Tag Archive | race recap

I’m Still Standing

Yesterday, I had a choice. I could run through the pain or I could run a smart race. I could only do one. As a runner, we often think that we need to dig deep, run through injury, or somehow we aren’t tough enough. I beg to differ with that. Sometimes it is harder to make what you know is the right choice for your life even if it might not be what you necessarily want to do or as a runner think that you should do.

Aerbically I was feeling good yesterday. I started off with a strong run. I kept my paces conservative in the 11’s and 12’s. My splits were on target by the 15K. The problem was that by mile 6 my feet were starting to hurt. So I pushed through. I kept on running. Up until I didn’t.

Aebocially I had it in to push through. I was feeling strong. I was feeling confident in being able to get that 5:45 that I was aiming for. The flip side though was at what cost would I get that time. I wasn’t winning. I wasn’t PRing. I was only finishing. I knew that if I continued to push to run, I might not be able to walk like had happened only a month prior. I didn’t want to end up in a boot which since it would be both feet, might be complicated. It would also effect my job as teaching preschool gymnastics does require your feet. The cost was too high.

So I made a decision to power walk the marathon. There were times that I did run but they were fleeting moments and the pain reminded me that it wasn’t a good idea. Not to say there was no pain with the power walking, but as my Mantra became….. I was stronger than the pain.

By the Half way point, I knew that if I planned to get to the finish line and be able to go about my life the next day that I would need to stick with the walking. And for anyone who thinks that power walking a marathon is easy, I advise you to go for it and experience it yourself. My legs still became heavy, my quads and calves still screamed; but I kept on moving. I knew if I stopped that starting would be too hard.

The beauty of power walking is that I did several live stream videos for my facebook friends. It was more for me than them, but I do think they enjoyed “experiencing” the marathon in a way only those on the course can. The excitement. The bands, choirs, and views of the city that you can only get when it’s all shut down for 50,000 plus runners. Plus so many of these friends have support me in so many ways and supported the whole reason I was there….. Sandy Hook Promise.

This year since I was power walking, I did not miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section. It was the highlight of my run. To go and get hugs and support from my Team reminding me of why I was there and what was really important carried me. It also helped that they were at mile 17!

There is more to unpack with this event, but for now I need to go roll, stretch and soak.

Oh and for those wondering………. 6:20:41

A reverse PR, but done is done!

Well That Was Unexpected

I admit that I really did not know what to expect today. I went into this as you know with no plan. No expectations and just a wanting to run. I honestly thought that I would run too fast and end up having to carry myself to the finish, but I didn’t. The weather played nice and it was one of those beautiful Spring days where it is sunny and comfortable which made my choice of a tank and shorts perfect. I was wearing it anyway, but at least no one questioned it:)

I prepared for the race by resting yesterday, taking my meds before the race and having Cal-ez in my water to keep things stable. I got to the event early because I wanted to be able to park and also because I got the start time wrong by 1/2 hour. Better to be too early than too late. Getting there early allowed me to do some pre race stretching, chat with friends, and just do my favorite people watching. As the race was getting closer, I kept the plan of just running. So I did.

Luckily this course starts on a small uphill which does keep you in check because you think about it. This race has a lot of young kids running and they all take out like it’s a sprint. I found myself in the beginning running in the 9’s and I knew that would not work. So I slowed it down to a pace where I was still pushing but felt like I might be able to maintain. Good choice.

I did not watch my watch once I set my pace until the mid point. Then I looked at the time, I thought to myself…… I just might be able to be under 35 minutes. So I kept on running. I did walk up through a water stop. Then towards the end where I knew there was a short hill. When I was close to the top, I started walking but then realized once I turned it was downhill to the finish line.

So I ran. I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran through the finish line and when I finished I thought I wanted to Puke. My friend Robyn would be proud because that means that I was giving it all I had at least that is her theory. I am just happy that I didn’t throw up because their is apparently a stomach virus running through the High School with almost 200 kids out which, of course, meant discussion on town page. I thought to myself if I throw up they will all think I have the stomach bug and that will be another Facebook post and chaos to the 5k as people run away. So I walked it off and thankfully held it all together.

Not only did I hold it together, but it looks pretty with those negative splits.

Official Finish time: gun 31:38. chip 31:18

I’ve got to say that I didn’t think I had this in me. A friend replied to my Facebook post, “She’s Back.” And while I might dispute that comment, I can not deny how pleased I am with how I finished especially because I have not been training for time. I do think that what I am learning is that I need to stop thinking so much and as the saying goes… Shut up and run.

It was a good morning followed by a great day of recovery which I will chat about tomorrow:)

What to Wear? What to Wear?

As a runner, we tend to become obsessive as race day approaches.

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Checking the weather

Deciding on race attire

Checking the weather again

Changing what we plan to wear again.

It’s one of the reasons I like to make my flat runner the night before a race too because then I can see how it all comes together and make any final changes.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that thought too.

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As an added bonus it makes a nice picture

 

For many races, you just never know what the weather will bring and you just never know if you’ve dressed appropriately until race day.   The NY Half was no different.   When I signed up, I imagined a traditional Spring race where the weather might be a little brisk in the early morning, but very comfy when the race was finished.   This year was a little different.

It may be mid March on the calendar, but someone forgot to tell mother Nature as she is holding to winter.   That being said, part of deciding what to wear is knowing your body and how you need to dress.   Every runner is different.   I have 2 friends that I run with when I can.   Between the three of us, we are dressed for three separate seasons.   One is always dressed for the coldest possible temperature.    One is dressed what is probably considered appropriate for the temps.   Then there is me…. Usually dressed in shorts with long socks unless it’s mid winter.   That’s because I know how I run.

I run HOT.

You could say that I’m one hot Mama.

You could say it, but it just doesn’t sound right,

but it is.

Here is the thing though even though I know this about myself, I was doubting what to wear to the race. I kept thinking that I should wear long sleeved shirt instead of arm sleeves and maybe I should wear Capri’s instead of shorts.  The problem is that I run in knee length compression socks, so Capri’s turn into full length pants.   Now the reason I was doubting myself is because I was listening to what everyone else was planning to wear, but they were dressing for their race not mine.

Race night came and I had a final consult with Dawn on my wardrobe.   She reminded me of my vest and I added that into the mix which I’m glad that I did.

I was prepared for the early morning pre race chill.   I had throwaway sweatpants and robe which I wore to the start.   Once I removed them in the corral,  I’ll be honest I was cold, but quickly warmed up once the race started.   Even removing my throw away shirt by mile 2  which I ended up just tying around my waste.

In looking at my race photos, you can see that not many people chose the same way as me.   Not sure why because I was comfy while racing.   I kept moving my arm sleeves up and down.   Gloves off and on.    I honestly believe that if I had added layers or longer pants my run would not have been so good.  I was just right (for me).

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I dressed not to impress but to keep from overheating.   Believe it or not even dressed like this, I was sweating.    I will admit that the back of my upper arms were feeling the chill from the wind burning some with cold.    I think if I were to run another cold day like this, I might choose different arm warmers.

One thing that I would do differently though is check a bag.   I didn’t really think it through and didn’t realize bag check was right there when you came out.   After the race I was meeting up with everyone at a Starbucks.  We did have a car that was parked in the city the previous day to drive home in that I put extra warm clothes in for after the race.    The only problem with that bag is I exited the Park at 61rst street I believe and I needed to go to 81rst street.    Walking that far after a Half isn’t bad.   Walking that far while your dressed for summer with only a heat sheet isn’t good.   Thank God when someone was getting ready to throw away their head sheet, I asked them if I could have it.    I used that as a skirt.   I’m thinking without that second heat sheet, I would have been in trouble as I was shivering some.

All was good though when I entered the warm of Starbucks and got a hot latte to warm me up.   Plus by that point, I knew that my bag was not far away.   The driver of the van was nice enough to bring the bags to Starbucks, so from that point on all was good.

In the past, I have dressed for the weather at the start.   I found it is so much better to be cold at the start and even finish, but be comfy on my run.

Today was that day:)

Do you run hot or cold?

 

 

 

Today Was The Day

Today was the day.

Was it everything I expected?

No.

It was more!!!

As always, I will have a lot to say.   So this might take a few days.   Today we will talk the basics.     As I mentioned we were leaving at the crack of the crack of Dawn at 5:00 AM.   This meant getting up at 4:00 as you must have time for a cup of coffee, to get ready, and lets be honest time for coffee to work it’s magic.  (Yes, that is important to us runners).

I was lucky enough to be part of my running groups Clown Car again.   There were, I believe, 14 of us.   It’s nice when you get a group like this because then it is not expensive at all.   Plus the driver will take a group picture.

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As my friend asked is this a group of homeless people or just people trying to stay warm in the cold before a race?

The van dropped us off close to the start where we were able to make a pit stop at a fast food restaurant.   Once we got to the start everyone went their own separate ways as we were starting in different corrals and waves.   Luckily, Mary, was in my corral again.   We were lucky enough to start the NYC Marathon in 2016 and it was nice to have her to chat with pre-race.    Once the race started though, I was on my own.   I kind of like that (usually) in a race.

Going in I had decided on a very conservative pace to start with.   I was bouncing between 11 and 11:15.   I think I picked that because I knew that I would go out too fast and if I picked a slower pace than even out to fast wouldn’t be too fast.    My paces reflect up and down which is fine for the way I intended to run the race.   I walked when I needed to but I still would not say that I took it easy.   I also pushed.   I ran a hard race.   I worked hard and I finished with my realistic A time goal.

Official time was 2:31:29

It was a good day.   My Garmin showed more than the 13.1 but that might be do to too much bobbing and weaving.   My paces were up and down with the course and my plan.

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This worked for me.   It might not be what a coach would recommenced, but for this day this was perfect.   In looking at the faster paces at mile 8 & 9 that might explain my feet starting to hurt at that point.

My mantra was “This is your race.   You need to run it your way.”

And I did.

The best part was I enjoyed myself.   I helped someone bob and weave to cross the street.   I took pictures along the way.   I just enjoyed the experience and before I knew it, I was pulling into Central Park.   I will admit the hills of the Park were not that enjoyable, but crossing the finish line in the Park was awesome!

More tomorrow, because to be honest I’m really tired.

What did you do today?

Done is Done

 

5:48:52

Done is Done!

Some people might be upset with an almost 6 hour marathon.

I wholeheartedly admit there might be a time that I might have been one of those people.   I am not today.   I will be 100% honest with you…..

I am happy

I worked my ass off.

I didn’t stop.

Ever.

I never thought I wouldn’t get to the finish line.   I also knew that I had such a wonderful support team.

I went into this marathon with no real plan other than to finish.  No paces.   I knew that I would be doing walk/run.   I had thought I might start with a pace group, but did not.   I just ran.   Maybe this isn’t the smartest way to do it (ok it’s not), but this is what I was going with.

Once again I went out too fast.  I  REALLY, REALLY, REALLY tried not to.   My first few miles  went like this…

8:54, 10:02, 8:24, 8:36

I knew this was not a good way to start.   I knew that this was way fast.  Even at my best, this is not the way to start a marathon.   I wasn’t following the plan.   I wasn’t walking.   I had not even turned on my timer at this point.   I heard my friend’s voice in my head telling “SLOW DOWN!   STICK TO THE PLAN.”

I even texted her that I heard her in my head and that I was trying to be better.   Her texts of support continued during the day and I knew I wasn’t in alone.

At this point, I turned on my timer and made a conscious effort to slow down and stick to the plan.  During a race even if you are not planning to race it is so hard to do.   You are so caught up in the excitement of the day.   I was in it for the long haul, so I did what I could.   I will say that I did not pay attention to my pace.   I was watching   my heart rate as I did on training.

I saw my sister and brother-in-law twice on the course.   The first time around mile 5 which was wonderful, but the second time was key.    They were waiting for me at mile 21  I knew that I had to make it there before they needed to leave for the airport.    I had been slowing down at this point, but I was determined to make it to them.  At this point they were my destination, not the finish line.

I made it to 21.

Hugs

Goodbyes

Unbelievable support

Spectacular.

Then it turned to counting down the miles.

It was hot but I’ve run in hotter weather.   It was humid but I’ve run in more humid weather.   That being said,  I don’t do heat well.   I ran through every hose offered.   Took ever sponge filled with water handed out.   Put the ice in my bra when offered.   And on occasion dumped water on my head at water stations.   The heat was sapping my strength, but not my will to finish.

I kept pushing forward.   I ran when I could.  Finally, I reached a point where I could no longer run.   My legs were dead.  My foot was hurting.   Even with this I did not stop.   Moving forward.   Slow but steady.

I admit that by mile 25, I did start to get emotional.   There were tears.  Partly because of the discomfort and partly because as much as I wanted to run, I just couldn’t bring myself to run.    By this point, my emotions were just raw.   The ups and the downs of the marathon are real.

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The tears dried.

The moment passed.  My head was clear and I was focused.   Never stopping.  Never quitting.   Moving forward.

I proudly walked across the finish line.

This marathon was always about proving that I could do it and

I DID!

This was the slowest marathon that I have ever run, but one that I know that I worked the hardest for.   Someone asked me if I was happy with my time.   Hell Yeah I am.    Any day that you can finish a marathon is a good day.   I am proud that I was able to push through and get the job done.

Done is Done!

Chicago11

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Nice to Say Hello

Race Recap – Part 2

Now some may say that I have a certain style or flair when I run.   Me, I just say that I like to have fun.    For the most part I do usually wear pink, but sometimes I do like to take it up a notch.   NJ Half was going to be one of those events.  Another Mama and I conspired to bring tutus and skirts for everyone:):)

There may have been some initial grumbling (ahem), but everyone went with the program.   I love it when a plan comes together.

Then off we went….

During the course of the race our group separated slightly.    I was still running with one of my friends, when someone came up from behind and asked, “Are you accidentally Running Mama?”

I have to say that I was surprised to say the least.    But then I recognized her from her online profile too!    We were able to chat a few miles and actually meet the “real” person behind the curtain.  There is something to be said about meeting someone in person that you follow online.   It’s funny because in a small way you feel like you already know them.   I would love to meet her for another run as it does seem like we have run a few of the same races.   She mentioned that she saw me in the Bronx but we didn’t’ get to connect.  I’m glad we did this day.  I will say that for a brief moment when we spit a VERY, VERY, VERY small part of me was sad that I wasn’t running the marathon.   That is right up until I realized how close to the finish line I was.

There are a few people that I know online that I’ve met up with at various events and it is always fun.    It’s funny too because it wasn’t till almost a mile in that I was like, “I think it’s time for real introductions.”   And of course, we both wanted a picture together.

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Later she shared this picture on her instagram account and wrote something very nice and made me want to run with her even more.

NJHalf2

That is the awesome thing about running and runners.   I’ve actually met people at races and chat the entire race with them.   Some I never see again.   Some become Facebook friends and I still never see again.  Then some become real friends.   There is something about running with someone that takes away the pretenses.   You can’t worry about impressing someone when you are trying to run.   This is why running friends get to know you better than most people ever will.   Running does not take the place of a good therapist, but there is something to be said for knowing that you can open up to your running friends the way that it might be hard to do eye to eye over coffee.

I will say this is another one of the many reasons I don’t usually wear headphones during a race.   I love to listen to the sounds of the race – the spectators, the footsteps, and the opportunity to chat or listen to those around me.   Obviously, this depends on my goal for the race but I’m never coming in first anyway:)

Do you like to chat while your run?

 

 

 

Living in a Virtual World

Sometimes we need a little extra motivator.   We live in a virtual world, so why not let a virtual “race” motivate you to get out the door?   I will admit that I do enjoy the feel of an actual race, but sometimes that is not an option.    I will also admit that in the past I may not have given these events the respect that they deserve.   Really though if these events motivate someone to get out the door, why not?  Besides they are a lot more cost and time effective than other events.  Plus as with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

I belong to many online running communities where I have and probably never will meet these women who inspire me.   I had an online running coach who I only met for the second time at the NYCM.   We do so much online anymore that virtual reality mixes in with the real world.   So why should a virtual race be any different.

I recently signed up for Pi Day 5K event.   The beauty of these events is that there is an online community to share your “race” with.   Plus you can actually get a medal if you choose.   I will say that I liked the medal, so I went for the whole package.

Who doesn’t love pie?   I mean Pi Day.  Although I am not a math lover, I think it’s kind of a cool play on the word pie.   I might like it more for the word play than the actual math, but don’t tell my friend.   So what is Pi?

Pi

You know what?   That’s all I know about this type of Pi.   I have no idea what it is used for and why math people love it so much.   Now the other pie I know a lot about, but I digress.   Anyway, I thought the medal for this virtual race was really cute and I liked the idea of my own personal race.

PiDay5KIsn’t it cute?

Now I know the official Pi Day isn’t until Tuesday March 14 (3-14), but we are supposed to get a BIG, BIG,BIG snowstorm Tuesday.   So yesterday I decided to do my Pi Day 5K.   You know what?   It motivated me to run and run fast.   Now if this was an actual 5K with other racers around me I might have not walked a time or two, but I still don’t care.   I ended up having a really good run.   Probably the fastest run that I’ve had in a while.   It was a great motivator to me when I was finished.   Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Pk5KResults

It was meant to be.   Kind of cool too that my calories were exact.   Could not have done that if I tried.

So even though I really don’t care about Pi (shhh), virtual events can be motivating.   The bottom line really is that if it is something that will motivate, inspire, or push you; go for it.    Because in the end, all that really matters is what will get you out the door.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

EVER DAMN DAY!

Still NO Regrets

I said no regrets for NYCM and I have no regrets.   I didn’t get the 4:30 I was hoping for and squeaked in at 4:56:04.

NO REGRETS

It was an amazing day that started off at 5:45 AM  with a van ride with a bunch of amazing women to Staten Island.   Couldn’t ask for a more inspiring group of women to spend my time with.    Once the van dropped us off all we had to do is wait and wait and wait some more.    My wave didn’t start till 10:40, so it does make for a long day.

But an awesome day.

nycm4You’ve got to have fun while your waiting:)

Then off to the corrals and they really are named correctly.   We were herded in like cattle, but no one seemed to mind.  Luckily for me one of these Mama’s was in my same corral and wave!

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Then we were off!

As I said before, I was going to run this race with no regrets and I have none.   Did I get my 4:30.   NOPE.   You know what?   It doesn’t matter.   You’ve got to have goals as a fiend told me yesterday.   These were big goals as far as my spotty training goes.   I had a plan.   I had paces and you know what it all went out the window when I was running.

I am the cautionary tale.   A marathon is a whole different beast than any other road race.   Pace is key.  I know this and yet I seemed to not care yesterday once the race started.   That is why it is important to run a marathon different than lets say a half marathon.    Well, I didn’t:)   I went out the first two miles as much faster than expected and then it went out the window.

I let the crowds carry me.   I bought into the feeling you get at the beginning of a race of “I feel amazing”  and “this is awesome!”

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This is the face of someone who is feeling good.    But that feeling can only last for so long when you run the first half like you don’t still have 13 miles to go.    I ran the first half in 2:09 and change.    As expected, the second half was much slower.

I have never hit the dreaded wall before in a marathon, but I think that I can say that I hit it yesterday.   And right where they tell you that you will hit it – Mile 20 I ran a 14 minute pace.   My bad.   I must also say that ran might not be the right word.   I walked a decent amount the last few miles.  I really had nothing left to give.   My legs were like lead, my hands and lips had the tingles.   I was honestly afraid I would pass out.   What kept me moving forward was the thought that if I stopped that I wouldn’t start again and if  I passed out I wouldn’t finish.   Finishing was all that mattered!.   So onward I went.   I walked when I needed to and I ran when I could.

It was during this time that I realized even without making my goal, I had no regrets.   None!   I set out to finish and I did.   As I said to my friends, you can’t really say it’s a bad day when you can say you finished the New York City Marathon.  I am not just saying that either.   It was a great day and I am blessed beyond belief to be able to say that I did this amazing race.

Yes there is more to the story, but it is now time to soak in some bath salts:)

How was your weekend?

Run and Run Some More.

You can’t be a runner long without hearing the expression

run-forest

Sometimes it’s funny to hear.   Sometimes it’s annoying to hear.   Sometimes, I even say it.  It really depends on the way it’s said.

But there is truth to this.   Sometimes we overthink, over analyze, and just forget to enjoy the beauty of the actual run.   This weekend was different.

There was a part of me that wanted to run my races as races and not run them the smart way to run them to put myself in best position for NYCM.   Part of me wanted to attack those hills in Bethlehem.   Part of me wanted to see how if I could have run these races better than my first year of racing.  Part of me wanted to test my legs and feel the burn in my lungs.   But I needed to remember that in 20 days, I will be standing at the start line of the NYCM and then it will be go time.

I will say though that there is something to be said about running a good race, a smart race, and a fun race with friends.   We had a blast running together.   You get to chat away the miles.    You get to take in the course a little more.   You get to stop for photos if you want and you may even meet people that you might not meet otherwise.

 

Bethlehem is a really pretty course.   It was still a very tough course and those hills are wicked.

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Wicked!

It’s funny, I the first year I ran this in 2014 I didn’t know what to expect.  I went into it with the race mentality.   I had great finish times.   In looking at my results now, I’m actually shocked.   In my age group, I was 41 for 5K, 29 for 10K, and 50th for the Half.   Although not racing this year, I still was in the the top 100’s for my age group.   I went into this in 2014 not even knowing if I could finish these races and now it’s a stepping stone for a larger race.   All that being said, I had a much better time this year.   In 2014, I ended up not only running the races by myself, but starting them and ending them alone.   I may not have ran as fast this year, but I had a much better race experience.   I had fun.   I laughed  until I cried at one point.

Life is better with friends!

I am so happy that I ran this again and would love to do it again.  Maybe with some more friends (hint. hint).

Whose in for next year?

I’m Back!

Two years ago I tackled the Runner’s World Hat Trick.   It was my first BIG event.   At that time, I trained specifically for this event with a training plan that I purchased from Runner’s World.   It was a good plan that had me ready to run it.   I was driven to run it and run it fast.   I even went to this race by myself and I did well.    I did so well that I brazenly thought, “Why not run a marathon now.”   Of course, I did have a friend who planted the seed and pushed me along:)

Fast forward two years later and I’m back.   Things are different this time around.  This is not a goal race.   This race is different as I’m not even viewing it as a race.   I’m viewing it as training for New York City Marathon.   I’m also not the same runner that I was two years ago.   I’m stronger and used to these long runs now.    That being said,  it is still difficult when you cross that starting line not to want to give it all you’ve got.

But….

This isn’t my Rodeo.

This isn’t my goal now.

Eye on the Prize.

NYCM is just around the corner and this isn’t the time to run crazy.

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Yes, I could have attacked the course faster today, but it would not have been a wise or smart move.   Luckily for me, I wasn’t alone today.   I was running with some other Mom’s Run this town who actually were doing four races in three days for 26.2 miles.   I’m only doing three races in two days.    And if more lucky, a few of us wanted to run these miles at an 11 minute pace and we kept each other in check.    Alone, I probably would have not run a smart race.   Together not only did I do what I needed to do, but we got to chat the miles away.

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Win.  Win.

It is amazing to me how when I first started running an 11 minute pace was a goal.   Now it’s literally an easy running day.   Although I was saying today that this course is not really a course that I would want to try to PR as it is such a hilly course.   I also realize that I may be as fast as I’m ever get at this point.    I’ve run my sub 2 half.    I think that be the best it’s going to get for me.   So why not enjoy the ride (or run).

Tomorrow is another day and another race.

We will see what the day brings.   Then it’s taper town for New York which will be my rodeo.

rw2016_3

 Tomorrow brings another 5 AM wake up call.   Another race and another outfit:)