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happenings ’round these parts

21 Feb

While there hasn’t been a lot going on for me lately, there have been a few key big ticket items that packed a punch.  Without further ado, I shall elaborate:

1. I put my name in the lottery for the New York City Marathon!  Yay!  I’m beyond hopeful this becomes my reality.  I know it’s a long shot but the thought of it is too dreamy for words.  It’s on my bucket list of races, along with the Flying Pig Marathon.  I’ve talked about this one before because it’s so fantastic.  My optimistic plan is I will do the Flying Pig and then spend the week hanging out with my Michigan family and then wrap up the vaca with the Kalamazoo Marathon.  It will happen.

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please, oh please!

2. I decided I am going to do the 1/2 marathon of the North Olympic Discovery marathon weekend.  In a prior post I said I was going to do the full, but I haven’t started any kind of training yet.  While in the past this wouldn’t have stopped me from jumping in feet first (so to speak), however, after putting my poor knee through the wringer during the Detroit 26.2 I am going to play it smarter this time around.  I know, who am I?!  Not to mention, it’s even cutting it close to be starting a 1/2 marathon training plan.  I live on the edge.

3. I caught the plague (only slightly exaggerating here).  It was that nasty influenza that seems to be running rampant.  It hit our town – I swear, every other facebook post was about families being down and out with the flu.  I didn’t/couldn’t get off of the couch for 6 days.  I did have to make one trip to the post office for work and I came home and napped for a few hours, I was so exhausted.  And it’s still lingering a bit.  So, if at all possible, stay healthy!  A fellow LuLaRoe consultant in town and I were talking and her family caught it.  Her hubby walked around the house with a mask, haha!  I laughed, yet now I think he was brilliant as he didn’t get sick.

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my sweet baby niece – poor little sicky!  she is the one who passed along the illness.  this is also my “I don’t do mornings” face!

4. I turned 39.  I love aspects of my birthday; the numbers are sequential, I love being an Aquarius, I love having a winter birthday, and I don’t shy away from the attention.  I do have troubles with the aging piece.  It’s a surreal experience for me.  My niece and I were talking the week before and she said, “aren’t you going to be 40?”.  I paused and my heart skipped a beat.  Was I going to be 40?!!  For a moment, I wasn’t sure – did I mention at my doc visit before I moved back from MI I thought I was 37?  I told the nurse she was wrong when she was trying to confirm my 38 status.  Her response, “the computer does the math” when we were talking about what year I was born.  I felt like I lost a year of my life!  Then when my niece said 40, I panicked that I lost yet ANOTHER year!  I’m not ready to be 40.

5. Now, the Sunday before my birthday, I was babysitting my sweet baby niece (this was also the day of my contamination).  I walked into my sister’s kitchen and my feet went out from under me – their floor was like a freakin’ ice rink (and apparently walking is dangerous for me) and I went down.  HARD.  I was holding an unlit jar candle that came crashing down as well, (I think) crushing my pinky finger, and bouncing up to smack me in the face.  I laid on the floor for a moment, in shock.  Then I almost threw up and passed out.  I got up and moved to the couch where I spent about 10 minutes trying to stay conscious and vomit free.  My poor pinky turned purple immediately and blew up.  I was convinced it was broken.  I no longer think this, I think I smashed it.  It still messed up and have a feeling the healing will continue to be slow.

6. Did I mention I caught my bout of influenza the day before my birthday?  Instead of enjoying some festivities, I was on the couch.  Some perks were, my dad made me pancakes in the morning and then later brought me my favorite dinner from a local place, my sister dropped off two cupcakes, and my grandma made me a lemon pie-like dessert.  It was quite sweet of them.  I also started watching Justified.  I dig it.  What this does mean is the week leading up to my birthday (my poor hand was a disaster) and the 2 weeks after it were a rude beginning to this upcoming year.  I’ve decided it’s the universe’s way of purging the toxins from my life to ready me for an epic year ahead.  Probably starting around March 1st.

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a tall cool drink of water – perfect for those sick days!

Please agree with me with regards to the universe’s plan for me.  Much obliged.

 

a running plan is a’brewin’

21 Jan

I’ve wanted to get back to running.  The Turkey Trot went surprisingly well.  I thought I would barely huff and puff my way through it.  So, a happy girl I was, when things went smoother than my pessimistic premonition.

It’s also been a year since my last marathon.  The Dopey/Disney Marathon weekend was two weekends ago and my facebook Timehop-ped me back to those days and memories.  I am starting to get restless without a race on my calendar to look forward to.  Trust me, this is still an odd thing for me to say considering 8 or 9 years I would have scoffed at this type of statement about running.  Or any statment involving my name and running really.  This is calling my name:

I love that it’s local, the weather is amazingly cool, and it’s a beautiful course.  Oh!  And family can come cheer me on – yay!  I talked to a woman at one of my LuLaRoe pop-up boutiques this past week and she has only missed a couple of years of this race.  She raved about it.  Not to mention, she was very nice and told me to contact her if I had any questions regarding the race/course.  I love my fellow runners!

This nailed it.  I’m signing up soon.  For the full 26.2.  I’m a little behind in training, but seriously, when has that EVER stopped me?!

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this is a dynamic example of how I like to spend my free time  

Of course the lottery for the New York marathon is also currently open.  Yet another marathon call!  It stays open until February 17th.  I put my name in the year before last, but no such luck.  I’ll submit my entry soon for this one, too.  I’m thinking of signing up for it on the 3rd since this is my birthday.  Maybe it will be good luck?

I had visions of starting to run about a week and half ago.  In my mind’s eye, I was doing a great job of getting up and being outside pronto.  Mother Nature likes to mess with my brain and motivation.  The scene of my small town …

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this was my backyard. it makes me giddy to say “my backyard”!

The snow is finally rained out and the streets are clear enough for me to be up and off my bum.  I saw a few other dedicated individuals running when there was snow/ice on the ground but grace, agility, and balance are not adjectives used to describe yours truly.  Now the excuses are gone and the race is a day closer.

I haven’t thought about a training plan.  My best adherence to a training plan was 87% and it was when I was part of a training group.  My best training cycle when I was on my own resulted in a 68% plan follow through.  I would like to do slightly better this go around.  Any suggestions or “I swear by” training plans?  Do you create your own or follow a more established one?

quote-please-give-me-some-good-advice-in-your-next-letter-i-promise-not-to-follow-it-edna-st-vincent-millay-127098

okay, I’m teasing – I really do want your advice!  awesome quote though, yeah?!

all the pretty races

10 Nov

For the last few years, I’ve packed my schedule with races.  Whether it was spring (one or two in the winter) or fall, I attempted to fill it with as many as I could afford.  All with the thought/plan to “REALLY train this time around” and make those PR’s happen.

this is how I feel about a PR…

This wasn’t the case.  And with each race there were a few more aches and pains because all too many times I didn’t quite prepare as much as I should have.

I decided to be slightly more realistic this year.  I did sign up for a mid-winter race and realized this was dumb and didn’t end up doing it.  Aside from that delusional moment, I did fairly well.  I signed up for the 5k/10k back to back in June with a 1/2 marathon the following weekend.

I trashed my knee (my poor patella) with some serious slanted sidewalk during that 5k/10k.  This race is HARD.  There is a reason the quote is “The Thrill, The Will, The Hill”.  The hill is a freakin’ beast.  I climbed it once during the 10k, a 2nd time to get to the 5k start and then a 3rd time because I decided parking near the start was a better idea than near the finish line.  Must learn for next time!

this race kicks my trash - every time.

this race kicks my trash – every time.

The 1/2 was a great time as I was able to escape “up North” –  Michandger speak anytime you head to the Northern part of Michigan.  It was in stunningly beautiful Charlevoix (go there – it’s listed as one of the most beautiful places to visit).  The race is really fun, has some sweet swag, an awesome medal and the course is nice.  I was worried about my knee but it wasn’t terribly bothersome.  Because of my lack of training, my goal was to hit under the 3 hr mark.  I did just this – yay!  Not to mention, I got to go with a great friend for a mini-break.

the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.

the front has the MI symbol on it and then on the back in the lower corner is Charlevoix piece. I did it.

this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!

this medal is awesome! the bridge pieces go up and down!

After this, it was onto France and then immediately back to work.  This is also when I dabbled/half decided to sign up for the marathon.  At this point, I had plans to sign up for two 1/2 marathons to help with marathon training along with my favorite 5k/10k Peacock Strut combo.

Despite signing up for the Peacock Strut and picking up my shirt, I woke up the next day with no desire to run.  I skipped it.  I still don’t regret it.  I also didn’t end up signing up for the 1/2 marathons and instead went to NY to visit my brother where I ran the Bronx 5k – a much better and more fun decision!

me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!

me and my little bro running the Bronx 5k!

Suddenly October rolled around (I have no concept of time right now) and I ran three races – whoa!  The first was an impromptu 5 miler in Indiana with one of my great gal pals.  It was a very small, local race, which I always enjoy.  My knee was painful and stiff.  I couldn’t run the whole time (I added in some walk breaks).  It definitely made me nervous as the marathon was looming.  M and I stuck together and without her I would’ve walked a lot more.  Once again, I need to up my mental game.

Next up, the Detroit Marathon – have I mentioned this?!

Lastly, the weekend following the marathon was the Campus Classic here on campus.  I wasn’t sure I was going to do it, since you know, I could barely walk.  The Campus Classic is the first race I ever did.  I’ve told the story a couple of times here and I’ve never missed a race since.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run it, which was a bummer but against my better judgement, I walked it.  The first mile was in the 17 min mile range.  I was being careful of my knee.  After I heard the time, I decided to screw my knee and the aftermath, I wanted to be done – faster.  I started focusing on catching people.  The second mile was in the 16 min pace and the last was a 15 min pace.  I was quite pleased with the negative splits, although the not so nice voice in my head provided some disparaging remarks regarding my overall time.  My friend used her real life voice to knock some sense into me.  Another race in the books!

probably my final campus classic -

probably my final campus classic

I don’t see the local Turkey Trot in my future.  I’m not sure if I’ve missed one since I started running though… if it does happen it will be another walking race.  I need to keep reminding myself that recovery is front and center.  Remind me of this if I start any crazy talk pretty please!

One last thing!  My medal for the 2,015 miles in 2015 came in the mail the other day – a lovely piece of hardware!

2,015 in 2015

the lighting sucks in my apt – there are some cute mountains in there, too!

my “moronic” muscle

8 Nov

Last Friday, I took some annual leave.  During a meeting with my boss the day before, I talked about my stress level.  I realize now I mentioned that “my health is not great” twice due to all of the stress as of late.  She kindly encouraged me to take the day.  I said I had a lot to do.  A couple of hours later, I recognized the gift and put in for the day.  It was a fabulous idea.

My second PT appt was bright and early Friday morning and I considered canceling it since I didn’t have to get up early anymore.  Nevertheless, recovery, right?  I got out of bed and made the appt.  Daren – PT friend, asked me how the muscle memory exercises were going.  I told him, I couldn’t believe these simple movements made my muscles sore!  I also said I couldn’t figure out where my patella was.  He had a plastic model and I was confusing tendon with patella, it made much more sense.  I had no idea the patella was so small!

We went through some exercises – a mix of stability and active ones.  I rode the bike for 6 whole mins, but that was the only cardio.  Even though I could feel my knee, it didn’t really hurt per say.  More irritated, I think.  I was definitely surprised when going through these strength exercises I broke out in a sweat.  They were tough!  During one of the exercise, Daren asked if I was feeling any pain.  Nope.  He then provided music to my ears, “I really think you just abused it by doing too much when your knee/muscles weren’t ready”.  Good news indeed!

it’s probably too early to hug him, right?

I know I said I was happy to be a lazy bones and I really am. That said, I’ve worked hard to lose almost 20lbs in the last year and I don’t want that to by the wayside. Sure, feeling crummy stomach-wise is helping with the decrease in eating but somehow, this doesn’t seem very healthy. In fact, it sounds eating disorder-ish, which is definitely NOT what I am looking for.  I told this to PT friend.  He said he understood – both about getting back into the habit of lying around and wanting to be active.  Next week we are going to evaluate and try the elliptical, which is going to be a riot since I can’t catch the rhythm of said machine and foresee failure.  I asked about swimming and looks likely as an option for next week.

I did ask about one of those electrode machines that contract the muscles for you.  I don’t know why but I really want one.  He said I could buy one myself, to which I asked if I needed one for recovery.  He said I didn’t since those machines are used to contract muscles that can’t do it on their own.  He said my muscles can, “they are just moronic right now”.  HA!  This cracked me up, my thigh muscle is a moron.  It’s perfect.

Physical therapy

icing the poor moron

PT update – over and out!

bird legs and feet are the best

6 Nov

The other day I was walking across campus and I saw these adorable little bird footprints in the cement.  “Awww, so cute!”  I talk to myself out loud, regardless of my location.

I absolutely adore little bird feet and legs!

Suddenly the image popped in my head of a bird mafia.  What if this poor bird was forced to walk through the cement by the mafia bird thugs so then he/she would have some “cement shoes”?!  Poor little birdie.  Then I decided he/she is happily sporting some schmancy new kicks and all of the other birds are jealous.  A much happier and more likely scenario.

Tuesday morning, I started having a panic attack.  I haven’t had one in a couple of months and it took me by complete surprise.  I was in a meeting so I couldn’t excuse myself but I was able to use the tapping technique on the side of my palm to help manage it, without calling attention to my distress.  Below is a video of one of my favorite tutorials.  My hypnotherapist introduced it to me to the technique and I watched this when I was first learning.

With the tapping technique you are supposed to hit a couple of acupuncture points, however even simply tapping the side of my palm under the table help to ward off the worst of it.  I strongly recommend looking into it if you have moments of panic.  It isn’t just for people with anxiety either.

Long ago, I mentioned I was doing the Run the Edge 2,015 miles in 2015 challenge.

2,015 miles in 2015

a lofty goal for sure!

I didn’t decide to do it until mid January, so I stared out behind.  I should have calculated the miles per day much earlier so even when I was hitting decent mileage, I was still behind. I started getting irked with myself because I knew making the deadline was iffy but I already ordered the medal.  Cue GUILT.  Earlier this week the challenge organizers sent an email that medals were being mailed and mind is already on its way.  They talked about even if you haven’t met the goal and won’t, if the challenge made you even slightly more cognizant of your movement then it was a success.  It was such a refreshing message!  Since tracking my miles, I’ve walked a lot more and have hit goals I wouldn’t have.  Sometimes, I overstressed about it but in October, I let it be.  I won’t make it.  However, I am proud of the work I put into it.  Before, I considered myself mildly active.  Once I started tracking and using my Misfit Shine, I was plumb shocked at how little I would move around.  There were some days, weekends mostly, where I would barely reach .5 miles, FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!  EEK!  I don’t have kids or a significant other so I am free to do my own thing, which has good and bad results.  Not moving much is one of the negatives.  When I see this happening, it makes me get off of my tushy and do something about it.  The challenge is/was worth it.

2,016 in 2016

Yep, I signed up again for 2016 to see what I can make of it.  Figuring out the math ahead of time, it’s about 5.5 miles per day – much more manageable.  Join me!  Now, I am happy with what I can get done for this year and looking forward to seeing what I end up with.  I recommend the challenge – running/walking/elliptical count for the miles.  I included all of my intentional miles, which was up for quite the debate on the fb group.  Whatever, I didn’t listen to them since as previously mentioned, I can seriously sit around!  It’s my journey.

bride of frankenstein walking here

30 Oct

I was struggling to walk after the race and the med tent was not close to the finish line.  I finally found it and I iced my knees for a few mins.  After changing in my hotel’s (nasty, nasty, nasty) public restroom I got on the road.  My knee was HURTING.  Why do knees have to bend and then unbend?!  It even hurt to move my foot from the gas pedal to the break.

I still didn’t regret this fancy piece of frosting

oh so pretty!

oh so pretty! and a bit blurry…

Sunday night, my knee was trashed.  I decided to make a doctor’s appt for the next day even if I was jumping the gun.  I felt silly considering I ran a marathon – of course my body would hurt.  But even I knew this was mighty different from my other aches and pains.  I saw a P.A. first and I told her the story.  She said she would have pushed through the pain and finished as well!  Ha!  A kindred spirit!  I’ve noticed P.A.’s are much nicer than doctors.  I prefer them.  The doc came in and wiggled/bent/almost made me cry moved my knee around.  I had a ton of inflammation under the knee cap.  She said some kind of name for it but I forgot to remember.  They had me change into a pair of giant shorts so she could better evaluate my knee and with my stripped compression socks and booties, I was looking HOT!  Oh and I was offered a wheelchair twice as they watched me (try to) walk.

yes, don't be shy, of course I will give you fashion advice!

yes, don’t be shy, of course I will give you fashion advice!

The plan for x-rays fell through as the tech was at lunch, so I was instructed to go to the sports med clinic (down the hall) where they set me up with a knee brace.  My knee felt less wobbly – a positive, and I was scheduled for my first PT appt this pas Wednesday, but work got in the way.  The PT guy was great and he said my knee was too swollen to start prior.  (They were very kind to add me to their schedule this upcoming Monday morning.)  Since the brace helped as much as it did though, I thought I would be okay to walk to my next meeting and then across campus.

I am delusional.

No running for 5-10 days – PT guy’s orders.  Heck, even walking has been rough.  So, I’m looking forward to PT.  I’ve known for a while that certain muscles in my legs aren’t very strong but I thought running would take care of this.  PT guy told me he is going to teach me some strength exercises and some stretches.  I think it says I’m supposed to go for 6 weeks.  Thankfully, the brace and PT are all completely covered by insurance and it’s on campus.  Lucky me!  Let the healing begin!  I also promised my brother I wouldn’t run for a bit.

I know I will come back a stronger runner.  I want to learn to better care for my knees, since the other one is kind of pissed it had to carry the weight during the marathon.  Seriously, it’s acting like a petulant child.  I’m going to teach my dad these exercises as well since his knees need some TLC, too.  I was icing quite a bit the first week and a half… now I need to rejoin that party.  Smarty pants, right here!  Although, walking like the Bride of Frankenstein is right on time for Halloweenie!

okay, I’m not this mobile at all but I like to think I’ve got a bit of this sass!

my detroit 26.2 recap… I cried triumphant tears.

25 Oct

Settle in… Are you ready for this?  I crossed the finish line.  I completed my 4th marathon.

Detroit marathon

Let’s get down to business.  I took Friday off from work to mentally prep for the weekend ahead and to rest my legs.  Saturday morning I woke up with a wicked headache.  I mean, the start of a migraine and it freaked me out since I had a drive ahead of me.  Then I also started to get really nauseated.  I’m certain it was all stress related so I tried to nip the headache away along with the tummy troubles and I managed to only be behind by about an hour or so.  The drive to Detroit was also weighing on my mind as drivers there and along the way take no mercy.  The speed limit is 70, I drive 75, maybe 78 and I get passed like I’m going 50.  Scary.

I arrived safely and found the expo easily enough (thank you GPS!).  Parking was a whopping $10 in the garage but finding parking on the street would be silly.  My trepidation grew as I climbed the stairs to the expo and then it greeted me with open arms!  Bib pick up was first and I immediately considered mine a good omen.  It was blue, my favorite color and my age was part of my bib number.  I then purchased the following sweatshirt:

the magic sweatshirt

the magic sweatshirt

This is important as it plays a role in my finishing this race.

The expo was larger and it dawned on me how big this race was.  Also, I realized this was my first non-specialty race – I’ve only done the Nike Women’s marathon, the Disney full and then the Dopey.  I don’t know why, but this felt different.  A bunch of places were selling these throw away gloves because it was going to be 35* at the start.  I caved.

runner girl detroit gloves

My right knee has been hurting me since June (well, off and on for some time before this actually) when I ran the duo 5k/10k on the slanted sidewalk.  There was a sports PT person there and I had him tape up my knee – my pesky patella. It felt better (driving over had aggravated it) and stabilized.

pretty tape always saves the day

pretty tape always saves the day

My hotel room sucked.  I learned the shower head didn’t work, so a bit of sponge bath was needed in the morning.  It wasn’t all the way clean and there was shenanigans the whole night through from other guests.  It was only a mile away from the race start though so I pushed those concerns aside.  Since I gave up gluten I can’t figure out a good pre-race meal and I chose this:

umm... yes, this is a cheese covered omelette...

umm… yes, this is a cheese covered omelette…

Bad idea.  Why didn’t I just put a lead ball in my gut and call it good?!

Race morning.  I woke up on time, got dressed in my splendid new compression tights, thanked my good sense to purchase the gloves and finally got out the door.  I packed up my car and started along.  I was slightly nervous about walking through downtown Detroit in the dark but I quickly found a fellow runner to walk with.  We got to wait inside the conference center until it was time to hit the starting line.  First of all, it started snowing a bit, which just made me laugh.  I looked around me and I didn’t see any other blue bibs – just the orange international 1/2 marathon ones.  Was I in the wrong line?!  I was in one of the last wave of runners so maybe this was part of it?  I still asked three different people and remained confused for a good chunk of the race. My anxiety was a bit high anyway since the cut-off was 6 and 1/2 hours and my lack of training gave me reason to believe I was in danger of not making this.

I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a

I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a “WTF am I doing text”.

Go time.  I started out at my manageable pace.  When we hit the bridge to Canada, the Ambassador Bridge, the sun was peaking through the clouds and I couldn’t believe I was really doing this!  The bridge is long and up hill for the first part.  I walked it.  Then ran down the other side – yay! I love downhills!  We ran through Canada for a few miles and then we crossed back onto U.S. soil through the underwater tunnel.  Everyone talks about how bad this part was but I didn’t mind it – I was warm (I was cold the entire race).  When we came out of the tunnel we ran through customs and then they had a sign welcoming us back to the U.S.  They were announcing some names as they crossed and I was one of them!  “Welcome back Amy German”!  It was neat.  It was a beautiful, albeit chilly fall day and the hilly course was great.  I love the international aspect!

By this time, my knee was seriously bothering me.  I think it started around mile 6 or 8 – I can’t remember now.  My strategy for the race was to run/walk it and this was working well for me.  I even had a couple of negative splits.  The marathoners split from the 1/2 folks as the 1/2-ers were crossing their finish line (slightly cruel to us who were only half way finished) and I considered crossing this finish line because my knee was hurting.  A smarter runner probably would’ve quit but I knew I would ALWAYS wonder if I could’ve made it to the end.  So I kept running.  The miles ticked on and my knee got worse.  I would run for as long as I could and then when it started to give out, I would walk for a bit.  The first steps back into running were beastly but they eased as I kept going and the cycle repeated itself.

An awesome member of the crowd built a pretend brick wall to run through around mile 18.  I loved it.  Another 1/2 marathon (the U.S. only route, the other 1/2 was international) started soon after I got through the 1/2 way point, so they would go screaming past me at certain points.  Umm – rude, haha.  They had 18 water stops as we weren’t supposed to carry liquids across the border.  I did a great job of hydrating the days before the race and during.  I fueled decently – my 1/2 of a ham sandwich in the morning was brilliant idea!

The last 5k I was basically throwing my bad leg/knee ahead of me as I ran and even walking painful.  Right at this moment, someone along side of the course said, “Amy!  You’re DOING IT!”.  I teared up at this point.  It’s really hard to run and cry so I pulled myself together.  When the finish line came into view, I started crying again and of course as I crossed.  My official time was 6:02.  My Nike app said I completed all 26.2 at 5:58, which I like better!

detroit marathon finish

My heart didn’t swell with pride after my first marathon.  It didn’t after my second either – that one kind of crushed my soul.  Dopey did because of the major undertaking.  The Detroit 26.2?  It gave me the same overwhelming sense of accomplishment as Dopey.  I really wasn’t sure I could finish.  Everyday for three weeks I considered dropping out of the race.  I shouldn’t have finished – my last long run was back in the beginning of Sept and it was 11 miles.  The fact that I could barely walk after didn’t matter.  This race made me feel strong and reminded me of my fierce fighting spirit.  Grit and determination (support/cheers from family and friends, compression tights, extra strength tylenol and that newly purchased sweatshirt I wanted to wear with pride) got me through this race.  So many freakin’ emotions were going through my mind, I’m not even sure I can adequately express them.  I made it.

I think the medal weighs almost a pound

I think the medal weighs almost a pound

And I didn’t get swept by the people zamboni – WIN!

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