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Saturday, November 28, 2015

#103- The 10th Anniversary Of The Williams Route 66 Marathon!

The problem with fall is that there are so many amazing races to do. One race I have done for the past 4 years is the Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I LOVE this race! Since 2010, Race Directors, Chris Lieberman and  Kimi Hann have bent over backwards to make the experience special for everyone, but for the Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics and 50 States Marathon Club Members, they have rolled out the red carpet!

2010 marked the first year of the famed "Maniac Corner" and this one of a kind treatment has not only grown from about 200 club members running in 2010 to about 2,500 this year and to think I almost didn't come!

As I said earlier, there are a lot of great races and since I had already done Route 66 three times, I tried my luck in the lottery for the second time at the Flying Monkey in Nashville, TN. I was super excited to get in! They had a Hunger Games theme this year that made me really want to run, but I was equally sad to miss Route 66. Still trying to emotionally recover from what happened at AT100, I decided the best thing I could do for my own mental health was pull out of the Flying Monkey. I contacted the RD, explained my situation and he was very understanding, but the whole thing pretty much crushed me, especially the closer race day got. I had already bought my plane ticket and was really sad.

A few months before Co-Director at the Route 66 Marathon, Kimi Hann, had invited me back to participate in the Blogger's Forum, but I had to decline, due to the Monkey. Well I was so lucky that they still wanted me and before I knew it, what could have been a very depressing weekend, ended up being one of the best race weekends ever!  

Making my way to Tulsa!

I was able to change my flight from Nashville to Tulsa with no change fee on Southwest, in fact I got money and miles back by flying in on Thursday and my friend Andrew Aguirre and fellow Maniac pacer (who rescued me the last 17 miles of AT100), lives in Tulsa and offered me a place to stay a mile from the start! Other fellow Maniac pacers Sabrina Seher, Brian Post and Daniel Bucci were also staying there, so I was looking forward to a very fun time!

This mural is the Tulsa airport is awesome!

When I got in, Andrew picked me up and took me back to his house before going back to work for a few hours. He wanted to get his hot tub filled so it would be ready for use over the weekend, so while he was at work, I earned my keep and got the hot tub ready to fill!

All your wildest dreams will come true in "The Dream Maker"!

My new friend, Fluffaluffagus!

Andrew came home and we met up with another fellow Maniac pacer, Amy Krivel for dinner. We went to a really great Mexican place called Mi Cocina.

AAA in the house! Andrew, Amy and me at Mi Cocina

Friday morning, I got up and ran the 1.5 miles from Andrew's house to the expo, where I would be giving out wristbands for the Maniac Corner. It was great to see so many Maniacs and Fanatic friends and those that I had never met before!

My new little buddy, Ernie! It was so great to see my Tulsa pal Lyle and his cute little boy!

It was so great to see my sweet friend Patrick Finney! 

The "Main Maniacs" and Andrew get to the expo just in time for a selfie!

At 5:15 PM, myself and 3 other bloggers took place in the first of two Bloggers Forums. On the 5:15 PM bill was:

Sarah Mohler 
Twitter: @Run_Ginger_Run

Amanda Boyer
Twitter: @cupcakesnmiles

Angie Whitworth Pace (ME)
Twitter: @AngieRunsSLC

Colin Wright 
Twitter: @ColinWright 

Oh no! They gave me the mic! Ha Ha!

Posing for photos after the Bloggers Forum!

I can't thank Kimi Hann and Cheryl Lawson enough for including me again this year! It was a lot of fun!

After the expo, I hit Kilkenny's Irish Pub for dinner while Andrew picked up Super Sabrina from the airport. When I got back to the house we all chatted a little and got ready for the 5k the next morning.

The 5k started at 8:00AM and it was COLD and WINDY! As we made our way to the start line it was pretty crowded. The plan was just to have a fun little shake out run, but we wanted to get ahead of the walkers where we could keep a nice pace. We got as far as the 27 minute pacer before the gun went off and was OK with that. 

Sabrina, Andrew and I at the start of the 5k!

When the gun went off we crossed the starting mat with our pal Bart Yasso giving us all a shout out! I darted off in hopes of moving up when I passed the 25 minute pacer. I then came up behind a group of walkers, walking five across, right in the middle of the road. Now, this is annoying for many reasons. 1) They were clearly not seeded in the right pace group which we all know is bad etiquette; and 2) Walking five across on a crowded course is also bad etiquette, but the most annoying thing is when I asked them nicely to move to the side if they were going to walk on such a crowded course (I assume they were new to racing), they got all defensive and told me to "get over myself"! I have NOTHING against walkers, but if you can't learn the etiquette of racing, then learn it or don't get offended when you are asked to abide by it.

I felt great during the 5k, and this was not an easy course. Not only were there some good hills, the 40 mph headwind made it harder. I was pretty happy to finish 16th woman and 1st in my age group! Not bad for not running a 5k in over a year!

69th out of 1,861 runners, 16th out of 1219 women, and 1st in my age  group out of 132. I will take it!

I had a fun time running the 5k!

Route 66 even gave beautiful medals for the 5k!

I adore these two ladies! Super Sabrina and Race Director, Kimi Hann!

After the 5k we went over to watch the Mascot Dash, where the Marathon Maniacs own Mr. Maniac was making his debut! 

Mr. Maniac gets all the ladies!

Poor Mr. Maniac!! Ha Ha!

After the 5k, Andrew, Sabrina, Brian, Bart Yasso and myself went to get lunch and we headed back to the expo, where I got to see some more friends!

I love Brian Wright! He is the coolest!

Me and my pal Bart Yasso!

My friend Aaron Braunstein stopped by and helped out at the Maniac booth!

After the expo, Andrew invited us to have dinner at Jeanne Urie's home. We had a nice meal and hooked up with a few other awesome Maniac! THANK YOU Jeanne for opening your home to us! 

Maniacs at dinner!

When we got home from dinner we got our stuff ready for the marathon, and hit the hay! We knew the weather was going to be cold, so I pulled out the long sleeves and tights! 

Flat Angie ready to go!

Needing to be at the start at 7:15 AM, I set my alarm for 6:00 AM to give me enough time to get ready and walk a mile from Andrew's house to the start. 

When we got there, we made our way into the Maniac Corner. There we had our own potties, gear check and hot coffee! We gathered for the biggest club photo to date with over 2,000 members! 

Close to 2,500 Maniacs, Fanatics and 50 State Club Members!

My pal Jorge Garcia (you might have seen him in this month's Runners World Magazine) and I in Maniac Corner!

I love Jamila! We ran our first 50 Miler together!

Maniacs #1, #2 and #3 with me at the start!

My girl from Chicago, Erica aka E-BOOGIE!! Love this lady!

  We spent the next 30 minutes socializing before the gun went off at 8:00 AM to confetti canons and our pal Bart Yasso announcing!

And we're off!

This course is one of the hilliest road courses I have ever done. My fastest time on this course was last year where I ran it in 4:20:27. I really wanted to improve on last year's time and see if I could land a 2017 BQ, by running a sub 4:00. I thought this might be a long shot, but I was going to try anyway!

Volunteers getting their kicks on Route 66 too!

One good thing about this race is the 7:30 hour time limit. I believe this time limit is not to allow slower runners time to finish, but to allow drunk runners time to finish! See, I have never seen so much beer and alcohol of a race course in my life. Every neighborhood we ran through has some kind of block party going on, in fact the race actually sends out kits to residents to encourage them to come out and support the runners. There was beer, Jello shots and whatever else you can think of!

Maniacs enjoying one of the many block parties on the course! (Photo by Jennifer Snowden Zuelch)

Block Party! (Photo by Jennifer Snowden Zuelch)

 My race started out pretty good. I found myself comfortably staying with the 3:45 pacer for the first 12 miles (until I had to make a potty stop) and despite the numerous hills, I stayed on my sub 4:00 pace until mile 23. It was there that the never ending hills took it's toll. At mile 20, I was still good, but I was tired and lost it mentally at every hill I saw.

Route 66 has what they call "The Center of the Universe Detour". This detour, referred to as "the worlds shortest ultra" and adds .3 miles to the course. As you complete it you are awarded with a coin and a Michelob Ultra beer. I told myself that if the 4:00 pacer caught me before I hit the detour, I would collect my coin if not, I would push for that sub 4:00.

At mile 24, I was done. The 4:00 pacer caught me. I tried to stay with her, but that last big hill got me and I saw another Maniac pacer Greg Burress and we started chatting. Then The Center of the Universe it was!

Greg and I at The Center of the Universe!

Once I thought my sub 4:00 was out the window and I took the detour, I just started having fun. When I came across the finish line at 4:07:13 (with the detour), I kind of kicked myself. If I would have just not given up and NOT taken the detour, I probably would have gotten that sub 4:00. I am OK though as this was still a course record for me and I had a lot of fun!

My Center of the Universe Coin

After the finish, I headed straight to Maniac Corner, where there was plenty of food, drinks and a lot of friends!

It's always awesome to see Sean here every year!

The "Big 3", Sean and I

Greg, Daniel, Aaron and I

We hung out at Maniac Corner for a while, then we walked back to Andrew's house up the race course cheering for Maniacs along the way!

We hit the Center of the Universe again on the way home!

We found an aid station on the way home too!

After last year's bowling fun, I called and reserved 4 lanes at The Dust Bowl, a great old school bowling alley and lounge, but before our bowling party we had enough time for a soak in the hot tub and some good food!

Maniac pacer hot tub party!

We got to The Dust Bowl at 7:00 PM and the fun began! We played the first game just goofing off, then it got real when we split up into 4 teams. Each team captained by the Main Maniacs, Steven (#1), Chris (#2), Tony (#3), and Bart Yasso. I ended up on Chris's team. 

Sabrina keeping score.

This is right before the ball went into the gutter! Ha Ha!

Things are getting serious!

Sabrina got the high score of the night!

Having a blast!

Perfect form Brian!

In the end Chris, Brian, Jerry and I pulled out the win beating the other teams!

The more drinks, the better you bowl! WE WON!

Just as we finished The Route 66 RD's Chris and Kimi came by. It was just a nice way to end the weekend.

Our traditional bowling pic!

I can't say enough good things about this race. Every detail is addressed and the RD's really roll out the red carpet for us. What could have been a very sad weekend for me, ended up being one of the best times ever!

The swag!

HUGE THANK YOU to Andrew, Sabrina, Daniel, and Brian for giving me a place to stay and making laugh non-stop all weekend, Chris and Kimi for having me for the Bloggers Forum and for all you do to make our club feel like ROCK STARS, to Bart Yasso for the endless shout-outs, to Trent (RD of The Flying Monkey) for being so cool and understanding, and to Steven, Chris and Tony, for creating a club where us weirdos have a place to belong! I love this club and I LOVE the Williams Route 66 Marathon!

My 5K Age Group Award!


Jessica I said...

It not an easy decision to change races and I am so glad everything worked out well for you. It looks like tremendous fun and such a great race! Even better with great people.

Denis McCarthy said...

Great write up. 7th time for me. This race has grown so much and is so professional in every way, I'm in awe.

Cheryl Lawson said...

It was great having you back on the panel and watching your race via social media. You have so much fun out there and it shows. See you next year!