Race To Kinvara: 12 Hours away I WANT TO WIN

I leave for Ireland in about 12 hours.

I am about to embark on the most EPIC journey of my life…so far.

It is no secret that I am a little nervous, so I am bringing with me my OWN team to keep me going. I am calling my team #TeamRR. The 3 of us are about to travel to new frontiers – well for us, and seek out new race courses and boldly go where Robyn has not gone before.

Ready to meet #TeamRR?

Meet Andie:

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Andie started out as a co-worker, morphed into my friend and somewhere along the way became my sister. We text daily and…well…she is important to me. She is also a HUGE reason why I get to go to Ireland. I wanted her to come with me, so she is.

Remember those cartoons where there is a good guy and a bad  guy on the shoulder of the main character? Yes, well… Andie is the mischief maker on this trip. She is the one who agrees with every thought I have and will get into major Shenanigans with me. We will be room mates for the entire trip.

Meet Warren:

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Warren is my wingman. He takes care of me when I don’t know how. He said today “You are going to miss me A LOT this week” True story. He makes me laugh every day and I would be lost without him. Warren will not be staying in the room with me…he is a dude. And although I like dudes, I am not that kind of girl who would expose him to the likes of Andie. He also will not be joining me at the pubs on this trip. Warren is the respectable one. And a heck of a runner, so he will be too fast for me and Andie, we will see him at the finish line each day – where he will cheer for us!

WE are packed and ready to go. I have checked into Air Canada and have my seats ready, yay aisle seats! I fly to Toronto, then I will fly to Dublin. My bag is ready – a cute little carry on with room for buying stuff. I am so ready I think I might burst! I am missing the 20 minute challenge at Run Club while I am gone so I have brought hats with me and took a photo with #TeamRR because we are still part of the big team even though we will be across the ocean. I won’t wear mine yet because it isn’t Wednesday.

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#teamRR and I have gone over the itinerary for tomorrow and feel as prepared as we are going to get. I am bringing my iPad with us, so I can blog on the road.

There is a social media contest that I am eager to win – at the very least I want to place. Who are we kidding – go big or go home. I WANT TO WIN! So I need your help. Every time you see one of my #racetoKinvara hash tags on instagram, twitter or Facebook, please like/comment/share because I need the support of YOU to get me where I wish to be – On THE PODIUM! You are now officially part of #TeamRR I am asking for your help and support and It should be fun along the way!

Now its time for rest because I have a very big day tomorrow.

See you then!

-The Edmonton Tourist

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Race to Kinvara: 2 days left

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Today was my last run before I head to Ireland. The snake is bad. Edmonton is currently surrounded by forest fires and the smoke has settled over the city. For a gal who suffers from Asthma, this is not optimal training conditions. Also…its just stupid hot.

For an Edmontonian temps that are in the 30C range just feel oppressive. Sleep doesn’t come to me. Breathing is difficult but I can’t blame the lack of sleep on conditions. I blame it on excitement!

I googled the hotels, the first stop I am stay at  Citywest  and did some research on Dublin. The hotel is amazing and I get about 6 hours of tourist time. I am supposed to leave with my team Captain – who I suspect is my group leader from Saucony. I hope we get to see Dublin Castle, St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. I am basing these tourist spots from my love of my favourite Authors books. Maeve Binchey paint a Dublin so dynamic I cannot wait to walk it! I am desperate for a Trinity College Hoodie.

After our tour we head to the Guinness Storehouse. I likely will be ready for a pint by then. At some point I will meet with Team Canada to discuss strategy. It is at this point I will remind them I did not win because of my speed but for my charm and wit. I was able to take a peek at last years photos and saw the bus – not your average school bus, but a full on tour bus with snacks, tables and comfy seats. I visited Facebook.com/SauconyPro and took a look at the Race course. I’m telling you right now, it is not going to hurt my feelings being there!

So whats left for today? I am going to pack. I dug out my passport. I have chosen my shoes. I have picked out my run gear. I have my chargers ready to roll because I hope to blog my adventure while there. I could use a nap, because I am not sleeping. Thankfully I will on the plane. Sleeping on planes is my super power.

So the next time we chat, It will be from Ireland.

Let the race begin!

Race to Kinvara: The kit arrives

I got a text while at work yesterday.

“There is a really big box from Saucony addressed to you”

YAY! My kit arrived! I only had 6 hours before I could go home a tear that box open!

I knew it was coming. I had received an email with my airline tickets that my ‘kit’ would be arriving July 4th. Well…it arrived July 3rd. It looked like this.

I loved how it was wrapped in twine. Seriously, all packages need to be wrapped in twine!

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I savoured the moment. I want to say I didn’t know what to expect, but I work with shoes for a living. It felt like there were shoes in there and maybe some documents. I was that kid at Christmas who always touched the wrapped packages and could guess what was in there.

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Inside was the BOOK. This book outlines my trip. It let me know I have only 8 people on my team. Wowza…8 I know 3 for sure, maybe more. It also let me know I represent Team Canada, the other countries would include, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, USA…and some others I forgot. All I could think or register in my brain was 8. It also told me there were 22 legs one day and some another day…look, you do not expect me to remember do you? There is running involved and lots of it. But I was distracted by visiting the Guinness Storehouse the very first day! The next day I was distracted by Dinner at Kilkenny Castle! And the third day I was distracted by a SOCAIL MEDIA CONTEST! Now THAT is something I have a fighting chance to win! I need to tag everything #RacetoKinvara @Sacuony and for good measure #FindYourStrong. This blog series is about just that. I found my strong Saucony and its scary and wonderful all at once! I read it…running…places I’ve not seen before, like the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland. Pinch me already.

I put the book down, and read the letter from the President of Saucony – team spirit…fun… happy to be there… yep. sounds great! I am all for it! I put that letter down.

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I am a sucker for anything wrapped in tissue with a sticker. Its so…5th Avenue.

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Ooooh Race to Kinvara Tees! A couple of weeks ago, Saucony Canada sent me a questionnaire to fill out regarding my size. I replied with Shoes Women’s 10 or Men’s 9 – because I figured Kinvara 6 might be on the table….the women’s version is a little narrow for me. Men’s fit a bit better. It also asked clothing size. This is where I felt like not going. Just because I work in the industry and I am good at what I do, does not mean I am a Women’s medium. News Flash – while we are not the majority, we certainly are present. By we I mean fat girls. The industry does accommodate large men – okay men who are fat too. They do. Lots of things go up to men’s size 2XL. A men’s 2XL is really a XL, sizes are weird. But I would never dream of being able to fit into the women’s sizes yet. It just isn’t going to happen. So I am prepared to run in my running clothes that represent my place of work. The very reason I get to go in the first place. But I do know that I can fit into a men’s 2XL if it is stretchy – and by stretchy I mean, forgiving on the hips. Men tend to be not as curvy as women. so a bit of stretch helps a lot.

In the green tissue were 2 T-Shirts. One size women’s L and one size Men’s L. And wow… I cried a bit because if they go this wrong, there isn’t a team Canada Jersey that I could dream of fitting into. It hurt a bit and took some of the excitement away. Why have me go through the humiliation of telling strangers my size if its wrong anyways? Anyways… I get to go to Ireland and this will not hurt my Irish experience. Stiff upper lip and all that. As I tell my staff when things get rough…ITs only Shoes and Clothes people. The world has bigger problems out there… I get to go Ireland!!

I put those to the side and and looked at the next thing.

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Kineta Relay. Now I have heard about these but have never seen them. I quickly put them on because there is nothing that makes a fat girl happier than New Shoes and a Hand Bag. Why? Because they always fit. Always.

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These shoes weighed NOTHING. They were so light and so soft under foot, I decided to take them for a test run on Sunday…I cannot WAIT! They came with optional red laces, I might pop those on, I love red! I love these mostly because they are yellow. Not pink. VizGlo. Awesome!

I was asked at work today how am I not jumping up and down all the time? Well I am inside. I am scared too and that keeps the jumps more subdued.

I’m scared the jersey won’t fit, if I wasn’t scared before – I am now. If it doesn’t, I will be wearing red. My favourite RR T-shirt because you can’t expect me to wear what doesn’t fit. I’m trying my hardest. But I am just not there yet. 117lbs down and it still isn’t enough but I #FoundMyStong and that is enough for me.

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You are doing WhaaaaT?

I took a little time off to distract myself from my exciting Race to Kinvara. I am getting to be like a little kid before they go to Disneyland….I CANT Stand IT!

FullSizeRender-3But I have a lot to do and sitting around day dreaming about Ireland is not getting things done.

August, my pal Joe is going to run from San Francisco to Anaheim. About 28 miles or so a day. some days more, some days less. We are raising money and awareness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You can read all about how this all began here.

Today the details began.

We began planning the little stuff. The focus today was food. We are essentially camping in a hotel. The challenge is how to meet Joe’s nutritional needs and cook in a hotel room. Sure it would be easy to go out everyday and eat in a restaurant, but when you are trying to get all the nutrient requirements in for a multi-day marathon, eating out for every meal just is not going to work. We need to control

all the details from taste to nutrition. Bland is his prefference for running. Bland tends not to keep resturants in business.

Breakfast:
The confevsation went like this… “I don’t like to eat too much before I run.

Swell. You will need to supply your body with actual fuel.

I know… but it needs to be bland.”

We talked about options. It is important that he gets carbs and lots of them of a multi day event like this. Oatmeal will be the mainstay of breakfast. And not that instant stuff. Old fashion steel cut oats – QuakerStyle. Secretly, this makes me happy – I love a great bowl of porridge! Apparently he likes apples, nuts and cinnamon. Perfect. I can control content, he gets 3 food groups for a meal, he is happy and I am happy. 4 food groups if we add dairy. That will be optional. Now… cooking it.

When I was a kid, my parents took me around the world. They instilled a love of travel beyond the love of home and things. I would rather spend my money on going somewhere than on TVs, Cars and furniture. Traveling is expensive, especially with kids, but my mom economized and provided us with great food so we could walk in the footsteps of kings.

My mom brought with her a trusty Electric Fry Pan – with lid. This was what it looked like:
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You name it, my mom made it in that fry pan. We had eggs, soup, pasta, stirfry, and countless other meals from a single source. We had a camp kit – all the things you would need in a kitchen: can opener, knives, cutting board, colinder, wash basin, condinemnts, spices, oils etc. It fit in a plastic bin. The Frypan went in a suit case. When we flew, the Frypan and a elecrical converter came with us. Between that and the hotel coffee pot, you can make anything. Ever have soup in a coffee pot? I have. She even warmed up bread by wrapping it in foil and placing it on top of the Fry Pan lid while dinner was cooking.

The advantage to this was her picky eaters (Hello Mike I am looking at you) would still eat and she saved a TON of money so we could see and do things like wander around the Louvre in Paris, or Chill with the Pope at the Vatican or even wave to Paul Bunion as he talked to us from across the parking lot.

Food is the one thing you cannot do without on vacation. Cooking and doing dishes is the least fun part about vacation – but it afforded us to do the fun things.

Shopping in a grocery store in another country really is a cultural experience. It became part of the vacation. Trying foods that were new, or laughing at the unusal nature of flavour combinations – all new to us of course. became part of the experience. Food is the one thing that brings people together on the same level.

Although our 500 miles for SMA is not a vacation, It will be an adventure. Providing our own food is an important part of this. Shopping in places I have never been will be an experience that isn’t new to me. I hope to find fresh farmer’s markets along the way but I am open to all new experiences. Which means…If you live there and are having a BBQ, I’d LOVE to come! Thanks in advance! Here is our route so you can make plans 🙂
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So the menus for the days have come together with flexible options open for contingency plans.

This trip is a million plans within a plan… and its all coming together.

You can help support this adventure by visiting here

We simply want to help as many people as we can, and play a part in defeating this disease. When I run, I always remember the faces of my younger brothers. ~Joseph R Kolinksy

My Summer Adventure

Last week I announced over at the Edmonton Tourist that I am running the Race to Kinvara. You can read about it here.

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It has given me the proper motivation to get my body moving more aggressively than I was before. I just haven’t felt all that keen on running even though I have the Dumbo Double Dare scheduled for September in Disneyland. I just don’t get all that exceeded about Disney Races. For someone who loves Disney and running as much as I do, you’d think it would be a match made in heaven.

Its not.

I get excited about going, I get excited about see my pals, I get excited about the expo. But the race? Meh.

I don’t run fast enough to make it fun. I think that is the large part of it. I don’t have time to stop and meet characters or goof around with pals. I need to go and I cannot slowdown or I get swept.

And I do not need a lecture on increasing my pace. I have knocked 2 minutes per kilometre off since I began running… so just keep those comments to yourself thanks. I am doing the best I can.

Races that are much more forgiving, let me enjoy them for what they are. My favourite race is the Calgary Marathon Weekend. LOVE the atmosphere, the crowd support, the entertainment on the course and you know what? The course itself is pretty. I love the Bow river, I love seeing the Rockies in the distance and I love that it is mostly flat. Not Disney flat. That is FLAT, but Calgary is Prairie/Foothills flat. The perfect flat because running downhill is awesome fun for me.

I know, I know…You can walk a disney race and still finish. Well, maybe YOU can, but not everyone can. I have had 2 sucktastic Disney experiences in a row. I am determined to make my next experience a better one. I loved my first race – the Minnie 10km.

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Crossing the finish line and having Rudy Novotny say hey to me was awesome. This next race has my mental game shaken. Friends have already asked if I am running with them…HELL NO. Go have fun. Enjoy your race. I have to work my ass off to finish and I’d rather do it my own way. Stay focused. Stay Happy and STAY ALONE.

We talked about this before. To me there is nothing I love more than running alone, by myself as in SOLO. It is awesome to hang out before and after with friends but during…get lost. My pal said to me the other day, you don’t know if you like running with people because you have never done it.

Not true.

I have and do run with people for Run Club. I ran today with these awesome people!

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It’s sometimes my job to be a pace leader for the Learn to Run Group. I like it because I set the rules and I think because I am the leader its just different. I like it better when I set the pace and then need to slow down for others. I do not like having to make people slow down for me. I just don’t. I don’t want to talk when I run. I will listen, but don’t expect an answer. A) I am deaf in my left ear and can’t hear you. B) I daydream when I run so talking makes me have to pay attention. BOOOOO that just makes running hard.

When I daydream – or get in the zone – I am aware of cars and the vibration on my wrist for intervals. Thats it. I think about  all kinds of things that I don’t want to share because its about Me sorting out MY thoughts. I love being alone with my thoughts. I don’t get to do that very often. So when I get to…wow…pure bliss.

Anyways…. Ireland.

I have felt then need to up my game because I am on a TEAM. I don’t want to let my team down. Sure it isn’t supposed to be serious. Sure its supposed to be for fun. I still feel the need to be the best I can be. That means I need to run hills, practice pacing, try out clothing and get a feel for what will work.

The best part about the Race to Kinvara is….I get to run alone without my team.

It is a relay. Everyone will be on the bus when I run. I will have been left in the dust by the other teams, so that means I will have the road to Kinvara to myself. I am pretty sure I will weep with joy. Me and my shoes running along the road alone. Honestly? Nothing sounds like a better vacation than that. Apparently I will have a Porter who will drive a scooter to keep an eye on me, hand me water when I need it and basically take care of my needs. Thats as close to being a process as I will ever be and that really appeals to me.

I will do my leg of the run and someone will feel the need to make up for my slow time. Do I care? I did a week ago. I don’t now. This is going to be MY Irish experience. How they choose to experience theirs is up to them.

I did add an element to my training that I had not done before.

I have started wearing my HRM on my training runs. I want to make sure I am running at my best. This is what I learned: I go too fast on my LSD days, but I run within my target for maximum on speed work days. So when I tell someone I am trying my best…I really am.

I have also added my footpod. It gives me my cadence (steps per minute) I am not sure what to do with that information yet. I will keep collecting it and I hope to see it increase by the end of summer.

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I have also started back with My Fitness Pal because I am worried I will gain back what I have lost. I am NEVER GOING DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN! My jeans are a touch too tight…so its time to become aware again. So far? I have noticed that I was doing okay! I just indulged into many libatious moments over my vacation. But, I always said that I am not on a diet, I am changing my life, but with that, I need to live. Drinks with  friends is part of that. However, now that training has begun in earnest for my Summer Adventure, the beverages need to stop too – the occasional cool one at a BBQ will be fine because I will adjust my intake to accommodate.

So thats it in a nut shell! Aside from my awesome runner’s tan… I am just the same.

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What Day is it?

Okay, wait a minute.

I have a my January goals to get through and suddenly its FEBRUARY?

I have been trying to find my mojo lately and I figured I would write up some goals, set up a game plan and BOOM, all done.

All I have done in January is go to Walt Disney World, Got sick and by sick I mean I was considering death as an option for recovery, and Work. All of the above kept me otherwise occupied. I have been doing physio for my knee, planks and some other routinely horrible ‘healthy’ things for my muscles. Its not as bad as it sounds tho, I never regret doing them, the starting is just the hard part.

So that left me with needing a game plan for the rest of the year.

And by game plan, I mean race commitments.

I thought about what I really want to do to enhance my running.

I want to become a faster 5k runner.

To achieve this I need to stop signing up for so many 21.1km distances. That’s hard. Races are fun and medals are shiny.

I sat down and thought very carefully about what I need and what I want and what is doable.

Goal #1: Run a faster 5km distance

If I am being honest here, I could run a faster 5k distance today. What holds me back are, waiting for my dog to sniff stuff. Stopping to take photos. Stopping to drink water.

Okay… all those are excuses.

Here is my plan: 2 days a week, I will do speed work, Hills or stairs one day and sprints another. I will ride my bike a third day, this will increase my turnover rate and is a good cross train option). Sundays will be my LSD run with me actually doing it the correct way, checking my heart rate, keeping in my zone that will be the optimal for increasing my capillaries and targeting cardio strength. My first 5K distance will be the St. Patrick’s Day 5k down at Fort Edmonton. It comes with a medal, breakfast AND an ugly shirt! We all know how I run for medals, some people need Beer/Coffee/Coke as their carrot at the finish line, I need a medal.

My second one is a Virtual Run that I will use as a race, It is the Enchanted Tiki Run and My goal race for April 11, 2015. I will run my second 5k and compare time with the St. Patrick 5k. 10924638_321521864711506_5210149559015274914_n

The next Race for May will be the May the Fourth be with you series from DAWS. DAWS is a charitable foundation that me and my pals have founded/created. It is something that I am HUGELY proud of and we raise money to directly support families with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You can read all about it here. Part of our Fundraising efforts are virtual runs. Currently there is a Royal Guard Run happening, but May the 4th (get it? May the fourth (force) be with you? Haaaa? Haaaaa?) That will be the Yavin Run. All Star Wars fans know what the Yavin medal is. Where Chewy gets snubbed because it is a racist moment and Han and Luke get the great honour bestowed upon them by Princess Leia.

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I hope to be faster than my St. Pat’s Run! I will use the same course for both virtuals, Hawerlak Park, fast, flat and 2 loops is 5km.

Then my head turns to my next Goal

Goal #2: Keep Momentum going and run a PR a 10km.

By April, I will be adding distance to my LSD days so I can run a decent 10km. The Goal Race for my 10k is the Edmonton Run for Pie 10k Trail run because HELLO? A PIE RUN! There will be PIE at the finish…so hellsya! who needs more motivation than that?

Goal #3: Build a 18km base.

Why? Because I want to run a half marathon whenever I damn well fell like it. If my base is 18km, I am ALWAYS ready! To do this, I will increase my LSD distances as well as my weekly totals. Keep up will hills/stairs and sprints. Keep up with core and weights. Likely lose more weight a long the way.

Goal # 4: Run Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare

I had to defer this race from last year because of surgery. Lets face it, last year blew and I am glad it is over. I will run a 10km on Saturday of the September long weekend and then on Sunday, run the Disneyland 10th Anniversary Half Marathon. PR will not be on for this weekend because I want to have a good time and stop for #runfies and say hey to Sean Astin because I have secretly loved him since Goonies.

Goal #5: Run Disney’s Wine and Dine

Why? I like wine and I like dine! Simple math. Plus you run through 3 parks without it being a marathon. I am not quite ready for a Marathon. I am saving that for when I can run a 1/2 marathon in 2:30. I’m okay with a 5:30/6 marathon but on my feet longer than that and just shoot me now. My first marathon wants to be a major, like Chicago, New York or Berlin. I’ll save it for something moments like my 50th birthday.

There you have it.

My goals, my plan and my vision. It starts now.

2015 and new Goals on the Horizon

2014 feels like the year of the EPIC FAIL.

It wasn’t, but it feels that way.

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I am so injured I have just given up all hope of ever finishing the Donald in Florida. Painful, but true.

I have a guy…not my coach but an actual GUY who look at my knee and said “well, there isn’t much that can be done for it other than Ice and rest.” Really? Do you know how much THAT TOTALLY SUCKS?

So, not much running has been done. Not much of anything actually because being on my knee all day at work causes swelling and fatigue that requires rest.

Scrap 2014, now time to plan 2015 with a vengeance.

Okay, January is the Donald Half Marathon. Wishing it was the Minnie 10km because I KNOW I can finish that.  But I will plod along and fingers crossed,
I will make it across the finish line. I have huge hopes for this, in spite of everyone saying “you will” ….I am not so sure. Rock n Roll Vancouver was a walk race for me. I fear this one will be too. That adds stress to my day because my band of brothers will be with me. I know it is supposed to be comforting that they are there, but I am NOT THE PERSON WHO WHINES and insists people hang out with me. I am that girl who is more concerned that people run their own race and focus on themselves than worry about me.

I am a bit scared, I am not going to lie. I have never run with actual people before other than coach them along a Learn to Run session. Being coached and coaching are VERY DIFFERENT things and I think I will be stressed, anxious and have a hard time relaxing knowing I am holding back my brothers.

I will worry about that problem closer to the day.

Telling me “it will be fine” will not make it fine.

Okay…end of that discussion.

So that brings me to the goals and plans of 2015.

Things I want to do:

I only want to run 1 half marathon and not 5.

I am saving that goal for the September long weekend. I am running the Dumbo and I will run 10k and the 21.1k back to back and if things go very well I will have a coast to coast medal as well.

That means I should enter some 10ks or some shorter distance races but…. non really interest me. I have that ‘Been there, Done that’ mentality. Although I am kind of toying with the Vancouver 8k during the Marathon Weekend. I might also run the Policemen’s 5k during the half marathon weekend…maybe.

The sad reality is I am a medal whore. If there isn’t a medal for a race, I am not all that interested. because I can run for FREE out my front door. So the question is, What is the point of a medal-less race? I can’t figure that one out.

My plan is to:

  1. GET HEALTHY
  2. Train all spring and summer
  3. Really focus on speed work
  4. Love running again
  5. Earn a really kickass medal for all my hard work.

Bring on 2015….I am SO OVER 2014! I’m the gal in the blue….this is how I feel about 2014:

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