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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#101- The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and the Marathon Maniac's First International Reunion!

One week after running my 100th marathon/ultra at the Arkansas Traveller 100, I barely had time to unpack my clothes before it was time to get back on the plane to Seattle to meet the "Big 3" (Steven, Tony and Chris, the founders of the Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics) and head to Victoria, B.C. for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and the Maniac's/Fanatic's 1st international reunion!

Friday morning was a little hectic as I nearly missed my 6:00am flight when my alarm didn't go off! Luckily the flight was delayed due to a sick flight attendant and we didn't take off until 7:30am. Talk about lucky!

This pushed us back longer than we wanted as we had a 2 hour drive and a 90 minute ferry ride ahead of us and needed to get the gear to the expo.

Tony, Steve, Chris and I on our way to the ferry.

Once we got to the ferry station, we had a few minutes before it left, so we grabbed some lunch while we waited.

The Prez and I went for the Chinese!

Tony and I hanging out on the ferry.

The views from the ferry were beautiful!

Once off the ferry, Tony and Chris had to take the gear through customs. Steve and I got through over the boarder pretty quick, so we just parked and waited for them. About 20 minutes later, we were on our way to the expo!

Once we got to the expo, Tony and Chris handed off the gear to Ray (the Expo Guy) and I hit the reunion booth to start giving out dinner wristbands and bib stickers for the special reunion medal ribbon.

The sign welcoming us to the event!

Mr. Maniac was there in all his glory!

After the expo closed, we checked into the Maniac Hotel at the Marriott Inner Harbour, then we all headed out to dinner. Victoria is lovely at night so we walked around exploring before settling on a place called Earl's. They had a nice variety of food from pasta to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada). I had a lovely chicken, brie, apple and fig sandwich, which was delicious.

After dinner, Andrew, Steve and I went to find our friend (and my fellow 4:30 pacer), Patti and a few other Maniacs and Fanatics who were having cocktails at a bar around the corner. Andrew and I only stayed a few minutes and we decided to walk back to the hotel. I decided to plan a shake out run at 8:00pm and wanted to hit the hay early.

These girls were properly "hydrating"!

Parliament at Night.

Saturday, I was up at 7:00am and got ready for the shake out run. We were just going to do 2 or 3 miles just to get loose and hang out together. 

I think Tony is a little early for the race!

Great group for our shake out run.

Running on the waterfront is great! (Photo by Tony Phillippi)

The Prez, Sabrina, Andrew and I!

Lorinda and I in front of Parliament.

I love all the totem poles all over Victoria.

At just shy of 3 miles, we all ended up at Starbucks for coffee, tea, etc, then ran back to the hotel for a quick shower before heading back to the expo.

When I got back to the expo, I once again went to the reunion table to give out stickers and wristbands. It was so much fun meeting all new Maniacs, Fanatics and pacers! 

My name is on the wall!

Mr. Maniac and I both sporting our new maple leaf shirts which were made special for the reunion!

I picked up my packet and was shocked at how nice the race shirt was! Party Gal is the new nick-name given to me by Stevie Ray Lopez since I plan all the reunions (or parties).

Mr. Marathon can werk the twerk! Ha Ha!

I started to get a really bad headache during the expo and decided to leave around 3:30pm so I could take some headache tablets and lay down for 30 minutes before walking over to the Distrikt (a nightclub in the Strathcona Hotel) where the Maniac/Fanatic pasta dinner was going to be held starting at 5:00pm.

Planning the dinners is one of the more stressful parts of my job as Reunion Coordinator. It is not easy to find a venue that will do a dinner for 80-300 people with a stipulation that the food has to be good and we cannot pay more than $20-$25 per head total! Coming from out of state (or in this case out of the USA), I always just pray that everyone is happy. So far things have been great and this was no exception.

The Distrikt offered good food with plenty of space for everyone. They also offered a cash bar for those that wanted something more to drink than soda or water.

Time to Eat!

Steve, Tony and Chris talk about the new website and the introduction to the Maniac Kids program coming soon!

Race Director, Bart Southerland tells us about what we will have in store for race day, as well as the many perks we will have!

After the dinner, I went back to my room and got my stuff ready for race day. My legs felt good during the shake out run, so I felt confident they still had something left in them after my 100 miler to be fine for the 4:30 pace. Plus, I did not want to miss the opportunity to pace with my pal Patti!

With the half marathon starting at 7:30am and the marathon starting at 8:45am, I got to sleep in a little. It is rare to get up at 6:30am on race day, so it was nice to just lay in bed a little longer than usual.

Half Fanatics at the start of the half marathon! (Photo by Gretchen Tapp)

I met Steve in the lobby at 8:00am and we walked over to the start to get the Maniac photo taken in enough time to get back to the ballroom at the Grand Pacific Hotel (that Bart rented for us to hang out in and leave our bags) and get back to line up with the other pacers.

Maniacs at the Start!

Marathon Pacers!

Patti and I ready to Pace! (Photo by Sabrina Seher)

Patti, Toni and I. (Photo by Tony Phillippi)

We had a big and fun group with us at the start!

Patti and I with our new friends!

The race started at 8:45am and we had a good group with us. There were a few first timers and people just wanting a PR.

The weather was perfect. It had rained the day before, so the cool air was nice, but it was a little more humid than I am used to. 

The one thing Patti and I had to get used to was the race being measured in kilometers. We are so used to pacing by miles, it took a bit of getting used to, but we had pace charts for both which we would double check ourselves on.

The Victoria course is my favorite kind of course, scenic with rolling hills. I don't run as fast on a flat course. I need the changes. What goes up, must come down. My legs like this kind of course!

Running along the water was wonderful!

Another thing I loved about this course was the smells. We would run through pockets where the pine trees were so fragrant, you just wanted to stop and breathe them in.

We hung onto a good part of our group through the first half. Some went off ahead of us and some fell behind. The last 3 miles were a stinker as there were some long hills there. I must admit, that this is where the 100 miler last weekend started to catch up to me. My legs felt like rubber, but we continued to keep the pace. Unfortunately, we lost the few folks that had not run ahead on those last hills.

In the last 2 kilometers, my left foot started hurting to the point that I thought I might be getting a stress fracture. It was hurting to put weight fully on it and I was scared that in the last kilometer, that I would have to walk it in, but I sucked it up and prayed for the finish line to come quick. 

We had one woman from our original group with us at the end. her name was Marcy. She was struggling to keep up with us, but Patti and I pushed her to stay with us. In the final 200 meters, we told her to finish strong and leave us. She left everything out on the course and finished just ahead of us. Patti and I finished perfectly in 4:29:42.

My friend Robert Merriman took this photo of Patti and I crossing the finish line off the live feed! See Marcy in the grey top just in front of us!

Patti, Marcy and I at the finish! Pacing is the best when you can help even one person reach their goal!

After I stopped running, my foot stopped hurting. I realized that I did not have my arch supports in and that could have contributed to the foot pain. Rest will help too!

RD Bart hanging with other club members at the finish!

We saw Steve at the finish and we walked back over to the Grand Pacific Hotel to pick up our bags. There we saw a bunch of Maniacs hanging out and we sat there for a while just talking before making our way back to the Marriott.

I got my bling!

The finish was right in front of the Parliament building. 

After a shower Steve and I met Patti and her crew for lunch at an English Pub called Bartholomew's. They had typical English fare like Sheppard's Pie, Bangers and Mash and the most delicious Fish and Chips I have had in long time!

English Fish and Chips were just what I needed!

After lunch, we said goodbye to Patti and the girls and I went back to the hotel and kicked back until Tony and Chris were ready to go get dinner and drinks. We went to the Sticky Wicket Pub (also in the Strathcona Hotel). I was still full from lunch, but the food looked amazing! We all went for gelato after dinner and then headed back to the hotel.

At 6:30am the next morning, I was so hungry! I sent Steve a message asking him if he wanted to go find breakfast. He did.

We NEEDED to be on the 10:30am ferry back to the USA if I was going to make my plane home on time and we did not have a reservation. We would have to go stand-by and hope for the best. Luckily, I asked the desk clerk at the hotel how early we should get there. He told us to go park our car there right away. We just had to be back at 9:00am. So we were there by 7:30am and had time to get a good breakfast before coming back.

Steve and I waiting in line for the ferry. 

Cool topiary we saw on the way back from breakfast.

I'm on a boat! 

We got back to the ferry, went through customs and luckily got a spot on the ferry. We had a 90 minute ride chatting with other runners. There was even a whale sighting!

Bye Bye Victoria!

We got off the ferry and made it back to Seattle in time for me to catch my flight. I for some reason got very emotional. I have been so busy with the 100 miler and the reunion, now that they are over, I don't know what to do with myself. I guess I will rest up and get ready for what comes next!

If you want a great get-a-way marathon, Victoria is one to do! I might have to do this one next year!

1 comment:

Jessica I said...

This looked like an amazing trip! I have always wanted to go to Canada. I hope you are feeling better. I have kind of had a challenging year.....if you ever need company let me know. I am only in South Jordan now. :)