Last Run

6.2 mi

00:52 /08:25 pace

My only run of the week. Had some lingering foot pain while walking after last weekend's half and I'm trying to let that heal. Pain free... posted 3 days ago

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2014 Miles
973 mi
Total Miles
6150 mi

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Revel in my syrup collection!

Syrups

I went up to Vermont this weekend (forgoing both my Saturday and Sunday runs), so pre-emptively, the miles below are mega-suckage.

Things I learned up on the farm:

1) Maple syrupin’ season is over for the year. You’re all too late.
2) Wide angle lenses (#4, check!) rock my socks. Particularly useful for covered bridges.
3) NH is considerably less attractive than VT.
4) Hungarians get really excited about Tokaji.
5) There is a limit to the amount of sharpness I want in my cheddar cheese. The 8-year “rat trap” sample? Too strong.
6) I’m not embarrassed to admit I drink my tea from a dainty cup.
7) Pygmy goats are less evil than the normal sized buggers.
8) Maija may very possibly (and lamentably) have it in for my parents.

MILEAGE UPDATE: April 5-April 11
Miles to date Past week Three week average Annual pace Miles to go
134.4 11.1 15.9 485.7 865.6

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Seems I’ve been running in the wrong direction

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A second weekend in a row with a decent 13+ mile long run has put a little confidence back in me for my upcoming half-marathon two weeks from today. I’ll be running the Old Port Half up in Portland for the first time. I don’t expect to be fast, both because of lingering foot pain, and the fact that it’s July. Both of the longer races I’ve run in past Julys (the Narragansett Half last year and the Mad Marathon the year before) have been painfully slow. This one starts at 7am so done before 9, maybe that will be more ok. The course looks pretty much coastal, so maybe there will be a breeze off the harbor! That would be nice.

Song of the week, The Wrong Direction by Passenger.

2 Responses to “Seems I’ve been running in the wrong direction”

  1. Hondo says:

    Good job! Are you driving to Portland the morning of?

  2. nanio says:

    I’ll be up the day prior for the expo. There’s also a concert thing going on that afternoon near the start line that I want to check out.

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I still have feet, wait for me

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My first week of reaching my preferred mileage goal of 40/wk. I’m much slower, though some of that is attributable to the heat, I’m sure. But my ankle isn’t ‘normal’ by any stretch either.

Song of the week, Returning to the Fold by The Thermals.

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And soon all you’ll have is the memory

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I’ve been broken for a while now, since my post from the TARC Spring Classic the end of April. The injury was more severe than I thought at the time I wrote that, worse than any of my previous ankle problems. I spent the first week post-injury trying to hobble around at work, the joint itself being completely inflexible, unable to bear weight. The next two weeks after that were spent trying to gain my ability to even walk normally back, though I found that I could tolerate a stationary bike instead. And then the last two weeks I’ve finally be able to slowly run, first on a treadmill then carefully, I’m getting back into the swing of things outdoors. My ankle isn’t exactly “fixed” per se, but I’m able to move and get some (very slow) miles in. It’s not perfect but I’ll take it. My best run of this past week was 10 miles from my hotel to the summit of Mt. Royal and back. I was very grateful to be physically able to do that, even at what feels like 50% my normal operating capacity.

I had to bail on my planned 50 mile race (which was yesterday). Which bummed me out quite a lot. My next race, by which I have set myself the goal of running pain free at a modest conversational speed, is the Old Port Half Marathon on July 13th in Portland Maine.
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Song of the week, Proceed to Memory by Pinback.

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My kind of life’s no better off, if it’s got the map, or if it’s lost

Pre-race meeting I'm ahead of him!
Yesterday I had the TARC Spring Classic 50K. I wanted to have a fun race report to write up today but instead it’s pretty grim. Course was fairly runnable – it was supposed to rain all night but that held off until just after the race started. I was super psyched because Nate & Steve were both running with me – I had talked them into running the half marathon. They started with an extra little loop that put them behind me, but Nate passed me at mile 2.5, flying, Steve a few miles later (Nate ended up finishing 6th!). The first lap was great, under 1 hour for 10K, a pace I was happy with. I ran into Steve again at the aid station and he & I started to run the second lap together when maybe two miles in I slipped on an easy downhill slope and sprained my left ankle fairly severely. I tried to run on it to see if it would loosen but over the next 4 miles it got worse and worse to the point where I couldn’t walk without leaning on him. I am so grateful he didn’t leave me behind when I hurt myself – I was so confident I could make it back the the transition area but by the end I’m not sure that I would have been able to alone. This probably cost him a half hour as far as his own personal finishing time went. I had to drop out of the race at 20K and hobbled my way home (sometimes I hate having a manual transmission), where I’ve been stuck gimping around my apartment since, a weekend wasted. This is at least as bad as the injury I got a few years ago on the other ankle. It friggin sucks.

So anyway. I’m two for four in finishing TARC events thus far, not a great batting average. Maybe trail running isn’t for me after all. I don’t know. I have a 50M race I was going to try in June (a repeat of my prior TARC DNF) but as of now I’m not sure if I’ll give that a go or not. I’m feeling pretty down about the whole situation.
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Song of the week, Farewell Transmission from Songs: Ohia.

One Response to “My kind of life’s no better off, if it’s got the map, or if it’s lost”

  1. Hondo says:

    I’m sorry about your injury and I hope you have a speedy recovery.

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Been down this road so many times, feels like it’s skin is part of mine.

GoofyNext weekend is the Boston Marathon! An exciting time in Boston. The weekend after that is the TARC Spring Classic 50K (just a smidge less famous). And the weekend after that is the (Cox) Providence Marathon that YJP is running. Which means the extended three-person readership of this blog is going to each have a busy weekend here in the next month. Hondo, you’re up first… (nobody’s nervous). I’m really excited to be volunteering at mile 7 with VK & YJP, and hopeful that everyone I know who is running stays safe, and is happy with their effort.

At St. E's at sunsetI’ve been trying to slowly transition myself from my old running training plan into something more aggressive. Nate is using a variant of Hansons marathon plan to get ready for the Boulder Marathon this October, and I’m adapting some elements of his schedule. Specifically, I’ve been trying to do mile repeats on Tuesdays (two weeks thusfar) and then running goal marathon pace pieces on Thursday. Since my ultimate goal is to qualify for Boston, I’d need to run sub-3:10 for that. I’ve been thinking to aim for 3:08 to give myself a little cushion, which is just over a 7:10/split. This is fairly quick for me, much faster than I current can sustain. Particularly outside on a non-race day where I inevitably find myself stuck at traffic lights and so on. But it’s a goal. It doesn’t have to be easy.
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Song of the week, Snookered by Dan Deacon. Within the last mile of my Saturday long run my ipod died, right after the key change 6:30 in. What an awesome song to run to, takes it’s time getting where it’s going but once it goes it just goes.

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Still not sure what I am looking for

A good week in Boston. Spring is still struggling to find it’s footing but there are enough hints to give hope. The rain this weekend was not snow, nor unpleasantly cold. I ran along the marathon course today, a great many people preparing for the race coming April 21st. I’m not running it with them, but it’s so easy to feel like we’re all on the same team, all with the same goal, part of this community of likeminded people. It’s the best time of the year to run in Boston. I’m very excited for Christine and the other people I know running the marathon, and for the city as a whole. It will be a good, restorative day for us all, something we’ve needed since last year.
Slight problem with my trail runners If you stick to the side-snow it's just fine Ice
Yesterday was quite nice as well, a chance to (holes in my trail runners aside) get off the pavement and into the woods. NP and I went out to Weston to run from Burchard Park to check out the trails on site of the forthcoming TARC Spring Classic 50K. They were soft where melted, and slick where not. No injuries but I almost bit it a number of times. Hopefully today’s rain and a mild week ahead will knock this ice out a little more. I also heard from the RD today, and got an official map of the loop. Next week I’ll try to run it again, to hew a bit more closely to the actual course.

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Song of the week, the lovely Run Run Run by Michelle Lewis.

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And you know that I’m doomed to repeat this, with all the bad habits that I’ve learned

My trip to Atlanta for the Georgia Marathon got off to a rough start as I overslept my 4:30am alarm by a solid hour, making a real question of whether I’d make my 7am flight. I threw on whatever clothes were nearest, grabbed my bag and without taking time to think twice was out the door & driving to the airport. I got lucky with traffic, with the parking shuttle and TSA stuff and though my flight had boarded by the time I got to the empty gate I was still able to get on & head on down south.

Georgia MarathonFrom Hartsfield I went straight to the expo at the Georgia World Congress Center. I got my number, grabbed the obligatory samples, browsed the racing baubles but couldn’t find a hat I liked. The most interesting thing about the expo was speaking with an ultramarathoner named Joe Fejes at the USATF booth. He was pitching a dome race he’s putting together in Anchorage in August – Six Days in the Dome. If six days are too much for you, there’s also 48 and 24 hour races available, all on a 1/4 mile track. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. If I make it to Alaska, it’ll be for Moose’s Tooth.

BelugaThe rest of the pre-race day was spent at the Georgia Aquarium (pretty awesome) and managing the logistics of pre-race food. The place I chose for lunch ended up hosting a furry convention at the same time. I’d like to think I’m not judgmental about people’s preferences, but it does takes some getting used to all the tails being wagged about.

At the startRace morning, no problem getting up at 4am. I was staying at the Atlanta Hilton, at worst a 15 minute walk from the start. Not bad, but up and over a sizable hill. I accidentally packed creamy peanut butter. :/ Nobody likes creamy peanut butter.

Race conditions – it was fairly warm, maybe 59 degrees? I checked my phone and jacket at the gear bag drop and didn’t miss them as I waited in the corral. Nice, to be this warm, but more humid than I’m used to.

I was in Corral B, which was pretty much at the front. In retrospect, I probably should have been back a bit, given how many people passed me. Most of the people around me seemed to be half runners – this half was taken seriously, it was some sort of regional championship.

Flowering treesStart: The thing that strikes immediately is the start is up a hill. This wasn’t an anomaly – the entire course was up down up down. At some point I thought to myself that 90% of the course had been uphill. Within the first mile we were running down a street by Georgia State University in a shower of these little white flower petals – coming from still frozen Mass this is lovely. There are several of these petal showers along the course.

Mile 4: The course runs past the MLK Center for Non-violent Social Change.

Downhill by the Carter CenterMile 6: The Carter Center is here. Very attractive area near this part of the course. Maybe I just like it because it’s downhill.

Mile 7: The half marathoners split off here. This is one of those races where that’s the bulk of the field, leaving a lonely stream of marathoners for the rest of the morning. We run through Little Five Points, which you can tell without any prior information is a cool neighborhood.

Georgia MarathonMile 8.2: My favorite sign along the race course was here in some place called Candler Park – it says something like “No Trespassing, No Jogging, No Dogs!” Fortunately we don’t jog, we run. I don’t even know any joggers!

Mile 10: I snag a ziploc bag of gummi bears from a family of three (the father says “your wel-come dude” in an awesome stoner way). This is excellent race food, though my mouth is dry and I have a hard time with them, breathing in some bear bits. I’m not entirely unconvinced there’s not a gummi bear tree growing in my lungs right now.

Mile 12: The course passes Agnes Scott, a private women’s college. I was a little confused with a sign along that part that said something like “smart girls are hot”. I don’t disagree with that sentiment, exactly, I’m just not sure that it’s a joke that needs to be made right outside a women’s school. Maybe I’m humorless.

Mile 13.1: I’m four minutes behind last week (1:48:35, an 8:17 split).

Brumley BridgeMile 15: In to the Emory campus here.

Mile 17: Oreo station. I get mine from a little girl wearing a white tutu. Super cute. This neighborhood (Druid Hills) is absolutely gorgeous, apparently they filmed Driving Miss Daisy here. The homes here are massive, impossibly large by even Brookline or Newton standards. In one front yard I see two young girls romping with friggin ponies. I’m too stunned to get a photo. Plus there are giant hills to worry about, and I’m struggling. My pace here is starting to slip from the respectable (mile 16: 8:21) to the less so but let’s just finish this dang thing (mile 19: 9:12).

Mile 19: Light rain starts here. I’m happy for it. The next few miles a bit of a blur as I’m totally out of steam, a solid hour too early. No number of gummi bears is going to bring me back.

Lake Clara MeerMile 22: Into Piedmont Park – we’re heading back downtown and there are nice views of the Atlanta skyline here though my only photo is crappy. Small out and back here so I get to see that there are actually people behind me.

Mile 24: On to Georgia Tech’s campus. They have a giant inflatable Yellow Jacket. I am dead and more dead. The cheerers here are enthusiastic which is a good thing, as I am not. They will have to be cheerful enough for the both of us.

Georgia MarathonFinish: I come across the line just under my mid-race hastily arrived at goal of 3:50 – 3:49:40. This is an 8:45 split, which feels infinitely slow after last week’s 3:34 effort in North Carolina but in reality it’s just about what I ran at Marine Corps last fall, a very similar-feeling race. Final place is 277th among 1629 finishers, 17%.

After the race I was feeling bad, much worse than last week despite the slower time. I can tell I’m way more dehydrated than I should be, and not to get too graphic but I briefly wonder if I’m having a rhabdomyolysis issue (I wasn’t). I grab my jacket & a food bag and limp my way back to the hotel to shower/rehydrate (by the time I get there I’m freezing, and glad that I somehow packed my gloves). I only have one hour to get stuff together and find the train to the airport, which is just not enough time for the amount of energy it requires. I’m not cutting things this close in the future.

Speaking of the future. This was my fifth marathon of the year, and I’m feeling a little burnt on it. Maybe it’s just because I was sick after, but I’m glad to have a break in my schedule. Not necessarily from running, but definitely from this distance. I have two ultras already booked (4/26 & 6/7) but those are on trails, low key, no travel required. For the rest of the summer I think I’ll stick with halves and shorter. I’m in the NYC Marathon lottery next Wednesday and if I don’t get into that maybe I’ll register to run the Rhode Island half marathon triple crown series with YJP. I want to improve my speed before the fall, and I think shorter and faster races are a good way to do that.

So – my next marathon will be on 9/13/14 just outside Salt Lake City. Go big, Big Cottonwood, kicking off my western expedition plan that will also include a stop in Boulder. Hopefully I’ll have more life in my legs for those two then than I did today.

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Song of the week, Wait So Long by Trampled by Turtles.

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Paying my dues to the dirt

Briefly, some notes on this weekend’s Wrightsville Beach Marathon.

I took a short hop from Boston down to Raleigh-Durham early Saturday morning, meeting up with YJP & Turtle at the airport. It being noon we started to look for food pretty soon, and settled on Noodles-R-Us Inc or what have you. From there, we drove two hours of backwoods North Carolina down to Wilmington. We got off the highway once to find ourselves in a town that I excitingly misunderstood to be named Hog Slat (that’s actually just the name of a company).

Corral 1 & 2Wilmington itself was nicer – after some unnecessary hotel clerk drama we checked in to dump the dog before heading down to the expo down near the finish line. The expo location was in a large tent in a field near a development of high end stores called the Mayfaire Town Center that seemed a little out of place with the surrounding area (which was mostly undeveloped). I couldn’t find a Wrightsville Beach Marathon hat which I was a little grouchy about. Also bummed because we got there a little too late to see Frank Shorter (two time Olympic medalist in the marathon).

Post-expo, we grabbed a light deli dinner then went to watch the Lego Movie (somewhat more than mildly amusing). Bed by 10pm.

At the startRace day – I was woken up pretty much every hour through the night as it was the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day and our hotel was regional headquarters for drunks far & wide. I finally got up for good before my alarm went off at 3am. At 5 we left for the finish line, where we caught a shuttle bus a few miles up the road to the start. It was lightly chilly, kinda nice actually, my first race in some time in short sleeve shirts and no gloves.

The race start was in two corrals. Frank Shorter was there and gave us a little conflicting advice (“it’s no excuses weekend!” followed by “start slow then ease off”). It was almost pitch black at the start – daylight savings time + 6:45am gun = no sunglasses. It’s a fairly small race so I just stayed at the back of the first corral, then fairly quickly worked by way up to where I wanted to be with the 3:30 pace group. I hadn’t really thought prior to the race that I’d run a 3:30 throughout, but after screwing up the math so badly in Tokyo I was happy to have someone else do the heavy lifting on thinking for once. Plus it was nice to run with company.

Over the intercoastal waterwayThe course is fairly flat – I ran two roughly equal 13 mile loops. Even though the event is the Wrightsville Beach Marathon you only run along the beach for just over a mile on each loop, and you can’t actually see the water from that road. But there were some pleasant bridges over the intercoastal waterways you can see on the map. Pleasant might not be the right word – visually appealing, but one issue was the drawbridge surface which was a fairly large, sharp grate. On my pace group’s second pass through the biggest bridge one of our members fell and tore up her leg pretty well, she was bleeding down her ankle for the rest of the race. My pace leader blurry as all heckThis is the same issue that Chicago solves by putting out their fancy colored carpets. Our pace leader mentioned the local DPW didn’t want the race folks to do that due to some regulatory issue – if that’s true it’s just dumb. YJP also saw someone who had gone down in the same location, it’s definitely a spot where the course could be better.

The aid stations along the course were themed with local college teams (mostly UNC, Duke & NC State. Amusingly enough it didn’t even occur to me that running in my Kansas shirt might get me some negative reactions (I had some gentle boos at mile 21), but generally the volunteers were supportive. The stations themselves were well stocked, though I mostly stuck to their water turning down several chances for gels (Hammer, I think). Run & doneI took one of my own Gu’s around mile 7 and then a pack of sports beans starting at 13. I should have taken my second gel later when I started to bonk but was having stomach issues so I just didn’t. Next time I think I’ll do one Gu & two beans, those are easier to deal with stomach-wise near the end. I didn’t find any bananas on the course but did snag a twizzler from some kind soul somewhere in the 20s.

Because I was running with a pace group I really had an easier time of things, and pretty much turned off the math side of my brain during the race. I felt myself struggling with the pace around mile 20 (after picking up an orange wristband to show that I was on the final lap). I was debating stopping for a restroom from mile 18 on but didn’t want to lose my group, unfortunately by mile 22 they were escaping from me anyway, and my pace dropped from ~8:00 to 9:00+. At that point pretty much just slogged it home death-march style. Finish was unspectacular, other than YJP being there for a high-five as I came across the line.

Carry the critterAfter the race I felt surprisingly good (one might even say “happy”), much better than I felt in Tokyo. My final time was 3:34:23, my fastest of the four I’ve run this year – good for 85th place among 477 finishers (~18%). The mats were at odd locations (mile 3.5, 11.3, 24.1) so I’ll just say that I know I was safely under the 3:30 pace at half (1:44-something), and Strava’s breakdown of my GPS data showed 8:00 or under splits until mile 20 (with three sad looking 9+ miles at the end). Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked.

Wrightsville Beach MarathonA much needed warm shower later (thank you late checkout!) YJP, Turtle & I went down to see the actual ocean and found beer & burritos at a Mexican place called Tower 7, pretty decent post-race grub. By this point though it had started to rain for real so we just bagged it back to Durham for the airport so that she could drive on home. It’s not a perfect experience, to fly in & out on consecutive days, I would have rather stuck around a while to have seen Wilmington a little better. Maybe next time.

Next up, oh hey it’s next weekend, the Georgia Marathon. This is my last road marathon of the spring, last at this distance until next September. I won’t be off completely though – I’ve registered for two ultramarathons – a 50K (the TARC Spring Classic) in April and a 50M (the TARC 50) in June. The latter of these is the same race I DNF’d last summer, hopefully it will go better this time around.

mileage-sunday-20140316
Song of the week, On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons.

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Ban the zero, ban the noise

River ice breaking up by the MOSThe mental effects of skipping across fourteen time zones have been surprisingly persistent. Maybe this is a normal part of getting older but it’s taken me a solid week back from Japan to renormalize my internal clock, sleep & energy-wise. Passing out at 9pm and wide awake at 3 or 4am. Only one run of note this week was my long on Saturday. I pushed the first 11 miles, either at current marathon PR pace or (for miles 8 & 9) at goal BQ pace. Last three I started to feel sick and pretty much cruised it home. But honestly the best part of the run was HOW FRIGGIN WARM it was. Wrightsville Beach MarathonSpring has come, winter has fallen. Even the certainty that we’ll have more snow before it’s finally finally over can’t dampen my mood.

I got my number for next weekend’s marathon in Wilmington, North Carolina – I’ll be number 113, which I’ll take as a good sign. I don’t think there’s online running tracking, but here’s the map of the course. This will be the first double loop marathon I think I’ve done. I’m hoping to go faster than Tokyo, if even by a minute or two. 3:33 would be a nice round goal (an 8:07 split). We’ll see. Still dealing with a small left knee hyperextension issue. :/

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Song of the week, In Every Direction by Junip.

One Response to “Ban the zero, ban the noise”

  1. Hondo says:

    Stevie and I spent part of our honeymoon near Wilmington (on the beach) and we had the most romantic dinner on a balcony over looking a river… happy happy memories in that little place. I hope you and YJP have a great time running there!

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I got the rooster, I got the crow. I got the ebb, I got the flow

ItsukushimaAn off mileage week coming off my third marathon of 2014. I’m not too bothered by this as I spent pretty much the entire week on my feet. I’m not sure of the proper way to do a restful vacation but my way tends to be to carry my camera as far as I can before I collapse. A brief recap of my week – last Sunday I ran the Tokyo marathon. Monday I kicked around Tokyo, Tuesday spent the day running & walking in Yokohama, Wednesday took the Shinkansen to Hiroshima, Thursday took a ferry to Miyajima, Friday back to Yokohama for dinner with Keiko’s sister’s family, Saturday did Yokohama again (with company this time) and Sunday flew home. I flirted with the idea of doing a long run Sunday after arriving back in Boston but my internal clock was screwed up enough that the final decision was for an extra rest day. My full set of photos from the trip (were you so inclined) is here.

Next up race wise, one week off then another pair of marathons – Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, NC on 3/16 followed a week later by the Georgia Marathon in Atlanta on 3/23. When I originally set up the plan for these two races I didn’t realize I’d be going to do Tokyo so now they feel a bit like afterthoughts but I’m excited about them regardless for a few reasons. First off, I’m stoked to see YJP in North Carolina – she’s picking me up in Raleigh & running the half in Wilmington. Second, I haven’t been to Georgia in a good number of years. I’ve had mixed emotions about the state since things fell apart for me there however long ago. I won’t be going to Athens on this trip, but I’m still excited to see Atlanta again. Both trips are structured as quick in & outs, flying down on Saturday and home Sunday after the race, which is good for work purposes but maybe not so good for smelling pretty on the airplane.
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Song of the week, Big in Japan by Tom Waits.

3 Responses to “I got the rooster, I got the crow. I got the ebb, I got the flow”

  1. Hondo says:

    Dang super traveller. Hope we get some quality time with you one of these days that you are home for a weekend.

  2. Hondo says:

    If you decide to blow off Georgia, I’ve got YJP in the house that weekend. Holla!

  3. nanio says:

    I’m not going to blow off Georgia. But I’m perfectly fine with y’all missing me!

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