Gulf Coast Half Marathon Pensacola 2012

Who watched Boston yesterday? I was glued to my computer, so glad to have the ability to watch live streaming! It was motivating and inspiring as usual and as far as the heat….I can feel their pain….

On Sunday, I ran my twelfth half marathon. I also ran one of my most difficult half marathons. I had several things going against me, and ran 11 minutes slower than my PR, which was at RnR New Orleans that I ran on expo legs and after running a half the weekend before. I knew I had a sub 2:10 in me, but it wasn’t meant to be for this race. Let’s backup first.

So Saturday after getting rear ended and going to packet pickup and dinner,

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we checked into our hotel room.

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I laid out all my gear for the next morning and we turned in early.

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My alarm went off at 5:00 am Sunday morning, and the first thing that always goes through my head on an early race morning popped up…which is “why am I doing this again? I just want to sleep!” Never the less, we got up anyway and got dressed for the race.

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do I look sleepy? It’s because I was!

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We drove about ten minutes to the start, and had plenty of time to go to the bathroom, go back to the car and stretch, etc. We also got to park RIGHT by the start which was nice.

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We did a short little job by the beach and I had to get a picture with the water in the background.

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um…doesn’t it look like that bird is about to attack my head?!?

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We heard the director on the loud speaker, so we made our way to the start. One downside to the race was they just have suggested corrals, so the closest we could get was about the 12:00 minute per mile “corral” area. Anyway, there were still a bunch of people behind us.

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The sun started rising over the buildings just as the gun went off. This would be the last bit of shade we would get for the entire race.

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The starting temperature was 74 degrees with 86% humidity. Folks from dry places, 74 is a LOT different in humidity!

I told Bobby good luck, and we were off. I felt really good starting off, and felt like I was running “slow” for me, but we really running about a 9:30, so that made me happy, and I started thinking maybe I had a chance to PR this race.

Mile 1: 9:24

Mile 2: 9:57

Mile 3: 10:10

After mile 3, my right hip started slightly hurting. This is the pain I had during LAST year’s RnR Mardi Gras half, but I have only had it on and off since. It wasn’t hurting badly yet, but I knew it was going to make for a long race. I started getting really thirty and we still had not seen any gatorade, only water.

Mile 4: 10:31

I was still holding on at a pace I could PR with (evened out), but I was slowing down, and knew I wasn’t going to get any faster. We finally had gatorade at the next water stop, but I think it was too little too late. I choked down a GU, my mouth was so dry it took forever to swallow, and continued on.

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Mile 5: 10:54

The pain started getting bad, and I noticed a change in my gait. Then my left hip started to hurt.

Mile 6: 11:04

The sun and no shade was starting to get to me, and I took my first walk break. We were passing people coming back in, and I kept looking for Bobby, and finally saw him. I gave him a high five (and a thumbs down haha) and kept on going.

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Mile 7: 10:41

I hit the turn around and was able to slightly pick up the pace with the sun now behind me, I didn’t feel as much like death.

Mile 8: 11:59

My hips were throbbing by this point, every step was excruciating and I was having to walk for one minute every 3-4 minutes. I started getting very discouraged and just wanted it to be over.

Mile 9: 11:10

I tried to run until I literally wanted to burst into tears, and then I would walk until I thought I could start to run again, it was sporadic and random, but it was the best I could do. I took my second GU at the next water stop, wishing I had brought a third.

Mile 10: 11:30

I knew I only had a 5k left, and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I knew I still had a ways to go, but it didn’t seem quite as daunting. The crowd was thinning out a lot, and I was passing and being passed by the same people as we were all struggling to run walk.

Mile 11: 12:06

My worst mile. My surge knowing I only had a 5k left didn’t last long. This was the point where I knew I couldn’t PR, so why kill myself? Finishing two minutes faster and then collapsing at the finish line and ending up in t he medic tent is not exactly something I wanted to do, so while I did push myself, it wasn’t at a “kill myself” speed.

Mile 12: 04

Just trying to make it to the end without having a heat stroke. Really wondering if I can stop taking my thyroid meds that make me very sensitive to heat, but know that is not a good solution. My watch beeps for mile 13, but it is nowhere in sight. Crap. It’s a long course. I just want to be done! at 13.1 according to my Garmin I was at 2:24:36 which would have been my “real” half time. But I wasn’t even to mile 13.

Mile 13: 12:00

The crowd got thick and I decided to kick it in. I kicked with all my might, knowing the sooner I finished the sooner I could stop running. I briefly saw Bobby on the sidelines and I turned the corner into the finishes shoot, passing three people as I went. I realized I had left too much in the tank, but I really didn’t care. I crossed right with some other guy, and was so happy to be done!

I crossed in 2:26:20, Garmin distance of 13.29, which is 11:00 minute miles.

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I found Bobby, who also had a very tough race. Between some foot pain and the heat, he ran a 2:13. (He can run a 1:56 if that tells you how the heat was affecting us!) We made it over to the post race party where they had red beans and rice and such, and ate, stretched, and told each other about our own races.

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We hobbled back to the car and then made it to the hotel.

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One last photo before a hot shower (we were covered in sand!)

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Ok so here are my pros and cons of this race:

PROS:

Gulf Coast series puts on a really nice race. There are three in the series, and this is my second one. It was very well organized, we had no problem finding the start or the packet pickup. Cute t-shirt, great finishers medal, great water stops, and awesome post race party. The course was beautiful and very scenic. I think under different circumstances I would have really enjoyed it. I will definitely be running the half in October in Mandeville again!

CONS:

It. was. hot. and humid. This race would be amazing in late February early March. Please oh please move it for next year?!? I know the weather is not in the control of the people putting on the race, but I don’t think I can handle another hot race that late again. Not having Gatorade until mile 4.5 (if there was some before that I never saw it) was really tough for me. I wanted it from mile one even through I drank almost a whole bottle the morning of the race at the hotel. Would have been nice to have a mat/5k split time as well. I had several people following my splits via e mail and they got nervous when they never got one then all of the sudden got one at mile 7 or so.

But really those are minor things (other than moving the date) and I was pleased overall with the actual race, just not my performance! It was very humbling and kind of disappointing, and a good reminder that as a runner, we all have good days and bad days, and we can’t PR every time we toe the line. I am done with distances until the fall, and am going to focus on my speed and shorter distances this summer. In the fall, I am coming back with a vengeance. Mark my words.

QOTD: Have you ever run a difficult race? Whether it be due to heat (or cold) or an injury? Or both like me?

Also, a very happy birthday to my dad today!

You Know You

 

Now that Disney Princess is over, as well as RnR New Orleans, it’s time to think about my “spring” training plan. I use the term loosely because it has been spring around here for a long time. Our grass is green already, bees are out, flowers have bloomed.

I have a rule that I will not race in the south between the months of June and September. If I race, it will be a destination race. With the heat and humidity, it’s a death wish. This means I have 2.5 months left to do any type of racing locally.

As far as things I have already signed up for, I will be running a 5k on Saturday, and a half marathon in Pensacola on April 15. I have been focusing on that half since RnR NOLA. I really want to PR, but I also have to be realistic because mid April at the beach around here means it’s most likely going to be hot and humid. I am going to pretend like I am training for any other half, and just hope for the best.

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This is how I am tackling the next month. (My half is a month from today!)

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Tempo workout 3-6 miles, weights

Tuesday: easy run 2-4 miles, weights

Wednesday: cross training, yoga, weights

Thursday: Run (maybe hills or sprints) 2-4 miles

Friday: cross train and weights

Saturday: Long run 8-12 miles

I plan to LOOSELY follow this pattern up until the week before, where I will back off of everything a bit, and will do more cross training and easy running than anything. Also, I will be out of town for a week, so it will be interesting to see how I can handle working out on my trip. not going to lie, the long run Saturday may not happen, but hopefully everything else will.

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Where did I come up with this plan? Wwweelll I just kind of made it up. I used previous knowledge from a hodge-podge of training plans, and came up with a plan that works FOR ME. Guys, this is the key. When you have been running for awhile, you start learning what works best for your own body. Like I know that if I un more than four days a week I will get an overuse injury. I also know if I don’t go to yoga I will stay really tight, potentially causing injury. I also know weight lifting has gotten me stronger and leaner and I need to do it at least four times a week. These are all things that if you would have asked me a year ago to create a training plan, I would have laughed….and never included yoga or weight lifting.

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I have come so far and learned so much about myself since I started running, and being more healthy overall. The “old me” would never spend so much time in a gym, or buying things around the outer edges of the grocery store.

I guess my takeaway for all of you from this, is a meal plan, a training plan, any kind of plan, isn’t a one size fits all thing. Just because your favorite blogger or celebrity is doing something “healthy” does not mean it is in your best interest to follow suit. Please don’t think I am saying it is wrong to use a pre-made training plan, I am just saying sometimes they don’t always suit my needs exactly. Find out what works to help you achieve your personal goals. If you have to make your own training plan, or mix a few together, so be it, but BE YOURSELF, and do what is best for you. After all, who knows you better than you?

Do you come up with your own training plans or use pre-made ones?

Weekly Recap: March Week 2

 

Did you remember to spring forward this morning? I know a lot of people groan at the thought of an hour less sleep, but I don’t mind, I am just so happy it will be getting dark later! More time outside, more sunshine, I like it! This past week was an interesting one for me. On Sunday, I ran the Rock n Roll New Orleans half marathon and PRed!

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I took Monday off, Tuesday I just lifted weights, and Wednesday my plan was to run and do yoga that night, but that didn’t happen. I did run 3 miles, yes…but I also took a tumble down the stairs that afternoon. I mentioned it on Facebook and Twitter but kind of forgot to mention it here I think.

Yup, lived here exactly a year and finally fell. I had socks on because I was cold, and I was carrying laundry down the wooden/varnished stairs. I slipped, my feet flew out from under me, and I landed straight down, flat on my back on the stairs. It. Hurt. I managed to scoot down the hall to my phone and call my husband. I got really nauseated and almost passed out! Luckily, I am “ok” relatively speaking, but my back is bruised and hurts pretty badly across the lower/middle section, and right on my spine where I hit. So…obviously no yoga that night….and Thursday and Friday I did light lifting and cross training, with a run yesterday. The run really made my back sore, so I did some icing and took some pain meds. So, here is the official run down:

Sunday: RnR NOLA half marathon

Monday: rest

Tuesday: Biceps, abs, and legs

Wednesday:  3 mile run, fall down the stairs

Thursday: Biceps, walked 1 mile on the treadmill

Friday: Triceps, chest, 20 minutes elliptical

Saturday: 6 mile run with Bobby

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From day two of the RnR NOLA expo

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Miles run: 22.1

Cross training: 2 X’s

Weights: 3 x’s

Yoga: 0  <——sad times.

I had a good running week but with no yoga and only 3 days of weights, I need to rev it up again for next week. Oh, did I mention I signed up for another half marathon? Yes! I will be running the Gulf Coast half in Pensacola in April! That will be my last half most likely until Fall unless I can get away to run in a cooler climate.

I hope you all are having a great weekend. We are going to church and working in the yard today, it’s been a beautiful weekend!

QOTD: Have you ever done something klutzy like fall down the stairs?

Friday Favorites: Newtons

 

Since I was cursed with a stress fracture in my foot back in November, I have been doing a lot of research of running shoes. I knew I had poor form due to scoliosis and rotated hips, and that I was a heel striker. I am also fairly confident that these variables had something to do with my stress fracture (on top of running three half marathons in 22 days.).

I knew a good bit about Newtons since Running Skirts sells them, but I did some more digging and decided these were exactly what I needed to slowly train myself to run properly. Under doctors orders, I was to gradually add back my mileage, so the timing was perfect since you are supposed to gradually add mileage in the Newtons because of the low heel drop.

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Huh? Ok, let me back up. Regular running shoes have a cushioned heel. When you run, your calf cannot fully extend in them. they push you forward then you arch your back (typically) to compensate. Newtons have a much much lower drop so it is more comparable to barefoot running, but with the sole of a regular shoe. They also have lugs on the forefoot that stick out further than the rest of the shoe that practically force you to run more on your forefoot.

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Because my calves can now fully extend, I have been experiencing some (normal) soreness but it has gotten better. I have run 4.5 miles as my longest run in my Newtons and will up the mileage each week until I feel comfortable racing in them. So far, I really like them and while I have to concentrate to run properly, I can already tell a difference in my form. I don’t feel as if I have to put as much effort into each stride to get the same result (pace).

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You can purchase Newton’s through the Running Skirts store. They have racing, stability, and trail shoes in a variety of colors and styles. Be sure to get on Running Skirts mailing list so you can be alerted when new arrivals come in and when sales are going on!

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QOTD: If you could design your own running shoe, what colors would it be?

*Enter my Ultra Immune giveaway!

Cleared

 

WAHOOOO! I have officially been CLEARED to run again! I went to the doctor yesterday morning, and he said I could start back slowly as long as I didn’t have any pain. He said the pain I had after our last visit was probably a bruise from him pressing on it. I told him it was a different pain than the injury pain, and he said “was it dull and achy” and I said yyeesssss! That’s EXACTLY how I was going to describe it. Whew! glad to know I’m not crazy (well, not for that reason at least. )

A HUGE thanks to everyone for being so sweet and supportive. I know I whined and threw a pity party in the beginning, but I was being honest, which I find to be so valuable here on RWS (and everywhere!) So that’s for sticking with me, now hopefully we can get back to our regularly scheduled run-blogging.

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So, to start, I am going to start slow with just a mile or so, slow running, maybe walking a little, then move to 2, 3, etc. My fears are not over though…one of my biggest ones is that I will start running and it will start hurting again….praying it doesn’t!

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please don’t fail me now, foot!

So, to celebrate I did two things. First, I got a massage (thank you Christmas special at the massage place!) and second….I agreed to run the Rouge Orleans relay on an all girl’s team EEEPP! Remember the post I did on Hood to Coast where I talked about it? it’s actually going to be a reality and I could not be more thrilled! I figure it will be a good way to get back into things because no leg is longer than six miles, and it’s all flat (running on the levee) so I think I can handle six at a time by mid February.

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I will be running with friends and fellow bloggers Katie and Kristyn, as well as some ladies I have yet to meet (6 of us total) We are going to have FUN!

SO….who watched the Bachelor on Monday? WOW that girl Jenna…I can’t believe she got a rose! I was excited to see a blogger make the show….aaannddd then I was embarrassed for her…she is giving bloggers a bad name. Please already think we are nuts, we don’t NEED help here. Did you watch? What were your thoughts?

QOTD: -Thoughts on the Bachelor?

             -Have you ever run a relay like Rouge Orleans or Hood to Coast?

Injury Reflections: Back to Basics

 

Happy New Year’s Eve! Any big plans tonight? I am hanging out with the fam at my parents house. We are cool like that. If you will remember last year, Bobby wasn’t even living with me and I was at my parent’s house living with them over New Year’s. So strange how much things change in a year!

Another thing that has changed…this time last year I was in the homestretch of marathon training, and this year…well, I’m injured and am only allowed to walk a mile. BUT, hopefully I am in the home stretch of my injury/stress fracture. I haven’t run since Thanksgiving Day, and only started walking this week. I have walked one mile on the treadmill three times, and I am itching to get outside. We have had the most beautiful weather the past few days I think I may be slowly dying inside not being able to run in it.

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It has been nice to at least be OUT of the boot and walking again. I got back to the doctor on Tuesday, and hopefully it’s for the last time, and hopefully I will then be cleared to start running. I have had PLENTY of time to think about my comeback, and of course it will hinge on what the doctor instructs me to do. Obviously I won’t be out running ten miles the day I get the ok. I plan to only run one slow mile the first day, and then increase to two miles a week later, then 3 miles the third week if I am still feeling ok. Once I hit three miles I will follow the 10% rule for adding mileage.

It is frustrating to think I will have to go back to basics, when I was in great half marathon shape, but it’s either that or don’t run at all I suppose. Maybe that’s what I needed. A nice long break, and to get back to some running and training basics for more success. We will see if it works. SmileI’m ready to get my sweat on!

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I am also going to start running in my Newtons. I know you are supposed to only start with a few minutes a day in them, so I figure it will be perfect since I can only run a little a day to begin with anyway. I have done a lot of research on what is to “blame” for my stress fracture…and I think it’s a combination of

-overuse (3 halfs in 22 days, the last being very hilly.)

-worn out shoes

-too tight shoelaces

-poor running form due to tight, rotated hips, and scoliosis.

I plan to do things to help remedy all of my issues and hopefully I will be pain free in 2012. Injures are one of those things that really forces you to learn to be in tune with and listen to your body. I ran through some pain when I should have stopped, and now I know better. I don’t want to ever end up here again.

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No thank you! I plan to train SMARTER this time around, not necessarily harder. I plan to stretch more, do more yoga, strength training, and cross training, and cross my fingers it’s enough to keep me healthy for 2012. I am going to make this a great comeback year. I am determined!

QOTD: What has having an injury taught you about yourself and the way you train?

My 2011 Year In Review

 

It is a bit overwhelming for me to think of things in terms of an entire year. So many big (and little) things happened this year in my life. Just going back through my posts from this past year has had me laughing and crying all at the same time. Then I re-read my 2010 recap. Whew. 2010 was a particularly tough year, you can check out it’s recap as well.

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If I had to describe 2011 in one word, it would be change. Here are just a few changes that took place this past year:

-Bobby and I moved 3 hours away to a new city, a new home, and he took a new job.

I got a job with Running Skirts

– We ended a very long battle with some of Bobby’s family that led to some personal changes

– My sister moved to Houston

I got injured, twice, and now haven’t run in 6 weeks and have had to change some racing plans because of it.

Some other fun things happened in 2011 like….

I ran a MARATHON!

I ran five half marathons and six 5k’s

– I was on the cover of New Orleans Fit Magazine

-I was named a FitFluential Ambassador

– I turned 26 years old

-I celebrated my 4th wedding anniversary with Bobby

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Some of the things that happened this year are not things I wanted. But, over the years I have learned that’s just how life goes. I am such a planner…I have all of these visions and dreams for my life, but I have to remember that I won’t always get my way…that’s not the way God works. The important thing is having faith that on the other side of the valley, there will be a mountaintop (or at least some nice, smooth road!) Life isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of good times to celebrate. Not to mention, as much as I hate to admit this, I learn and grow the most in the tough times.

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It’s funny, to look back sometimes. When you are in a particular moment, it is so easy to get distracted and frustrated with the hand you are dealt. Then, later on when there is a solution to your problem or things get easier, there tends to be this “now why did I get so upset over that? See, it’s over, and now something good has happened/come of it!” moment. It’s difficult sometimes, but I try to remember that there is a reason for the tough times, and hopefully one day I can look back on them and see the paths that I have taken (and sometimes going off road!) and how they have led to a greater understanding of my life.

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2011 was a very interesting and trying year, but I know 2012 will be great no matter what. I know some things happen TO you and you can’t change them, but this year I am DETERMINED to work on the things that I can control. Yup, that’s right, my word for 2012 is determination. I get into a bad habit of halfway doing things sometimes, and then get upset when I don’t get the results I want. I am determined to try harder to accomplish my goals. No more excuses. I have to be the change to make things happen if I want to achieve things. I know I have it somewhere inside of me, I just need to dig a little.

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Thank you all so much for reading RWS this year. I love my readers so much, and truly enjoy sharing my life with you. It’s time for new beginnings, and time to make some changes. I am determined to live up to my potential in all areas of my life. Are you? Let’s go 2012. Bring it on.

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QOTD: What was your favorite part of 2011?

*Ortholite giveaway ends soon! 3 winners!

Road to Recovery

 

Evening friends! I hope everyone had a great day! I played catch up today…wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, cleaning up my room, etc. I feel like I have gone non stop all day! I also got to run, woo hoo! I ran 5 miles, no knee pain. I also ran the 5 in 51 minutes, which is decent speed for me coming off an injury.

While I was running and pondering my speed, or lack there of, I started thinking about something. I first started having IT problems after running the Run for Life Half Marathon on October 9th. Every run after that was painful. So, to get through my training, I ran all my miles, and did all my long runs….but…(yes, the dreaded but) I did them slowly, at a “comfortable” pace. I was just trying to get through the run and the pain, I could have cared less what my pace was most days. Then I ran the Jazz half marathon at the end of October, and my knee started hurting a lot during mile 2, so that was pretty painful and slower.

I then took some time off, and finally came back to running last week. I was so careful, I didn’t want to annoy my knee, and make it tight or hurt, so I ran all my runs at a slow, comfortable pace. Well, Today when running, I realized my knee was not hurting at this comfortable pace I have kept for 2 months, so I decided to try to push my pace a little today and run more uncomfortable. Not FAST, and not doing speedwork, just slight discomfort. I surprised myself, because after having to take so much time off I didn’t think I could run 5 miles in 51 minutes, but I did, and I didn’t hurt!

I feel like I am definitely on the way to healing, on my road to recovery, and will be able to continue to race, train, and get faster. 4 weeks ago I was crying saying I didn’t know if I could even run my marathon because my knee hurt when I ran even 3 miles. I swore I wouldn’t take running pain free for granted if I got better, and I am trying to keep good on that promise! I enjoyed my run today, woo hoo!

Just for fun…look at the cute McAlisters ornament I got for free for buying a $25 gift card! If you know me, you know this is the PERFECT ornament for me Smile

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Sassy sleeps in this big chair, and Bella was annoying us the other night so we put her in the chair, too. Sassy HATES Bella, and when she realized Bella was in her chair, she tried to get away, so she stood up against the back of the chair trying to get as far away from the puppy as she could, and she just stayed like this for several minutes. It. was. hilarious!

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QOTD: Do you ever feel like, in whatever you are doing, you could try a whole lot harder if you really wanted to?