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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#25- The Top of Utah Marathon. We Ran to "Hail" and Back!

I was very much looking forward to this race. I ran Top of Utah last year and it immediately went to the top of my list for one of the best Utah Marathons ever! Not only is the course fast (I set a PR there), but the scenery is breathtaking and the race is well organized.

My friends and fellow Maniacs Teresa Baker and Eric Beck and I headed to Logan Friday afternoon. Teresa and Eric were taking on pacing duties as well as a few other Utah Maniacs (Jonathan Crampton, Chris Scott and Tim Gill) so we headed to expo so they could meet the runners and pick up our race packets.

Maniacs at the Expo (Eric Beck, Chris Scott, Teresa Baker, Me, Tim Gill and Galen Garrison)!

I was also excited to be there for three of my Galloway girls, Kimberly Miller, Sarah Maulden and Teota Dangel (Sarah and Teota were running their first marathons). After picking up our packets and chatting it up with friends, we decided to just have the pasta dinner at the expo then Teresa, Eric and I headed to Eric's cousin's house (who was gracious enough to put us all up for the night. Huge Thanks!)

We got about 5 hours of sleep until the alarm went off and we were up and out to catch the bus to the start. I had been watching the weather reports, so I came prepared for rain in the morning. On the drive to Logan it started to rain but, stopped long enough to park, hit the port-a-potty and jump on the bus.

Eric is looking pretty sleepy on the bus!

Unfortunately, we were still on the bus and missed the Maniac photo that I organized (could someone just photoshop Teresa, Eric and I in to the photo? Hee Hee)! As we made our way down to the starting line, it began to rain. Now, I don't mean sprinkles, I mean really rain. Luckily there were heated tents next to the gear drop. Teresa and I gave our bags to the gear drop lady and took off running for shelter! I lost Teresa, but knew I could find her when the race started. She and Eric were pacing the 5:30 group and I was planning on running with them for a mile or so.

I waited in the tent until I heard the gun go off then made my way out to find the 5:30 pacers. When I didn't see them, I just started running. Less than a mile in I found Kimberly, Galen and Sarah!

Kimberly and I all layered up!

Sarah, Kimberly and Sarah's brother, Tim and her bro-in law.

The rain stopped around mile 6 and I decided it was time to lose my rain poncho and my ugly pink jacket. (The rain was supposed to stop by 8:00am)  I dropped both at an aid station and went on my way while Sarah and Kimberly hit the port-a-potty. That was the last time I saw them on the course.

Not ten minutes went by (after I dropped my rain gear) did it begin to pour again! Luckily, I still had my arm warmers and my long sleeved shirt on. The rain lasted for the next 3 hours, letting up twice only to hail in it's place. Now this might sound like hell, but with the scenery and low wind, the only thing that made it terrible was the threat of nasty chaffing!

Top of Utah has one of the prettiest courses anywhere!

I was feeling really great for most of the race. The gentle downhill made the course really fast. At mile 21, I ran into another race buddy, Korey and I slowed to chat with him for a few minutes. I was in very chipper spirits and still feeling strong, leap frogging some new race friends from Wyoming, Angie and Dan. I thought that I might get a PR at this race again this year.

At around mile 24, my legs started feeling really stiff and while I still felt good, I was starting to fade and was ready to be done! By mile 25 I knew that a PR was out of the picture, but there was still hope of a course PR! When I hit mile 26, I knew I had it! I hit the the timing mat at 4:48:33, two minutes faster than last year! I was pretty happy with that.

Not long after that Sarah and Kimberly came in!

Sarah finishing her first marathon! Yay Sarah!

Kimberly finishing marathon #3!

We caught up with some other Utah Maniacs at the finish!

New Maniac, Melanie, Franz, Me and Kim at the finish!

Kimberly and I said goodbye to Sarah and went over to the bleachers at the finish line to see Teresa and Eric come in. They were right on time! Great Pacing Teresa and Eric!! We were on pins and needles waiting for Teota. This was her first marathon which she was using as a training run for the Marine Corps marathon. Given the weather, we were hoping she made it. When she came around the corner, Kimberly and I could not have been more proud of her!

Teota finishing her first marathon!

When she finished there were tears flowing! Teota started with our Galloway group in April. She lost 53lbs during training. It was an AWESOME accomplishment!

Me, Teota and Kimberly at the finish!

After that I found Teresa and she and I drove to Cafe Rio for our celebratory Diet Coke and some much needed food and then came home! Even with the not ideal weather, Top of Utah is still one of my favorite Utah races!

Friday, September 9, 2011

#24- The American Discovery Trail Marathon!

On Labor Day weekend, my P.I.S. (Partner in Shenanigans), Teresa Baker and I boarded a plane to Denver to run the American Discovery Trail Marathon in Colorado Springs, CO. I was very excited to run this race for a couple of reasons:

1) I saw the list of Marathon Maniacs that would be there and was very excited to see the Maniacs from our sister city, Sarasota, among them; and

2) After a job change this year, my 50 State goal was put on hold, but I still needed one more state to qualify for entry into the 50 States Marathon Club (you need to run a marathon in at least 10 states to qualify) and I needed Colorado! Teresa also needed Colorado in her 50 State quest so this race was ideal.

We flew out Sunday morning and met our friend and fellow Maniac (from Kentucky), Karen Ross. Her sister Deb, lives in Littleton and was gracious enough to give us all a place to stay for the night (many thanks!).

After getting settled at Deb's house, Teresa, Karen and I drove to Colorado Springs to hit the expo. The expo was a 5 minute affair. There were a few vendors selling t-shirts (my favorite being one that read "Sea Level is for Sissies!") and other running related stuff, but over all we were in and out in just a few minutes.

The expo was located in the host hotel, which also had a bar. That's where we found our Sarasota friend, the infamous flat lander himself, Greg Goebel and his lovely wife Ali having a pre-dinner beer. We sat with them and talked  a bit before heading over to "Old Chicago" with rest of the lovely Sarasota Maniacs. Maricar Acab Korff organized a wonderful Marathon Maniacs pre-race dinner (thanks Maricar). It was really great to meet and see so many Maniacs!

Maniac Jazz Hands! Fosse-rific!!

Teresa, Karen and I couldn't stay for dinner, but we did get to visit with everybody before we headed back to Deb's house, where she had prepared a lovely dinner for us. It was the perfect pre-race dinner!After dinner we headed up to our rooms and got ready for the early morning wake up call, and hit the hay.

That 4:00am alarm came too soon. I was so cozy and still had the remnants of the headache I had for two days, but I dragged myself out of bed and got started. We had a little breakfast, got dressed and by 5:15am, we were out the door. Deb was a saint to get up so early to drive us to the start. No buses for us this time! We felt like rock stars being dropped off at the starting line in Deb's new Lexus.

It was freezing at the start and we would have loved nothing more than to sit in that warm car until the race started, but Teresa, Karen and I thought we should hit the porta-potties before the race. We are glad we made that decision. We waited in line over 30 minutes! Apparently, the guy who was supposed to unlock the porta-potties got there late. Fail! That was the only fail of the race. 

We did our business and headed up to the start. This was the only Marathon I have ever run where there was no timing chip/bib, etc.. We were standing around chatting then all of a sudden, we were off! Check out this cool video of the start:

We can be seen around 3:56. I am wearing a pink jacket.

 Greg, Teresa and Karen shortly after the start.

This was such a beautiful course! The packed dirt trails were so much easier on your legs than the pavement we are so used to running on.

Greg, Me, Rita, and Karen

The course was so pretty, but a little more hilly than the elevation chart let on!
At about mile 3 Teresa and I parted ways with Karen and Greg and hooked up with Pascal Radley (another cool Maniac who was going for his 10th Maniac Star by running 30 marathons in 30 states in 365 days) and Stephanie Atwell Zehr (another Sarasota Maniac, who was a complete hoot)!
Stephanie, Me, Teresa and Pascal

Me doing "The Fonz" AYYYYYYYYYY!!

We also met some really nice runners from North Carolina. Angie and Rod had both run many marathons (Angie 16 and Rod 27), but were not Marathon Maniacs! We told them all about this awesome club and how many friends we have made because if it. We sure hope to see them on the Maniac roster soon!

More of the beautiful course!

Looking good Teresa!

We all stayed together until about mile 17. Teresa decided to hang with the 5:00 hour pacer for a while and I decided to stay just ahead of him so I could keep them in my sights without deviating from my plan. That worked fine until mile 20 when I looked behind me and they were gone! I was feeling tired but still pretty strong, so I just plugged away, passing walkers who had gone out too fast. 

At mile 24 I ran into a first time marathoner that we had run a little with early in the race. He was looking pretty good too, but I left him in the last mile and headed towards America the Beautiful Park where the finish was.

When I saw the finish, I was so relieved, until they told us that we had to run around the park first. That was the longest .2 I had ever run, but I saw the finish and clocked in at 4:55:22. I was pretty happy with that. I then met more and Maniacs watched for my friends to come in.

Pascal gets 10 Stars! Way to go!!

Angie and Rod, our new friends and future Maniacs!!

Mario "the Kenyan" Abramson looks like he's having fun!

Karen looking strong!

Greg and Stephanie so fast I almost didn't get the photo!

Mary Lenari is just cute as a button!

Go Paul!
Where did the Maniac "Thor" come from? Hee Hee!

After the race, all the Maniacs chilled out on the grass and cheered as every Maniac came in. It was such a fun race and a great time!

Maniacs Post Race!

When everyone came in, we said our goodbyes and headed to Subway for a Diet Coke and some food, went back to Debs for quick shower and Teresa and I headed to the airport. It's trips like that make me happy to be a Marathon Maniac (and now 50 Marathon Club Member)!