June 29, 2011

A great weekend!

I know I've been MIA for awhile, but lots of things have been going on!

For one, my best friend Erin, who moved to St. Louis, came to visit this past weekend.  I was so excited to see her again because it's been 2 years since she moved!  We had a pretty low key weekend, but we did get to do some fun things.

We decided to participate in the UNDY 5000 5k race Saturday morning.  Erin was recovering from bronchitis, so it was a pretty low key event.  Instead of a race t-shirt everyone got a pair of boxers.  Here we are sporting our boxers...ha ha!  Actually, they do make pretty awesome summertime PJs! :)
Anyways, we jogged a little bit throughout the race, but for the most part we walked most of the 5k and just chatted and tried to catch up on our lives.  It was great!
Usually when I do a 5k it's all about speed, speed, speed.  So, this was nice to just hang out, enjoy the beautiful scenery in City Park, and spend some time with my friend.

The next day, we decided to go for a hike up in Evergreen.  The weather was absolutely beautiful!  The hike was 2 miles up to a waterfall, making it a 4mile round trip.  We didn't know how our boys would do, but they ended up doing great!  We didn't make it all of the way, but we did find a great stream to hang out by.  My boys were totally into throwing sticks, pine cones, and whatever else they could find into the water and watching them flow downstream.  Who needs a waterfall?? :) Overall, they ended up hiking for about 2 hours, which is awesome!  They got a little tired towards the end, but they were total troopers! :)
Gotta love family pictures!  Ha ha!  I have NO idea what face my youngest is making! 
The trail was beautiful and there were columbines everywhere!

Columbines are so pretty!
Another great thing about the hike was that I got to try out my Merrell Pace Glove trail shoes.  They were awesome!  Bye bye chunky hiking boots!  These will now be my go to hiking shoes!  They are light, comfortable, and did a great job on the rocky terrain!

All in all, it was a great weekend!  I didn't do any training, but I was fine with it because I got to spend some quality time with my friend.  And for me, it's all about priorities, and being with my friend takes priority over training.
Erin and me! 
P.S.  WE CLOSE ON OUR HOUSE TOMORROW!!!  We are sooo excited!  Hopefully everything will go smoothly and we'll be moving in this weekend!  Woohoo!!!  I'll be MIA for a little while longer, but soon I'll be back into the swing of things with training and blogging! :)

June 23, 2011

FIBARK 10k Trail Run Race Report

My husband decided to do the 10k trail run too, so we got up early, dropped our boys off at my sister/brother in-laws house (we were staying in a hotel) and headed to downtown Salida.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and was probably in the mid 50s when we got to town.  We got to town about 30min. before the race start, registered my husband, and headed to a local cafe so my husband could get a cup of coffee.  He's pretty addicted to the stuff...ha ha!
Check out our race swag:
We dropped our stuff off back at the car, grabbed our hydration belts, and headed back to the start.   This was a pretty low key event, and the announcer said there were 77 registered runners, so it just made for a really relaxed atmosphere.  I was a little nervous, but more excited than anything.  I had decided that I was just running this for fun, but part of me really wanted to know what I could do (that's my competitive side..ha ha).

Before we knew it, it was time to line up at the start line.  The race director went over some rules (follow the flour arrows, pay attention to the signs, etc..) then said that we would be following the "expert" mountain bike course!  WHAT??  EXPERT mountain bike course??  That is the first time I got a little nervous.  Then, she said that there were no aid stations on the course.  I looked around and noticed that hardly anyone had water with them.  WHAT??  Now, I could probably run a 10k without water on a treadmill, but on the trails where there's no shade?!  NO WAY!  I was sooo glad that I had my Nathan waist belt with me. Finally, it was time to start!

The Race:
Or, what I like to call a story of ups, ups, more ups, and a SWEET downhill!
We took off, crossed some railroad tracks, then turned onto a dirt road that went straight up.  In the first half mile I was already sucking wind!  The road just kept going up and up and I wondered if it would ever end.  I knew that we had to go up in order to get to the actual trails, and I just kept hoping that the end would be soon.  I actually passed a lot of people on that road, which was nice because once we got on the trail, there wasn't really any room to pass without stopping and getting out of the way.    
Those are the train tracks we crossed and the road we ran on before going UP the mountain.  You  can see in this picture how far up we will go!!
Once we got on the trails, it would level out, then go up, then level off, then go up some more.  There was some little downhill sections, but I swear we just kept going up.  But, here's the thing, I LOVED IT!  I was having so much fun even though I was totally sucking wind!  It was soo beautiful running on the trails.  A couple of times I wanted to stop and take pictures, but then my competitive side would kick in and I'd keep going.  :)

I was able to run the entire race with the exception of one part.  We came to this section of the trail that was literally straight up and totally sandy/rocky.  There was no way to run up it.  I had to pretty much use my hands to climb up it.  That part totally zapped my legs and when I started running again I could feel my  QUADS!  OUCH!  But, then there was this nice little downhill section that totally made up for it.  Except, I tripped on a little rock and fell.  It could have been worse, but I caught myself with my hand and escaped with just this:  Phew!!
Finally, I came across a volunteer directing the runners and she said, "It's all downhill from here to the finish!"  I said, "Woohoo!" At first I was a little afraid of going fast on the downhill because of my little fall, and the little fact that I'm training for an IM and don't want to jeopardize that.  But then, I found my footing, found my groove, and just started booking it!  It was AWESOME!!
This was part of the trail heading back to town.  It was all downhill from this point on!
Finally, I could see the finish line!  I was so happy to have done my first trail run!!  I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face!  Woohoo!

I got some oranges, talked to some runners, and waited for my husband to finish.  He was really nervous about this race because he hasn't run more than 4miles since his marathon in Jan, but he did awesome!
Here are our stats:

For Me:
Trail 10k Time: 1:03
Division Place: 3rd in AG!! :)

For My Husband:
Time: 1:20  (I'm so proud of him!) :)

So, what shoes did I end up wearing???
An old pair of my trusty racing flats!  I am sooo glad I wore these because 1) The VFF Bikilas and the Merrell Pace Glove trail shoes are both minimalist shoes.  I was only up to 4.5miles on those and I just didn't want to risk getting an injury.  2)  The terrain wasn't bad at all.  We ran on a dirt road, and the trails were basically packed dirt with big rocks.  
My shoes did awesome, even on the downhill!  :)

But, look how dirty my feet got, even with socks on:  BLAH!
 And, check out my lovely salt stains from my visor.  Usually, they look like rocky mountain peaks, but after that race, it's just disgusting!:
Geez, sweat much??  YUCK!!  

All in all, it was an awesome race!  I am so glad I decided to do it.  If anything, it was just really nice to do something different-ya know?  I've gotten so used to running my same routes, that this race kind of made me fall in love with running again.  I foresee A LOT more trail running in my future! And who knows, maybe after IMAZ that will be my new focus?!  :)  

June 17, 2011

A week in review and other things too

I had an awesome week of training this week!  I feel like I'm finally finding my groove with scheduling my workouts!  Hopefully this will carry through my training when the volume really ramps up!

Me, Doreen, and Bine
Biking:  I went on a great ride with 2 of my TriBella teammates on Sunday!  We did one loop of the Harvest Moon HIM course (which I'm doing in September) and it was awesome!  The course is a great mix of fast flats, rolling hills, and much bigger hills.  We finished 48 or so miles in about 2:45, so it was pretty fun.  Usually I do my training rides solo, but I have to tell you, I loved riding with these two!  They are doing IMFL in early Nov, and I'm doing IMAZ at the end of Nov., so we should be able to do a lot of our long training rides together!  Woohoo!

Swimming:  I had a great swim this week where I had to do 100m intervals.  Now, normally I don't time myself because it usually depresses me.   But, for some reason, after my 4th 100 I decided to just see what my time was.  I swam the 100, hit the wall, stopped my watch, and looked....1:46!!!  I was soooo excited!  Now, I know that's not fast compared to some of you out there, but it made me feel fast and that's all that matters! :)

Running:  I had my longest run volume week and I felt awesome!  I haven't had any IT band pain in awhile now and it just makes me happy, happy, happy!  Woohoo!!

And Other Things Too:
*  Look what came in the mail this week!  My replacement aero extensions!  Woohoo!  They actually sent me an entire new set, so I was super happy!  I brought them over to the TriBella shop and had them reinstalled.  He put bike tape on it too, but I'm not sure I like the BLUE.  I know it goes with the color scheme of my bike, but what do you think?  Should I keep it, or go back to BLACK??
*  So, after my boys' music class the other day we drove next to a van that had huge pictures of cupcakes on it and it read, BIG FAT CUPCAKES!  My boys pleaded and begged to get a cupcake.  We rarely get sweet treats like that from places, so I decided to cave.  We followed the van hoping it would lead to their store.  It did, and this is what we walked out with: 3 BIG FAT CUPCAKES.
They were huge!  Seriously, look how big they are in my boys' hands.  YIKES!
Well, I wish I could tell you that they were the greatest things we have ever tasted.  BUT, they were a BIG FAT DISAPPOINTMENT!  In fact, we ended up throwing most of the cupcake away.  AND, I felt sick for the rest of the night....seriously, sick.  Ugh...next time we're craving a sweet treat we'll just drive the extra few miles and get some of that yummy self serve yogurt again!

 *  The IMAZ bike course is relatively flat, so your legs just pretty much spin constantly.  One piece of advice I got from a teammate that did IMAZ a couple of years ago was just to get on the trainer and ride for 4hours to get used to just that constant spinning.  So, I decided to order this Spinerval from Amazon.  It is the IMAZ bike course led by Coach Troy himself and I'm actually really excited about it! Am I excited about sitting on my trainer for 4 hours???  Umm...not really, but I am excited about being able to "practice" the course.  We'll see.  It might completely suck, but hopefully not!

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Good luck to all of you that are racing this weekend!!  :)

June 16, 2011

Advice Needed!!

So, this weekend my husband and I decided to take our boys down to Salida to visit my sister/brother in-law.  They just moved into a new house, so we haven't been able to visit them recently because they've been crazy busy moving.  Our boys love their aunt and uncle, so they are super excited!  AND, we get to see our dog, Sidus, again!  They have been watching him for us since we're not able to have him in our apartment.

Anyways, this weekend just so happens to be the FIBARK festival (HERE) in Salida and they have some pretty fun events.  One of the events is a 10K trail run Sunday morning.  Here's what they say about it:
 Join us on the NEW trail run course utilizing the new Arkansas Hills trails that Salida Mountain Trails has been working so hard to build. This is a 10K course around and behind Tenderfoot Mountain that will put you to the test after a weekend of festivities.
It will put you to the test???  YIKES! So, what do you think I did??

I registered for it!  YIKES again!  Am I crazy?  I haven't really done any trail running recently, but it is something that I love to do.  In fact, I'd like to get more into it next year after IMAZ.

Anyways, here's where I need your advice!  I don't know what shoes to wear!  Basically, here are my options:

1.  Wear my VFF Bikilas.  I've run a little over 4miles on them and have been fine, so I don't think another 2 would be THAT big of a deal?  BUT, I know that overdoing it in minimalist shoes can be dangerous.

2.  Wear my Brooks ST4 racers.  Ummm...these things are racing flats and have no traction!  I don't think this is a great option because I don't really know what the terrain will be.  BUT, if it says it will "put us to the test" I'm assuming there's going to be some hills...with downhills...which makes not having any traction on my shoes very tricky!

3.  Wear the Merrell Pace Glove trail shoe I just got.  This would seem like the obvious choice because they are trail shoes, but here's the thing.  I have only run 3 miles in these shoes and my calves were KILLING me by the end!  My body is no where near being used to running in these shoes and I think wearing them could lead to some type of injury.

So, what would you do?  HELP!

June 14, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Broiled Tofu with Mmmm Sauce!

Broiled Tofu with Mmmm Sauce!
This combo has definitely become a permanent part of our dinner rotation!  The marinade for this tofu is so good, and the Mmmm sauce...well, I think the name says it all!  We eat the tofu and sauce with steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli and carrots, and chickpeas.  Yum!  I have to admit, that I didn't come up with this recipe.  Instead, I got it from Sarah at Peas and Thank You [HERE].  She is an awesome mom and always shares the most delicious recipes!  Seriously, check out her blog..it's awesome!  

Before I get to the recipe, I have to do a quick review on my new favorite kitchen item.  IT IS AMAZING!  Before I got this, every time I had to make a recipe that called for pressed tofu, I would cringe.  It was always such a royal pain in the you know what because this is how I had to do it:
It was messy and really really time consuming.  
My life has now changed because of this:
This little device is simply AMAZING!  It makes pressing tofu a breeze.  All you do is put your tofu block inside it and put on the spring top.
Put it in the fridge, and let the magic happen.  After awhile, all of the liquid from the tofu will rise and pool on the top. 
Now, all you have to do is pour the liquid into the sink, take the spring top off, and viola, you have a nice pressed block of tofu.  Woohoo!  See, I told you it was amazing!!  
So, if you make a lot of meals that call for pressed tofu, run, don't walk, to the computer and order one for yourself!  You can get your very own Tofu Xpress [HERE].  Seriously, it is sooo worth it!  

O-kay, now back to the recipe!!!
Broiled Tofu Ingredients:
Serves 4

*  1 container xtra firm tofu
*  2Tbl. soy sauce
*  juice of one lime
*  1Tbl. agave or maple syrup
*  1Tbl. water
*  1tsp. minced garlic
*  1tsp. chili powder
*  1/2tsp. cumin

1.  Press your tofu.
2.  Slice the tofu into slabs about 1/2 inch thick.
3.  Mix all of the marinade ingredients into a large container with a sealable lid.  I used a tupperware container.
4.  Add the tofu to the container.
5.  Put the lid on the container and gently swirl the container so the tofu gets covered in the marinade.
6.  Put the container in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours.  *Note:  I always like to marinate my tofu for as long as I possibly can.  So, I'll either marinate it first thing in the morning if I'm having it for dinner that night, or even do it the night before.  The longer the tofu marinates, the better it will absorb the flavors.
7. When the tofu is done marinating, preheat the broiler.
8.  Lightly coat a cookie/baking sheet with cooking spray.
9.  Arrange the tofu slices on the sheet and drizzle any remaining marinade over the slices.

10.  Broil the tofu for 5-6min. on one side, flip the tofu over and broil on the other side for another 5-6min.  Note:  While the tofu is broiling, make the Mmmm sauce.  
11.  Enjoy!  YUM!!

Mmmm Sauce Ingredients:
Makes 1 1/2C of sauce
*  1/4C almonds
*  1/4C canola oil (or oil of your choice)
*  1/3C water
*  1/4C chickpeas, drained and rinsed
*  1/4C  nutritional yeast
*  2 1/2Tbl. lemon juice
*  1tsp. minced garlic
*  1/4tsp. salt
*  3/4tsp. curry powder
*  1/2tsp. dried oregano

1.  In a high speed blender or food processor, combine the almonds, oil, water, and chickpeas.  Blend until smooth.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
3.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until serving.  *Note: This sauce will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days. 

For dinner,  put down the rice, steamed veggies, chickpeas, and tofu.  Top with Mmmm sauce.  Yum, yum, yum!!  Enjoy!!
Oh, and just try not to lick the bowl of Mmm sauce clean!  I dare you!  :)  

June 10, 2011

A week in review and other things too

*  Swimming:  I am struggling with this, and if I don't get with it soon, I'm afraid I won't be ready for the 2.4M swim at IMAZ.  Yes, I know it's not until November, but I need to get my act together!!  So, I got a new book from Amazon this week to spice up my swim workouts a little bit more.  I like the workouts in the plan I'm following, but I thought if I had more to choose from it would make me be a little more excited about getting up early to swim.  I'll do a review of the book after I do a good amount of the workouts, but just thumbing through it, I think I'm going to like it!!

* Biking:  So, I still haven't heard from Full Speed Ahead about my aerobars.  I sent them certified mail and know they got them on Monday.  You would think I would have received some email about them or something, but I've been sent NOTHING!  I'm starting to freak out!!  The weather has been so beautiful here and I want to ride my tri bike!  My training is getting more intense and I really need some tri bike saddle time.  YES, I can ride my road bike, but the position is completely different than riding in aero.  I don't know about all of you, but I need to work up to riding 2+ hours in the aero position.  So, hopefully I'll hear something soon!!

*  Running:  I've been running with my Brook's ST4 racers again and I just really like these shoes!  They are so comfortable and light and just feel awesome when I run.  However, sometimes on long runs over 1hr. I start feeling a little IT band twinge and it scares me!  So, I'm still trying to find a shoe that will work for me over long distance for IMAZ.  Ugh!!  Shoes are soooo expensive and I just don't have the money right now to be experimenting with different shoes.  BUT, I almost feel like I need to do that-ya know?  Any advice???

Other Things Too:

*  Wednesday I celebrated my 35th b-day, and my husband surprised me with flowers when he got home!  I love flowers!  All of my vases are packed up in storage, so the popcorn bucket was the best I could do!  Ha ha!  
My son also surprised me with this:
I love how we have opposite outfits on! :)  AND, instead of cake I opted for some of this deliciousness:
They just opened a new self-serve yogurt shop and IT IS SOOOO  YUMMY!!  I choose a pomengranite-chocolate mix covered with reeses pieces, mini hershey kisses, and cookie dough balls!  YUM!!  

*  My in-laws are in town and my boys have been having a BLAST with their grandparents!!  These mustaches were a hit and my youngest seriously wore his ALL day!  We even went out to dinner and he still wanted to wear his.  All of the waiters got a kick out of it! :)

*  WE FOUND A HOUSE!!  WOOHOO!  We've been through inspections, resolutions, contracts, etc. and so far everything is going great!  Hopefully, if everything continues to go well, we'll be able to move into our new house at the end of this month!!  YAY!  We are sooo excited!!  

I hope everyone has a great weekend! :)

June 7, 2011

Boulder Sunrise Du Race Report!

This was the first Duathlon I have done, and I have to say that I LOVED IT!  It was so much fun and just had a completely different feel to it than a triathlon.  Don't get me wrong, I love triathlons, but it was soooo nice not to have to worry about the swim.  I wanted to just have fun in this race, and it's pretty much exactly what I did!  However, my competitive side did kick in a little bit, as you'll read below! :)

Since my race was in Boulder, which is roughly 45min. from Denver, I got up early, ate my bagel with PB and honey, and headed out.  My family usually comes to watch me race, but because my in-laws are in town, we just decided it would be easier if I went by myself.  The drive was pretty uneventful, and before I knew it I was at the Boulder Res. setting up my transition area.

I have to tell you that it was really STRANGE setting up my transition area without my swim stuff.  The entire time I kept feeling like I was forgetting something.  I guess when you're used to doing triathlons, anything different starts to feel a little unnatural! :)
Julie and Me
As I was setting up my stuff I saw Julie from You Just Have to Tri!  a couple rows over from me!  It turns out she was doing the Sprint Tri!!  She is so nice, and it was great having someone to talk to before things got started.  She was a little nervous about the swim part of the tri, but she ended up doing awesome and placing in her AG!  You can read her race report HERE.
Before we knew it, is was time to leave the transition area.  My race didn't start until 8:30, so I had 1 1/2hr. to kill after transition closed!  Ugh!  Luckily, I had some of my TriBella teammates that were volunteering there, so I hung out with them and cheered on the racers as they got out of the water.

Finally, it was time to get ready to race.  Aside from the Sprint and Olympic Tris, they had a duathlon AND a 5k!  The runners all started together.  I thought it would be crazy, but there actually weren't that  many people racing, so it was nice.  I lined up to start and wasn't nervous at all!  Usually I am a nervous wreck before a race, but I was out there to have fun and use it as a training day, so I was completely relaxed!  IT WAS AWESOME!

5k RUN #1:
Time: 25:03 (8:05pace)
I decided to where my VFF Bikilas for the first 5k because 1) They are awesome! :) AND  2) They would be easy to switch out of and into my bike shoes in transition (I don't wear socks with my bike shoes).  Some people asked me about them, but the majority just kind of starred at them.  I don't think many people have seen athletes wearing VFFs in races! :)

So, we started and right off the bat my pace was FAST!  Sub 8:00 FAST!  I thought, "Whoa...I better slow down."  I haven't run that fast since before my IT band injury in January.  But, something funny happened.  I felt AWESOME!  There was this mom doing the 5k with two of her boys who were probably 10 or 12 and the older one was right in front of me.  He was amazing and wasn't slowing down anytime soon!  I decided to stick with him and see how I felt.  After all, I was doing this for fun.  If I blew up on the bike, oh well!

There were a couple of slight "hills" on the run, but overall it's a pretty fast out and back course.  The 12yr. old slowed down a couple of times where I was next to him and I would say, "You're doing great, keep going!" Then he would pick up the pace and lead again.  It was awesome!  This kid was AMAZING!  We got to the end and he sprinted with all he had to finish the 5k, which he ended up getting 2nd overall!!  I finished my run with a huge smile across my face and headed towards my bike.

Time: 1:14
By this time, all the athletes doing the Sprint and Olympic tris were out on their bikes, so the transition area was pretty empty.  I slipped off my Bikilas, put on my bike shoes and helmet and  headed out.

17Mile BIKE:
Time: 53.51 (19mph avg)
 I started the bike course and immediately noticed that I was pretty much alone on the course.  It was almost like I WAS just doing a training day.  I would see some bikers ahead of me and eventually pass them just to find that they were not even racing, but just out there riding.  I was having a blast on the course because 1) It's beautiful, and 2) it's just a fun course filled with a mix of hills, flats, and speedy downhills!  I kept waiting to feel the effects of my 5k in my legs, but I never did.  I felt great and was just having so much fun!

Then, I started wondering where all the duathletes were. I never saw anyone until around mile 12.  As most of you know, I had to use my road bike because the aerobars on my tri bike broke.  So, around mile 12, I got passed by some guy duathlete FLYING by me on his tri bike.  Then, about a mile later, I got passed by a duathlete girl, in my AG, on her tri bike.  Oh how I missed my tri bike at that time!!!  Up until that point, I was just doing this for fun.  But, when she passed me, my competitive side came out and I vowed not to let her out of my sight.  And, even though I couldn't keep up with her, I could always see her up ahead.  I kept telling myself, "I'll get her on the run, I"ll get her on the run!"

Time: 1:11
I got into transition, and immediately saw the girl that had passed me just heading out for the run.  I put on my good ole' Brooks ST4 racers and headed out.

5k RUN #2:
Time: 24:25 (7:53pace)
I had NO idea how I would feel during this run.  The longest brick I've done up to this point was a 45min. bike/15min. run.  AND, that didn't include a 5k before it!!  But, I started running and immediately I had my running legs back.  Usually it takes me a good 5-10min. to find my legs, but I felt great!  I saw the girl ahead of me and knew I had her.  When I passed her I said, "Great job!" and she replied, "Go get em'!"  It was awesome!
Then, I saw Julie headed towards finishing her sprint 5k and yelled, "Yay Julie!"  THEN, I saw several of my TriBella teammates out on the run course and we all just cheered each other on.  It was just awesome!!  

The run course by this point was really crowded with racers doing the sprint, olympic, and duathlon, but strangely, I felt like I was racing by myself.  I looked at my Garmin and again saw a sub 8:00 pace and decided right then and there that I wanted to see what I could do.  I had NO idea if I could hold that pace, but I was going to try my hardest.  Instead of a 12yr. old boy ahead of me this time, there was a guy about 5feet ahead of me and we were running about the same pace.  I decided to use him as my "pacer" and just try to hold on!  We got to the last 1/2M and he started to slow down a little bit and I ran up next to him.  I could see him look over at me, then probably think to himself, "I'm not going to let her beat me" because he sped up.  I got behind him and again tried to hold on!  We came to the finisher shoot and both sprinted to the finish!  We crossed the finish line, got some waters, a wonderful wet towel, and our medal.  I went up to him and said, "Thanks for pushing me!" and he said, "You too!"  It turns out he really didn't want me to pass him!  Ha ha!  

I saw Julie after I finished and we headed towards the tables to sit, cool down, and eat some food.  Usually I'm not too hungry after a race, but today I was starving!  They were serving burritos, which they had vegan and vegetarian ones (woohoo!), grapes, and lemonade.  It was actually pretty good!  We checked out the results board and Julie found out that she placed in her AG!  Woohoo -Yay Julie!!  Then, I checked my results and found out that I got 1st in my AG and 4th overall!!  I was so excited!!  They were passing out awards, so we decided to stick around.  I thought they would go through the awards pretty quickly, but IT TOOK FOREVER!  Julie stuck around with me, which was awesome!  But, I felt so bad because the duathlon awards were last and by that time, hardly anyone was around!  But, even though I had to wait forever, for me, it was worth it because I got to stand up on a podium (which I doubt I'll do again) and actually stand on the 1st place box!  :)

See how noone is around??  By this point, it was pretty empty!  Thanks again Julie for sticking around with me! :)