12 Differences Between Road Racing & Trail Racing & LET ME KNOW!

Andrew paid $8 to find out a few days early that HE PASSED THE NCLEX!! He is so so relieved and he is officially good to go and start his new job in less than a month!

Find yourself a running partner that loves to help you carb load for your next race;).  Jenn brought me these gorgeous cinnamon rolls and they were the best of the best.  I cannot wait to get out for a run with her and Josse today!

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We watched Conference and then met my sister and her family for a hike.  Skye was excited to be in her pack again!

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We went out for two miles.  It was the perfect hike to get those little legs ready for longer hikes this summer:).  Beretta wasn’t interested in being in a picture!

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We also planted these bulbs that the previous owners gave to us when we moved in.  When they first moved in they planted some and they passed the tradition down to us!

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My in-laws came over for a little while.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing and eating spaghetti.

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I wanted to share the differences that I noticed between road races and trail/ultras today.

This made me laugh;)

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Please note I am the least professional trail racer on the planet… I’m sharing my experiences from two races (a half marathon & 50 miler) that I’ve done on trails:).

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*Real food vs gels/chews.  During road races I stick to gels and water/gatorade and that’s it (unless I’m doing a road race just for fun then I branch out with candy or orange slices).  During the ultra I ate a donut, honey stinger waffles, fig bars, bacon, chips (multiple varieties), soda, m&m’s, cheez-its, pickles, a sandwich and some jelly beans.

*There have been way less spectators at both of my trail races vs road races.  My trail races have had just a few people at the finish line compared to races like New York City were there are bleachers of people watching.  There are also way less actual racers in the trail races that I have done but the finish line scene was so much more laid back on the trails!

*Dirt vs pavement.  During my ultra I was probably on pavement for about 28 steps total (crossing a road) and I think that is a big reason why I felt recovered quicker from an ultra vs my previous marathons even though it was almost double the distance.

*Road races seem to use a lot of technology with things like live tracking, chip mats, apps etc and for my (one) ultramarathon you checked in with volunteers at different areas and grabbed a sticker to prove that you made it to a certain place.

*I saw a lot of people fall during my ultra, I have never seen anyone fall during a road race.

*People were camping at the starting line of my ultra and just woke up and started running their races… I’ve never seen that happen during a road race.

*The reasons I HURT/think about quitting… During a road race I hurt because I am breathing much harder.  During road races my lungs and heart feel like they are working much harder and I feel like that is what makes me feel very tired during those races.   For me, my darkest time in my ultra race was caused by just the knowledge that I had HOURS still to go when my body was already exhausted.  I never felt anaerobic or really out of breathe at all during my ultra but I just felt like it tested my endurance beyond belief.

*I feel like there is more teamwork happening during the trail races that I have done vs the road races.  Pretty much every person I came across talked for a minute or two with me.  A lot of people were sharing tips with the people that were around them.  People were asking how each other were feeling.  My pacer was picking up every piece of trash he could see within a 1 mile radius of the trail we were on.   A lot of us had crews that had everything out and ready for us at the aid stations.  It just felt like people were really watching out for each other (and the trails) but that have also been because of the distance.

*During road races I have become very used to coming up to dozens of volunteers holding up water or gatorade for me.  During my ultra they gave us a reusable cup to carry and use at the aid stations.   During a road race I feel like I see people (and usually a lot of them) throughout the entire race… during my ultra there were times I couldn’t see anyone or maybe just another person or two.

*The first two days after my ultra I was more sore than I had ever felt in my entire life (way more than after any road race) but after those first 2 days my body felt 100% back to normal (with the exception of my foot/ankle which is back 100% now) after my ultra.  I think overall it recovered so much better and faster than after a marathon.  I think the dirt ground must be a little bit more forgiving because I was ready to go again much faster.

*I carry so much more during the ultra vs the marathon.  During the marathon I just had my phone (in my koala clip) with a few gels in my pocket and a lip gloss.  Less was more for me and I did not want one extra thing.   I brought my house with me for my ultra.

*Your shoes look a little different after a trail race vs a road race:

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A few similarities:

*I check the weather report 15 times a day leading up to both races.

*Oh that finish line feeling of accomplishment/satisfaction… it’s oh so so sweet.  There is nothing like it.

*They are both challenging in their own ways but you get the same craving for a good challenge satisfied during both races.

*Both are so fun and you tell yourself when you are really tired that you are never going to do it again but then afterwards you sign up for another;). They are both addicting to me!

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In case you wanted to check them out—> The top three most viewed posts were:

*He GOT It & Friday Favorites!  So many people are loving the leggings that I told you about… they are such a good deal and feel amazing!

*MY NEXT RACE IS IN 14 DAYS & We can’t let our dreams die when we get tired!

*Recently…

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How do you clean your running shoes?

Noticed any big differences or similarities between road and trail races?

What are you looking forward to this month?!

THOSE THAT CAN MEET IN BOSTON!!  We are thinking Sunday morning… What would be a good place near the expo?  It’s hard to figure out a meet-up when I don’t know the area very well so any ideas are very welcome!  I am thinking of the Boston Public Garden (thanks Jen!) or Flour or a donut shop on Sunday at 10… let me know if that works or if you want to go somewhere else!

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54 comments

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I want to meet up. There looks like there are many locations for Flour. Do you know which one? I will just plan to do my shake out run before that and finish around there.

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AWESOME!! Okay, now I’m leaning more towards the Boston Public Garden! Would that work for you? Cannot wait to meet you Donna!

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That’s a 1/2 mile from my hotel so perfect!!! Can’t wait to meet you as well!

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I start my next training cycle this weekend so I’m pretty excited about that. Just hoping I don’t get injured.

And really excited about how nice the weather will be now.

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YAY!! This is so so exciting. Keeping all of my fingers crossed for you! I heard that on Wednesday there is a chance it might snow there?!? AHH. I hope you have a great Monday Jenny!

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Wow so awesome you’re running 🏃‍♀️ Boston!!!! Woohoo! 🙌🙌🙌 I’m playing catch up with your blog and I really did think you were April’s Fooling us lol. And come on now… you gotta meet Boston peeps at a donut 🍩 shop! You just gotta…!!!

Yay Andrew! Huge congrats to you… my best friend is a nurse so I’ve heard tons of stories. I know you will do very well! Janae.. what field of nursing is Andrew going into?

Your hiking pics are breathtaking! My family is contemplating a hiking vacation! Would you consider posting your favorite Utah (or anywhere!) hiking trails?

Have a great day!!!! 😎

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Hahah that is true about the donuts… maybe I’ll just bring a bunch of donuts:) . I probably should have posted it on a different day than April 1st but I totally forgot! Thank you so much Sydney, he is thrilled. Come hike with us and yes, I’m going to work on a post right now about our favorite hikes. Thanks, you too!

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Congratulations to Andrew! I was just chatting with a friend who is 70 years old, and she was telling me about her NCLEX experience from many years ago. It’s no joke…and a big accomplishment.

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Oh no way! It really is no joke! Thank you so much Marilyn! I hope you have a wonderful day:)

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Congrats Andrew! Was there a book he used to study for NCLEX? I start nursing school this fall and have heard that you should start studying for the NCLEX as soon as you start the program…

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Congratulations to Andrew!!
I’m thinking that I would love to try a trail race. I just need to find a good, maybe short-ish distance.
Oh I wish I was going to Boston!! You’re going to have so much fun 😊
My hip is feeling so much better, so I am excited to get outside and start running again this month.
Have a great Monday 😊

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Wendy, I am so excited that your hip is doing better… hallelujah! YES, try out a trail race! Thank you and keep letting that hip recover:) . Have a fabulous day!

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Hey Ranee! You are almost done! I am so excited for you. Here are the books that he used:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0323530974/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0323498280/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Good luck and please keep us updated. Andrew would love to answer any questions that you have!

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Congratulations Andrew! How exciting for you to have found a passion and to be able to earn a living doing it. Good luck!

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YES!!! Thanks so so much Karla. I hope you have a wonderful day!

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Congrats to Andrew! I’m a nurse and finding out I passed the NCLEX was the biggest relief/feeling of excitement! What area/specialty will he be working in?

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YOU GET IT!!! That NCLEX is no joke! So I’m not sure if he is going to be talking online about what speciality he will be doing (it’s a long story)! But you and I can email about it:) . Have a beautiful day and thank you!

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Holy moly…CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew!! I’m so happy for him that he’s been able to find a job that he wants, especially after all of that hard work (studying, test-taking, etc.)
And that photo of the two of you…so beautiful.
I hope you and your family have a fabulous week.

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Thank you so so much Joy! We are super excited. I hope you have a really great week too!

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I am a longtime reader and will be running Boston next Monday, so would love to meet up with you and anyone else if you’ll be doing that Sunday! :)

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JORDAN!!!! I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU!! PLAN ON SUNDAY! More details in the next few days! I hope you are feeling great and beyond excited!

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I only clean my running shoes if they get really muddy or soiled for some reason. I take out the insole, and clean the outside of the upper with a quick spray from the hose (in the event of lists of mud, dog poop, etc), or Inise a baby wipe. Then I pull the tongue back Asgard as possible and either sit them in a sunny spot or over the A/C-Heating vent in the floor. I wear my shoes to 300 miles (constantly forgetting to take them off whendoing lots of other things like walks, gardening, sports with son), and this seems to do it for me.

My favorite race ever was the Big South Fork 17.5 mile trail run. It was so scenic and I touch with nature (complete with three yellow jacket stings). However, trail runs are a bit scarier and not as good for time, so I tend to gravitate towards road races, silly I know. I hereby declare to register for a trail race again soon!

I am looking forward to my son’s two races and my Oiselle Tenacious 10K, and Easter Egg hunts!

Have a great time in Boston!!!

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You have an awesome system for cleaning! That race sounds amazing to me (minus the yellow jackets). Let me know when you sign up for a trail race! You have an awesome week… GOOD LUCK to you and your son! Thanks so much Tonya!

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Yay for Andrew! You guys must feel so much relief to move forward from the studying/testing to the real deal taking care of patients and having a regular schedule. Congratulations!!

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YES!!! Thanks Corey! I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

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Congratulations to Andrew! What an accomplishment! I’m glad all this very stressful time is over and I hope he loves his job!

This is so random but over the weekend I was watching The Little Mermaid with my daughter and I kept thinking how you and Ariel look so much alike (except you have brown hair) haha, I know this is so weird but some of her facial expressions and how she looks just kept making me think of you!!

I can’t wait to hear all about Boston!! I am SO excited for you!!

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You just made my childhood dream come true Torrie! I used to make my mom wrap my legs up and I would just sit there for hours pretending to be Ariel! Thank you SO much! We are super excited. I hope you have an amazing day!

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There are many Flour bakery shops near that area of Boston but many are smaller. There is one down the street from the Public Garden on Clarendon St, if you wanted to meet there, grab a pastry and then walk to the Garden (and check out some of the finish line stuff!). I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it to the meetup, feel free to send me questions as I lived in back bay for 5 years!

Also tell Andrew congrats! Passing the NCLEX is the greatest relief! Now tell him to relax and enjoy the time off before the start of his amazing new job!

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That’s a really good idea! THANK YOU so much Shannon… I really hope I get to meet you! Have a wonderful day :) . See you on Sunday hopefully:)

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Oh my gosh, congratulations to Andrew!!

Hmm….I do not clean my running shoes.

As to differences between road and trail….I find it much easier to ignore my pace on trails. I am (mainly) out there to just run and kind of take in nature….and give my body a break from the pounding on the roads. I have found that if I am running solo on the trails for a longer time (like with my 10-mile and trail half marathon races), my head goes into dark moment easier. I think it is because I feel so much more alone….and it is harder to see how far apart you are from others (in reality, they could be within ~100 feet but due to the nature of trails, you just cannot see them). I love the trails, but I do not really feel so lonely on road.

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I totally agree with you! It really is so much easier to not even look at your watch while on the roads. And what you said about those dark moments, I completely agree. It’s harder to slip into those on the roads when you have spectators and runners all around you. Such good points Aimee! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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Congrats Andrew!!!

The Boston Public Garden is beautiful!! What a lovely idea! I grew up outside Boston and we had a lot of our doctor’s appointments “in the city”. We’d often make an afternoon or day of it in the summer and enjoy time in the garden. It’s funny looking back but in the early 80’s driving an hour or so to go to better specialists (or just to see specialists back then!) and making a day of it seemed normal.

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Oh I didn’t know that Kristen. Sounds like the absolute best memories. I wish we still made days of stuff like that too:) . Have a wonderful day and thank you!

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I don’t think I’ve ever done anymore than hose off muddy trails shoes then leaving them out to dry. I feel like my road shoes don’t get too dirty despite the fact I’m a puddle runner through-er – not over! Ha!
I love love love the community feel of a trail race, how encouraging everyone is and how we treat each other as best friends right off the bat! I also love that no one bats an eye when you walk! I’m not a racer so it’s hard me to get in that road rage/race mentality. Plus, I usually feel more alone on roads despite having larger crowds. My friends are faster than me on road so it’s usually me and my playlists! On trails, I’m always with a friend or two and even if we’re not talking, it makes such a huge difference mentally. Also, the aid station snacks are right up my alley …. I never eat candy while running or drink soda (at all ever) unless I’m on a trail.
This month I’m hoping to cross off a bucket list hike with a friend I haven’t seen a long time. My little guy also starts soccer this month so I’ll be a full fledged t-ball and soccer mom come this weekend and I can’t wait!
Congrats to you on surviving your first run post ultra and congrats to Andrew for passing his exam! Both super exciting!
Have a great day!

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I’m the puddle jumper through-er too! You are not alone:) . I totally agree with you about the community feel on the trails and the walking! I’m craving another aid station snack trip right about now too;) Good luck on the hike and I want to hear all about it! Thank you so much Jenny. Have a beautiful day and enjoy all of the t-ball and soccer this month!

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Hi Janae,
Have you read “Running Home” by Katie Arnold? I am just about finished with this book and I highly recommend it. Katie is an incredible writer who captures so many deeply felt insights into running, ultrarunning, motherhood, family, love, and loss. I can’t help but think you’ll love it too!
Meredith

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I have not read it but I’m adding it to my must read list right now. THANK YOU so much Meredith! I needed a new book for the airplane this weekend. Have a wonderful day:)

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I am going to try to make it Sunday morning, the garden works for me. :)

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PERFECT!! I cannot wait to meet you! See you soon. Have a wonderful day!

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All of this is YES! I ran a 10k trail race pre-kids and it was fun and a challenge, but nothing like the 13+ (closer to 15) I ran this weekend – after 2 kids and 17 weeks pregnant with #3. EEK. At mile 5 I was questioning life and being out there alone, but a train of runner’s came along and I jumped in with them. Best decision ever. They were doing the full (ended up at 31 miles) and had a lot more experience than me. The course was along a Chimpanzee rescue, so we could hear them screaming! There was also a veteran’s cemetery nearby, so the bells tolled on the hour. And THEN – we ran through an abandoned prison. So creepy! I don’t get on our trail as often as I should have nor did I realize the difference in nutrition, but I survived! And I’ll for sure go back – and take my road-running friends with me. And you are right about the encouragement – I’m out there just trying not to fall or die and we are getting lapped by the 100 miler’s, who are telling US we are awesome. Awe, shucks.

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WOW, this race sounds incredible…. HUGE CONGRATS! Oh and the abandoned prison= goosebumps. So cool about those people being so encouraging too. Congrats on your pregnancy and doing a 15 mile trail race too! You are amazing Whitney, have a wonderful day!

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Woohoo, Andrew! Way to go!

Umm, I don’t think I ever really clean my running shoes. I may dust them off, but that’s about it.

I don’t think I have ever done a full trail race, but I have my first one scheduled for the end of the month. I am super nervous, mostly because my ankle is still recovering. I will definitely wear my brace and I almost want to go into it blind and not think about all of the hills.

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I am SO SO excited for you Marissa! This is awesome and I hope your ankle feels great and happy. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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I recently scrubbed a pair of old white running shoes with dish soap to use as everyday walking shoes and it worked surprisingly well!

This month is my sister-in-law’s birthday, my last month of undergrad, and of course Easter! Lots of excitement.

This is random but lately I’ve been having a very weird pain in my right leg. A couple inches below my knee, it kinda feels like I have a bump on my bone that hurts very slightly if I bend my leg back in the 60-90 minutes after I finish a run. It doesn’t bother me while I’m running or any other time, and it doesn’t hurt worse if I press on it, jump up and down, etc. It’s been like this for a few weeks (of 40+ miles) and hasn’t gotten any worse. I’m not too concerned about it, just confused!

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Oh that is a great idea Grant! LAST MONTH OF UNDERGRAD–> Congrats. I am so sorry about the pain, I really hope that it doesn’t get worse but that it just gets better and better!

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CONGRATS TO ANDREW! $8 well spent! I would not be able to relax not knowing!

So I *might* be coming to Boston! For support and to spectate! It’d be amazing to meet you! Can you post the final meeting place and time when you have it finalized?

I remove AND clean my shoes (ALL of my shoes) as soon as I walk in the door. I’m not a complete germophobe…and I’ve always believed in taking my shoes off without stepping in the house with them…but when I broke my foot and had to wear one of those boots constantly, I got into the habit of removing it and wiping the outside dirt off the sole before i put it back on to walk around the house.
Now I keep a package of baby wipes by the door and as soon as I’m home they get removed and I wipe down the soles and outsides. It is incredible (and frightening) how much dirt comes off just from a run or even after errands around town! I cannot imagine tracking that around on my floors.

Have a great day!

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HEY CAROLINE!! I finally finalized everything! Let’s meet at the Boston Public Garden at 10 am on Sunday morning in front of the George Washington Statue! I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU! Good call on the baby wipes, I might have to copy you. Have a beautiful day!

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Congratulations to Andrew and your whole family! I graduate from nursing school in less than a month and will take the NCLEX in about two months. I’m reeeeeeal nervous, ha!

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OH AMANDA!! Good luck! I am so excited for you. Please keep us updated with how it all goes! Cheering for you:)

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Hi Janae,
Congrats to Andrew!!! Question about sunscreen… Do you use a different one on your face for when you run? Also, which sunscreen do you use for your body when you run? Have an AMAZING time @ Boston. :)

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Hi Janae! I am so excited that you’re running Boston again. I live in Boston’s North End (aka the Little Italy… you should go there to carbo-load on spaghetti:)) and would have loved to join the meet-up, but we will be in the UK for a friend’s wedding that weekend. Don’t worry — we’ll be back in time to cheer on Monday!! Enjoy the race and festivities :)

p.s. Congrats to Andrew on an incredible accomplishment!

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Congrats to Andrew!!! I am so bummed to be missing Sunday!! I fly in that morning so will be landing around the meet-up time. Have so much fun and good luck to all!!

Question for you – If the weather ends up being like it was last year, what are you gonna wear?!?! I struggle with gear in bad weather. I’m trying not to obsess about weather (yet) but it’s not looking great. Help!!

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Congrats to Andrew! I have to chuckle reading about paying $8 because I did the same. It seemed like such a small amount of money to not do it, but then I realized they must make so much money off of everyone and it’s actually a genius amount to charge.

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What wave do you start in? I am going to spectate from Wellesley, just past mile 14, and want to time my arrival so that I see you run past! Can’t wait!

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