Things I Love Thursday

I googled "Busy Bee" and I couldn't not use this.

I googled “Busy Bee” and I couldn’t not use this.

It’s been a while…I know. What have I been busy doing? A lot.

Quick Rundown-
-My BF and I Cosplay and attend Comic Book Conventions. In March we went to Indiana and in a few weeks I’ll be taking my first trip to Chicago for C2E2. We have 2 more planned after that. This involves spending lots of time making and putting together a costume. My time has been spent working on this damn frock coat. I’m an advanced beginner level sewer and beginner pattern user…so I’ve been spending all my time trying to finish on time for C2E2…the good news is I should be done in the next few days! Then on to the next project…

– I’ve been taking RCIA classes since September and they are starting to come to a head. Every week I have at least 2 things to attend and that makes for a very busy schedule added to my regular schedule. I just have to get through April and I’ll be able to breathe, I think.

– Not running as much as I should be. My busy schedule makes it difficult for me to get to be early so I can get up early and run. Especially because Michigan has been so crazy cold and snowy for so long that it’s a treadmill or nothing. And really…That’s not a hard choice for me to make when I’m already curled up in bed and exhausted.

BUT! Things are starting to slow down and warm up a bit! I’ve managed the odd run here and there and have started to run outside again (which is really not easy after such a long break)! And I have my first 10k of the year this weekend, which I’m equal parts nervous and excited for. And then I start to train a bit for a Half Marathon, which I will be doing on June 1st! I’m pretty determined to run it with no issues this time around. So I’m going to have to be really good about training and stretching and foam rolling and the whole nine!

okay…with THAT out of the way, here are some things that I’m loving lately:tilt-1

♥My little Family ♥ Warm Weather ♥ Driving with Windows down ♥ Spring/Summer plans ♥ Puppy cuddles ♥ Sunday big Salads ♥ Reading calming blogs and getting back into that lifestyle ♥ New Friends ♥  Easter Candy ♥ Thinking ♥ Captain America: The Winter Soldier ♥ Re watching all of the LOTR and Hobbit movies while working on crafts ♥ Caffeine ♥  Finally getting a legitimate key card at work ♥ Getting stuff done ♥ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ♥

What have you all been up to?
Anything particularly awesome that you’re loving lately?

Resolutions Vs. Goals

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It is a cold one here in Michigan…and by one, I mean the last 2 days. Temps have been in the double digit negative numbers and the “Feels like…” number has been considerably lower. I’ve been hunkered down in blankets with my dog at home, pondering the differences between resolutions and goals.

I don’t like resolutions. I stopped making them years ago. People would always ask me “What are YOUR resolutions this year?” and I’d answer with an indifferent “Ohhh I dunno…Eat better, I guess. Maybe read some more books…” . All it felt like was a think people do in January and then they would laugh about how they already broke their resolutions in February. “Well now that I’m a failure, I’d better get back to eating this cake and watching hours of TV before I pass out and do it all again the next night! hahaha!”

There’s no meat to a resolution. They’ve become something that, over the years, have become something meant to be broken. A setup for failure. Usually they are fairly vague and there’s no plan of action to back it up.

So now when someone asks me about my resolutions, I say, “I have a few GOALS that I’d like to accomplish this year…” and go on to name some specific things that I’d like to do over the next 12 months or so. I feel like a goal isn’t a big fancy word for something I’m not going to do. It’s a simple word for a simple thing. I want to do this and I will do it. I think goals tend to stick. Last year I had some very specific fitness goals that I wanted to accomplish and I did, with some extra bonus stuff added on as I went! It felt good to finish them and check them off my list.

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Here are a few tips, from my experience, on how to set and accomplish your goals for 2014!

1. Be Realistic. There are short term goals and long term goals. Start small and work your way up.  I started out doing couch to 5k with my running. I knew I could run a mile and I just added onto that. The plan was to run a 5k. I had a bad experience with a St. Patrick’s day run in the past, so that was my first goal. To beat that. So I gave myself a couple months to do the training program, and set a goal within a reasonable amount of time. Not so far away that I’d lose interest, and not so close that I didn’t have time to feel comfortable with what I was doing.

2. Be Forgiving. I knew that it would be a bit of a rough start getting on a new schedule of going to the gym. I knew there would be days that I’d be too tired or busy to go, and I had to let myself be human and rest when I needed it.

3. Make a schedule or plan. I know from past experience, that my body needs some time to recuperate after a workout. So my plan was to hit the gym every other day and never let there be more than 2 days between workouts (unless there were extenuating circumstances).  I could only go to the gym after work, so I had my stuff ready the night before and it was in my car ready to go at 5pm when I was free to go. I made no room for excuses. There was no reason for me not to go, so I went. The schedule was adjusted as needed throughout the year…but there was always some kind of plan behind it.

4. Set Deadlines. If you just say you want to do something by the end of the year, chases are that you will procrastinate and will stress yourself out trying to fit it into your busy end of the year schedule, just so you can say you accomplished your goal. That’s all well and good, but so much more can be accomplished if you get it done by an earlier deadline. I made a goal of 4 5ks and, eventually, 4 10ks by the end of the year. I tried to get the bulk of the 5ks done early (by doing so, I also being realistic). Then I moved on to other races. 1 a month. By adding my other, bigger races, throughout the year, I did end up having to run 2 in November to reach my goal…but that’s better than 4 in a month!

5. Give yourself credit! Also, reward yourself! Every race I ran, I bought myself a new outfit or some new gear to keep myself motivated. I also posted lots of pictures to facebook and posted my times. I know I’m not the fastest person out there. But I also know that I’m faster than a lot of people and doing something is better than doing nothing. So I gave myself credit. Every time I did a workout, I’d post it up to Facebook or Nike+ to give myself  a little pat on the back. This felt good, even at the end of a crappy workout and it helped to get me back out there.

Now…

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What do you like better? Resolutions? Goals?
What are some of your resolutions or goals?
How has your 2014 been so far?

2014 Plans

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My rest period is complete! After dealing with some injuries and general fatigue I decided that after my races were done for 2013, I would give it a rest for a while…and I did! Somehow I’ve made it since November 17th (my last race…) until now without running. It’s been kind of nice to sleep in the extra little bit every day and not have to go out in the cold to try to fit in gym time. But now I’m a bit stressed out about starting back up.

I’m worried that I’ve lost a good chunk of my fitness and that my injuries will flare up due to me not doing any kind of rehab exercises over my break (oops!). I’m sure I’ll catch back up in time for my first race (more on that in a sec.) and if I do my exercises, they will help more than not doing them at all…so I just have to start. I might hit the gym before the big snowstorm starts tomorrow night. Fingers crossed!

SO! My goals as far as races go this year…Here’s what I’m thinking so far…

April- Martian Invasion of the Races 10k
A medium type race to get me started, if I don’t randomly run a 5k sometime in March.

May- Kona Novi Half Marathon
I’m really going to focus on getting my half Marathon distance up to par this year. I tried last year, but was a bit naive when it came to how my body was actually feeling and functioning. But now that I know, I think I can do it. Plus everyone tells me that this is a flat course with no scary hills!

August- Camp Chingachgook Half Marathon
I used to work at a YMCA Camp on Lake George in Upstate New York…They have a very small Half marathon and 10k every year. If I can get back to NY for the weekend, I will run this race. The road it goes down is so scenic. I’ve been dying to run this one!

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October- Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon
I’ve already registered for this as an early bird (Got in about an hour before it sold out…PHEW!)! After “running” it last year…I want to redeem myself. And since it only cost me $55 this year, there is no reason not to. Hopefully I can actually physically run it this year!

Everything else will be filled in with what I can do and what I have time for! I’m excited to try a few new races and see how it goes. But I’m not stacking my calendar for 2014 until I know what I’m capable of doing (considering injuries). I know that my new shoes help a lot and the last 10k that I ran went great with no issues. So if I can just keep it all up again, that’s what I’m going for this year!

Also, Look what I did last week! Wall

My 2013 race wall! I’ll add to it when I can this year..but those are all 11 of my bibs and all 6 of my medals (also a pin and dog tag) from my races! I’m quite excited to have it going and it looks so nice. Just makes me happy looking at it!

What are your goals for this year (fitness & otherwise)?
How long do you usually rest for (if you do)?

2013 Race Superlatives!

ANNND WE’RE BACK! Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. December hasn’t been too kind to me. I got sick right after Thanksgiving and had a week that I wasn’t sick, but was working really odd hours, and then right after that ended I got sick again! This time, WAYY worse.  It totally put a damper on my 30th b-day. But it still worked out to be a good one, in the end!

I did a lot of races this year… 11 total. That’s quite a few more than I originally planned on doing. But I’m happy I did every single one, even if they didn’t always turn out the way that I had planned! Here is  a rundown of some of my favorite things about my races in 2013!

Best 5k- Mustache Dache

1459212_10100302516177230_353771843_n  This race was pretty fantastic! It was smaller, so parking was a breeze. The mood of everyone was great! The spirit of the theme was easy to see and people had an awesome time getting into it!

Part of the awesomeness of this race was the course. It was along the Detroit Riverwalk and it was a beautiful (kind of cold and windy) Sunny day, so it was awesome being out there and enjoying it with everyone!

The after party was great too! If I had more time that day, I would have stuck around longer! There’s a strong possibility that I’ll run this one again next year!

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Best 10k- Kona Chocolate Run

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Despite there being some issues with the weather and the whole acquiring chocolate part, this was a really great race! I had done pretty much the same course for my first 10k earlier in the year, but this one was different. The crowd was bigger and more excited. There were some great costumes and the signup process was pretty simple to figure out.

Taking all of that into consideration, and the fact that it really was the best 10k that I ran (not a PR, but that doesn’t matter to me). It rained a bit, but it was warm out. Everything felt good and the feeling of it was one of fun. It made for a really great morning in the little town of Plymouth!

Hopefully they work out all the kinks that they had this year for next year’s race, because it was a really good one to round out my year and wouldn’t mind running it again!

Best Overall Race- Crim 10 Miler

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This race was fantastic. Not just for me, but in general. I love the sense of community that I saw in Flint during this race. Sure there were some neighborhoods that the course went through that wasn’t the nicest, but the people were out spectating and getting into the whole thing. It was very well organized (besides the fact that people were in the wrong corrals…) and the volunteers were all great! As for me, personally, it was a great race! I went into it never running more than 7 miles and nervous about finishing, but I kept a good pace throughout and didn’t have any issues with injuries and though the last 2 miles were really tough, I managed to finish WAY before I thought I would! I hurt for days afterword, but I really didn’t mind because it was a major accomplishment!

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Messiest Race– Gopher the Gold 10k

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Heavy rain the night before + Trails=
One messy race!

The first half included 6 inches of water covering the paved trails at a few different spots and the 2nd half included all dirt and mud made for a slow and messy 10k. Was a little annoyed about this, but in the end, it was really fun!

(Honorable Mention- Color Me Rad)

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Intentionally messy… And Rad.

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Best Crowd Participation-
Crim 10 Miler/Detroit Freep half 

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I mean….I was smiling for the entirety of the Crim simply because the people watching were so awesome. Entire neighborhoods got together to show their support. There was music and hoses and extra aid stations set up along the whole route. It was pretty fantastic.
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The Detroit Free Press Int’l Half Marathon was probably my worst race this year. But the bright spot in a terrible no good very bad race was the really awesome signs that people made and the fact that they were out there just as long as most of us were cheering everyone on! Even when we crossed over into Canada, there were so many people supporting everyone, it was a really great environment to be in! All the support was a huge reason why I kept going even though I felt like I was dying.


Honorable Mention-
YMCA Father’s Day 10k

People were out having breakfast on their lawns and cheering everyone on. The kids with the drums were my favorite. A lot of support from the community made this an enjoyable race!

Best Medal- Mustache Dache/ Detroit Half

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Best shirt-
Martian Invasion/ Lucky Dash

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I know they are both green…but they are both awesome shirts that I actually wear quite a lot!

Honorable mention- Detroit Half/ Kona Chocolate Run

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Best Expo- Detroit Free Press Marathon

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This was the best organized expo with the largest amount of booths and stores for people to stop at! They also had the best selection of quality things there. I would go to this even if I didn’t plan on running the race even if it’s a bit out of the way. It was really awesome and had lots available to participants!

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And that does it! Those are some of my favorite things about the races I ran in 2013! I hope to run a few of these again and a few new ones in 2014 (More about those soon!). I hope you guys all had a great year and have another one ahead of you!  See you next year! 😉

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What were your favorites in these categories?

What was your favorite overall race you ran this year or in the past?

Any fun plans for New Years?

Weekly Workout Diary!

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Saturday- Rest…but ran one mile the night before as a quick warm up. Everything felt good and I was ready to go!

Sunday- 13.1 Miles at the Detroit International Half Marathon The first 5k felt great! The rest…not so much.

On Sunday, I managed to make a reoccurring injury angry while running my first Half Marathon this past Sunday. It seems to have been the perfect storm of things I wasn’t supposed to do all happening at once. And then I ran/walked on it for another 9 miles. Awesome. So this week, my workouts have been simple. Rest.

I’ve also spent a good chunk of time this week trying to figure out exactly what it was that I did to myself, and maybe see if there’s a way to fix it. Even if it’s just a temporary fix for another month or so until I can fully rest for a good chunk of time. ITB Seems to me, that it is ITB Syndrome. I’ve read about people with IT band injuries, but really only thought that those were on the outsides of the thighs. And just looking at a chart of it, you’d probably think that as well. But the point of pain is on the outside of my knee and it starts to hurt after running for a few miles. If my foot is landing wrong it can affect it, or if the band itself is tight, it can cause problems.

SO! At least I have an idea of what I’m dealing with now. So I’m going to continue to rest it next week and wear my knee brace when I need to. I also found a video explaining how to use KT tape for this type of pain, so I will probably try that at some point this weekend. Also, as soon as I can run again (hopefully before 11/9 because that’s the next race…) I’m going to go on a hunt for some new running shoes. There are a variety of running stores in the area that I’m going to look at and maybe get a few different opinions to see if there is any overlap in suggestions. I also found some exercises to help prevent and heal this type of injury, so I put in an order for some TheraBands today, so I can get that going in another week.

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Hopefully I can get this thing figured out for good, because I’m starting to compile some possible races for next year!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Have you ever dealt with an injury that put you on the sidelines?

Any fun plans this weekend?

The Detroit International Half Marathon Race Recap

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This past weekend, I finally attempted a half marathon. How did it go? Not as well as I had hoped. In fact, nowhere near as well as I had hoped. I’m having a real hard time being proud that I crossed the finish line and can only see/feel the frustration of the process of getting there. I’m working on changing my perspective right now, but it’s difficult.
Here’s how the weekend went:

Saturday-
My parents, The BF, The BF’s Sister (Nicole), and their Mom, all hopped in the car bright and early and went to check out the expo! It was easy to get to, as the Cobo Center is pretty much right off the highway. When we got in, there was a very long line already formed to get in! We had about a 10-15 minute wait and they let us in at 10:00am. We all Bee-lined it to the back where they were handing out Bibs, shirts, and bags. We jumped in a very short line and I got all my stuff quick and easy. I just had to flash the volunteer my passport and let them know if I’ve had any radiation treatment recently. Then Nicole stepped up to get hers. They pulled out a sheet of paper instead of her bib and she had to report to the back corner for her stuff. Border patrol had a random group of bibs that they were checking separately. She said that the process was exactly the same as what they asked me and had to report back to the table to get her shirt and bag.

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After that was all settled we took to wandering around to see what was there. A lot of the booths had been at previous expos that I’ve attended, so it was fairly easy to skip those. I had a few purchase goals (a Run Detroit Shirt and a 13.1 sticker), I got those and I also got some sparkly Shwings  for my shoes! My parents were also awesome and got me a purple and coral New Balance Raptor Jacket with the race logo on it.  There was a really great selection of race gear there and it took a while to make a decision! When we were done we shot off on the People Mover to Greektown for Lunch at Redsmoke BBQ! YUM! The rest of the day was spent resting and preparing for the next morning!

Sunday-
Bright and early wake up call at 3:15am.  We got down to the city very easily and parked quickly and hopped on the people mover to the Fort/Cass stop.
1393420_10100286493082640_236846460_nWe walked out and realized that our Corral (K) was right outside. We all huddled inside for a while to stay as warm as possible. Everyone was in a decent mood…Even the police officers who came in to let us know it was alright to be there, just couldn’t block the entrances.

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 It felt like forever and we took some pictures to kill time and tried to shake off any nerves that we had.
At about 6:40 we went out to get in our corral and nervously waited. We were in the back and people were excited and taking pictures.

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Some dude almost jumped on my toes multiple times and kicked me in the shins…but besides that, it was a cheerful and antsy time. They started to let the corrals go one by one with a blow of an air horn and we slowly moved up, stepping over mounds of warm clothes that people shed before they took off.  There was a large screen counting down every group as they moved up. That was nice because I would have gotten lost as to who was next and would have been taken off guard!

The first 5k was great. The sun was rising and everyone was pumped. The view wasn’t awesome on this part, until you got close enough to the bridge. I thought it was really cool seeing people up on the bridge running from down on the ground! The hill to get up to the bridge was a bit tough, but nothing awful. We made it to the middle of the bridge and everyone was excited and the trucks crossing on the other side were blowing their horns and they were yelling out their windows to everyone. It was a really unique experience.

Then the bridge started to head downhill into Canada. This is where my trouble started. I tweaked my knee just right, so that it started to do the thing where it hurts…. I had it taped up with KT tape, but I must have applied it wrong or it just wasn’t working this time because it just kept getting worse. It was difficult to run, but I still could at little spurts at a time, but by the time I had gotten to the tunnel…I couldn’t run AT ALL. I felt like I’d fall over if I did. I ended up walking

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through most of the tunnel  and what I had in my head as a fun and exciting moment of seeing my family again, turned out to be a really not so great moment in my life. They were just past mile 9 and  I was so frustrated and in so much pain, I just wanted to stop. But my dad walked a little bit with me and got me moving again. I spent the rest of the race walking as fast as I could stand. I stopped a few times to see if stretching would help a bit, but it was a no-go. I was tripping a bit on the bricks and pavement because I couldn’t lift my feet enough at some points. By then, my hip injury had joined the party and my IT band was also not happy.

I kept the BF updated via text, just in case something happened, they would have some idea where I was on the course. I feel like I speed walked most of the last two miles. As soon as I got back into the city area and knew it was almost over.

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I made a deal with myself that I wasn’t going to walk across the finish line…I couldn’t do that after all the work I put in this year…so I kept pushing until I hit the last .10 miles of the course and made myself run. There are just so words to describe how much that hurt, but I had to. There was no way around it in my head. I couldn’t disappoint myself that much.
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The minute I crossed that line I was so relieved, but I still had to keep moving to find my group. The volunteers were great, but didn’t quite explain that people had to keep moving forward to get out. So I was pretty confused as to where to go. If I didn’t have my phone, I wouldn’t have known what was going on.

The course itself was really cool and I honestly wish I could have enjoyed the whole thing way more. I was really looking forward to the tunnel, and though I felt like it was a bit hard to breathe, it would have been pretty cool to run through! It seemed like everyone else there was having a great time accomplishing their goals and that definitely helped me keep going.

At the end, I got a pretty cool medal. 1378228_10100286517588530_196137506_n2515_10100286494799200_1713157826_n

And a sense of accomplishment…even if it was a bit disappointing. It’s hard for me at the moment to be happy with how things turned out, but I said that my C goal was to finish…and even if I did walk most of it, I got a fairly decent time for my first half.

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It’s hard for me to say at this point what my race schedule will look like next year. I was thinking I’d just do a few longer distance races…but I have to work out these injuries before I try again. I really don’t want to walk the next. For now, my eyes are set on the 5k I have in a few weeks and then a 10k and maybe if I feel well enough, I’ll do the Christmas story race. But until then, it’s rest, ice, icy hot, knee braces, and easy runs.

How did your first half marathon go?
What was your worst race you’ve ever run?
Any words of wisdom?

Weekly Workout Diary!

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It’s not on my list, but it’s on everyone else’s, right??

Another week, down! That means in 48 hours from now, I will have run my 1st half marathon! Eep! So let’s go over this week and we’ll look ahead to next week and pee our pants!

Saturday-  Rest day

Sunday-  Rest day, but walked a lot on a nature trail…probably more than a half mile total… Should have turned my Nike App on! haha

Monday-  1.38 miles to ease my way back into activity. I managed this one after work before it got dark…and it actually felt pretty decent.
Run Summary- “Getting back on track! Quick warm up run!”

Tuesday-  3.76 miles in the early hours. Had to get used to running in the cold pretty quickly. Had to remember how to breathe!
Run Summary- “A little bit of pain on the last mile, but nothing crazy. Good run!”

Wednesday-  Lots of stretching and foam rolling… The big blue foam cylinder has become my BFF this past week… Though it’s now the official frenemy of my IT bands! I did however get as much sleep as I could this morning because it is my last “sleep late” morning until next week!

Thursday-  Another early run. 2.51 miles. I may have attempted more if I had a bit more time (used it all stretching and rolling) and didn’t eat so close to my run (My stomach gave some serious thought to jumping ship). But I think this was a good amount to do for the day.
Run Summary- “Just a quick and easy run! Rest before the race… Commence!”

Friday- Early shift at work, so no runs…lots of rest and hydration. Also I will try my hardest to stretch a foam roll before bed tonight!

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As I’ve probably mentioned in every post this week…The Detroit International Half marathon is happening this weekend! I will be running into Canada over a bridge and back to the US through a tunnel (I know I will have a strong urge to sing “Under the Sea” while I’m doing it…)!  It’s exciting but a bit nerve wracking because it’s 3.1 more miles more than I’ve ever run. I struggled a bit with the last 2 miles in August when I ran the Crim, so I’m a bit nervous about the last bit. But hopefully I can work it out.
My goals for this race are: A) 2:20:00 ish finish b) 2:30:00 ish finish and C) Cross the finish line and don’t die.  2:20:00 would require me to finish with the same pace I had in the Crim… 2:30:00 allows for a little wiggle room with that pace and of course, my ultimate goal in any race is to not be dead. So hopefully I can AT LEAST accomplish that!

I’ll let you know on Monday how it went (full recap, probably Tuesday)…if there’s a post. I’m most likely still alive! Have a great weekend!

Do you have any exciting plans this weekend?