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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Tacoma City Half Marathon!

As the Reunion Coordinator for the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics, the "Big 3" (founders Steven Yee, Chris Warren and Tony Phillippi) approached me with helping them in a new and bigger project. There are so many races wanting to host our annual reunion, it has been a tough decision to pick just one. There are so many variables that go into picking a reunion race. 

With members all over the country (and the world), do we pick a race on the east coast, west coast or in between? Is the race offering special perks to our members? Does the race fill up fast? Is there a major airport near? Is there enough lodging? All of these things need to be thought of before a race is selected.

This year we decided against doing an annual reunion and give our members and the races what they want and the Signature Race Series (SRS) was born! The Big 3 picked five great races from around the country to host us. #2 in the SRS was the Tacoma City Marathon

I flew into Tacoma on Friday night. I wasn't quite sure where I was staying so I parked my rental car and found this cool little coffee house and bar called Black Kettle Bites and Brew, where I got on my computer and did a search around the area while sipping a hot cappuccino and listening to people do karaoke. After a couple texts with Tony I landed at the Hampton Inn that night. I liked this place as it had coffee and tea out all night and they had a huge breakfast the next morning. 

Saturday morning I ventured over to the the TCMA (and Marathon Maniac HQ) to check everyone in and give them their SRS pin for race #2!

Signature Race Series Pin #2 is a replica of the SRS medal given to all club members running the Tacoma City Marathon or Half!

Garrett and I at MM/HF HQ getting ready for all the Maniacs and Fantaics!

The Prez Steven Yee and I at MM/HF HQ!

After a long day at the expo, I headed over to MM/HF dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. They did not take reservations so I got there about 20 minutes before to get our name on the list. I was definitely busy with runners. prom kids and family's out for a Saturday night dinner. We had about 15 people show up and only waited about 20 minutes for a table. The food was good and reasonably priced.

Maniacs and Fanatics at dinner!

At the dinner I sat next to my two NYC friends Alexis and Jim. It was then I found out that Jim and I were staying at the same Airbnb that night! Said Airbnb was just across the street form one of the best pubs in Tacoma, so after dinner, I dropped my stuff off at the house, met the hostess and we headed over to Engine House No. 9! Not only did they have an extensive beer menu, they had a delicious carrot cake!

Engine House No. 9 was awesome! I also found out later that this place had a pivotal place in the start of the Marathon Maniacs! 

It was Saturday night and the place was packed. We found out that they would be doing karaoke and we HAD to stay for that. See, Jim Diego is on a quest to not only run a marathon in all 50 States, he also wants to sing the National Anthem at each of those races and he was going to warm up his pipes there!

The karaoke started off with a few tipsy girls at a Birthday party, too scared to go up alone so they went up in pairs, butchering some top 40 tunes at the top of their lungs. People clapped politely and their friends cheered them on like they were the best singers in the world.

Everyone was having a good time. Then it was Jim's turn. From the first note of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", he had the room! People looked up and paid attention. The guys sitting next to me at the bar turned around from their beers and said "Man! That guy is good!" The place went crazy. 

When he finished the song he came back to the bar, finished his beer and we went back to the house a tiny bit tipsy. I usually do not drink more than one beer before a race, but I had opted to do the half instead of the marathon, so I had a Moscow Mule too. 😉 

Jim KILLING Karaoke!

At 5:30AM, my alarm went off and I got dressed and drove to the Tacoma Art Museum, parked my car and got the last bus to the start at 6:30AM.

When we got to the start it was a little chilly and the air hanger we used to shelter in in past years had been condemed, but a restaurant on site let us sit in there, even providing free coffee and mini bagels!

I got to see my friend Stephanie in there and we chatted for a bit before heading out to drop our gear bags and get to the start.

Cute Stephanie and I!

The start of the marathon and the half start on an active airport runway!

I have run this marathon twice so I KNOW how hilly it is. I am trying to get some speed back in my legs after a winter of being under trained and my last few marathons being quite the slow suffer-fest. I wanted to start over.

Runners heading to the start!

Start selfie!

The Tacoma half course starts on a live airport runway then runs us up and over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Hanging with the 2:00 pacer over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

The fist 5 miles of this course are pretty hilly. I tried to hang with the 2:00 pacer early in the race, but lost them once we got over the bridge. My thought was if I work hard over the bridge, there would be some down hill for me to relax on. Well, on the other side of the bridge there was another big hill and I had to stop and walk for a few seconds to get my heart rate down.

The last few miles we came out an ran on this bike path right next to the water. I loved this part as the course was flat, the scenery was beautiful and the volunteers were the happiest people alive. They were cheering their lungs out along that whole stretch of road!

The scenery was like something in a painting!

I'm on a boat! LOL! 😂

I was feeling pretty good and managed to catch the 2:00 pacers again around mile 8. I knew if I stayed with them for the rest of the race I would easily break 2:00. Then at mile 10, I suddenly felt really nauseated. I tried to shake it off and keep running, but I felt like I was going to puke, so I stopped and walked for about 30 seconds and got myself together and pressed on.

I kept the 2 hour pacers in sight, but never quite caught them due to the EVIL, EVIL hill just before you hit the finish chute. It wasn't that long but it was steep. I walked that sucker and finished the race strong with a 2:00:44 and a 4th place age group finish! I was really happy with that on this course.

At the finish of the Tacoma City Half Marathon!

After the race I headed to the Maniac tent to help Chris and Garrett in handing out the extra SRS medal to members.

Steven, Patti, Chris and I at the MM tent!

MM #3 and Race Director Tony and I at the finish!

It is always great to see Marie! She is a legacy at the Tacoma City Marathon!

My pal Alexis race walked his way to finish his FOURTH round of 50 States marathon finishes at the Tacoma City Marathon! CONGRATULATIONS! (I would like to get through one round!) 😛 

Close up of the race medal.

The t-shirt and medal.

The Tacoma SRS medal hooks with the Cowtown SRS medal! The picture is coming together!
After the race, I went back to the Airbnb and took a shower and had a short nap before the Maniac bowling after party at Tower Lanes! It was so much fun! I don't know if it was the beer, the treats or the nachos, but we were killing it!

The Prez!



Chris bought me this beer. I hoped it didn't taste like it came out of the men's room. It didn't. It was a good local beer.

I won the first game a 142!! That's a lot for me!!

I lost my mojo the second game, but Patti, Stephanie and Chris picked it up! Look at Patti's 163!!

We had to take our group bowling pic!

After a few beers, we were all feeling good and decided to play mini golf after bowling! Now we didn't realize that it was 18 holes. Talk about a marathon!! LOL!

This game was a marathon!

The longer we golfed, the more funny it got!

After the golf game I got back to the Airbnb, packed my bag and was up at 3:00AM to drive to Seattle and catch my 6:00AM flight back to Salt Lake City.

Hey! I'm famous!

It was a short but really fun weekend. Thank you Tony, Steven and Chris for EVERYTHING! Our next race in the Signature Race Series is the Mad Marathon in Vermont on July 9th! It is a beautiful race and will be SO MUCH FUN!! So register today!!

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