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Newport Half Marathon + Workouts that guarantee a PR

So, now that I am marathon training, I am happy to sign up to do a half marathon on my way there, to sharpen speed and practice a fueling strategy. A PR in the half is this close and I determined to make it happen! I just need to slice 5 seconds and I promise I’ll be happy forever!

And with that, such turn of events… I am running the NEWPORT HALF MARATHON again this year! Hahaha, such turn of events, I know…! 

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I did the race last year (and their 10K also in 2016) and it was amazing. The Newport Half is in right in the heart of Newport, New Jersey, just across the Hudson, and is super flat and fast. It covers some miles on the town, an extra few miles on a park, and then the river front, with amazing views of the nyc skyline and Miss Liberty, there is a few turns, just the way I like it, BEST WAY TO PR! Also great, it’s just a few minutes away from NYC, via the path! Also, check out the finish line spread in the pictures… delish and impressive. If you sign up, tell them I sent you 😉

When: Sunday, September 17th, 2017. Racers take their mark at 8:30 a.m. 

Where: 100 Town Square Place,  Jersey City, NJ 07310. Click here for directions

Logistics: Bag check is offered (limited to one bag per runner). All runners will receive medals at the end of the race. Packet pickup will take place from 6:30 to 8:15 am in Newport Town Square, 100 Town Square Place, Jersey City.  Free parking is available in the North Garage at 561 Washington Blvd. (Enter on Washington Boulevard, see parking information in Directions). No Headphones.  No Baby Joggers. THERE IS RACE DAY REGISTRATION.

NOW… LET’S GET READY…

If you’re doing your FIRST HALF this Fall, make sure you get the basics covered:

– Consistent training, don’t skip workouts

– At least one speed workout a week. It could be 800s, mile repeats, or a good tempo run! FUN!

– Do at least a 5K or a 10K (better!) before the half so you practice racing (aka: pacing, hydration, pre-race fueling, race day gear, etc.) and know exactly where you are, fitness-wise. And, race rehearsal is super important!

– At least one long run every week. Doesn’t have to be long long but at least get up to anything from 7-8  miles to 15-16 a couple of times.

Now, if you’ve done a FEW HALFS and now you want to get faster… how do we do that??? that’s the tricky part…  besides all those points above:

– speed workouts twice a week if you can handle them. Maybe do intervals mid week (800s, mile repeats, hill sprints) and a tempo with a few more miles after (to simulate a longish/hard run) on the weekend.

– practice race pace but not more than 4-5 miles.

– practice pacing, maybe you can do your tempos as a ladder (where each mile is faster than the last one)

– practice patience, the half is such a waiting game. You can’t go all out from the start and you need to learn to hold your horses: do a few races to practice this.

– DRILLS, at least twice a week! Here’s a good guide to learn. It’ll improve your form and it’ll help you keep going on the later miles of the half.

And then, set an appropriate goal. Nothing too easy or you won’t be motivated, and nothing too hard that will crush you while trying. This is also really hard to do, as we have to learn to be realistic and humble. But that’s the good thing about running, right? It keep us honest (and fit!!).


So, I’ll be adjusting my training a bit because I am also doing a full marathon this year, just a few weeks after the half. 

CONSISTENCY + ENDURANCE + SPEED are the main ingredients to a bulletproof half marathon training program. You have to do enough miles to build a great endurance base (whatever that number is for you) and throw in as many speed workouts as your body can handle without falling apart. Periodization is Key. Sit dow and plan this out in 7 or 10 days periods to have a good idea of what’s ahead and where you’re resting. DO NOT SKIP RESTING.

These are the workouts I usually do, in a period of 7 to 10 days depending on the workout.

LONG RUNS: Anything from 10 to 16 miles. Pace can be easy, or progressive, or you can add a few race pace miles in the middle or end. For example, on the last 3-4 weeks before the race, you can add 3 to 6 miles at the end at the projected pace.

TEMPOS: As uncomfortable as they can be, tempos are the bread and butter of a half marathon training! A tempo can workout to be anything from 3 to 6 miles. Or less when you’re’ starting out, or more if you’re more advanced. Pace should be around your 10K to half marathon pace. you’ll have to adjust based on your level and where you are in the training program. After a few weeks, add a Progression tempo: start at race pace and drop 10 seconds per mile.

SPEEDWORK:

  • Long Intervals: 2×2 miles at goal pace, with 4 minutes recovery jog in the middle. After a few weeks, updgrade to 2×3 at goal pace miles and then to 3×3 miles at goal pace, both with 3 minutes recovery jog in the middle.
  • Mile Repeats: Start with 3 x 1 mile at 10K pace with 90 seconds rest. After a few weeks, you can upgrade to 4 or 5 x 1 mile at 10 seconds pace with 60 seconds rest. Eventually, you can do up to 6 x 1 mile, 2 weeks before the race.
  • Hill Repeats! Hill intervals are speedwork in disguise, right? Go do them. Find a hill you can climb, time yourself, and do it a few times.  Jog down as a recovery. The slower your recovery, the faster you’ll go up in your next climb.
  • Yasso 800s. Basically: you run the 800 meters as fast as possible and then jog for recovery in the same amount of time it took to run the 800 meters Maybe start with 4 to 6 reps and build up to 10.

Of course make sure you warm up thoroughly before, do some drills and loosen up. And REST. you need time to recover so I usually like to have an easy week (where it’s just half the mileage and no hard workouts) every 4 weeks.

I am excited!! What’s your next goal race???

AND… who is doing the Newport Liberty Half Marathon with me?

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My favorite things! April Edition

whatever

It doesn’t really feel like Spring…

so, just because Oprah and I are basically the SAME thing, I give you THIS: the new edition of my favorite stuff, where you discover new things you might like  or tell me you’ve been using that old trick for 5 years, and quickly unsubscribe from the blog. 

In no particular order:

stink free sports detergent

wow. seriously. there’s some gear I am careful with. Like my 2014 (neon orange) Boston jacket (because I RUINED my 2010 boston jacket, ha). I love this detergent! Try it (also check that site as they have other amazing things!).

What I love more than this detergent? The mini version of this detergent!! I travel super light I usually bring 1 pair of shorts, 1 bra, etc, so I just leave my clothes on the sink with this for a bit, and voila, ready for the next run!!! Won’t travel without it! WHY RISK IT, right?

fitletic double pouch

fitletic double pouch belt review product review running gear running belt this thing is my house. I have SO many belts (I’ve literally haven’t touched the other ones in years!) but this one is my favorite. Because it has TWO pockets! one is always pre-loaded with my keys, a tissue, some cash, sometimes a gel, whatever! The big one is for my iphone (currently a 6).

I usually add honey sticks in there and what not. I like that the phone is separate as I was always worried, when you take your phone quickly, that all the other crap (keys!!) would fall out! That’s not a problem here! You know we take stuff out without stopping the run!!! I’ve had it for over 2 years and it’s still in top shape. I just did a get new one because my dad sorta “claimed” my old one when he saw it…! check it out here.

I am so comfortable with it that I’ve run many races with it, including the Boston Mary.

runinkspired running tattoos

umm. yes. motivation? check. fun on the road? check. badass look? check. Temporary??? YES! easy to put on, what else do you need to know??? They are awesome. They are here. I got a bunch and been using them when it’s hot out. Love them!

sweatstyle

Designer fitness apparel hand picked just for you. I stole this text from the website because how I could I say it better? Basically you create your own profile, pick what sort of sports you do, what you like (patterns, colors, etc), what sort of stuff you need more or less of (tops, bottoms, accessories, etc.) and then… you get a lovely package with things they select for you (and a return envelope to return what you don’t want to keep). Just like Stitch Fix for sports!

I like this sort of stuff because, let’s be realistic, we’d all be buying the same exact crap into eternity. It’s like when an ex (years years ago) gave me a light tan max mara cute little bag… ugh, TAN? YUK. Does he not know me at all? Every purse I own is neon!!! Anyway, because it WASN’T just like everything else I had, I ended up using it a LOT. I still have it actually. My point is that, because WE didn’t pick it, it might actually fill some hole in our wardrobe.

So, in my first shipment I got TWO things I NEVER would have bought, or really, even bother to look at a store. And I am obsessed with them!!!!! Worn them SO much already in two weeks! I even wore the tights in my race this past weekend! The top has three things I’d usually HATE: white/kangaroo pocket/mesh fabric!!! And, I LOVE IT. The tights… omg, they’re so soft and comfy… For anyone who’s ever tried to buy a present you know I am IMPOSSIBLE (my bday was two weeks ago, I returned most of it!) so this is a miracle.

under armour anything studio lux shoes

It’s not a secret that I am obsessed with all the UA gear. Want me to tell you again? Their infrared shirts have changed the way I approach winter now! but this is my obsession of the month!!! these shoes are SO COOL, and LIGHT, and COMFY, and BENDY. It’s a go.

I included some vacation pictures so you can see how I wear them with ANYTHING. It’s shocking I haven’t worn them to bed yet.

I also got a bunch more stuff from Under Armour in the last months. These blue tights are amazing (besides cool), super thin and soft. I wore them once and then to the NYC Half (that’s how much I trusted them!). Ps: they have a side pocket that fits my iphone 6, with a little hole for the headset!

The shell storm jacket, OH, obsessed, best top layer ever. And the shoes, those are the new record-equipped Gemini 2 that connect via bluetooth to a phone and track your mileage. Even when you run without your phone. I still have two Geminis (1) that I love and these feel quite similar, but it’s fun to think about going out without a gps watch!!!!

Questions? Anything you discovered this month that you love and couldn’t live without???? Share!

Running Form: top 10 at Healthy Kidney’s 10k in Central Park

Video from Mile 4.

Marathon Packing List

I’ve sent this to sooo many people so many times, I figured it’d be easier to just post it here and share it. You’ll have to adjust it to YOUR needs, but after you do it once, it’ll take the stress out of any marathon, mostly if it’s out of town… there is waaaay too much stuff in there, yes, but it would serve you better to delete things than to forget to put them in there. They will remind you of things you need and I didn’t include! (whaaaat?)

I organized it in stages, so it’s both a packing list and a to-do list.

Week before
Prepare your playlist
Clear Garmin’s old data, just in case.

Grocery shopping (once in destination)
Salted pretzels
Fruit
Nutella
Bread, cookies
Oatmeal
Gatorade
Dark chocolate
Water
Nuts
Cereal

Day before the marathon
Eat (nutella, Gatorade, Pretzels, salt). Prepare what you’ll eat on top of the counter to pre-asses.
Tape marathon bag (I like to duct tape it in case in breaks!)
Sleeping drops
Earplugs
Phone charger
Mp3 player charger
GPS watch charger
Tape (for anything)
Duck tape for shirt letters, scissors, and sharpie
Put phone numbers in back of bib

Marathon Day: for the Athlete’s Village (the start)
Sunscreen
Prerace food: chomps, power bars
Salt
Wet wipes or Toilet Paper
Bodyglide
Trash bags to sit on/wear
Poncho
Long socks for arm warmers for the first miles
Gels to eat before
Gloves, hat, fleece headband
Throwaway warm clothes: sweatshirt, pullover
Thin bag pack to put stuff in marathon bag
Heat packets for hands/feet
Lock
Kleenex
Pen

Marathon Day: for the Race
Pace bracelet (this one is my favorite!)
Set the playlist
Bib and pins
Mp3 player
Hat/visor for rain
Sunglasses
GPS watch
Heart rate monitor
Keys
Gels (5, 10, 15, 20: Four gels)
Lipgloss
Clothes (shoes, hair bands, headband, shirt, bra, shorts/tights, socks, underwear, tshirt)
Pace bracelet bands to put gels/mp3 player
Heat packets for hands/feet
Wet wipes
Little towel/Kleenex
Tylenol
Credit card, money/Metrocard
Salt packet or S-caps
My own shoetag
Mylar blanket
handheld bottle

Marathon Day: After the race, in the checked bag
flipflops
socks
extra shirt
deodorant
long pants
underwear
warm clothes
food
bandaids
cell phone
lotion/tiger balm, neosporin
marathon stick

Day after the race
Gelato
Boston Cremes
ICE

Go wild and adjust it to your needs!

A very racy weekend without racing (Scotland Run and Colon Cancer)

I was going to just run once this weekend, Saturday, so I timed it perfectly that I got to the park when the Scotland 10K leaders were going by. We stood there and froze and cheered my lungs out during the race before our run, which ended up being right under 10 miles. My runs lately haven’t been that great, nothing worth writing home about. I think I might have overdone it a bit running two halfs in 6 days, mostly after my big PR. My legs have been heavy since and something is off with my hamstrings, they’ve been spasmming and twitching, even when I sleep… I am stretching and  hoping it’s just that I’ve been over doing it and not the extra weight I’ve been carrying around, because there is nothing not much I am willing to do about that. But cheering at the Scotland run is always fun as a lot of people  dress up (I put a lot of FUN pictures up in this post) so it was a great morning!

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On Sunday, I had signed up to volunteer at the Colon Cancer races, there was a 4 miler and a 15K and didn’t notice they were over an hour apart and my shift would be over 5 hours… So I was up at the crack of dawn again (which for me is a sin on the weekend IF I am not racing) and triple bundled up like a maniac. There were 30 of us there at Engineers Gate to be course marshals on the east side and I was the only one looking like the michellin man…

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I was placed in the right turn on 94th st, which in a way, was a great/tough spot, because most runners will hug the curb and not take the whole two lanes, but cyclists and everyone else gets shifted to the tiny right side of the road and were NOT happy about it. At all. And they were vocal about it. I am not going to pretend I don’t like to scream a lot but I was as nice as possible and all I could say back was something about please be safe and follow the rules. They hated me! (like I care!). Safety first people!!

Now, the race was fantastic and I felt awful not having signed up, weather was perfect for running (me, on the other hand… completely froze after 1 hour even with all the layers I had on!), and there were some fast times happening! Saw a lot of friends running, cheered for everyone (when I wasn’t taking people off my lane!) and I had a fabulous time. I am not gonna lie though, 5 hours is a bit much for me, I like 3 hours better but with two races they shifts get longer and no one wants to do them… but I had fun and got to cheer on two races, while also helping out!!

Spring is in the air today… dying to run up and down every day, but I have to be smart, I think…

AllState13.1New York Bday Race Report! + the most RIDIC tutu pics EVER

Saturday was my birthday. I am not sure there’s anyone who didn’t know!

For the first time since I am a runner, my birthday was on a Saturday (read: a race day).  I looked, and this hasn’t happened before; in 2007 my birthday was on a Friday, in 2008, it was on a Sunday, we skipped Saturday! and I wasn’t a runner a few years before that!

I was turning 38. Yes, freaking 38. Seriously… FML

Friday at around 3 pm, I decided I’d race a half on Saturday… who needs to decide earlier? O maybe before gulping some McDonalds for lunch?

Why couldn’t I make a decision earlier..? well, there was a LOT on my schedule for that weekend… I didn’t think I’d want to wake up early ON MY BDAY (that sounds awful, right?) on top of it all, some plans changed so I figured I could… there was a half in Queens: the All State 13.1 series, on my exact birth date… sorry, I couldn’t get over that fact!!!

Well, ALSO, I was having a tiny bday celebration Friday night, AFTER a really busy week, which was also the first week at my new job at Austim Speaks, and ALSO this was SIX days after the NYC HALF massive PR situ. Oh, and seriously, I ate CRAP all week. Stuff you don’t even want to know about.

Running a race at the end of that two-week period was possibly the worst thing I could have planned to do such a great way to celebrate my birthday, riiight?

Well, I was a zombie bit tired Saturday at 6:30 am when I woke up.

My friend John was driving and picking me up, so I came downstairs with my tutu on.

Sidebar: when I decided the day before that I’d race a half on my bday (and with zero probability to PR after such a week) I decided I’d take it super easy: tutu-birthday-fun! I hadn’t worn it since the 2011 Mini 10 (where I did do PR, tutu and all, but I also chafed like hell!) so I had to turn my apartment inside out to find it… tutu was a little disastrous mess hum unironed…

Well, so everybody kept honking at me, at 7:30 am not much is funny for me. Got there superfast, got registered in 5 seconds, got the t-shirt (ha, my bday date is ON IT!), packed it all into baggage and soon we were freezing at the start, just for 5 minutes. Seriously though, it’s late March, it is freaking ridiculously cold! It was around 30 but felt like 20 with the crazy winds. I froze. Also, I was underdressed as usual, just as I like it!

We go!

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That was at miles 1 or 2 when I still had some speed! The first mile was a bit crowded, which is common in any race around here, but it cleared up right after… then John had to retie a shoe, so we took a few seconds there… I was all up for taking it easy and he was too!

We both felt tired right away, and I was STARVING and dreaming of sushi at mile 2. Like: I would have stopped it I had seen food (where are the Dunkin Donuts in Queens?!?!).

I hadn’t had any breakfast (smart!!!) and I brought just one gel, that I made last until mile 4. I licked every single drop of  the Vanilla gel. I was almost tempted to chew the packet too, just in case it helped.

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After mile 4 I was starting to warm up but starting to get really tired. My legs were DEAD. LEAD DEAD. I am sure I had done this racing-halfs-two-weekends-in-a-row before but I probably ate better/rested more the week in between. This was a disaster pace.

I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I focused on relaxing as much as I could to be able to chill, enjoy the race and celebrate the day! that means: slow the eff down!!! Also, the tutu was bunching up a bit, as every once in a while I had to pull it out of my shorts or from in between my legs, but it really wasn’t any big problem as you would imagine…

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I kept picking people to run with/pace off but very soon I found out the awful truth: NO ONE WANTS TO RUN WITH A GIRL IN A TUTU.

I get it, you’re a serious runner, you’re trying to go super fast, you trained for this, all of thaaaaat.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t hold the pace, or that I won’t help get more people cheering our way, or that I am taking this as a joke, or that you will trip on my tutu… seriously people, I look ridiculous but I am also a person, and a runner, and I AM going at your pace!!! Please love me and run with me!!!!

Anyway, you know the more it bothers you, the faster you’re gonna take off, and the sooooooner you’re gonna crash and come back to me. Don’t fight the tutu.

If you pulled away and were able to sustain it: Good for you, and: Glad I could help!!! 😉

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This last picture is my favorite. Do you like it? Help me pick which ones to buy!! I never buy pictures anymore but these are just too amazing…

The spread at the finish was INSANE. Lots of pretzels, fruit, muffins (I had 3 instantly!), and OREOS. I sat and stuffed myself like a maniac.

Anyway, I finished in 1:45, a loooong way back from the 1:37 I did 6 days before, in a much flatter and easier course, but I was still very happy.

tutu

I had a moment at the finish. I stood right there so I could spot John right away,  I also played Bart (Yasso!) and hugged/high-fived and all that. Then it hit me like one of those waved in the sea when you turn around:

This is my life now.

All of a sudden I remembered it was my birthday, and how I was doing a race on my birthday, and how, running has sipped into every single day and event in my life and how far I’ve come. I felt really humbled that, at 38, I felt this strong and healthy and happy. Yes, I can run (an easy 1:45!??!!?!!?) on any given day, in a tutu, feel amazing about it, and this is my new normal now. I felt thankful and extremely happy about all the places my running had taken me, including those seconds; this is my life now and, as hard as it is to get older (and stop PRing!), I was completely overwhelmed that that person was me, doing that, on that day, and feeling like this. Sorry for the sappiness but I don’t think I had every had such a birthday run…!

Queens Half, RR: HOT HOT HOT

How do you manage to have a good race and an kick at the end in a half marathon in 90 degrees (feels like of 94)??

Don’t know? Well, I would say having a good memory (or a blog!!!) made the difference this time. I’ll tell you how.
I had been dreading this race all week because of the weather. I even figured I could “oversleep“. But that would leave JohannaTS waiting in the corner at 5 am. Then I thought maybe I could “pretend” to run it and tell everybody my chip didn’t work… Ah, OK, I set these goals myself, can’t lie to myself, I AM running. GRRR.
Against my will, I met Johanna at 5 am and the train was really crowded with runners, which I always think is strange and cool. I found Blaise in our corral and we both knew we wouldn’t try to go out “fast”. I was determined to NOT race, it’d be an easy pace for me thankyouverymuch. If I wasn’t going to PR, then why suffer the whole way? If I go slow enough, this could be ok. And I figured this would be our “summer moonsoon”. We did a 16 mile run in February in the middle of a monsoon, crazy winds, downpour, cold, and ITBS (I like it rough post), but after that day, every run I did with the ITBS was cake. This could be our new “hot summer” standard!!!!!
So we set off together, mile 1 was 8:04. He thought that wasn’t bad as he had wanted to stay in the low 8s, but I knew then that there was no way I could hold that pace for the rest of the race. So, he went, and I slowed down. The course had a few outs-and-backs and I got to see a lot of my friends out there (even fellow loopster BattleSoul), which always keeps me entertained. Of course I shouted at every one I recognized, but I got passed a lot. Like, a LOT. Then I had a thought: they were not passing meI was letting them go. I was just trying to enjoy the race and I needed to slow down even a bit more, my heart rate monitor said so. By mile 3, there were already people walking or collapsing left and right. Then a genius thought popped in my head: if I had been able to run easy and relaxed in Boston, how would I not be able to do it here, when the weather is horrible and I have nothing to lose??
Just like that, my body gave in and relaxed. I found my rhythm and I was fine. I was stopping for water and Gatorade in every single mile and taking my old sweet time, thanking the volunteers and cheering on the runners. I didn’t have to walk once, which is usually my problem in hot races. And between the water cups I was pouring on myself and the sprinklers… I had never run so drenched in my life! This wasn’t so bad. I felt like the Queen of the world for conquering my body and being able to pace myself smartly.
Then Blaise appears from behind, seems like I had passed it at some point, but he was struggling and couldn’t stay with me. I finished really strong, way under 8 mm for the last two miles, which made me really really happy. I got to pass a couple of women I had run with for most of the race to finish 7th in my age group. Finish time was 1:49:30, five minutes slower than my PR (but most people were at least 10 or 15 minutes off their PRs); and an average pace of 8:22, which is closer to marathon pace. But today, I took it all as a major WIN.
I jogged around a bit after the race, I still had tons of energy. Not a surprise, I had a huge bowl of pasta and a full jar of dulce de leche for dinner. Nutella, you’ve met your match!!!!
The Old Spice moment you know was coming: I always find that all those things I dread the most end up surprising me, in a really good way. I am very happy I showed up to this challenge today. And I am very proud that I was able to hold back and pace myself  in a smart way. I think that’s my biggest accomplishment in my running this year. I am, obviously, on a horse!
Horse needs some water and rest today. We’re off to the trails upstate tomorrow for a few hours of running. Need to speed-recover: ice-bath, refueling, and major napping. Ah, the post-race high!

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Johanna and I after the race
———————-
Not so dear 2010 Summer,

What happened to you? I loved you; you used to mean fun, pools, tiny dresses, sun, rooftops, sandals, beaches, vacation, funny tan lines, coconut smelling lotions, and friends…
 
And now, you turn into this?? Why treat us so badly? What have we done to you? I am not sure what you’re after, but I can tell you right now YOU ARE NOT GONNA WIN.
Just like I screamed my face off to my ITBS a few months ago, I will not let you step all over us now. It’s not gonna happen. You might slow us down, make us cut some runs short, get us dehydrated, but we’re not backing off. We’re united and ready for the battle. IT IS ON. This is your two weeks notice.
 
Remember this past weekend? Huh? Yeah? You hit us with “some heat“.
You made me feel like I was running Badwater. Yes, I dreaded the pikermi all week, during the first miles I wanted to poke my eyes out and you slowed me down me a lot, but you didn’t kill my spiritAnd you know what? I had a wonderful race, thankyouverymuch! It was not about the results. Because, YOU KNOW, it is NEVER about the finish time. I conquered my pace and my willingness to turn a bad situation into an opportunity to celebrate what running has brought into my life. Thank you for this lesson.
 
Because of you, yes, thanks to you, I’ve been feeling like the Queen of Queens. And I have proof. In case you think I am bluffing just to scare you off. Check this out.

There is proof in the form of video. That’s me clubbing you on minute 3:55, my end of the race. Pretty ridiculous how badly you lost this fight if you ask me.
 
Yes, it was hard. I have pictures where you can see in my face and my form how badly you were making me feel (and you can also see a famous Queens landmark in the back, you have seen it in Men in Black).

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But what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger (and faster come fall), right? Look how strong I looked later…

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The more you tortured me, the stronger I felt:

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I am mentally done with you. SO over you, but thank you for putting up a good fight and challenging me. I appreciate the lessons I learned, but I see you shaking now.. HUH?

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See? I WIN. You should know better and back off now, before it’s too late.
You can slow us but you can’t stop us. We love this too much to be brought down.