Sunday, November 29, 2015

Schaumburg Half Marathon Race Recap


This race was not on my radar at all this year. After I ran the Chicago Marathon, I made a promise to myself (and my coach) that I was going to devote the rest of the year to recovery.

Right.

Full disclosure: I have been very diligent about my recovery. I've kept my mileage low. Two weeks ago, I started throwing a long run back into the mix, running a 10 miler. Weekly mileage has been around 20-22 miles. I've been doing yoga at least twice/week. One thing I haven't been doing is working with Becky. We were supposed to start up again 2 weeks ago, but she got sick and then Thanksgiving happened. I'm going back to see her on Thursday this week. It's been 6 weeks since I've lifted a thing.

I've started to get antsy. I've never been good at behaving myself. Knowing that this last half marathon of the year was coming up, I started to entertain the idea of running it. I've run it before, and so I knew what to expect. I started stalking the weather. On Tuesday, the forecast for the race showed 40 degrees and no rain. I decided to sign up.

Even this morning, as I prepared to head out to the race, I was having runner's remorse. What was I thinking? I had done one longish run in the last 6 weeks! I was out of Tailwind, but I decided to fuel with Clif Gel, which is what I used in the past. Since it was supposed to be cold, I knew hydration wouldn't be an issue. The night before the race, I had my usual pizza and wine. My husband, knowing that I was running in the morning asked me, "no sausage, right?"

Yep, race prep at it's finest.

As I got ready to line up for the race, I passed a familiar face. It was Pete B from The Lakefront Trail! I knew he was going to be at the race, but we had never met before, and I wasn't sure exactly if it was him. He recognized me right away, and we chatted for a few minutes. He promised to meet me at the finish, and we got ready to run.

Pete and me prior to the race. My "new" throwaway sweatshirt, which only made it to this one race.
I had to crawl through the fence to get into the race corral. I lined up with the 8:45 minute milers. At the last minute, I took off my throwaway sweatshirt, and was immediately chilled. I was wearing the new shirt that I picked up at Dick's Sporting Goods the night before. Once we got moving, I felt a little less chilled but wow, it was cold!

The race course took us through the Busse Woods forest preserve. I've run and biked there in the past, and I was pretty familiar with the trails. Part of the preserve was under construction, so we were doing a lot of out and backs. The first out and back was right away, and I saw Pete with the front of the pack. I started out at an 8:30 pace and I could not believe how many people were passing me. I didn't let myself get caught up in the rush, though, telling myself to fall into my pace. I kept a close eye on my Garmin the entire race. My legs felt light. They felt really good. I was a little scared of that. Cautiously optimistic, I thought to myself that this could be a good race if I played my cards right.

I continued to run at this 8:30-8:40 pace for most of the race. A couple of hiccups though: at mile 3, I started to feel a little off, and stopped at the water station to take a gel and drink. This was was before I had planned on stopping to fuel, but after about a half mile, I felt much better so I knew I did the right thing. Then at mile 6 I started to get a side stitch. WTH? I've been plagued with those all year. I breathed through it, making sure to exhale on the opposite side. After about 2 miles, it finally went away. I took another gel and water at mile 8.5. It was hard to get the water down because it was so cold!

At that point, I knew I could push my pace. My legs continued to feel good. My PF was quiet. And my tummy? Nothing happening there either. This was crazy. I have never felt this good during a race. Ever. There were no thoughts of "how much longer" or "I hate this". I smiled at the few spectators along the course. High fived a few kids. Waved to the photographers.

Still cautiously optimistic, at mile 9, I picked up the pace to something about 8:00 min/mile. And felt fine. Seriously. Who am I?

I paced a couple of miles with a girl wearing shorts. Her legs were red from the cold. I chased her all the way to the finish line. There was an incline at mile 13, and I felt a little ragged, running that fast up the hill. Once I got to the top, I could see the finish line. I got my breathing under control, and flew towards the finish. I saw Pete at the finish and he had his phone up to take pictures.

Flying to the finish line! Thanks Pete!
I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face--I saw the finish line clock and it said 1:52:32. Negative splits too! I was thrilled! And I felt great. Prior to the race, I didn't know what I had in the tank, but it looks like I did my post-marathon recovery right. Throughout the race, my legs felt amazing. No hamstring tugging, at all. My foot didn't bother me. I'm also happy that I had no tummy issues, since there weren't a lot of portapotties along the trails. This was my strongest half marathon that I have ever run. It was #15 for me. This was my 2d fastest half ever, and only 24 seconds slower than my best. Wow. Just wow.

BTW, I came in 6/54 for my AG, 118/771 women
Looks like spontaneity is the way to go...

Pete came and found me and we compared notes. He did great, winning his age group, and coming in 16th overall! We waited for him to get his award, and then we left. It was so cold.


This is one of those races that gets little attention, but really should be on everyone's radar. Since it is the last half marathon in the Chicago area, the race attracts some really fast runners, the course is mostly flat and run on paved paths, and the cost is pretty cheap. There were about 1400 runners total, but since they don't cap the number of participants, this is a race you can decide on at the last minute. Parking is a breeze, and they have shuttle buses to the starting line. This race is a favorite of mine--it probably won't be the last time I run it!


Have you ever signed up for a race at the last minute? How did it go? Ever totally surprise yourself at a race? What was your best race ever? Why?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap! I can't wait to read about everyone else's weekends!












And with Julie's Best of the Blogs linkup!

95 comments :

  1. That's awesome!! I hope my race goes half as well today :D

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    1. Good luck today! Let me know how it goes!

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  2. It was so cool that we finally got to meet in person! Congrats on such a strong race, and on finishing so well. Isn't it an awesome feeling to negative split and feel so good at the end of a race? :) I'm sure you still had lots of residual marathon fitness which helped you in the later miles. You were conditioned to run 26.2 miles so 13.1 probably seemed more like a 10k! Glad to hear that none of your typical race issues happened, hopefully this is the start of a trend! Congrats again!

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    1. Do you think I'm finally getting my act together? Sheesh! I'm thrilled--2 smartly run races in a row. And meeting you was the icing on the cake! Thanks for the great photos.

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  3. Awesome job! Loved reading this race recap. It's amazing what your legs can do when you go into a race with low expectations. Whenever I don't set a goal time, I end up doing well! Go figure!

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    1. Plus I signed up so late, there was no time to agonize over this one! :)

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  4. Great work, Wendy! You were flying with those negative splits. I am glad you felt great throughout (minus the side stitch, those are killer!) and were able to finish strong! :) What a motivating read.

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    1. Thanks! This was a great way to end my running season!

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  5. Awesome job!! I am so bummed that I did not get the chance to meet you! I saw Pete crushing it at around mile 5. I ran this one last minute last year and signed up with my friends again. It is such a fun race and a great way to burn off the holiday turkey and capitalize on the marathon fitness! I ran with the 1:40 group and we helped 2 people get their first sub 1:40s (3+ minute PRs for both). It was such a positive group. Meet you there next year!

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    1. Oh for sure, Erica! I'm so sad I didn't know you were going to be there! It's a date!

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  6. Wow, very nice! I think there were 450 people in my half marathon! Congrats on a great time, sometimes spontaneity is the way to go~!

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    1. Thank you! I'm all about the spontaneous race...no time for my brain to start talking me down..

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  7. Yes, I signed up for a race last New Year's Day at the last minute..to use as a training run and it turned out to be a PR (at the time) 8 minutes faster than my previous Half.

    Then last January in Florida, I took 9 more minutes off.

    I hope my next half in ONE WEEK is nearly as good but with the heat and humidity, you never know.

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    1. The heat and humidity are always a factor for me...no matter how well I train. I've got a Florida half in March, and I know that won't be a PR. But it will be fun!

      Good luck!

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  8. The only race I ever signed up for at the last minute was a 5k last spring. I think I would be nervous for anything longer! However, I think during the recovery period its the way to go so there isn't too much pressure. You did so great and it sounds like a fun experience!

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    1. I feel like my legs were so rested! I'm so glad I did it!

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  9. Congrats Wendy :) You are giving me hope my next race won't be a total bust!
    Seriously, what a fantastic time! I love your new shirt too, very cute.
    Some rest after your hard training was really good for you. I often think we feel like we lose a lot more than we really do when we back off the mileage. I am so happy you felt so good and you got an awesome race pic of the memory. You look beautiful :)
    Congrats to Pete!

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    1. I'm just so glad I ran this one. I needed a good finish to my year, and this could not have been better!

      I can't wait to see how you do at your next one...

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  10. Wow! So awesome that you ran such a great race after signing up spontaneously! I bet you enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner all the more from putting in a good effort too. Congratulations!

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    1. This was actually after Thanksgiving, and I announced at dinner that I signed up. My family all just stared at me like I was nuts...

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  11. Yes, I've signed up last minute for many half marathons. The weather is usually the deciding factor. Wow Just Wow is right! What an awesome experience. (You are making me feel all sentimental.) I like that size race too! Big enough, but it makes the logistics very easy. Did it cross your mind that NOT drinking tailwind helped with your tummy issues? Just curious. Your time and placement is very impressive. A huge congratulations to you! I appreciate you linking up with us, Wendy.

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    1. Actually, I have had fewer tummy issues with Tailwind than with the Clif Gels, which is why I switched. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and it worked out just great. I'm so happy to wind up this year on such a positive note. Looking forward to seeing you back on the road again!

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  12. Wow! That is so fantastic. I love that sometimes we can still surprise ourselves :-) Great job!

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    1. Thank you! It was a great way to cap off a wonderful year of running!

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  13. Huge. Wow. You two are badass.

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    1. Floating on a cloud huge. Isn't it fun to surprise yourself?

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  14. NICE JOB, missy! And what a lovely race report! I'm going to have to keep my eye out for that event next year -- we'll be here and not in Texas.:) Way to march up the last hill; don't you just love it when races end with a challenge?

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    1. Not at all, actually! A downhill would be welcome! What a nice race, tho!

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  15. Just WOW indeed! Congrats my friend! I haven't run that one in awhile. May need to revisit.

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    1. Don't you love when you surprise yourself?

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  16. congrats!!!! I'm so glad you had such a great racing season finale!!

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  17. Congrats Wendy....you ran a fantastic race and really surprised yourself! And that race photo that Pete took should be framed. You look so happy in the middle of a race! Looks like your new running top from Dick's gave you pretty great results!

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    1. I'm thinking this should be my lucky shirt...

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  18. Great job! So cool that you finally got to meet a fellow race buddy and that he was able to capture a finish photo of you!

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    1. Isn't that the best thing about running? Meeting your virtual friends in real life?

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  19. Nice negative split...the best feeling! :) I actually had a similar experience with the marathon I just did. Mindset makes such a huge difference. Congrats!!

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    1. I'm still stunned by this performance. You just never know what you've got in the tank!

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  20. Great job on the negative splits!!! Way to finish strong! I've signed up for a shorter race on a whim, but never a longer one like this!! Go girl!

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    1. Come by today and link this up to my new Best of the Blogs linkup :-)))))

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    2. Heading over as we speak!! Thanks!

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  21. Great race report! Good job!

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  22. That smiling picture of you while running is so great.... I have not spontaneously signed up for anything, but one of my 2016 goals is to actually leave a little room in my schedule for being able to do things spontaneously sometimes:)

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    1. I've been such a spontaneous racer in the past, and this was the first time this year I didn't do anything planned! So glad I did it. Sometimes you just have to.

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  23. I love it when all of the stars align!! Great job! So I used to get side stitches all of the time and then I started doing the wheel pose before I would leave for my run and I have never gotten them since. Stretching out my diaphragm seemed to be the key for me!

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    1. I'm going to try doing that before I run!

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  24. Nice job! I just got yelled out this morning by my coach for doing races 4 weeks in a row-oops

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    1. ooops. I hope she doesn't make me do burpeees.....

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  25. YAY ! Glad you had such a great run and good time in spite of the cold. BRRRR!

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    1. Cold is actually preferable to hot for me! I think that's why I did so well.

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  26. Congrats on having an awesome race and feeling good doing it, that always feels to great doesn't it!? Way to go, loved reading our recap. I think I had a PR once on a race I signed up for on a whim.

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    1. This felt great! Now I can be done for the year.

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  27. Congrats, Wendy!! What a great way to end the year! I have never signed up for a race at the last minute...I'd be so scared to do it! But sometimes you have to just go for it. I'm so glad you had such a great race!

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    1. I'm just thrilled and stunned! I had no idea my legs would rise to the occasion! What a thrill!

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  28. Its rare to sign up for a race here at the last minute. They sell out relatively quickly so you need to make up your mind fast. Which means a lot of planning and anticipation. Congrats on your great performance.

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    1. The smaller races here usually don't fill up. Especially in late November!! So glad I did this one!

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  29. Congrats Wendy! Great race and great pace! WTG!

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    1. Thank you! I kept thinking that it wasn't me running...what a thrill!

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  30. You look so happy in that race pic!! Love it!! You can feel how good you feel!
    Congrats on such an awesome race post marathon!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Krysten, this was amazing! I was stunned at the finish! So fun!

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  31. HAHA, first thing I thought when I saw the pic with Pete is, "where is your normal throwaway sweatshirt?" LOL! Congrats on a great race!

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    1. Haha, that sweatshirt hit the dust at Chicago! Lots of good juju in that one.

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  32. Great job! I've been feeling antsy too, but am not allowing myself to race. Luckily there are no more local half marathons to tempt me.

    Cute shirt, BTW.

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    1. Yeah, I think this shirt is kind of lucky, somehow!

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  33. Since I travel for my halfs and we have to have our ducks in a row for pet sitters, no, I never sign up for a half last minute. Annapolis, 3 weeks out, was the closest I've come to that.

    And my Turkey Trot is the first one I've ever not signed up for & then just gone on day of.

    Very happy for you!

    Sometimes spontaneity is a good thing. :)

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    1. Thank you! Yes, spontaneity was a very good thing!

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  34. This is awesome! You crushed it! I made sure my training for the Philly marathon was easy going, and I ended up doing much better than I expected. I think easier training leads to less burnout and less pressure come race day, which leads to better results!

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    1. I'm right there with you! I did no training for this, so I guess that counts as easy, right? But I think this race is due to some pretty great marathon training and residual fitness. Plus I've been recovering well.

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  35. My goodness you KILLED IT! I wish I could run that fast for 13.1 miles - HECK for 3 miles. I see now I need to up my game and stop playing. Congratulations you did great seriously!

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    1. I did, didn't I? I had no idea I could pull that off this late in the year. I'm thrilled, and now I feel like my year is complete.

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  36. Looks like a great race! You are such an inspiration to me and my running goals! Keep up the great work.

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    1. This was really fun--great to know I had this one in me!

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  37. I love how you decided to run this half last minute. It's so hard to take time off from racing after a big race. I think you just know when you're ready to get back at it. Awesome job!

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    1. I really wanted to cap off this year with a great race. Of course, it could have gone the other way. Glad it didn't!

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  38. Great job!! Love that you just were like "hey I'll run a half" and totally killed it! Looks like recovery works. :D

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    1. Me too! I don't think my coach will be upset with me...I really stuck to the recovery plan.

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  39. Way to go Wendy!! You did awesome! Congrats on a well run spontaneous race and with negative splits! :)

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    1. I couldn't be happier with how this turned out!

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  40. Congrats! I love running your recaps! Last minute does sound like the way to go, no stress or worry jus get out and do it! Sounds like a great race and fun that you bumped into a friend who got a great picture for you! All that recovery is working nicely for you!

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    1. This was really fun. I'm glad to know I had this one in me!

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  41. Just wanted to thank you for stopping by the #bestofblogs linkup! Tweeted!

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    1. Thank you for hosting! What a fun linkup!

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  42. I love signing up for races at the last minute and just fly by the seat of my pants. Congrats on a great race! #bestofblogs

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    1. Actually, I do too! It's kind of fun to throw caution to the wind, isn't it? Those spontaneous races usually turn out well for me too!

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  43. You totally kicked butt!!!! It looks so cold. What a fun way to finish the year.

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    1. I'm still smiling! I think I will be smiling for a while...

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  44. I'm not a big impromptu last minute person but the last time I did was my first ultra. Bam! Last minute and unplanned so I didn't have any time to psych myself out ha! Nice finish friend!

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    1. Thank you Jill! I'm so thrilled with this!

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  45. When I saw this picture on Instagram and I said to myself, she couldn't stand it! Ha. Love the smiles and I'm so glad you had an amazing race! I know your glad to get back in the swing of things with Becky! I look forward to seeing what all she has you do! Thanks Wendy for linking up with us!

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    1. I can't wait to see her on Thursday and get back to it!

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  46. Wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing:)

    irenethayer.com

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