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…the adventure continues…and finally ends!

Exchange 18 was very close to the Robert’s home and was where we would meet up with Van 1 and start out second leg. It was around 12:30 am – it was really dark and so cool to spot runners along the road wearing their safety vests, headlamps and red tail lights! I was looking forward to a night run – I was charted to start my 4.1 mile run around 4:30 am – that was as “night” as I was going to get. There would be only partial van support on my run so I was hoping to be done before the sun came up.

We waited at the exchange for quite a while for Jen to come in. We were around two hours behind schedule altogether and would really need to pick up the pace. The heat, the last-minute increase in mileage on a few of the runs and lack of sleep were things that we couldn’t factor in on a spreadsheet – nor could a spreadsheet reflect the amount of fun we were having despite the few negatives experienced!  Below is a picture of Kelli waiting to start her run. She named this photo “Tron”! It was really cool to look around and see hundreds of safety vests glowing in the dark…but of course it doesn’t take much to entertain me!


Kudos to Van 1 and the first 3 runners of Van 2 for their night running legs. Stories of gravel paths, swampy running areas and deep darkness mad me grateful for the delay in our running schedule. After Jen slapped the bracelet on Kelli’s wrist, Van 2 was on their way to support her on her very long run. Jamie joined Van 2 so he could run with Susan on her night run because the van would be unable to provide any support during that leg.  Thanks Jamie! We did our best to welcome Jamie to Van 2 by teasing him endlessly.

As it started to get lighter out, I knew my next leg was going to be in the full sun again. Susan and Jamie ran into the exchange and I received the slap bracelet around 7:15 am. Unfortunately I still had to wear my safety gear as Ragnar rules required them between 4:30 pm and 7:30 am.

I ran in gravel and then in grass until I hit the walkway of the bridge along US Route 1. I looked over and saw the most beautiful sunrise. I took a couple of seconds to thank God for it, snap a picture and turn off my headlamp and tail light.

sunrise run 2

Continuing on my run I was surprised to see so many people on the bridge. I thought they were Ragnar friends or family, but as I got closer I was that they were people fishing. As I got more towards the center of the bridge, the amount of fishers increased. There were little tents set up, lawn chairs, folding cots and people with grocery carts full of fishing equipment. There were people cleaning fish along the bridge and fish blood and guts littered the sidewalk. The smell was repulsive! So much for my beautiful “sunrise over the ocean” run!  I tried to ignore them and focus on the beauty of the skies and water. I stopped again to take another picture.


It was getting hot out already and I was glad I brought 2 bottles of water with me. After the bridge, I was again running on soft grass which would lead me to the next exchange where I would slap the bracelet on Nancy’s wrist and drag myself back to the van.

After Susi finished, Van 2 was on “break” and famished. We stopped at a little place called the Seven Mile Diner. Again, the workers were clueless   about the Ragnar Relay going on right in front of their establishment. The wait for a table was long and the service was 100_2322horrible, but the coffee tasted so very good and I LOVED my chocolate chip pancakes!


We headed on to Exchange 30 where we would meet up with Van 1 again and start our final leg. At Exchange 30 we all took advantage of a little extra time to relax and catch a couple of much-needed zzzzz’s. Susi and I took a blanket and joined some other Ragnarians for a nap under a tree – the breeze felt wonderful, but it was too difficult to sleep. Just having the down time and a place to stretch out was great.

As we were waiting for Kelli to start, I saw the Ragnar man I had met on my flight from Baltimore to Tampa. He recognized me and asked me how my adventure was going. We chatted for a little while. It was really neat the he recognized me in the middle of ALL THOSE PEOPLE!

Van 1 pulled into the exchange and we waited for Jen to come in and slap the bracelet on Kelli’s wrist. As Kelli took off, Van 1 was officially finished with their legs! For this last round, most of us had shorter legs to run and traffic was heavy down Route 1, so there wasn’t much time for warming up and stretching out after runs. It was finish your run, hop in the van and get rollin’!

My next run was 2.1 miles. It was totally no van support, but that was fine since it was a quick run and the weather was cooling down some. I had a virtual slap which means that instead of actually getting the bracelet, you take off from a designated point. As Susan reached the spot, I took off. My run wound down around a neighborhood and then back up onto the highway. I high-fived Nancy and she was off.  Van 2 stepped up the pace to make up some time and it was looking like we might have a decent finish time.

While Susi was running the final leg, we all put on our Team conFUSION shirts, met up with Van 1 and waited for her to come around the corner to the finish line. It was fun to watch the different teams meet up with their final runner and join them crossing the finish line. The energy and excitement of the crowd was unbelievable! It was difficult to locate your runner in the dark as the turned the corner so Stephen went down to the corner to watch for Susi. Finally the two of them came running down the road and we all jumped out to join them. I grabbed Susi’s hand and said “let’s sprint it!” It was an amazing experience to sprint across that finish line hand in hand with her!  We all got our medals – (that’s why we run, right? The BLING!) – and we gathered for a finishers photo.


I could go on and on about that evening – shopping for Ragnar stuff, the gorgeous suite, the pizza party, the wonderful shower, cleaning the vans, the flight home….but, I won’t! Ragnar was one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever experienced (at times I felt it trumped childbirth!) and I LOVED it!  Team conFUSION, thank you for the best 36.5 hour adventure in my life! I love you guys so much!

Ragnar Finisher Pic


ragnar relay – part 3

… the adventure continues….

Van 1 checked in at the starting line in time for their 7:00 am start. Rumor has it they were up and at ’em around 4:00 am – I wouldn’t know because my roommate, Susi and I were doing this – ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzz!

By 7:30 am, almost all of the Van 2 peeps had eaten breakfast, were packed and ready to heat out…except Susan and Nancy 🙂 …. We finally had everything squeezed in our van and were on the way by 8:00 am thanks to the gentle persuasion of our driver, Greg.


We arrived at Exchange 6, which was where all Van 2 people of each team began their Ragnar adventure. After a little Ragnar safety training, bib pick-up, temporary tattoo placement, Krispy Kreme eating and shopping, we saw Van 1 pull in and knew it was about time for the slap bracelet exchange between Jen (Van 1) and Kelli (Van 2).

tattoo (thanks Susan, for sharing your tattoo for illustrative purposes!)

We all anxiously waited for the Ragnar staffer to yell out “305”, our team number, which meant the runner had been spotted and the new runner needed to be in place and ready for the ‘slapping on’ of the orange Ragnar bracelet. Exchange 6 was filled with music, laughter and excitement. Most everyone there had not run yet and were “fresh-legged” and ready to get started.  Team “305” was finally called out and we all ran up to wish Kelli good luck and to welcome in an exhilarated Jen. Team conFUSION would replay this scene several more times in the next 36.5 hours.

The Van 2 running order was Kelli, Victoria, Susan, Kim, Nancy and Susi. Susi was the lucky one who got to finish Ragnar for us…but that comes later in the story…much later! 😉

I can only share the actual running experience of my own legs. I saw each of the Van 2 girls before they ran, gave support during their run, and saw them after they ran, but I’ll never know what went on in their heads during their run. I welcome each of them and those who were in Van 1 as well,  to write a guest blog and share their experiences.

My first leg was 7.8 miles. Our carefully calculated spreadsheet had me scheduled out at 1:48 pm and back at 3:07 pm, but that was before my mileage increased from 7.1 to 7.8. My run started at 1:55 pm, so we were already a little off schedule and with my adjusted mileage I was predicted in around 3:21 pm. It was really getting hot – I texted Lisa and told her there was no way I could keep up my pace – the temperature was 83 degrees. This Ohio girl does not run in the heat!

My pace started out good – I was keeping a 10:45 – 11:00 minute pace for the first 2.5 miles and then BANG! My run became a mental game. I mostly ran on sidewalks with concrete walls beside me which I am sure increased the heat by several degrees. I pulled out my cell phone a couple of times and was ready to text Lisa to send in a replacement…but, I quickly put it back in my pocket – there was no way I was going to DNF this Ragnar. NO WAY!

The Van 2 girls knew I was struggling and met me every couple of miles with water. At one point they had written an encouraging note onwater the sidewalk for me – I love them! I couldn’t have made it without their support! I saw Van 1 pass me around mile 5 honking their horn and shouting out encouragement..around mile 6 Sarah from Van 1 ran up to meet me with water. She saw that I still had plenty of water so she gently poured the bottle of cold water over me – it felt so good! She told me I was almost finished. I heard later that one of the Ultra team guys quit around that same point. They run the entire Rangar with only 6 team members. I can’t imagine doing that to start with, but doing that in this heat – huh-uh…kudos to them!  I passed a young guy – maybe in his early 20’s who said he was going to walk the rest of the way in. He offered me his water since I was going to run the rest of the way. Yes, I actually got a kill on that run!

I finally made it to the exchange where Nancy was ready to start her first run. I could not wait to take my shoes off of my swollen, hot feet and scarf down the banana that Kelli brought me! A little wipe of the sweaty brow and I was ready for a photo shoot by Susi. The park was unbelievably beautiful and (almost) all pain was forgotten when I looked out on the blue, blue waters!

first leg

I did not cry, but I wanted to….I did not puke, but I came awfully close…I did not quit, but I wanted to…and I did pray A LOT!

      After our first round of “legs”, Van 2 headed to the home of Victoria’s parents in Key Largo. On the way there we stopped at Mrs. Mac’s – we all had a burger cravin’ and were famished. I hadn’t eaten red meat for months, but I the vision of a huge, greasy burger was too much to handle!


burgers  This is us waiting on our burgers – Victoria and Greg were sitting across the way pretending to be on a date and also         pretending not to know us!



Victoria’s parents graciously opened their home to 12 stinky, tired runners and 2 tired, but not so stinky drivers in 2 shifts. They would be entertaining Ragnarians for the next 12 hours. We all showered, goofed off a little, and took a quick 2 hour (or less) nap before we were up and getting ready to run our next set of legs. It was 11:30 pm and we were having home-made key lime pie for breakfast (thanks Mr. Roberts), packing cold cut sandwiches for “lunch” and stumbling out the door for another round!

….tomorrow (or the next day…or the next day…) Ragnar continued!


ragnar relay – part 2

the adventure…continued….

Jen and I were heading to the La Quinta and I got a call from Sarah telling me everyone was still at the Ft. Lauderdale airport waiting for our van rentals from National. We decided to leave our luggage at the hotel and head to the airport where we drop of her car and meet up with everyone else. I took that opportunity to change from my Ohio clothes to Florida clothes…ahhhh, much better!

We drove around…and around…and around some more looking for the well hidden economy parking lot to stow away Jen’s car for the weekend. After finding a spot, we jumped on the shuttle and headed for the airport. We were both so excited to see everyone else!

We ran up (okay, I ran and Jen used the moving sidewalk) to the rental desk and had a squealing reunion with Kelli, Sarah, Susan, and Nancy and for the first time ever, met Victoria. Also there was Greg, Victoria’s husband and the Van 2 driver, Sarah’s friend Noah and Kelli’s brother Steven – I am sure the guys were wondering what they had gotten themselves into! 🙂 May I say again, even though I had never met Victoria, I had that ‘familiar, comfortable running shoe’ feeling again! (see part 1, if you don’t get it 😛 )


Soon we were joined by Susi who had ridden in with Lisa, our captain, her husband Jamie – Van 1 driver and substitute runner if needed and their friend Stephen. Lisa was presented with her official conFUSION team captain T-shirt that Susi bought for her Elfster gift.Kudos to Lisa for her outstanding job of organizing every aspect of  Rangar for our team. She really help us muddle through the conFUSION!th_applausehandsclapping

True to our team name, the rest of the evening involved a lot of confusion – everything from getting the Vans to having our carb load dinner together presented it’s fair share of challenges! It was a lot of fun getting to know one another throughout the evening and especially fun pigging out on pasta. I had a most delicious dish of whole wheat Fusilli with  chicken, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms topped with goat cheese and for dessert I had a pastry filled with Nutella – it was delicious!

For the relay the teams decorate their vans – there is a van decorating contest, yes, but knowing this van was going to be our home for the next 36 hours, we had to put our mark on it! Each van had individual pictures of the runners that would be in that group and a picture of the driver. We each added our nicknames or a particular comment that was our fav or something silly. There were daisy magnets, turtle drawings, Christmas lights inside and all sorts of other silliness.

Both vans also added a picture of our grandturtle, Hailey, the grandchild of Liz, one of our beloved TFF’s. She was very sick with pertussis and  lost her life within the next few hours. We all ran in honor of Hailey who had fought so long and hard, but could no longer battle her illness.


By the time the vans were decorated, we were all exhausted and ready to call it a day. We all headed for our rooms and tried to sleep while visions of Ragnar danced in our heads!


Until tomorrow as the story of Van 2 continues down the road to Key West! The stories of Van 1 will mostly remain untold as I was on Van 2 and have NO IDEA what went on in there…until we meet in Key West!

ragnar relay – part one!

What a great and challenging way to start off a new year! Some of my turtle friends and I have spent the past few months preparing for the 2013 Florida Keys Ragnar Relay – a 197 mile run from Miami to Key West. The tagline for the Ragnar is “12 friends, 2 vans, 200 miles” and that is just what it is…plus a whole lot more!


A few people have asked me what Ragnar means – not just the description of the race, but the word itself.  Ragnar Relays were named after Ragnar Lodbrok who was a Norse hero in the 9th century. Ragnar was noted for his great adventures as he led Viking raids across France and England. The logo that Ragnar uses is a representation of the helmet the Vikings wore. My guess is Ragnar Relay was named after him because of the adventures and not the raids, although the way the teams would swarm in at the exchanges might possibly resemble a Viking raid! 🙂

Many months were spent planning, organizing and discussing everything from who would be able to come, team names, t-shirts, logos, hotels, etc. As the date approached to lock in team member names drew closer we found ourselves short 3 turtles and reached out to friends and family. We were joined by 3 honorary guy turtles to complete our team.

The team name was a much debated subject. We all searched our brains, the internet and solicited suggestions from others to find a name that would best represent us. The underlying theme was embedded in the fact that we all come from different parts of the world.  I threw out the word fusion which defined is “the process of combining 2 or more distinct entities into a new whole.”  THAT is who/what we are. As a play on the whole process of getting Ragnar together, we decided to add ‘con’ to the ‘fusion’ and the team name became conFUSION. Now that was a word that really represented who and what we are!

Sarah and Noah started working on a logo. It was perfect! Next came shirts and water bottle s with the logo. LOVE IT! ragnarconfusion

Meet team conFUSION

  • Lisa Gauthier, captain – Spring, TX
  • Jen Carlson – Tampa, FL
  • Sarah Gunnare – WI by way of Harwich, England
  • Kelli Frey – Angier, NC
  • Victoria Valmain – Spring, TX
  • Susan Freed – Pomona, CA
  • Kim Conley – Troy, OH
  • Susi McCord – Virginia Beach , VA by way of Burghausen, Germany
  • Nancy Yaguda – Apex, NC
  • Steven Andrews – Gastonia, NC
  • Noah Rosenthal – Butler, WI
  • Stephen Sills – The Woodlands, TX

…and our drivers Greg Valmain and Jamie Gauthier both from Spring, TX

Sooooo…after all the planning, organizing and discussing, the time had come for Team conFUSION to embark upon OUR Ragnar adventure!

My adventure began when the alarm went off at 3:00 am Thursday, January 4th. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep, but was excited to get going. I got ready, loaded the Jeep, snuck in and kissed Garrett and headed to the airport for my 6:00 am flight to Tampa via a quick stop in Baltimore. When I lined up to board the plane, I heard a group talking about Van 1 and Van 2 – ahhhh…fellow Ragnarians! I asked and they said yes – this was their second time. One of the men told me not to be nervous, but to just enjoy the adventure.. ok  🙂

As the plane flew over Baltimore, I looked out in the dark and saw a long bridge full of headlights and couldn’t help but wonder if this was what Route 1 in the Keys would look like at night. Okay – am getting nervous again!

I hustled to the next plane and was seated across the aisle from a man wearing an orange Ragnar shirt – another fellow Ragnarian! We talked for a long time about his previous Ragnar adventures – he had done the Keys before and several other locations. Again, I was reminded not to be nervous, but to just enjoy my adventure..ok 🙂 Later he talked about signing an alligator waiver last year at the Keys Ragnar and about signing a bear waiver for the Utah Ragnar – REALLY? Nervous again!


As soon as my plane landed, I texted Jen and we found each other at the baggage claim area. It was so great to see her again! It’s funny, even though I don’t physically see my turtle friends often, our friendships feel as familiar as a comfortable pair of running shoes. ❤

Jen and I loaded up and headed to Fort Lauderdale where we would meet up with everyone else. It didn’t take long for me to shed the tights and suede boots for a pair of sandals – the weather was beautiful.


Jen proudly shared information about different things we passed along the way. I really enjoyed our time together before the craziness started. We talked about EVERYTHING and both nervously discussed our upcoming Ragnar adventure.

I see this is going to be a LONG story so…tomorrow Ft. Lauderdale and the turtle/honorary turtle meet up!

Merry Christmas Mommy!

As most of you probably already know, my mom passed away on November 27th – just 3 days before her 80th birthday.  Christmas was her favorite time of the year, which has made the days leading up the holiday just a little solemn in my home. I have spent a lot of time putting my eyes in the Bible, my heart in prayer and my feet on the pavement to deal with the sadness of losing my mom and with the holidays.

I could so easily be consumed with grief and become a Grinch snarling at every Christmas card I receive, turning down invitations from friends to get together, ignoring Christmas parties and events, not singing along with my favorite Christmas songs as I drive along wanting to plow over busy Christmas shoppers.


I could…but I WON’T

As I sat back and thought about the things mom loved about Christmas and how hard she worked to bring joy to all of those around her I can’t NOT enjoy Christmas and its festivities this year, just as I have in years past.  After all – (yup, I’m gonna use the cliché)  Jesus is the reason for the season and mom always made that fact the center of our Christmas celebration.

Mom loved to decorate the house and would often start in mid November. Each picture on every wall was wrapped to look like Christmas gifts, twinkling lights shone in every room, a snowy Christmas village with moving ice skaters sat on top of her grand piano, nativity scenes, wreaths, snowmen, garland and a meticulously decorated Christmas tree all made her home become a Christmas wonderland.

The crème de la crème was a cheap plastic nativity scene that was made to go outside in the yard. It was always her favorite. The 2 foot tall figurines were children dressed up to ‘act out’ the nativity scene – Joseph, Mary and a shepherd, wise men along with a manger with baby Jesus, some sheep and a cow. They each had a lightbulb inside and would glow across the living room. The nativity scene was the first thing you would see as you entered her house – anyone who came to visit during the holidays knew without a doubt that “Jesus was the reason for the season” in her home.


Christmas gift giving always took place on Christmas Eve at mom’s. This eliminated the “is this from grandma or Santa Claus” issue and allowed people to do as they pleased in their own homes on Christmas Day. Santa may come to other’s homes, but he never visited mom’s house. Every gift at mom’s was bought and given BY a person and it didn’t matter if you were naughty or nice – the gifts were in appreciation of who you were and the love that she had for YOU.

Not one gift was touched until the story of Christ’s birth was read from the Bible. As a child, sitting and listening patiently (yeah, right) while staring at those gifts wondering which was yours was difficult. We quickly learned you didn’t dare drum your fingers or sigh for you might just get to hear the account of Christ’s birth from both Matthew AND Luke that year. As a young child it seemed like torture…wanting to cry out “we heard that story LAST YEAR”, but mom knew what she was doing – she instilled a love of the re-telling of Christ’s birth and helped us to understand it wasn’t just a story. It was one of the many ways she shared the gospel to those who were visiting her home on Christmas and helped our family to learn to keep Christ as the focus of our Christmas.

As I ponder on these memories I would do a disservice to my mom’s efforts of keeping Christ in Christmas if I allowed the Grinch to take over my attitude and my holiday this year. Yes, Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday and that makes this one a little sad, but Christmas is NOT about my mom – it is about the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yes, I am going to say it again – Jesus is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas mommy – tell Jesus I said Happy Birthday! I love and miss you so much.


For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

why didn’t you tell me???

I  ♥ Trader Joe’s but not having one in my home town, I don’t go there very often. Today I decided to make a TJ run during lunch hour since it isn’t TOO far from my office. Normally I take my lunch break late and go for a run, but today is one of those cold, windy, drizzly days and I just didn’t feel like running outside.

My friend Katie had posted about TJ’s 0% fat pumpkin flavored greek yogurt and I just HAD to try it. I am a lover of all things pumpkin during the fall time. Any other time of the year I don’t even consider eating pumpkin, but once fall hits the calendar, I am a pumpkinaholic. Give it to me in a latte, bagel, muffin, soup or bread – but just GIVE IT TO ME!

Anyway, I was after pumpkin yogurt..and ONLY pumpkin yogurt…but no, I had to look around. I grabbed a couple bags of frozen fruit for smoothies (great prices), some phyllo dough that was on special so I could make those cute little baby  apple pie bites (recipe in WW weekly) and of course I winked and said hi to my favorite bag of peanut butter filled  pretzel pillows without buying them and then – bang – before I could look away – there it was…like a cruel Halloween trick disguised as a treat –


I’ve read the discussions about cookie butter amongst my turtle friends, but I had never tasted it. The tone of the talk would range from delight in buying it to disgust in eating it ALL.  I do not like raw cookie dough or cookie dough ice cream or anything like that, so it seemed like this was a subject I could stay away from. I was looking for my favorite kind of peanut butter and then I saw it – right there beside the peanut butter was cookie butter! It looked NOTHING like cookie dough – but it did resemble my best friend, peanut butter.

I picked up the jar and looked at the NI – not too bad, I thought – and placed it back on the shelf…or so I thought! The stuff must have hopped into my basket because before I knew it, I was paying for it – I looked at the cashier puzzled and wondered how that jar got in MY basket!

Oh well, I thought – not a big deal! I stuffed the jar in the bottom of my bag and headed back to my office. While I felt around in the bag for a container of the much sought after pumpkin yogurt, that cookie butter jar kept touching my fingers. I flicked it away and continued on with the business of pumpkin yogurt.

As I drove along I  kept hearing these clawing noises on the side of the bag as I drove back to the office. I peeked in and somehow that crazy cookie butter had made its way to the top of the bag looking as though it was trying to hop out onto my lap. I crammed it back down there and put my bags of frozen fruit on top thinking I must be losing it!

I cranked up my CD player and allowed the pleasures of pumpkin yogurt and Christmas music (it’s never too early!) drown out the tempting “siren of the cookie butter”.

I had totally forgotten (yeah, right) about the cookie butter until I was putting things in the fridge at work. I pulled out my WW P+ calculator to see what I had gotten myself into. (thanks Susanne!)  Only 2 P+ per tablespoon – no problem! I don’t use a full tablespoon of my beloved peanut butter on anything so I knew was going to be just fine!


OH. MY. WORD. !!! Cookie Butter is the yummiest stuff I have ever tasted. I am planning on leaving it at work so that I will only be tempted 8 or so hours a day.  Thanks Turtle friends for getting me hooked – first it was running and now cookie butter! What’s next? Roasted brussel sprouts?

Well…I am off to figure out how many miles I have to run to work off each serving – why don’t they put that on the side of the jar? Look out you cold, blustery, rainy day – I have cookie butter to work off.

Yeah – go ahead and try it – it is REALLY good, but I must warn you – on the side of the jar is written “All you have to do is taste it to understand!”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Saturday, September 15, 2012 I celebrated my 1 year running anniversary.

As many of you know, Memorial Day weekend of 2011 I started the C25K program. I have never been a runner my entire life. I have always wanted to run, but I let my unathleticness (I made that word up, but it means one who is not really athletic by other’s standards) prevented me from even trying. Being happily older and wiser I no longer worry whether “everyone else is doing it” or “what everyone else will think of me” – I simply pray about it and if I feel led by God, I do it!  That’s how I became a lover of running…and an athlete!

Halfway through C25K, some of my virtual running group friends were signing up for their first 5K races. It was a way to give oneself a goal, a reason to finish the program successfully and a way to have life after couch potato conversion. Many people finish C25K and say…okay, what’s next, but I found signing up for a 5K race (and then another, and another, and another) kept me motivated to keep on running. I don’t know how I first found out about the Air Force Marathon 5K, but that was the one I chose to be my first 5K.

Air Force Marathon - Official Page - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH

I will never forget that day – September 16, 2011 as I crossed that finish line in 38:20 and the exhilaration I felt! I had just finished my first 5K…ran the whole thing…and under my 40 minute goal. My mind was euphoric for weeks! I quickly signed up for several more 5Ks – I had been bitten by the racing bug!

To celebrate my 1 year running anniversary I ran the Air Force Half Marathon. What a way to finish up a year of running and racing! My goal was to finish and hopefully in under 3 hours. My official time was 2:58:18! I again have been in euphoria for days! I can’t believe it!

I took some time and reviewed my running journal just to remember where I started and where I am now. In the past year I have ran eleven 5K races, one 8K race, one 10K race and one half marathon. I have seen zillions of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, spent hours upon hours of time alone with God, met up with rabbits, dogs and groundhogs, sweated a bucket or two, met lots of wonderful racing people, received a few medals, traveled all the way to Virginia Beach for a race, supported my alma mater high school in a 5K, ran through 3 pairs of shoes, lost a couple of toe nails, never had a serious injury, and have found something I really, really love. Thanks God!

I have a few more 5Ks scheduled to finish out 2012 with and then will run a challenging Ragnar Relay with my bestest running buddies, the Turtles, in January 2013! We will be running from Miami to Key West!

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to the best partner ever and may we have many more years together!

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