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Monday, November 25, 2013

#66 At Route 66!!

What do get when you get 565 Half Fanatics, 457 Marathon Maniacs, and 207 50 State Marathon Club members together to run in 21 degree temperatures? One heck of a party!!

Just a few friends out for a run!
I had so much fun at last year's Route 66 Marathon, that I decided to bite the bullet and haul my butt to Tulsa, Oklahoma again this year.
One of the things I like about Tulsa is I can fly in on Saturday morning and be home Sunday night without much worry. My pal and neighbor Galen was also running so we carpooled to the airport and were on the same flights. We flew United Salt Lake City to Tulsa with a short plane change in Denver. Each leg was about one hour which was just long enough for this nervous flyer, especially when you are flying in one of these:

My hands were sweating before I stepped foot on the plane!
We got to Tulsa around 10:30am. I knew it was going to be a great weekend when the airport was full of Maniacs!!
Lots of awesome Maniacs at the Tulsa Airport!

 We headed to the Doubletree (one of the host hotels and the only one with free, warm cookies) and ran into one of our more famous Maniacs, Runners World's CRO (Chief Running Officer), Bart Yasso!

We love Bart!
Then it was off to the expo which was conveniently located right across the street from the hotel. There I ran into a lot more Maniac friends!
I ran into Chris (#2) and Tony (#3)!

Galen, Michelle, Anders and I

Lots of Maniacs at the Maniac Booth

Maniac/Fanatic Booth

Two of my favorite guys! Jim and Greg!

I got my number!

We were recruited to be a part of a special video to be released by The Marathon Show coming soon!
After the expo we were invited to a nice dinner at The Olive Garden with some of the Tulsa Maniacs (Thanks Patty for inviting us!)
After dinner we all headed back to the hotel to get ready for race morning. The race started at 8:00am and we were walking distance to the start, which meant I would be getting a good 7 hours of sleep (very rare) before the race!
I got up at 6:00am had some breakfast and headed down to the start. The race day temperature was predicted to be around 25 degrees so I brought out my best Utah running gear thinking I would be fine. We run year round in Utah, cold, snow and all. As we walked to the start, I did get a little nervous. I wasn't cold, it was FREEZING COLD!!!

Steven Yee (Maniac #1) hanging on the light pole!

The corrals are filling up!
The one great thing that keeps me and other Maniacs coming back to Tulsa is the way the race takes care of us. When we got to the start, we had our own area with our own bag check. There were so many Maniacs, Half Fanatics and 50 Staters there I didn't even see some of my favorite people!

Greg, Louie, Dave, Jenn and I at the start!

Abbi and I earning our 9 Stars!

My pal Greg and I
As the race got started Greg and warmed up a little and were having fun. Things got even more fun when the lovely Patti Krebsbach caught us. We were having a blast!

Patti and I twerking at the aid station!! Hee Hee!
The three of us were running together when just before mile ten we came upon a young man who was laying on the ground. When we came upon the scene I could tell he wasn't just tired and laying down to rest. He was in serious trouble. Given Greg's history, Patti and I had just been joking with Greg letting him know that he was in good hands if something happened as both of us had recently renewed our CPR certifications.
We asked the few spectators who around him if anyone had called 911, they said no. At that point I yelled "call 911!" When the spectators started to ask each other who should call, Patti pointed at a lady and told her to call. I got down next to him and took his hand. I patted his face and asked him if he was able to tell me his name. He was conscious, but unresponsive. 
At that point things were getting worse. I had the feeling we were going to have to start CPR. I unzipped his jacket to see the name on his bib. Tears came to my eyes when I saw that his bib read "My First Marathon". I just thought that this should be a happy, triumphant and celebratory time for him. He can't freaking go out like this!! Patti made sure is was covered with coats (as it was very cold). She then went around and comforted the man's girlfriend who was rightly very upset.
We were very lucky that the great medics were there quickly. I told them his name (which I got off his bib), they loaded him up and took him away. Patti made sure his girlfriend was allowed to ride in the ambulance with him.
When they left the three of us stood with tears rolling down our faces. This experience had hit Greg very a hard. All we could to was say a prayer for this young man and continue to run.

Greg, Patti and I
A few miles later we ran into our friend and Tulsa Maniac Lyle Robertson. He was running his 100th Marathon!

Lyle and I are matching!
By mile 20 the cold was really taking its toll. Our legs were frozen which made them feel really heavy. They just would not move!

My 66th Marathon on Route 66! 

We love Route 66!
At mile 23 we saw the medics and found out the the young man we helped earlier had gone into cardiac arrest, but was revived and was alive. You can't imagine our relief!

One house had a hot chocolate stop. It was like Heaven in a cup!
The last three miles were tough and we did a lot of walking as our legs were just so cold. We did get excited to hit the Center of the Universe detour though.

Patti, Greg, Lyle and I at the Center of the Universe!
Greg having a cold one!
We collected our coins and came back onto the course. We only had less than a mile to go! When we saw the finish line we were pretty happy!

Patti, Greg, Lyle and I crossing the finish line together!
After we finished we went to the Maniac tent and ate some great hot food and hung out with some friends.

Me, The Prez, Patti, Greg and others!
I hung out a while and had just enough time to grab a shower and check out of the hotel. We headed to airport to fly home. 

Route 66 Bling!
This race brought up some very important lessons:

1) LEARN CPR- While we were lucky and the medics got to us before we had to use it, we were ready. The training we received also prepared us to know exactly what to do when we got to the scene.
2) Tell those close you that you love them. You never know what can happen.
3) Live life to the fullest!
I am happy to say we have been in contact with the man we helped and his girlfriend. I believe we have made two new friends for life. I think Route 66 will be on my list again next year (even though it's hilly as heck).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Whole New Map!

Oh yeah! It's OK to get excited over my map in refrigerator magnets! From now on, I will be posting the magnet of each state I complete as well as the entire map as it comes together in each race report.
I have been debating on whether to go back and add photos to my past posts and the answer is YES (heck I am only 14 states in with LOTS of duplicates)! It won't take that long right?

Friday, November 8, 2013

#65- The ING New York City Marathon!!!!

This is a love letter to New York City so it will be the longest post I have ever put on this blog. Putting into words just how much I LOVE this marathon and this city would be difficult, so with the help of my pal Galen Garrison (who took about 90% of the marathon race photos in this post), I hope you see my love through the photos posted here.

As some of you may or may not know, I lived in New York City for 20+ years and thought I would die there. Then I got married and yadda, yadda, yadda, I am in Utah.

The last NYC Marathon I ran was in 2009. It was my 4th marathon. Toeing the line for my 65th marathon 4 years later, the NYC Marathon continues to be my favorite Marathon. I have never run the Boston marathon, but I can tell you that there is no way in hell it's better than New York (OK, so maybe the Boston/New York rivalry goes beyond baseball with me). That is just how much I love this city.

The first thing I did when I got off the bus from Washington D.C. (after running the Marine Corps Marathon), was hop a cab to the East Village. I have my apartment there, but chose to stay with my friends Sandra and Larry, the owners of the dance studio I used to work at. They have a beautiful and huge loft right next to the train which was really convenient.

When I got to their loft, I settled in and then headed out to walk around my neighborhood. Gosh I have missed it! I walked over to the Strand book store and picked up a few of my favorite tote bags (which are perfect for knitting projects)!

I LOVE the Strand!

I already have put a couple of totes to good use!
Then I hopped the L train to Brooklyn to visit my old dance partner and dear friend, Roddy and his lovely wife Gretchen. Roddy was teaching a Lindy Hop class and though it would be a hoot if I sat in on it. Being that I haven't danced for five years, it was like riding a bike. I remembered the steps, but my brain was not used to thinking so quickly when it came to leading! Sorry ladies, I just could not remember the choreography fast enough to lead the steps perfectly without Roddy calling out the steps, but I still had a blast!

Roddy and Gretchen leaving the Albee Dance Studio in Brooklyn.
After class, I caught the train back to the East Village then I walked over to one of my favorite Ukrainian diners, Veselka and stuffed my gob with sweet farmer's cheese and potato pirogi and vegetarian stuffed cabbage. For dessert? A black & white cookie of course!

Oh pirogi, how I've missed you!! When people in Utah want pirogi they go to the freezer, these babies are hand made!!

Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony.
With a full belly, I headed back to the loft and hit the hay as I was meeting my good friend Annie to go to the expo early.
One thing I LOVE about this race is that the entire city comes out for it! The energy in the city race weekend is palpable!

The subway loves the marathon!

The stores love the marathon!

The buses love the marathon!
I got to Annie's house at 10:00am and since Galen's bus was coming in at the same time, we waited for him and all hit the expo together.

Wow! The lines at the expo were long for a Thursday morning!

Look how big this place is!

I am going in!
New York welcomes everyone!!

Got my bib! Wave 4 Blue 59-574!

OK! I really did NEED this stuff!

Anders, Galen and I

So excited to see my friend Anders from Sweden! The Biking Viking would later be carrying the Swedish flag in the Parade of Nations!

After we left the expo, I said goodbye to my sweet friend Annie. She is not a runner, but she is always my standing date to the expo! I love you Annie!
After I left the expo, I went to have lunch with my dear friend and insanely talented actor/singer/vegan runner Chris Orbach who only this past February ran his first marathon and is now getting ready to run his sixth in Philly this weekend! Way to go buddy!!
When I got back to the loft, Larry asked me if I wanted to walk across the street and take a Tango class with Jeni Breen (an amazing teacher I used to work with). I said "heck yeah!" and we walked over and had a really fun class with a little practice and dinner after.

I was sooo happy to be dancing again!

Friday morning started with a trip to the 9/11 Memorial. This is the first time I have been to ground zero since the memorial was built. It was emotional to see and a fitting tribute to those lost on that tragic day.

Freedom Tower

White roses are placed on names on their Birthday.

Jimmy Amato was the best friend of my fiance at the time. He was a fire fighter that went into the towers to rescue others. I remember getting the call that he was missing and only days later hearing that his body was found. When so many people had nothing of their loved ones, this came as a blessing.
After leaving the 9/11 Memorial, I hooked up with my dearest NYC friends, The Caccioppolis! They are like family and I was so afraid our schedules were not going to sync up. I am good friends with John and Teresa and used to watch over their children, Sidney and Frankie since they were two and three years old.
I met them and we went to the Natural History Museum while we waited for Sidney to get out of her photography class. It was a great reunion!!
Frankie and I outside the Natural History Museum across the street from Central Park. The fireworks from the Marathon opening ceremonies were filling the air!

My sweet Sidney! I can't believe how fast they have grown up! They are AMAZING children!

There was a truck with a treadmill on it making its way around the city seeing if people could run as fast as Ryan Hall (American record holder in the half marathon). Most people didn't last more than 30 seconds!
Saturday morning I really got race weekend kicked off the the "Dash to the Finish" 5K. I had asked my Facebook friends if they planned to run and was surprised when two of my former dance students Steve Kastenbaum (CNN and 1010 Wins reporter) and Neal Blangiardo (all around snappy dresser) said they were in!
The 5k started at the United Nations and ended at the finish line of the NYC Marathon in Central Park. I took the 6 train to Grand Central Station and walked the few blocks to the United Nations.

Me at the start of the 5K.

Mary Wittenberg getting things kicked off!

Shalane Flanagan giving some encouraging word before running the 5K herself!
Heading to the corrals.
How I was able to see Steve and Neal in this crowd was insane! I was finally able to get their attention and Neal took this shot!
There were lots of fun costumes and other stuff at the 5k!

A running juggler!

Lady Liberty X 3!

Lots of countries were represented. This was Mexico!

Making our way to the starting line!

Running up E. 42nd Street

Running past Radio City Music Hall!
Tried to take it nice and easy and just enjoy all the people! I had made friends on the course with a bunch of Italian guys  who kept taking my photo and draping their flag over me when they ran. Fun group!
30 minutes later I was finished and I saw Steve and Neal!

Neal got a post race selfie of the three of us!
Shortly after we finished Steve wanted to dance! The first rule of social dance is you never say no!! In fact, I said "heck yeah"!!

Steve and I swinging out at the finish! Music? We don't need no stinkin' music!
I had organized 2 Maniac photos for NYC. It was great so see that a few showed up at 9:30am to be in it!

Maniacs with the statue of Fred Lebow, founder of the NYC Marathon.

I have always wanted my photo with Fred! Fred is brought to the finish line every year.
After the 5K I went back to the loft and relaxed until meeting more Maniacs for the group photo in Times Square! I was happy with the turnout at this photo too!

Maniacs in Times Square!!
After the photo a bunch of us headed to Angelo's for some carbo loading.

Pasta with some of my favorite people!
We had a nice dinner then everyone went home to get ready for the morning, except me. I was in NYC!! I hopped a cab up to 11th Avenue and went to see one of my favorite live Brooklyn bands, They Might Be Giants!

Heck yeah!! Got me a seat up top!! AWESOME show!!
After the show, I got a cab back to the loft, laid out my stuff and got some rest. Tomorrow was going to be the best day ever!!!
Flat Angie ready to go!!
At 6:30am my alarm went off, but I was already awake. I got dressed and headed to the subway that would take me to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. I was meeting my Sarasota friend Greg Goebal and Galen at the ferry at 8:00am. Galen had decided to slum it with us because as I write this he is doing a 100 mile race. I am so glad he did! My goal was to take a million photos of this race, but since my phone is password protected (for work) it was a pain. So Galen said "you tell me what you want photos of and I will take them with my camera". This worked out great! Thanks Galen!
I found a place to sit and enjoy my hot chocolate while I waited.

Getting ready to board the Ferry!

Fellow Maniacs Doug and Galen at the Ferry.

I can believe in 50,000+ runner I saw some friends from Utah!! Yay Ann, Sue and Katie!

Runners inside the terminal getting ready to board!

My shoes are ready!
Runners on the ferry!

Sean (our new friend from Australia), Greg and I on the ferry.

Another Staten Island Ferry Boat

I brought an extra pair of sweat pants in case anyone needed them. They were just the right size for our new friend Cris, from London!

Greg was already to do some filming with his video glasses when he realized the battery in them was dead! :-(

Our new friends Cris and Sean

Waiting for the bus to the start!

Greg and I in the rock star seats on the bus....

...right next to the bathroom!!

When we got off the bus. Security was very tight.

Every runner was searched and wanded, but the officers were very good and we didn't have to wait very long at all.


New York's finest keeping us safe!

Heading to the Blue Start Village!

Fellow Maniac Sheila wearing the hat I made her!

Proud to be in the Alberto Salazar Village! He was my hero in high school and he is a great coach today!
Awww! Sean's niece gave him some special crystals for good luck!

Wishful thinking!

Love the hat!!

The piles of discarded clothing was like sitting on a couch, so we made ourselves comfortable.
Once we came out of the corral, we were lined up outside the toll booths. It is at this time we hear the singing of "God Bless America", the cannon fires and Frank Sinatra's New York, New York is BLASTED!! It is one of my favorite parts of this race. Everyone sings along and I could feel my eyes well up!


It took a while to get to the timing mats , but before we knew it we were off!

So excited!!!

Attacking the biggest hill in the marathon right from the start! It is a thrill to RUN over the Verrizano Bridge!


Greg and I already having fun in the first mile!


NYPD Fire Boat!

I told Cris he should have worn this outfit!



Cute Volunteers!

We love you too Brooklyn!!

OMH!!! I about died when one of my former dance students saw me! So great to see you Sam!

CPR with CPR!


Again, I saw another one of my dance students and he wanted to dance, of course I said YES!!

More Maniacs!

As we hit Williamsburg, the course got pretty quiet.

There were very little high fives, but there were a lot of people watching though.

Heading into Queens!


The folks in this band were a hoot!

Heading up the Queensboro Bridge!

It was cold and windy on that bridge!

The tram from Roosevelt Island

Heading down the bridge into Manhattan.


I love 1st Avenue!


My friend Alice from Best Buddies!!

We found Cris again!

Then we found Sean!

Heading into the Bronx!


His hat says "YANKEES"! Of course! That how they roll in the Bronx!

The famous blue line marks the course!

Good thing we didn't really need these guys right Greg?

Coming back into Manhattan!

Mile 22 in Harlem!


GREAT Volunteers!

The Achilles Athletes were so inspiring!

Coming into Central Park!!


The Guggenheim Museum

A blind runner from Japan. AMAZING!!

We are getting close!!

We gave a lot of high fives!!

We are almost there!!


There is the finish!!
WE DID IT!! Right after this photo was taken I broke into tears. I just had this overwhelming love for New York!

The 4G's and I at the finish!

Greg getting his medal!

Me getting my medal!
Galen getting his medal!

I took this same photo in 2009. I made sure Galen got this shot!

So happy...

...and warm!

We look like a cult!

 Like I said at the beginning of the post, words cannot explain how much I LOVE this race!
After I got back to the loft, I took a shower, filled Sandra and Larry in on the events of the day and headed out to meet Greg and Galen for a celebratory dinner. THANKS GREG! Then it was back to the loft for a great sleep!
I slept in until about 10:30am then packed up my stuff to head back to the airport and the thought of leaving made my heart sink.
The New York Times on Monday!
People ask me why I love New York so much. Easy. I love walking out my door and seeing art of all kinds.
Went to get Thai food before heading to the airport and found a Banksy!

I want to say a few THANK YOUS! THANK YOU Sandra Cameron and Larry Schulz for opening your home to me.
THANK YOU Greg Goebal and Galen Garrison for the most fun I have ever had at a race and THANK YOU Galen for offering to be on photo duty. We sacrifice good (clock) times for great times with friends. These photos will make it all worth it!! 
I may live in Utah, but my heart will always be in New York City. As I packed my bags and said my goodbyes, I wept as I left the city I love so much. I LOVE NY!