Tuesday, June 30, 2015

That time I thought I finished last...

As I mentioned in my race report for the Hartwell YMCA Sprint Triathlon, when I checked the preliminary race results that were posted soon after I finished, I thought I had come in Dead Last.

The results list, posted on the table where the awards were located. 

There's my name... at the bottom...
It was the most interesting experience I've had at a race. I thought it deserved some attention of its own so that's why I'm writing this post now!

I'm not sure how clearly it came across in my race report, but I had a great race on Saturday. I felt sure and strong and confident the entire way. The notoriously negative voice in my head was easily tamed and I pushed myself in a smart way since this wasn't my "A" race. I had a significant sprint triathlon PR, though I wasn't sure exactly how big it was until I got home. I was feeling fantastic!

When the race director announced that the results were posted, I hustled over to see if I made the podium. With it being such a small turnout, I figured I had a chance. I walked confidently up to the table.

My name was at the bottom. 36 out of 36. I thought there were 37 on the participants list that I looked at the day before. So that it didn't seem unreasonable.

Dead Last.

My first thought was a saying that is popular in the running community:

"Dead ***** Last is greater than Did Not Finish which is greater than Did Not Start"

But all the while I was thinking that, I felt myself starting to get shaky. I kept looking at the results. Last. But I felt so good! Last? I saw lots of people out there still on the course. Granted, there was an Oly going on at the same time so they could have been doing the longer course. 


I took a few shaky, deep breaths. I walked away from the results table, and headed back to my car. My intention was to go ahead and change clothes so I could make the drive home. 

And that's when it happened. 

Somewhere between the results table and the car, that usually negative voice in my head told me, "What difference does it make?" 

"Huh?" I replied to myself. (Hopefully silently, lest I be known as the last-place triathlete who needs to ask herself to repeat herself! LOL)

"You had the best race experience you've ever had in a triathlon! You beat your previous best time by a lot! You feel great! What difference does it make if you finished last!?"

She/I had a good point! The fact that other people were faster than I am on that particular day did nothing to negate the fantastic job I did personally! When I crossed that finish line I felt strong and happy and positive. The order in which I did so was inconsequential! 

By the time I got to the car, I was texting my family and friends and leting them know that I had the best race ever AND I was dead last! I was "LOLing" and really meaning it! 

AND once I learned that my presence was not immediately required back at home (thanks to my son driving my daughter to work while Daddy had to go in to the office unexpectedly) I decided to stick around for the awards ceremony and watch the folks who did win! I noticed that the overall female finisher was in my age group, so I thought perhaps that would open it up for me to get on the podium after all. Even though I finished last. 

Well, you know how that all ended up, right? 

There I am - #2 in my age group! 
I did end up on the podium and it turned out that I wasn't last after all. But by that point, I was really and truly OK with it anyway. And I don't think I'm going to be nearly as wrapped up in "not wanting to be last" as I have been in the past. Because as long as I am doing the best that I can - not just having the best race ever as in this case, but even if things have gone terribly wrong but I'm doing my best on that day by not giving up - then that's all that matters in the long run! 

Just do what you can and have a good time doing it! :) 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

MCM 2015 Training - Week #3

It's hard to believe week #3 is already done! Time is moving by so quickly and the Marine Corps Marathon weekend will be here before I know it!

I had to get a little creative with training this week due to signing up for a triathlon only 9 days before the event! I needed to get some bricks done to prepare myself for race day and to acclimate myself to the heat in the time of day I would be running. Mostly I run around dawn but that won't cut it when your triathlon pace has you starting to run around 9:45 AM. And the last couple of weeks in my area have found temps in the high 80s to low 90s already by that time.

Since the marathon training is still my main focus, I looked at my overall training volume for Week #3 and divided it among the week, being sure to keep the frequency of running days the same. I did adjust the volume for running a bit, however, because I was scheduled for a 7 mile long run on Saturday. I contemplated running it on Friday like I did last week before the 5K on Saturday. That worked out well since I needed a 30-40 minute run one day and a long run the next. However, in this case, that would put me with a long run on Friday and a triathlon on Saturday and that would increase my overall volume too much. I also knew that the effort and duration I would put in on Saturday would actually be longer than the time and effort I would have put in for a 7 mile run, so I decided to replace it. I obviously cannot make a habit of that, but since we're still so early in the training plan, I figured it would be OK.

This is what my training schedule usually looks like:
Monday - run, strength training
Tuesday - bike, swim
Wednesday - run, strength training
Thursday - bike, swim
Friday - run, strength training (upper body and core only)
Saturday - long run
Sunday - rest or open water swim 

Here is how I switched everything around for this week:
Monday - bike/run brick
Tuesday - pool swim, strength training
Wednesday - bike/run brick
Thursday - open water swim, strength training
Friday - run
Saturday - triathlon
Sunday - rest 

It worked out well so I will use it again in 3 weeks when I have my second and last triathlon for 2015. I am also going to move Friday's run to Thursday and make it a bike/run brick and then swim on Friday instead, just until that triathlon. After that, I'll be sticking to the schedule as much as possible. I know I will have to move the long run to Friday or Sunday on occasion due to my family's schedule, but I'm going to guard my training schedule as best as I can in the last few months leading up to MCM2015! We are less than 4 months away from race day now!

Training went very well this week. All of the twinges in my feet are gone now. I am being diligent about rolling and stretching as well as keeping up with my strength training. I think those things will be vital in keeping me healthy for the race. I am also continuing the heart rate zone training to make sure I'm not pushing too hard in my easy runs. That is such a challenge.

This coming week I'll be looking forward to the Peachtree Road Race - the world's largest 10K race! It was meant to be because I am scheduled for a 6 mile run that day! :) I am so excited! I haven't done the Peachtree since 2011!

Enjoy your training this week! Check back (or the Facebook page) for that post I'm going to write about finishing last!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Race Report: Hartwell YMCA Sprint Triathlon

There are days when everything falls into place and you have a practically perfect race. Today was one of those days for me! I wasn't exceptionally prepared for this race - that happens when you register 10 days before race day! But I prepared as well as I had time for (except for transitions, but more on that later) so my main goal was to have the most fun I could have!

I left the house this morning at 4:45 to make the 90 minute drive to Lake Hartwell. Setting an alarm for 4 AM is always the time where I question my sanity. The drive was actually pretty nice, despite trying to read directions in the dark. I probably should have just used my phone's GPS app!

I arrived right on time and found a close place to park. I knew there weren't too many folks signed up for these races. Right between 65-70 were showing up as pre-registered on the website as of last night, pretty much evenly divided between the Sprint and the Oly. I picked up my race numbers and chip, hit the restroom which was a real park restroom (yay!), and then took my gear over to set up transition.

There were no numbers on the racks so I assumed it was free for all. I chose a spot next to the outer wall so I could easily find my bike and have a place to put my tri bag. I set up transition fairly quickly and then went to check out the area.

Mike was happy to be back on a rack for a race! It's been such a long time for him!

Swim start -  in the water. The sprint used the orange buoys and the olympic did the yellow buoys. 

Swim finish - looks worse that it is, really. 

The Finish Line! Apparently the race company just got it - it's very nice!

The sprint swim course with all 3 buoys in place. 
What I like to do after I set up transition is find the swim start and finish and walk through the route I will take for the race. I go out from the water and up to transition to my bike. Then I walk from my bike to the Bike Out. Then I come in Bike In and walk back to my bike. Then I walk to the Run Out. This rehearsal allows me to visualize the race and look for anything on the ground that I will need to be aware of.

It was a long wait between setting up and our race starting. The Olympic started at 8 and we started at 8:30. Actually, because they started the men first, my wave started at 8:33. I was able to use the bathroom an unnatural number of times which is always a good thing! Never had to wait, either, which is one of the benefits of a smaller race!

SWIM - 500 meters (Garmin time 12:36/Official 12:34)
There weren't that many of us ladies doing the sprint so I just lined up with everyone else, not in the back and didn't wait for everyone else to take off. This is the first time I've done that. I know that I'm a slower swimmer so if there were more people then I would have lined up more towards the back, but I figured with this small number I could definitely hold my own until everyone left me!

There is a good chance that I'm going crazy because when I saw all 3 buoys in place my first reaction was, "Wow, that's not too bad!" And, sure enough, the buoys kept coming up quickly! I swam well and I felt strong. I didn't have any issues with sighting or going off course. My strategy to go out with everyone else also paid off because I didn't have to dodge many people at all. And I passed someone from the previous wave. Yes. Me. I almost shouted for joy. But there was all that water. So I didn't!

Made it to the boat ramp/swim exit and carefully walked up the ramp. The concrete was bumpy and hard (as I noticed during my walk through) and I didn't want to stub my toe. Once I got onto the pavement, I started to jog. I realized about halfway through my bike ride that I hadn't even paid attention to my swim time when I hit my lap button on my watch!

T1 (Garmin time 1:48/Official 1:49)
Transitions were the only thing that concerned me going into this race. I had not practiced. At all. And transitions are always my weak spot anyway because I spend too much time thinking. I need to learn to just grab the stuff and go. Today my mantra was, "Grab it and go!" It's a sprint, not a Disney trip (I tend to over pack for Disney trips! LOL). Aside from my shoes and helmet there really wasn't anything that I couldn't live without for 14 miles. I was pleasantly surprised to see my best transition times ever!

BIKE- 14 miles (Garmin time 54:38/Official 54:51)
The bike is my weakest. We all know that. And this course was advertised as rolling hills, which usually means "Crazy hilly". But this race director was actually correct. The hills were rollers and I think there was only one on the way out and one on the way back that required me to go into the granny gears. The rest of them were nice and easy and I was able to pedal through them even on the downhills. My average cadence was 89! This was an out and back and there was a 180 turn-around on a two lane road. I was not looking forward to this at all. I am not good with tight turns. Thankfully I was by myself for it and I unclipped in case I started to fall, but I didn't need to put my foot down! On the way back, since I knew the route now, I focused balancing between pushing myself and leaving enough in my legs for the run. I came in to the dismount line feeling good!

T2 (Garmin time 1:08/Official 1:09)
Seriously? A one minute T2?? I should go to Kona now with that sort of transition time! ;) Or maybe not. But hey, it's my fastest T2 by half! I wonder what I could do if I actually practiced next time?

RUN - 5K (Garmin time 30:34/Official 30:35)
I was a little unsure about my run because my legs felt pretty tired. I wondered for a moment if I had pushed too hard on the bike. But I knew the run was "mostly flat" so I decided to just handle whatever pace I needed to maintain. But in the end, it must have been the brick effect because my pace ended up being really good. The hardest part came in mile 2 when we got off the highway and ran up a pretty significant hill to the dam. I knew that I would be able to make up the time on the flat dam, so I shifted to a 1/1 interval for the duration of the hill. I got up to the dam and realized that the wind tunnel principle was in full effect on this dam and I was running right into the wind. I managed to do a 9:24 pace for the 3rd mile even with the wind, so I am pleased with that. The best part of all was that I managed to quiet the negative voice that tends to take over my triathlon run!

Once I could see the finish line, I tried to reach down and speed up a little bit but I realized I didn't really have more to give. That made me feel fantastic! I had truly "left it all on the course"! Not in a bad way like I was going to pass out, but in a healthy and strong way. I knew that this effort I had given today was the best I had in me for today - and that's always a good thing!

Total time - 1:40:44 Garmin/1:40:57 Official

As I was putting up my gear, they made an announcement that preliminary results for the sprint were posted at the table near the finish line. So I locked up my bike and put my gear in the car and headed to the finish to check it out!

Not sure if you can see it but there is my name - at the very bottom!
 Dead Last?!?! But I felt so good about my performance! This was the best I had ever done on a sprint tri by a long shot! I've never even broken 1:45 before! In fact, my previous best time was 1:47 and that was on a much shorter swim and bike! I felt sort of weird for a few minutes. But then I put it all into perspective: if this was my best effort for today and I came in last, that doesn't matter! I think I'm going to do a whole blog post about this because I think it's very, very important and deserves more than just a brief mention. Anyway, I texted my family and posted a few pictures while I waited for the awards. (The overall female winner was in my age group, so I thought maybe I had a chance to win an AG award even though I was last. That's another benefit to a small race! LOL)

When the awards started, they were announcing the finish times for the winners and I realized that I wasn't last at all because I started hearing times that were after mine! I know there were at least 3 who came in after me. Not that it really matters, but I guess they posted those results before everyone had finished. The awards started after the last finisher came in which was nice. Also, the announcer would encourage us to cheer for Oly distance athletes as they were coming across the finish during the sprint awards. I love that and they earned brownie points for me for doing so!

I was thrilled that I was announced as 2nd place finisher in my age group (and there was a 3rd place, too - one of the few age groups that had a full podium of finishers). I was SO excited to stand on a real podium for the first time! I saw an employee of the race company taking pictures so I hope they will post them soon! Here is my award:

A glass beer glass! 
My official placement:
     Overall 36 out of 41 (plus 2 who DNF)
     Age Group 2 out of 3
     Swim 33rd overall/2nd AG
     T1 37th overall/2nd AG
     Bike 38th overall/3rd AG (by 1:25, not too bad!)
     T2 35th overall/1st AG (WOOHOO)
     Run 31st overall/2nd AG

And then I got cleaned up and drove home. Yeah, that part isn't too exciting, is it? LOL

But the race was AMAZING! I am very impressed with Go Race Productions - everything was well organized and well marked. I emailed the race director with 3 questions yesterday and heard back quickly. Both races started right on time!The course had plenty of volunteers and aid stations were frequent and stocked. They handed out ice towels, too, which is always a great thing in GA in the summer! The awards ceremony started on time. When I got ready to leave, I walked by the food table and there was still tons of food and lots of cold water, cokes, and powerade. And this was after the sprint was done and there was still another 45 minutes or so before the Oly course closed. That is rare, indeed. I wish I could have stayed around to see if they kept the finish line intact for the last finisher, but I suspected that they did. There were still plenty of volunteers out on the run course when I was leaving and the 2 girls that gave me a water and medal at the finish and took off my chip were still there. Those are just a few of the things I look for when I am evaluating a race company. I won't hesitate to sign up for another Go Race Productions event - and I'm putting the Hartwell YMCA Oly on my short list for next year!

Thanks for reading this rather long race report filled with excessive exclamation points! :) Please check back tomorrow for a recap of Week 3 in my Marathon Training!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week #2 - Week in review

Well, you already read about my weekend - the Braves Country 5K with my husband. We went back that evening and enjoyed taking part in a parade around Turner Field, and then watched an exciting game against the Mets that we won! Sunday was Father's Day and a planned rest day for me. Now let me see if I can go backwards and recap the week overall.

I'm actually having to get out my calendar and looking at my Garmin Dashboard so I can even remember. Last week was another of those crazy weeks that had me wondering when summer is actually going to begin for our family. I know part of it was related to the fact that my Grandma passed away on Sunday evening. I learned about it on Monday morning. In a way I guess it was a blessing to have such a busy week - and I am always grateful for the time I have to train because it allows me time inside my own head. I do not train with music anymore for the most part, not even on the trainer, since I can't have music during a triathlon. At first I missed it. But now I have come to enjoy the silence and how it affords me the quiet to process and think things through. Also on Monday I had to deal with the fact that my car had broken down at Stone Mountain Park on Sunday night when we were leaving after the laser show. Riley and I had gone up there to hike to the top of the mountain with her friend and her friend's mom - and then we stayed for the laser show. Had a wonderful time... until the car conked out on the way home. I counted the hike up the Mountain as my workout for Monday and used Monday as a rest/deal with the car day.

My older daughter had work and a dance workshop on Tuesday and Thursday so I was unable to go to my regular cycling group. Since it has been so hot here in Georgia, I decided to do my trainer ride in the garage before the sun was up too high. Then I borrowed my son's truck and went to the pool for some laps after the swim lessons were done. Apparently everyone else in the area had the same idea. I have never seen the lap lanes so crowded! But I got my workouts done and it was good to have some folks in the lane with me to help me work on people swimming closely to me.

By Wednesday I had my car back and did my run at my regular park since it was close to home and we had a lot to get done. Older daughter leaves in a few weeks for ballet intensive and the packing list is 2 pages long! We made a good dent in it that day! Just have to go back shopping for a few more things next week (when nobody has dance! LOL).

Thursday was another trainer and pool day - though this one also revolved around two trips to Dunwoody to take my dancing queen to a jazz workshop. It was totally worth it because he had a wonderful time!

Friday I did my long run at my old "regular park" since I knew I was going to have the 5K the next day. To be honest, it did not go well but I think by that point in the week I was mentally and physically drained - not from exercise but just from the emotions and pace of the week. Good thing it was only 6 miles! ;)

And therein lies the training for Week 2. I have no more lingering pains or tweaks in my feet, which is very good. I am vowing to be consistent with stretching, rolling, and strength training especially in this early part of training when my actual run volume is reduced from what I had been doing all spring.

If you read my Facebook page this week then you know I had a little registration frenzy! I have done a half marathon every year since my first one in 2010. And I have done a triathlon every year since my first one in 2011. Streaks are very important to me, for some odd reason, and it was making me very sad not to have either of those on the books. Thankfully, the budget and timing worked out and I was able to sign up for both - a half marathon in August (aptly named the Hotlanta Half Marathon) and a sprint triathlon, um, this Saturday! LOL Hey, my favorite coaching company/team is a sponsor and promoted a $25 coupon code. How can I resist that?!? There is also an Oly that same day, but I decided on the Sprint because I do not have the volume on the swim especially (and on the bike as well) to be successful in an Oly without potentially injuring myself. The goal is to have fun and keep up my streak! And if this sprint is fun, then I will put the Oly on my calendar for next year because that distance is hard to find.

This week ahead is not nearly as busy as the previous few have been so I will be able to catch up on my housework and school prep for next school year which starts in a mere 6 weeks from this Wednesday. Ugh. Hopefully, I'll get another chance to post, but if not then look for my race report on Saturday afternoon or evening!

Train safely and enjoy your journey!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Race Report: Braves Country 5K

This morning, my husband and I ran our first 5K together! This is our 21st anniversary weekend and I wanted us to do something special. The Braves Country 5K starts at Turner Field and runs a loop around the area, finishing inside the stadium on the warning track. Then you get to come back that evening for a Braves game and a parade around the field! So that's a win-win situation, right?? Fun for the whole family!

Hubby and I left the house at 5:20 AM and made it to Turner Field right at 6, which is when I wanted to arrive. We picked up our bibs and shirts and then wandered around taking pictures before the start. I was surprised at how any people there were for this race! It was my husband's biggest race to date!

I had planned to do 2/1 intervals with my husband since it was so hot and he hadn't been able to train on any hills. But instead, he wanted to do a more traditional "walk the up hills and run the down hills." LOL And that worked really well. We haven't run a race together (I usually run ahead since I'm faster for now) but since this was our anniversary celebration, I wanted it to be a 'together' experience! And I couldn't miss out on running through Turner Field with him!

We thought we were filming the run into and around the stadium but realized we hadn't hit the record button! Oops. But we did get a few great pictures once we were passed the finish line!


I love this picture!! :)

Had to work quickly to get this shot! The staff kept telling everyone they had to move on! :)
As you can tell by the smiles on our faces, we had a wonderful time! I think this will have to be an annual event for us!

The hardest part of the whole day was getting up at 4:30 this morning. Really. The rest was absolutely smooth sailing. The drive was easy. The free parking at Turner Field was easy. We walked right up to packet pick-up. The bib is adorable! The shirt is a cute tech shirt (my only complaint is that it's too big, even though I got a unisex XS). Plenty of clean porta potties and I didn't have to ever wait in a line to use them! There was a nice warm-up put on by the Atlanta Track Club before the race and, though it wasn't Zumba, it was still a nice way to get loose before the race (without actually running). And there was a self-seeding wave start, though I think they could have used one more corral since the last corral was for anyone going 9:30/mile or slower. We had to do a lot of weaving even averaging 12:45/miles.

I just got an email saying that unofficial results are posted and pictures are up on Facebook. That's incredible! Atlanta Track Club sure knows how to run a race. I think we're going to have to finally become members! Oh, that reminds me... they announced at the start that this race is a Peachtree Qualifier. So now my hubby has an official time and we can sign him up for his first Peachtree Road Race in 2016! :)

Have a wonderful weekend! Tomorrow I'll be posting my Week 2 training recap!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Week #1 - Long run

The first week of my marathon training plan called for a 5 mile run. This is, obviously, lower mileage than I've been doing for a long run. But it's important to start at the beginning of a training plan. My body can only be helped by a little bit of 'recovery'!

I want to train more on hills than I've had time to do this winter and spring. The races I'm doing aren't necessarily hilly, but I want to be prepared for hills just in case. So the best place to run hills safely in Atlanta is at Stone Mountain! My Moms Run This Town chapter ran this morning at the mountain so I joined them for the first time in over a year!

The pace was a 2/1 interval with a goal of 11:30/mile. I thought that would be perfect because this is the first time I was running all the way around, and I've had a very full week of workouts for the first time in awhile. We ended up averaging right around 11:00/mile but that is still good. It was hot, and I wore my belt with the water bottles and that was smart. I didn't take any pictures, though. I need to get back into that habit!

I'm not sure I'll stick with the group for each and every run since I really want to use my 4/1 intervals, but I could start out with the group and see them on the different laps. And I'm sure when there are more people, more groups will break out from the main group depending on pace and needs. I had forgotten how nice it is to run with a group because the miles go by so quickly. But I also really enjoy the peace and quiet of my long runs. I don't even run with music anymore because I just like to be alone with my thoughts. I'm sure I will find a balance between the two.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Week 1: Cross Training!

I labored long and hard to decide upon a training plan. The last time I trained for a marathon, I used the same resource that I had used for half marathon training: Marathoning for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham. But now I'm a triathlete and not just a runner. I wanted to keep as much of my swim and bike fitness as possible, not just use them as "cross training". And my bike fitness is best maintained with time on the road. And time on the road is easiest to get in a group ride. And my easiest way to get a group ride is when my group rides (duh!) and that is on Tuesday and Thursday! That also happens to be when the local aquatic center opens up early in the morning for lap swimming. So I can get both of my cross training activities done on the same day! Yippee!

I finally found a training plan for marathoning that has cross training on Tuesday and Thursday, and that was the free program on Coach Jenny Hadfield's website. And since she is married to The Penguin and co-wrote Marathoning for Mortals, I felt like I was right at home! :)

So, this being a Tuesday, it is my first cross training day in my training plan. I was supposed to ride with my cycle group this morning but the thunderstorms that woke me up bright and early sort of ruined that plan. So I threw on my swimsuit and got a late start in the lap lane. So late that I was able to do my laps to the accompaniment of Aqua Zumba! But the laps all went well and I felt strong.

It was sunny when I got out of the pool and my plan was to take the bike to the park to ride in many circles around the ball fields, but my husband informed me that storms were on their way, so I relegated myself to the trainer. I haven't been on the trainer in a very, very long time. In fact, I haven't been on the trainer since I gave up my trainer space for my dad to build my 16 year old dancing queen a dance floor! It looks incredible and she loves it.

I moved my car out of the garage and set up the bike on the trainer and hopped on.

Then I remembered the dance floor has a mirror.

Look! It's me on the trainer!
In one fell swoop, I realized that I am not the fierce triathlete on the bike that I always pictured myself! LOL Oh, well!

Took it easy on the trainer because my legs are sore from yesterday's strength training. The spinning helped with that a lot. (As did the earlier swim in the wonderfully cool water!).

On the plan for tomorrow is another run! I'm really looking forward to it!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Back in the saddle again!

Well, it's the 2nd week of June. I've survived recital weekend times 2 girls (in two different dance schools with shows and recitals in two different locations on the same days). I survived my first child's high school graduation, and giving the speech to celebrate the occasion. There is so much more ahead of me this summer and early fall that I hadn't expected, but I know I will face it and survive it as well. But today marks an exciting milestone:

Post Run Selfie
Today I officially began my Marathon Training Plan to prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon, and ultimately, Marathon Maniac status (and now Double Agent status) as I also finish the Soldier Marathon! It seems like such a long time ago that I made this decision to tackle this goal, but now it's here!

I didn't do as good of a job in maintaining my base mileage as I had hoped to. But I did manage to keep running 3-4 days a week, even if it wasn't very far. I am completely starting at the beginning with this training plan, even though I had done longer long runs. I think that will be the best way to tackle the training because it will give my body a little time to rest.

Today's run was pretty good, though it was warm and humid bright and early. It has been so nice in the last week or so in the morning. I felt it was humorous that the weather would turn muggy as soon as my training plan started!

My goal is to blog regularly while training! I hope you'll stick with me, or if you've lost interest because of my lack of posting, I hope you'll return and join me!

I'm sure it's going to be quite an adventure!