Sunday, March 15, 2015

Get Lucky 21K Race Report: The backup plan


This was my backup plan race. Remember, I was supposed to be in Florida this weekend, getting ready to run a half in Sarasota on Sunday. I spent most of January and part of February running on the treadmill in fleece clothing to try to simulate running in the heat. Becky did her part at CrossFit with weights and intervals. I did get to do my long runs outdoors. And then my son decided to turn our lives upside down. Once the dust settled, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to travel to Florida for that race, although we will be going later this month for a family vacation. Besides missing the race, I hated to throw all that training away, and I looked for a local race. I found the Get Lucky Chicago 21k scheduled for the same weekend, and without hesitation, signed up. I learned that my friends Sara and Karen were also planning on running it, and that made my decision all the less painful.

Meanwhile, because there was no point doing them, I stopped doing those heat runs on the treadmill and took it outside. Yes, it was cold, but those outdoor runs were therapeutic. They were also surprisingly fast. Maybe those heat runs did something for my endurance? I started to think that maybe I could PR this half. Who PRs at 52? I was quiet about my plans, because my original goal was a sub-2 half, and I didn't want to jinx myself. I'm a little quirky like that. I did tell Becky and she reassured me that a PR would be no problem for me.

Sara and I made plans to drive down together, and she purchased a parking pass to give us one less thing to worry about. After she did that, we heard rumors that the race director changed the location of the race to Soldier Field. There was no notification, and even the race's Facebook page did not give many details. Until 2 days before the race, we still had no idea about parking. Finally, they posted a link to prepay for a parking pass. But because of all this, I was really stressed about the details. The race was to be run on the lakefront path, which is a public path and shared by all. I was worried it would be crowded. That we'd be weaving around people. I kept thinking about what a disaster this race was going to be.

I slept really well the night before the race, which is pretty unusual for me. I took that as a good sign. Sara met me at my house and we headed into the city. Even though it was early, there was a good amount of traffic, and people were driving like maniacs. At one point, a jerk in a white SUV with 70.3 and 13.1 stickers on his car cut me off. I don't know how I didn't hit him or the semi next to me. Sara just about jumped out of her skin. That got my heart pumping! I laid on the horn for a good minute. There was a car next to me and that driver gave me the thumbs up. We were a little shaken after that experience, but the rest of our drive was uneventful, if not a little scary.

Karen, me, Sara
Parking was a breeze and we had an hour and a half to kill. Sara wanted to visit the portapotties, and we headed over to the staging area. We marveled at all the portapotties. There were tons of them. It was a runner's dream come true! This was a good omen! The wind was blowing fairly strong over the lake and it was cold. We went back to the car to warm up. Karen texted us a little while later, and we headed back to the staging area where there were warming tents to meet up with her. She was with her running group, and we got to meet all of them. As it got closer to race time, we decided to make one more trip to the portapotties. There was a short line, and it moved really fast. I stood in line next to 2 girls puffing on an e-cig box. Really? Before a race? We finished up our business and I took one last swig of my Tailwind as we headed to line up for the race.

There were no minute/mile markers, just pace leaders with balloons with times written on them in marker. Feeling optimistic, I lined up with the 1:50 pace group. The song Get Lucky by Daft Punk started blaring and we took off. I wasn't planning on pacing with a group, I just wanted to be with people running about that pace, to avoid the weaving I was so worried about. We headed south on the lakefront path, and had the wind at our back. My legs felt good, and at mile 1, I looked down at my Garmin. I saw 8:24 mins/mile and thought I should pull back a little bit. I still had 12.2 miles to go and that was pretty fast for me. I felt really good, though, and I didn't feel like I was working hard. The weaving that I was worried about never materialized, and I settled into a nice groove.

By mile 4, I was sweating a ton. I rolled up my sleeves and unzipped my top. I hadn't planned on starting my second bottle of Tailwind until mile 5, but I decided to take a sip. Good idea. I felt a lot better after a while, and kept sipping it every half mile or so. The reason I know this is that there were mile markers every half mile at this race. I don't know about you, but that made the race feel longer to me. It did help me fuel though, and I looked at it as a plus.

The race course was mostly flat with a few inclines up over some roads. The course was out and back, and I knew those hills would be tougher on the way back. My pace continued at that 8:24 min/mi pace. I was really happy with that, but worried that it might bite me in the butt in the back half of the race. I still felt good, so I continued on. I saw Sara a little before the turn around (mile 6.6),  and got a high five from her. We headed back north into the wind. Oooh, it was cold, but it actually felt pretty good, considering all the sweating I was doing. I continued to sip my Tailwind. I saw Karen a little while after that, and gave her a high five.

On the way back, I found myself running with a couple of men. I was behind this one guy who would not let me pass him no matter what. When we headed up those hills, I kept my steady pace while he slowed down. I would pass him but after the hill he'd speed up to get ahead of me. I kept laughing about it to myself. Was it the being "chicked" thing? Was it being passed by an old lady? Anyways, I decided to draft behind him, and he has no idea how much he helped me out by blocking the wind. I'm sure if he knew, he would have rethought his whole plan to stay ahead of me. And the guy next to me wouldn't look over at me. He just kept pace with me. I ran with these 2 gems men for a few miles, and lost them both at an aid station. See ya! I never stopped once. It was really nice having my fuel with me.

At mile 10, I started to think that I was going to get my PR. My legs still felt really good. I was slowing down a little bit this second half, with mile splits in the 8:30s but still really fast for me. Then my GI tract started talking to me. Oh no. I realized then that I had not seen one portapotty on the entire course, except at mile 2. Seriously. What would I do if disaster struck? Well, I thought, THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. This became my new mantra for the final 3 miles. I thought about the spare clothes I had in the car. The wipes I had tucked into my spibelt. NOT GOING TO NEED THEM. I chugged along.

Mile 12, I knew I could do it. I started pushing my pace again, but I was getting tired. I ignored that protesting from my abdomen. Sorry, I thought, not stopping now! I finished up my Tailwind and turned it up to 11. I flew across the finish line--saw that race clock with 1:52 on it!  Once I caught my breath I smiled from ear to ear. I knew I had PR'd!

I headed back to the heated tent to find Sara, who had gotten a PR of her own. We celebrated our victories, and I looked up my official time. I was shocked to see the AG placement:


My smile got bigger! It sure helps to be in the old age group, right? There was also a fun statistic on the results page, the age graded results, which gave me an age-graded finish time of 1:33:52, and put me in 49/770 finishers. I'd never seen that before, but I kind of liked it! I'm starting to embrace this whole aging thing, really. Soon I'll get senior discounts and that will be good as well. Especially if they have them on race entry fees...


Anyways, at the finish line, there was the usual water and snacks. We never did make it to the beer tent because we started to get really cold. We couldn't find Karen, and decided to head home. Later we found out she finished, but ended up in the medical tent with dehydration. She's fine now, and I'm sure had a great rest of the day celebrating her birthday! 

Sara and me
So the race turned out great after all. There were no glitches, as far as I could see. A few comments and observations, not really complaints: No national anthem was sung prior to the race, which was a first for me. There were no photographers along the race course. I hear that Get Lucky does post pictures on their FB page, but other than that you're on your own. I think that's ok, but I do like a finish line photo. What can I say? I'll keep checking the FB page and see what comes up. And no portapotties along the course? That was a little disconcerting. I don't know where runners were supposed to relieve themselves. Thank goodness my tummy behaved controlled itself, but it was touch and go at the end of the race! The half mile markers were a little much. But the weather was beautiful, perfect really, and the scenery along the course was spectacular. For this Chicago girl, there's no better view than that Chicago skyline, set along the panorama of Lake Michigan and blue skies. I fueled perfectly with my Tailwind Nutrition, and my training from Becky was spot on.

Would I do it again? I don't know, but it's always fun to race with friends! And a PR? AG placement? I doubt that I would have had this race in the heat and humidity of Florida. Silver linings everywhere. And that makes this one a win for me!

Did you race this weekend? How'd you do? Ever have a backup plan race?

I'm linking this post with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update! Be sure to head over and see what the other bloggers have to say!






78 comments :

  1. Wendy, this is just freakin' awesome! Your post gave me chills. I'm hope this "aging" woman can set a PR soon too. I know you worked hard and I'm so happy for you. You should be elated you didn't race down south this weekend...HUMID!!! O.M.G. Congrats! And, I wouldn't stop smiling for weeks or maybe months! -- Holly

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    1. Oh yes! I would never have PRd in Florida this morning! Definitely a silver lining. I hope I don't drive everyone crazy with my excitement! Who's old? Not us!

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  2. Congratulations! PR and placing AG, that is AWESOME! Heck of a silver lining, well deserved for all your hard work. Nice medal too. Wonder if the race will come to more cities. Happy for you!

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    1. Thank you! I didn't realize until I looked up my previous PR and this was a 4 min 22 second PR. Four years ago. This is really huge for me! I can't stop smiling!

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  3. PR and 2nd AG?!!! Woo hoo! Congrats! Those Team Ortho races are pretty bare bones, luckily you were able to ignore your abdomen! Congrats again!

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    1. Thanks Pete! This was so huge for me! Not a bad backup plan at all. I sure wouldn't have PR'd in Florida, with that humidity.

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  4. This is just totally awesome! So proud of you, Wendy :-) My race recap is under construction (LOL), but let's just say there was that recurring pain-in-the-a$$ stuff, but a decent finish time in spite of it. And, well, there was some b-day celebrating, which made everything fine and dandy, too. Congrats on your awesome race!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I can't stop smiling! Looking forward to reading your recap. And yes, I have a little of that PIA, but nothing that my lacrosse ball can't roll out...

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  5. So awesome! Congrats on the PR and the AG award! I raced a 5K today, will be posting my recap tomorrow (waiting for some photos that will supposedly post tonight). I wonder if your course was similar to the Zooma Chicago course. I remember running along lakefront paths which also struck me as weird since there were other runners and even some cyclists sharing the path. Although that race was a PR for me at the time, too. Weird about the dudes passing you. I've had that happen on the bike so many times which is really annoying in a tri since you have to drop back when you are passed (and then my power meter drops way down as the guy slows down after he passes me). Congrats again!!

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    1. The course was the same as the Zooma course, except we started at Soldier Field and ran south. The Zooma course started at Burnham park, ran north, then south, then north again. That was a miserable race for me. The heat and humidity killed me. And the cyclists zooming by at 20mph. This was much more pleasant.

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  6. Congratulations on your PR and placing great in your age! Good thing you didn't need to stop! E cig really? I was in my corral one race and there were guys actually smoking and I bet they even beat me. So unfair! -L

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    1. I told myself they were running the 7k. Smoking and running? Seriously?

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  7. Wow great race. You are speedy. Congrats. I wonder if I have another pr in me at 61?

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    1. Why not? I wonder how long I can keep going at this pace. You just never know. I think we just have to train a little differently than we did when we were younger.

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    2. I agree. I am currently setting PRs at every race distance but I started out so slow. I wonder when it will stop too. I think as I age, I need more rest days.

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    3. Completely agred! I'm feeling a little wiped out today. Yoga helped get the blood flowing again. That seems to be my go to for recovery.

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  8. I am so proud of you! I was grinning ear to ear reading this. So proud to call you my friend.

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    1. Thank you! I'm only sad that I didn't get to see you cross the finish line! I knew you were right there behind me and I waited...and waited...I worried...I'm so glad you are ok! And so glad we have Great Western to run together! Love you! <3

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  9. Congratulations on a great race and the AG place!! It was your day :) That is a very speedy pace.
    Glad you friend is okay. I ran one half that no port of potties on the course, only at the start. It was 90's degrees that day and I ended up sick and just had to duck behind a bush and tinkle - it did suck.
    I should have been running my first marathon today, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

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    1. It was a great experience. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to run like this, so I'm planning on riding this wave as long as I can!

      What happened that you didn't run your marathon?

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    2. I would ride the wave for sure :) Such a great feeling!!
      I have been out with a tibial stress fracture. I was about 8 weeks into training when i was diagnosed :(
      I still ran the half marathon in Disney after being in a boot for five weeks so i should't complain.

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    3. I ran a race before the boot last spring. A 10 miler on a broken foot. Yep. That's how I roll. PR'd that one too! LOL....

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  10. That was really exciting to read! Congrats you are my role model :)

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    1. Thank you! It was such a great experience! And no emergencies...

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  11. Wendy you spanked it! I knew you had it in you and I'm thrilled you let it out! Congrats again my friend! What is it with guys who resist being passed as if their lives depend on it? Machismo I guess.

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    1. Marcia, I swear that if you didn't believe in me, I don't know that I could do these things! Your encouragement and can-do attitude stays with me for the entire race. And yes, what is it with those guys? But I dusted them at the aid station. Good thing my tummy behaved or it would have been a whole different kind of dusting...

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  12. great job to you!!! you guys are so amazing in how you support one another! Love it!

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    1. This whole community is so supportive! Love it! Now it's your turn to turn it on!

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  13. Love your race recap and 3 cheers to being in the more mature AG. I am well above you in the 60-64 AG, but managed a PR last month at a half marathon and also an AG award. However, I will tell you that I have never seen a discount for #oldladyrunners !

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  14. Congratulations!! I'm very excited for you. Even though I know you were bummed about not running in Sarasota, you still killed it on your plan B!!!

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    1. I don't think I would have killed it on plan A with the heat and humidity! So it all worked out...

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  15. Congrats on the PR! Sometimes plan B ends up working on better than plan A:)

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    1. It really did! And I will do Sarasota next year.

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  16. SO AWESOME!!!! Congrats on the PR!!! I was so excited for you when I saw you post your results up on Facebook over the weekend. :) I was just thinking about the age bracket thing the other day and it will definitely be a perk for me in a couple years when I get to 40.

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    1. That 40-44 age group is still really competitive--maybe even more than the 35-59. I hated turning 50, but this is definitely a silver lining. So many women stop running after 50. I don't know why.

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  17. Congratulations, Wendy!! And, by the way, you have got me totally cracking up over here thinking about these two guys you ran with; I have to admit that I LOVE losing people at the aid stations - hahaha!! You smoked 'em! I'm so excited for you. Thank you for linking up with the blog and I hope you have a great day!

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    1. Those 2 guys kept me amused for a good 4-5 miles. It was so weird. I have to say I've never had that happen before! At least not that I've been aware of...

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  18. Congratulations! What are you talking about, who "who PR's at 52?" YOU DO. You smoked it! And a perfect day for a race, that is for sure!

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  19. Yay Wendy! You know I love seeing a 52-yr old PR--way to get it done. Very happy for you.

    And running on a treadmill in fleece? I would seriously die. Smart, though!

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    1. I think it really helped. If nothing else, it toughened me up! LOL!

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  20. Congrats!!!! Woo HOO! way to finish!!!! Glad to see this one turn out well for you! Great plan B! Where is the family visiting in Florida??

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    1. It was really a silver lining! We'll be on Anna Maria Island.

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  21. Wow, amazing race--congrats!!! Age ain't nothin' but a number :)

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  22. Amazing job Wendy!! I had no doubt that you would PR...and you are NOT an old lady? Old ladies aren't badass runners like you!! Congrats!!

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    1. But I do get the benefits of being in the old lady age group! AG? Never would have dreamed it! This is fun!

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  23. What a great recap! Congratulations on your PR and Age placement!!!

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  24. Wow PR! That is awesome Wendy! Isn't it great how we worry about things and in the end it turns out just fine! Congratulations to you! :)

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    1. I would never have done this in Florida, for sure. I'm thrilled with the outcome! You just never know...

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  25. Congratulations, Wendy! That's an awesome accomplishment. I'm so glad your backup turned out to be a total winner for you.

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  26. Awesome job! I would have been freaking out if there were no portapotties on the course! My stomach is a complete jerk sometimes, and I rely on those bathrooms.

    I'm glad Karen is ok.

    It was brutally hot in the Sunshine State this weekend. I did the GATE River Run on Saturday and I had a rough time with my body temperature, but it passed quickly.

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    1. Glad you were able to battle through that heat!

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  27. Congrats on the PR and AG placement! So exciting. I ran the RnR DC 5K this past weekend. It was a good race for me (not a PR), but I was able to negative split each mile, so I was very happy.

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    1. Nice work!! I haven't run a 5k in a long time. Not sure I'd know how to pace myself!

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  28. Congrats on the PR and the AG award! What a great way to celebrate a race so early in the year!

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    1. I couldn't have been happier! Well, ok, if it was in Florida...

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  29. So awesome!!! Congrats on the PR and AG award! Sounds like a great race!

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  30. Wow! I am so impressed! I am so far from my PR that I wouldn't even dream. Nice job!

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    1. Thank you! I never dreamed that I could do it at my age. You just never know, right? Call me a late bloomer...

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  31. Fabulous job and congrats on a PR!! I love that you passed those boys especially the one that wouldn't look at you. I like to carry my own stuff too so I don't have to stop at aid stations. It always feels good to fly by people who are stopping.

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    1. The aid station volunteers were so enthusiastic, trying to wave me in that I had to wave my Tailwind bottle at them. LOL!

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  32. Congrats on the personal record! You're an inspiration.

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  33. How did I miss this?!! Congrats on your PR!! That is awesome!! You have worked so hard and totally deserve that. We're both riding the wave this week with some good races. :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm still riding the wave...glad you are too!

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  34. Congrats on the AG and PR! Very exciting.

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    1. Now you know why I'm still excited! What a day!

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  35. Nice job, despite your concerns! Good that you were able to use that guy as a wind blocker - I always do the same thing. Some guys really are weird about getting passed by women. Congrats on your PR and getting 2nd in your age group, that's awesome! I like the age graded results too, really helps to see how you compare.

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    1. This was the first time I got age graded results! It was fun to see how I compared...

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  36. You're a rock star! Congratulations on such an awesome race!

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  37. Congrats! I am not surprised you PR'd! You are working hard! And really... I think running in the cold is a good challenge, just like running in the heat is, you know? Builds you up, makes you mentally stronger! :)

    And that is so cool that you placed in your AG! (and super cool you didn't need to use a non-existent bathroom in the last few miles, lol)

    I wonder if that guy was purposefully trying to stay in front of you or just totally not paying attention to what was going on! LOL. Thanks for helping with blocking the wind, buddy! :)

    I am with you on keeping most goals quiet. The more I broadcast them, the less I am in to them. Makes me lose interest! LOL

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    1. Thank you Kim! This was a great race for me. I'm hoping that this is the start of an epic year of running for me!

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