Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shut The Door (WW # 93)

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Hmmm...  How do I start this race review?  My friend Wendy has already posted such a wonderful recap.  I could just say "ditto" and move on.  You have my permission to skip ahead, but I hope you'll hang tight.

Ten weeks ago, I returned to running on a freshly healed fractured foot.  Trying to be prudent, I added mileage relatively slowly, at least initially.  Running.felt.so.hard!  Sadly, it still does.  Wanting to get back in the game at any speed, I took Wendy up on her offer to come to Door County, Wisconsin and run in beautiful Peninsula State Park.

Thank you for my #holottafun Momentum bracelet, Wendy!

I fretted about the storms on travel day, but thankfully everything went smoothly and soon enough I'm in Wendy's car road-tripping for the final 3 hour leg of our journey.  It was the farthest north I've ever been.  For a little perspective, it is higher than Toronto, Canada. 

As you can imagine, time passed quickly as we Thelma and Louise'd our way north.  Soon, we were driving through quaint coastal towns dotting the shoreline.  Wow!  Such a picturesque place!  Her parents were gracious enough to open their home to me and I could not have been more appreciative. {Thank you Papa D and Mama J for your hospitality!}  We dined on delicious fish tacos as we celebrated Cuatro De Mayo that evening, thinking Cinco would not be the best idea before our race.



After a rare opportunity to sleep in Friday morning, we had a fun day playing tourists.  We enjoyed many hilarious attempts of nabbing the perfect picture on the curvy road to the ferry dock.  But, we decided the outtakes were better than the picture itself. 

We tried over and over to beat the timer!
The cars coming to and from the ferry were no help at all.


Wanting to see a lighthouse, we visited Eagle Bluff and then drove the race course.  Obviously completely off of our rockers, we decided those hills would be manageable the next day {bahahaha} and proceeded to the expo.  We couldn't resist the quarter zip pullover in raspberry.  In fact, Wendy wore hers the next day.  She also splurged on a parking pass which garnered us a sweet spot right at the runner's village.  We dined on delicious walleye with her parents and called it a day.



It's race day!  The temp?  Low 40s.  {Woo Hoo!}  The wind?  20-30 mph!  {Oh My!}  Unsure of whether we would be sheltered from it, I dressed a bit too warm.   After a quick porta-potty visit and the obligatory pre race photo, we headed toward the starting line.  It was quite crowded and we stopped moving forward near the 2:25 pacer as I planned to start slowly anyway.   After a good luck fist bump, we were off.

Pre race.  Can you tell it's windy?


The bagpiper playing as we started  (and again later on the course) is one of my favorite memories.  I was caught up in the throng for about a mile before there was enough space to maneuver, but that fit my plan.  We inhaled a few swarming mayflies for extra protein and then Wendy was gone from view.

Not the hilliest race I've run, but they just kept coming!


La de da.  Up, down, left, right.  Keep it slow.  Repeat.  On top of the first huge hill, there was a pirate ship complete with costumed pirates working the aid station.  It was tempting to stop for a picture, but I didn't.  La de da.  Don't push too hard yet.  At some point I spotted Wendy over to my left.  Where did she come from?  I checked in and we both admitted it felt hard but we seemed OK.



La de blah, la de blah.  Man those hills kept coming.   I was pleasantly surprised by the number of spectators at the cheer zones.  Each time, their roar was a nice boost.  A freaky costumed white bunny was offering beer.  I declined.  Wendy and I swapped places over and over in the heart of this race.  Then, she pulled ahead toward the end.


The view from Peninsula State Park.
The blurry dots are mayflies!
I was trying to leave a little gas in the tank for a finish line sprint.  Mile 12 felt especially tough with the glaring sun and stiff wind as we ran back along the sparkling bay.  When I saw the finish, I gave it everything I had.  I didn't think I had caught Wendy and was shocked to see our exact same finish times 2:12:06.  We doubled over...completely spent.  And hugged hard.  She was a beast and definitely showed RA who is in charge!  Her parents were there cheering at the finish line.  That really touched me as I've never had a parent at one of my races.  In fact, it made me a little teary eyed.

DETERMINATION.    It's written all over our faces.

This race was a huge challenge.  I walked occasionally.  Had to!  My heart rate was extreme (average=178  max=212).  I was grateful for no issues other than mild foot cramping, causing me to take all of my Salt Caps.  Naturally, my thoughts ran the gamut of never racing ever again to wondering if I could hit my 50th half marathon by year end.  I think the latter won out.



We hit the runners village and sat down to compare notes while sipping our free beer.  Before we knew it, everyone was packing up.  They wanted us to go to a nearby location where they had a live band and were raffling off door prizes {fail--we forgot our tickets!}.  At Husby's, Whiskey Trio was rockin' the tunes and we couldn't help but sing away the afternoon in the warm sunshine.  Taking requests, they sang Sweet Home Alabama for the "first place lady runners up on the balcony". 

Why is this so hard, Wendy?


We stopped for a jumping picture at the beach and again were more amused by our hysterical failed attempts than the good picture.  We capped off the evening dining with her parents.  I inhaled delicious salmon topped with triple berry chutney and we celebrated our finish with fresh, local cherry pie.

I know that was a lot to get through.  However, it is my way to preserve a wonderful and special memory for half marathon #45.  I can't thank Wendy enough for the invite and the ensuing #weholottafun.  I'm already looking forward to our next adventure {talking to you Chicago!}.  Go places.  Do things. Connect with dear friends. Have fun.  Sing.  Play.   I think you'll agree the numbers from a race are truly incidental to the experience itself.

And that's a wrap!


Tell me about the hilliest race you've ever run!

Happy Mother's Day!  How did you celebrate?


78 comments:

  1. It's so fun to roadtrip and race with friends. If anything, great memories you will always have. The race weather sounds perfect - I've had to walk in races before too, no shame. Hope you had a great mother's day!

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    1. The road trip part was so much fun both ways and was over in what felt like a blink. We lucked out with the weather. We were sheltered from the wind for most of the race.

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  2. Congrats on a great race and strong finish! I LOVE that race picture of you! It's a keeper for sure.

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. My race photos are usually not flattering so I was grateful to get a decent shot. I usually don't notice the photographers but obviously I saw this one.

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  3. I'm glad this race went well (besides all the hills). I love that Wendy's parents were there to cheer you both on!

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    1. Wendy's dad even took pics for us. It was very sweet for them to come out there.

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  4. My hilliest race?Route 66...and you've probably heard me mention it a time (or 50). What a great recap! I'm envious I couldn't be there, but you know...there was that son who was graduating that weekend. Are you doing R'n'R Chicago? Hmmmm.....

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    1. Route 66 still remains supreme as the coldest race I've run. Gateway to the Smokies is the hilliest. I'll be in my off season after Utah. I'm looking forward to some fun fall races including Vegas!

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  5. Aww this was so much fun to read. I'm so glad you girls got together to run this! It truly is all about the friends we make along the way. My hilliest half was my very first. I went on to run it 5 more times. Those hilly suckers hurt!

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    1. I can still feel the affects of this race. I can't wait to see you in Utah, my friend.

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  6. Congrats on half #45 - that is amazing! Although the course sounds super hilly, it sounds beautiful as well. So glad that you got to experience that race weekend with Wendy :)

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    1. This was definitely a memorable race. I'm glad I took that trek north.

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  7. I have run a lot of very hilly halfs. It sounds like my Green Mountain Half might be similar to this one -- very hilly and insanely windy (and about the same temps).

    That must've been wonderful to have parents waiting at the finish line (even if not your own) -- that's something I've never had, either, and most likely never will. They definitely couldn't hang around for the time it takes me to run a half! Probably not even a short race (unless there was some food to entertain my Dad).

    It sounds like it was a great (if short) vacation & the race was just the cherry on top. Congrats!

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    1. My hometown half is just as hilly but it is laid out much differently -- just a few long steep hills. These were on repeat! Luckily the wind was not a factor as most of the course was in the woods.

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  8. Sounds like a fun race & trip! I'm recovering from an injury (surgery) too, so I feel your pain.

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    1. Unfortunately, I've had several injury breaks and returns. The return is always challenging. This was my first half post injury. I hope you are doing well!

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  9. A race-cation is always a fun way to spend time with friends. I've done a lot of hilly half marathons, but my very first stands out the most. It was Rock-n-Roll Providence in Rhode Island and I didn't properly train for those hills! Plus it was pouring down rain!! I'm surprised I ever tried it again actually ;)

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    1. One of my hilliest races is a favorite inside Callaway Gardens. Like Door Co, the scenery is breathtaking so I just keep going back regardless of those hills.

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  10. What a fun time. Can't wait for Vegas.

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    1. That will be a fun trip. It will feel so weird to run in the evening. I guess I need to practice that!

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    2. I run in the evening but not a half and not with 40,000 runners.

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    3. Wow! Will it be that many?

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  11. I forgot about that beer weilding bunny! It's so funny how 2 people can run a race and come away with so many different memories. I still haven't washed my car and my husband, who usually doesn't care about those things, asked me when I was going to clean off the mayflies!

    Man, I miss you. What are we doing next?

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    1. Awww... you're preserving the mayflies from our trip! There are so many great places to go and races to run. The possibilities are endless. Honestly, I'm sure we would have fun anywhere we were. Let's not forget about our waterskiing too. I'm looking forward to that so much!!!

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  12. I love this recap and that photo of you two approaching the finish! Sounds like a wonderful weekend!

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    1. I'm glad they captured our finish. It took everything I had to close that gap!

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  13. I would say the hilliest half marathon for me was in Meridian with Tricia in 2015!! Whew!!! That was a TOUGH course. The Nashville Marathon was super hilly too. Love, love, love all of your race photos and congratulations to you and Wendy both having such an awesome race! What a special memory y'all will always cherish of this race weekend! I hope I get to meet y'all too one day! Happy Mother's Day! It's been a great one!

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    1. I forgot about Nashville. Yes, it's definitely hilly. I'm sure we will eventually be at the same race. We are too close (relatively speaking) for that not to happen!

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  14. What a fantastic weekend! I still can't believe you two had the same finish time. How amazing is that!

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    1. We simply couldn't believe it! But we both gave it everything we could that day.

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  15. I tend to run halfs without many hills if i can! There are a few hills in Cleveland but I'm generally not used to hilly courses. The hilliest run I've done was the Adirondack Half Marathon - it was very hilly and a beautiful course but so hot that day that the heat+hills made it for a little miserable :)

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    1. A hilly race is definitely a different animal. And although I live in a somewhat hilly neighborhood, they never get easy for me. I bet the Adirondack Half was beautiful!

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  16. I always seem to choose the hilly races. It's my special skill LOL. Great job and you guys sound like you had so much fun!

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    1. I'm sure you've learned how varying the descriptions can be for a hilly race! I appreciate when they just go ahead and tell you how challenging it is. And, please don't say gently rolling. LOL

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  17. Happy Mother's Day! Sounds like a fun time with Wendy! So cool that you managed to finish at the exact same time! Haha love your jumping pic attempts. You should just take video and then screenshot a pic. :)

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    1. We actually did that on the curve road shots. The problem with the jump shot is we could never get it in air at the same time. LOL.

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  18. Sounds like a fun trip and race! The wind and hills don't sound like fun though. Glad your foot has been feeling good! 45 half marathons is amazing!

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    1. It was wonderful to run another race and forget about my foot! All I could think about was catching my breath.

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  19. You two are too cute! I grew up even farther north than Door County. It's practically Canada. Glad you had a great weekend away with a good friend!

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    1. I didn't know what to expect before arriving. It is truly a beautiful area.

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  20. The hilliest race I've run was in Jerusalem. It was rough! But I loved that they handed out dates as fuel! Congrats on the race and sorry you couldn't capture a good jumping pic. How do people make it look so easy?!

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    1. Wow! I'm guessing that may have been pretty warm as well? I'm not sure I could chew a date during a race though. We did get a good jumping pic, but I like the outtakes better!

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  21. Congratulations! I'm glad you wrote a full recap because I wanted to hear your take of the race too! You did a great job and that finish line photo with you and Wendy is great!

    The hilliest race I've run was the King of Prussia 10 Miler...those hills were just obnoxious! I like hills, but I have my limits, lol!

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    1. I like a few hills too. A truly flat race wears on my body. I like a few down hills thrown in to "rest" on. This race definitely qualifies as HILLY.

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  22. I'm not sure on the hills since I'm run on relatively flat courses. My neighborhood can be hilly, and it kicks my butt when I go on that side. I did find a flat side, and I did loops over there for 5 miles last week.

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    1. I can see why it would be hard to find a flat course where you live. Even with my neighborhood hills, I'm never prepared for a race with a lot of steep hills.

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  23. It is a gorgeous place! The water, the trees, it all looks so pretty :) That is a pretty hilly course! I think you handled the hills like a boss, that is a great time...and you are right, it really is about the experience not just a time. They all can't be about time. I would love to feel some air that cool right about now lol Congrats Holly, I am sure you will get to #50 by years end.

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    1. I didn't know what to expect before arrival and it was a beautiful place. I'm definitely not used to those kinds of hills! I only have baby hills in my neighborhood.

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  24. Congrats on the race - sounds so fun! I like mountain trail races - there's a lot of competition for hilliest ☺️

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    1. I've looked at the courses for some trail races around here. They definitely look intimidating with their hills.

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  25. You guys had such a great time!

    One of the hilliest races I can remember was Valley of Fire, but it was so gorgeous that I didn't even mind the hills too much.

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    1. I'm all about a pretty course. One of my all-time favorites is one of my hilliest in beautiful Callaway Gardens. The scenery makes up for the hills.

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  26. What a fun race!! Congratulations on an awesome race!!

    That wind and temperature sound very cold!!

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    1. It really wasn't as cold as we expected it to be. The trees sheltered us from the wind and the sun was full on!

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  27. your recap is just as great as Wendy's <3 love it! I'm so so glad you took the opportunity to go and do that run with her, even if it was Hilly Hell!

    the hilliest race...I used to think it was a local race, a 15K which has such a steep hill that at the top they actually call it THE WALL (you feel like you are smashing into it never to move your body again); but then last year I ran Athens Marathon and O.M.G. Up, up, up, down, up, up, down, up up up up, down. Hardest race I ever ran.

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    1. The big hills always seem to get me. I don't like absolutely flat courses either. (Obviously, I'm hard to please!). I prefer a few baby hills. LOL.

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  28. This is a great recap and thanks for the opportunity to "run" down memory lane.My hilliest race was a 10 mile run in the Bronx. The hills were toward the end of the course when I felt like I didn't have anything left in me but it was also the part of the course that was lined with spectators and their cheering, I think, literally pushed me over the hills. I might be biased but the NYC street-cheerleaders are the best.

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    1. Spectators and cheering definitely help. They were only in a few spots along this course. I don't remember any on the biggest hills. But, we did enjoy the pirates at the top.

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  29. What a pretty part of the country!
    Great job to you both in the race, it sounds like it was a great one even if a bit challenging!
    The hilliest race I've ever run, man that's tough I'm from Utah so everything is hilly. I don't know if it was the hilliest, but the steepest hills Top of Utah Marathon all the steep hills and climbs are towards the end.

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    1. I had no idea what to expect, but it was very pretty. I thought it was a cross between the Virgin Islands and New England coastal towns. Weird, I know. The name of that races even sounds hilly!

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  30. What a fun racing experience, even with the hills. Nashville Rock 'n Roll was pretty hilly for me. And then every single race ever when I lived in Charlotte because it's ridiculously hilly there. I miss hills, though. We don't have those in Charleston. There's one: the Cooper River Bridge. Otherwise, it's flat, flat, flat. But we do have the beach. I guess that makes up for it a bit. :-)

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    1. I've run in Nashville! Oh yes, hilly! I do prefer a few hills over flat, flat, flat. That can be just as tiring on the body in a different way.

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  31. Awesome race recap! I love the outtakes!
    The hilliest race I've ever done would be any of of the Marine Corps races - they love their hills! Ending on a hill at the Irish Sprint 10K, Hospital Hill in the Historic Half, ending on a (little, but feels gigantic after 26 miles) hill at Marine Corps marathon.

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    1. You are so right! Those little hills at the end of a marathon feel like a mountain. I've run one where it was only 10 feet but I swore it was a 100. LOL.

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  32. girl! I LOVED this recap. your last sentence hit home for me- "the numbers from a race are truly incidental to the experience itself" I needed to hear that, especially since I missed my mark on my last race!
    I'm glad you had such a wonderful time with Wendy,and just a good time in general on a hilly course!!!

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    1. As I often tell myself -- if you don't enjoy it, you don't need to do it. I think we get all up in our heads sometimes. It's important to take a step back and remember why we love it.

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  33. That race elevation map looks scary! Congratulations for finishing the race even if you had to walk some. I know the last few months have been really tough for you with the injuries and the weather looked pretty bad at this. Always better safe than sorry and honestly, any race you finish without injuries or issues is a victory because so many runners get hurt and can't make it to the start.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. It has been a tough year. My feet are feeling great, but I'm so off in my endurance and speed. I didn't bounce back as quickly as the last time. But, I'll just keep plugging away.

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  34. I'm so glad you had such a great experience! That elevation map is bonkers. It's great that you guys managed to finish together after all of that. :)

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    1. I have no memory of that BIG downhill. LOL. The only one I remember was too short to have been that one. I do remember EVERY up hill though.

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  35. Hope you had a wonderful mother's day! Congrats on your 45th half marathon and great recap of the race! Awesome job on a hilly course!

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    1. I did have a wonderful Mother's Day! I hope to hit my 50th HM this year!

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  36. What a wonderful race, and your race pictures turned out great! Way to go!!

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    1. We both got some great professional race pictures from this race. Usually, they aren't very flattering at all!

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  37. I knew you two would have so much fun #FOMO for the rest of us! I love the race recaps! I think it is so funny that you two finished with the exact same time, unbelievable! Congrats on #45 and I love your signature picture at the end of your post! Very cute!

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    1. We thought about you during the after party! We knew you would have enjoyed rockin' those tunes with us.

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  38. What a fun race! Great job! I hope you can make it again to Chicago.

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    1. I'd like to return to Chicago! I would be nice to get a little redemption after that nasty fall.

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