Thursday, April 16, 2009

Abilene, Part 2

No, not additional race report information. I promise I won't torture anyone with adding more to that book. :P These are just other assorted photos and comments about the weekend, and not necessarily related to the race. For all the cracks I heard about "why Kansas?" for a marathon, I figure I ought to share more about Abilene. It's a cool little place with a lot of history-there's a lot more to Kansas than the Wizard of Oz!

The first item of note was actually well before Abilene, further down I-70 in Goodland, Kansas. I wish I'd gotten a photo going past but wasn't thinking. You'll have to settle for linking to this little article with photo of the world's largest easel with one of Van Gogh's "sunflower" paintings atop the easel. My husband and I were just sitting there in the car, and noticed something that wasn't in Goodland the last time we came through here (I think around 2003...the last time we had K-State season football tickets!). "What is that?" we asked. As we drove past on the highway, we could see that it was a work of art on a huge easel, clearly visible from the highway. It was a unique sight to see, and certainly gave us something to talk about.

In Abilene itself, we knew that there were supposed to be several mansions but we weren't really sure if that term was being used loosely to suck in unsuspecting tourists who are used to things like the 2000 pound prairie dog in Colby, or the world's largest ball of twine. When we drove into town, we came upon the Seelye Mansion on the main drag, and just exclaimed "WOW!"

The place was amazing as we drove past on Friday, and we returned on Saturday afternoon between lunch and dinner to take a tour, along with our friend Thor and his girlfriend. The woman giving the tour was part of the family who built this grand Georgian home and I swear she knew everything about every last intricate little detail to the home, and the history from before it was built to present day. It was well worth the price of admission, and the photos don't do the place justice. Still, here are a few:

This was in the basement, and kind of like bowling but not exactly. We were instructed that we had to each take a turn while we were down there. :)

When our tour guide learned that our friend Thor played the piano, she told him to sit down and give it a play.

This is where most people in Abilene choose to get married, and you can see why they're booked solid all spring and summer.

And the husband and I actually remembered to toss somebody the camera to get a picture of us together...seems like one of us is always camera guy or girl, so we never have any proof that we were both there. :P (Geez, I need to rememeber to stand up straight, though-too much trying to not appear tall when I was a kid and a hard habit to break now when I'm not thinking about posture).

During the race, earlier in the day, my husband walked around downtown and was able to check out one of the other mansions from the outside, though they were not open yet to tour the inside.

This is the Lebold Mansion, and it was walking distance from our bed and breakfast.

He also got shots of the Great Plains Theatre, which is a gorgeous old building, originally built as a Presbyterian church in 1886. They do a number of professional quality productions there year-round.

I know I mentioned that the marathon is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a native son of Abilene whom all the residents are proud to claim. What I didn't realize, but was informed of at both our B & B, and on the Seelye Mansion tour, was that because Ike lived literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Abilene, he would have had to enter through the back door of the finer homes in Abilene. Economic class was a HUGE deal and he wasn't one of the "haves." I know this stuff happened but it still just blows my mind! He was a childhood friends with the boy whose parents were the original owners of the house that is now Abilene's Victorian Inn, where we stayed. The original owner was a well-to-do physician, so you never would have seen Ike entering through the front door of the place.

Here are a few photos from the B and B. Check out all those flowers in the case you had any doubt it was a Victorian home!

And yes, it's imperative that I make my husband do the "Be Somebody!" pose from "The Jerk" for at least one photo on every trip.

An outside view of the house:

Adrian and Jay were fantastic hosts, and she's one awesome cook. She even got up at 5 a.m. on race morning to prepare anything at all that racers wanted...I kind of felt bad saying "just two plain bagels, please!" I would really like to come back to Abilene for the 2011 marathon (since I'll be in BOSTON next April!) and stay here again.

Oh, and I are a few more photos from the race. Assorted start photos, and one shot of us hamming it up with my prize check. I think that's the first and last time I win prize money at a race, so we were being silly and goofy.

I think Frank got some great photos of the start! Although it was definitely midpacker day for those of us on the ladies side, they had a really good pack of four sub-elite men, including a Kenyan in the country for a few months who registered that morning, and was the eventual winner. I love the shots right after the start when those guys are getting ready to explode out of the gates.

Here's the one actual shot, too, of getting my award:

And the hammy shot with the check (taken by folks from our bed and breakfast who were also sitting with us post race):

I still haven't deposited the check so I guess I'd better get to that today. ;) Happy running, everybody!


Preston said...

Wow thanks for sharing that-- probably one of the most interesting blog posts I have read in a while.

SimonSays said...

Karah - looks like you had an absolutely incredible time! I'm so happy for you! Now your next accomplishment will be to coach me to a BQ in St. George, right?

Black Bear! said...

Wow, a little history lesson to boot. I like all the mansion pictures and story. It looks like you had a really nice vacation, IN ADDITION TO WINNING MONEY!!!
The check pic is a crack up!
2011 - you gotta do it again.

the doze said...

Congrats on your victory! Thanks for checking out my blog. I wish I could be as thorough in my description of the race as you were. I think all of the miles began to run together in my memory bank after mile 13. Have you found any other blogs that mention the race in Abilene?