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Friday, September 18, 2015

Somebody Pinch Me! I Am Going To Boston!

I worked so hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon and the day finally came that I could register. On Wednesday, September 16th at 8:00am MT, I was able to throw my hat in with those that had qualified with 10 (or more) minutes faster than their qualifying time.

All registered. Now I wait.

While I was confident that I would get in, it is still nerve racking. What if something goes wrong? Did I register under Angeline (my given name) or Angie (what I go by)? After two days, I was checking my email every 5 minutes just waiting for that confirmation.

My friend Patti sent me a text this morning asking me if I had received my confirmation. When I told her that I didn't, she told me to check the entrant list. I checked it and tears came when I saw MY name!

That's ME!

Not two minutes later I checked my email again and the email I had been waiting for came.

My official confirmation!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

#99- The Big Cottonwood Marathon!

Wow! I can't believe I have made it to #99! The Big Cottonwood Marathon is one of my favorite races. I have run it every year since it began 4 years ago and I still love it. It would have been my first choice as #100 if I didn't decide to go big and do a 100 miler for #100.

For the second year in a row, I decided to captain a Marathon Maniacs team and this year we had a great group. Fellow Maniac Brenda Ngozi Stallings put together her own team to celebrate her Birthday, so between both groups, the Maniacs and Fanatics were well represented!

I was on the fence about how fast I was going to attempt to run this. I thought I might try to best my PR, thus giving me an even faster Boston qualifying time, then after talking to a few ultra runner friends, we came to the conclusion that I should use this race as a training run. I already have my BQ for next year and with my 100 miler two weeks later, I just felt the best thing to do was not completely shred my legs. Well, that was the plan.

The weekend started Friday with a volunteer shift at the expo. Myself and other Maniacs and Fanatics gave back by volunteering at the packet pick up. It was a lot of fun as we got to see all of our friends as they came to pick up their race packets!

Maniacs and Fanatics giving back!

My good friends from New York City, Chris and Nicole Orbach came! 

Wilbert and Shatora and I having fun!

My friend Matt and I volunteering!

Following the expo, I planned a fun Maniac dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Not only did we have a nice dinner, I brought back the "Project Throwaway" competition, where runners wear their best starting line throwaway clothes and the winner walks away with the coveted Project Throwaway trophy!

Our Project Throwaway Contestants

Pascal takes home the trophy!

We had a great turnout!

After dinner I went home and got ready for race day. I wanted to be at the bus by 4:30am, which meant a 3:00am wake up call. With 4 hours of sleep, I got up, got ready and made it to the bus on time.

The race gave me bib #99 to celebrate my 99th marathon!

I got to the start and met up with my friend Chris Orbach from New York and the rest of my Maniac friends. The race started at 6:45am, so we didn't have that much time to use the restroom, take a group photo, and check out gear before the gun went off.

Maniacs at the start!

Chris was looking to sub 4:00 on this course, but after a 1 1/2 year break from running marathons after the birth of his son, he was going in happy with whatever he could do. I told him to stay with me. I wasn't planning on going all out, but would also be happy with a sub 4:00.

Chris and I lined up with the 3:55 pacers and when the gun went off so did they. They took off so fast (which was understandable in the first mile of screaming downhill), but when I was 15 minutes for the first 2 miles and they were nowhere to be found, we let them go.

The 4:00 pacers caught us and I asked them if they were going too fast and they said the worst thing a pacer can say,"we are banking time". We let them go too.

Chris Orbach and I cruising down Big Cottonwood Canyon.

At about 4 miles in Chris and I had to stop for a bathroom break. I hate wasting time at the bathroom so I was not happy when after another 4 miles, we had to go again! We were still on pace but any more breaks, our sub 4:00 will be out the window.

At about mile 9 Chris had to stop again, but he told me to go on and he would try to catch me. So I took off and a mile later guess where I was? Luckily it was a quick stop, but I was starting to have flashbacks to last year where I spent way too much time in the restroom only to have a 102 degree temperature the next day!

Getting my fuel around mile 10.

Thank goodness I didn't have any more issues and I started feeling great! I did my best to watch my pace and not make the mistake I make every year. Going down the canyon too fast can shred your legs and once the course flattens out, you are spent.

Lots of runners having fun!

Just after the half, I came across the one of the 4:00 pacers. I like this guy. He paces a lot and is a good pacer. He didn't have his sign and his partner wasn't with him. I thought he may have had a problem, so I asked him if he was OK. When he said yes, I asked him if he was still on pace. He told me that he was 2 minutes ahead and was waiting for his partner to come back to him (she was way ahead of him). At mile 16, caught her and told her that her partner needed her to pull back. That was when another guy in the group said that she told him they were 4 minutes ahead! 4 MINUTES! That is huge.

One of my favorite parts of the canyon!

At about mile 18, we come out of the canyon for the most difficult part of the race. The course turns onto Wasatch Blvd. where we have a 2 mile hilly out and back. This part surprised me as I did feel as bad as I thought I would (something I attribute to not screaming down the canyon). I did feel it on the back end of that section and had to walk for a few seconds, but overall I felt OK,

I knew that if I could make it past Wasatch Blvd, I would be fine. It was there that we were about 3 miles from the finish with a nice gentle downhill to bring you in, but with shot legs, it is still really hard.

Running up Wasatch Blvd.

I made it off Wasatch Blvd. and caught up with my friend Mark! We were both so ready to be done! Mark ran a great PR! Way to go Mark!

I knew I was in the last 1.5 miles, but with my race brain, I could not do math. I knew I was going to run a sub 4:00, but was a BQ in the cards? I was not supposed to push it, but in that moment I knew I wanted to finish strong!

It was in the last mile that I caught the 3:55 pacers. I started with them and when I looked at my watch, I knew they were either way off or my Garmin was. I asked them how far off pace they were (3:55 is my BQ). One of the pacers replied we are not that much off. I told her what my Garmin said and she said, "Yeah we are about 5 minutes ahead." Me and another girl shouted in unison "5 MINUTES!?" That was terrible pacing and they really didn't seem to care!

As a pacer myself, I know that we all have bad days. This is why there are 2 pacers per time slot. There is NO reason to be 4-5 minutes ahead. The sad thing is the 3:55 and 4:00 pace groups are the most popular. People count on the pacers to help them achieve their goals, not run them into the ground. Pacing is NOT about the free race entry, you are there to do a job! RYR Pacers generally do a fantastic job, so this was not what I would generally see with them.

At that point I took off and headed for the finish! When I saw the finish line I knew I had my BQ as well as a sub 4:00 and tried to finish strong!

Coming into the finish!

My pal Robert got this great shot of me coming into the finish!

I crossed the finish in 3:50:07! The first person I saw was my friend Meridith. She is battling breast cancer and as much as she wanted to run the full this year, she had to drop to the half. I an so proud of her and I could not of thought of a better person to give me my 1st celebratory hug at the finish!


Me and the Birthday Girl, Brenda!

The Bling!

After the race, we all cleaned up and headed to the Porcupine Pub & Grill for a post race after party.

Maniacs at the After Party!

After lunch I went home and crashed as the fun was to continue into Sunday!

I met Chris, Nicole, Other Chis (I will call him Dennis), Karen, Dawn and Bob for a fun day at Snowbird Mountain Resort for Octoberfest for a hike,food and fun!!

Chris and Nicole going on the Mountain Flyer!

Getting ready to take the tram to 11,000 feet!

Hiking down to the chairlift was a hysterical experience with all that wincing in pain!

Gorgeous View!

Chris, Nicole and I on the Lift!

The Crew at Octoberfest!

Let's Polka!

Going down the Alpine Slide!

This may or may not have been consumed by me. OK it was delicious!

Chris (Dennis), Karen and I on the lift again. Karen was summoning her inner moose...

...and literally 2 minutes later we saw this big boy and his wife!

A roller-coaster on the trail? THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

This weekend was so much fun. Thanks to all of you Maniacs and Fanatics for coming to Salt Lake! I hope you all had a fabulous time at the Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half Marathon. It is still one of my favorite races!

See you all next year!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pacing At The Pocatello Half Marathon

When I miscalculated my marathon count, it was clear that I was going to have to drop Pocatello from my race calendar if I wanted Arkansas Traveller 100 to be my 100th marathon/ultra.

I love the Pocatello marathon and was pretty bummed to have to drop it. Then out of the blue I saw a Facebook post from the fine folks at RYR Pacers that they were in need of a pacer for the Pocatello Half Marathon.

This was great! I have never run the half in Pocatello and this was a way that I could still run and help others reach their goals, so I volunteered!

My job was to pace the 2:20 group. This is a small race so I had a few folks with me at the start, but they were strong and left me about half way in. I was scared that I would catch them later, but I never did. Yay!

The weather was perfect for this race this year. Warm, but not hot like it can be in Pocatello.

I was staying on pace, until about mile 6 when I saw a marathoner in distress. She was walking, but she said she thought needed a medic. By this point in the race, people had spread out, so there is no way I was going to leave her alone before I knew what was going on with her, so I walked with her until we reached the aid station less than 1/4 mile away.

It didn't take me long at all to get back on my pace. In fact I made up a little too much time, but settled back on pace quickly. I still didn't have anyone with me, but folks would try to keep up or speed up when I passed them.

The only issue I had with pacing was that the mile markers were set out for the marathon, but not the half marathon. For instance, the mile marker would say "Marathon 15 miles, Half Marathon 1.9". When our pace bands are written for round miles, it was hard to know if you were on pace. I did the best I could trying to stay with in a few seconds, but did get nervous that I would have to make up all those .1's at the end.

Eventually it all worked out and I came in at 2:19:47.

I am already registered for Pocatello Marathon next year as they just rolled my entry fee over for pacing.

If you want a great Idaho race, this is the one! Best swag and post race food for the money! I paid $45 for the marathon by registering early.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fun At The Fish Lake Relay!

When I saw a post from my friend Vince Massa on Facebook Friday morning asking for a last minute runner for the Fish Lake Relay (a one day relay that runs from Fish Lake to Richfield, UT) the next morning, of course I volunteered! I have been running so many of my weekend training runs alone, I jumped at the chance to run with other people and since I didn't have to pay, it was a no brainer for me.

I got home from work about 9:00pm, got my gear together, took Zoe out and was in bed by 10:30. 3 1/2 hours later the alarm went off and I drove to Orem to meet Vince and Nate for the 2 hour drive to Fish Lake to meet the rest of our team.

The thing that is cool about this relay, is that it is only one day and each team only has 6 runners. Each runner only runs two legs and each leg is on average 4 to 6 miles. I was runner 2.

My First leg was 4.2 miles straight uphill. It was cold (about 40 degrees). Starting at 8800 feet and climbing to 9450 feet, the elevation made is very difficult to breathe. This was confusing as I run at high elevation all the time, but for some reason I felt like I was sucking air through a straw!

That first run felt like a marathon due to the elevation.

Vince for the hand off!

Nate's turn to run!

Beautiful scenery!

The boys and I

My second leg was 6 miles. I was looking forward to a leg that didn't climb a mountain, but the 90 degree heat took all the fun out of it! I was glad to be done!

Nate doing "Blue Steel"! Ha Ha!

When you do a race with Vince, this is your food supply!

Vince lured me into drinking this swill! OK, it was hot as hell and I begged for it!

I meant business behind the party van wheel!

5th Place Overall!

This was a really fun one day relay. If you like beautiful scenery, no traffic and sleeping in your own bed, this race is for you!

Thanks so much guys for having me on your team!