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Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! -The Thankful 13 Half Marathon.

Holidays the past couple of years have been hard for me. Living in Utah alone with everyone I love either no longer with us or living across the country and friends spending time with their own families, the holidays can depressing and lonely. It's the one time a year I start wondering if I will be alone forever.

How I see myself at every holiday!
This Thanksgiving I am so blessed! My twin sister, Angel and I have not had a holiday together in over 10 years and this year she decided to come to Salt Lake to visit.
Not to bore you with my personal problems, but I have struggled with anxiety (a byproduct of 9/11). I have had no real issues for years, but the past few months have been difficult for me and being alone does not help. Having my sister with me at Thanksgiving is not only great, but at this time feels like a life saver.
My sister is the reason I started running marathons, She had run 12, before I had run any. She recently started running again and I thought it would be fun to run the Thankful 13 Half Marathon on Thanksgiving day while she was here. We have never run a race together and I thought this would be great!

My sister and I getting ready to run our first half marathon together! 
I love the Thankful 13 as it is only about a 10 minute drive from my house at a place appropriately called "Thanksgiving Point".

We had to wear our Gobble Gobble socks!
The weather was cool, but once we started running it was comfortable. 

My cute Maniac/Fanatic friends Marsha, Teota and I at the start.

Half Fanatics at the start.
I run faster than my sister, but I promised to run with her this race. I had no problem with this until we started running. I just wanted to go. I didn't realize how competitive I have become until I was asked to just run for fun. I can say I have no time goal in mind, but there always seems to be a goal even if I can't admit it. 
I found myself pushing my sister, when I should have just had fun. My friends Teota and Dawn were so great to stay with us and had no problem at all hanging back. I could not have felt more selfish.

Dawn and I.
Teota, Dawn and I
Once I decided that spending time with my sister and friends was what was important, our finish time didn't matter. We ran, we walked, we dished the dirt and just has a good time with the girls.
As we approached the finish line, my sister started to pick up the pace. By the time we were 100 yards away the competitive twin thing had us racing to the finish line!  Sorry twin, you had to go down! Ha Ha!

We finished!
 After the race they had some great pumpkin pie, spice cake and hot chocolate!


Thanksgiving  fun with the girls!

The medals were so nice1

Love this!
This was probably my slowest half marathon, but I was so thankful to be able to do it with my sister and good friends!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#86- The Route 66 Marathon

There are few marathons out of state that I repeat year after year. New York City (if I could get in every year), The Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virgina and the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Funny thing is I almost didn't run this year. I had run Route 66 the past two years and I really wanted to give the Flying Monkey in Nashville a try, but when I didn't get in through the lottery and was invited to speak at the Blogger's at Route 66, I decided to take them up on their offer and make the trip to Tulsa and I am so glad I did.
I caught my flight Friday afternoon and was surprised to see Chris Warren (MM #2) and Tony Phillippi (MM #3) on my flight.
Chris, Tony and I landing in Tulsa!
Once we landed, we picked up our rental cars (which we were shocked how inexpensive they were. Less than $60 total for 4 days!) and I headed over to the expo to help the gear guy, Ray Shaw at the Maniac booth. There I also saw Patti Krebsbach and the Prez Steven Yee (MM #1).
Working the expo!

Patti, the Prez and I at the expo.

Ray, the gear guy and I.
The Prez, Patti and I handing out Maniac Corner bracelets at the expo.

This was our ticket into the Maniac Corner
The Marathon Maniac Prez, Steven Yee loves sushi and has been promising to buy me sushi forever. Well after the expo, it finally happened!! Steve, Patti and I found this great sushi place and ordered some wonderful seaweed salad and a boat load of sushi...literally!
Our sushi boat!
Miso soup and seaweed salad. So delish!!
We sunk the boat. There was only one survivor!
After dinner I headed back to my hotel. In year's past I have stayed at the DoubleTree downtown, but since I didn't decide to come until pretty much last minute, the DoubleTree downtown was sold out.
I ended up at the DoubleTree at Warren Place. It was about 15 minutes from downtown and since it was still a host hotel, it had shuttle service to and from the start and finish line of the race. The rate there was lower too ($109 per night).
I got some sleep and got ready to do a short shake out run with some Maniacs including Bart Yasso from Runner's World (MM #2384).
It was raining when I got there. The shake out run was 3 miles, but Patti, Steve and I decided that we were only going to do 2 miles. I was still a little nervous about how my injury was going to hold up, but I needed to get at least one mile in for my streak, so 2 miles sounded good to me and plus, it was pouring rain.
Well once we got out there, it felt good to run and we just did all 3 miles!

Maniacs including Bart Yasso before our shake out run.
Our rainy shake out run.
After the run, I went across the street to help Ray at the Maniac booth. It was fun as I got to meet a lot of Maniacs I am Facebook friends with, but have never met. I could also answer any questions regarding our upcoming reunion.

Bart Yasso and I taking a selfie.
At 4:00pm myself and 3 other wonderful Bloggers hit the stage for the Blogger's Panel. The other Bloggers included:
Danielle Hastings:
Sarah Burress Mohler:

I watched the Blogger's Panel last year and was nervous and honored to be included in it this year. I just like to use my blog as a journal of my 100 marathon/50 State journey. I am always surprised when people actually read it! So THANK YOU!

During the Panel we were asked questions from the moderator and Twitter. It was fun to get to hear what the other Blogger's had to say and how they approach their writing. Overall a great experience! THANK YOU Kimi Hann for the invite!

Trying to look like I know what I am talking about.
Here is where I broke into song. J/K!

Blogger's Panel: Danielle, Sarah, Becky and I
After the expo closed, we all went to dinner at the Hyatt and then I headed back to my hotel to get ready for race day and finish knitting a beanie that I was to deliver at the start area.
Stating at 5:00am, the hotel had a complementary breakfast out for all the runners. I woke up at 5:30am, went downstairs picked up a small bagel, a banana and a cup of herbal tea and headed back upstairs to get dressed.
The hotel shuttle left at 6:30am which was perfect. The bus was ready to go when I got downstairs and 15 minutes later I was schmoozing with all my Maniac and Fanatic friends!
When I tell you that the Route 66 Marathon rolls out the red carpet for our club, I mean it! We had our own special area right near the start line with our own private bathrooms and gear check.

Tony, Chris and I at the start.

Maniacs and Fanatics getting ready to run!

The one thing I remember about Route 66, it that it is one big party!! People were drinking before the race even got started!

The official Maniac/Fanatic picture! (Courtesy of K.D. Wells Photography)

Maniac selfie!
After all the pictures were taken, it was time to run! This being the first Marathon since my injury at the Marine Corps Marathon last month, my plan was just to play it by ear and finish. I didn't want to risk further injury by going out to hard, but if I felt good, I would go with it.

The Route 66 start line complete with confetti canons!
Now. like I mentioned earlier, this is the party race. I am one that doesn't care if there are bands on the course, but if your going to have them, make them good! Route 66 had bands that made me want to stop running and start dancing! 

One of the many great bands on the course!
It is funny how you open up to people you just meet on the marathon course. I was feeling a little down and I ran next to this new Maniac named John. He had the cutest family there to support him. I felt a little jealous. He was a good sport and a good listener as I told him my story. I felt a lot better after that! I didn't see him again after the race, but thanks for the ear John! (Photo courtesy of What's Happening Tulsa) 

Looking a hot mess on Route 66! Ha Ha!

Let's talk about the course for a second. Again, this is the 3rd time I have run this race. I remembered that is was a hilly course, but you would think with 20 marathons under my belt since last year's race, and being a lot faster than last year, that the course would feel easier. Nope. This is in the top 3 hilly road marathons I have run.

I describe the course like this: Run a one mile hill, run downhill for 100 yards, repeat for 26.5 miles! The hills were not super steep, they were just long.

I know this photo does not look like much, but in real life this was one of the many long hills we had to climb. Ugh!

The whole community comes out and that community likes to drink! There was beer, Jello shots and other adult beverages all over the course! I thought I was going to have to be the designated runner!

Did I mention it's only around 10:00am!! Ha Ha!

The marathon course offers an interesting option. There is place right after mile 25 called The Center of the Universe. Here you can leave the marathon course, run an additional .3 miles out and back to the Center of the Universe (where there is a huge beer table set up). As you come back onto the marathon course, you are given a large coin indicating that you just completed the "world's shortest ultra".

I have taken this detour the last two years, but this year I almost didn't do it. I was not at a PR pace, but I was feeling pretty good and thought I could break 4:15 which would be great considering that I was going pretty conservative on a very hilly course. I had it in my head that I just wanted to be done and would not do it this year...until I reached the turn off. Why not? I wasn't going for a PR and I had the energy to do it, so I made the turn and climbed yet another hill! I was glad I did it though.

Heading back to finish the Center of the Universe detour!
The Center of the Universe Coin
After leaving the Center of the Universe, I made the last few turns to the finish line in 4:20:27. Not my fastest, but I was thrilled to finish at all given my injury and my longest run was one 6 mile run in a month.
Once I crossed the finish line, I went straight to the medical tent and iced my SI joint as a precaution. It seemed to work.
I headed over to the Maniac Corner. Here we picked up our special medal, had our own gear check, beer truck, and food. There were also couches to sit on and the back of the Maniac Corner lined the finish line where other Maniacs and Fanatics were cheering other members in.
The entrance to Maniac Corner!

Steve Walters, Tony Phillippi, Chris Warren in Maniac Corner.

My friend Sean from Dallas and I in Maniac Corner.
Patti and I (with a Prez and Alicia photo bomb) in Maniac Corner.
That Pizza was not as good as the sushi boat, but it was pretty good after running a marathon!
The Marathon Maniac Bling!
I left the Maniac Corner and headed for the shuttle back to the hotel. I was surprised that I didn't have to wait at all! The shuttle was right next to the Maniac Corner and it took no time to get back to the hotel.

After a shower, I met up with Steve, Tony, Patti, Chris and Ray to watch the Seahawks game and grab some dinner. After dinner, Bart Yasso joined us and we went bowling at a cool place called the Dust Bowl. They gave us our own private room with 2 lanes in it!

Our own private lanes!
The Route 66 Race Directors, Kimi and Chris joined us later and we were having quite a good time!

Most of us run better than we bowl, but we had a blast!
Our bowling "Bartie"!

After such a fun time, I was sad to see the weekend come to an end. I can't thank the Kimi and Chris enough for inviting me to do the Blogger's panel and to all my Maniac friends who are so good to me!

Next year Route 66 will celebrate their 10th Anniversary and they are already planning something special! Sign up now for the lowest price.