Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"I'll get you my pretty (medal)"

One of the creepy life sized
figures at the Oz Museum
Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore... but we were!  We were there at the end of March to run the Wicked Marathon in Wamego, Kansas (yep, this blog entry is really late).  I was joined by fellow runner Bethany who opted for the half-marathon. Unfortunately we didn't get to run together since there were different starting lines for the half and full marathon, but we did high five when we passed each other going opposite directions on the course.

This is me running in
the wicked rain
The race was accompanied by some wicked weather as it rained pretty much the entire first half of the race.  Plus we were already wet from waiting for the race to start in the rain.   This might be one of the smallest races I've done but a perk of that is if everyone is at the start line early, you can get started early which is exactly what we did. The sooner we start the sooner it's over with, and the finish is my favorite part!

The course was a bit of an out and back type course, but this wasn't as annoying as I thought it might be.  Plus there were some cows mooing us on along the way.  But other than that, not a lot of crowds out there. Maybe it was the rain, or maybe this is typical for this race.  But you do get some motivation from the other runners on their way to the finish (or if you are a fast runner, unlike me, on their way to the turnaround).

Costumes are encouraged, and while we did bring some, we opted to not wear them in the rain.  I didn't think the polyester Dorothy dress I ordered from Amazon would be very comfortable.  I do have to give huge kudos to a man I was running along with for much of the race who did the entire full marathon in all out Glinda gear (poofy pink dress, crown, wand, everything).   I don't even want to imagine the chafing, ugh!

While I may have eluded to a pretty medal in my blog title, this race actually didn't have a very pretty one.  I was hoping for some Emerald City sparkles or something like that. Nope. I suspect that the medal may have been designed by a local artist (although I can't confirm this), and while I can appreciate the talent that went into the depiction, it wasn't the bling I was hoping for.  Nonetheless, it is a unique medal in it's own right and I welcomed it at the finish line!

I always mention food and/or drink in my blogs and this one is no different.   Bethany and I started our carb loading at a local brewery in Manhattan, Kansas... Wait, let me back up a minute.  First, I have to tell the story of how I got to Manhattan, Kansas.  I did take a flight there from Chicago, which was uneventful, as I prefer all of my flights to be.  However, when I arrived at the airport, there was the task of making my way to Manhattan where we were staying.  I thought, well this is a college town (Kansas State is here), so they probably have Uber, right?  And they did.  So I requested an Uber.  The Uber driver appeared to be on the right track, so I figured no problems here.  Well, that was until he called me and asked where I was. By the looks of the app, he was behind the airport, like where the plane landed.  I informed him I was at the terminal; there was 1 terminal with 1 gate, how hard could this be?  Apparently very hard.  He just could not figure it out.  Fortunately, I've always relied on the kindness of strangers (I know, different movie),  and a friendly woman Janice mentioned her friend might be able to give me a ride to my hotel.   Her friend arrived to pick her up, and Berga was just as nice and agreed to give me a lift.  Well, she wasn't really much of a talker actually, so I think she agreed to it, at least that was the impression Janice gave me.

Look how happy 6 tiny beers
made us! 
Ok, so now I've made it to the hotel and Bethany has arrived!  So we're off the brewery to carb load! First stop was the Tallgrass Tap House.  We both had samplers, and I think that we would both agree that the beers were hit and miss.  But still worth a visit if you're in the Little Apple.

I guess if you're running a marathon the next day, you can't just have beer for dinner, so we moved a few doors down to a place called Bourbon and Baker.  If my memory serves me, I believe we had the chicken & waffles as well as shrimp étouffée.  Seriously, why is that the first time I've had chicken & waffles? Why has no one forced me to eat this amazing combination before?  Who are you people who consider yourselves my friends?!  You've failed me for 39 years! So flipping awesome.   As for the shrimp étouffée, save that for your next trip to Louisiana.

Am I right?
Post race carb reloading occurred at a great little spot right near the finish line called Toto's Tacoz.  This place was amazing. Picture the Wizard of Oz if it took place on Gilligan's Island, with a Mexican flair.  I recommend the Dorothy Quesadilla.  I can never eat right after I run, so while I worked up an appetite for Toto's, we perused the Oz Museum.  This place plays the Wizard of Oz on a loop all day long in a room in the back!  They also have life sized replicas of all the characters in the movie (note the witch above).  You'd think the Wicked Witch of the West would be the creepiest, right? Nope.  I have to give that award to Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.  Yikes.

Post post-race nap, we had dinner at the Little Apple Brewing Co.  Although it was located in a strip mall, it was not as bad as it sounds.  The beer was good, cold, all of the things you want in a beer.   I can't speak to the food, because at this point I can't recall what I had for dinner.  I guess it was unremarkable, which can be a good and bad thing.

For dessert, Bethany's friend had supplied her with a bounty of delicious cookies, which we enjoyed back at the hotel...in bed.
This is basically what we looked like.
Bonus blog!   About a month after Kansas, I headed to Cali to run the Tinkerbell Half Marathon with my friend Jen in Disneyland.  Such a fun race, but don't run it for a PR, because there are some bottlenecks on the course that will kill that.  Still a good time as you get to run through Disneyland and the California Adventure park right next door.  A few Disney characters spattered here and there. Tutus and fairy wings were abundant but Jen and I also added some flower power giant sunglasses.  And finally a medal with some sparkle! Tinkerbell even spins!

So that was my last race until the end of November when I take on the Philadelphia Marathon.  I'm out of training mode until August so will be (and have been) enjoying the weekends free of 12+ mile runs. Maybe my toenails will actually grow back now!  Just in time for flip flop season!

Happy summer everyone!

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