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Zion, Knights, etc. Vegas Part Deux!

After our Tough Mudder, Valley of Fire & the Las Vegas Beer Fest and a little bit of this…

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We made it to a Vegas Knights hockey game which was a BLAST. For a brand new team they have quite the fanbase and of course, a theatrical opening sequence.

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Then we made our way 2.5 hours to southern Utah, Zion National Park! I don’t have words to describe just how breathtaking this place was. I need to go back and do more hikes, but the one we did was enough to hold me over until next time. (and thank you Kyle & Elise for telling me about this place. If it wasn’t for the two of you, i’d never know just how awesome Utah is.)

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We were in awe from the different colors and textures at every turn.
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Four miles hiking up and four miles running and sprinting down!
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Do you like to hike, camp, tent, glamp? or no?

Anyone ever venture outside of Vegas while visiting? 

 

 


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Mud, Vegas, Fire (Part 1)

Holy cow. Life is awesome. I FINALLY did a Tough Mudder. Remember a while back I did a Spartan Beast and it made me feel like a badass? Well, the Tough Mudder gave me those similar fluttery warm, iron feelings. Spartan and Mudder are definitely different events, but they both test strength, grit and endurance all while getting dirty in mud. I loved them both and happy I have another obstacle course race in the books.

The special thing about this particular Mudder is that it took place on the same course I pitted for Stephen last year at the World’s Toughest Mudder. The familiarity helped, and I was stoked I got the chance to run around the rocks and hills. I was super jealous of Stephen knocking out miles upon miles on such pretty terrain and happy I finally was able to experience the course firsthand.

Pre Mud, clean and sunscreened! Our friends Matt and Erin came out to Vegas for the race and all the other Vegas activities. It is so fun traveling with friends!img_20181020_090439

That sun got hot pretty quickly on the course…

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Stephen

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Me (and look at how proud Steve is) —————————————– >img_5656-b293bbf5d46f61fb88240de3bb7c020a

Out of 10 miles and lots of obstacles, I completed all of them! Felt strong with my grip strength and even stronger with hill and trail running. Check out the elevation for our run! 2,320ft gain! (loss was 2,238)Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 5.39.06 PM.png

Obligitory ugly face picture.

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And our finishing picture. I earned an orange headband which i’m sure is the first of many more to come!

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So we spent some time in Las Vegas where our hotel was, but about half our time we tried to get off the strip to do adventure/outdoorsy stuff. Hence the Tough Mudder. That night after the race we hit up Las Vegas Beer Fest, which was SO much busier than the local brew fests i’m used to back in Maryland.

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The next outdoor activity was hiking around the Valley of Fire (1 hour outside of Vegas). We did several short hikes on an incredibly beautiful day. I’m not going to narrate this, just take a look at these pictures and go the next time you’re near Vegas. It was SO WORTH IT.

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These were called “beehives”mvimg_20181023_104520img_20181023_105343img_20181023_113426img_20181023_104348mvimg_20181023_133948

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I felt like I was in Mad Max following behind Stephen, every picture I took made him look like an action star.img_20181023_125114img_20181023_125009

Vegas Part 2 is coming early next week! Hope everyone is enjoying these photo dump posts!

Ever Been to Valley of Fire?

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?


4 Comments

The Best Snow Weekend Ever

Saturday started out with good company on a 12 mile run.

(This is how Laura and I start each of our runs, creating an album cover for our next rap album)

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Later that evening Maryland finally understood it’s January and instead of the rain we’ve been used to, we got a ton of fluffy, powdery snow. So Steve, Clint and I bundled up and wandered around the extremely silent neighborhood.

mvimg_20190112_210018The sky was SO bright from the snow!

img_20190112_210302Once we got back home we lit a fire and enjoyed staying warm while the snow kept falling. (picture below is from a week ago, not Saturday- but it’s a cool picture!)

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Sunday morning Steve and I woke up way too early because we were so excited about playing in the snow again. After breakfast and piling the winter clothes back on, we walked to Clint’s, pounded on his door and said “COME PLAY!” (Yes we are all 30+ years old) We threw snowballs, lit another campfire and tossed Steve in a tree to get a loose branch down…

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Then we wanted to hike near the river again.

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This was amazing. The temperature was perfect and we got to do some urban exploring.

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Steve’s album cover:

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We made a beef stew and white chicken chili, watched movies and played Nintendo. Pretty sure this was one of the best weekends i’ve ever had. ❤

 


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Nevertheless She Persisted, but Seriously Didn’t Want To.

Oh man. Okay. I know this is an old recap, but it’s super important that i write about it. I’m coming to terms that blogging is a dying animal, but I still use archived blog posts for help with training, mental training and remembering all the sweaty bad details to help with future races and training cycles. So as long as it’s helping me, I’m gonna keep writing. I hope this stuff is still helping some of you out there.

The Brokebabes Marathon was a last ditch effort to try and PR and see if my potential, my peak, had passed for the Boston Marathon training cycle. I’m still bitter about Boston. I’m still cold from April. Literally and figuratively. Even now, running in the east coast winter wind, it takes me back to some awful memories of Boston. It still makes me angry that my time didn’t reflect the training. Even Des Linden, winner of that race, said the conditions made the race equivalent to running 30 miles, not a marathon. As in, we couldn’t “race” a marathon, it was about survival, like during an ultra marathon. Those conditions shook the best of the best. As bitter as I am, that race has carved me into a much more resilient runner and I learned a ton about myself that day. I have a TON more to get out of these 33 year old legs.

Two weeks after Boston I won a 10 Miler race in southern Maryland at a blazing fast (for me) pace. I thought that I could possibly try and hit another marathon hard and the PR I’d worked so freaking hard for, would appear on a time clock. I found a local marathon where my extended relatives live, asked for a place to stay and signed up. The race was exactly a month later than Boston, if I had anything left in my legs this was the last shot.

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I made it to Ohio. Carbed up with Emmeline (we suck at taking pictures together btw). Did my normal night before race rituals while stuffing my face full of chips and candy, drinking a ton of Nuun and laying out a flat racer.

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Eating brunch leftovers

The course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops on generally flat, paved asphalt with a bit of dirt trail. However… dun Dun DUN!!! Thunderstorms in the forecast led to a last minute course change. Runners would be doing shortened loops around the park closer to covered shelter if needed.

I was mentally prepped for a 13.1 mile loop, the course change ended up being NINE 2.8 mile loops. Nine. 9. I’m not speaking German. Regardless of the change, I stayed calm about the whole situation and race morning went smooth as ever. I drove myself to the start of the small, local running event.  I warmed up on what started off as great weather, cloudy and cool. I felt good, strong and ready to work. I was excited!

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We all lined up, I set myself up at the front, and the race started. I followed directly behind the bike that was leading runners on the first loop so no one would get lost. My first miles were about 7:10/pace and felt easy. I remember hitting the first 3 miles, holding back and thinking, “Today is my day. I can do this.”

Very quickly after the 3rd loop, 6-ish miles in, things started feeling hard out of nowhere. My breathing was labored and it scared me a bit, so I slowed down, thinking I had plenty of time so early on. But nothing changed. Mile 7 and 8 came.  I stopped at my cousin’s stake out point with her husband and kids where I found myself hyperventilating. Becky told me to put my hands up over my head and try to relax. I didn’t realize it, but she told me a huge fog rolled in and it was extremely humid.

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Below is a snapshot of the race loop, the temperature and the humidity. I wasn’t imagining anything, 100% humidity. I’ve never raced in 100% before.

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Once I could talk to Becky between the wheezing, I told her I might drop out. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever said out loud during a race. It made me tear up, and my cousin did her best to keep me calm and moving. After her pep talk,  I continued. I slowed quite a bit, and even with that adjustment to pace, I still had to take walk breaks to catch my breath and stop wheezing.

The time goal was no longer on my mind. I just wanted to finish. But let me tell you something, when you start walk/running a marathon at mile 8, you’re not going to have a good time. I felt like I hit a wall over and over again, yet I willingly kept slamming my body into it. As runners, we are taught that there are easy miles and hard miles, you just don’t know what order they’re gonna come. I stayed positive, thinking I was just going through a rough patch, and hopefully I’d be able to run (albeit not at my racing pace) but I’d be able to enjoy myself and do an easy long run. I didn’t drive all the way to Ohio, have my family watching me do an insane amount of circles just to be like “eh, I’m done.” So again, I continued on. Or should I say, “I persisted.”

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Zone 5 for the majority of the race is no bueno.

This marathon was about staying present and putting one foot in front of the other, whether i was running or walking. Just continuing on, quarter mile after quarter mile. (yes, i was checking my watch that often.) Every several minutes felt like an eternity, seeing the same course turns, markers, the water fountain on the left, the metal sculptures on the right, were driving me insane. The thing that kept me going was Becky, Josh, Gabby & Pierce cheering for me. I kept apologizing for how long this was going to take (must be that weird Midwestern, Catholic, probably should be Canadian problem I can’t shake).

Each loop they cheered me on like I was winning the race. Like I was the best runner they’d ever seen. The fun thing was… I was winning the race. If I’m not mistaken, there were 5 women in the marathon and most of the event were half marathoners. I received cheers and “keep going” “you’re looking awesome” etc, from a ton of people. And that, quite honestly, kept me mentally in it. I didn’t check out, I wasn’t giving up. Marathons are hard and humbling. Somehow through it all, I was having fun and enjoying a very long Sunday run.

32375957_10216865221525576_3702312416751648768_nI finished in 3:47:44, the course was short (25.7 miles) but I just didn’t have it in me to go beyond the finish line.  Just tack on the excess mileage from all the other marathons and we’ll call it even. I’m proud I was able to finish. Proud I can walk/run a sub 4:00 marathon. And proud of my first ever marathon win!

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The biggest takeaway from this? I set a positive example for some awesome young kiddos. My second cousins, Pierce & Gabby won’t forget the day I ran a marathon and for that I don’t regret pushing on for a second.

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The nicest FB post, from my cousin ❤

The second learning experience, especially as I start to dip my road weathered toes in the ultra world is that during longer endurance races “the wall” isn’t predictable. It won’t always come between miles 18-22 as it often does during a marathon. And sometimes, it won’t be a bad couple miles, it might end up being a bad 20 miles. I scored a lot of mental points, knowing I can still go on and move forward, even when the body rebels and conditions aren’t ideal.

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And if all else fails, Ohio has some great places to stock up on beer.

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What are your big plans for 2019?

Any races on the schedule?


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Back to Asheville!

I lived near Asheville in the small town of Black Mountain, NC during a few months of my 8th grade year. My mom and sister both lived there when I was in my 20s so i’ve visited plenty of times. It is such a refreshing and unique place to go and I couldn’t wait to take Steve for his first time!

We started our first morning in Asheville with a hike up to Mount Mitchell. If you recall this is where my mom took me on my trip from last June. Mom and me did a short half mile out and back on a very pretty trail near the summit of Mount Mitchell, and I’ve wanted to come back and go further out ever since… go figure, endurance runner wants to go longer.

We took a few pictures at the top then started on our trek.

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“What’s your goal for this hike?” Stephen asked, walking a few paces in front of me.

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?” I replied with a typical female response. I knew Stephen well enough to know he already had a set plan, and I already knew I’d go along with it.

“I want to go four hours. Two hours out, two hours back and negative split on the return.” said Stephen, happy and full of energy.

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My view for the next 4 hours was pretty spectacular 😉

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Up, up, up we go! Our total elevation was just about 2500ft

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Quads were killing me, but the weather was perfect and the views were outstanding.

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And down, down, down…ropes were in some steep areas and much appreciated!

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Looks like we were standing in front of a painting. Also this must have been way early on in the hike for us to be so smiley.

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After our 4 hour hike…Actually 3:55, we did in fact, negative split! We cleaned up and drove to Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, a place we had to hit up since the owner and chef is an old friend of Steve’s.

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Steve & Jill
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We ordered several things off the menu and all of it was to die for! I apologize for the lighting, but we needed to sit outside. The weather in Asheville was beautiful in early September compared to the oppressive humidity back home.

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You can’t really see, but there’s an egg in the middle of this cast iron skillet of cinnamon roll goodness… I declared this in my Top Five Favorite Breakfast Dishes of All Time. And if you know me and my love for breakfast, this was a big deal.mvimg_20180907_200157.jpgSo much of a big deal that the next morning we showed up when Ivory Road opened for breakfast. What? We needed to fuel our morning hike…with donuts that they bake fresh and special on Saturday mornings. Travel Tip: get there early, the fresh donuts sell out fast!

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Our breakfasts, and coffee and a lemon donut! Don’t get me started on my lemon love.MVIMG_20180908_092434img_20180908_091228.jpg

After we carbed up we left for a much shorter waterfall hike at Pisgah National Forest that Jill suggested we try. Since the route was shorter we ran most of the trail until we got to the waterfall where the hike turned into a climb and ascended, what seemed to me as, almost vertical. It actually scared me a bit, not the heights, but my legs were in garbage time from the day before and I didn’t have much confidence in the going down part after all the climbing. You know how after a marathon or long run going down stairs is the tough part? Yep, that’s kinda what I was experiencing. I just didn’t trust my legs that morning, so we made it up about 3/4 of the way took some fun pictures on the way down near the falls, and ran back to our car.

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It was finally time to head to downtown Asheville and hit up a few breweries. One I’d been dying to try was Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium which features a ton of sour beers.

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not Funkatorium, but still out for a good beer

This place had a great outdoor area with bocci ball and cornhole. I absolutely will go back.

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And that was our trip! 2 great hikes, a ton of amazing food and new beers! It will not be our last trip out there. Til’ next time…

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What’s your favorite place to hike?

Who’s running a fall race? 


6 Comments

Ragnar DC – Sentence Per Picture Recap

Hi guys! I’m still plowing through the remaining fall race recaps, mostly to scrapbook and keep pictures organized. I apologize these races are old, but I can’t not post these. Too many great picture and memories that absolutely need to be on the blog.

I wanted to do something fun/different with the Ragnar post. Giving you mostly pictures and less chatter. Plus, I think i’ve recapped enough Ragnar’s for you to get the gist. 2 vans, 2 days, 12 people, little sleep, and a lot of fun and peanut butter. Enjoy!

Our fridge always has fun things to say…

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Time to decorate the van!
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Bff’s for life…Steve & Clint21766782_10101940021887533_837669613674356631_n

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So many amazing views!IMG_20170922_140728

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Clint, Steve, Josh & Me.

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Josh, Jen & Me. We had a really fun breakaway finish line we used during the race. Big hit, highly recommend getting one made!

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So happy when I’ve been under slept and fully caffeinated. 21766353_10100166942469848_7765123196585653957_n

I have to what? Run 900ft up a mountain? 21767965_10100166942619548_5829279076512379710_n

Guess I should stretch…21618039_10100166942599588_6921656752472737216_n

What goes up must come down. On the backend of the 800ft incline, the 800ft elevation loss helped me PR my 5K time with 20:04. A nap was deserved. 21761960_10100166943258268_2722906189281368055_n

No sleep, makes us all a little silly.

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Finishing leg 2 of 3.21766373_10101940022067173_6907849611830540212_n

Everyday i’m…21762029_10101940022012283_4094527894663939797_n

Chillin’ at the finish line/port-o-potty line.22008482_10101940021827653_2883613740745346470_n

What are Hot Shots?

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Running at night.

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Oh man, is he really running with me up the mountain? My life = complete.22007801_10101940021702903_1751003791167305673_n

The handoff to Clint…

22046148_10154964983387135_4025240733275720042_nAnd the handoff to me…21768136_10100166974131398_6189094536953477190_n

Off I go on the last leg…21764939_10100166974919818_1918494675656913503_n

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And all of us together at the end!

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Barbara, Nick, Normalied, Andrew, Me and Steve.

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Anyone doing a Rangar this year?


4 Comments

The Tale of Two Ten Milers

(Okay not so much of a tale, but more of a few humble brags and fun running pictures.)

Soon after Boston the questions, “Are you taking time off running?” and “When’s your next race?” pop up. Friends and co-workers all kinda laughed when I said Steve and I already signed up for two back to back 10-Miler weekends.

Six days after the marathon we had the Columbia 10 Miler on the schedule. I was using this as a shake out run and didn’t want to push hard so soon after Boston. And Steve hadn’t been running more than a few 5k’s each week. He sacrificed time out on the road to be sure I got in all my marathon training miles. (If I haven’t said thank you, Thank You Stephen.) Our Columbia 10 Miler goal was to finish in 1:30-1:40 which breaks down to 9-10:00 minute per mile pace. We thought that would be doable for the day.

If you can spot us below, I’m pretty sure we were chatting about pace, downhill felt awesome!

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I had to wear my Boston shirt, but I didn’t know we’d be matching… oops.

We cruised. Hitting much faster paces than we had talked about, and working hard without over doing it. That’s key for distances over the 10k.

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We took a gel at Mile 5 and later learned that Steve needs more nutrition for that type of duration. We maintained a good pace, slowed just a bit, but there was a point around mile 8 where he just felt out of energy. He needed more fuel. Lesson learned!

We crossed the line in 1:22:41 (8:16/pace)

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@shesgoingforspeed

Steve is a lot like me with running and fitness, he’s a workhorse. Even low on energy he never lost steam. It’s the part of running where your mind takes over and you ignore the body. You can do anything for a mile or two. I broke down the end of the race in minutes instead of distance. So i’d tell him, “We have about 5 minutes left to run.” To me, minutes are easier to wrap the mind around than distance. Time goes down, distance seems far. I’ve been using this trick for the last year, especially during the final miles of a marathon.

Stephen PR’d his 10 Mile and I finished feeling pretty good. I was so proud of him, but little did I know a week later he’d do it again…

The following weekend we headed south to St. Mary’s for the next ten. Last year this race was a half marathon and we ran it the day after completing a Ragnar Trail event. I will never forget how it felt waking up that morning, like a truck had run us over and we were about to go run another 13 miles in the heat. Haha.

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We both don’t normally run in compression socks, but we were brutally sore and thought it was a good idea, even in the heat and humidity.

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Anywho, we headed down, settled into a Comfort Inn, grabbed dinner and relaxed in the hotel. I knew I wanted to run this ten miler hard. I wanted to see if the training I had put in for Boston was still there. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t and still don’t feel like I got to use the training because the weather in Boston held me back that day. I was still hungry to see the Garmin flash numbers that showed the training.

It was a cold breezy morning and both of us seemed ready to work. We warmed up, stretched and soon after some encouraging words to each other, we took off.

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I went to work immediately. I knew the 10 mile tempo workouts I had been doing once a week since January were paced between 7:10-7:20s. My goal was to do a normal for me tempo and try to stay near those paces, hopefully finishing between 1:10-1:15.

The picture below is me thinking “oh god, wind.”

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I tried not to think about the wind. I kept reminding myself that Boston’s weather was 10000x worse and it was sunny and mild out. I could deal with wind.

I could also deal with the pace. 7:05s were showing up on my watch and it didn’t feel too bad. I knew it was going to hurt for a bit until I settled into the pace, and I was right.

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Below: notice the wind in my hair haha. We had it at our sides on some roads, but on the open country roads it was head on terrible wind.

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There were a couple out-n-back turnarounds where I got to see Stephen and get a few high fives in passing. It definitely helped my morale. I was running even paces, I felt good, but like any race, it’s hard to run hard for extended periods of time. And almost every turn was into headwind, which I was so over.

Can you spot Steve below? These are the open, flat, boring, windy roads I was talking about.

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A left turn happened and the wind died finally. The camera guy caught the moment of sweet relief going into mile 7. About 21 more minutes of work.

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I chased the few guys in front of me, never letting anyone pass. My pace started hitting 6:45s, I just had to push for a few more minutes.

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I finished in 1:09:13 (6:55/pace) 1st Female

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Steve finished in 1:19:57 (7:59/pace) 3rd in his age group! He absolutely crushed the Columbia 10 Miler, PR’d AGAIN and if post race memory serves me correctly he said to me,  “I’m coming for ya.” That’s my man.

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We had two very good races back to back which were great practice for the future. Stephen’s 2nd gel at St. Mary’s obviously helped his energy and finishing speed and I learned that my Boston speed wasn’t a fluke.

Neither was this picture I took. Always happy to catch the fun moments.

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Have you ever raced a 10 Miler?

What’s your favorite race distance?