Monthly Archives: November 2013

Claus Cause 10km Race Recap!

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November 16th, 2013, marked the day of the annual Claus Cause run. This is another great event hosted by Runner’s Soul, and along with picking up your race registration, you are asked to bring non-perishable food items in for donation to Lethbridge Food Bank. Upon trading my boxes of granola bars in at packet pickup, I received my bib and an awesome Claus Cause Buff! This was a nice takeaway from a race, considering we all have too many race t-shirts to count!
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The event had both a 5km and 10km, which started at 9:00 am down at Fort Whoop Up. The 10km route would just be the 5 km twice, which was just fine as it was relatively flat. The only challenge with this course, which I have mentioned before in previous posts, is that the curviness of the paths can sometime pose to be a mental problem.
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The weather was very overcast at race start, but perfect temperatures considering it was mid November. My husband kept telling me it was supposed to snow, but I chose to ignore him. As everyone got set for the mass start of the 5km and 10km, Erin from Runner’s Soul made some announcements. When she started talking about people to watch in each event, it came to my surprise when she said “…in the women’s 10km, watch strong local runner Andrea Lammers-Pottage…” I looked at my husband, but I don’t think he knew what my face was thinking…..holy crap, now I have to do my best.
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I went out pretty fast, as I knew the first loop of the route would be more competitive, since the 5km was at the same time. There were 177 runners in the 5km and 86 in the 10km, so if I wanted to be with a pack of people I needed to stay near the front now. As I made my first lap, I felt strong. I could do that same pace again! I was at this time in the lead for the female 10km racers.
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I had more motivation than a normal 10km since this would be my last 10km race of the year. If I wanted to PR, now was the time. And my friend Lauren from back in Wisconsin had bet me if I ran faster than 46 minutes (my personal best was 46:32 at the time) she would donate $46 to American Heart Association.

I had one mile left and I knew my pace was on to beat the 46 minutes, but it would be close. I just kept trying to keep those legs moving around the curve before Whoop Up, and once I saw the finish in the distance I couldn’t slow down. I came in with a personal best time of 45:37, and had kept my first place position for women!

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When I finished, I felt so elated and just happy to have done it. It started to sink in I had earned another personal best, and then I realized that over the course of a little over a year, I had been able to drop my 10km race time from 50:27 to 45:37…..about 5 minutes have been knocked off! And of course, I have in my mind I can break 45, given if I have someone right in front of me as a pace bunny the whole time!

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So that snow Dan mentioned? Well, it conveniently arrived about an hour or so after race start. By award time, the snow was pounding down and it had gotten cold! The pictures are hysterical because it looks like I am in two different events, but it proves to be an amusing time lapse.

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I have one more race this year, a 5km Santa Shuffle, in two weeks. I just registered for it, and while this Claus Cause was suppose to be last, I need to find something between then and Dopey in January! What else will I be doing until the Dopey Challenge? Well, other than getting the mileage in and doing four days in a row of buildup to mimic Dopey. I needed a race In-between to keep me competitive. And if you are in Lethbridge, look for me on the roads today and wave—At 2:00 today I am heading out on a 14 mile tour of the Westside of Lethbridge, and it looks like by then weather will be pretty solid, with a temperature of 37 F and clear skies.

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A Quick HELLO to the HOC Readers!

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As previously mentioned in other posts, my dad was employed by Milwaukee County at the House of Corrections for 27.5 years.  This facility is in Franklin, Wisconsin.  I had been contemplating for some time how to get in contact with some of the employees there, as I knew there had to be a handful still there who would have worked with my dad or know who my dad was.  I had started thinking about doing this during Spring Break when I was back in Franklin, but it never happened.

This week, I decided I had to call.  I was able to get in contact with one of the associate superintendents.  He phoned me back yesterday and it turns out he in fact worked with my dad!  We chatted for a while and I informed him about my site, and asked him to forward the information on to any employees he think may be interested.  He also said he will get the information to a group of retirees who get together often.

 

I am very grateful for being able to get in contact with the HOC, as my dad’s work was important to him, and was a gigantic part of his life.  I welcome any old coworkers who are on here to leave comments on memories you may have!  Check out all the links up above as it will give you an idea of what this fundraising  ‘project’ has become…take a look at old posts….and enjoy!

“…Tell us Where You’re From….”

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This is a post about identity. Who we are. Who we think we relate to. And it may change over time. And my post may not have a closure. It may loosely tie to racing. It may loosely tie to my dad. Really, it is just a pondering of thought I have had since Saturday…

When I fill out race registrations, I have to put in my address and phone number. So I naturally enter Lethbridge, Alberta, as this is where I live. I am now coming up on my 5-year Canada anniversary (December 2nd) and it is still crazy to think of this whirlwind I have been a part of. My dad was born In Quebec City….moved to Beloit, Wisconsin around age 2. Lived in Switzerland. Back to Wisconsin. Raised a family. Daughter moves to Alberta. What the……?!? Anyway, while entering an address in a race entry form may not seem to be a big deal, the first time it really sank in for me was this April, when I ran the Waukesha Trailbreaker Half back in Wisconsin….but I was entered as a Canadian.
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This past weekend I ran a 10 km in Lethbridge, Alberta. I am now calling this area “my turf” and felt strong going into it. I am use to the weather, the elevation, the surroundings, and the trails. With all that on my side, I rocked out a PR of 45:37 and got 1st overall out of 55 females. Erin from Runners Soul also mentioned me on the microphone before the race as a “strong local runner to watch for in the women’s 10km.”

So I am a Milwaukee girl, born and raised, who lived there for 24 years….and now I am 5 years into being in Lethbridge and am finding my place. But I am still struggling with that question “where are you from?”
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Anytime anyone asks me this in a basic conversation, I say “Well, I am from Wisconsin, but live in Lethbridge, Alberta.” If someone within the province asks me where I am from, like when I went to Banff with my mom this summer, I answer straight with “I am from Lethbridge!” But then they question me because of my ridiculously heavy Milwaukee-esqe accent (trust me, it’s a thing), knowing I am not a since-birth Canadian.

And when I was interviewed by RunDisney last week, they asked me to say my full name and say where I am from (presumably to look me up before adding me into the final cut). I said my whole name and simply said “Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada”
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I know there’s tons of people out there who have been from everywhere under the sun….maybe born overseas on a base, then back to the US, moved around every couple years….so they may be laughing at my post and think I am an idiot since I am FROM one distinctive place but now LIVE in another. But the thing is….Lethbridge is my home and future. Milwaukee is my hometown and my roots will always be firmly planted there. I will always have a ridiculous connection to Milwaukee….it has made me who I am today. Lethbridge is just beginning to experience what Milwaukee created.

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Disney Wine & Dine Race Recap—-The Race and the Party!

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Just last week, I was down in Disney World for my first RunDisney event, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I already wrote about the day leading up to the race, so now onto the main event!
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My friends and I went out to the shuttle by the Yacht Club at 7 pm, and were on one of the first buses. The shuttle system was smooth and we arrived at ESPN Wide World of Sports in no time. Now, I was expecting large crowds, as I knew there was anywhere from 12,000-14,000 runners, but I guess it was still a shock to see the large masses congregating in the field that evening. We headed over to bag check and then proceeded to a line up for a photo with Chip & Dale.
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After that, we enjoyed the pre-race DJ and even rocked some dance moves during warmup. While the evening air felt cool for Florida standards, even just dancing around for a few minutes caused me to realize the humidity was lurking. Had to stop! At about 9 pm, I parted ways from Teresa and Kristen, got in the porta potty line up, and then headed to my corral.
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This was a night race, with the first corral starting at 10 pm. There were Corrals from the letters A-L. Runners were placed in corrals based on prior race time submissions. I was fortunate enough to start in Corral A, and was also lucky enough to be positioned right next to the main stage before the race! While I was standing over here for approximately 40 minutes, time flew by as I had tons to watch and listen to. I was just soaking it all in!
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Pretty soon after the National Anthem, the countdown started. Less than 2 minutes….1minute….30 seconds…..Runners, Setttttttttttttt……..GO!
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I barreled out of the corral and my net time ended up only being 4 seconds off of gun time. I had the motivation and mindset to aim for my PR, beating 1:41:07, and even going sub 1:40. Going to say right now, I really thought I could. But within 2 miles I could feel sweat pouring off my body like I was in a sauna with a fan on me. I was still going to give it my all though!

I knew from looking at RunDisney pictures, videos and other blogs online that the entertainment on course would be awesome. Yes, it is a little different on the highway portions since it is pitch black night outside, but as you neared each mile marker, bright lights and music welcomed you. Whenever there was a character meet and greet on the roadways, there would be giant lights by them, and you could see these blocks away. I just kept my head forward and eyes on the next “icon” coming up at all times.

This race goes through three of the four Disney parks—-Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Going through Animal Kingdom at night was awesome as a Disney parks fan, since it is usually only opened each day until 5 or 7 pm! The big loop around the parking lot on our way out was visually tough and deceiving though—-felt like I would never be back on the road! When we got back on out, we headed to Hollywood Studios.

All the volunteers at water stops on the course were so friendly and excited. Since I was dressed up in costume, it was fun to hear the delayed reaction to that I was Mary Poppins! I think some people only got it when they saw my back!
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For as small as Hollywood Studios is, RunDisney really gets you to wind a lot through the park! I was very excited to see the Osbourne Christmas lights, as I have never been to Disney during the season. After exiting this park, in my eyes you were in the home stretch. The reason why—-you hit the path that takes you to Boardwalk, Swan & Dolphin and Yacht & Beach. This pathway is of extreme symbolic importance to me, as they built it when I was in high school, and my parents and I would often walk it to the Studios instead of taking the boat. I even wrote a blog reminiscing how my dad and I tried to “Beat the Boat.” You can find that here:
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With those memories in my mind, I mustered the energy to keep on trucking, even though that by now I knew I wouldn’t be making 1:40. My eyes swelled up with tears as I ran on the wooden walkway in front of Yacht Club, Stormalong Bay, Beach Club, and in around the backside of EPCOT’s World Showcase. As we entered into EPCOT next to Journey into Imagination, I knew I could push myself this last bit. It was very cool to run through Future World, because while running through the other parks and on property was awesome, you didn’t have the spectators there yelling for you. After running past Spaceship Earth I knew the end was near, since we were exiting and heading near parking lots. I couldn’t wait to finish!

Coming down the dark straightaway to the music blaring and the crowds screaming was incredible! The photo below was taken as I crossed the line, and I have ordered a collage from Marathon Foto capturing four on-route moments, two of which I included in this post. I finished with a 1:44:33, which is my second-best half marathon time.

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I was hot, sweaty, tired, shaking and a ball of emotions. My first RunDisney event was complete and I couldn’t have been more impressed. From the Expo, to the transportation between venues, to the entertainment and pre-race fun, the route itself, the medals, the swag…..it was definitely magical!
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The Wine & Dine Half caps off with a runner celebration in World Showcase, deemed as part of the “Ultimate Runner’s Night Out.” I changed in the provided change rooms, picked up my complimentary beverage, and wandered back to World Showcase. Since I was done rather early, I didn’t have much trouble making it to the back of the park, but anyone who ran this race will know that the “crosswalk” created to manage flow of traffic through the race was quite stressful. When I got in the back of the park, I texted Teresa and Kristen that there was no way I would be able to make it back to the front to find them when finished, as I made it to the point of no return. I told them to tell me what country to meet them at when finished.
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I could talk tons about the after party, but instead I will post the video created by RunDisney. As I waited for Teresa and Kristen, I wandered from Canada to France and back, where I got photos with the penguins from Mary Poppins, enjoyed some food and drink at the booths, and was interviewed by RunDisney! They had shot me greeting the penguins, but it wasn’t until after I had gotten a Leffe Brune beer from the Belgium booth and was texting Teresa when they approached me for an interview.

Click here to see my 15 minutes of fame—-my drinking, running and Disney “career” is now basically complete!

So what if the first thing I say is “I love beer!”? I do have to note that this whole “Beer, Disney, Running” mantra was written to me via email from my husband on Friday of the trip. He had said, quote “Booze, running and Disney. This crap really is tailor made for you.”

Cheers to a fantastic Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013!

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Disney Wine & Dine Recap—-Before the Race!

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It is 12:23 am on Thursday morning. The school bell rings at 8 am. I got home to Lethbridge Tuesday morning at 12:15 am. I was in Disney World for my shortest trip ever (approximately 72 hours) this weekend. And I am still wired on how wonderful life is. So I have decided to start recapping my past weekend. And I am doing you all a favour by breaking it into two parts—–before race…..and then the race itself. So here is the lead up….

I participated in my first ever RunDisney event on Saturday night, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. This event was an after-thought registration after signing up for Dopey Challenge, as I had a friend who I used to work with at Badgerette Pom Pon express interest in doing a half. And she is a total Disney freak. So we convinced each other and were signed up.

I arrived in Disney on Friday afternoon, after flying in on a red-eye from Calgary, Alberta. Teresa and I met in the airport and were able to take Magical Express to our hotel, Yacht Club. Holy shit….this will be for an additional blog….but I haven’t stayed at anything except Pop Century while visiting Disney since I was 18. And I’m never going back.
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Anyways, after getting checked in and getting our MagicBands (which I was pleased we could individualized credit credit cards to!) we head to the Expo, it was very easy to access with the provided transportation, and once we arrived, it’s as very easy to maneuver. Now….I don’t know what it was like in the morning, but at 3:30 pm on Friday it was great…..and if we missed must-see merchandise that morning we didn’t even know, since we didn’t know what we missed and the crowds were very manageable!

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I participated in a breakfast on Saturday morning put on by Megan and Krista from “The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World”. I had found out about this event via social media (Twitter!) and got to experience Toy Story Mania first thing in the morning (first riders!) and a private breakfast in the “Prop Shop” at Hollywood Studios. As a true Disney parks fan, this was awesome!

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There was only about 40 of us there, so it was a very semi-private function. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast, and got to know some great people at our table! Heather and her mom were fantastic! And the men from Georgia and Tennessee were a hoot (they were there waiting for their wives and one other guy friend to get back from the Jingle Jungle 5 km held that morning.). They were hysterical because while one of the guys already there had done the Dumbo Double Dare, he had no clue how his friend found out about this meet up. As a side note, I ran in to them at the after party that night at Epcot, and the following day (also while at EPCOT) and both times they yelled to me saying “CANADA!!!”

I got to meet Christine and Pam (daughter and mother) of We Run Disney while at the breakfast on Saturday, and that was great! I have been following them on Twitter the last months since I got set up on Twitter. It was great to meet up with them at such an awesome event! I loved that such fans of Disney (like Megan and Krista) had the capacity and energy to put on such an event….as a true Disney parks fan, and a fan of running, this event was the perfect way for me to start my day as I lead into the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

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More to come…Always knew I loved Disney, so it is natural I would love to RunDisney!!…..

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All I wanted to do was put on sweatpants…..

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….but I had to go run 7 miles.

Now, yes….I know….I don’t HAVE TO go run 7 miles. It’s my choice in matter because of my training. But today I had 7 scheduled, with 5 tomorrow, and then nothing for Thursday and Friday leading into my race Saturday evening in Walt Disney World. The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is this weekend….and I couldn’t be more pumped for my first ever RunDisney …. But I am in a weird flux of tiredness from work and being gone multiple weekends for other races, where all I want to do after a day at work is hole up on the couch.

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Example A.…today, I left school at 4:45. Went and got a Skinny Peppermint mocha from Starbucks, got home, and proceeded to eat black bean salsa dip I had made this weekend. The prospect of me getting out on my run by 5:30 was dwindling. Then, I put on my running tights and plopped on the couch. Not good. Then, I whined to my husband that I didn’t want to run. But I somehow mustered up the energy to get my ass out the door.

I had my headlamp on, as it was already dark at 5:45 pm. Daylight Savings Time really does suck! I made my loop on all sidewalks….out of our neighborhood and headed down to Sunridge. It was once I got onto University and nearing Riverstone that I started hearing this devil voice saying to me “you are tired….turn left now and go home. You don’t need to do all 7!” Cut it short ! See….like I have said before, I don’t run with music….so these voices kept taunting me. I had to ignore them.

The farther I kept looping out away from home, the more likely I was to actually do my whole 7 miles. I hit the point of wanting to run straight home after passing the university stadium. I wanted to turn left! But I forced myself forward, swearing in my mind. Who knows….I probably dropped an f-bomb out loud in the dark. Whatever.

Funny thing is that as I head down the far end of Columbia, with a little under 3 miles to go….I hit my happy place. I started thinking about my weekend in Disney I have ahead….I started strategizing how doing a 10pm night race in Eastern Time Zone is going to be just fine for me in Mountain….at this point in my run it was nearing 6:30 pm….that means last week it was 7:30 (and my body still thinks this!) and in Orlando right then it was 8:30! This night race with no elevation would be great! (As long as he humidity breaks!)

I got home with all 7 miles completed. And I was happy. Sure, I had a million things to mark at home (ok, more like three different class sets of assignments, but you get it) but for my own sanity, I needed this run. Even though I didn’t want it to start, I knew I needed it. I now have showered, cleaned, marked one class set of worksheets…..and am in my sweats. With a glass of red wine. And in 48 hours I’ll be waiting at the Calgary airport for my red eye flight to Disney.

…Life is good….

Race Recap-Grizzly Ultra Run Relay

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On Sunday, October 14th, I participated in my first ever relay trail race, the Canmore Grizzly Ultra Marathon. I actually had never intended on running in this race, until one day in September I received a message on Facebook from a Dopey Training Crew member who lives in Calgary. Saskia and I had talked online after realizing we both lived in Alberta and had joined the same Dopey Challenge training group. We even met up at the Edmonton Half Marathon in August. So when all of her relay members for the Grizzly Ultra started bailing on her, she got desperate and asked a random girl (me) who lived in Lethbridge, loved to run, and who she sorta knew.

I said Yeah! and she signed me up. After some discussion, we decided I would run the first leg of the 50km relay, which was a 14 km portion. This leg was described as a “fast, non-technical leg for runner’s with lots of endurance.” The difficulty was 3 out of 5 claws. (Get it….claws….like grizzly claws….yeah).
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I went to Calgary the night before, as Saskia let me stay over for the night. I almost didn’t want to come, however, as Friday night I slept for a solid 12 hours because I had started coming down with a cold. And Saturday, even though I had a race the following day, I was suppose to do 7 miles easy. I just couldn’t. I took a 3 hour nap instead. I was feeling in rough shape. All that sleeping and then trying to go to bed early in preparation for a 5 am wake up call didn’t add up well for a great pre-race nights’ sleep. I think I woke up every hour.
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We headed to Canmore at 6 am Sunday. We had all sorts of camping gear packed, as we needed to set up a base camp area outside the Nordic center for when we were done/waiting for our legs to start. Trish, our leg 5 runner, drove out with us to the Nordic center. This would be her first race….ever! I didn’t find that out till later during probably Adele’s leg 3, but it was very cool to know we had a total race newbie. Adele and Greg, the leg 2 and leg 3 runners, were meeting us there. Saskia would be doing leg 4.

I have to say, once we got to Canmore, I got a little nervous. The only other previous trail race I have done was my Coulee Cactus Crawl. I was very thankful to be the first leg, as it meant my pre-race prep would be the same, and I wouldn’t be sitting around for hours after the official start for my turn. I had studied the diagrams of elevation for my leg of the course, and I had a positive attitude about being able to handle the terrain. When the 9 am start came, I was set…off I went with all the other Leg 1 runners and soloists!

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The other nice thing about being the first leg of the relay was having people surrounding you during the whole 14km. It started to spread out more by around 6 km in, but I always had people directly in front or around me. This helped with my pacing and also pushed me. The leg I ran was a wide double-track course and only occasionally did the terrain become rocky and rough. There was only one hill that slowed me down quite a bit, but then we hit a turn around and going back down it was awesome!

Since there are no mile markers on the trail, I kept referring to my GPS to get a better idea of how much more I had to run. Being in the woods made it interesting, as you had no real idea to where you were in relation to the finish line….there was no way to see through the trees! I could sense, though, when we were getting on the home stretch, as we ran back on pieces of the beginning of the race. I could hear commotion and announcements through the trees, and soon we hit the paved main road….I was almost done!

I pushed my way through to the finish in a time of 1:13:20! I was pleasantly surprised with my time, and I definitely think that Erin telling me I could get the 14 km done in under 1:20 really pushed me. It was a little chaotic finding Greg in the relay exchange area, as I had to stop quickly and was a little disoriented. Soon he had our timing chip and was off, and I got my finisher’s medal!

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The rest of huge day was spent going from inside to outside and trying to stay warm as we waited for all our runners to run their legs. I felt fantastic during the run, but the hours that followed led to an extremely runny nose and an overall feeling of garbage. I tried to keep my mind off of the fact I was starting to feel petty sick by watching for our runners coming back and also keeping an eye out for Erin as she came through for each leg.

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In the end, our team finished with a time of 6:13:24. It was awesome. Seeing all our runners come in at the end of their legs and then our next runners head out to start their leg, but it was especially cool to see Trish finish for us, since it was her first race ever! This race was organized very well and the scenery was next to none….beautiful! I would definitely recommend this race for runners looking for a change of pace an a challenge! We are all already talking about doing it again next year, and now we all wouldn’t be strangers!

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