You are strong and could easily PR!” I said, “What if I don’t want to go?” She said, “Tuff, you’re going!” So at mile 25, Teresa said, “Angie, get going!” So I did. As I came around the corner to the finish, I could see the clock and I knew I did it!! One month after my PR in Tacoma, I took another 2 minutes off my time finishing in 4:56:41!!! The best part was having Franz standing there to put the medal around my neck! AWESOME!!
Teresa and Joseph were right behind me. It was really sweet to see him give Teresa a big hug and thank her for helping him. That to me is what running the marathon is all about. Even if we run alone, there is always someone to help you meet your goal of getting to the finish!
As we finished we got the GREAT news that Lindsay had finished her 1st marathon in 2nd place and Skyler had finished 2nd in his age group!! WAY TO GO!!!!! It was so great! We had a great time waiting at the finish line, cheering our new friends in, drinking Diet Pepsi and eating cold fruit and hot pizza!
After showers, we said goodbye to Bob, Franz, and Sue (who are real maniacs and drove the 7 hours home after the marathon), we went down to the bar where the race directors had set up a spread of fruits, cheeses, crackers, hot wings and baby hot dogs! There we met up with our new friend Patrick, who told us that 3 years before, he was in a wheelchair suffering the effects of MS!!! Now he is a crazy Marathon Maniac! WOW! What an inspiration! We of course also met up with our awesome Sarasota friends and had a chance to get to meet the race directors and marathon committee. We had a blast!
Later Teresa, Lindsay, Skyler and I took a drive up Casper Mountain, got dinner and headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep!
The next morning, we went for a lovely walk along the river where we had run then went to this great 50’s diner for breakfast. We came back to the hotel, packed our stuff and hit the road home!
We all had such a great time! Thanks Casper!!!!