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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, toddlers, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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run less run faster

Catch the Leprechaun Race Recap

Catch the  Leprechaun is a popular race held each year around, you guessed it, St. Patricks Day. Since the race is on a weeknight and a 40 minute drive, though, I’ve never raced it before. Luckily, this years’ race happened to fall on speed work night it was easier to justify the evening away.

The weather was calling for about 47 degrees, but a check in the morning revealed that it was also going to be windy. Like,  14 mph gusts windy. So, just in case, I packed 3 sets of clothes. (Hey, can’t say I wasn’t prepared). I left work wearing long sleeves and running tights. I arrived about 5:20 to pick up my number, confident I had chosen the right outfit. Walking to get my bib I was freezing. But when I left my car again to use the restroom, the wind had died down a bit and I got warmer. I discussed my options with 4 different people, because I guess I thought maybe they’d know my typical exercise body temperature enough to tell me if I should change (they didn’t). Upon my return to the car I made a last minute decision to change into my capris and the only t-shirt I had, the race shirt.

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Melissa and I ran a quick warm up, threw our jackets into the car and headed for the start where we found John and hung out around the front with him. With 5 minutes to spare we posed for a picture. 17310749_10103652319793728_1681813024_o

But the sun was directly in our faces so we turned around and tried again.

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Not much better. I just needed to grow about a foot to block the sun. Or maybe I should have had John stand in the middle. Hindsight.

Catching the Leprechaun is a little mis named, because in reality the person dressed as the Leprechaun waits until most of the group starts running and works his way up to the front. So really you’re trying to avoid HIM catching YOU.

I overshot my abilities at the last 5k, running 2 quick miles and then hitting a 3rd that was more than 15 seconds longer than the first two. So this time I aimed to see if I could run a steady 7:05.

Mile 1 (7:04)

The horn went off and the group began running. As always, I shot out too fast, saw my pace was at a 6:45 and started to slow down. That’s me, in the blue, looking pained. Note how the girl in front of me looks amazing. I hate her a little for that, but I caught up to and passed her before the end of the race so TAKE THAT RANDOM NICE LOOKING RACE PICTURE GIRL!

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But I digress. The first quarter mile included a small hill, but overall I felt ok pace wise.

Mile 2 (7:05)

I stayed pretty consistent through most of this mile, and not much to report here. But I felt better than I did in Mile 2 of Charlie Post and hoped this was a good sign for the rest of the race.

Mile 3 (7:12)

Just kidding. I’m not sure what happens when I hit mile 3, but my body is like “sorry honey, this isn’t happening”. I actually started out the mile in the 7:20’s and slowly (and PAINFULLY) increased it to a 7:18, then a 7:18 – back down to a 7:18, and finally up to a 7:12. It was the LONGEST MILE EVER. It was also (dammit) windy.

Last .15 (6:52)

Lord knows where it came from but I was able to kick it a bit faster to the end. I’m sure the downhill helped.

I crossed the finish line in 22:25 – 13 seconds slower than my last 5k. My average pace was exactly the same, but since the course ran longer of course it added time. Sucks because I actually tried to run the tangents this time. Still, I wasn’t disappointed given the wind and wasn’t sure how I’d perform 10 days after the half anyway.

Melissa and I took a pic with the Leprechaun (who did not catch up to me!), where I took a particularly awesome picture with my eyes closed.

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On the plus side I won 2nd in my age group and a couple of my speed work friends won something too, so we stood around freezing to death waiting for awards.

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Results

Race Time: 22:25 (7:06 average)

Overall: 65/734

Gender: 10/447

Age: 2/61

I Have A Need for Speed (2/27-3/5)

This week could also be named “The Workout Week That Wasn’t”, and not just because it happened to be race week.

Monday cross – swim 1600 meters. Good news for this swim – my warm up swim speed is about back to normal! I’ve spent the last couple swims really focusing on drills, and hope to really get some good technique down by joining Masters Swim at the YMCA this Spring.

Tuesday – short tempo. 4 miles with 2x 1/2 mile @ 10k pace and 2x 1/2 mile at 5k pace with 400m recovery. This workout felt difficult for a couple reasons. One, it was 65 degrees  and humid when I started it and two, I wasn’t feeling 100%. I woke up feeling congested and worn out, but hoped it was just leftover congestion from the pool water the day before (something in that pool irritates my sinuses). I got it done, though, so yay for that.

Wednesday rest. I woke up with no voice, and still felt worn down. I had planned to do an easy run at speed work but decided to take an extra rest day instead, hoping I’d recover enough for the race.

Thursday easy run. 2.75 miles @ 8:22/mile. I woke up still without a voice but not feeling as fatigued, so I did a short easy run.

Friday rest. Friday I started coughing and the fatigue came back. At some point that afternoon I resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to PR this race, but tried to stay positive that I was not injured and not so ill that I couldn’t run at all.

Saturday race day 13.1 miles, if you want to know my pace you’ll have to read my upcoming recap, or have followed me on Facebook already 🙂. Bryan and I enjoyed a kid free weekend though.

Sunday rest.

We finished the plank challenge, and have moved into a squat and pushup challenge, which brings with it a whole new set of fun picture ideas. 🙂

 

Stay tuned for the race recap!

I Have A Need for Speed (2/20-2/27)

Well we are down to the last couple weeks of training for this race already, but I am tired and ready for taper, so bring it on.

Monday cross – ride 16 miles @ 19.2 MPH I got a little overzealous with this one. The weather this winter has been extremely bipolar and I swear we’ve hit every season every week so far, with lows to highs ranging from mid 30’s to nearly 80. It was a warm morning so I hopped on my bike for the first time in months, and was excited to see that my speed training in running seemed to have crossed over to the bike. So excited in fact I decided I could do my whole ride at 19+mph.

Tuesday tempo – 1 WU, 3 @ 7:50, 2 @ 7:40, 1CD 7 total. Yesterdays fast bike ride turned out to be a stupid move. I killed my quads going that fast  and while it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal normally I think the fact that I hadn’t ridden that long or hard (thats what she said) in months played a part here. So, I got this run done, but not without a couple rest breaks.

Wednesday – speed. 5 x 1200 @ 10k pace with 400m recovery. I didn’t keep to 10k but didn’t any faster than 5k, so I didn’t quite slow down as much as I had planned but was still slower than speed work pace (6:45).

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Thursday – easy run/yoga. 3.33 stroller miles/20 minutes yoga and stretching. Thursdays are the hardest day because I can never decide what I want my workout to be. I think this is partly because its my 6th day in a row and I’ve about hit the point where I need a break. So I asked the twins if they wanted to play while I worked out inside, or go running snacks. Guess what they picked? Afterwards they got out of the stroller and ran a quarter of a mile on their own!

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my kids are awesome 

Friday rest

Saturday long. 8 miles 4 @ 8:30,  4 @ 7:50. This run was, unfortunately, harder than I hoped. This happened to me the last time too so I dunno if I’m really overshooting with my goal here or just easily affected by the weather, as the last 4 miles were in 60+ temps. No, that doesn’t sound all that warm, but speed just becomes harder for me once it is above 55. I guess time will tell here.

Sunday cross. 55 minutes of yoga. 

And, for once i’m still participating in a 30 day challenge and working on my creative pics. We are up to 3 and a half minutes. M and M’s were involved.

I Have A Need for Speed (2/13-2/19)

This week was a bit rougher, training wise. My stomach was feeling “off” for lack of a better word, on and off the whole second half of the week. Luckily it never turned into anything. Bryan also had shoulder surgery Monday, so there has been a lot of extra house duties for me recently. Also, I’m tired.

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Monday cross. 2000 meter swim. I focused a LOT on technique and drills this time, following a suggested workout from a website I found posted on Facebook. The theory here is you have to go slower in order to go faster, and I can tell you without a doubt I have zero issue with the slower part.

Tuesday tempo. 2 miles @ 7:50 (half pace), 3 min recovery, 2 miles @ 7:33 (10k pace), 3 min recovery, 2 miles @ 7:16 (5k pace). I changed things up from the book a bit and took a suggestion from the one we call the “wise man”. I remember wondering how on earth I was supposed to manage 2 5k pace miles (7:06) after 2 half and 2 10k. Because I couldn’t. I mean logically, my 5k pace is an all out effort for 3 miles. If I can run that pace after 4 speedier miles, I wasn’t running fast enough. Turns out I didn’t read the workout correctly. I was supposed to do ONE 5k mile or 2 half miles at 5k pace. So yeah.

Wednesday speed. kinda. 2 miles @ 7:05 (goal was 7), 2 miles at 7:46 (goal was 7:50), with 1 WU, 1 CD. This was the weekly pub run put on by the local Fleet Feet store. Wise man suggested I do both sets at half pace, but I wanted some speed also so figured I’d split the difference. I had a few issues here. First, my stomach wasn’t feeling great. Second, I was still tired from the workout the day before. Third, I did the two miles on the local trail which has inclines. Pathetically small ones, but when you’re doing speed work, they might as well be Mt Everest. Then, by the time we started the group run it was dark, so I ended up going faster in order to keep the lead runners in sight. Well, can’t win them all.

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I am in here somewhere

Thursday cross. 40 minutes trainer intervals, 10 minutes lower body. 

Friday REST

Saturday long. 12 miles. 2 easy, 8 @ 7:50, 2 easy. My watch had satellite issues AGAIN and skipped .15 miles somewhere into the first faster mile, and dipped over a minute in average lap pace somewhere in mile 9. I did it, but it wasn’t easy, and I’m not sure where I’m going to pull another 5 miles at that pace from. Thin air maybe. Here is hoping taper helps, because I’m pooped.

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Sunday cross/easy. 55 minutes yoga/2 easy stroller miles @ 9:02. I did rock a nice headstand.

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And I forgot to mention it last week, but still doing the plank challenge and attempting to take some creative pictures.

See Bryan waving on the left? He didn’t remember me taking it. 10 minutes later he asked me if I took his picture. HAHA

Bring on taper. I am ready.

I Have A Need for Speed (2/6-2/12)

Ugh and I’ve fallen behind again. I’m blaming this one on Bryan’s recent shoulder surgery.

Monday – cross. 1800 meters. In short, I’m still slow.

Tuesday -tempo. 7 miles @ 7:46/mile. With only a little over 3 weeks left I really wanted to run some more race pace miles, so I substituted the books’ tempo for this one. I felt good for the majority of the run, save for a side stitch I had to stop for for a bit because I couldn’t just run through it. And wise man says to try to finish faster, so that was my goal. My only complaint was it was getting warm quickly and was 65 degrees once I was done, and I could really tell those last couple miles.

Wednesday speed. 3×2000 (1.25 miles) at 6:55. NAILED IT, with a 6:54, 6:49, 6:47. HELL YEAH!

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Thursday easy run/cross. 3 stroller miles/yoga. Ok, so I know this sounds ridiculous, but I really don’t like sweatpants. Not for myself, or for my kids. But Miles has this one pair that he now refers to as his “running pants”, and so now I have a soft spot for them. He insisted on wearing them for today’s run and asked me at least 6 times when he could “run on the sidewalk”.

Friday – rest day

Saturday – long run. 10 miles at 8:10. I mixed this one up a bit too, again hoping to get in some more race pace miles, so I ran 5 miles at 8:30 and 5 at race pace. I had some issues with my satellite and think a couple were a few seconds off (my lap pace had a crazy range and I check it pretty often), and my allergies were acting up so it wasn’t perfect, but I did it. YES.

Sunday – cross. 45 minutes yoga. Honestly I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, but I knew my muscles were tight and needed to stretch a bit at least, so yoga seemed like the logical solution.

3 weeks to go!

I Have A Need for Speed (1/30-2/5)

Monday: cross. 40 minute interval trainer ride/abs. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a cold pool this morning so I drug my bike out of the living room and did my usual interval ride. 5 min easy followed by 2 min hard gear/3 min easy. Then I played catch up on the ab group I joined and got 4 days behind.

Tuesday – tempo. 5 miles @ 7:35/1 mile CD. Perfect weather, and except for a pathetically slow incline that slowed my last mile down, NAILED IT!

Wednesday speed work. 10x 400 with 400m recovery between each. Goal pace 6:20. It was a warm warm up mile but I stood around talking long enough that it cooled down a bit before the speed part, and I hit most splits between 6:17-6:21. I tried to speed up the last 3 and succeeded at least for 2 of the 3, at 6:09, and 6:06. I have to say, I’m SO EXCITED to see numbers like this, even if it is only for 400 meters.

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Thursday cross. Basically a repeat of Monday. 40 minute interval trainer ride/abs. 

Friday rest

Saturday long. 15 miles @ 8:18/mile. It was a chilly and windy morning, and my watch did NOT want to cooperate. A somewhat last minute group got together to run and afterwards I was more thankful than usual. It took 1.25  miles for it to find a satellite, so I’m told told the first mile was the slowest at around 8:50. After that though we kept things pretty steady, even speeding up a bit the last 4 miles. The headwind was awful, and a couple times I found myself falling behind, but I made myself speed up, catch up and stay with them. I have to admit, I thought to myself hmmm, If I can run 15 at that pace, surely I can train to run a marathon….ha. Probably, but not this year. Afterwards, we all met for a MUCH needed coffee and breakfast.

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Will run for coffee

Sunday cross. 40 minutes yoga/abs. I had planned an easy run but I was feeling more tired than usual and had a sore shin, so I opted to stretch instead. My chiropractor would be proud.

I’ve also been following a 30 day plank challenge, attempting to come up with creative plank selfies.

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Will also plank for coffee -Abby says “mommy is kissing a cup”

I Have A Need for Speed (1/16-1/29)

Sooooo, I got behind and so now I’m doing this the lazy way and combining two weeks into one recap.

1/16/17-1/22/17

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bucket heads

Monday – Tempo. 5 miles @7:39 with 1/2 mile cool down. We took a VERY overdue vacation and since the Charleston Half was only two days prior, I had planned to make it an easy run. But, I got going, felt ok and realized I was doing a faster pace anyway, so I just went with it. FINALLY these tempo runs are starting to feel easier (not easy, mind you, just easier).

Tuesday – run/stationary bike/abs. 2.5 miles on the beach/20 minutes stationary bike/abs. I wanted at least one sunrise run, and how could you not? Then I headed into the hotel gym and got on a wobbly stationary bike so I only rode 20 minutes and finished off with some abs.

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Wednesday – cross. 30 minutes elliptical and 30 minutes weights. As much as I enjoyed the beach run, running on the slightly slanted surface (say that 3 times fast) irritated my right ankle and it was still a little sore, so I played it safe.

Thursday-  cross. 45 minutes elliptical and 15 minutes weights. Same issue.

Friday long run. 10 miles @ 8:11/mile. It was a very nice and partly scenic run but a tough one, as it was 64 degrees and humid. I took a few breaks, and even got stopped at a drawbridge which is definitely a first for me.

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I’m trying to smile but I just look annoyed

Saturday easy run. 4.5 miles @ 8:44/mile. I ended up skipping my speed work for the week but wanted to try to at least get the miles, so there ya go.

Sunday – rest day

1/23/17 – 1/29/17

Monday swim. 1800 meters at an abysmally slow pace. The pool heater was broken but I was told not too terribly cold (however I was also told it would be a good time to try out a wetsuit), but I was already there so I just braved it. It wasn’t too terrible but like the last swim attempt in the freezing outside temps my fingers were numb and I needed coffee to thaw myself.

Tuesday fartlek. 6 miles @ 8:08 pace. So, am I the only one (after I laughed at fart, because I’m mature like that) that thought a fartlek just meant a tempo run? Well apparently it isn’t. It apparently literally means “speed play”, so the idea is you jog a bit, and then pick up the speed for whatever distance, jog, pick up etc. But the distance isn’t measured by a watch but a visual marker, like a mailbox or telephone pole. It actually took me a couple miles to get used to this weird back and forth, but I kinda liked it and think i’ll incorporate more of these in the future.

Wednesday speed. 5.81 miles total. 1WU/3×1600 with 400m recovery/1CD. I KILLED IT, running the fastest mile repeats I’ve ever run, at 6:43, 6:38 and 6:35! Have I mentioned I love speed work? I mean, once I’m done.

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I got my fast shoes on

Thursday  cross. Tired of the bike trainer, I searched my favorite yogi (Ali Kamenova) on You Tube and did three of her HIIT workouts, with some yoga.

Friday  rest

Saturday interesting collection of runs. My plan called for another 10 miles since I shifted a run for the half, and so I decided instead I’d rather run a 5k with a ridiculously long warm up and cool down. On the plus side, I FINALLY beat a nearly 5 year old 5k PR! FINALLY! And the good news here, is that my pace indicates a 22 flat 3.1 (but courses are never exact), which according to the Run Less Run Faster book means I SHOULD (key word here) be able to run the half at my “A” goal pace, and I have 5 more weeks to nail it down.

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Sunday easy-ish run. 3.5 miles @8:30 pace. It ended up being somewhat of a frustrating day  and I needed to burn off some steam, so I took Chance for about 1.5 miles and pushed the twins for the rest.

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I see you, mommy

I Want My Speed Back (Charleston Half Marathon Recap)

I’ve mentioned a few million times that the Ironman sapped my speed. Was it worth it? Hell yes. But do I want it back? Duh.

The Run Less Run Faster plan worked really well for me during marathon training last year, allowing me to PR not once, but twice, and avoid injury. Well, I had a previous issue become aggravated but at least I wasn’t sidelined for the race. So after Sweet Tea’s slow (in comparison) finish, I started following the Run Less Run Faster half marathon plan. My goal race is the Myrtle Beach Half, but I signed up for Charleston so I could get a feel for my progress.

I ran 2015’s Sweet Tea in 1:44:48 (8:00 pace), while training for Disney.

I ran 2016’s Sweet Tea in 1:55:xx (8:46 pace), 3 weeks after the Ironman.

My “A” goal is a 1:42:30 (7:50 pace)

I’ve run the Charleston event three times (1 half and my first and second full), and not much was different so there really isn’t a ton to report. I drove myself to the start line early and picked up my packet the morning of, in order to avoid rush hour traffic the night before. I did that, and used the bathroom not once, not twice, but three times after my measly half cup of coffee and about 4 oz of water.

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After pee break number 2

I also stopped at my car three times so I was glad I was parked nearby. After my second bathroom visit I walked to the start and had to go AGAIN. Geez Lousie.

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start line selfie with high kick photobomb

There were complaints over the last couple of years about the temperature at this race because it was so cold. Obviously (see tank top) this year was much warmer, and honestly even a little warmer than I’d prefer for a race. The starting temp was supposed to be around 57 degrees, but I knew that when I was standing around waiting for the gun to go off and wasn’t even a little chilly, it was going to feel warm.

The gun went off at exactly 8:00.

My initial plan had been to run this race as a training run and go by the pace in the book, which was an 8:20. I told others this. I told myself this. I, unsurprisingly, didn’t listen.

I started the race and ran the first mile at an 8:09, and felt ok, so decided to go with that. I, as usual when I go into a race without a definite goals, changed my mind one mile in and decided to stick with an 8:10 hoping I might be able to speed up a bit the last 3-4 miles.

By mile 2 I wanted to take off my tank top, but I didn’t feel like carrying it for 11 more miles, so I kept it on. Mile 2 and 3 were run in a 8:10 and 8:11, so at least I was staying consistent. I picked it up at bit at mile 4 and 5, hitting both at 8:06, and by the time I hit mile 6 I couldn’t stand my shirt anymore. Unfortunately by then it also felt quite a bit warmer, so my next 5 miles were between an 8:09 and an 8:12. It didn’t help that mile 10 was over a bridge. By the time I hit mile 11 I had hoped to speed up, but forgot that the last few miles run through a twisty and hilly (ok ok, they were pathetically small inclines) section of North Charleston, so it didn’t happen then either, finishing the last 3 miles in 8:08, 8:11 and 8:07.

The course registered a bit long for me at 13.22 miles, so my official time was 1:47:12, but my time for 13.1 was 1:46:47. Factoring in a temperature that was almost 20 degrees warmer than 2015’s Sweet Tea race (my ideal racing temp is in the 40s and the weather was perfect at this race), I feel pretty confident that I’ve made it back to where I was, so now I have 7 weeks to get faster.

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I actually stuck around for the after party this year, and even drank my two complimentary drinks (mimosas, still not a beer person), and discussed the cool-ness of glittery sports bras.

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glitter hurts John’s eyes

Charleston does know how to throw a good post race party.

Results:

Overall: 264/3007

30-34 age: 15/284

Gender 85/1888

I Have A Need for Speed (1/9-1/15)

Operation Run Faster continues. With about 7 weeks left to the Myrtle Beach half, its getting close to time to decide if my goal is doable.

Monday – swimming barely not drowning.  1800 meters. It is ridiculous how quickly you lose swimming stamina, especially when you suck at it anyway. I’ve only been sporatic about going since I got my Ironman tattoo, and over the holidays. I considered skipping it agin and just picking back up after vacation, but decided it suck it up and go. It was 30 degrees outside. The water really wasn’t bad as long as you were moving, but after about an hour my fingertips were numb, and it took me the rest of the afternoon to thaw. On the plus side, a fellow swimmer saw my tattoo and said I was a badass, so there’s that 🙂

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This pic worked better in my head

Tuesday tempo fail. 6 miles at 7:50/mile. Figuring I had enough weeks of tempo and speed runs under my belt I figured I’d try 6 miles at goal race pace. Well, something messed up on my watch about .75 miles in and my pace jumped from 7:50 to 7:20. I dunno if the satellites were just off, or if I was really running that quickly (I suspect a combo), and then I felt thrown off for the rest of it. Combined with asthma lungs and 32 degrees, this run required a few rest stops and felt much harder than it should have.

Wednesday speed work. 3x (2x 1200) with 2/4 min rest intervals. Actual goal pace here was around a 6:45, but with the half marathon coming up (that I planned to run as a training run but knew myself well enough to know I wouldn’t) I knocked the pace down a bit and averaged between 6:49-6:55. Because SC loves to fit as many seasons as possible in 48 hours, it was 68 degrees during the better part of this run.

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Subscribe to purchase our future track calendar – haha

Thursday easy run. 4 miles with stroller. Running snacks! And my kid knows me because Miles asked me 5 min in if I had to pee (I didn’t, but I did later).

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Ya’ll – they are heavy

Friday rest day

Saturday Charleston Half Marathon. 13.1 miles @ 8:09/mile. Not a PR but a good solid improvement from my 8:46 average at Sweet Tea. Also, there were yummy Mimosas. Recap to come.

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John looks like a pirate

Sunday rest day, since we spent the majority of it in the car.

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