Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Winning Silver

The Alabama State Games are going on in Huntsville this week. Sunday was the first ever State Games 5K!

I had not planned on running it. I was supposed to be directing the Youth Triathlon Saturday. Race directing usually zaps me so I had not signed up. Plus, I was thinking I might be needed as a volunteer. But because registration for the youth tri was super low, and the weather wasn't cooperative, my race was officially cancelled Wednesday night....and the 5K RD told me she had enough volunteers...so I decided I would do the 5K.

As of Friday there were only about 20 people signed up for the race so there was a very good chance I was going to qualify for Nationals (by default) depending on who showed up. I figured with my luck I would be the 4th in my age group to sign up and therefore NOT qualify. I could have easily found out but I didn't want to. I wanted to just show up, do my best, and let the outcome be what it would be.

I have had this nagging cough since back before the Give it Back Track 5K. In fact, my throat got sore the Thursday before the race. I was then diagnosed with (possible) walking pneumonia. (The dr didn't test me for it, she based her assessment on symptoms and the fact that no other meds, even a steroid shot, were working.) I thought I was getting better after Cotton Row but I still have these random coughing fits. Nothing seems to help and it's seriously driving me crazy. It seems to be worse at night. Consequently I didn't sleep well the night before the race. When I was up about an hour before my alarm, I almost turned it off to try to get some more sleep. But I quickly remembered that I actually really wanted to run this 5K.

The course started at the Rocket Center and ran down past Aviation Challenge and to the Botanical Gardens then back, finishing by going through the Rocket Park. This course is almost identical to what the high school kids bike in the Kids Fly Tri, and is similar to part of the Rocket City Marathon course. I knew the part from AC to the Gardens is a steady uphill and there are some little stingers (for me) at some other points. But it's a really fun course overall.

I'm not a fan of really small races. More often than not I like interacting with spectators. But my goal for this race was to try to run the whole thing (no matter how slow) and to give my very best effort. Sometimes when there are a lot of people (participants or spectators) I can get too interactive! I figured I would be last, or close to last, in this little race since I didn't figure many slower runners would sign up for a "State Games" race. I had decided that was going to have to be okay. SOMEONE  has to be last. And, in this race "last" was still going to be "21st overall" which sounds VERY impressive! :D

So I got up and showered (my usual pre-race ritual even though I know I'll get nasty/sweaty/stinky during the race I like to start out very fresh)! I ate a banana and headed to the Rocket Center. I got my bib and went to warm up. It was SO HUMID outside it felt like I was breathing water! Overall I felt sluggish but my legs were turning over better than they were a few months ago so I was at least hopeful.

With very little fanfare we were off promptly at 7am. 21 people at the start of a race feels like a very small fun run but with less talking and laughing! The only ones talking were two moms running with 2 little boys in the back with me. They were obviously just out for a fun run with their sons.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again...I ALWAYS race, even if I'm just "completing". I tend to think everyone does but maybe I'm wrong. My secondary goal (after "run the whole time") was to finish in front of the four of them! How sad...finish in front of two little boys and their mothers who were obviously capable of much faster running. But, goals are goals!

Little kids are funny...they "always" start off WAY too fast. These boys were no exception. Because I really didn't want to be dead last from the start, I was sticking with them. When I looked down at my watch about .25 in and saw a 9:xx pace I panicked a little bit. I knew I couldn't hold that. I knew hills were coming. I knew that was going against the number one thing on my "do not do" list...DO NOT start out too fast! In fact I started in the back trying to not let the adrenaline of the start of a race get me carried away. Yet, here I was running WAY faster than I had any business starting out. But yet I couldn't bring myself to slow down!! When we got to the first little increase in elevation the little boys fell back and I settled in.

Did I mention how HOT it was? Holy moly...hot and humid don't mix well. I do not regulate heat very well...thanks to my janky thyroid. Because of this* I have taken to running in a sports bra with no shirt. I have found I REALLY love the air on my stomach and it actually seems to make a BIG difference! But, because the race bib was so tiny I couldn't use my race belt. And because I wasn't thinking about taking my shirt off I had pinned my bib to my shirt...so I couldn't take it off. I wasn't even to mile one and I was already fading. But I told myself fading was okay, walking was not..."just keep running even if you slow down". I saw Dwayne at the aid station just after mile one. He gave me some good encouragement but I knew what was coming.

It's not a big hill like the one in Cotton Row. It's long and steady. Looking at the elevation profile on Garmin makes it seem like there's not even really an increase. But it's there and it seems like it's never  going to end! (It's actually only about a quarter of a mile long.)

There was another young boy in front of me (I figured he was about 12) who had been walking earlier on a down hill...I told him not to waste the downhill since an uphill was coming. On that uphill he started walking again. I'd like to say I had mercy on him and didn't pass him to save his budding teenage pride. But really I just needed a walk break! I gave myself right at 30 seconds and then started up again. So did he!

We rounded the turnaround corner and headed back. He started walking again (on the downhill). I was close enough to have a little chat with him** so I said "look, I'm an old lady. You don't want me to beat you! And, fair warning...if I'm with you at the finish, I WILL out-kick you, no doubt about it. So if you want to beat me, you have to put time in on me now!" It worked and he started running again...and then he yelled out "OUCH!!" I was about even with him then so I asked if he was okay. He said a leaf hit him in the eye but he was okay as I passed him. I took another little walk break and checked on him ***. He assured me he was fine so I started running again. I didn't see him again after that (until he crossed the finish line...after me).

When I got back to the aid station, I stopped to tell Dwayne how hot it was (he obviously wasn't feeling the same heat I was!) and I poured a cup of water on my neck. Looking at my data, that little thing (stopping for a couple of seconds and the cold water on my neck) dropped my HR seven beats! It didn't stay down though. Two minutes later I told myself I could have my third and last walk break.

It wasn't.

I know the middle of a race is the hardest. You are over the rush of the start and the relief of the end isn't in sight yet. My HR is usually pretty high relative to my pace. That's when I entered into negotiations with my body. "Okay...one more little walk break and then you'll tough it out to the finish, right?" My body gave one of those half-hearted nods but with fingers crossed! After my 4th walk break I entered the rocket park. I knew I only had about 1/2 mile to go at that point. I knew there was one TINY little "hill" going from the shuttle out toward the exit. But I also knew the finish was coming.

And yet, I couldn't hold on. I STARTED WALKING AGAIN. I was internally screaming at myself--"RUN!!! ...I mean...come on! You are at the finish! You CAN do it!" My body was like "..." well, I won't even write what my body was saying but it was obviously NOT going to run.

Until...

I rounded a little corner and heard a familiar voice of a friend yell "come on Dana!"...and just like that my body kicked into gear and started going again...all the way to the finish line...

34:11 by my watch. 10:50 average pace, 10:46 average moving pace. 8:39 best pace (in the first quarter mile no doubt!). Fastest paced run for 3 miles  I've had in over three years. In fact, I had to go back to October of 2015 to find one better! (I've had a couple of shorter faster runs but that's like comparing an apple to an orange.)

When I take a deep dive into my data, I couldn't be more thrilled! It's easy to say "I shouldn't have taken the breaks I did" but the data explains to me what was going on. Sure there's an aspect of mentally being able to push through adversity (just suck it up and be uncomfortable), but given where I've been and looking at all the factors at play...I could NOT be more thrilled with this race!! It's EASY to see why I walked. Every. Single. Time. And it's encouraging to see how my body responded to a decrease in elevation and how it reacted to the breaks (and the water dump!).

My effort landed me a 2nd place age group finish which qualified me for Nationals! (Who cares that it was 2nd of 2 or that it just so happened that EVERYONE who participated qualified because there were no more than 3 participants in any one 10-year age group?!)

I honestly feel like I've finally turned a corner. If I can train through the summer heat, when fall hits I will be ready to rock and roll! (Now I just have to find a race to focus on! Preferably one with more people in it and one where I'm not trying to compete against little boys!)

Thanks for stopping by and sticking around!

Footnotes:
*There was recently a "Bra Squad" run where women were encouraged (if they wanted to) run in just a bra (on top). I didn't get to go to that run but I had run a couple of times without a shirt and have found I like it A LOT. And, this post by a friend of mine after that run was total affirmation that "every body is a running body".

**Honestly, I usually think if I can chat, I'm NOT running as hard as I really can, but after looking at my data, I know what was going on and I like it (I'll explain in a later post).

***I honestly thought he was fading and needed an excuse to let me just pass him already. I didn't think he was really injured or that he needed assistance or I would have stopped.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

10 Years and Counting

Yesterday I "ran" my 10th straight Cotton Row...yes 10th! Funny I kept saying it was my 9th but when I went back to read my recaps from the previous ones I've run I realized I ran my first one in 2010...that was year one...plus 9 more years...10. Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of running it the first time.

The plan about a month ago was for Dwayne to pace me. It wasn't that I was going to try to run fast, I just wanted to run as much as possible and I wanted him to push me just a little bit.

Then he broke his ankle while hiking! It's called an avulsion fracture. Basically the ligaments that hold the ankle bone pull the bone and break it. It wasn't a complete break but it was bad enough that he's in a cast for a while, then a boot, then a brace. Needless to say, he's not running.

Then just over 2 weeks ago I got sick. It turned out to (likely) be walking pneumonia! That caused my plan for Cotton Row to change once again to just finish.

And then something wonderful happen! A good friend of mine (she needs a blog name...) offered to run with me! She is "the girl with the broken foot", the one who ran the Grand Slam (3 50ks and a marathon) while pregnant...she's a multi-time IronMan finisher...you get the picture, she's a really good athlete. But... she had not run in like 6 (9?) months...and maybe only once in the last year. She was slightly concerned she wouldn't be able to keep up with me....but I was getting over walking pneumonia, and I haven't been able to run "well" in three years!! I never had one doubt that she'd be just fine doing the 10K with me.

But, really...who does that? Who has the ability to "just go run a 10K" having not run in like 6 (9?) months?! I think that's amazing. To me it highlights her athletic ability.

The race start moved this year due to construction and I LOVED the new start/finish. Thankfully it will be a permanent move. It's a Memorial Day race that now starts in our BEAUTIFUL downtown park. I think it's the perfect place for the event. We started with another friend who was telling us she had been dealing with an annoying cough for NINE MONTHS!! I have to say that freaked me out since I had been dealing with my cough for over 2 weeks. Our plan was to run 3 walk 1. I was concerned because the race now starts going up a little hill and I was struggling to complete that first 3 minute run. I was very glad for that first walk break! Our "coughing" friend said she didn't need to walk so she ran on.

We very quickly got to where the old Mile 1 used to be...and I just as quickly remembered it wasn't mile 1 on the new course! But then a couple more intervals and BAM...1 down, 5.2 to go. It was HOT. Really hot. But, I wasn't coughing NEARLY as much as I thought I would. In fact, I don't think I coughed much at all. The worst thing for me was that my saliva seemed THICK. I kept having to spit out yuck. Now, I usually spit a lot when I run but yesterday it was much worse than usual. I don't think it's sinus drainage...it's like gunk was bubbling up from my lungs! (I know...gross.) But given the fact that I had not even been able to WALK the dog without having to stop for a coughing fit, I was VERY pleased at the trade off of spitting out yuck for coughing up a lung! (I am always VERY careful to pay attention where I'm sending my saliva and VERY mindful of the people around me.)

We made the turn by the cemetery and the 3/1 intervals went out the window. I did feel bad about that because my friend is a spreadsheet kind of gal. She likes order. A chaotic interval is HARD for the body to manage because you never know what to expect. But I was walking more frequently than the interval called for so I didn't feel too horrible about it. We stopped and talked with a friend for minute and then before I knew it we were at "the hill".

I realize this hill doesn't look so impressive on this elevation profile of the course, but it's steep. There's a homeowner who plays the theme from Rocky every year and a lot of people cheer runners on all along the way. I have run up it once in the race (several times in training). That was the year Dwayne was sick...the year the tree fell and the start had to be delayed for an hour! I was in good shape that year. This year I seriously struggled to just keep moving! We had friends who were supposed to be at the top of the hill with MIMOSAS...and they did not disappoint!!! I was very happy to see them. The shot of Champagne and OJ hit the spot!

You can see this course goes up about three miles and then basically down about three. The first downhill is just right in my opinion. It's not so steep that your knees take a beating. Then there's a little uphill bump and a second downhill section. That one feels a little steeper and a little longer. Usually it's okay but yesterday that one was harder because my legs weren't turning over quite fast enough to really take advantage of the elevation loss. I could tell I was losing steam.

We got to a new section of the course and it was weird to turn a different way! I had not been on any of the preview runs and I had not studied the map at all so it was all brand new. It was a little disconcerting! I have run this 10k race 9 times but I've run the course A LOT more than that. It's like a familiar friend that you don't have to WORK to be around. Someone with whom the conversation just flows. Someone you don't have to be on guard with. That course has always been comfortable to me. But this was new. Now it's not like there weren't hundreds of people around. It's not like it was at the Knoxville Marathon where I was all alone and had to pay attention to make sure I stayed on course. But it was new and different enough that it caused me to have to focus.

...the brain is interesting. Most people don't even realize when their brain isn't functioning the way it should. Because of what I've been through with my brain the last three years, I'm more aware sometimes than I probably need to be. Everyone has had the experience of walking into a familiar place but it looks different so it causes you to stop a bit and look around. Maybe a room was redecorated or something that should be there has moved. You know that momentary "wait a minute...this isn't right" kind of feeling you get? That's what was happening with me. I mean...this was a new course. OF COURSE it's different. But it was weird because my brain was much more confused than it should have been. Looking back I know what was going on.

The frontal lobe is a very energy hungry part of the brain. That's the decision making and willpower part of the brain. I was struggling from the start with simple math on the intervals. (I should have just used the lap button on my watch but I wanted to keep up with mile splits so I didn't want to hit the lap button...I figured it was going to be easy to keep up with 3/1 intervals but I was struggling from the 2nd interval.) By that point in the race (mile 5) I was having to keep bringing my brain back. It's hard to explain. It's like herding kittens.


It wasn't BAD. I think it was a mostly just normal end of race low glycogen thing that I was hyper aware of because of what I've been through. 

My friend is a lot like me in that she's competitive. Even being at the back of the pack in a "race" we were never intending to "race" we were both looking for people we wanted to get in front of. She pointed someone out and said let's just make sure we are in front of that person at the finish. It's not really a matter of "I want to beat that person" as much as it is a technique to push through. It's much like "run to the next mailbox"...it gives you something to focus on other than what's going on inside your body. And it's a moving target when it's a person. I do it EVERY. SINGLE. RACE. No matter if I'm "racing" or "completing". EVERY TIME. I think almost everyone does it but maybe I'm wrong. 

We quickly got in front of that person. As we rounded the last corner we had the realization that we had an uphill blip before a little downhill finish. I spotted another moving target to try to get in front of. Then my friend saw the time clock said 1:24:45 and she said something like "let's get in before it hits 25"...so I kicked.

I usually have a very fast finish line kick. For a long while it's been a toss up if it will be there or not. I didn't think it would show up given how slowly my legs were turning over in that earlier downhill section. But, when I pushed the "kick" button, it was ALL THE WAY there! I LOVE THAT!! I love crossing a finish line not being able to talk! I love that feeling so very much!! Even in a crazy slow "race" I was walk/running with the goal to "complete".

It was NOT my slowest finish (YAY). It WAS one of the (if not THE) most fun Cotton Row 10Ks I've done. I've never been much of a "running with friends" kind of runner. I ran with Daisy A LOT for a long time but we didn't do races together. (I don't ever remember doing a race with her in fact...that's kind of strange given how much we ran together.) I think that's more logistics than anything else. I run from home as soon as I wake up. I don't make plans to meet up with other people to run. I actually like running alone. But the last two running with friends experiences (this one and Bridgestreet Half) have been REALLY REALLY good. 

But I think more than running with friends I like to push my body.

I've decided that my goal for this next year is to get back to a sub 60:00 CR10K. I've only done it once. I'm confident I can do it again. Right now that's my A goal for next year. That means more running and SERIOUS hill training. That fits in with my B goal...better time at Knoxville Marathon. I think that goal will be "easy" with proper marathon training and hill work. I won't run 2 other marathons leading up to that race so a "better time" really should just happen as a product of planning. All the marathon training miles and hill work will flow right into working on speed for CR10K. 

The fact that I'm even ABLE to plan this stuff out is such a GREAT THING!!! If you've ever pulled a muscle you have an understanding of what it's like to get to a point where you are using that muscle without pain. Imagine if that injury were to your brain.... I know I talk about it a lot but it's something so crazy... you just can't even imagine what's it's like to have your brain not fully functioning. I'm just so glad I'm not at that place in life anymore!


Thanks for stopping in and sticking around.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Will I? I Will...

Tomorrow I WILL complete my 9th straight Cotton Row 10K! I'm making that declaration now to set it in stone. It WILL happen.

my first Cotton Row 10K!
Let me explain by going back in time... For anyone who knows me well or who has been reading my blog, you can skip this recap. But for anyone else, hear me out so you'll have a more complete picture of where I am right now in my journey.

In 2009 I decided I would go from a mostly non-runner to a marathoner (I had tried several times in life to become a runner but it never really stuck). I started training and ran my first CR10K that year, injured (because I went from being a 40 year old "non-runner" to running too many miles too fast!). Fast forward through the years...triathlon training, becoming a coach, IMLT '13, IMChoo '15... I would argue that in 2015 I was in very good physical and mental shape. I had started a kids triathlon team and was race directing a kids triathlon that I had started. I was training HARD for a sub 13 hour IM and hitting most of my training goals. I had a near perfect day and got my goal. Shortly after that I started having weird symptoms. It was a long list of strangeness...that culminated in a diagnosis of Autoimmune Encephalopathy. Before I started steroid treatments I had started weakening and slowing. Autoimmune fatigue is like no other kind of fatigue I've ever experienced. I think at my "worst" I was only able to muster the ability to walk at about a 20 minute pace. Fast forward to when I stopped treatments...I thought I'd be making a swift and full comeback. Fast forward another 18 months to the beginning of this year....

I don't remember when the plan hatched but at some point I had the brilliant idea that my better half and I would participate in three marathons in four weeks. I picked three that had longer cutoffs to increase my chances of making the goal. (We direct the Rocket City Marathon...I wanted to be a Marathon Maniac and we had plans to work the expos of all three races. Does that make it sound better?)

Before the start
Marathon one was the Little Rock Marathon on March 3rd. I grew up in North Little Rock and went to college at UALR. Little Rock is like going home for me. They have a HUGE medal, a GREAT course, and like an 8 hour cut off! Their slogan is "a race for all paces". The back half of the course is HARD with some gnarly hills but I love this race. I did it in 2018 and came in at about 7:45 with a big blister on the bottom of my foot. My A goal was sub 6 for this year, but I didn't (couldn't?) train to that end. My longest run was 17.5 miles and my weekly miles were very low. But I still ended up coming in at 6:04! If I didn't have to visit almost EVERY SINGLE portopottie along the way I would have easily made my goal. (I still don't know what caused the bladder issue...)

One of the other things that made this race hard for me was caused because I FAILED TO READ THE PRE-RACE INSTRUCTIONS!! This is a classic "I've done this race before" mistake. I didn't think I needed to read the pre-race emails. In my defense, I don't think any of their email subject lines highlighted the fact there was new information there to read! (It's weak, I know.) In the past everyone (all paces) started together. This year you had to chose. If you were going to go over 6 hours you were supposed to get a special bib to start early (6am) but if you were going to be 6 or under you were supposed to start at 8am. I was HOPING to be under 6 but I really didn't know. I didn't get the special bib...and didn't really even know about it until the night before. The cutoffs were weird to me because it was supposed to be 8 hours from 6am. That would make it 6 hours from 8am but I had read somewhere it was 6:15 from 8am. I was concerned the whole time that I wasn't going to make it but overall I was very pleased with a 6:04 finish time.

Yes...I wore the Go-Pro!
Two weeks later was the Ashville Marathon. This one is held on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate! It's touted as "America's largest backyard" marathon! I got to run the front half with a friend I had met at RCM this year. When she peeled off, there was only one person in front of me and one person behind me that I could see. I quickly passed the person in front of me...and then found out the SWEEPER was right on my tail! The person who had been behind me caught up and started complaining. We actually had "plenty of time" according to the 7 hour cutoff but because we were the last people in the marathon the sweeper was with "us". He did NOT like that! He kept telling her to back off and saying how rude it was for her to be running with "us". I couldn't get far enough away from that guy! Other than his incessant complaining, that was such a LOVELY course!! The front half is mostly on paved roads but the back half is mostly on dirt roads. It ran through the estate and gardens, and through all the farms and the vineyard! It was so pretty out there! The worst part was the last couple of miles are this LONG out and back through a park. You go RIGHT by the finish like twice. It's so long and straight and flat I wanted to just stop. But I was happy that I passed like 15 people in those last few miles for a 6:15 finish! Again, I was pleased with that overall. I will say the thing I did NOT like about that race was the fact that they had PACKED UP POST RACE FOOD before I got done!!! Dwayne finished at just over 4 hours and they were packing it up THEN!!!

😡😡😡

I also had to pay for my post-race massage! That felt foreign to me since I've never seen that done before. But...it was also the BEST post race massage I've ever had! I was thankful for it because we drove back right after we were done (about 5 hours).

Two weeks after that came the Knoxville Marathon. It's been long enough now I can say I loved that race! That is one HILLY course. Start to finish. Hills. The half splits at like mile 12.5 or something and from then on I was pretty much ALL ALONE. Except there were still people at every aid station with PLENTY of aid and there were STILL people CHEERING on the course!!

I think the thing that hurts is the fact that there are about 2000 people who do the half and only about 600 who do the marathon. I could not get over just how ALONE I was the second half. And, it was so FREAKING HILLY. It was HARD. SO HARD.

At about mile 20 I hated everything (except the AMAZING people who were still out there cheering!) I actually called Dwayne and was talking to him when I realized the course was going onto a HIGHWAY ONRAMP!!! I was telling him I thought maybe he should come get me. I don't think I would have really allowed him to come get me but I really didn't know if I could make it another 6+ miles ALONE.

And then my watch started buzzing...(it's connected to my phone so I can see my texts). Apparently Dwayne made a facebook post with my live track asking for people to send me encouraging messages.

It worked. I actually starting crying. I wasn't alone anymore. I had people who were with me every step that last 10K. Cheering me on and being so encouraging.

I came in at 6:54. It's interesting because I can't say that I ever really wanted to quit and I didn't ever think I wasn't going to finish but it did make me doubt if I ever wanted to run another marathon as long as I live! But here I am wondering if I can train to run it better next year! Did I mention how HARD it was? But the people on the course were AMAZING. The town was AMAZING. And...there was SO MUCH post race food when I got done!! And, because of my sweet husband making a post and my sweet friends responding en masse with SO MANY texts, I can now say it was a great race overall. HARD but really good. I think I kind of have to do it again...

Somewhere along the way I saw the medal and shirt for the Bridgestreet Half Marathon. I didn't look at the timing of the race...I was just blinded by the awesome shirt and medal so I signed up.

It was one week after the marathon of marathons! But it also has a four hour cutoff so I figured I'd surely be fine. I ran with a friend who kept me running even when I didn't really FEEL like it to come in WAY under my A goal of "sub 3" ...2:40 to be exact!! I was STOKED!! That 12:13 pace was probably the fastest I had run in over 3 years! For 13.1 miles! After completing 3 marathons in the previous 5 weeks!!!

I felt like I was on my way BACK!! Finally!

I'm three years post-diagnosis. I've been off steroids almost two years. It seems like it's WAY past time to be coming back from all of this.

Post run photo!
Then...on May 2nd I did something I haven't done in all that time...I ran a FULL 5K!!! Ran the whole thing! I didn't walk even ONE STEP!!

Relive 'I ran a whole 5k!!'

I actually still can't believe I did it! 11:40 pace for 3.1 miles! NOT FLAT miles either.

I was so very happy. I thought ahead to Cotton Row and I got excited! My goal for CR10K was to run a mile and take a short break the whole time, walking up the big hill. But with this run under my feet I felt like anything was possible!!

Then, exactly one week later I got sick. Here I am 17 days later...still sick! Turns out it's likely walking pneumonia!! I have been on 2 prescriptions for coughing, 1 breathing med (that I couldn't take because it really hurt my stomach!), 1 antibiotic, 1 steroid shot and 1 round of prednisone. I do feel slightly better now than I did a week ago but I'm still coughing and still can't get a deep breath.

Just in time for my 10th straight Cotton Row 10K!

I checked with the doctor yesterday to make sure there was no medical reason I shouldn't do the race. She said I would cough the whole time...I can live with that. I don't know if the people around me will appreciate it, but I can deal with that annoyance so that I don't break my streak!

It's really not even a question IF I will.... I WILL finish. I might be the VERY LAST person to finish, but I WILL finish.

Thanks for stopping in and sticking around!