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Sunday, January 26, 2014

#70- The Louisiana Marathon, The 2014 Marathon Maniacs Reunion and 5 Spinning Stars!

Just coming off my first back to back marathon weekend, I was back on a plane Friday heading for Baton Rouge, Louisiana for not only the Louisiana Marathon, but for the 2014 Marathon Maniacs reunion!

I had organized the 2012 reunion at the Utah Valley Marathon and felt honored to be asked to take on the 2014 reunion. If you know me, you know I live for this stuff!

I flew into Baton Rouge on Friday and went straight to the Expo to start checking in all the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics attending. One of the perks of coming to the reunion is getting the reunion swag. This year we all got a fun Marathon Maniac (or Half Fanatic) beanie.

2014 Reunion Swag!
It is always fun seeing Abbi! We had a nice dinner Friday night after the expo.
After dinner Friday, I went back to my hotel, and put some ice on my calf. I had hurt it on the way home from my double marathon the week before when I put some compression sleeves for my plane ride home. They hurt me so bad I had to pull them off mid flight and my leg hurt all week. Running the marathon at this point was up in the air.
After icing my leg, I got a good night's sleep and was up bright and early to work at the expo on Saturday. 
Ray (the expo guy), Abbi, Steven (the Prez) and I at the expo!
I spent a few hours at the expo, then headed over to the Hilton to place our reserved table tents on our tables at the "Pastalaya" dinner. Then I went back to the expo to finish up before the reunion meeting at 4:00pm.
I had such a great time meeting so many Maniacs and Fanatics that I had never met or only know from Facebook. Right before the meeting, we had such a long line of Maniacs waiting to check in, we had to move the line into the meeting room in order for us to start somewhat on time.
Once the meeting got started, I ran out to find the VIP finish festival wristbands that were not in some of the packets. Once i got them I ran back to the meeting.
The MM/HF reunion meeting.
During the meeting, Steven, Tony and Chris talk about club business, give out some fun door prizes and present the awards.
When it was time to present the "Ambassador of the Year" award (according to Steven Yee, the highest award given by the club), I was wondering who would win this year. Last year Betsy Rogers won. She is not only a great runner, she also volunteers at races and she and her husband Matt are race directors too.
I was utterly shocked and honored when Steven Yee announced that I had won the award this year! I can't tell you how happy that made me. I for one nominated some really worthy members, so this just blew my mind! From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Steven, Tony, Chris and any of you reading this that may have nominated me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! 

Me receiving The Ambassador of the Year Award!
I am so honored to win this year!

Tony, Steven, Chris and I
After the meeting, we walked over to the Hilton for "Pastalaya" Dinner. It was really good! Sweet potato soup, veggie pasta, pastlaya (with sausage and chicken), salad, rolls, cookies, the works! I was so busy during the day, that I realized, I had not had anything to eat or drink since 8:00am, so I was starving!
It was also great to see the legendary Bill Rodgers and the inspiring Matt Long speak. It was a great night!
After touching base on a few things with Danny (one of the RD's), I went back to my room, iced my leg once more and went to sleep hoping my leg would be OK to run on.
The next morning I got up, got dressed and headed out to the front of the State Capitol Building where we would be taking out group photo at 6:30am.

Maniacs in front of the State Capitol.
At the start, we had our own VIP gear check and our own bank of port-a-potties which had little no lines. The port-a-potties even had a guard which made you feel like you made it past the velvet rope at Studio 54! Hee Hee!

The Start!
The race started at 7:00am and until I started, I had no idea if my leg would hold up or if I would be walking the whole 26.2 miles, so I started out slow. My leg was feeling tight the first few miles, but loosened up as I ran. Afraid to push it too hard, I went easy and was able to keep moving!

Heading of nice and easy!

Always great to see Martha!

I loved this gong! I had to bang on it!

Got to share a few miles with Kathy who was running her 100th Marathon!

Maniacs know ho to have fun!

The community support was amazing!

Half way there and feeling good!

The cutest volunteers on the course!

The signs were so good!

Only in Louisiana!

Got a selfie with Missy!

Whoa! It's the Prez!

Got to see cute Carol again!

Douglas taking a photo of me taking a photo of him! 

I made it to mile 23 and Batman was there!!
As usual the last 3 miles felt like the took forever and went by fast at the same time. When I crossed the finish line I was so happy!! I had just completed the hardest thing I have ever attempted. 3 marathons, 3 states in 8 days! I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID IT!! I also realized that I had finally gained my 5th Maniac star (which I thought I would never get)!

3 Marathons, 3 States, 8 days = 5 Stars Baby!
After I finshed, I headed over to our VIP tent where we picked up our reunion medal and the food and drink were abundant! Sullivan's Steak House catered the VIP tent and the food was awesome!

Tony, Steven and I in the VIP area!
The finish festival had some great bands and a lot of fun was had by all!
After the race I went back to the hotel with Denis and Patty who borrowed my shower then headed out to a place called "Walk-Ons" to watch the Seattle/49er's playoff game. It was fun to watch the game with some Seattle folks. The taunting between them and the SF fans in the restaurant was fun to watch. People were pretty happy when Seattle won (except Ray who was rooting for SF)!

The gang after Seattle's big win!
After the game, I headed back to the hotel and had a great night's sleep! Before leaving for home the next day.
As much work as these reunions are to plan, I just love it and I think this year's went off without a hitch, except that we ran out of reunion medals. We had about 100 more people come to the race that we were not aware of and did were not in our original count. The RD was very nice to get us more ordered so those that did not receive one will. So over all, I would say that this reunion was AWESOME!
I can't wait to get started on next year!

Not a bad haul for the weekend!
I got Louisiana!


Marlin said...

I wanted to ask at the meeting but didn't get it done, do they have a plan for the location of the 2015 reunion?

Angie Whitworth Pace said...

Marlin- A few locations have been suggested to the Main Maniacs, but nothing has been set in stone for 2015 yet. When they make a decision, you will know!

Michelle Hille said...

Hi Angie!
First....amazing blog! Thanks for posting (love all your blogs!)
Second... congrats on all your runs...5 stars!! Whoop whoop!!
Third...where did you get that great Black MM tank top??? I love it!
Sorry I missed this reunion...I'm still a newbie and ran the Maui Oceanfron Marathon (trying to get 9 marathons in 9 different states in 365 days and so far have 3 marathons in 3 months :))
Hope to "run" into one day!
MM #7816

Angie Whitworth Pace said...

Thanks Michelle! Way to go!

I made my black tank out of one of my old Maniac Shirts. Instead of throwing it out, I made it new again! Thank goodness my fashion design degree is doing me some good these days! :-)

Fred | NOLArunner said...

It was great having my fellow Maniacs come so close to home, as I'm a New Orleans resident. The race was awesome, and seeing all of the black and yellow on-course was really cool. When I registered for the race, I included my Maniac Number on my submission. When I checked in at the expo, I wasn't on the Maniac list. The Prez was awesome and I still received my media pass and beanie. I had no clue about the cool post-race amenities, bag check, etc. My recap from this race is on my blog at! Hopefully I can make it to another reunion soon!

Angie Whitworth Pace said...

Awesome Fred!So glad you made it to the reunion! Sorry you didn't hear about all the perks!

This being a national/international club one of our biggest challenges is getting all the info to every member and there is no easy fix. I posted numerous updates on facebook and the website the last 2 weeks leading up to the event, but if members didn't go there for the info, they didn't see it.

My advice to all our members is once the reunion has been announced do the following:

1) Add your name to the race calendar. This is the only real guage we have on how many members we have coming. Louisiana actually asked if you were a member of the club, but A LOT of people registered BEFORE becoming members, but were members by the time race day came. Adding your name to the calendar is the only way we can have a proper count.

The reason we ran out of reunion medals this year, was that our count didn't match the actual number of members that came. About 100 people came that we didn't count because they did not add their name to the list. If you are not on the list, we don't know you are coming.

2)Check the Marathon Maniac Facebook Group Page religously in the few weeks leading to the reunion. Facebook is the fastest way to share the info to everyone and this is where the reunion info/updates are posted.

3)Check the bulletin board on the Marathon Maniac website. I post all the info there as well.

When the location of the 2015 reunion is announced, start looking for updates! :-)