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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Mad Marathon and Half! Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics Signature Race Series #3!

Last year Bart Yasso introduced me to the Mad Marathon and I am forever grateful. It is not only one of the most challenging marathons I have ever run, but there are few places more beautiful and quaint than the Mad River Valley and Waitsfield, Vermont in particular, so I was overjoyed when Marathon Maniac founders, Tony, Chris and Steve told me that they picked the Mad Marathon as race #3 of the Signature Race Series!

Since the packet pick up started on Friday, Garret and I flew to Boston and then drove 3 1/2 hours to Waitsfield. It was a nice drive, but I had been up since 2:15AM, so we were happy to get there and get some sleep.

Garret and I in Boston! I look tired because I was! 😉

When we arrived at the Tucker Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast around 10:30PM, we were a little scared that nobody would be there to check us in, but true Vermont fashion (totally chill), the keys to our room were just sitting on the counter with our names on them. 

Our rooms were clean and quaint, they served a wonderful breakfast every morning, and the innkeepers, Kevin and Patti Begin were warm, friendly and accommodating.  I totally recommend this place. 

My room

The lounge area was nice for just hanging out or working on my computer.

The grounds were beautiful and there is a really nice trail head on the property that leads you on a gorgeous trail, perfect for a run or hike. 

On Friday the packet pick-up didn't start until 4:00PM, so Garrett and I drove down to say hi to Race Director Dori Ingalls and offer any help they might need, but they were pretty much set up by the time we got there, so we took a walk around town. We walked about a mile down to the first covered bridge (if you remember my post from last year, this is where Bart Yasso jumped into the river during the shake out run!) It was only 75 degrees out, but the humidity was stifling! I wanted to jump in the river again, but we had to work later so we headed back to check out some of the shops in the area.

Covered Bridge Selfie

One of the shops we went into was a little embroidery shop called Whippletree Designs. The owner Heidi Boettger, was not only friendly and warm, but when I asked her if she could embroider my name and Marathon Maniac number on my jacket, she did it beautifully and at a great price!

Whipple Tree Designs

Not only that, she turned us on to The Mad River Taste Place. This place had only been open for two days, but offered a wonderful selection of local cheese, beer, wine, bread and meats just in time for lunch! Thank you Heidi for the recommendation!

Garrett got the cider flight and I got the flight of the same thing! The Three Cheddar Board was AMAZING!

There are moose in Vermont! 

At 4:00pm the packet pick opened and Garrett and I set up shop. There were not many people stopping by, so we chatted with Bart Yasso and Chuck Engle for a couple of hours (who were there greeting folks) until we all made our way across the street to the park for dinner with Dori, her husband Ian, and some of the other volunteers. It was a great time.

After the band stopped Garrett, Chuck and I ended up back at the Tucker Hill Inn bar drinking wine (thanks Chuck) until we were joined by Tony, Chris and Steve. It was a fun time.

The next morning we were back at the packet pick up ready to greet all the Maniacs and Fanatics!

Garrett and I at our tent ready to go!

So fun to see Carol!

After the expo, we headed back to the Tucker Hill Inn for the Maniac/Fanatic dinner I planned. Again, the folks at the Tucker Hill Inn did a great job. They gave us the entire bar and patio area for the 50 or so dinner guests we had come.

The rain held out for most of the dinner and there was lots of good food and conversation!

After dinner, I went to my room and got ready for race day!

Flat Angie ready to go!

On race day, Dori made sure we were set up! We had some VIP perks and I know everyone appreciated it! Before the start, we gathered for a group photo, and out own Jim Diego sang the God Bless America!

Maniacs and Fanatics at the Finish Line Barn before the start of the race!

Jim knocking it out of the park!

The "Big 3" and I!

I went into our private port-a-potty (one of the VIP perks Dori gave us) and when I came out, everyone was gone! The race had started about 5 minutes early so people scattered to get to the start line. I was running the half and since it was chip timed, I wasn't too concerned. I started the race with about 3 or 4 other people and we were off.

Now, like I said at the beginning, I ran the full last year and that course was HARD! So many hills!! Let me say this, the half was HARD too! Both races would make you want to die if it were not for the spectacular beauty of the courses. I say the same thing about the Mad Marathon and Half as I said about the Kauai Marathon- if you are going to suffer, suffering in Paradise is the way to go!

Dori called the farmer and him bring the cow out for us to see! People said she was smelly, but I thought she was beautiful!

Another covered bridge. 

I couldn't help but thing of the "Tunnel of Trees" in Kauai when I ran through this.

Love this barn.

Baby cows!! ❤❤❤❤

Lots of silos.

When I got back to Bridge Street and I saw the first covered bridge we ran through, I knew I had about a mile to go. The only problem was, I knew it was all up hill and I was hot and tired. When I saw that finish line I was pretty happy! Not only because I was finished, but I knew I would get one of Dori's famous hugs!

Race Director, Dori Ingalls greets EVERY finisher with a hug!

I went straight from the finish line to the Maniac/Fanatic tent to start handing out the beautiful Signature Race Series medals. I was surprised to learn that I was 3rd in my age group!

My fellow AG winners

The Prez won his AG!

I felt like I was at a Disney race with all that bling!

Jim and I after the race!

Jim Diego and I sporting our stripes!

So great to see JC at the race! JC won his bib through my Team Challenge Race Auction!

Jim's photo bomb is the BEST!

Rosie was the resident dog at the Tucker Hill Inn. What a sweet pea!

After a shower and some lunch, we decided that we had to do something every tourist in Vermont HAS to do- hit up the Ben & Jerry's factory tour which was a 45 minute drive form Waitsfield! 

The tour was only $4 and uneventful (it was loaded with bad jokes too), but let's be honest, we were there for the ice cream and it did not disappoint!

Yep, #1 and #2 were half baked!! LOL!

ICE CREAM!!!! ❤❤❤

This sweet little family was crossing the road at the Ben & Jerry's Factory. ❤

Tony, Garrett, Steve and I wound down the day with some take out pizza from American Flatbread! This place is so popular that you have to put your name on the list at 4:00PM if you want to get a seat. They were really great and let us get an order to go 15 minutes before closing! The pizza was AWESOME and just relaxing with friends in the lounge eating it made it even better.

Pizza from American Flatbread

The next morning Steven and I had a date with the trail behind the Tucker Hill Inn! We met in lounge the at 6:00AM and headed out. We headed up the dirt road for about a mile until we realized that we must have missed the trail head somewhere. We went back down and laughed as we found the trail head about 100 yards from the front door of the inn! LOL!

We were lost, but didn't care!

The Prez and I stop for a selfie while trying to locate the trail head!

Now we are on the trail!

The scenery was beautiful!

After the hike we got ready to hit the road back to Boston. Before we left we stopped by the covered bridge for one last selfie! LOL!

One last bridge selfie. Sniff.

We made it to Boston, but before we went to the airport, we HAD to hit Wagamama for lunch!!

Lunch at Wagamama with the boys! 

I felt a little guilty eating Chicken Katsu Curry without Patti K!

After lunch we headed for the airport and home. 

It has taken me a while to write this post for a couple of reasons. One, I have just been busy with other stuff, but this was a difficult piece to write. I LOVE this race. It holds very sweet and tender memories for me with people I care for deeply. I wasn't sure if this year, I could handle it, but it was just fine. I must be a friend to keep a friend, and I did my best. I cannot thank Dori, Steve, Chris, Tony and Garrett enough for their friendship and having faith in me to do a good job.

This race is one of my favorites and if you want the ULTIMATE Vermont experience, the Mad Marathon is not a choice, but the ONLY choice in my book!

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