March Motivation?

Half the time I feel like I should let this blog die. I mean, was it really alive? Maybe in 2013. Then I vacillate back to that it provides me with motivation & self-accountability. Plus, It can be nice to use it as a journal. So, today there is a post.

My friend Alex has been CRUSHING his runs and is super motivated. See, we joke that we “suck at this” when we run marathons together. He’s a great middle/back-of-the-pack, party buddy. He’s got an ambitious race schedule this year and I can’t be the only one sucking in the back anymore! I love that his motivation is getting me motivated! Not to the point of wanting to do 8mi weekday training runs, BUT, some stuff. And that stuff is usually a little ass-kicking in other ways.

The excitement of seeing my goal of 50 states getting close  (hopefully next year!) is another motivator. Of course I don’t like “easy”, big road races. Some of the ones I’ve picked are difficult…*ahem* AZ and NV. Hard! (race reports coming soon)

Finally, Pikes Peak marathon registration is this weekend. The race that was the hardest race I’ve done besides the 100. Harder than 50mi, even the one in the blizzard. Far harder. I said last year that I wouldn’t do it again. No way. Too hard. Took me over a week to feel functional and recovered. (It would help if I had trained) Naturally, this means I’m planning on registering for the Double. Because once up the mountain isn’t enough. Lets do it twice. Half Saturday (all the way to the top), full Sunday (up and down). It’s going to kill me.

The only way it won’t kill me? The only way I can have a CHANCE finishing the full? Training. Hopefully this motivation sticks around. Hopefully it rubs off and I’ll want to keep logging my workouts here.

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Crowded for a weekday afternoon!

Tuesday 3/8: Up the Incline, up a little ways past the Incline to where it connects to Barr trail, then down the trail. I usually just go straight down after I finish, but I want to keep doing more miles up (hitting Barr Camp at mile 6) as time permits.

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First of many Barr Trail runs. Barr, you will be my friend!

 

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See that dark figure? That was a guy in a wool coat, work slacks, and brand new trail shoes. I suspect that he is in town for work, picked up some shoes are REI, then went to the Incline–to say he did. Typical tourists. Oh, and no water. They never carry water.

3/9: Crossfit. Hour of snatches. Form work, then 20 min of set building, then 3 reps every 30 seconds of power snatch (60lbs). It felt like Tabata snatches and it got hard. I felt very uncoordinated and my form was very off. Oh well, I lifted weight and put it down for most of an hour.

3/10: I wanted to do the Incline again, but I was too busy.
AM: dog park walk, 40min.
mid-day: Tabata run: got my pace down to 7 and some upper 6’s at the end of the sets. And I didn’t feel like I was going to die. Progress!
Tabata Kettlebells: 36lbs. 12 swings per set.

Friday won’t be much of anything. We’re busy all day. This weekend though…I’ll need to find some other dirt to hit since I don’t go anywhere near the Pikes Peak/Incline trails on the weekend. Ciao!

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NH/ME Double: NH. I’m not very good at this.

Click me to see panoramic!

Click me to see panoramic!

What do you do when you have an annoying knee issue because you were clumsy and slid down a wet hill? You go do 2 marathons that you’re completely untrained for, of course. The trip was already booked, my husband really wanted to do NH since this weekend was peak foliage and it was his only chance at a marathon this season since it’s starting to get too cold up there. Maine was sold out so he couldn’t get in to the one on Sunday…so, I did them both. There was no way I was going to sit out while he did the full with my friends.

Hello, Beantown.

Hello, Beantown. I’ll spend Monday walking all over you.

Flew into Boston Friday mid-day after a horrifying landing in a severe storm in ATL. A Maniac friend of mine gave me a quick ride up to Bristol, NH. We hit race registration and that’s when I finally decided to register. The rain & cold had stalled and the weather was not supposed to get bad until after 2p on race day. So, as long as it didn’t rain the whole race, I wouldn’t be completely miserable. To quote one of the pickup volunteers….”You flew here all the way from New Orleans and you don’t know if you’re doing the race? You’re still debating? People do this about 10k’s, not marathons.” Haha. Yeah, well. I’ve done enough races in shitty weather (I’m looking at you, Kansas blizzard, 20 degrees in Tulsa Rt. 66, cold storm in Little Rock, and storming Cajun Coyote 100) and wasn’t in the mood to do it again.

So, we registered and went to the race dinner. I normally don’t do pre-race pasta dinners, but this town was tiny and everyone was at the dinner. My friends said it was the best one they’ve ever been to, as it’s homemade. Sure enough, they were right. A bunch of grandparents made 10 different sauces to choose from, cookies, salad, etc. All-you-can-eat and it was real food. I had a sausage and pepper sauce and it was delicious.

10689812_10152437869457794_7323322614554920204_nRace day: hung out with a bunch of Maniac friends before the start. I asked Alex what pace he was planning on running (he’s training for 100 and was also doing the Double) so I knew he wasn’t running hard. He said, “Whatever pace you’re running.” Oh, sweet relief!  I was dreading doing the whole thing alone since my heart wasn’t in it and my knee definitely wasn’t in it. I was so thankful. So, off we went running 2:1 intervals from the start.

Little Lake SunapeeThe race: GORGEOUS. We ran around Newfound Lake. Wonderful volunteers. Great views. Hills. Rolling hills. I thought the race was going to be flat. Wrong. Not much to say about the race itself. We just kept on the interval. Told stories. Joked. Laughed. One guy was on the side of the road cheering on runners and said, “Oh! You two must be married.” We both laughed…I said, “if we were, we wouldn’t be having this much fun together.” So Alex said, “Oh no, our husbands left their wives behind!” As K and his partner Shawn are much faster than us. Somewhere around there he said, “I’m not very good at this.” I replied, “Yeah, I suck at this too.” Oh, we had good laughs about that all weekend and anytime something got hard or someone at an aid station said something along the lines of, “Oh, you two look great! we replied…”I’m not very good at this.” We’re just doing 2 marathons…but we’re not very good at this.

How about some pictures? There was nothing remarkable about the running, except the scenery.

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Cute towns

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Around and around the lake we go

We ran by  Sculptured Rock park and this was about 20 feet off the road. Alex and I took a pit stop here to take pics and put on our ponchos (and it only rained for about 3 minutes).

Time out for history

Time out for history

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Ran by a barn & B&B that was being set up for a wedding. I’m not into weddings AT ALL, but this was tiny and very cute. I think what I said was, “I really hate the excess & showing off of weddings, but that was pretty much perfect!” I think there were only 4-5 tables and the barn was not very big.
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The houses around the lake were amazing. Some big, but many were just old, small cottages. Loved them. Especially this one only accessible by boat!

Perfection

Perfection

Well, I guess one could walk there in winter. (The locals said it’s unused in winter due to the plumbing)

Um, no.

Um, no. (source)

 

And finally…

Finally.

Finally.

The post race food was great. Tons of food, chocolate milk, fruit, fresh pizzas from the local joint across the street. For a race with less than 300 people, the community support was amazing. ALL proceeds go to 3 local charities. Completely no profit. Overall, a wonderful race. I love a small-town event like this. Would highly recommend it to anyone, even those who are hesitant to do small races: there were cops at intersections, the course was very straightforward around a lake, and still many signs. I felt completely safe and was in awe of the views.

Got in the car and headed to Maine….

More on Maine tomorrow. This post would be too long if I wrote them together.

Beat the Blerch

Signed bibs!

This weekend was the inaugural Beat the Blerch marathon (and 10k and half) outside of Seattle. Also known as: the non-runners marathon. The “sit on the couch and eat cake and watch RoboCop” marathon.  Sure there were some fast runners there, but there were less than 300 full marathoners and most were there to have a good time. If you take racing really seriously, this isn’t for you. Move along, un-fun people and make room for us, those who like talking to people, wearing costumes, and eating cake.

MMM…CAKE.

Costumes!

It was unexpectedly popular (by the Oatmeal and the race director) and the site crashed almost immediately upon registration opening. I had a great team of family and friends registering and I got in! The website crash and very long wait-list showed the demand, and Oats and the RD got approval for a second race, on Saturday.

The Oatmeal ran in costume too.

Fast forward to this weekend…it was a quick trip just for the race. I did squeeze as much as I could, but I had friends doing the race both days, so I got to spectate Saturday and participate on Sunday.

Packet pickup: easy. It was at a big RoadRunner Sports store and we were in/out in less than 5 (ok, 10, got distracted by the goodies!) minutes. The shirt is AWESOME. Thick long sleeve 1/4 zip with tumbholes? Plus, a “0.0” Blerch sticker and magnet? Yes, please! (already getting our $100 worth!)

Schwag!

Parking was a breeze! We got nervous the week of the race since an email was sent out saying they oversold parking passes. However, there were schools and businesses across the street from the park with tons of overflow parking. But, the field had plenty of spaces. It was never an issue.

Even the parking lots are pretty in Washington! Ever done a race where they spray painted spots? Details make a difference!

I was so excited to see a huge bank of porta-potties! I was so impressed with how many they had. I’ve done marathons 5+times this size that only had half this number. NEVER any line to them. Not once. Anyone who walked up to them, found one that was open. And clean. Very, very clean.

tons of places to pre-race poop!

The race started at Tolt-McDonald park. Tons of room and a very charming barn that housed bag-check, post race food, and other logistics.

Gorgeous barn.

Ever seen one of these solar, cell-phone charging trailers? Yeah. He paid to have one out at the race. So cool!

Need juice?

From there, we ran about a mile and hit the river, then over some bridges to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. This was gorgeous. The crushed gravel had some rocks that were a little bigger than I’d like for crushed gravel, but it was fine. Nothing to complain about, especially since the scenery was gorgeous. It was 86 degrees by the time we finished, making for a really hot day, but I was so thankful for the trees.

Trail

Blerchy tu-tu and pretty trails.

Overall: WORTH IT. For the cost of an average marathon ($100), the race company and the Oatmeal went above and beyond. I do so many of these I never have any expectations. This ranks in my top 5 marathons. The shirt, FREE RACE PICS, the HOURS of book & bib signing by Oats, the abundance of food, the aid stations, the fun volunteers, the tons of porta potties, the ease of parking/logistics. All top notch. My mom even saw my race shirt and said, “Did you buy that too?!” (she meant in addition to my race packet). For her to comment on it…huge compliment that she didn’t think that it was the race shirt.

Cake.

 

Lots of Nutella pushing Blerches.

More cake.

Other stuff: BLERCH. The volunteers were so fun! They all embraced the “Blerchyness” of the event and pushed cake, Nutella, magical grape drink (explained in his book, and yes, it is magical), and then other regular race foods such as Gu shots, energy bars, chips and pretzels, bananas, etc. Due to it being on the trail, the aid stations were 3-4 miles apart because of the limited road access. This was fine for me, but the heat at the end had us wishing there were 1-2 more on the course. However, that was impossible. For people who haven’t done trails or ultras, I can see how it would be a shock to go from a road marathon with water every mile, to this. However, the aid stations were well stocked, and FUN.

Oats signing my book, fun spectators, me being chased by a Blerch, and a cute shirt.

Blerch. Blerchii.

The race/run itself was uneventful for me. I ran with my friend Carrie from El Paso. I had talked her into this race while visiting her and her husband for Bataan Death March, so I felt it was the right thing to do to stay with her. We ran her pace, then when she started slowing down and our walk breaks increasing in time and slowing in pace…I made the call to go to my interval timer (about halfway). Things got better after that and had a negative split overall. We were maintaining a consistent pace doing 3:1’s and picked up 2 nice ladies who where half-assed run/walking. They were lovely and fun. Then, over the miles, picked up 2 more and went down to a 2:1 interval based as a request of the ladies we picked up. We had a fun group during the hard miles of 15-20. The rest fell off by mile 23, but we waited for them at the finish.

Running with Carrie

I made some new running friends and had a delicious post-race burger with Ann from Kansas City. As a cancer surgeon, we hit it off and had lots to talk about besides racing. Turned out, she has a friend who was in the Army…who was one of K’s chemo providers when we lived in El Paso.  ❤ SMALL WORLD. I love races where I have no goals other than to finish. It allows for maximum fun, and you never know who you’ll meet!

(My post tomorrow will be non-race food & fun during the quick trip)

Whole..day 8-10

Day 8:
Oh geez…I forgot to log it all. Dang. It was kind of a “down”, easy day.
I did have curry on lettuce for lunch!

Day 9:
AM: 1hr power walk
post walk: celery & cracksauce (avocado dip)

Nothing exciting.

Weight lifting:
bar warmup (5min)
sets of 5 reps
Hang Cleans: 55, 65, 75, 80
Bench Press: 65, 75, 80
Pullups (strict, banded) 3 sets of as many as possible. (Spoiler: not that many were possible. Arms: sore.)
Cool down: playing in the pool
Food:
Bowl of zoodles with basil pesto and chicken. Delicious!

Mix it up. Eat.

Day 10 (today!)
AM: 45min walk.
Hitting the road!

We leave today for a quick weekend trip. I got a free entry to one of my most FAVORITE marathons: Hatfield & McCoy in Kentucky/WV. Yes, both states. It starts in one and runs along the border to West Virginia. It’s so gorgeous and exciting to see the 26 Hatfield & McCoy historical markers (and houses, and meet them!) along the route! It’s my fiftieth marathon/ultra. Number 50! WHOA. It’s low compared to many of my Maniac friends, but pretty damn high compared to the normal population. FIFTY! If there is moonshine on the course like last year, I just may partake.480447_400388846743578_32193635_n

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What’s been going on.

Humm, well. Turns out when you’ve got a bum foot, life is pretty boring. Socially, things have been busy, but workouts are minimal. I use “workouts” loosely.
Today will be a big step. I’m going to the CF gym with K. I don’t know if I’ll do the WOD, it depends on what it is. No running or jumping for me, no explosive lifts. Basically, I can do stationary shit.

I’m still working on my Zion RR. (read: procrastinating)

In other news, some races are getting planned! Last June I did the Hatfield & McCoy marathon. It was an EXCELLENT time with a bunch of maniacs. Oh yeah, I guess I should write a real race report for that…
Very lush scenery!
(that’s my friend Halbert, he never has a shirt)
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Moonshine aid station? Why not?!

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Many Hatfield and McCoy homes/estates/grounds open to runners and tourists. Everyone was so friendly!
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Anyway, I’d been on the fence about doing it this year. It’s a really far, rural, drive and I’ve done it already. I praised the race so much last year that I talked many friends from a running group into doing it. They were making me feel guilty since I didn’t want to commit again this year. Well, the race director put a call out on FB for people from a small handful of states, so they could have every state represented. Well, my state didn’t have any registrants, and I was the first to reply, so I got a free entry and it’s only costing me $20 to stay! Going back AND it’s basically free! I’m very excited!

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Oh, and a Hatfield descendant is the RD and runs the local running club. Pretty awesome.

It’s Friday, lets talk about some random stuff.
TV:
LOVING Orphan Black. I just started it this week and we’re watching as a family. Excellent so far (4 episodes into season 1). Love me some BBC programming.

Books:
Currently reading Empire of the Summer Moon. I’ll let you know.

I need to get some audiobooks as we’re taking a big, looong, trip next week. Don’t get too excited, it’s not glamorous.

Another post tomorrow or Sunday with the carnage thats about to happen at the gym!

Happy Friday, peeps!

My First Double (marathons)!

Day 292 & 293

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Friday: Drove to Indy, picked up my friend Big Al from the airport (flew in from outside of El Paso). We went to the expo, had great thai food for dinner. Great to see him, I ran 3 marathons with him in 2008-09 the first time I lived there. Went back to the hotel and I waited for Jenn & her friends to arrive.

Day 292: Indianapolis Marathon! Woke up and it was cold and raining. Horrible marathon weather. My shoes were SOAKED before I even got to the race site. It was windy. And cold. The only thing that made it tolerable was having friends to run with. Al and I hadn’t run a marathon since Bataan ’09, our paths have come close, but haven’t passed since. Our marathon times are usually in the 4:30-5:30 range depending on difficulty, but I knew I was going to be slow today since I was sick. I told him to go on by mile 1. I hung with Jenn, Shawn, & Alex for a while. For the first half we all kind of flip-flopped, me and Alex for a while. I ran with Halbert & Peter (Maniac friends) for a little bit. Then Alex & Jenn made a CVS pit-stop so Shawn and I continued for a while. Then someone else went to the bathroom, etc. etc. I kept feeling worse and worse. Our group pace was slowing and it was hurting me more. Finally at mile 16 when it had stopped raining and the sun was peeking out, Shawn and me left our pack and forged ahead. At mile 19 I needed a big porta-potty stop, so I told Shawn to go ahead. I was actually looking forward to the last miles alone, at my pace. I did some sort of 3-4:1 interval and got it done.
5:27:48. Definitely not a good showing for me, but I was conservative with being sick and having another marathon the next day. Nothing really ‘hurt’ though. I was just tired and BEAT UP from the bad weather the first half of the race.
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^ I really don’t know what I’m doing with my arm here. Also, not a real smile. (Got this pic from Jenn)

POST RACE: I dropped Al off at his airport hotel so he could catch his Sunday flight back to ELP. I drove on down to Louisville, about 1hr 45min.
I took Halbert’s advice and ate ALL of the post race fare (3 pieces pizza, 1 hamburger, beans, cookie), then had another big meal for dinner (hamburger & fries & beer) at Kentucky BBC brewery in downtown Louisville.
I got to my hotel, took an ice bath, laid in bed with ice cream and medicine to knock me out of my misery.

SAT NIGHT

(I was really worried about getting enough calories in, for real) The Aquaphor is for my nose and lips, which are raw from 3 days of constant drainage.

Day 293: Louisville Marathon!
Another poor night of sleep. My cold had gotten worse. I woke up in cold sweats at midnight and 0130. Woke up again at 0200, 3 and finally for good at 4. I was preparing for a miserably long day.
Got to the race, got my packet, and stayed extremely overdressed: tech shirt, long sleeve t-shirt & fleece jacket.
I had a plan and I was going to stick with it. If I could focus on the ‘plan’, it would give my mind something to worry about rather than how I felt (bad) or my legs (heavy!). 2:1. Run 2, walk 1. For the whole 26.2 miles. I had done this Galloway method with my friend Denis at St. Louis marathon 2 weeks ago (it was his plan) and it worked really well. So, I was glad to have this distraction. I usually walk aid stations in races, but not this often. My legs didn’t feel ‘good’ until almost mile 6. Took a while to warm up and shake out yesterday’s marathon. I kept my jacket on until mile 14! I knew my body wasn’t responding well to being sick, but I wasn’t having trouble breathing, so I wasn’t worried. 2:1, 2:1 for hours and hours…hahaha. Bathroom at mile 4 & 12. Again at mile 16. At least I was hydrated. The aid stations were every 2.5mi so I’m glad I had my handheld bottle.

I never got down. I never got lonely. It was a gorgeous fall day. Many times it was like I wasn’t even running a marathon, I was just a person running along a path. Sure, it’s much more fun running with friends, but when it counts, I know I can dig it out. There were no spectators, no one cheering me on. Definitely no friends to fill the miles with laughter. Just me and a gorgeous fall day. And my runny ass nose.
Misery.
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I leapfrogged with a woman, running about a 11:45 pace. She NEVER took a walk break (that I saw). She never wanted to chat, but I told her I was run/walking and eventually she would drop me (haha, not). At mile 17ish, I passed her and never saw her again. I stopped the 2:1 at mile 25.5ish. I didn’t want to push too hard since I was sick.

I could not be more pleased with how it went. I went into this weekend with the only goal of, “survive.” After Indy’s 5:27, I wanted to keep Louisville at 5:30 or under, as close to even split as possible. I figured being sick that this was a big enough goal. My “secret”, “if everything goes perfect” goal was to run 5:25, a small negative split.

Indianapolis: 2:40 half, 5:27
Louisville: 2:39:39 half, 5:07:32 TWENTY MINUTES FASTER!! HOLYSHIT!!
I’m not putting all my splits, because no one cares, not even me.
I am very pleased I negative split the second marathon, and even more pleased I negative split the weekend. AND, while sick. Sure, I’m paying for it now, but dang, that’s a confidence booster.

Then this happened.
I went to Whole Foods after the race and had a big bowl of chicken noodle soup & salad. Stocked up on veggies for the week. And this is all I wanted for dinner. See that kale? It was on sale and I washed it. Sat right there on the counter while I ate my ice cream.

2 marathons = 2 beers.
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Where I’m at

Gosh, I’m really kicking myself for abandoning WP for so long! I’ve missed it here. I’ve enjoyed catching up with my Reader this week.
Day 289-290 (Oct. 16 & 17): easy walking. Not feeling great (sore throat & a slight cold) and making sure my ankle is healing.
Day 291 (today): some KB, couple pullups, light weights & walking (at packet pickup in Indy)

So, where am I at? I’ve been exploring what I really love, realizing things I miss and what I may want to focus on for next year:

  • I’m considering doing 365 again for next year! There’s always room to grow and change. I was trying to decide what direction to take this blog and/or my life after this year of great changes, and well, I don’t want to stop. If I stop 365, where does that take my blog title? Easy solution: do it again since it hasn’t been a burden.
  • Physically: I’m in Ohio, away from my partner. (And yes, I usually use ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’.  We each hold each other with a high level of respect, and room to each be our own person. While I do believe he possesses many great qualities I do not, I don’t like the term ‘better half’. I don’t sell myself short! I bring many things to our partnership. We each have our own athletic and life pursuits, different hobbies. The most important thing: by being secure in MYSELF, I respect his choices and don’t ‘need’ him to be happy with myself. He enhances my life, the one I make for myself. But gosh, I do miss him.)...Many twisted things fell into place (or fell out of place) and I ended up here, practically in the frozen tundra of Canada (I like to live south of the Mason-Dixon unless I’m in the mountains or the NE), and he is living next door to my family eating things like deer stew and crab stuffed flounder. Twisted and cruel I tell you! I get to go back in Dec, and we don’t plan on doing a geo-bachelor situation again. Life is too short, and while 3-4mo isn’t that long and we have seen each other, it’s not cool.


That’s my driveway. Good luck finding it.

  • Running: I’ve logged more miles, and more races, this year than ever before. Still not a ton of training miles, but I’ve registered and done almost every marathon or ultra I could this year. I surpassed last years running mileage in Aug or Sept. Pretty awesome.
  • CrossFit: I don’t have access to a CF gym here in Ohio. The closest ones are an hour away. SUCKS. Since I’m traveling or doing races almost every weekend, I do not want to drive to the Box a couple times during the week. The week is downtime and catching up on school time. Definitely something I miss and will fiercely start up when I get back to LA! I have a real pullup bar, a small amount of weights, a KB and plenty of room to run. Fitness can happen anywhere!
  • Friends: doing so many races has made me closer to a lot of my running friends, and I’ve met some great new ones. Being here away from him has given me time and a vigor to see people I haven’t seen in years! I’ve seen my best friend more in these 2 months than the last 4 years. Race pain and suffering can help you find your new best Race Friend. Or, even better, when you can click off 26miles with someone you met the day before and talk the whole way! St. Louis marathon 2 weeks ago was just that, and even better, a solid 4:53 marathon the week after a TOUGH 50k. That was done at a very comfortable effort and 20min faster than what we were expecting. So awesome that our brains turned off what we thought we were going to do, and look what happened. It was only 9min slower than my fastest race of the year, with just a month & 2 50k’s in between.
    Denis and I ran the whole way together, and it was great! Oh, stories that come out after 4hrs of sharing pain.

Have a great weekend! I hope my first “Double” goes well. That’s 2 marathons. In 2 different states. Forecast is 38-55 degrees tomorrow morning…with rain. Yuck! Ciao!