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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Thankful 13 Half Marathon!

Every year I do a "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving Day. The first year I was in Utah I did a 5k race in Draper called The Human Race. I loved it as the start was literally 200 yards from my front door. The only thing I didn't like was that a 5K isn't even going to make a dent in my calorie deficit once I start eating! The next year they added a 10K. "Now that's better!" I thought, and did the 10k for the next two years.
This year I broke my alliance to The Human Race when a new race popped up. The Thankful 13 half marathon was exactly what I was looking for! 13.1 miles would allow me to not feel too guilty for eating like a pig, plus they had a really cute medal!
I met Teresa, Bob, Lindsay, and Sandy at the race. Lindsay and Sandy are speedy so when the gun went off, they they took off! I was so good to run with Teresa again! It had been forever and I was glad we finally got to run together again. Bob was getting over a knee injury, so he ran with us which was also nice as he is pretty speedy and we never get to run with him.
Sandy, Teresa and I staying warm before the start!
Lindsay and I!
The sun was out which made it the perfect temperature for running, but the wind was blowing pretty good which made it colder than it needed to be. The course was really pretty, but hilly.
Teresa and I in front of the amber waves of grain! Hee Hee!
Bob and Teresa looking cute!
At the packet pick up, the girl working the table said there would be wassail and pumpkin pie at the finish. I had heard of wassail (in a Christmas song none of us could remember), but I didn't know what it was exactly. When Teresa told me what it was, for the last few miles we couldn't wait to drink warm wassail (OK, I wanted the pie too!)
By the time we finished we were ready to be done battling the wind, but we had a great time!
Bring on the pie and wassail!!
Bob enjoying his wassail!
I found a fellow pilgrim!
I got my turkey medal!!
Totally fun race! I would do it again next year!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

#46- The Route 66 Marathon!

I have been wanting to run this race for the last couple of years now, ever since the invention of the "Maniac Corner". The "Maniac Corner" is something the race directors conceived to attract the members of the Marathon Maniacs and the 50 States Marathon Club, both clubs of which I belong. Perks of the "Maniac Corner" include:
  • Private VIP Tent and fenced in outdoor area with volunteers to make sure we have a great experience. The location of Maniac Corner is on the course, near the finish line. It is a great place to cheer for everyone as they finish.
  • Professional group photo before the start of the race, made available at no-charge to members.
  • Private Restrooms
  • Private Gear Check
  • Private supply of post-race food, Gatorade, water, soft drinks and lots of beer
  • Recognition of all three clubs prior to the start of the race
  • Complimentary booth at the health and fitness expo where the three clubs can promote their organizations and hand out wrist bands to their members for access to Maniac Corner.
  • Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics or 50-States Marathon Club receive a custom race number and special marathon finisher medal indicating their membership.
I mean really, of you want to attract runners to your race, this is the way to do it! Last year, I just could not make to Tulsa as airfare was pretty high from SLC, so I put it on my bucket list and hoped to one day get there. On August 30th, just two days before the deadline to register for the custom medal, I checked the flights again and noticed that while the price didn't go down much, I did have more than enough Southwest miles to make the trip for free! So I registered and am so glad I did!

Look at all those Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics and 50 State Club Members!! (Photo by K.D. Wells Photography)
Since none of my Utah girls were going with me I just booked myself into the Doubletree Hotel (one of the host hotels) which ended up being right across the street from the expo, pretty inexpensive, walking distance from the start, and the location of the 50 States Marathon Club reunion meeting. To make thing even better, a fellow Maniac Lisa Short posted on Facebook that she needed a place to stay, so I offered her the other bed in my room and we split the cost (not to mention she was a really fun roommate)!
I flew into Tulsa Saturday afternoon, picked up my rental car and went straight to the hotel to drop off my bags and went across the street to the expo to pick up my race packet. After I got my packet I went to the Marathon Maniacs booth to say hi to some fellow club members. That booth was packed! Maniacs all around snapping photos and meeting each other (some for the first time)! It was awesome!
Goofing off at the expo with Chris Warren (#2), Tony Phillippi(#3) and Steven Yee (#1) the founders of the Marathon Maniacs!
Anders, Ethan, Sherry, Heather and I at the expo!
I didn't get to spend a lot of time at the expo as I was running a little late for the 50 States Marathon club meeting. Once I got there, I was greeted by Steve Boone (head of the 50 States Marathon Club). He directed me to the free food and beer. I don't drink, but it was pretty funny to see all these runners "liquid carbo loading" the night before the marathon! I just took a seat  and listened as all those that completed their 50 States were brought up to accept their awards.
Anders and Denis at the 50 States Club Meeting
Members of the 50 States Marathon Club

 After the meeting I met up with a few other Maniacs and we headed out to Joe Mama's, a fun Italian place for dinner. When we got there there were a few tables of Maniacs all over the restaurant.
Dinner with the Maniacs!
We had a really good dinner (thanks to Joann and Mark Helmus) then headed back to the hotel to get ready for race morning.
Flat Angie ready for the race!
One good thing about this race is that it started at 8:00am, which meant we didn't have to get up super early! Once we got ready we headed down to the lobby, which was packed with runners (a lot of them Maniacs). We wanted to get to the start early to make sure we made it to the group photo. This was one I did not want to miss!
My roomie Lisa and I at the start!
The race had a VIP tent set up for the Maniacs/Fanatics/and 50 Staters. This tent had food, drink and our own private gear check. It was awesome! I knew there were a lot of club members at this race, but you really got it when it came time to take the photo! There were so many of us!! I was sitting near the Steven, Tony and Chris for the photo and when it was done the three of them stood up and looked around in amazement at all the members. It must have been so cool for them to see how far the club has come since its inception.
After the photo we all made our way to the start and before we knew it we were off!
Me waiting for the gun to go off!
My fellow Maniacs, Ruth Ann, Rich and I at the start.
I loved the start! Lots of confetti!
 I spent the first half running with Dave Bell, a fellow Maniac and 50 Stater from Colorado. We had a great time seeing all the Maniacs on the course and I had to play catch up a few times when I stopped to take as many photos of Maniacs on the course as I could.
Dave and I having a great time!
I am taking a break to jam with the band! Hee Hee!
Right around mile 10 we caught up to Kate English. We all stayed together until Kate and I stopped for a potty break around the half and Dave left us in the dust!
Kate had run a marathon in Kansas City the day before, so neither of us was in any real hurry (which means if we were not running fast, we were going to have fun).
At around mile 17 runners have runners have the choice to continue on the race course or take the .3 mile "Center of the Universe" detour. What is the "Center of the Universe"? According to Atlas Obscura (A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities and Esoterica):
The Tulsa Center of the Universe is a worn concrete circle, approximately thirty inches in diameter, within the middle of another circle made up of thirteen bricks. Overall, the center is a little more than eight feet in diameter.

The center of the universe is an acoustic anomaly; when one stands in the center of the circle and makes a noise, that noise is echoed back several times louder than it was made. Imagine dropping a small pin and expecting to hear a tiny “tink” as it hits the floor. Instead, the sound the pin makes is more like the loud crash of a gong.

While this in itself is amazing, the truly amazing thing is that no one standing outside of the circle can hear a thing. A foghorn could be going off in the center of the circle, and those on the outside wouldn’t hear it.... Or rather, that’s how the legend goes.

In reality, your voice does become extremely distorted when heard from outside the circle. Supposedly, the parabolic reflectivity of the circular planter walls causes the distortion. Many people have spent a lot of time studying how this effect is made, but there has been no consensus on what causes it. Whatever the causes of the distortions are, it is truly an amazing place.

Now if that doesn't sound cool enough, if you choose to take the detour, you receive a cool Center of the Detour coin. Hmmm, an extra .3 miles for extra bling? Heck yeah!!
As we approached the detour, we could hear the music pumping and the dancing began!
Kate and I throwing down the mean dance moves on our way to the "Center of the Universe"!

The Center of the Universe!
Once we got our coins, we headed back to join those on the race course!
Center of the Universe bling!
Once back on the course we finally caught up to Speedy Dave Bell again!

Kate, Dave and I pretending to look speedy!
 We also caught a few more friends that made the last 6 miles a blast!
Angie, Kate and I catch up to the T-Rex Runners!
We got our kicks on Route 66!
I was starting to feel like crap (as one does) the last few miles. With my foot injury, I had only done two short runs since the Marine Corps Marathon. I knew that when my training isn't up to par, neither is my race, but thank goodness for my Maniac friends! Our "No Rules" approach helped me tackle those last few miles and finish with a smile on my face.
Kate, Eddie and I crossing the finish line!
When we finished, we headed over to the Maniac Corner to get our medals. They were so nice! I was shocked to see the amazing set up the RD's had for us. There were tents for both clubs with our gear check and tables. There was hot food served as well as drinks, beer, and fruit. It was so much fun to meet with a lot of the club post race. The Maniac Corner was located right near the finish line which made it fun to cheer in our fellow club members as they came in. 
Maniacs at the Finish!
Kate, Eddie and I with our new bling!
Joann, Patrick, Denis, Michael and I at the finish!
I cannot say enough good thing about this race. The organization was superb and the Maniac and 50 State Club perks were amazing. I think the big 3 should consider this race as the 2013 reunion!

Monday, November 12, 2012

#45- The Marine Corps Marathon! OORAH!!!

Can I just say I LOVE THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON!!! Not only is this race the best tour of DC one could get, it is a truly inspirational race. I was lucky enough to get to run with my good friends Chris, a Captain in the US Army who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan and freshly minted Marathon Maniac and Teota, the mother of Sgt. Brandon Parr who was killed in Baghdad in 2007, to whom which we dedicated our run to.
Running for Brandon. Teota wore her son's hat during the race. It was quite emotional.
Teota and I flew into Washington D.C. on Friday and went straight to my friend Chris's house. He was good enough to put us up for the weekend. When Chris got home from work we all went out for a nice dinner. When the restaurant told us the wait would be 1 1/2 hours, we decided to go down the street to a coffee house to wait, have a beverage and talk. As we walked into the coffee house, we were promptly greeted by a woman who asked us if we were there for the show. We had 1 1/2 hours to kill, so why not take in a show? Chris whipped out his credit card and we were led to the back room of the coffee house for the most surreal "show" any of us have ever seen (I will spare you the details)!  Luckily, we got the call that our table was ready, and we left, laughing hysterically at what we had just seen. We had a great dinner and headed back to the house.
Saturday morning we got up and headed to the expo. It was super busy, but we had a good time.
Picking up my bib!

I joined a band of Marines! Hee Hee!
Teota and I with Joe from "The Marathon Show"!
Chris picking up his bib!
After we left the expo, we went shopping for enough food to last us through super storm Sandy and headed back to the house to relax before heading to dinner with our Maniac friends from Florida.
Dinner was awesome! We all gathered together at the Hyatt to celebrate our friend Mary Lenari's 100th marathon!
Mary talks about her journey to 100 marathons!
Utah Maniacs showing Mary some love!
Me, Maricar, Teresa and Teota at dinner!
After dinner we took a stroll through the new MLK monument. It is breathtaking at night.



 When we got back to the house, we got ready for race morning and hit the hay!
 Flat Teota, Chris and Angie ready for race morning!
 We got up fully expecting to be running through Hurricane Sandy so we made sure we had rain gear and plenty of warm clothes for the finish, but as we left the weather was cool, but not cold and it was not raining.
As we arrived we went through all the checkpoints then made our way to the port-a-potties. We had to meet the Maniacs at the pre-selected location by 7:30am for the group photo. I was almost late last time I ran MCM and didn't want to be late as I was holding the balloon in which I suggested we all meet under and the 100 buttons with Teota's son's photo on them for everyone to wear!
This is the button we all wore to remember Teota's son Brandon.
At 7:21am I went to the pre-selected location to see Maniacs already gathered and taking photos! I jumped in and called for Teota and Chris to make sure they were in it too (this was Chris's first Maniac photo and I wanted to make sure he made it in)!
Maniacs at the start! 
After the Maniac photo, we headed to the start! There were so many people there! We got to our corral and could feel the excitement! Music was playing and I was dancing up a storm!
Teota, Chris and I on our way to the starting line.
This is why we love MCM! Cute Marines!

Nothing like an MCM flyover!
The start of the Marine Corps Marathon!
When the cannon sounded, we were off! We were running pretty slow. The crowds were difficult to navigate and since we were in no hurry, we just settled in an enjoyed the run!
My sentiments exactly!
The Marine Corps Marathon offers one of the best tours you can get!
Me, in front of the Washington Monument!

Teota and I in front of the US Capitol!
What are the odds of being in Washington, D.C. and running with the President? OK, so it's not the POTUS, but it is the POTMM!!
I ran into so may Maniac friends on the course! The only person I didn't see was my partner in shenanigans, Teresa Baker! She must have been close, but I didn't see her the whole race! :-( Here are just a few out of hundreds!
Joe Taricani from "The Marathon Show""!

 Greg Goebel and I!
Patti Krebsbach went flying by!
Teota, Louie Soriano and I!
Elizabeth Trask and I!
Floyd!!!! I met Floyd on the race course at the 2010 MCM!
Dave Bell and Michael Hoyt beating the bridge!

 The course is awesome, the spectators are awesome and the Marines are.. well, Marines!! I love to get my hydration from a man in uniform! OORAH!
I was glad I was able to stay with Teota for the whole race as we lost Chris at around mile seven. It was an emotional ride for Teota. as we hit the section of the course dedicated to the fallen Marines, it took a lot out of her. I was glad to be with her during those hard moments.
We "beat the bridge" at mile 20 and from that point on, we just enjoyed ourselves and socialized with the other runners the last few miles. When we hit the mile 26 mark, I knew it was time to "take the hill" to the finish. While the chute was lined with screaming spectators, I was looking for the Marines to shame us up that hill as in years past. When I didn't see them, I thought we were on the wrong hill. Then I saw the finish line. I grabbed Teota's hand and we finished together. Then I saw a hundreds of Marines on the other side of the finish just waiting to congratulate us. We both got quite emotional.
Crossing the finish line!

The greatest part of the MCM, is getting that beautiful medal put around your neck by a handsome Marine with a salute and the two most amazing words "Congratulations Mam"! 
Teota receiving her medal.

Teota and I at the finish!

In front of the Iwo Jima Memorial
After we finished, we waited around for my friend Chris to finish. Turns out he was right behind us the whole race, but of course we didn't see him and we ended up waiting over an hour for him to find us. I was kind of glad though because we got to see a few more friends at the finish while we waited (though I did get under the skin of a certain Marine because I kept sitting on the grass and getting caught)!

What was pop sensation Psy and his entourage doing there? Looking for sexy ladies of course!  Hee Hee!

Stephanie, Teota, Greg and I modeling our fancy white coats they gave us (no not straight jackets). The back reads "Mission Accomplished!"
 Thank goodness we ran into Greg Goebel at the finish! He told us that he had seen Chris earlier by the baggage trucks, so Teota and I put our heads together and between the two of us figured how to get back to the train stop by Chris's house. Once there we sat on the ground like a couple of homeless people and dug into our food boxes while we waited for Chris to arrive (we knew he had to come sometime)!
MCM gave some pretty good food boxes! I have never had hummus in a post race food box before.
It was starting to get really windy and cold, so we were really happy to see Chris when he came down the escalator! He was glad to see us too! We jumped into his truck, headed back to the house, enjoyed a nice hot shower, then grilled up some steaks for the post race/ pre hurricane party that would last until Tuesday since our flight home was canceled due to the hurricane that ripped through with a vengeance on Monday. Hurricane party!!
We had such a fun time at this race! The Marines know how to throw a marathon! Huge thanks to my pal Chris for putting us up and showing us such a tremendous time! If you want to experience the MCM, take a look at this video that Joe from the Marathon Show posted: