Monday, September 01, 2008

Michelle's Grande Ass Marathon

We did it! We pulled off a successful marathon! We've received rave reviews for the course and for a really fun day. I was feeling a little stressed Thursday and Friday about all the details, but it all came together just fine. Earlier in the week I was sure this would be a one-and-only marathon, but by Saturday night I thought we might do it again. After yesterday I am sure of it!

Pre race crowd. Photo by Rich Walter

Eric spent Saturday afternoon running the second half of the course and marking it with spray chalk while I made the medals. George K. spent Saturday evening riding the course on his bike and marking it. Eric and I had a wonderful dinner with Riley, his roommate Clinton and Heather. The kids had rolled into town late Friday so they could go to the ballgame in Seattle on Sunday. I made spaghetti and we sat at the table talking for a long while. Finally, I had to head to bed. Our marathon had a 6 am start, and of course, Eric and I needed to be over at Starbucks around 5 am to set up.

We were surprised to get there and find other Y Run Club members pulling in - our wonderful friends coming to help us. Shortly after, Steve Walters pulled up. He's the Marathon Maniac who designed our fabulous logo and website. He had all the bib numbers assigned and little packets of green and brown M&Ms with the logo on the outside ready to hand out. It quickly became a swirl of runners signing in, buying shirts and chattering. We even had three day of race sign ups. We also had a few who didn't show, so our marathon total was 28 runners, one bandit and three relay teams.

Steve Walters, logo and website designer, and Frst Place Winner of the Grande Ass! photo by Cindy

Relay team: Wendy, Jessica, Sonya, Laurie and Melissa, with George, Route Director behind them. Photo by Rich Walter

It was cold outside, so we gathered in Starbucks for pre-race instructions. We also asked Rob to read Craig's Runners Prayer I. We moved outside for a group shot, gathered at the speed bump in the parking lot (also known as the start line), the cowbell rang and we were off!

Lesa and Margaret, downtown Tacoma, photo by Riley.

Cat,Rob, me and Jenny, downtown Tacoma, photo by Riley

I was lucky enough to share this run with all my good friends - Rob (yes, that would be the same Rob who ran 100 miles last weekend), Cat, Margaret and Jenny. The weather cooperated, staying cool and even sprinkling on us for a while. We wound our way through several towns: Puyallup, Sumner, Fife and Tacoma. We ran on our rails-to-trails paved pathway, on a farm road, on city streets, urban streets, through farmland and industry and finally, along the water front. We stopped at six Starbucks, where our wonderful volunteers handed out water and took our pictures. I need to thank everyone of them: Lesa, Cindy and the kids, Mike, our son Riley and his roomie Clinton, Rich, Bill and Rick. They were all cheerful and fun to see at each stop.

Clinton and Riley photo by Rich Walter

Race Director Eric running, we're not sure why! Photo by Rich.

As for my own race - it went really well for miles and miles. I started to feel tired and achey around Fife - mile 17 or so. Then I slipped into my regular struggle to the finish. I felt tired and nauseated, and eventually started slipping in extra walk breaks, finishing the last three miles with a post-to-post run. It was a bit frustrating after my comfortable spring marathons, but I reminded myself that I missed an entire night of sleep last weekend, and was sick on Monday. At the same time, I saw super-Rob chugging away, seemingly full of energy and kept asking myself how he could do it! The thing about my running friends is that they are all wonderful. They just plug along with me, running when I run and walking when I walk. They chatter away, sometimes deeply philosophical, other times light and silly. They are simply the best friends a person could have, and they give so much to me.

Margaret,me, Rob and Jenny with our fabulous medals (all made from recycled cup sleeves) Photo by Rich Walter

We ran across the finish line 5 hours and 51 minutes after the start. Proudly DFL - though I prefer to say that I ran sweep. Several runners were there waiting so we came into a cheering and clapping crowd. I had a chance to talk with several people, including three runners who made their Maniac status with our marathon. Oh, and by the way, they did it by doing two marathons in a week...and that's not all. Their previous marathon was part of Ironman Canada! Talk about superstars!

The Ironmen-Maniacs, with bike support and Tony, who set up an aid station at mile 22. Photo by Rich.

Eric was driving the short bus full of runners back to the start, so Margaret, Jenny and I went back in our car. We shuffled cars and people around, then met Margaret and Rob back at our house. We three got cleaned up, then we all (including Riley and Clinton) headed to Cat's for a post race barbecue.

The short bus. Photo by Rich Walter

I continued to feel sick all afternoon, but still enjoyed the fun. I think we all got to Cat's around two, and finally left around 6:30 - obviously, we were having a great time! Just before bed time, I got around to drinking a zipfizz, which I normally drink right after every marathon, and it wasn't long till I finally started to feel better. Gotta remember to do that sooner next time! My electrolytes get out of whack and that seems to prop them right up.

As Race Princess, I had to have a crown - made by Jessica. Photo by Eric.

So, yes. There will be a Grande Ass II, or as Linda called it "a double-shot"! Maybe you'll decide to sign up next year!


Wes said...

You have stepped to the other side :-) Totally rock-in! Dee Dee and I would sign up today, but unfortunately, we need the kids to grow up and move off to college!! LOL!! Maybe you could do at least, oh, five :-) Then we'd be there fo sho!!

robtherunner said...

It was a great race and a wonderful time. I can't wait to do it again next year.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great day. Glad the race was such a success. I love the medals. And the tiara.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

how awesomely cool and fun!

(and did ya ever think you'd get to the point where you'd say something along the lines of "then I slipped into my regular struggle to the finish" after the good performances in "my spring marathon*s*" Yay

Sunshine said...

Yea, Michelle!! Grand inventor of the Grand Marathon!
Congratulations on a really impressive invention.

Journey to a Centum said...

So your silly little training run turned into a fun extravaganza! I'm in for next year. I think we did OK for the first year. Just a few tweaks and we can turn up the volume on fun!

Many thanks go to the volunteers, Lesa, Cindy, Mike, Riley, Clinton, Bill, & Rich.

Congratulations to Robin Stoyles on his first marathon ever. He also became a third generation marathoner like his sister.

And where did that Kelsy Boys come from? She had a great race coming in as the first female.

It was a blast!


Irene said...

I so wished I were there!

I hope somebody submits this to Runner's World or some other magazine. This is a great story. :)

Those finisher's medals rock!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

What a super-caffinated time! I loved it and can't wait to do it again-- Tell Eric I'll be waiting for the Mad Monkey Trail Marathon!

TryPiggy said...

It looks like everyone had a good time - no doubt due in part to the organization and the camaraderie amongst runners.

The winners' medals are great. Maybe you should submit your post to your local Starbucks. They might help you with organizing the next race or attract other local runners.

Makita said...

Oh! What a fun time! I adore your race medals - creative, memorable, thematic... simply awesome! :D

Thomas said...

What a fantastic achievement to put on such an event! Well Done, you should be really proud of yourself.

Btw., has Riley really cut his hair?

Jon said...

OMG, Riley's hair is gone!!!

Sounds like it was indeed one successful (and fun!) marathon event! I opted to volunteer at the Balanced Athlete/RoadRunner Sports version of the Nike Human Race 10K that morning, but I should have probably intercepted you guys in Ruston soon after.

If you decide to put this on next year, I'm so in!

Nic said...

Thanks again Michelle (& Eric)! I had a great time, very well done indeed! I fully intend to run the 'double shot' ;-)

Juls said...

Fantastic! I am glad to see that you pulled it off. Love the medals!

Meghan said...

Hi Michelle,

Congrats on pulling off your first marathon of race directing! It looks like a super fun and highly caffeinated day! I, too, love your medals, how appropriate.


JustRun said...

That is so cool! Way to go, all!

Joe said...

What fun, pulled it off!! And ran a marathon to boot!

Ditto the other comments...this is a blurb for RW...and I have to think for the Starbucks PR folks. It is so cool. Glad you have photos!

Put your feet up and enjoy some more zipfizz!!!

olga said...

Michelle, I sure can appreciate the work you guys put in. Way to go!

Bret said...

You gotta do the race next year! That way I get to run it too! Sorry I missed it. Sounds like too much fun.

Steve S said...

Queen of the GAM. It's amazing what comes out of idle chat and a bunch of crazy friends. You, Eric, and others did a fantastic job on your first race. Thanks for letting Robin and I take part. It will be a very memorable event for me as his first.

Anne said...

So glad to hear the race was a smashing success. You're so clever with those awards. It really does look like a good time was had by all. Big Congrats!!!

Sarah Elaine said...

You are such a Race Princess! Congrats on a successful event.

Love those medals.

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

Sounds like a total blast, mabye next year I'll have more time to train for another marathon, yeah, right! :D

Laura H said...

It sounds like you all had a great time - way to go!! Congrats on pulling off your first stint as RD so beautifully! I bet next year gets even more folks - you SHOULD get Starbusks involved!

Dori said...

Leave it to you two! I can't imagine a more suitable couple to put together a marathon. The finisher's medals were priceless! Congratulations on putting on a marathon and running it. :-)

E-Speed said...

Love the crown and medals! Sounds like the Grande Ass Marathon was a blast :)