It’s that time of year again

Two days in a row, guys.  I woke up early not one, but two days in a row so that I could run before work.  This hasn’t happened in months.  Yesterday I set my alarm for 4:30am.  Stupid early, I know.  I’m not even joking when I say that it took me almost an hour to actually get dressed and walk to my basement (that’s where the treadmill is).  I debated going back to sleep at least 64 times but I didn’t.  I hopped on that ‘mill and managed a weak 4 miles.  Actually, 3.5 with a .5 mile cool-down.  That’s how much I hate the treadmill.  I wanted to go 6-7 miles and as soon as I started running I was like, “nope, not happening.”  Better than nothing I guess…right?

Today I didn’t have to be at work until 11am (yay for half days) so I got to “sleep in” until 6am, took my time to get ready, and then headed out for 6 sunrise miles.

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I wanted to test out these new Mizuno featherweight tights that I got (I plan to wear them for this Sunday’s Road 2 Hope Hamilton Half Marathon).  After what happened last year, I didn’t want to try anything new on race day!  It’s officially that time of year again.  Time to pack up and put away all of my running shorts and bring out the tights.  I’ve said it a bunch of times before and I’ll say it again – I hate pants.  I am just not as comfortable running in them or even just wearing them on a daily basis (unless they are cozy track pants).  I think that’s a sign that I need to move somewhere where it’s hot all year round.

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Pretty sure that’s me.

Since it’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I can just list a bunch of other random things besides me hating pants and you won’t question my reasoning, right?  Good.

The elevation chart for this weekend’s race:

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I like the way that looks.

My new shirt from Buy Me Brunch:

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Love. Love. Love. Burritos. –> like you didn’t know… ;)

My current iPhone wallpaper:

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I could be having the worst day in the history of ever but as soon as I see that face…#allthesmiles

Aaaaannnnd it’s also that time of year that I’m not a huge fan of: Halloween.  I just don’t get it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids but it’s gotta be my least favourite holiday.  I’ve never really been into the decorations or the dressing up.  The candy?  Yes, but I can just go buy a box for myself and call it a night.  Better yet – buy it the day AFTER Halloween and I bet it’ll be on sale… :D

If you do love Halloween, I wish you a safe and happy holiday!!

Things have been quiet around here but hopefully will pick up soon.  I’ve been a little busy trying to knock a lot of things off my to-do list over the last few days.  I’m finally making progress though so I’ll be back to normal in no time!

Hope you had a great day!

Marathon Monday: Toronto Women’s 8K RACE RECAP

I was going to start this post with a “Happy Monday” but I’m really not happy it’s Monday today.  I needed one more day this weekend.  This morning my alarm went off at 6am and I turned it off, closed my eyes and had the intention of just taking five extra minutes.  Those five minutes turned to 40!!!!  Geez.  Talk about the fastest shower in history.  Anyway, it’s Marathon Monday so let’s talk about Saturday’s race and try to forget the fact that we still have quite a few days to go before we are granted with another weekend.

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The Toronto Women’s Runs Series puts on some really awesome races.  There are three throughout the year – a half marathon and 5K in May, a 10K and 5K in August, and an 8K and 5K in October.  Mizuno is one of the sponsors for this race so it’s kind of the best ever because I get to see some of my favourite people before/during/after the race.

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I obviously didn’t get the outfit memo…

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this race.  I had just run a half marathon the weekend before and I know it was “just” an 8K [5 miles] but sometimes short, fast races are a bit harder for me.  I don’t know how to pace myself and tend to burn out pretty quickly.  I’m a work in progress, that’s for sure.

I got to the start line and made my way to the front near the 30:00-40:00 sign.  Last year I ran it in 38:38 so I figured even though I’m at the slower end of this group, it would probably still be better to go out at the front so I don’t have to maneuver through people at the beginning.  My friends Britt and Ana showed up and we all waited together talking about how we [me + Britt] made all kinds of mistakes the night before.  I ate a 12-pound burrito and Britt was up until about 3am.  Ana knows what she’s doing in life and she’s also kind of elite so she just laughed at us.  NBD.

From what I can remember…

Mile 1 [7:20]:  I should not have eaten that burrito yesterday.  I can still feel it sitting like a ton of bricks in my stomach and I just freaking started running.  This is not going to be an easy race.  Went out too fast.  Already out of breath.  SLOW THE F DOWN.  Brittney and Ana just passed me.  WTF.  They just ran a FULL marathon last weekend and they’re running faster than me.  I hate them.

Mile 2 [7:29]:  Okay here comes a hill.  Awesome.  Why don’t I remember this from last year?  I’m winded.  I’m actually winded and cannot breathe and about to toss my cookies burrito.  Oooohhhh firefighters.  HI!  Nope, don’t need water but thanks for coming out and cheering!!  Next time don’t wear shirts. (<– I didn’t actually say that out loud)

Mile 3 [7:27]:  I should have signed up for the 5K.  I just ran my fastest 5K damn it!  Would have set a new PR and I would have been done this freaking race by now.  Focus.  Two miles left.

Mile 4 [7:35]:  Alright, turn around is done and it’s off to the finish.  Just power through.  HAH THAT SIGN!  “Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish with a puppy.”  How cute.  Is it bad that I’d be more excited about the puppy than I’d be for Ryan Gosling?  No?  Good.

Mile 5 [7:25]:  It would be really nice if I was one of those people that could run their fastest mile at the end of a race.  I mean I can try but my legs are pretty toast.  Michelle told me not to go all out today if I’m racing next weekend but let’s pretend we didn’t hear her and see what happens.  Okay this isn’t my fastest mile but I’m passing some people and WAITTTTTT A SECOND…I’M GOING TO PR!!  YES YES YESSSSSS!  BAM.

Chip time: 37:18  [17/480 overall and 5/67 in my AG]

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I’m obviously happy that I set a new PR but my average pace was 7:27, only 2 seconds faster than my half marathon average and that was kind of frustrating.  My legs didn’t feel tired or anything so I don’t know how I wasn’t able to run faster than that.  How the  heck was I able to hold a 7:29 average for an entire half marathon?  Maybe I did more damage to my legs than I thought and they just weren’t able to move faster.  No idea.  It just made me lose a little bit of confidence about this Sunday’s race so I don’t think I’m going to attempt another PR in Hamilton.  I may just run without a watch and make it a fun race.  We’ll see!

HUGE congrats to Krysten for rocking her last race of the season before she heads into the OR.  She just posted her recap here so go read all about her race!  She even did a km play-by-play for you! ;)

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I absolutely love this race series and will be definitely participating in as many of the events as I can again next year.  The race was so well-organized, there were a ton of volunteers, sweet finisher medals, pre-packaged post-race bags full of food (chips, candy, a banana, pita, peanut butter, and a chocolate bar), and the overall energy and vibe from the event is like no other.  Everyone is just so awesome and supportive.  If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend this race!

No long run for me this weekend because my shins have been hurting since the race so I just went to my cousins’ birthday party (they turned 26 & 31), brunch with one of my friends, and then saw Gone Girl last night…twisted movie but really, really good.

Hope you had a great weekend!!!

(fri)-DAY in the life.

Happy Friday.  Finally.  If you saw the bags under these eyes of mine today, you’d mistaken me for a panda.  This weekend doesn’t look like it’s going to be a relaxing one either but hey – I’ll take racing, birthday parties, and brunch dates over a week of work ANY. DAY.

As much as I love talking about training specifics and joining in on weekly link-ups, I think it’s kind of fun to do “journal” type entries every so often.  I love reading blogs that let you learn a little more about the writer and give you a glimpse into their daily life. It makes you feel like there’s an actual human behind the screen rather than a scripted robot, ya know what I’m saying?  I always try to include little snippets of my day or share some personal things when I can but today I’m going to give you a breakdown of my day in entirety so you can see how super exciting my Friday has been.

6:00am – Wake the FREAK up.  This was not easy this today.  I went to bed after midnight because I felt the need to wash, dry, and fold towels on a Thursday evening.

6:30am – Roll out of bed.  Yes, it took me 30 minutes to actually transfer my feet from my bed to the floor.  I was obviously playing the lava game…

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6:30-7:30am – Shower, brush teeth, hair & makeup, get dressed, tell Princeton I will see him in a few hours and kiss his cute little face goodbye.

7:35am – Realize I need breakfast but have to be in the car asap.  Pop some Love Grown Oats in the microwave, grab a spoon, run out the door.  Have enough time to take photos of said Love Grown Oats.

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7:40-8:15am – Commute to work while listening to the Roz and Mocha show (they make me LOL in my car every single morning and I most definitely needed some LOLing today).

8:15-8:30am – Get organized, grab attendance and lesson plans, chat with coworkers, head to Period 1.

8:30am-12:30pm – WORK [Periods 1-3]

12:30-1:15pm – LUNCH … [don't act surprised at my choice]

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I place my order before I leave the school so that it’s ready by the time I get there.  Brilliant, I know.

1:15-2:30 – WORK [Period 4]

2:30-3:30pm – Drive midtown [traffic was NUTSSSSS] to pick up my race kit for tomorrow, park 2.5 miles away so that I can run there and back [so I don't have to run when I get home].

3:30-4:00pm – Get ready to RUN.  I shamelessly changed in my car on the busiest street in all of Toronto.

4:00-5:00pm – Run 2.5 miles to The Running Room, pick up race kit and talk to Michelle Clarke who was there showing people the new Mizuno Wave Rider, run 2.5 miles back to my car.

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aren’t they beautiful?

5:00-6:00pm – Commute home.

6:00-6:30pm – Squeeze Princeton and let him lick all the sweat off my face, shower, put on sweatpants and a hoodie [ahhhhh that feeling though].

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6:30-7:00pm – Make and eat dinner.  I just had a huge smoothie for dinner with loads of Love Grown Oat Clusters on top [the same one I posted in this week’s WIAW].  That burrito didn’t sit well and just couldn’t bear the idea of a big dinner.

7:00-8:00pm – Blog work [mostly just caught up on emails tonight...and wrote this post :) ].

8:00-8:30pm – Lay out clothes for tomorrow’s race, pack post-race snacks and change of clothes.

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8:30-9:30pm – Watch The Amazing Race [why is this aired on Fridays this season?!].

10:00pm – BED TIME is the BEST TIME.

As much as I joke about my days being boring and pretty uneventful, I don’t really think I can complain.  Good eats, a job where I’m around hilarious high schoolers all day, a sweet run, and some downtime with my dog.  It’s really kind of the best ever.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!  I’ll be back with a race recap on Monday!

Thinking Out Loud #35

I skipped out on last week’s Thinking Out Loud link up so I think it’s pretty necessary that I join the party today.

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1.  Whatever illness I was graced with last week just does not want to go away.  It’s not nearly as bad but I feel weak and tired, finding myself sneezing a little more often than I would like.  Speaking of sneezing, does anyone else excuse themselves after a sneeze even when they’re alone?  I was driving the other day and let out a big “AAAHHHHCHOOOO!” and shortly after said “excuse me”….but I was in the car by myself.  Habit, I guess?

2.  On the same day, I was driving behind someone that had their signal on to move into the right lane.  They never moved.  Signal stayed on.  It drives me a little nuts.  Are you moving OR NOT?!  I get that people can forget things but the sound (at least in my car) is so loud that I can’t imagine not noticing it.  Maybe I just have road rage but I like to think I’m pretty calm and collected behind the wheel… :)

3.  I am officially going back to Arizona in three weeks.  I was just going to wait until the Phoenix Marathon to go back but I just couldn’t wait.  It’s really hard when you need certain people in your life and they live in a different country.  Texting every day is just not enough right now.  I need a real life best friend hug.  I also need to meet baby B, eat Café Rio, buy a suitcase worth of Justin’s nut butter, and just be happy for a few days while hanging with my favourite Arizonian family.

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So if the next 21 days can just be over, that would be great.

4.  This article.  Yes, just yes.

“I have always prided myself on being strong, and not conforming to the pressures of being skinny. I know I may be toned, and I have a lot of muscle definition, but in the same way you compliment me for being real on my blog, I feel as though I am real as a person. I eat too many servings of cookie dough ice cream, I binge late at night when I am not really hungry, and I enjoy a good old greasy burger when I go out to eat, and that is okay! I can run even faster knowing that I am content with my life, and not starving myself for the “greater good”. I would rather be able to look back on my life knowing that I enjoyed it, and made the most of the time I could eat excess calories, than spend my life dreaming of when I can eat those foods…..but then be too scared of weight gain when I am no longer running as much.”

If you have the time, go read that blog post.  I truthfully think that I’ve gotten better at running not only because I have an awesome friend and coach teaching me the ropes, but because I have changed my thinking in regards to food and exercise over the last few years.  I should probably save this for a separate post (if it interests you) because I can go on forever!

5.  If you need a good laugh, check out The 50 Funniest Puns In The History Of Funny Puns.

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I don’t know why I find things like this so entertaining.  This one in particular because it involves tacos and nachos.

6.  In case you’ve been wondering, I’ve literally been eating like I just ran an ultra marathon.  Every single day this week.  Pretty sure I’ve got a tapeworm or something because someone my size should probably not be eating as much as I have.  I’m actually slightly embarrassed about the quality and quantity of food I have been consuming and I know I’ve got to dial it back sooner rather than later.  With two races coming up and marathon training starting in just a few weeks, I can’t get used to this.  Someone please come and cook me healthy meals that will make me energetic and speedy and help me qualify for Boston.

7.  I take super flattering race photos.

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I need to work on my finish line face.

On that note…I hope you had a wonderful Thursday!  Tell me something RANDOM!

WIAW: LOVE for breakfast

And just like that, it’s What I Ate Wednesday again!  I’m going to make today’s tonight’s post short and sweet because I’m about to head over to my  cousin’s place for cake (it’s his birthday!).

I had two food highlights today.  Wait a minute – food is always a highlight.  Am I right or am I right?  I guess these two things are just worth noting because they made me (and my stomach) really happy.

1.  I am so excited to share that I am now a part of the already existing and awesome team of LOVE Bloggers.  If you are not familiar with Love Grown Foods, I will talk more about them in another post very soon or you can check their website to learn more.  To put it simply – they make really delicious oats, cereal, and granola.  I tried the raisin almond crunch Oat Clusters on my smoothie this morning and it was a game changer.  I don’t think I can go back to a basic smoothie ever again.

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The almonds, raisins, and coconut pieces took things to a whole new level.  The only problem is now that the bag is open, I can’t keep my hand out of it.

2.  My lunch today was FREE.  I ordered a bean and cheese burrito the last time I went to the Burrito Boyz by my work and when I got there to pick it up, they told me they ran out of CHEESE.  What burrito place runs out of cheese?  Anyway, I told them it was fine because cheese-less is probably better for my stomach anyway so they made me one nice and quick, told me it was on the house, and gave me a coupon for another free burrito (which I used today).

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They should run out of cheese more often.

This is as exciting as my days get, my friends.  Other than eating, I also went on a 3-mile run today.  It was extremely slow and embarrassing but I’m okay with it.  I guess Sunday’s race made my legs a little more achy than I thought (thank you for your really nice comments!).  I also just confirmed my registration for the Toronto Women’s 8K this weekend (online registration is now closed but you can still sign up at the Running Room this weekend during race kit pickup) and the Road 2 Hope Half Marathon next weekend.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off any more PRs but I am sure as heck going to try!

Hope you all had a great Wednesday!

Anyone else running races this weekend?

Marathon Monday: STWM Race Recap!

Happy Marathon Monday!

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I sat here last night looking at a blank screen for much longer than normal because I truthfully don’t even know how all of yesterday even happened.  If you’ve been following along with my training, you know that I was sick all of last week so I wasn’t able to get any training in and was not eating much at all.  I lowered my expectations for yesterday’s half marathon because I just knew that I couldn’t put the same pressure on myself.  I tried going for a shake out run on Saturday to see how my legs felt and everything went well but I ran a bit longer than I had wanted to because I got lost (I ran in a new area while I waited for Princeton to be groomed).  7.26 miles is a bit of a long shake out if you ask me.  At least he looks cute though…

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After my run I had to go to the expo and I also was able to get my new phone set up, which took the store about an hour, so I was on my feet way longer than anticipated.  They felt really tired when I got home.  Maybe it’s because I took so much time off and then did a lot in one day?  No idea.  Anyway, I already had my race/post-race gear laid out from Friday (#loseralert) so when I got home I didn’t have too much to do.  I think I went to bed around 10pm but kept waking up to pee because for the first time ever I tried to hydrate and my bladder was just like “Nope.  Not going to sleep just yet!”  Then I got hungry so I went and grabbed some cookies to eat in bed.  Can’t go hungry the day before a race!  Could have probably chosen something better than cookies but…you know how it is.

I woke up at 6am, got ready, grabbed an apple, a single-serving box of Love Grown Foods Power O’s, and some Vega Sugar-Free Energizer, then headed out to make my way downtown.  I got there just after 7am and the race didn’t start until 8:45 but I knew parking would be nuts so I just blasted the heat in my car while getting myself organized.  Before I knew it, it was time to head out for a bathroom stop at Starbucks and a quick warm up.  I didn’t get to warm up as long as I had hoped (less than a mile) because I was afraid I’d get stuck at the back of my corral so I wanted to make my way up to the front as early as possible (and got to hang out with Michelle Clarke until the gun went off!).

No point form rundown of each mile because I can’t remember everything I was thinking/feeling but here are my splits!

Mile 1 – 7:48
Mile 2 – 7:33
Mile 3 – 7:22
Mile 4 – 7:27
Mile 5 – 7:25
Mile 6 – 7:40
Mile 7 – 7:33
Mile 8 – 7:39
Mile 9 – 7:32
Mile 10 – 7:41
Mile 11 – 7:47
Mile 12 – 7:41
Mile 13 – 6: 31 (<- I think this might be wrong because it seems pretty freaking impossible, especially at mile 13)
Last 0.51 (my Garmin distance read a little longer than 13.1) – 3:23
 

I finished in 1:41:05 and my average pace (according to my Garmin) was 7:29/mile.

I really tried to pace myself and be as consistent as possible.  It kinda sorta worked.  My average pace (according to Sportstats) for the first 10km was 4:43/km (or 7:35/mile) and my pace for the remainder of the race (11.1km) was 4:50/km (or 7:47/mile).  My watch read a little longer so there’s a bit of a disconnect with average pace and such but all in all, a decent result.  No negative splits…still learning.

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Thanks to Coach PK who took this photo and cheered like CRAZY!

To sum it up, I had no idea I would set a new half marathon PR yesterday and actually feel pretty decent while doing it.  None.  I’ve been struggling to beat my previous PR of 1:44 for years and thought it was just not going to ever be possible.  I came close a couple of times but just couldn’t seem to shave those few seconds off and yesterday I shaved minutes.  Looks like being sick, not eating, taking five full days off, and being on your feet for too long the night before works for me!  Kidding.  Kind of.  I think it’s because I didn’t put any pressure on myself.  I barely looked at my watch during the race and just tried to go based on how I felt.  I also had to pee again right at the start of the race and held it the entire time.  It was super painful and I actually considered peeing on myself (TMI?) more than once.  I didn’t actually do it, don’t worry.  I know a handful of people that have though and I can’t imagine that it is a very pleasant feeling!

A bunch of my friends came out to cheer but unfortunately I missed Angela, Jess, Danielle, and Claire [no blog but you can see her pretty face below].  Danielle did make these awesome signs and although I missed them, a lot of people said that they had a good laugh when they saw them on the course!

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Bahaha.

Danielle and Claire had to leave early so I went to Fresh for lunch with Angela and Jess for some much-needed fuel before heading home.  I ordered a vegan clubhouse wrap and sweet potato fries.  Hit the spot.

It was such a great day and as crazy as it might be to wake up early, pay ridiculous race entry fees, and wait in the freezing cold to run the streets of my own city…I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now I’m determined to run a sub-1:40 and may or may not make an attempt at the Hamilton Half Marathon in two weeks.  We’ll see!  Us runners are never satisfied, huh?

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Hope you all had a great weekend!

The plan for STWM

I cannot believe I only have two more sleeps until my half marathon.  Ugggggg.  This was not a good week.  Everyone is posting their excitement on Instagram saying how ready and excited they are and I’m just here praying that my nose stops running.  I got THE email early this week and it gave me even more anxiety.

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I haven’t even considered any sort of race strategy.  I’ve gone on ZERO runs this week so I have no idea what my legs and body are capable of right now.  Based on the SeaWheeze Half (1:45:20) and my recent Toronto 10-miler (1:18:30), I think there is a possibility I could set a half marathon PR on Sunday if I’m feeling okay and eat like a normal human for the next 48 hours (I’ve been living off toast, popcorn, and spoonfuls of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter).  To run a sub-1:44 I would need to hold a 7:56 average pace for the entire race.  SeaWheeze was an 8:02 average (and kind of a hilly course) and the 10-miler was a 7:51 average but I just about died and not sure I’d be able to hold that pace for 3.1 more miles.  All these numbers make my head hurt.

I had no idea that we start on a hill either.  Apparently I like to leave checking maps and elevation until the very last minute.

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What. The. Heck.  It only lasts about 3km (1.86 miles)…but still.  Maybe I’ll treat this race as a negative split practice run?  I have a lunch date with Phaedra (aka Coach) and Danielle after I pick up my race kit tomorrow so I’ll see if I can get any professional advice but as of right now, my plan is to have no plan and base everything on how I feel.  If I have a crappy race, there’s always Hamilton in a couple of weeks.  I think I’m most looking forward to being done with Hamilton so that I get my week of doing “absolutely nothing” (Coach’s orders) before Phoenix Marathon training starts…

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From Phaedra’s Instagram (@blistersandblacktoenails)

At the end of the day, a race is still a race and a wonderful accomplishment.  I know a lot of people running both the half and the full, plus some really awesome people are coming out to cheer.  I anticipate eating something delicious post-race as well so there’s always that…

I’ll leave you with this:

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Is it just me or is that not the most accurate thing you’ve seen all day?

I’m not sure if I’ll be back on here again before the race so have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday with a race recap!