My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

Psyching Myself Up For 14.5

I have pretty much been freaking out about tonight’s 14.5 WOD since it was announced last night.
14.5 wod

Thankfully I was able to distract myself with work for a good part of the day, but since I got home from work around 3:30, I have been getting more and more anxious about this killer WOD.

It’s just Thrusters and Burpees…but it’s lots of them, and the thrusters are at a weight that I’ve only done a few sets at 55# before.  I have been watching a few videos for tips on how to make the thrusters easier.  Hopefully some of them will have sunk in and I can put them into action when it’s my turn for the workout.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the burpees will be the best part of this workout!  and that is INSANE!

I have no expectation about my finish time.  I will be happy if I can actually make it to the end of the WOD.  I just have to remember…
I can do hard things

I’ll update later and let you know how it goes!

Wish me luck!


My Toughest WOD

So last week on Tuesday I was complaining about how it was a day off from CrossFit and I hated it. Today, I am so glad I have a day off!  My body is killing me.  I’m not sure I could do a WOD today. 

Last night’s WOD wrecked me.  We did Barbara:

I’ve done with particular WOD once before – back on April 1 when I was still fairly new to CrossFit.  I was still in the Fundamentals class and we were given a time cap of 35 minutes.  I don’t really remember doing the WOD, but from my WODBook I saw I got through 3 rounds, plus the pull-ups and 28 sit-ups.  At that point, I would have been using the thick green band for the pull-ups.  My goal last night was to finish the WOD. 

I was a bit worried about how long it might take me since the times posted on the board were over half an hour, even for the really good CrossFitters.  There were a few times well over 40 minutes as well.  I think the longest time was 49:00.

We did our usual warm up stuff and then set up our stations so we could get right into the WOD.  I set up my pull-up station with a thin black band.  That’s the band that I’ve been using lately for pull-ups in WODs so I figured it would be what I needed for Barbara.  That was my first mistake.  Sure, I can crank out 8-10 pull-ups using the black band, but this WOD had 20…and 5 friggin’ rounds of them!  The pull-ups killed me.  Each round I could do fewer and fewer in a row, and by the third round, I was lucky if I could string together 2 in a row.  Most of them in that 3rd set were singles, then drop off the bar to shake out my arms, jump back up for one more, over and over and over.  It was AWFUL! 

And if the pull-ups weren’t bad enough, once I finally did all 20 of them, I had to drop to the floor and use many of those same muscles for the push-ups!  I ended up starting with full proper pushups from my toes, but only did about 5 like that, before realizing this would probably lead to the same issue as the pull-ups, so I made the call to drop to my knees.  I made sure that I had good “CrossFit form” for my push-ups, with my elbows tight by my sides.  They were hard and I had to take breaks, but they were no where as bad as those f’ing pull-ups.

After the push-ups were done, the WOD got much better.  I was able to keep a steady pace through most of the sit-ups and the squats.  It was easy to keep moving through the squats because I knew as soon as I finished them, I got to rest for 3 minutes. 

Before the 4th round I switched my band from black to purple for the pull-ups.  That was a smart move.  I think if I didn’t do that, I might still be there trying to finish!  Once I switched to the purple band, I was able to crank out 10 solid pull-ups in a row and then did 2 sets of 5 to finish off the 20.  They were still tough and I could feel every muscle working to pull my chin over that bar, but they were so much easier and with much better form than with the black band.  I probably should have used purple for the whole thing.  The pull-ups with the black band were SO SLOW!  It killed me. 

Despite picking up the pace a bit with the purple banded pull-ups, I was BY FAR, the last one to finish the WOD.  I was the only one left for my whole last round.  Coach Andrew kept the positive comments coming.  He was getting the gym ready to close up, putting all the equipment back where it belonged.  He would put something away, and then come back and tell me to keep going or how well I was doing.  A couple of the other class members sat and watched me finish up and also cheered me on. 

By the time I finally got to the last set up sit-ups even they were tough.  I had my eyes closed and it was all I could do to get myself up for the last 10 or so.  Everything hurt.  It was all I could do to not cry.  Seriously, I was so close to tears. I just kept breathing and willing the tears to stay in. 

Finally, I was on my last set of squats.  Surprisingly, they weren’t too bad.  By then I was on a mission to just finish this damn workout.  I just kept moving up and down, up and down, and even tried to think about giving a good squeeze on the way up.  I may as well make these last 50 count!

And then, after the longest 58 minutes and 26 seconds of my life, it was over. That’s right.  It took me almost an hour to finish the WOD.  I think this was the toughest WOD I have done at CrossFit so far.  It was physically challenging because of all the pull-ups and push-ups, but even more than that, it was mentally challenging.  To keep going for that long took every ounce of determination and mental strength. 

Even when I was finished and walking around the gym after the WOD, trying to catch my breath, I had to be strong and fight back the tears.  I don’t think they were tears of pain.  In a weird way, they were tears of joy.  It took a long time, but I finished the WOD….and I was happy and proud of that.  I could have easily quit when the pull-ups became so tough or when my hand ripped during the 4th round.  I could have quit at 9:30pm, the official end of the class.  I could have only done 3 rounds as coach suggested might be a good idea.  But I didn’t quit.  I kept going.  It was hard, but I did it…and I’m proud of that.

I now know I can put myself through hell for 58 minutes and 26 seconds and survive!

Now I’m enjoying my day off, and psyching myself up to go back tomorrow.  I’ll be ready!

i am a crossfit woman
I love that quote. 

Have you had a tough WOD that you didn’t think you could get through?
Have you ever wanted to cry during a WOD?


Barbara Is No Joke!

Happy April Fools! 

Today was a pretty normal day.. I wasn’t involved in any April Fools shenanigans, work was good (especially the drive to and from – gotta love semi-stat holiday traffic!), and tonight I hit CrossFit.

Today’s CrossFit WOD was Barbara. 

I had read a bit online about how awful Barbara can be.  I even read that “Pukie” often makes an appearance during Barbara. 

I’d seen the Pukie avatar (just the head without the puke!) on the CrossFit games website, but I didn’t quite know what it was.  Now I know!  I am happy to say that Pukie did NOT make an appearance during my workout!

We did a good warm up and then we broke down the workout, and got set up.  I used a blue band for the pull-ups since there is no way in hell I would be able to do 100 pull-ups without it!  Our coach modified the workout slightly.  I guess in earlier classes, by the time the group got through the warm up, they weren’t finishing the WOD within the hour class.  So, instead of 5 rounds for time, with 3 minutes rest in between, we had 35 minutes total to do the as many rounds as we could.. 

Other than the pull-ups, which are killer for me, even with a big, fat, blue band, the rest of the WOD was hard, but awesome!  I did well on the push-ups (from my knees) – knocking off the first set of 30 straight!  Wohoo! The sit-ups and squats were actually not too bad…there were just so many of them!

I had a slight brain fart in being so excited to get back to the pull-ups, I took my break before I did my squats in the first round.  God, at some point I need to have enough brain left during my workout to count and follow the program!  Anyways, I got back on track and managed to get into the 4th round, completing the pull-ups, push-ups and 28 sit-ups before the 35 minutes were up.   I think if I had another 10 minutes, I would have been able to complete the whole true workout.  Hopefully I get to do this WOD again and I can see how long it takes me to finish the real Barbara workout. 

This workout once again reinforced my lack of upper body strength…mainly my pull-ups.  They suck!  I am going to work very hard to improve this.  My push-ups are getting better, so hopefully before too long my pull-ups get better too!  I may have to check out some iPhone apps and see if I can find a pull-up app that might help me improve.  And maybe I need to get one of these for my basement: (I must be nuts!)
pullup bar

Now, I’m sitting on my couch, writing my blog and watching all the shows we taped tonight.  Gotta love the PVR!  With the ability to skip through commercials, we were able to watch The Following (love, love, love that show), as well as House of Lies and Californication (love, love, love David Duchovny!). 

Once again it’s late, and I need to go to bed.  Story of my life! 

Have you ever done Barbara?  She is one tough bitch!\

Do you know of a good “learn to pull-up” app for iPhone? 

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My First WOD

Today was my first official Workout of the Day, or WOD, as they call it at CrossFit.  I went to the 5:30 class and was both looking forward to it and dreading it all day. I wanted to make sure I got there early so I didn’t have to do any penalty burpees. Apparently it’s 20 burpees for every minute you are late. I got there about 10 minutes early and watched the 4:30 class finish up.

Each day on the CrossFit Newmarket Central website they post the WOD and the WOD for the next day as well. This is what was posted today:

WOD feb 1 
The class started with a bunch of exercises to warm up. We did dislocators (moving a PVC pipe from your hips, over your head, and down your back, while keeping your arms straight), 15 burpees, a plank, 30 sit-ups, and a squat hold. Then we did some Frankensteins and walking lunges. After that, it was time for the strength portion of the workout. This was 5 rounds of max reps pull-ups with a 2 minute rest in between. I am not good at pull-ups. I can’t really do one 😦 I had to use a band to help. With the assistance of the band (a medium band – although it seemed like a pretty thick band to me!) I was able to do 7-6-4-4-3. The last round was pretty pathetic, but I could not pull out anymore…I was trying and pulling as hard as I could, shaking like a leaf, but just could not get my damn chin over the bar. Oh well…I managed to crank out 24 pull-ups, and I think that’s awesome! 3 days ago I would never have even considered doing pull-ups and today I did 24!

After the pull-ups, it was time to get to the main part of the workout. Since it was my first time, Ryan, the coach for the class, wanted me to start without too much weight yet, since I would be feeling it regardless of how much I lifted. So, for the deadlifts, he got me to set up a 15lb bar, with 15 pounds on each side, for 45lbs total weight. I’m pretty sure I could have lifted more, but he was more concerned with me doing the move with correct form rather than lifting heavy right away. He also modified the number of reps that us new kids did (there were 2 guys who were taking their first class as well). While the main class was doing 15/15 for 10 rounds, we would only be doing 10/10 for 10 rounds.

After resetting the main clock, Ryan said there would be a 20 minute hard stop for this workout, gave the 3-2-1 countdown, and the workout started. Ryan wanted me to focus on having perfect form and not to worry too much about how fast I was going. The weight definitely wasn’t too heavy, I’m sure I could have lifted more, but it was good because I could really think about how I was moving through the deadlift and be sure that I was doing it properly.

After 10 deadlifts, it was right into 10 push-ups. I was able to do the first couple of rounds on my toes, modifying with a hand-raise to help take the pressure off a bit. After the 3rd round though, I dropped to my knees for the remaining rounds, and by the 8th round, even those were incredibly challenging.

I kept going, and definitely found the deadlifts to be the easier part of the workout. I have so little upper body strength, as was emphasized during the pull-up phase of the workout, and the push-ups were killer.

There were 13 people in the class today.  The regulars were all finishing up while the newbies still plugged along.  I started my last round with 2 minutes left.  I got through the deadlifts no problem, and then struggled through those last 10 push-ups.  Ryan was encouraging me, yelling “push” as I worked through those last 10.  Others who had already finished up were also cheering me on.  It was awesome!  I was shaking and dripping sweat into a puddle on the floor, but I kept going and finally got through the last 10 push-ups, and finished the workout in 19:39.  I had 21 seconds to spare!  I was thrilled!  And I wasn’t the last one done.  One of the newbie guys didn’t quite make the 10 rounds…the last set of push-ups did him in. 

Everyone at CrossFit has a workout book.  It’s for us to keep track of all the details of the WOD that we do.  Here’s my first entry.  The best part….finishing within the 20 minute cut off!
WOD tracking sheet Feb 1 
I’m pretty sure I will be feeling this tomorrow…mostly my arms, since I could barely lift them after the workout to eat my dinner – which was pizza night at my sister’s to celebrate making it through the week.  Probably not the kind of dinner they hope you eat after a workout, but hey, that’s life!

I’ve got 12 hours now to rest up and recuperate, since I’m going to another class tomorrow at 11:30am.  I’m super excited to try wall balls.  People were talking about tomorrow’s workout after tonight’s class, saying they hope they at least finish the double-unders.  Hearing this, along with something I saw from Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean, saying she didn’t get to the muscle ups either, I will not be too upset if I don’t finish the workout.  I just hope I can lift my arms tomorrow to throw a medicine ball up a wall 150 times!

So, WOD 1 is in the books.  I can’t wait for WOD 2.  I think I might like this CrossFit stuff…hopefully I still feel that way when I start to hurt tomorrow!

I just need to remember this…

How was your workout today?

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Tomorrow is a Big Day!

What’s the big deal about tomorrow?  I’m going for my CrossFit introductory session…and I’m terrified!

I’ve been watching CrossFit videos on YouTube and I’m inspired, in awe, and even more terrified. This is some insane stuff. I look at the women in the videos and I look at myself….and I don’t think two things can be any further apart!

Seriously….look at how fit these women are!

See why I’m scared…I can’t do any of that…just thinking about doing it makes every muscle in my body ache!

I’m sure I won’t be jumping into any of those things on the first day.  Thank God!  If I survive Day 1, and manage to go back for Day 2, there is some hope that one of these days, well off into the future, I will be able to do at least some of these amazing things.

The only way to find out is to try…and I’m doing that tomorrow.

I will let you know how it goes.


My Three Things

As part of my Elf for Health Challenge, my task for last Wednesday was to look in the mirror and find 3 things that I like about myself.  I have been avoiding this challenge.

look in the mirror

Despite making some changes and improvements in the past 10 months, most days when I look in the mirror, I tend to see things that still need work.  So, finding three things that I like is a different way of thinking for me.

I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but that’s just the way it is.  I will try to work on that in 2013!

Anyways, the three things that I like are:

  1. My crazy, curly hair.  I have finally learned to embrace the curl.  It also helps that I have a great cut that let’s the curls go wild.  The curlier the better.  It is no maintenance hair and I spent maybe 2 minutes on it in the morning.
  2. My eyes.  I like the colour of them…hazel with gold flecks.  They are kind of neat.  Now if only I could get rid of the bags that seem to permanently be under them, that would be great!
  3. My curves.  I have accepted the fact that I will never be a “skinny” person.  I’m just not built that way.  I have curves.  My goal now is to make the curves look as good as possible.

cat lion mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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Catching Up

Today was a good day. After a very unclean breakfast of cold leftover pizza, and an unclean lunch of more leftover pizza, things got back on track for dinner.

I was finally home and had time to cook…and my recipe of choice was Clean Eating Mulligatawny Soup.

I have made this recipe once before, and it was even better than I remember it! The kids liked it too….the 13 year old even had seconds!

And the best part…5 leftover meals in the fridge ready to go!


While the Mulligatawny was simmering and the rice was cooking, I had time to do my Bob Harper workout of the day, and got caught up by doing yesterday’s missed workout as well. Doing two of these very intense workouts back to back was not very fun at all. I had to really push myself to keep going for the second workout. At times I thought about quitting after the first circuit of the second workout. I was telling myself that I did a workout today, and that could be enough…but I didn’t listen and kept going, completing all three circuits of the second set of exercises. I will say that push up jacks are not fun…but I surprised myself by the fact that I could do them at all. I feel like I am getting stronger and that keeps me going.

Do you catch up on missed workouts? Or do you just let them go and move on to the next one on your schedule, without looking back?


Niagara Falls Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend was Race Weekend for the Niagara Falls International Marathon and I was running the half marathon.  I was excited and nervous for this race.  I had done the training and felt I was ready to have a good run, and hit my goal of a 2:30 half.

My sister Erin was also running the half (hoping for a sub-2 hour time) and my friend Kathy was running, and going to pace me to my 2:30 finish.  We met up and drove down to Niagara together.  Kathy drove so Erin and I would be able to stay and meet out families at Great Wolf Lodge for a little family fun after the race. 

We hit up the race expo, which was a little disappointing relative to a few of the other expos I had been to, but I did manage to find a great run shirt for $20 that I could wear on race day.  It was hot pink and would match my fast shoes quite nicely 🙂

Our attempt at dinner on Saturday night was a bit of a zoo.  There were many choices near the hotel we were staying at.  We decided on Outback.  None of us had ever been there, but figured we would find something we could eat.  We were seated and were looking at the menu and we were all having trouble finding something we wanted to eat.  Things sounded okay, but they were ridiculously expensive  – the salads were $24!  So, we got up and walked out before anyone even came to take our drink order.  Next we tried the KEG, figuring if we were going to pay a small fortune for dinner, we would eat well. Turns out the KEG was closed for renovations.  The sign on the door suggested we eat next door at TGIFriday’s.  None of us had been there before either.  Here we were seated, and our drink order was taken…then we looked at the menu.  There wasn’t much that we wanted and it seemed that everything was served on a plate of sizzling, melted cheese.  Not really what we had in mind for a healthy pre-race dinner.  So, we got up and walked out before our drinks were delivered.  This was not looking good!  Our last choice was Kelsey’s.  We know they have good salads and some nice chicken dishes so we were hoping that prices wouldn’t be jacked up for the tourist area.  After a bit of a wait at the bar, we were finally seated.  We finally had success…the menu was the usual Kelsey’s menu at the usual prices!  Erin and I had some awesome balsamic chicken pasta (carb load!!!) and Kathy had the grilled balsamic chicken.  All meals were good and we were happy to finally be fed. 

After dinner it was back to the hotel to get things organized for the big day.  We all laid out our outfits, got our fuel belts and race nutrition organized, and had everything ready for the race.  Here’s what my layout looked like:flat cathy It was a total fluke, but my new shirt matched my fast shoes pretty nicely!

It was a relatively early night to bed, but I didn’t have the best sleep.  I guess I was nervous about the big race!  Well, that and the fact that Kathy talks in her sleep.  At one point, she was quite insistent that it would be “only the fun stuff, okay!”.  We have no idea what it meant, but it did give us a good laugh in the morning as we got ready.  We were hoping it was what our race day would be about…only the fun stuff!

In the morning we were up fairly early so we could have some breakfast and get ready to head over to catch the bus out to the start line.  We took a few pre-race pics…

prerace pics then we grabbed our things and were out the door for our walk to meet the busses for our ride out to the start line. 

I have to say that this was a very well organized race.  There were plenty of busses lined up to drive us out to the start, and once we got out there, a race organizer got on the bus to explain how things would work.  We had a bit of time to kill – about an hour and a half – until the race would start.  This gave us time to hit the large line up for the porta potties, and then stand around and try to get warm as we waited.  There were announcements about how long until the start and where the busses would be to put our things that we didn’t need for the race – all the extra things we were wearing to try not to freeze since it was pretty chilly first thing in the morning.  We packed our extra clothes in a bag and gave it to the volunteers in the bus that matched our race bib.  They labelled the bags and told us where we could find our stuff at the finish line.  This process worked very well and it was nice to get have another layer to put back on once the race was done.

So, my plan was to run a 2:30 half and Erin’s was to run a sub-2 hour.  She headed closer to the front of the pack and we went towards the middle.  Kathy and I figured we were in the right spot when the Running Room’s 2:30 pace bunny came and lined up right in front of us.  We were chatting with her as we waited.  Turns out this was her 10th time running the Niagara half and her 4oth half marathon in total.  I told her my goal was 2:30.  She said if I finished with her I would do it, because she always finished at her pace time. 

Kathy would be controlling my pace and I was just going to run and do what she told me to.  She told me I wasn’t to look at my Garmin – eventually she took it away from me, saying I was looking at it too much…I wasn’t looking at pace or distance or anything, just how much longer until my next walk break!  She would take care of all the details and I was just to focus on my running.  She even carried my race nutrition in her fuel belt for me and my water, so I wouldn’t have to carry my own fuel belt and wouldn’t be weighed down by it.  This was a very nice treat since I always run with a fully loaded fuel belt.  Not having those extra few pounds to lug around was great. 

We got off to a good start, and things felt pretty good.  After a few km I was able to throw away my hat and gloves and a few more km and I tossed my long sleeve shirt and was down to just my short sleeved run shirt.  It really was perfect weather for a run.  Not too hot, and sunny.  At times the wind was a bit strong, but overall it wasn’t too bad.  The course was VERY flat, but that didn’t make it easy.  I don’t know what it is about me and race day, but the race always seems so much harder than the training long runs.  I had to work hard the whole way.

Kathy kept me on track and was awesome with her encouragement.  She would remind me to loosen my shoulders, drop my arms, shake it out, take deep breaths and slow down my breathing on my walk breaks.  She started to play tricks on my at some point and made my runs more than 10 minutes long, cut a few of my walk breaks short, and started to get me to run a bit faster for the last minute of my 10 minute run laps.  She kept me moving and right on track.

As we got to the 18k mark, I was starting to really feel it and was slowing down.  She talked me through the tough parts and made sure I kept moving. She gave me a little break and let me walk up a small hill to get my breath back and get my mind ready for the last 3k push to the end.  She started to run a little ahead of me and told me to just focus on her and to try to keep up.  She had a pink compression sock on one leg…I just stared at the pink sock and pushed through.  I would catch up to her and she would just run a little faster, forcing me to keep moving and keep up.

At our last walk break she gave me a great motivating talk.  She said we were right on track, but if I wanted it, I was going to have to push it and really run hard. There was the slightest downhill into the finish.  She was yelling at me to get on my toes, pump my arms, put my head down and RUN.  As we got closer to the finish, I could see Shirley, the 2:30 pace bunny walking backwards, yelling at the runner who she was pacing through the race. Shirley was yelling that if I past her, I would do it.  That’s when Kathy laid it all on the line.  She was yelling at me that I had to get in front of Shirley, and that if I didn’t give it all I had and run as fast as I could, she was “going to kick me in the ass!”  I believed her!

I gave it all I had and sprinted with every last bit of energy across that line.  I could see the time as I crossed reading just over 2:31.  I knew I had a minute or so since it took us a little bit to actually cross the start line after the gun went off.  Kathy’s Garmin said 2:28:51 (but it turns out she paused it when she stopped to pee while I kept running) – my chip time was actually 2:29:55…cutting it pretty close, but still under 2:30!  I was thrilled.  It was so emotional for me.  I worked so hard in my training for this race, and to achieve my goal was just the greatest feeling.  It was hard work, but totally worth it!

I can’t thank Kathy enough for being there for me every step of the way through the race.  I’m not sure I could have done it without her.  I’d like to think that I could have done it if I was running alone, but I’m not really sure.  In the past I’ve had trouble on race day.  I’m just glad that she was there and I had her company, great coaching, and motivation to get me across that finish line in my goal time.  She truly is my running hero.

My sister had a great run too.  She ran it alone and was able to meet her goal as well, finishing in 1:59 – a PR. That is so fast! 


Here’s the three of us – Erin, me and Kathy – just after the race.  All smiles…and exhausted! 

All in all, I’d have to say that I really enjoyed this half marathon and all the runs leading up to it.  My running really improved over my training and I was able to achieve a goal and new PR.  I took 7 minutes off my best half time (from about 7 years ago) and 10 minutes off my time from the half I ran in the spring. 

Now I need to figure out what will be next for my fitness goals.  I’ve been asked if I want to join a Tough Mudder team for the May 2013 Toronto event….that could be fun…if it doesn’t kill me!



The Day After

So, I am still enjoying my accomplishment of completing the Niagara Falls Half Marathon in under 2:30.  Turns out Kathy paused her Garmin while she took a pee-break…so my true time was not what appeared on her Garmin.

When I realized this I went into a bit of a panic.  I might not have made it.  Inside I was freaking out, but I tried to remain calm on the outside.  I went to the race results page to check my chip time.

NFIM results


Cut it pretty close, but still under 2:30.  I really did it!  Kathy crossed, just a few hundredths of a second before me. 

The last name in the chart above, Shirley, was the 2:30 pace bunny.  We were talking to her at the start and I said I was trying to beat 2:30.  As I was coming up to the finish, maybe the last 500 metres, I could see her walking and trying to round up the 2:30 people she was pacing.  She was very encouraging, telling me if I passed her, I would do it for sure.  Between that, and Kathy telling me if I didn’t run with all I had now she would “kick my ass”, I dug deep and sprinted with everything I had left in me to get across that line. 

2:29:55!  Wohoo!  It was a very emotional finish, and I am so thankful that Kathy ran with me.  She was the best pace bunny anyone could ask for! 

I’ll give a full race recap soon.  For now, I’m still enjoying the accomplishment and popping Aleve and Advil to help with the muscle pain!

cherish the results

Did you race this weekend?
How did it go?


Race Day

This will be short and sweet. More details to follow….but…



I’m thrilled…and exhausted…and can’t wait to enjoy a nice cold Corona! But first I’m off for some family fun at Great Wolf Lodge for some post race water park action!



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