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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!!

OK, I caved! I already have Nevada on my quest for 50 states, but since my sister is bringing her Team Challenge team from Atlanta, I knew I wanted to meet her there. I have not seen her in over a year! But, as most of you know, if you are a Marathon Maniac, being at a marathon and not running is not an option unless you are injured or you are the race director.

My friend Teresa and I have been on the fence about this race for the last few months. Well thanks to our familiar brand of peer pressure, we are in!! Our friend Kathleen will also be doing it as her Maniac qualification race! Whoo Hoo!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today is a Sweet & Salty Day

Today my twin and I celebrate our Birthday (never you mind which one). While getting older is hard enough, last year on our Birthday, we lost our dear, sweet mother, Miss Lillie. So today while we celebrate our birth, we will also honor her life.

Angel and I the day we were born.

Our Beautiful Mother, Miss Lillie. We love and miss you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top of Utah Marathon is the Tops!

On Saturday, September 18th, I embarked on my 15th Marathon at the "Top of Utah Marathon". Even though (once again), I didn't gain another state in my quest, I had heard nothing but good things about this race and wanted to give it a try. I am so glad I did! It was one of the funnest and beautiful races I have ever done!

Friday night, Chris and her brother-in-law, John, Nancy from our SLC Galloway group (who were both running their second marathon after many years) and awesome Maniac friend, Patrick met at the Beehive Grill for a pre-race dinner after picking up or packets at the expo.

After very little sleep, we were up at 3:45am to eat breakfast and get ready and head to the buses that would transport us to the Start.

I put on my TOU tattoo, NOW I'm ready!

The start was pretty chilly! I was pretty bundled up with a jacket, arm warmers, gloves and hand warmers! I may have went overboard, but I stayed warm!

Just a few of my Maniac friends and I at the start! Greg (Sarasota, FL), Patrick (Grapevine, TX), the Prez, Steven Yee (Washington State) and Me!

As the gun went off, we all were really excited. We hit the timing mats and were off! Within the first mile, Greg, Patrick and I saw Franz, Nancy and Mo. I could tell early on that this was going to be a fun race. There were Maniacs everywhere and the weather was now perfect!

Nancy, Greg, Franz & Mo

Unfortunately, we lost Patrick when he stopped at the 1st port-a-potty and never saw him again until the finish. Greg and I stayed together and had a blast! Every time we caught Franz, he would shout out to the crowd, "Oh look everyone, here comes the man with perfect hair!" referring to Greg. Everyone running around us would just crack up.

Greg (and his perfect hair) & I by the lake!

Me on the course looking patriotic.

Other fun moments included chatting with all the first timers on the course and when someone asked Greg if he was a LDS Bishop. Franz being a former LDS Bishop, this made for some absolute hilarity and ribbing on the race course. We were having so much fun, Greg and I were at mile 7 before we realized we had missed our 1st fueling!

At mile 9 3/4, Harry Potter and his fellow Gryffindors were there to cheer us on! I LOVED it!!

I also LOVED the race course! One of the most beautiful places I have ever run!

The leaves on the trees were changing colors and were just beautiful!

John, Greg and Chris by the Lake!

Greg with one of the best signs out there!

Me on the course again.

This mule was standing right in the middle of the race course. I told Greg to go stand near it so I could take a photo of him with it. As Greg got close, it ran down to the fence. Darn! I so wanted that photo if only for the caption "who's the bigger ass?" Hee Hee!!

At about mile 18, Greg informed me that he needed to slow the pace, but if I kept on, I could potentially PR. Now I usually don't care about getting a PR, especially at mile 18, but I did feel strong, so I left Greg at about 18.5 miles. I turned on my tunes and just focused on keeping my pace.  Greg later told me that he was right behind me for the next couple of miles and would have given me a kick in the pants if I slowed. Luckily I felt really good.

As I ticked off the last 6 miles, I was just waiting for the wall to hit me. Miles 21, 22, 23,24 and 25 went by with no trouble. When I hit mile 25 I looked down at my Garmin and knew I had a PR, but by how much, I didn't know. I had posted on Facebook that I would settle for a 4:50 (which would be 6 minutes off my previous PR). When I got to mile 26, I knew I had a PR and I felt like walking that last .2 miles in.  I looked at my Garmin again and I saw that I had less than 2 minutes to make 4:50. I sucked it up and ran it in hitting the finish line at 4:50:25!!! Then I was happy!!!

I met Franz and Mo at the finish and we waited to see Patrick and Greg come in within minutes! Greg and Patrick were happy because crossing that line meant they just earned 8 Maniac stars! Way to go!!!

Greg flashing the "8" at the finish! 8 Stars!! Wow!!

Greg, Franz, Alex, Me and Patrick at the finish!

After the race I rushed Patrick to the airport so he could make a flight to Wisconsin to run another marathon on Sunday! Congrats on your 1st double Patrick!! WAY TO GO!!

We ended our day wonderful after party/dinner at Squatter's in Salt Lake City where we ate, drank (Diet Cokes a plenty for me), and laughed with Franz, Bob & Teresa Baker (who were looking pretty fancy), Skyler, Liz, Jim, Chris and her husband Nate, Annie (who finished 4th!) and Marathon Maniac royalty, Steven Yee (MM #1) and Chris (MM#2)! 

Top of Utah was definitely a great race and a great time was had by all!    

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Will Never Forget

This morning I got up early to run 12 miles with my group, who were running their longest training run to date- 23 miles. After I finished my 12, I went to the turn-around and set up a water station. Afterwards, we all met at one our our member's homes for a lovely brunch (thanks Mike). On the way home, I started to think about how different my day was 9 years ago as I watched, from the roof of my job, the scene above.

Today my life is different. I am married, I live in Salt Lake City and I traded in my dancing shoes for running shoes, but I will never forget what happened September 11, 2001. God bless us all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

3rd Star's a Charm at the Pocatello Marathon!

I did the Pocatello Marathon last year and loved it, but wasn't sure if I would do it again since I already had Idaho in my quest for 50 states. Looking over my Maniac stats I saw that if I did Pocatello I would get my 3rd star (you earn 3 stars for running 12 marathons in 12 months), so I registered.

Besides the low entry fee ($45 if you register early) and the fact that it is only a 2 hour drive from Salt Lake City, here are a few reasons I LOVED the Pocatello Marathon this year:

The Swag

Last year we got duffel bags, but this year we got backpacks which we used for our gear check bags. We also got a long sleeved tech shirt (not pictured yet), but they had a mix up and need to send it to me. We also get a free race photo!

A bag of Idaho Potatoes. No race in Idaho would be complete without them!

The Course

A nice downhill course with beautiful scenery!

The People

Lot's of Maniacs at the race this year. This is just a few of us at the start! Including our friends Patrick, Finney, Sally Boles and her dad Harold (not pictured) and Larry Macon (not pictured).

The cute ladies in their bathrobes at the first water stop! Also at mile 15, we ran through Inkom, where my dad was born. I was way cool to see my Uncle Dennis and Aunt May cheering for me!

Finishing the Race

It was hot the last two miles! I was ready to be done!

The Bling

I loved the medal this year! Bigger and more colorful than last year's.

Post Race Fun

Me relaxing in the grass after the race. I couldn't wait to get my shoes off!

Fellow Maniacs Sally, Cathy and I.

Maniac of the Year Yolanda Holder and I!

Jessica is one of our SLC Galloway members! She and her husband Nate came and ran the 1/2! Great job Jessica! Why do you look so cute I and I look like I was hit by a truck? Hee hee!

Patrick and I doing our best Fonzie imitation at the finish. AYYYYYY!

Just a sample of the post race food: Pulled pork sandwiches and baked potatoes! YUM!!

We all had a wonderful time in Pocatello. I would do this race again in a heartbeat! 3 Maniac stars and finish time of 4:57:30. Whoo Hoo! 4 minutes faster than last year!

After I got cleaned up, I offered another 50 Stater, Nancy, a ride to Salt Lake, where my dear friends, the Bakers were hosting a lovely dinner party for all of the traveling Maniacs and us regulars! It was awesome! Thanks Teresa and Bob!

What a great way to start a long weekend!

PS- Thanks Jessica and Patrick for a few of these photos.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Hood to Coast Relay!! The Non-Passive Failures ROCKED it!!

When I got an email from Jim Levy asking me if I wanted to run Hood to Coast this year (someone on his team dropped out), I jumped at the opportunity! I had done the Wasatch Back and knew how much fun these overnight relays could be, but Hood to Coast (in their words) is "the mother of all relays"! Hood to Coast is the original over night relay in which 12 runners (in two vans) run 198 miles from Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean.

Our team was made up of mostly people in the lighting business from all over (Portland, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Chicago) so our team name was "Non-Passive Failures"! The few of us on the team not in the lighting business had no idea what it meant. Apparently when a light bulb goes out all on it's own, it's called a non-passive failure. It was funny to tell people our name and watch them crack up knowing they too had no idea what it meant!

Van 1 runners were Jim Levy, Teresa Baker, Lindsay Baker Jen and Brett Hilkemann, Kandy Welch (our awesome team captain) and Michael (driver extraordinaire).

Van 2 runners were Me, Jennifer Dyer, Jennifer Durham, Jim Rose, Greg Volz and Shannon Markey

After we flew in Thursday night, we headed over to Michael's house to meet the rest of the team and to have a nice dinner. What a beautiful house he has! We ate sitting out on the patio around a warm fire while Kandy gave us our t-shirts and last minute instructions. Then it was off to the hotel. Teresa, Lindsay and Jim had to be up early. Our start time was 9:00am and it was a good hour drive to Mt. Hood from where we were staying.

The next morning, Teresa, Jim and Lindsay hit the road, while Jen Dyer. and I ate some breakfast and hung out in my room watching "Wayne's World" on TV. About 11:30am our van came and picked us up and the adventure began!

When we got to our first exchange in Sandy, the guys put the flame lights on our van (awesome!) and I got spruced up in our "electric" themed costume.

It was at the 1st major exchange that we got our first look at some of the great vans!

The Nads, with their big blue balls on the top of their van, were handing out Go! Nads! antenna balls!

Not to be out done, the No Nads with their pink balls on top were great!

This van said it all!

The Hood to Coast Movie team! The movie will be in theaters on 1-11-11! To see a trailer of the movie, go to They filmed Jen Dyer. and I for a promo as we were walking around!
The Valley Girls

Teresa after her 1st leg holding the nectar of the gods, Diet Coke!

Teresa was the last runner in Van 1. She handed off to Jim R. and it was our van's turn to run! I was the 4th runner in our van so my leg didn't get started until late in the afternoon. My 1st leg was 6.19 miles. It ran along a paved path similar to the Jordan River Parkway, with one exception, there was no shade! It was a hot run. I kept leap frogging a girl named Annie (after passing her 10 times, I asked her name). I was hoping to smoke her at the end, but she had a nice pace going and got me in the end! We laughed and congratulated each other and it was off to the next exchange.

Waiting for Jen D. to hand off to Van 1 for the second leg! 

The girls at Van exchange 2 sans Jen D (she was running)!

Brett getting ready to run in style!

Greg & Jim R. picking up chicks!
Jen D. was our last runner and after she handed off to Brett (Van 1), we headed over to her and Shannon's house for some food and a little R&R. We were all aware that we would be running through the night. Once there, I sat in this nice leather chair and it was not long before I zonked out in it! When I woke up, I wasn't sure if the nap did more harm than good, because I was sleepy!

We left Jen and Shannon's house about 12:00am and headed to meet Van 1 for Van exchange 3! This is where the exchanges got really crowded. It was dark and the roads were small, making traffic a nightmare. Greg ran the leg right before me. His 2nd leg was on a dirt road and the vans were kicking up so much dirt, I don't know how he did it! I was worried that my leg was going to be much of the same.

My 2nd leg started about 3:00-4:00am. I was running 6.81 miles. The leg started out up hill on that dusty dirt road but I was quickly diverted onto a paved road. Whew! I went up-hill a little while than went down. It was nice and cool outside, perfect for running and the downhill running was nice! I knew I still had another leg to run so I tried to go somewhat easy down that hill as not to wreck my quads.

Running in the dark (and I mean dark) is kind of scary and fun at the same time. I was running through a wooded area and it was kind of scary/exciting to see nothing, but hear footsteps coming fast right behind you! Luckily it was always just one of the really fast runners killing me (you are called road kill when you get passed). The only trouble I had was running out of water, but I sucked it up ran the rest of the leg pretty strong.

After I finished, I got in the van, changed my clothes and crashed hard! So hard in fact, I didn't even stir when poor Jen D. fell, twisting her ankle, which swelled up like a balloon! There was no way she was going to be able to run her last leg. After talking to the race officials, it was determined that Shannon would run her last leg for her. Way to go Shannon! 

My last leg was the shortest one of all, 4.13 miles! By this time my right hamstring was so tight I was worried that it was not going to loosen up, but buy 1 mile in, I was feeling good. My last leg had some nice rolling hills, but I must admit the last mile was tough. I was "smelling the barn" and ready to be done! I tackled that last hill and handed off to Jen Dyer for her last leg two minutes over my projected time (I was OK with that). WHEW!! I was DONE!! Now all I had to do was cheer for the rest of our team to finish!

Shannon before taking off on the final leg, taped a air freshener to his shirt as not to offend others with his smell! Ha Ha! No worries Shannon, it worked!

We met the rest of our team at the beach and ran (or walked) in the sand for the ceremonial team finish! We were done!! Official time 29:52:49!!

After the finish, we all headed to the beach house that Kandy rented for a shower and some good food! We ate, drank, went down to the beach for a camp fire, and came back for a good nights sleep in a bed (not in a van)! 

The next morning we woke up to another great meal (thanks to Shannon, Greg and everyone else who helped prepare it)!

Jen Dyer and Shannon cooking up some good grub!

Teresa chopping away!

I took a walk down to the beach after breakfast.

Before we knew it it was time to head to the airport. It was so great to get to meet/run with such a nice group of people. THANKS TO YOU ALL!! Hood to Coast was a BLAST!!