For the 5th year in a row I headed to Tulsa, OK to run the William's Route 66 Marathon. Even when I had other races on the calendar for that day, I always end up coming back for one reason or another. When I registered back in September, I decided to come back for three reasons:
1) I was asked (for the 3rd year) to participate in the Blogger's Forum;
1) I was asked (for the 3rd year) to participate in the Blogger's Forum;
2) It was another chance for Bart and I to be together; and
3) I couldn't think of a more important year to support this race.
In March, Race Director Chris Lieberman was in their warehouse taking inventory for the race, when he fell off a ladder and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Chis and his partner Kimi Hann are the heart and soul of this race and this would be Kimi's first time running this race without Chis, as he is in a rehab facility getting the help he needs to heal. With all Chris and Kimi have done for us, I wanted to be there to support them this year.
One of the things we did was to create two pins to sell at the expo to raise money for The Chris Lieberman Recovery Fund. Both pins were $5 each and 100% of the proceeds will go to help fund Chris's recovery.
I made this button that anyone could wear to show support to "Team Lieberman".
This beautiful pin was geared more to our club members, but non-members liked this pin as well! If you would like to purchase one, the extra one's should be up on the club store soon.
I flew into Tulsa on Friday afternoon and met Bart at the expo, which was held downtown at the Cox Business Center. It was great expo with lots of vendors that were giving out all kinds of freebies. Cowbells, buffs, gloves, cashews, protein bars and even Kleenex were among the stuff I collected at the expo!
Heading into the expo!
Bart giving one of his fabulous talks at the expo. I think I know this man, yet he always comes up with a new story I haven't heard in every talk!
Got to see my friend Chris Reagan at the expo too!
After we left the expo, Bart and walked back to the hotel. We were staying at the Holiday Inn City Center, which was probably the most convenient hotel to be at if you wanted to be close to the start. We could see the start from our hotel! It is about a mile from the finish, which I found to be a good way to loosen up the legs after the race.
At 6:00pm, Bart and I walked over to the VIP reception which was held at the Zarrow Center for Art & Education. It was an intimate get together of sponsors, crew, and family and friends of Chris and the race. We ate and drank until it was time to say a few words. Bart was given the honor of doing so.
People mingling at the VIP reception.
Not only did Bart do a wonderful job talking about the race and Chris, when Kimi came up to share a few thoughts, it was so sweet to watch him rally around her. He is a wonderful friend.
The next morning I slept in a bit. Last year I ran the 5K, but I missed Bart's shakeout run, so this year I just went down to cheer runners and to see all the mascots in the Mascot Dash!
Just a few dancing Mascots getting ready to run!
Main Maniac getting ready to run!
Bart was the race announcer for the 5K so shortly after the Mascot Dash went off, we headed down to the DoubleTree Hotel (another great place to stay) for Bart's shakeout run!
Bart had a nice group for his shakeout run!
We did three easy miles on a bike path next to the river. The weather was perfect.
After the run, grabbed a shower and went to help at the Maniac booth, where I was handing out wristbands for "Maniac Corner". Maniac Corner is a VIP experience given to members of the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics. This includes:
Maniac Corner wristbands. Once they go on, they never come off! Ha Ha!
Having fun with Main Maniac!
At the expo with #1 (Steven Yee), #2 (Chris Warren) and #3 (Tony Phillippi)!
At 3:00pm I shared the stage with 5 other running bloggers at the day two of the Route 66 Blogger's Forum. Here we shared about the how, when and why's about writing a running blog. I was the veteran as this was my third year on the panel.
Getting ready to start the Blogger's Forum! (Photo by Bart Yasso)
The Blogger's Forum was fun and it was so nice to see so many Maniacs supporting me! Thanks to all of you that put your butts in the seats! Hee Hee!
When I was done, I went back to the hotel and Bart and I took a walk down to the Methodist church, where they were doing a $5 pasta dinner and a blessing of the shoes. The food looked great, but Bart had to get some work done, so we didn't stay long, but one of the nice ladies had the minister come over and give us a special blessing. It was really sweet.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped to check out the start.
Maniac Corner is ready!
We even had our own gear check!
A little later Bart and I went down to the hotel restaurant. They were having a pasta buffet, so we just had dinner there and I went up to the room and got my stuff out for race morning.
Flat Angie ready to race (not sure real Angie is though)! Ha Ha!
The HUGE Maniac and Fanatic and picture we take every year was scheduled for 7:15AM, We did the photo and Bart the idea to record a video message to Chris, which was really cool!
In Maniac Corner getting ready for the group pic!
Bart and I in Maniac Corner!
It was so great to see Sara! We met when she ran with our pace group at the Louisiana Marathon back in January. She is not only a Maniac now, she has got some speed! Go Sara!
The Maniac "Grand Poobas", Garrett and I in Maniac Corner!
Our AMAZING group pic!
After the group pic, I walked back to the hotel, grabbed my drop bag and dropped it off at our Maniac bag drop, then then headed to the start.
I was in wave B, so once the race started, we waited five minutes until our wave went. Each wave was sent out with a blast of confetti (which I loved)!
And we're off!
I always forget how hilly this course is, but I found out quick! I tried not to go out to fast and felt really good for the first 10K until I had to use the bathroom. Not knowing where the next aid station was, I saw two women sitting outside their house cheering runners. I took a shot and asked one of them if I could use their bathroom (as it was kind of an emergency). She was so nice and said "of course!" and told me where to go. Clean real bathroom with no line? Win! I thanked the ladies when I came out and was on my way.
I started running with the 4:15 pace group for a while and the pace felt good. Then I saw a house with a photo op that I couldn't pass up! I lost the pace group while taking the pic and I slowly tried to make my way back to them, but once we hit the half and the hills and headwind came, it wore me out.
I could not pass this photo op up!
I didn't run the Flying Monkey this year, but I did see a monkey!
Route 66 volunteers are AWESOME!
Getting my kicks!
Just before mile 15, I was pretty much on my own climbing this long hill into a headwind. I was tired and all of a sudden I started to cry. I don't know why. I just felt like I needed to release whatever was inside. At that moment, my friend Andrew Aguirre came up behind me. I dried my tears and like he did when he paced me at AT100, he saved me!
From that point forward, we stuck together and had a blast the rest of the race! We ran, walked, hit all of the block parties, thanked volunteers and just had fun!
Cutest little cheer squad ever!
The neighborhood block parties were a lot of fun!
Andrew, Michael and I (Photo credit; Michael Rhodes)
I would like to thank all the little people for this great honor! Ha Ha!
Great people on the course!
Toasting Chris with a little PBR!
At about mile 25.5 of the marathon, runners have the choice to go straight to the finish or to take the .3 mile detour to the Center of the Universe. The race called this "the worlds shortest ultra". If you completed the detour you received a really cool coin.
Andrew and I at the Center of the Universe!
After we hit the Center of the Universe, we thought we should at least try to come in under 5 hours, so we put the pedal to the metal and finished. I came in in 4;54:19 (with the detour). Not fast, but fun!
I got a hug from Bart at the finish! (Photo credit: Hung Hoang)
The AMAZING Kimi Hann and I after the race. She did such an incredible job!
The race goes all out when it comes to Maniac Corner at the finish!
After the race I headed back to the hotel, got a shower and took a nap until Bart came in and we chilled for a bit before heading over to our annual bowling after party at the Dust Bowl!
This awesome retro bowling alley and lounge has been the site of our after party for three years and is always a blast!
Jamilla, Elizabeth and I (with creeper Andrew!) Ha Ha!
We split up in to four teams with the Main Maniacs and Bart captaining the teams! Watch our Facebook live video here!
Last year I was on Chris Warren's team and we won. This year I was on Bart's team and we won. I may not be the best bowler, but it is obvious that I am the good luck charm! Ha Ha!
Such a great night!
Hey! This is not Hooters!
On our walk back to the hotel we got a text from Kimi who was running late, so we just had her meet us at the bar of our hotel. Destiny Green, Kimi and a bunch of the race crew came over. Bart had been on his feet all day and was really tired, so he stayed just a few minutes and went upstairs, but I stayed and had a few drinks with everyone. We were having a fun time just celebrating the awesome job done by everyone!
I thanked Kimi for everything and went upstairs and crawled into bed and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
The next morning Bart and I got the shuttle to the airport and another Route 66 was in the books!
This race would have never happened for me if it were not for Kimi Hann who is so wonderful and Bart Yasso. There are no words to describe how much important he is to me. Thank you so much Kimi and Bart. I love you both!
The Marathon Maniac Marathon Medal and the Center of the Universe Coin.