Toronto Women’s Half Marathon

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No matter how little sleep I got or how many doubts floated through my mind this morning, I said what will be shall be and I forged on ahead!

This was another one of life’s great experiences and I was going to embrace it with open arms! You only live once (YOLO!).

Oddly enough, I ended up raising almost the same amount of money for the Canadian Cancer Society as I did last year, so I wore the same tank top that I made last year for my 1st race ever (a 10k). Every time I felt like giving up, I thought about all of the money that we raised for such a great cause. I knew I couldn’t quit!

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Eric and I headed out just before 6am this morning. We had just under 1 hour’s drive to the race site. We got to the race super early (over 1 hour early!) so we had lots of time to kill. It was actually kind of nice to be early for once, because for my 1st two half marathons we were caught in bad traffic and almost late. It was nice to be relaxed. The race experience is also much better for the spectator when they don’t have to listen to you panic! :biggrin:

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I don’t know what I would do without Eric’s support at my races! He always calms my nerves. [Side note- I can’t believe we are doing the try-a-tri next weekend. GAH.]

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Then I met the lovely Sarah, who traveled all the way from New York, and we chatted away until just before the start.

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It was the perfect temperature outside- around 17C/63F, however the sun was quite hot and it heated up fast. Luckily this half marathon was run on a trail in Sunnybrook Park and had lots of shade.

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I also met some other ladies, but we didn’t get pictures together! Nothing like meeting blog readers in the porta potty line! :biggrin: I was hoping an all women’s race would mean better smelling porta potties, but no such luck! :sick:

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Sarah and I were in the 1st corral, which was an expected finishing time of under 2 hours. It was Sarah’s 1st half marathon and I was really excited for her!!

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Sarah and I said our final goodbyes!

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It’s all fun and games until mile 2!!! :lol:

We were off!

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I think I saw more Lululemon clothing items in one place than I ever have in my life!

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Eric said, ‘Come back in one piece, OK?’

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The course:

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The course consisted of 3 loops. Because of the loops I got to see my friends during the race which was really fun! I saw Sarah, Hilary, and Vanessa along the way! It is always nice seeing a familiar face when you are needing a lift.

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Mile 1: was awesome like it always is! Mile 1 is always the easiest. I have loads of energy and it is pure excitement for the race ahead. Sarah and I chatted during this mile and then we lost each other and I was running solo. The start was very quick since we were near the front and there wasn’t much of a lag at all. It only took me about 6 seconds to cross the start line.

Mile 1 time = 8:24

Hill climb = 66 feet

Mile 2: I don’t know what happened, but I was fighting back tears during mile 2. I was feeling very overwhelmed about how many miles I had ahead of me. I also felt under-trained and my groin started to twinge and feel really tight. My head was not in the game and I was a bit scared.

Mile 2 time = 8:00

Hill Climb = 104 feet

Mile 3: Mile 3 dragged on and on. I couldn’t believe that I had to do 3 more ‘3 mile runs’ – plus a mile! I thought back to my previous half marathons and I think I found that the first several miles were among the most difficult. I have a tendency to defeat myself in my mind before I even get there. I start thinking, ‘Oh my gosh it is only mile 3 and I have 10 miles to run, how will I ever do it?’.

Mile 3 time = 8:18

Hill climb = 121 feet

Mile 4: Mile 4 was pretty uneventful except for the fact that I had some strange man approach me on a bike taking a picture, what looked like, to be of me. I thought to myself, ‘Oh he must be just taking a picture of a lady behind me.’ and I didn’t think much of it. I had other things on my mind!

Mile 4 time = 8:22

Hill climb = 88 feet

Mile 5: This was the mile when I knew without a doubt that it was the right choice to bring my Camelbak. The water stations weren’t very frequent (well, to me anyways!) and I definitely needed the extra water. It was so nice to be able to take a sip whenever I wanted to. I still stopped at every water station and fueled up on Gatorade. I looooooove Gatorade during a race! It makes my heart go pitter-patter when I taste it. :heart:

Mile 5 time = 8:31

Hill climb = 146 feet

Mile 6: My 10k time was (unofficially): 51 minutes. I was very happy with this time, but not happy about the fact that I had to run more than twice the distance before I was done! Mile 6 also began a series of short hills over the next few miles. I knew that my pace was slowly starting to get slower over the past few miles and I wondered if I would be able to keep my pace or not.

Mile 6 time = 8:38

Hill climb = 192 feet

Mile 7: I saw the SAME creepy guy on his bike near me taking another picture!!! I started to freak out a bit, but I convinced myself that he was taking a picture of someone else behind me. While I loved this course in Sunnybrook Park, I did not like the fact that it was open to the public. There were a few questionable men watching this all women’s race from park benches.

Mile 7 time = 8:51

Hill climb = 174

Mile 8: You are stronger than you think, you are stronger than you know. Over and over and over. I wanted to cry. I have such a love/hate relationship with half marathons. One mile I love it and the next mile I hate it. I pushed myself with every ounce of strength I had in me, but I knew I still had 5 miles to go.

Mile 8 time = 8:53

Hill climb = 167 feet

Mile 9: This mile was the toughest in terms of the mini hill climbs. I was cursing under my breath every time I saw a hill approaching. The course was coined a ‘FLAT course’ and while it was an easier course than my two half marathons last fall, it still had some challenging hills in it. Luckily I had a lot of training on hills so my pace didn’t slow down much.

Mile 9 time = 9:04

Hill climb = 209 feet

Mile 10: I could not believe this but the guy on the bike RETURNED somehow and he was right beside me taking a picture of me with his cell phone! So creeped out at this point. He was literally 3 feet beside me on his bike holding up his camera on his cell phone. This time there was no doubt in my mind that he was taking a picture of me. I was super creeped out and I made a beeline to the closest man who was working for the race and I told him about the man on the bike. He seemed quite concerned as was I. Hopefully they kicked him off the course! It really upset me and it kind of threw me off my game for a while. 

Mile 10 time = 8:44

Hill climb = 136 feet

Mile 11: This was a great mile. I felt my strength return and I was sooooo happy I only had 2 miles and a bit to go! Rest was near! The volunteers, while all amazing, were especially amazing near the end. They kept saying encouraging things like, ‘WOW you are doing so great only a few k’s to go!’. I thanked each and every one of them.

Mile 11 time = 8:36

Hill climb = 158 feet

Mile 12: Just like in my previous two half marathons, mile 12 (and 13) were the HARDEST of the entire race. Running is such a mental sport and I find that I kind of lose my marbles during the last mile. It seems to drag on and on and I stopped frequently to walk. I kept telling myself over and over, ‘Just keep going you can walk when you are crossed the finish line!’ and it helped a bit, but I still struggled quite a bit. I knew I was so close to setting a new PR and pushing just a bit harder could be the deciding factor.

Mile 12 time = 9:11

Hill climb = 166 feet

Mile 13: Was this really my LAST mile?! I saw the chocolate station and I almost hurled. I seriously could not fathom the thought of eating a chocolate bar at that time! No one was taking the chocolate at all. There is something wrong about that picture too- women in a women’s race refusing chocolate! It’s a crime, I know. I think that just goes to show how determined we were to finish!

I repeated my mantra ‘You are so much stronger than you think. You are so much stronger than you know.’ I had to stop and walk quite a bit during this last mile and I thought it would never end…

Mile 13 time = 9:01

Hill Climb = 130 feet

Mile 13-13.1(13.3?): My Garmin told me that the course was actually 0.2 miles over because my watch read 13.3 miles when I crossed the finish line, and not 13.1 miles. I thought I only had 0.1 miles to go and it turned out to be 0.3 miles which is a big difference when you are pushing your max 110%.  I must not have been running a ‘straight’ path.

Regardless, I rounded the turn and I saw all of the people lined up and I said, ‘THIS IS IT ANGE, RUN LIKE HELL!’

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The crowd was awesome and gave me all the motivation I needed to run as fast as I possibly could! I started to sprint fast and the crowd cheered loudly. My speed got around a 6 minute mile. There were no other women around me so I felt like this was my moment.

It was probably my strongest finishes of all 3 of my half marathons. In my last half marathon, I struggled BIG time in the last 500 metres, but for this race I crossed the finish line flying at top speed! There is no better feeling.

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I thought to myself, ‘Oh you are going to feel this tomorrow!’

Race stats:

  • Distance: 13.1 miles (Garmin read 13.3 miles)
  • Chip time: 1 hour 55 mins. 10 secs. (New PR)
  • Placed 16th out of 105 women in my age group
  • Placed 111 overall out of 1129 women in the race
  • Avg heart rate: 173 bpm
  • Max heart rate: 182 bpm (in the last few hundred metres)

 

Shortly after crossing the finish line…

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I saw Eric and he came running over! He was so excited and he kept saying YOU DID IT! Nothing is better than when you think someone truly *gets* how hard it was and how much you pushed yourself to your limits.

Previous half marathon times:

  • 1st half marathon- Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (Sept. 27, 2009): 1:57:45
  • 2nd half marathon-Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon (October 18, 2009): 1:56:33
  • 3rd half marathon- Toronto Women’s Half Marathon (May 30, 2010): 1:55:10

 

How awesome are these girly medals on a sports chain? I love that it is a piece of jewelry!

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I want to thank all of you guys for your support through my training and charity efforts! :heart:

The drive home was enjoyed with an ice bag and a High-protein Renew Glo Bar! I don’t think I have ever eaten a Glo Bar so fast.

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Icing on the drive home = amazing idea.

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This medal is dedicated to all of YOU! I can’t wait to wear it on my training runs. :cool:

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When we got home, I had an ice bath, a 45 minute nap (Eric and Sketchie had a 4 hour nap, LOL), and of course lots of yummy food.

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{ 156 comments… read them below or add one }

Jocelyn May 30, 2010

omg CONGRATZ!! you did AMAZING!!

p.s

that guy sounds SUPER creepy. WOW. :|

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Jessica May 30, 2010

That’s brilliant! You did great. Congratulations! I’d love to work up to the 10k!!

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Michelle@Eatingjourney May 30, 2010

WOOT!!! I am so proud of you! Thanks for sharing how you were feeling the whole time. I think it’s important to talk about those miles when you think that you can’t do it..and how you did..cause we all go through that. :)

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday May 30, 2010

Wow, those are some great splits!!! Great job with the race.

P.S. I love that medal necklace.

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Michelle May 30, 2010

Congrats Angela! You did amazing. I love your race recaps.

Also, I finally tried the banana soft serve vegan overnight oats, and they are fantastic! Thanks for sharing them, and the video you made. It inspired me to make them because it was so easy!

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misty mozejko May 30, 2010

WELL DONE YOU – thats an amazing time! Come run Ajax half with us in Fall :) I’ll be there with the BRC and such :)

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Aleksandra S May 30, 2010

Oh man I read that review with baited breath!! I’m doing my first half marathon in Sept *gulp* and I need all the advice I can get. Can’t wait to read the next installment.

Tell me a little more about this Garmin watch you speak of though..that I could definitely use! :) And a Camelback too. I hear I will need lots of fluids/gels for this one.

I was dying when my 10k ended…I can only imagine a half!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

I love the Garmin 305 watch and the Camelbak, both were great purchases. You can find out more about them here: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=349 and here:http://www.camelbak.com/en/sports-recreation/hydration-packs.aspx Goodluck!

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Miriam May 30, 2010

Congrat Angie!!! :)

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annah May 30, 2010

Congratulations on your PR!! You did an Awesome job!

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Fae May 30, 2010

Congratulation on setting a new PR!!!!! :) I love that you go through each mile in your re-caps!

I definitely agree that the course should have been closed off to the public – especially with an all women’s race that goes through park tails!

Did you not stop at the fireman’s station???

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

To be honest, I was so consumed in the race that I didn’t bother with the firemen…haha. One of them did pour water on my head at the end though. ;)

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Camille May 30, 2010

I love this post :)
Congrats on an amazing race!

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Dana in KC May 30, 2010

Hi Angela~ I got teary reading this! You are such a huge inspiration to me. (This is the first time I’ve commented.)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Thank you!

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 30, 2010

Yay!!! Congrats!!!! That is AMAZING! But was there even any doubt you’d do wonderfully?! ;)

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) May 30, 2010

It’s nice to hear your reflections from each mile. It’s a great reminder that even great athletes (YOU!) aren’t just lah-dee-dah-ing through ya know? Congrats on a great time despite undertraining and your recent injury! You rock!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Thanks! The reason I do the mile by mile breakdown is exactly that- to show that it isn’t easy for me. Running a half is probably the hardest physical challenge I have ever done.

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Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope May 30, 2010

So glad you were able to overcome that obstacle at mile 2, but wtf–weirdo/creepy dude with the camera. Talk about distraction!! I am glad you told someone.
Anyway, YOU ROCK!!
Do you have a marathon planned in the future?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Nothing planned at the moment except for the try-a-tri. :)

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Stefanie May 30, 2010

Congratulations on your finish!

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*Andrea* May 30, 2010

congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Leah May 30, 2010

Awesome job!! Congratulations :)
I love that medal too, I think its awesome that they turned it into something you can actually wear on a regular basis. I think that makes it more special ya know?

That guy sounds really creepy, Im pretty sure I would have freaked right out.

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Courtney May 30, 2010

That guy sounds like a total creeper! I hope you email the race director or post something on the race message boards about him–I bet there were other women who were complaining too!

AWESOME job though! I cant believe your first half was 1:57–you are super speedy!!

PS good luck at the tri next weekend–it will be a breeze after running for 2 hours this weekend ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Thanks for your idea of emailing the director. I did that last night after I read your comment and I told them about my experience and that I hoped we could talk about ways to make the course more safe for women. I can’t wait to see their reply.

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KelseyJ May 30, 2010

Congratulations on setting an new half marathon PR Angela! That race medal is too cute!

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Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 30, 2010

Woohoo! Congrats on finishing and getting a new PR Ang!

I’m so sorry about that creeper on the bike. You seem to keep running into creepers :(

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Bethany @ More Fruit Please May 30, 2010

Wow, I almost felt like I was going to cry reading your race recap. Amazing job! I love Eric’s line right before the race… how sweet!

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Cindy May 30, 2010

That’s pretty awesome. Congratulations!!!

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Jill May 30, 2010

Yay, congratulations on the new PR Angela! You did fantastic! You placed AWESOME as well!!

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MarathonVal May 30, 2010

Congrats, you are amazing!!! Now go rest up and eat that belated chocolate ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

copious amounts of choc covered rainsins were consumed, don’t you worry ;)

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Danielle (Runs on Green) May 30, 2010

Congrats!!! That’s exciting that you’ve been getting better & better :D

..except the man taking pictures?? Um, creepy.

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Bri May 30, 2010

Way to go! I sat the temperature for toronto in the paper today and i was like ooh poor Angela! But you did it, in a stellar time to!

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ida May 30, 2010

Congrats!! i feel like the 1st 4 miles of a 1/2 marathon are the worst. your garmin probably reads longer b/c of weaving around people and not running in a perfectly straight line along the course. happens to me a lot too.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Ohh I was wondering about that! Interesting…maybe that is all it was?

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Sarah May 30, 2010

Congratulations – great job!!

Random aside…I never noticed how much you look like Christina Applegate, but in that “thumbs up” photo you really do.

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Lynna May 30, 2010

Congratulations! Reading the mile to mile recap makes it seem like half marathons are really trying both mentally and physically but I’m sure the feeling of accomplishment at the end is totally worth it. Sorry about that weird guy… New PR yay!

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LisaG May 30, 2010

Good run; can’t wait to hear the details. Too bad about the wierdo; ugh. Maybe he made you run faster to get away from him!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

I think he did!

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emptynutjar May 30, 2010

wow – i think u are great. congratulations angela.

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kristi (sweet cheeks) May 30, 2010

What a great accomplishment!!! You are absolutely GLOWING in the pics..as you should be because I can only imagine how hard it was! CONGRATS!!

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg May 30, 2010

Another PR!!!!! You’re an inspiration, girl!!! Great job!

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Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy May 30, 2010

Congrats! Reading this made me really excited for you! Those medals are such a cool idea!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 30, 2010

WHAT A freakin- awesome race!!!! You rock!!!!!

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Kellie May 30, 2010

Congratulations. What a great race. You did amazing and you had a wedding the night before! Enjoy your post race glow.

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Wei-Wei May 30, 2010

You’re awesome! This is so cool, I’m SO PROUD of you! I love reading race recaps. And you broke your PR! XD You’re awesome!

What a creepy guy, jeesh. :( Rest up! Can you eat that chocolate now? ;)

Wei-Wei

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Lauren @ Eater not a runner May 30, 2010

AWESOME race!!!

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Jackie (Peaces of Earth) May 30, 2010

Okay, I’m not going to lie, I may have teared up reading this! lol! It may have something to do with the fact that I’ll be running my race next weekend, but mostly because you are so awesome and inspiring!!!! It’s so nice to know that we all struggle with the mental aspect of races and you did an amazing job pushing through it. And a new PR on top of that! I’ll be thinking of you when the going gets tough during my marathon. Goooodd job!!!! Boo to creepy men, ugh.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2010

Goodluck next weekend! You will rock it :)

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Jackie (Peaces of Earth) May 31, 2010

Thank you! :) I am hoping so!

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 30, 2010

A new PR?!? Awesome! Congrats! You go, girl :D

And I agree- cutest medal idea ever!

xo
K

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