Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Too many variables

Every day I feel lethargic. I sleep well and I wake up without problem, but by 9am I want to go back to bed. I come from work and all I want to do is to go to sleep. During the day, I can barely keep my eyes open.
I am moody. I am melancholic. Sometimes I am on the verge of crying for no reason at all. I cannot explain it. It just is. I don't know what I want or what I miss.
I don't feel like exercising. I could go to the pool, I could hop on the trainer or hit the treadmill at the gym. But all I can handle right now are the weekly yoga class, the group swim and the group bike classes. On my own, nothing at all.

I have been in this funk for a few weeks now and I don't know why.

Too many variables:

Maybe it's Seasonal Affective Disorder because I hate the cold and the way it makes my body feel (Raynaud's, asthma, dry skin) and I'd rather be somewhere sunny instead?
Maybe because I changed my diet and my body misses the double dose of carbs/sugar?
Maybe because I am often feeling hungry and I run out of energy?
Maybe I am just hangry?
Maybe because I'm tired and need a vacation?
Maybe because my body is all screwed up since I've cut 3/4 of my workouts out (4h/week instead of 12h)?
Maybe because I'm no longer racing?
Maybe because I'm getting older?
Maybe because I miss my friends and being social?
Maybe because I'm scared of what's to come?

It can be any of these, or none, or all at once. I have 2 more weeks to snap out of it. Until then, I leave you with a picture that makes me feel better. I don't know who took it, so I apologize to the owner for not crediting them here, but it's too beautiful not to share.
I see me.
Hope your winter is sunnier than mine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A weekend in Ottawa

Last weekend we went to Ottawa on a whim. We needed a change in scenery, a little escape from our daily routine and surroundings. We like it in Ottawa, there is a great bakery there, the Byward Market, a few friends that we had not seen in ages and overall, and a different vibe that makes it a great destination for our little family. The city was getting ready for Veterans' Day, so there was a festive yet solemn feeling in the air. It was pretty cold, and we could sense that we were going to see the first snow of the year while there.
Don't mind me, I'm just hanging on this branch with my friend the owl
Saturday started with a walk along the Parliament buildings and on the pedestrian paths that were pretty deserted this early in the day.

We went for breakfast at the Moulin de Provence, where we "sampled" a few desserts and pastries, Continental Style, followed by coffee: Tim Hortons for hubbs, Starbucks for me and Yanis because YOLO, if you were to listen to my son. The sugar overdose had just begun. We returned to the hotel and decided on our next destination, Altitude Gym, a short drive to Gatineau across the river. We weren't quite sure what we'd find there, but from the magazine pictures, it looked like fun. And we were going to climb walls.
Once we got there, however, we felt really intimidated seeing Spiderman-like people with fancy shoes swinging their way across colourful and frightening tall walls. We weren't quite sure what we got ourselves into, but we signed our lives away and paid for a "fun" activity called Clip 'n Climb. We only waited for a few minutes, then we had to attend an orientation meeting, at the end of which we were given harnesses to wear around our legs and waist. We discovered that the Clip 'n Climb activity was in a different part of the gym, that looked nothing like the "traditional" climbing walls that we saw when we arrived.
That was more like it! If the kids can do it, so should I (I was wrong, by the way). The video sure makes it look like a LOT of fun, doesn't it! (I did not see this beforehand)

But after a few minutes of climbing, I was ready to cry. My arms and hands were screaming in pain!! The first wall that I tried was the green and purple one with rotating holds and zero grip on them. I gave up after a few minutes. But decided to have fun no matter what, I went after easier walls. But they all required upper body strength to hold onto them and quickly realized how little I had. I was happy that my kids and husband were not struggling as much as me, at least they could take advantage of every minute that I was spending in a corner massaging my fingers. They could rest assured, they had no competition in me. The hour went by slow enough for me to try most of the walls and end with a leap of faith from the top of the wiggly pillars. That, my friends, was the culmination of this weekend. I climbed, and climbed and I reached the end of the damn pillars, but by then I was ready to pee my pants. I could feel so much FEAR and it was not comfortable. It was making my insides shake. My legs and hands were shaking too. The higher the pillars, the shakier they were too.
The Towering Inferno
I am glad that Zin took this picture of me because I don't think I'll ever go up there again. But I did it once and I feel a lot of pride for going out of my comfort zone like that.
We all agreed that we'd have to come back sometime (now I need to look into similar places in the GTA). Outside, it had started snowing.

We went back to Byward Market where we met with one of our friends for a late lunch/early dinner. It was almost 3pm by then. We settled on the Fish Market restaurant. We had mussels and fries, and we all ordered a different kind with the intention of sharing, but in the end we didn't because we all liked our choice too much to give it up. After stuffing ourselves with mussels, we returned to the bakery for desserts. More sampling ensued. After a while, we decided to put an end to our gluttony and head back to the hotel. I was slipping in a food coma, walking slowly, trying not to puke. I was not proud of my antics. Even though I did not have a big quantity of food when you think about it, the wide variety of sweets, especially when not used to them, and the repeat performance had put an end to my tolerance for sugar that day. All I wanted was to lie down and wait for my stomach to decide that it had punished me enough.

So we headed back to our hotel room and while the boys decided to have fun around the pool, I went to the sauna. 3 times 10 minutes, with a dip in the not-so-hot tub in between. It was really good, it was exactly what I needed. Calm, quiet and sweaty. Thankfully nobody came to chat, I was really not in the mood!
Aaaaaahhhhhhhh, that's more like it
A few hours later, guess what, we were hungry again. How was that possible?? Wait, sugar, quickly gone. Alright, next then. It had to be within walking distance, and there weren't many choices that were fitting in our budget. We ended at a little Thai place where we had Tom Yum soup and shared a pad thai. Both very decent, it was a good choice. Fast service, fast dinner, happy belleh at last. Back at the hotel, we bought a pay per view movie, Red 2, and we all watched and laughed a lot. Family time wise, this was all that we had asked for.

Next morning we all agreed that we would not go back to the bakery. That was enough stomach ache for the weekend and as a matter of fact, it was at that moment that I decided to clean up my diet. Seeing how much this little excess cost me health wise, I figured that I should not put my body through this regimen any time soon. Anyway, we had breakfast in a place called Eggspectation and as you may have guessed, we had eggs. Outside it was still cold, but also raining. Not very pleasant for a walk or any outdoor activity as a matter of fact. I had planned to go geocaching, but the motivation was slipping away with each minute. Eventually we called it a day and we decided to head back home since we still had a 5h drive ahead of us. Quite a workout in itself, it always is.

Speaking of which, we arrived home exactly at 7pm, which gave us enough time for a spin on the trainer before bed. In the end, a great weekend, with new and exciting memories made and a good time had by all. I can't wait to do it again, minus the sweets binge. Lesson learned!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Because I like making lists: 40 steps to 40

Did you know that in less than a year I'll be turning 40?

Yep, no matter what, 40 is happening. But how I get there, it's a different matter altogether. I want to turn 40 with a bang!! (I'll make sure to put that on the list by the way). Yes, I know that I've signed up for an Ironman, but I need some backup plans because shit can happen and then what?
Besides, if you dedicate your whole year to the Ironman and put on hold everyone and everything else, most likely you (that's me) will get alienated by the monotony of workouts and the constant focus on fitness. I think it is important for your psyche to keep a somewhat normal life around Ironman training because you never know when you're going to need to look back and say "this was not a complete waste of time". I've learned some lessons along the way...
I'm a big kid now
So I've made a list of 40 challenges, goals, stepping stones, whatever you want to call them, which should be enough to keep me busy in all situations. Half of them are fitness related because it just made it easier to fill up the list. The rest I got with help from friends, Pinterest and my bored mind. I want my 40s to be the best decade yet. Here we go. Deadline is September 18, 2014.
1. Finish Ironman Mt. Tremblant
2. Clean up my diet. I have a plan for that.
3. Lose weight to reach 125lb
4. Run a 5k race under 25min
5. Run a 10k race under 52min
6. Run a half marathon race
7. Complete a duathlon
8. Complete a 70.3 triathlon
9. Swim 1000m with flip turns
10. Swim 4x50m medley non stop
11. Swim with fins in open water for fun
12. Go skinny dipping
13. Bike to Niagara Falls and back
14. Bike to Blue Mountain and back
15. Bike the Caledon Trailway
16. Climb a mountain
17. Volunteer at a race
18. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
19. Read 5 books
20. Dye my hair at home
21. Find 100 new geocaches
22. Make a jar of something
23. Make 12 new dishes
24. Spend a whole day at the movies
25. Do something fun on New Year's Eve
26. Go on a date night x 4
27. Make something with my cork collection
28. Make a dreamcatcher
29. Use my 10 classes Yoga pass
30. Try paddle boarding
31. Learn how to roll sushi
32. Express gratitude for at least 40 days
33. Host a party/BBQ with friends at home
34. Ride the Leviathan rollercoaster
35. Ride the Behemoth with my younger son
36. Go fishing with my boys
37. Try a new food
38. Go to the reflexologist
39. Get a mani/pedi or a spa treatment
40. Turn 40 with a Bang!

This is a method to my madness. (I also put the list on the side so I can keep track more easily).
Everyone say hip hip hooray!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's time for a change

It's that time of the year when I like to reflect on my diet and see what changes I could/should make going forward. Not only I can see the numbers on the scale going up as the workout volume is going down, but just like the previous times that I gave myself challenges, I know what my issues are and once more, I need to get the upper hand on them. I have talked about my sugar and carbs intake before, and while it's nothing too alarming, I know that these two don't play nice with my body. Besides, even though I may be in the best shape of my life (fitness wise), it's not an excuse for filling my body with empty calories and this is the one trend that I am trying to reverse. I have friends on every diet spectrum possible and while their efforts in sticking with a method are really inspiring, I do not believe that I could make such drastic changes without making it so much harder for my family. We also have no medical reasons for changing anything that we're doing right now (but neither should we wait for them), plus I do not believe that one particular diet is better than other (I am talking in terms of lifestyle changes, not weight loss). We have a fairly clean diet, varied and devoid of fast food, pop, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, colorants and other chemicals. We try to buy as much local/organic food as possible and limit our eating out. Despite my sweet tooth, I have been able to maintain a stable weight throughout the year and I even saw my fat mass decrease.

As you can see, nothing wild happened over the past 12 months. I am exactly at the same weight as a year ago. So now that's out of the way, let's talk action plan. I need to make some changes in order to eat at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, while reducing my carbohydrate intake (Tim Hortons, I am looking at you). I checked out the Paleo diet and I know that it is not feasible for me, because I have no desire to completely remove wheat, dairy and grains forever (everything but the cheese, please!!). There are enough populations out there that live to a hundred years (Okinawa Island, Crete etc.) on diets that are very different from Paleo to convince me that this is not the only answer out there. If I had a chronic illness that would justify it, why not, but I am healthy as I've ever been and it's not for having eaten Paleo everything. However, the fact that this diet forces you to eat more veggies and be more creative with your cooking, it is a good enough reason to try following its principles at least half a day, each day.

So this is what I decided -
From breakfast to lunch included, I can eat like before (including bread, homemade banana bread, french crepes, croissants, toast etc), but in moderate quantities. I will not eat my cheesecake or pizza for breakfast, rest assured. Bottom line, I will not move meals around just to justify eating junk.
Lunch can have carbs/starch or not, but I will try to have more often veggies than mashed potatoes or rice.
After lunch, I will stop eating:
-carbs (as in bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, baked goods, pizza etc.)
-alcohol (only one a week, in the weekend)
-other sweet drinks

The idea that I can fight a craving until the next morning instead of the next month is much, much more appealing to me. Plus, most likely the craving would be gone by next day = win!

To keep me motivated, since these changes should also lead to some weight loss eventually (I put on 5lb just in the last 2 weeks, mostly due to marathon carb loading), I signed up for Michael's Diet Bet challenge. This will be my second attempt and I hope to be successful, unlike the first time when I plateau'd after losing 3lb.
I find the off season to be the perfect time to experiment with dietary changes. There is less pressure to eat enough calories to sustain a high intensity workout volume and I have more time to improve my cooking skills. I think this way of eating would benefit me from many points of view. But most important, it feels right for me.

After a weekend of binging on desserts (the Moulin de Provence bakery in Ottawa is deadly!!), it is now time to stop the madness. Not only I got really sick and bloated from eating all these sweets, but I also questioned my motives. I had none other than "gourmandise" (greed sounds like such a bad word). I started making changes right away, on my way back home when we stopped for dinner.
This was my plate at Swiss Chalet. No more chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes or bread bun. An hour later I was hungry again, but I ate a fruit cup. I am on my third day and I feel that I already ate more fruits and veggies than in an entire week.
At lunch yesterday, despite not bringing anything with me, I went to the cafeteria and bought this:
I had beef with cauliflower and carrots in teriyaki sauce, and I asked for double the broccoli and zero the rice on the side. I also bought a cup of pineapple and put together a small salad (cucumber, tomato, egg, no dressing) for snack. It took me through the day alright, although I felt my stomach asking for food sooner than usual. In the evening, I made myself an egg white omelet with spinach, chicken and red peppers.
I went for a run and ate a banana afterwards.
So it's now the third day, I even went swimming this morning and I see no change in my energy levels and I had no cravings. This feels very doable in the long term and I believe that it can only be good for my health. I made those changes the first step in my "40 Steps to 40" (OMG I'm turning 40!!!) set of challenges over the next year. Now I only need to come up with the other 39.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon Race Report

Another year, another marathon, because life is too short not to go for more. The rest is between my shrink and I. Just that I haven't seen a shrink in many years, so I had to convince my coach that I needed to run this distance even after finishing a 70.3 triathlon instead. He didn't think it was a good idea because I am now officially training for the Ironman and I cannot afford any boo-boo's, but hopefully after this race he's accepted the fact that I may be an alien and that I'll survive outside of Area 51. Not only I had one of the best days in my life, but I also came out of it unscathed, without a single chaffing mark or blister. I even have all my toenails. Who am I?

Training wise, coach had to be creative and increase my mileage conservatively, while putting me in the best position mentally to run the distance. This is what my last month before the race looked like. I missed about 5% of workouts that he had scheduled (not on this page), but I tried to follow his plan the best I could and remain in tune with my body and not hesitate to take a day off when I didn't feel recovered.
Volume wise, it was nothing extraordinary, and certainly not your regular marathon training program with 20+ mile long runs and 40+ miles a week totals. Heck, I didn't even run more than 3 times a week, but I put all my energy in the LSDs, with some tempo thrown in the middle for extra fun (not!). I ran at least a half-marathon distance 5 weekends in a row, with very little taper in the end. And it worked.

Many of my friends were going to race as well, either in the full marathon (Carol, Mandy) or the half (Sam, Nicole, Patty, Emma, Amy). It was going to be a party! I knew that with such a company, I'd have enough inspiration surrounding me for weeks. Carol decided to spend the day before the race in Hamilton and I booked a hotel room as well, just minutes away from the finish line. This ended being the best decision ever. She and her mom came to pick me and my older son up around noon on Saturday. Roughly one hour later we arrived at the expo, but we only spent about 1h there as it was wet and cold and we needed to stay off our feet.
First tent: pick up bag, bib and chip.
Second tent: pick up tshirt and spend your money
I ended buying a Sugoi winter jacket because I had been looking for one for a long long time and I was glad to see it so heavily discounted. Then we stopped for a quick lunch and a cup of tea before heading for the hotel to unpack, rest and rewind.
Teenage sitcoms are the best for falling asleep
No name on the bib? Come'on!
The hours went by fast, then it was time for dinner. We went out to East Side Mario's where I had a generous plate of "make your own pasta" (fettucine and shrimp for me) and shared a slice of strawberry cheesecake with my son. It was satisfying to say the least.

Back to the hotel again, I prepared my stuff for the race: gels, puffer for my asthma, water and pickle juice bottles, fuel belt, bib, socks, gloves, buff, insulated tights, wool tshirt and Sugoi outer layer. The only big unknown, which plagued my brain for over a month, were the shoes. I had brought two pairs with me: a new pair of trustworthy Adidas Glide 2 (one of the three pairs that I had bought 2 years ago) and my new love affair, the K Swiss K-Onas in which I had trained most of the year and which quickly became the most comfortable pair of shoes that I owned. The Adidas were known to give me some blisters on the inside of my feet, but not a handicap for the marathon, while the K Swiss always left my feet impeccable, but I had never tried them on distances longer than 24km. Also, the K Swiss were much lighter than the Adidas, with a smaller heel drop as well. Were they going to kill my joints and calves over 42.2km? That was a risk I had yet to make my mind on.

We switched off the lights at 10:45pm and made sure that alarm clock was set on the iPhone (which was going to magically change time by itself at 2pm). I slept pretty well until 4:30am, then I tossed and turned until 6am, feeling more rested than anxious, thanks to the extra hour. Got up 2 minutes before the alarm and got ready for the 6:45am departure with Carol and her mom. Made myself a sandwich with butter and a few turkey slices and ate a banana. Put another banana in my throw away sweater's pocket and off I went. Just 30 seconds before getting out the door I put on my K Swiss shoes and decided not to over-think my last minute choice.

We were dropped at the starting line in some sort of recreation center with a full sized gymnasium and a few baseball fields around. We made our way inside the building and started looking for familiar faces. Eventually I found the #burlingtonskirtbrigade and Nicole who was sticking out like the one sane person out of the bunch. No offense, ladies, but skirts in -7C? Cuckoo, all of you! I love you anyway, but don't mind me if I call you the #burlingtonskirtasylum from now on.
From left to right: Amy, Emma, me, Sam, Patty and Nicole.
I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone else in here
We exchanged hugs and took a few pics, then we all went on a mission to find port-a-potties with no lineups. But guess what, no such luck. Carol and I ended sharing some bushes, which pretty much sealed our best friends for life status. (Psst, her bum is whiter than mine!)

As the starting time was fast approaching, I followed with some dynamic stretches and did a few accelerations and ABCs (not in the bushes!!), then joined the crowd for the national anthem. I placed myself just ahead of the 4:15 pacer, hoping for a final time between a 4:10 and 4:30. The magic pace for a 4:10 was 5:55min/km and I was hoping to stay on track for at least 30km, then adjust my expectations depending on how my body would feel. However, even a 1 min PR would have satisfied me if things were to turn sour.
A quick countdown and at 8am sharp the race started. There were some rollers right off the bat and I wasn't quite sure what my pace was since at km 1, the 4:15 pacer passed us. It seemed to me that I was going a bit fast, but I could not understand why the pacer was going even faster. I noticed that the first km was actually at 1.1km on my watch and realized that I was not going to rely much on my overall pace if the GPS was all over the map. So I eventually decided to hit the lap button whenever I'd run past a km marker and do a mental calculation to make sure I wasn't going slower than 6min/km. At least I knew that I could rely on my 6 multiplication table. Isn't school wonderful? Stick with it, kids, you never know when your GPS is going to fail you.
The view along Ridge road for the first 8km was absolutely spectacular. The sky was so clear, you could see Toronto and the whole GTA. I could not get enough of these sights and kept telling myself how this course was as beautiful as the County Half, minus the rain. I was in heaven.

The heart rate was a bit too high for my taste though. In high zone 4 (170+ bpm), I needed to bring it down a little. Hitting the lap button regularly helped, and I finally settled in a pace that seemed to gravitate around 5:55 as planned. Mandy caught up with us and for a moment I imagined us three crossing the finish line together in 4:10, just like we dreamed.
Carol in Mandy are in tune
Shortly after km 8, my phone shut down by itself. Right away I thought it died of cold, so I didn't even bother to resuscitate it. Alas it meant the end of the pictures for me. Pace was nice and steady, heart rate was coming down a little. I was running relaxed and enjoying every moment.
I ate my first gel between km 5-6 and drank a bit of water. I decided not to stop or take drinks at the aid stations unless really necessary. We made another turn after 10km, this time running along some corn fields. Still quiet and peaceful, I was keeping an eye on my pace, another on my heart rate. All systems a-ok! Around km 12 I took out my first homemade cereal bar and I ate it all (I made them smaller than usual though). Carol made a run to the bushes for a pee break and I slowed down a little, hoping that she'd catch up. 5 minutes later, there she was! Mandy had taken off and she looked pretty strong, so I wasn't even sure that I'd see her again that day.

Three kilometers later I hit my lap button as usual and noticed that the pace had dropped into the 6:05min/km. I told Carol that if we wanted to stay on 5:55 pace, we needed to speed up a little. We had done the first 10km in under 1h, I wanted to stay on track for the next 10, and the next. I pulled away just slightly, but I could still see Carol over my shoulder. I thought I'd need to pee sometime later as well, so I imagined that we'd lap each other a few times until the end. By km 18, I was hungry again. I ate another gel and downed it with some water. I think I took my first sip of energy drink at that water station because I heard someone saying Gatorade. Gatorade my ass, it was Honey Maxx. Some kids knew what they were talking about, others were totally off track. Anyway, I decided to stay away from the mystery drinks and stick with my own liquids.

I also ate an orange slice and that felt sooooo good, I wanted to run back and grab a handful! But then the Red Hill Valley Parkway (aka the death-to-your-knees downhill) came, I was way too happy to care. The whole time I wanted to stretch my arms out and yell "I'm the queen of the world"!! I made sure I ran in the middle of the road to make it my OWN.  I was also on my own from then on.
Thankfully a photographer was there to capture the moment. I believe I can fly... In the middle of this euphoria, I drank half of my pickle juice. My legs were a bit achy and the last thing I wanted to see was a cramp to take me down. I was having a great time on that highway, but I knew that all good times had to come to an end and eventually a ramp took me out of this rollercoaster and onto the city streets again.

But not for long, because to my surprise, the next part of the course was on a trail with a very nasty downhill and some weird bricks that made me go ouch ouch ouch, followed by a hill steeper than the stairmaster and the same weird bricks. To make sure I was not going to leave an ankle in the dirt, I walked those few steps up. I don't think anyone ran there, unless they had Achilles of steel. In retrospective, these were the only steps I walked during this marathon. I still cannot believe it. We were approaching the 30km marker and just after passing this funky bridge, I looked at my watch and got really excited to see that I was still on track and that I had just beaten my 30km PR by over 5 minutes with a time of 2:59.
As I approached the lake shore path, I started hearing the waves and got thankful again for being able to run without music and enjoy the nature's sounds instead. It was really amazing, not a single negative thought had crossed my mind until then. I ran on. I could see marathoners coming back already, which meant that they were only 2-3km away from the finish. Add another 10 for me. I noticed this funny guy in a Mario costume up on a bench and I started laughing. I had no idea that I was looking at Marlene who was there to cheer on her hubby! 

Soon enough, the path split and we were taken away from the beautiful sight of the lake and onto a residential area. Oh well, it was time to eat again. But first, the pickle juice. I finished my bottle, then let my stomach settle a little. A km later, the 4:15 pacer passed me and I knew that I was now running my regular long run pace of 6:15min/km and that I had to say bye bye to dream goal of 4:10. No biggie, I was feeling strong, no aches anywhere and the waves were just around the corner. I ate my last gel at km 35 and went back to drinking water.

Not long afterwards I returned on the "happy" path with the soothing waves. I was in la-la land and the idea of jumping in the lake for an ice bath after crossing the finish lane was a powerful mind numbing drug. I kept on running, but I never had to go to the dark corners of my brain. I saw the 40km sign and I remembered an Instagram picture that said that I was close. You bet!! I found enough energy to speed up and run the last 2km strong, bursting into a loud cheer across the finish line.
I DID IT!! I beat my PR by 18 minutes and finished in 4:17:19. This whole day was just perfect, what a treat!! Now I can rest and embrace the off season. Was it worth it? Absolutely! I had another chance to measure myself against the marathon distance and I am extremely happy that I raced smart and not unnecessarily aggressive, got my nutrition in at the right times and even adjusted my footing to fight stitches the few times they tried getting the best of me. Finally, after 2 bad marathons, I could fully enjoy the experience again. I don't promise that the next will be as pleasant as this one, but one thing for sure, I will try to keep my smile until I cross the finish line.

Geekery below:
Many many thanks to my coach David Jenkin who always comes up with the smartest training plans, that fit me perfectly and keep me injury free. One more PR to make you proud!!

Also, a million thanks to my husband Zin, my most dedicated cheerleader, who put up with me throughout the year and especially in the last weeks of this training cycle - we both know it wasn't easy! To my son Yanis who came with me to the race and cheered me on, and gave me his jacket when I was freezing cold. Love you, my son!

To Carol's mom who drove us around and invited us for dinner. You made our weekend so much easier!! Thank you for your generosity!

Last but not least, my friends online and in real life who share this passion with me and who provided me with a constant dose of inspiration to take me through the best and worst times this year. To many more PRs, BQs, high fives and running skirts - or not. You know who you are - Thank you!!!