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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ironman Florida-the report!

         Hard to believe, but my rookie pro 2012 season wrapped up over this past weekend at Ironman Florida.  At some point, I’ll summarize the season as a whole, the lessons I’ve learned, and where I go from here, but for now, I’ll get to the race report!  Although I was a little nervous that my pre-race rituals would be a little compressed (I was heading down Thursday morning for the Saturday race; my bike wouldn’t be arriving until Thursday night with Dave), I ended up having plenty of time to take care of everything.  QT2 male pro Tim Tapply and I drove into Panama City Beach together on Thursday morning and hit up the pro meeting, check in, and some practice swimming.  I then had plenty of time to purchase a few last minute items at the expo, meet fellow Rochesterian (and former patient!) Monica for some dinner, and buy the groceries I'd need before picking Dave up on Thursday.  Friday, I was finished with breakfast (pancakes...mmm...), bike setup, and gear bag packing early on, and I had the rest of the day to sit in some shade on the beach while Dave swam, followed by relaxing on my butt all afternoon.  Life was good.  
The gulf-much more enjoyable to look at than swim in


The Kestrel, racked and ready!
          Heading into the race, I had my wattage and heart rate targets and my race plan, and I had in mind what I hoped they would translate to time-wise (sub-1:10 swim, 5:10 bike, 3:05-3:10 run, overall sub-9:30).  But, I never like to fixate only on time or place, because I know that too many other factors beyond my control play into those factors, so I was only planning on executing what I could.  As the week progressed, so did the weather forecast...towards higher and higher temperatures and humidity levels.  This would have been fine three months ago, when I had been acclimated to those types of conditions, but after several months of comfortable runs with temperatures in the 50's, I was a bit nervous about what would happen when temperatures hit the low 80's, with heat indices in the mid-80's-IMFL was known for freezing cold morning temperatures and comfortable humidity levels that time of year, after all.  I hoped that the long trainer rides I'd done would have helped me keep some semblance of heat acclimation in my system from the summer, loaded some salt tabs into my race gear, and told myself that by focusing on heart rate rather than pace on the run, I'd be fine-the time would be whatever it was, no need to obsess.  Secondary to the heat, my other concern heading into the race was the water conditions.  Tim and I had swam a bit on Thursday afternoon, when the gulf featured some powerful breakers towards the shore-maybe only 100m of them, but still enough to strike a little panic into me as I struggled to get through them.  One little voice in my head convinced that I was going to swim 1:20 because I had to go in and out of that twice with the two loop swim; the other one was trying to shut that up, telling me that it might not be that bad on race morning, and then again, even if it was...guess what, I'd just gotten through the breakers, so it could be done.

          Race morning went smoothly.  I reached transition plenty early, and had plenty of time to set up and get ready without additional stress.  My bike was coated in moisture from the air, as it was already 67 degrees at 5:30am, and the air was thick with humidity.  Life felt a bit surreal as I finished the last minute bike preparation just across the transition aisle from Rinny and Meredith Kessler, listening to two of the big names of the sport, women I admire and look up to discuss why exactly their bikes were soaking wet and how they maintain some aspect of femininity in the midst of the grossness of Ironman.  A few age groupers here and there were stopping at the end of our aisle to snap paparazzi shots of the two of them; I had to laugh to myself that I'd end up being the random chick in the corner.  After chatting with a few QT2'ers in the bathroom line, I was off to the swim start, somehow feeling nervous and calm at the same time.  The water wasn't calm; the breakers were there again, although not quite as strong as they had been on Thursday.  I used the few minutes I had to warm up to practice working my way through them, which ended up being a good call, as the first wave that hit my face knocked my goggles loose.  I moved the strap underneath my cap, got to the smoother water, and then swam back in.  I'd be ok.  
All lined up. "Gosh, I love swimming," I thought.  Wait...
Never having done a beach start before, I wasn't entirely sure how it'd go.  The pro men started five minutes beforehand, and then we were up next.  I stood among 20 other women, ankle-deep in the water, and took a few last deep breaths.  The starter sent us off, and I followed the lead of the other women, getting through the breakers and out into the open ocean.  The excitement of the start didn't give me much time to obsess over it, and as I began to swim, I was somewhat pleased and surprised to find myself amongst others.  I laughed a little bit to myself as we hit the first buoy-it was farther than I'd swam with people in Placid.  Score!  As we swam away from shore, the water shifted into rolling swells.  I actually found them easier to deal with than chop, as I could swim/breathe normally, but just with a fun little up/down action the entire time.  On the first trip out, I could feel fingers brushing against my feet-someone was actually with me, I'd take it!  The swells did make sighting a little difficult, as I always managed to decide to look up when I was at the bottom of one.  As a result, despite the fact that the current was pushing from right to left, I still found myself to the far right, next to a kayaker once I got within a couple of buoys of the turn buoy.  I redirected, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise-as I swam diagonally toward the first buoy, I saw two women swimming in a line near it.  I put in a surge, caught up to the feet, and settled in.  As we turned towards shore, the swells were in our favor.  I felt smooth and in control, just telling myself to stay on the feet and use the draft as best as I could (even though I’m sure the fact that I kept brushing the feet/calves was getting irritating after a while).  Mentally, this was huge.  Swimming 2.4 miles completely alone, in last place in Placid had just seemed so defeating.  The swim had dragged on forever, and I spent most of it battling negative thoughts.  When swimming with others, the buoys passed quickly, my brain was shut off, and I was just…going. 


Heading back into the water for lap 2.  This picture cracks me up, as I look as if I'm in no hurry whatsoever to get back into the water.
We exited the water at the end of the first loop, I saw 33:4x on the Garmin, and I heard the announcer call out the names of the other women in my swim group.  The first loop time was solid for me, requiring far less effort than previous half IM swims of the same pace (ha), and I was in the company of some the women that I’d had the well, maybe on a good day I’ll have a chance to stick with them about.  I was having the kind of race swim I’d been waiting for all season, and I knew it.  We re-entered the water, got past the breakers again, and I positioned myself second in line this time, still on feet.  I told myself to stay on them on the way out into the swells, and then move ahead if I was still feeling good on the way back.  Some of the age groupers were passing us by this point, but far fewer than I’d dealt with in Placid.  I stuck to my plan, taking over the lead on the way back in, even spotting decently, trying to use the age grouper packs to spur me along.  Finally, I emerged from the water, hitting the beach in 1:09:11.  The time was only 47 seconds faster than Placid, but the effort was a huge improvement, given that the swim conditions there had been akin to a giant pool, and the Florida time included fighting breakers, a beach run, and currents.  Plus, I wasn’t last out of the water-I’d made it out of there ahead of five other pro women, even if it was by a narrow margin in most cases.  Still, the mental boost of still seeing other bikes on the rack as I made my way through transition was welcome.  Although I still have a long way to go, I think I might have cracked a smile in T1 for the first time all season.
See?  Smiling out of T1!
                   
Fifteen minutes after getting to the mount line (bike skills), I'm off!
With the swim behind me, I set off on the bike.  I knew my wattage target, and I was hoping that it would translate into a sub-5:10ish ride, although time is never a primary metric that I use to judge my biking.  I’d try for my wattage, make sure to hit my nutrition on the rapidly warming morning, and see what happened.  The forecasted winds for the morning were light and variable, so I knew that it could be a fast day on the flat (understatement!) course.  One of my main concerns heading into the day was bike packs that were known to form on the course.  I wanted to ride clean; I wanted to know what I could do-a fast but non-cleanly achieved time would mean nothing to me.  Being a weaker female pro swimmer, I knew I’d be starting off with some competitive male age groupers, and I worried that I’d get caught up early on.  Sure enough, I found myself going back and forth with a group of men.  At first, they were riding as individuals, so I would pass and move ahead.  Soon enough, though, the distance between them became shorter and shorter, meaning that I’d have to either spike my wattage to grind past the pace line, or soft pedal while they all passed me.  Another pro woman was in the same scenario as me, and it was almost as if we could feel each other's frustration as we exchanged encouragement.  Still within the first five miles, I sucked it up and decided not to ruin my entire day by spiking my power so much early on, and I slowed up to let them all pass me.  The group them rode away, and I settled in and continued on with my day, taking solace in the fact that I’d know what I was capable of legally.  Although I’m a competitor, I’ll never let it come at the expense of playing by the rules.  If others don’t feel the same way then…so be it.  Nothing I could do about that-plus, I wasn't competing against age group men, I was competing to be the best that I could be.  After that, the ride continued uneventfully.  I concentrated on downing Perform early on and hitting all the bottle handoffs (the fear aspect of them continued to decrease throughout, too!)-sure enough, the warmer temperatures meant that I was easily finishing off a bottle between every stop. 

Those earlier miles almost seemed like the hardest ones-I was alone, the terrain was unchanging, my wattage near the lower end of my target zone.  I shut off my mind, and just continued on, knowing that the ~13min/5 mile splits showing up on my Garmin meant that my early pace was pretty quick for me.  Around mile 35, when I was pondering the fact that I hadn’t even reach the 1/3 point yet, I thought of Heather, and let emotion and sadness wash through me.  I felt some guilt, as well, knowing that I still had this opportunity, that it was a gift, and that my fatigue was pretty freaking insignificant in the scheme of the world’s problems and inequities.  I came out on the other side with a renewed sense of strength and purpose, dedicating myself to completing this Ironman for those who never would get the chance, giving a quick glance upward and instantly feeling less alone.  At that point, the caffeinated gels I had started into began to give me a bit of a boost, and a few solitary age group men passed me here and there, offering encouragement and telling me that I looked strong.  I found a renewed sense of happiness in what I was doing at that point, the kind I often get on training runs but don’t so often feel on rides.  I used it to smile for the volunteers and thank anyone and everyone along the race course in those middle miles.  In long races, I always find myself reading signs, as well, and the ones that lined the road shortly after the forty mile mark offered up some comic relief-starting with “Ever wish you’d taken up bowling?” (good question) and finishing with “Is your junk numb yet?” (I don’t know if I have “junk”, persay, but numbness would be a welcome option…).
Look!  A bike smile!
I reached the halfway mark in ~2:26, as in, a ridiculous amount faster than any previous 70.3 ride in my life.  I figured that a. the wind I couldn’t figure out to that point had actually been a tailwind the entire time, and the second half of the ride was going to be awful; b. I was going to bite it later on, big time; or c. that I was just having a good ride on a fast day.  I hoped for c.  I was also getting hot, and added in grabbing water to dump all over myself at every aide station into my race plan.  I at least sort of felt an urge to pee at this point, though, which was a step above where I’d been in Placid hydration-wise.  The urge didn’t lead to execution (which would later haunt my comfort levels a bit on the run), but at least it gives me something else to work on in future Ironmans, I suppose.  My power levels began to rise a bit towards the upper levels of my zone, and all was well.  I could feel my energy levels and strength building as the ride progressed, and I began to have to tell myself to back off a bit, to keep calm and steady until mile 80-90 or so, when I could begin a push towards T2.  I’d had the occasional pack pass me here and there, and I hadn’t let it get to my at that point, because they’d continued on, and I’d been able to keep on with my ride unobstructed.  This changed somewhere around mile 75, though, when a larger pack (of not all males this time, unfortunately) started to come by.  I was sitting up, braking, soft pedaling, but it just kept coming.  As they passed, I was seeing wattage numbers ~2/3 of what I had been riding, indicating to me how much of an advantage they were gaining.  I had to slow to a near crawl to get and stay a legal distance behind them at times.  Finally, once they were all past, a motorcycle pulled up.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t an official one, but it could have been mistaken for one.  This led to further disarray, as the peloton sort of began to dissolve a bit, meaning that some riders were slowing down, some were staying together, and I was stuck off the back.  I passed one man who was riding off the back as well, and commented to him that I hoped the motorcycle was up there breaking things.  “I know”, he replied, “they’ve been like that all day.”  I maybe spent 5-10 minutes or so in that position, watching my heart rate and power plummet, becoming increasingly frustrated as I had just felt like I was really getting into the ride.  The saving grace came in the form of an aide station.  I took the time to slow way down, grab my Perform, grab my water to spray over myself, and let the pack ride away.  By the time I got to the other side, they had put distance on me, and I was able to continue on my way.  Shortly thereafter; I saw a motorcycle with the official markings on it ride past me, by the next out and back, the pack was dissipated, and I actually began to pick off some of the others here and there. 

By mile 80, it was becoming increasingly clear to me that I stood a chance of biking sub-5, something that had been my long shot pipe dream heading into the race.  I remembered discussing with Dave after one long ride what it’d take to get there.  He seemed to think I could do it; as usual, I had my reservations.  But, it was a fast bike day (to put it mildly), and I was doing my best to cash in on the conditions.    I began to build the effort throughout the last 20-25 miles, moving up a couple of places and finishing with some of my higher power numbers of the day.  By the time I hit the final few miles along the beach, I knew I had the mythical sub-5 split within my grasp.  I felt great at this point, and took some time to soak in the surroundings, spectators, and experience; I smiled at anyone I saw around.  I saw 4:53 on my garmin when I hit T2, smiled a bit to myself, gladly handed off my sticky mess of a bike, and took off toward the changing areas.  The volunteers dumped out my bag and helped me try to sort of organize all of the nutrition I’d thrown in there, as I jammed gels into my top and chomps into my belt pouch.  I joked about being terrible at transitions as they asked me what I needed; they replied that I was “way up there”.  I smiled, thanked them, and took off towards the run exit. 

One thing was clear as I went out the run exit-it was HOT.  I flashed Dave a smile as I ran past, thrilled with my bike effort, but already feeling a bit nervous about what was ahead.  I never feel great when coming off the bike, and this was no exception.  “Take SALT!”, Dave had screamed at me; I figured this was a relayed message from Mary, and I decided that it might be a good idea.  I settled right into my HR range immediately in the first couple of miles, which wasn’t hard given the heat and humidity, but I wasn’t entirely comfortable.  I just felt off, like I was barely moving, even though I was hitting 6:45-6:50s in the first few miles.  You’re fine, I tried to convince myself, you’re running your freaking open marathon pace right now.  You’re fine.  The woman who eventually would school us all on the run and make her way up to third came flying past me within the first mile, which put me in the unfamiliar position of getting passed, but I brushed it off and moved up a position myself.  I remembered being revived by a gel in the early miles of Placid, but I’d taken one in with less than five minutes to go on the bike, so I didn’t think I should be having any issues there.  So, when I couldn’t shake the feelings of weakness and settle into the run (especially since I’d been feeling fantastic in my run training heading in), I made the decision to go for the salt tabs, something I’d never actually tried before-I actually really suck at swallowing pills in normal situations, so I wasn’t sure how well that was going to go down mid-race.  It took a couple of walk steps (a small sacrifice), but luckily, I was somehow better at pill-taking while moving than I am otherwise.  The advantage then might have been mental, but I thought I started to feel a little better, although it never drifted into the “good” range-I knew I’d have a battle ahead, even as I managed a small smile for Dave at mile 5. 




The rest of the first 7 miles or so were spent doing whatever I could to stay cool and trying to get nutrition in.  My stomach was already feeling not-so-great, and I was doubting my ability to make it through the next few hours or running.  This time around, it wasn’t the crampy muscular fatigue that I’d fought in Placid, it was more of the whole body, systemic, sapped, sluggish, I can’t move feeling that’s distinct to running in the humidity for me.  My low point probably came around mile 8-9, when my pace first slipped over 7:00, and I felt like I was just going to continue to fall apart throughout.  I don’t want to be walking that last 10k with a HR of 90, was all I could think to myself.  It was at this point that I ran past Dave again; he’s got some great video where he asks me if I’m feeling ok, and I simply responded with “no”.  It was regroup time, and I knew it.  I didn't panic, I allowed my heart rate to drop a bit, I decided not to worry too much about the pace, and my focus shifted into getting in as much as I could.  I didn’t exactly know what my body wanted, so I tried to give it some of whatever it might have needed-salt, another gel, Perform, coke, water, sponges, ice everywhere.  I began to regroup a bit around mile 12; when I passed Dave again, he said I looked a bit better.  Just make it to the second lap, I willed myself.  I tried to count what place I was in as I neared the turnaround, but lost track-I think I was somewhere in the vicinity of 10th, but I was unsure.  I grabbed my Fuelbelt from my special needs bag, made the turn, and headed back out for lap #2.  A mile in, what Dave said was music to my ears: They’re all slowing down, Jennie.  You’re not slowing down as much as some of them are.  I ran past the stripper house (yes, there was a stripper house on the run course-they were the best!) again, and tried to let them amuse me again. 

Survive.  Make it to the way back.  You can tough out the way back.  I knew the gel I’d taken at mile 12 would be my last of the day.  I was done being able to eat my bloks, I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to stomach, as I was fighting to keep anything in.  I turned to coke and water, and I at least still had enough wits to recognize that I needed to at least supplement that with salt tabs.  The next 10 miles followed a predictable pattern-I’d hit an aide station, take in whatever fluid I could get my hands on, dose myself with ice/sponges/water/etc, and feel better for a few minutes.  Then, I’d start to feel worse again, and would convince myself to just make it to the next aide station.  I’d tell myself that I could walk the aide stations, even though I stopped allowing myself to as the run progressed-it was a coping mechanism more than anything.  The volunteers were amazing; one man even ran back up to me to get me a sponge after we’d flubbed the handoff-you don’t get that every day, and when your existence is reduced to the brief moment of relief that smearing an ice-soaked sponge over yourself provides, you appreciate every gesture you get.  My pace had rapidly slid from the early 6:45-6:50s of the first seven miles to ~7:15-7:30 by mile 11-12, but luckily, that was where the slide ended, and I was holding that pace through mile 23, even though that entire time was a stream of momentary highs (and, by highs, I only mean “sort of okay’s”) and momentary lows.  I only remember snippets of that time; in a way, I think that was my body’s coping mechanism-shut out the bad, forget the bad, or else you’ll never come back.  My HR dipped slightly mid-run, but I was able to bring it up slightly as I headed toward the final few miles, and I became more confident that I was going to at least survive.
Plodding along...

 I moved up six places during that run (meaning I passed seven women, because Ashley had passed me), but aside from the first pass, I couldn’t tell you where or when the passes occurred-I was just so zoned in to making it through.  The other QT2’ers on the course were out there cheering and supporting me, telling me that I looked strong, even though I was feeling anything but.  I tried to manage smiles as I passed, I tried to fake it best I could, I tried to return the support, even though I’m sure I wasn’t totally successful at all that as my brain began to fog over more and more.  I again thought of Heather a few times during there-Heather strong.  I made it to 10k to go.  How many 10ks have I run before?  Tons.  5k to go.  8 min miles was all it would take to beat my Placid marathon split.  It wasn’t going to be the 3:05ish I’d been hoping for, but I also hadn’t been expecting a day as oppressive as the one I was dealing with.  Just keep running.  The last three miles turned into an absolute slog, as my pace (according to my Garmin, screw those IM tracker splits!) suddenly slowed from 7:20-7:30 to 7:50ish for the final few miles.  I didn’t care anymore, though-by that point, I was dumping Perform from my Fuelbelt over my head, because I wanted something to cool myself off and I didn’t want to have a full bottle around my waist anymore, and I accidentally grabbed a cup of chicken broth, thinking it was coke (gross!!).  The last two miles are an entire blur in my mind-I remember Wheeler telling me no one was behind me and to just make it in, I remember counting down every last tenth of a mile, and I remember thinking that the “2nd lap” sign meant that I should go that way if I was on my second lap, and I ran about 10m the wrong way before I realized that I should have been going straight to finish-absolutely brutal.  I was fighting tooth and nail to keep those mile splits under 8:00; the garmin told me that I was successful at that, at least.  I think I slapped one high five on my way in, but I was too close to the edge to do anything but get myself across the line.  Even though I knew the garmin always reads short, I had bargained with myself that I’d be close enough when it read 26.2 that I’d be fine to push to that point.  Well, this resulted in the last .2 pushing me to the very brink of what I could handle.  When the finish line came into sight, I also saw 3:10 on my watch, and began to pour whatever I had left into the straight, just because it was important to me to run just a tad bit faster than in Placid.  Finally, I made it across the line.  In true runner fashion, I stopped my watch, took a couple of steps towards Dave, and did what I’d been wanting to do for the entire marathon-I lowered myself down into a heap on the ground and laid there while Dave handed me my medal and tried to tell me that I had nabbed sixth; despite the fact that I really hadn’t been paying attention to what place I was in the entire run, I still somehow knew that I was really seventh, though (thanks for getting the hopes up, Dave).  I allowed the volunteers to give me a wheelchair lift over towards the medical tent, where I insisted I was fine, and I transferred into a chair, basking in the exhaustion and hurt that somehow felt so good.  
Done!  Stop the watch!!
The initial aftermath of the race was a bit rough.  I removed my shoes right away, revealing that my poor feet were chewed up and covered in blood blisters-tasty.  I began to freeze and swelter at the same time as I was soaked in all sorts of grossness, and I hobbled around on my sore feet to find my morning clothes bags.  After changing into dry clothes and putting on flip flops, I was happier.  Dave and I went to the finish for a bit and cheered in some finishers until I began to feel sort of shaky and nauseous.  The walk back wasn't pretty, and neither was the rest of the night-I'd wanted to get back to watch the midnight finishers, but my body was on shut down mode, and I couldn't get out of bed without being hit by immediate chills (along with other details that shall go undescribed...).  We ended up listening to the calls through our open balcony door and watching online, which would have to suffice.


Sunset over the gulf (Sunday night!)


This post wouldn't have been complete if I'd left this gem out 
Overall...the race was a success.  My swim reflected exactly what had been going on in the pool heading into the race-I'd been working consistently hard, and seeing modest improvements.  To see them translated into small improvements in the open water was the encouragement I'll need heading into the swim focus that awaits me after my brief off-season is over.  My bike was easily my best of the season, as well.  It felt good, it was fast, and it was on a new level for me in terms of its competitiveness within the field.  I feel that I still have room to grow on the bike-I know my volumes aren't near what many women do-so this prospect excites me for next year.  My run wasn't as fast as I'd been hoping for based upon my paces heading in, but the conditions weren't going to be conductive to that.  Part of this was my own fault, too, and I knew it-I knew that it could still be hot down there in November, so I should have been layering myself up here and there and sweating it out.  Still, I was pleased that I'd been able to fight out a split slightly faster than Placid (even if the course should have been faster).  Jesse told me afterwards that I'd "run too fast in Placid" anyways, and I do feel that it was more important for my psyche and confidence to know I can still hang on and run decently after riding well, rather than knowing I can run well after riding sort of ok.  Sure, it hurt a little to once again finish just off the podium-this now makes three consecutive races in which I've been within 3.5 minutes and 1-2 places-but as 28 year old first year pro (with a full-time job off the race course), perspective tells me I don't need to be there yet.  Plus, how better to head into the off-season than satisfied with two good race efforts, but hungry for more?  The race lineup for Florida had some ridiculously fast women in it, and when you lose out on the last podium finish to someone with two iron-distance race victories under her belt this year, well, there's no harm in that.  In fact, you pinch yourself a little that you're even within striking distance, that you managed to sneak into the top-10 against those women.  Three days into my off-season, I'm already itching to get back at it.  I want the kid gloves to come off, I want to see if there's another level I can get myself to.  I know I have some decisions to make in the coming months, and I'm excited to see what may come.
Picture from our balcony, Monday am.  Where was this calm water on Saturday?
Of course, no race report would be complete without me expressing my gratitude for everyone out there who follows me and supports me throughout any of my journeys, whether it be good luck messages beforehand, congrats after, tracking, cheering, etc.  I couldn't do this alone.  The support I receive somehow turns this strikingly individual sport into one in which I'm never alone.  Family, friends, teammates, everyone-you all rock (and yes Dave, this includes you-I owe you one for your race sherpa duties this past weekend, as well as for touching my bike after that race.  At least I didn't pee on it).  I can't say enough about the contributions that Mary, Jesse, and everyone at QT2 has made to my season and my career-I have no idea what would have happened this season without them, and I don't want to know.  Thanks to all of you for believing in me more than I believed in myself at many points, and for knowing when to push me, and, more importantly, when to hold me back.  Ironically, it was when I turned one eye towards the future that my present improved.  Also, thank you to Powerbar for their fueling support, NormaTec, Kestrel, and Woolsports.  For now, I'll focus on the rest of 2012 (I love the holidays, at some point I might just have to post some pictures of our house after I Griswold it out), and still keep looking towards 2013!  Thank you everyone! 


I figured I'd close out this report with this awesome picture of a pigeon that felt it necessary to land on the rail of our balcony within 3 feet of me.  This was not zoomed in at all.  Birds are weird.

4 comments:

  1. OMG! Your feet! Congrats! Great report.

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  2. Jennie, congrats on another great race, you make us all proud. I love reading your race reports because you put us right there with you during the tough, dark miles. I can't wait to get back out there and train on the roads with you and Dave.

    Gibby

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  3. Great job, Jennie! We were rooting for you back home-as always, excellent race, and excellent race report. Can't wait to see what you do with 2013!!!

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  4. Thanks guys!! Six days later, and I'm already itching to get back out there...!

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