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Packing for a Half Ironman

by Meghann on September 22, 2011

Packing for any race is tough. Packing for a half ironman that is 8 hours away is even tougher.

There is so. much. stuff.

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๐Ÿ™‚

This is my first triathlon where I won’t be waking up in the comfort of my own home the morning of race day. I’ve traveled for marathons before, but never a triathlon. Marathons are easy – as long as you remember your shoes, you’re all set. Triathlons? not so much. You have three unique sports to take into consideration and all of the gear that goes with them.

I was kind of excited gathering all my gear up. I paired everything up in transition order and triple checked that I had everything.

Now, the real question is… did I get it all?!

Swim

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Have:

  • tri-suit
  • wetsuit
  • Body Glide
  • goggles
  • watch
  • flip flops

Still need:

  • waterproof sunscreen
  • pre-swim nutrition
  • swim cap (will be provided during packet pick-up)

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I’ve gone back and forth on wearing a watch during the race. Yes, it will create a little draft in the water during the swim, but not enough to really worry me. My wave time is nearly two hours after the official start and – with the time cut-offs to take into consideration – I’m really curious to where I stand on all three legs for piece of mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m also planning on grabbing plastic bags to wear on my feet when putting the wetsuit on, I liked that tip everyone had to share.

Bike

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Have:

  • bike (already in the car)
  • bike pump (already in car)
  • spare tire + cartridges (on the bike in the car)
  • two water bottles for each of my cages
  • sunglasses
  • Garmin
  • socks
  • cycling shoes
  • helmet
  • 4 Chewy Bars

Still need:

  • Gu Brew tablets for my water bottles
  • bento box (more of a want than a need)

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The Garmin is less for time and more for watching my speed on the bike. My fear is going out too fast and wasting my legs before the run. Not good. The Garmin should help keep me at my 15 mph-ish goal. Fingers crossed.

The Chewy Bars are my nutrition of choice on my bike. They’re what I’ve been eating during training and I’m pleased with how easy they are to eat on the bike, that they don’t do funky stuff with my stomach, and they taste good. My plan is to have a 90 calorie bar every hour on the bike, plus what ever Gu Brew/ Ironman drink they have on the course.

I came pretty close to purchasing aero bars and an aero water bottle for the race, but it just got to a point where I couldn’t spend any more money on equipment. Yes, it would be nice to race in aero position, but I’m betting I’ll be fine without it. Perhaps that’s an upgrade I can invest in next season. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Run

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Have:

  • shoes
  • race belt

Need:

  • running fuel (gu chomps?)

The run part is easy – just some shoes and I’m ready to go. I’m hoping to find some gu chomps at the expo on Saturday for my run fuel, I’m clear out at home. I debated grabbing a hat (and I know people are going to suggest one), but I can’t stand running with a hat on. I’ve tried – I promise I’ve tried – but it just isn’t for me.

Also, a spy belt? Hmm…. maybe not. I’ll just stuff the chomps in the sports bra. That should work.

Transition Area

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Have:

  • towels

Need:

  • Do I need anything else?!

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Am I forgetting anything? I sure I am.

I went over my race plan with Courtney earlier and set a few goals for my race. Nothing extreme, but I do hope to come in under 7 hours. My primary goal will be to finish, of course, but having a time goal will allow me to push myself, instead of allowing myself to mentally give up. I don’t want to finish this race feeling like I didn’t give it my all, I want to finish strong and proud of what I’ve done.

This may be my only HIM (who knows what the future holds?), so I’m not allowed to have any regrets come race day – I won’t allow it! ๐Ÿ™‚

I cautiously loaded my car this afternoon and made the long drive (gotta love a healthy mix of weather and traffic) to my parents’ house. I’m staying here for the evening, then Kelly, Ben, and I are heading up to Augusta tomorrow evening. The bonus is my twin brother is in town from L.A. for the week, so I get to spend some extra time with him.

Leaving at a funky time meant it made more sense to not worry about making it to my parents’ in time for dinner and instead pack one for the road.

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Ignore the fuzzy photos. It was rainy and humid when I pulled into the rest are and my camera lens went crazy. I was too hungry to wait and worry about it.

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Dinner was a kale salad I had prepped and marinated earlier (take that Cafe Hey!)

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  • Kale
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Olives
  • Chickpeas

All ‘massaged’ with lemon juice, evoo, balsamic vinegar, and salt, then refrigerated for 4 hours.

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The salad worked great as a roadside meal. No mess and all I needed was a fork to enjoy it.

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Can’t forget the bubbles.

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I saved the Attune bar to nibble on while i drove. Nothing like a little chocolate to help the time pass by.

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Now, I’m safe and sound at my parents’ house. Let the official hourly countdown begin!

1 Krissy - Shiawase Life September 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Will the chomps not chafe ya or cut in if you stuff them in your sports bra? I would go with the SpiBelt!
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2 Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

During my first marathon, I thought I’d be slick and stuff my gel in my sports bra. When I showered that day, I had to deal with the pain of a 1×1″ chafe in the middle of my chest.
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3 Vanessa September 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I did the same thing for a Half marathon. And when I showered I was in pain. I still have a light scar on my chest from the chafing!

4 Katy (The Singing Runner) September 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm

This may be stupid to say but don’t forget socks!!! I did it so many times during cross-country in high school!

Also, for the swim to bike transition, do you need a water bottle to rinse your feet off? I’ve never done a triathlon before, but I know I’ve heard of this tip through the blog grapevine.

Good luck on Sunday! You are seriously going to be amazing! We are all rooting for you (and Kelly and Ben!). ๐Ÿ˜€ Go rock it and make everyone proud!
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5 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

I promise I have socks – they’re in the bike shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ An extra water bottle for transition is a good idea. Thanks!

6 Lisa Fine September 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm

In a week I’ll be heading to Disney World, and I have a packing list I’ve been adding to for the last few months.

The thought of forgetting something at home for my half is overwhelming; I can’t imagine worrying about bike and swim gear too!
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7 meghan September 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Are you doing the wine and dine?! Me too!!
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8 Megan @ Who Me, Run? September 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I’m doing Wine and Dine. My second time!
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9 Emily Casey September 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Will you need deodorant after you get out of the water, or is that silly? I can’t stand running unless I have lots of deodorant on.
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10 Kate September 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Sunscreen? Worth taking some extra for T2. Also, I find it good to have a choice of fuels in T2 as you never know what you’ll want in a Half IM (I’ve done 5, and it’s been different every time). Remember you could be out there for a long time- so you’ll need more fuel on the run than you would in a normal Half-M! And don’t worry at ALL about the watching drafting in the swim- I always wear one and it never bothers me!

Good luck!

11 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

I’m bringing a big tube of sunscreen to lather up with and keeping it my transition area. The key will be to remember to put it on! I’m thinking about leaving a clif bar in transition just in case. I’ve hear rumors there’s fuel at the aide stations too. And thanks for the advice on the watch ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Army Amy* September 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I love that one of your race goals is no regrets! I’m stealing that for my next race.*
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13 mary September 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Good luck good luck GOOD LUCK!!

You’ll ROCK this race! I have no doubt that you and Kelly will finish holding hands, just like Chicago ๐Ÿ™‚

ps. Bring your spibelt just in case. I ran once with a gu gel in my bra and had a chafe rash for like a week afterward!
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14 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:09 am

I remembered there’s a pocket in the back of my tri-suit I think I’m going to stash the gus there. ๐Ÿ™‚

15 meghan September 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I’m so excited for you! Oh my goodness. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!! I’m going to be checking for that update. You’re going to be awesome! I just got a little nervous reading this post for my half marathon coming up next weekend! Maybe more excited than nervous…GOOD LUCK MEGHANN!
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16 Nikki September 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm

You sound set to me….you’re going to rock this! I cannot wait to hear about it!!!!!
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17 Brittney September 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I can’t wait for your race! I’m pretty darn excited to read the recap. Good luck!!!
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18 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Wow! I never realized how much stuff a triathlon required! I’ve only traveled for a marathon too, and was freaking out without my shot bloks!
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19 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 22, 2011 at 11:05 pm

WOW<–you look like you're set! that sure is a lot of stuff, though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

BEST of luck!
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20 Cat @Breakfast to Bed September 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I am ridiculously excited for you. I can’t wait to read your recap. You are going to rock it like a hurricane. or ironman. either, really.
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21 Carolyn September 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Good luck at Augusta Meghann.

A watch on the swim will not slow you down at all. You can take it off as you are running to T1.

For transition, you have two towels, but what about a water jug to pour water on your feet and then step on the towel or a water pan to step into so your feet are clean before putting them into your cycling shoes?

That’s my only suggestions.
Go get ’em.
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22 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

My parents have huge buckets – I think we’re going to steal them and pile them in the car for our transitions. ๐Ÿ™‚

23 Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

looks good to me!

What is the race stance on water bottles during the bike leg? During the bike leg of the HIM I did, the aid stations had bottles you could pick up on your way through, already filled with water or sports drink. The idea waas that you would throw away the 2 bottles of your own that you started with when you had finished them (but end up with the new ones you collected from the aid station). On that basis, I was sure not to use my ‘good’ bottles because I knew that I would be throwing them away ! Make sense? lol
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24 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

Makes total sense and , honestly, I haven’t thought about that! I have so much to learn in the pre-race meeting on Saturday. If that’s the case then I’ll switch the water bottles out for cheapies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!!

25 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I’m so excited for you and Kelly! Can’t wait to read about this race ๐Ÿ™‚
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26 Megan @ Who Me, Run? September 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I can’t believe it’s time for the race. I started reading your blog just as you started training for this. Have an awesome time. Can’t wait to read the race report!
Megan @ Who Me, Run? recently posted..So Totally Awesome!

27 Lara @TresLaLa September 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Check out this post – it’s from Saturday evening — everything that I had ready for Sunday’s triathlon: http://treslala.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/off-to-bed/
The only thing that I’d recommend as a must-have that I didn’t see was baby powder. Sprinkle on your feet before you put on your socks to avoid rubbing… That and a visor… I kid, I kid…
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28 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Great tip! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

29 Lara @TresLaLa September 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Oh, and at least 1 water bottle to squirt on your feet to clean them off before putting on the baby powder & your socks. Absolute requirement. That, or a pail/bucket to do the same…
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30 Clare @ Fitting It All In September 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Good luck meghann! You’ll kill it!
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31 katie September 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

ahhh ill be there! my dads doing this same exact one ๐Ÿ™‚
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32 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

ahhhhh!!!! Please say hi if you see me! Though your Dad is probably going to be hours ahead of me! Wish him good luck for me!!!

33 Amy September 23, 2011 at 1:14 am

Good luck packing! I am sure you are going to rock your race!
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34 courtney (pancakes and postcards) September 23, 2011 at 1:23 am

woohoo!! good luck megan!
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35 Chuck September 23, 2011 at 1:56 am

I’m finallllly finished packing! Well, the packing was easy, the cooking was what sucked.

Are you only planning 90 calories an hour on the bike? Personally, I feel like thats a little low, as it’s better to overfeed on the bike so you have less to work about on the run. I would suggest closer to 200 calories an hour at least, but thats just my personal experience : ) Whatever works for you, go with!!

Let me know if you want to meet up at the expo before the race or anything!
Chuck recently posted..3 days!

36 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

I’ve been training with 90 calories an hour, so I know that’s what works. I also plan to drink the Gu Brew and the Ironman Powerade look alike drink on the bike, which will add (I’m hoping) 600+ calories on the entire ride. We’re getting to the expo on Saturday – is that when you’ll be there? Also, we’re planning lunch at this place a reader suggested http://healthyandfun.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/so-long-georgia-hello-dessert-babies/ if you’re interested

37 Chuck September 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Shoot me an email and I’ll give you my number and see if we’re around the expo at the same time!
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38 miss posy September 23, 2011 at 3:08 am

Eeee! I’m feeling nervous and excited on your behalf! Good luck!
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39 Kathleen September 23, 2011 at 5:43 am

Good luck this weekend. I’m sure you will do great . The most important thing is to have fun !
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40 MizFit September 23, 2011 at 6:27 am

So excited for you!!
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41 AmyD September 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

Good luck! Make sure you have extra sunscreen, body glide/Vaseline at your transitions. Have fun!

42 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 23, 2011 at 7:31 am

Good luck on your race!
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43 Rachel September 23, 2011 at 7:32 am

I don’t like running with a hat either. Have you tried a visor? I got one on sale at dick’s sporting goods and used it in my last triathlon. I loved it!

44 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

I’ve tried visors too – it’s the whole billfold that throws me off. I can see it out of the top corner of my eye and it gives me a headache because I go cross eyed staring at it. ๐Ÿ™‚

45 Tami September 23, 2011 at 7:39 am

BE sure to bring a bottle of something to drink while you are waiting for your swim start and matpybe something to eat and sit down while you are waiting…no need t stand for 2 hours

46 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

Totally agree! That’s why I have down that I still need pre-swim nutrition. ๐Ÿ™‚

47 Fallon September 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

I hope the weather we’ve been having goes away for your race. It has been nonstop cloudy and rainy the last 2 days in Augusta..
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48 Amber September 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

You will want your race belt with your number on it for the bike also unless you are pinning a number during transition. Unless the rules for this 70.3 are different you have to have your number on you! Good luck! Can’t wait to read the recap!

49 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run September 23, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hmm, maybe some chapstick? That’s the only thing I can think of that I would also bring. ๐Ÿ™‚
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50 Hope September 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

Good luck!! ๐Ÿ™‚
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51 rae September 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

Just a few things ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Might want to have a second pair of socks for the run in case it rains. I bring two plastic bags….ready to stash my bike stuff in one and run stuff in another “just in case”.

2. Gum?

3. Road ID. I always wear it, even though they have my info on at the race.

4. Bring a snack for T2…..and makse sure you EAT, girlfriend!! I weigh a bit more than you but 200kcal an hour on the bike if you can. You dont wanna burn out on the run.

Woah….super long comment, but GOOD LUCK SUNDAY!!!! I will be pulling for you!!!

52 B.o.B. September 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

Hey! Just found your blog through a friend. I’ll be in Augusta too for the relay! Best of luck! And yes packing for the tri is something to behold.

53 Jen September 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

The best tri tip I’ve gotten was for shot bloks (they’re my fuel of choice because i can’t handle gu)…they’re sticky enough, so pre-race, you can stick them on your bike and have fuel on the road. I always wipe down the center bar, closest to the handle bars, then just press the shot bloks onto the bar. Sometimes I’ll lose one if I’m rough when I unrack my bike, but they usually stay put. And it’s so easy to eat as you need them without having any packages to fool with.

But regardless of what fuel you choose, I hope you have the race of your life this weekend! I’ve only ever done sprint tris and it’s my goal to maybe do an olympic level one next year. The distances you’re training for are so much longer than what I’ve done. You’re such an inspiration and I know you’ll rock this race! Good luck!!!

54 Steph @321delish September 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

Good luck this weekend!
I always pack baby powder for my socks, so they slide right on after getting all sweaty in my bike shoes!!
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55 Julie September 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

Don’t forget Vaseline!
I put vaseline on my hands/wrists and ankles/feet right before I started swimming (do it last or you will be too greasy to do anything else). This was in addition to bodyglide
Vaseline makes it easier to get your wetsuit over your hands and feet after the swim, whereas bodyglide just prevents chafing. Whenever you take a wetsuit off, it is always hard to pull the cuffs over your feet!
Vaseline also provides insulation, which was important for my freezing cold outdoor swim, but seeing as you are way down south, that probably won’t matter.
If the water is cold, you my want to consider earplugs (the wax moldable kind).
Of course, my swim was in 12 degree (C) water, and yours probably won’t be, so this might be overkill for you.

56 Heather @ Better With Veggies September 23, 2011 at 10:23 am

Just wanted to wish you good luck and have fun! Whenever a negative thought creeps into your head, stop it and think something positive. One last tip, don’t think to far ahead during the race. My best races are when I only think about the swim when swimming (not the bike or run), then just focus on the bike, then you’re allowed to think about running when you’re on the run. Mental game, but it really helps me stay in the moment and not get overwhelmed. Can’t wait to read your race report!
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57 Meghann September 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

Thanks Heather. ๐Ÿ™‚

58 Jennifer L September 23, 2011 at 10:28 am

Good luck!

59 Emily@SavoryandSavage September 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

It looks like you thought of everything – Good luck with the race!
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60 Melissa September 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

Wow, there is just so much *stuff* with a triathalon!!!! Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚
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61 cara September 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I always have a spray on sunscreen for T2. You will need to reapply, being out there 6-7 hours and the spray is quick and easy. You will no doubt need more nutrition than that for your bike (remember, you are still running 13 miles after that and don’t want to eat much on the run), but they will have some at aid stations. Also, shot blocks or something of the like are key for the run.

62 Meredith September 23, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Duct tape and a sharpie! Just in case. Good luck!!

63 chris September 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I am not sure if someone else has mentioned, but be sure to body glide the back of your neck. the wetsuit can chafe the heck out of that area and it hurts so bad! but a swipe or two of BG and you’ll be good as gold. also, I heart BG on my chest to prevent the wrappers from GU from tearing up my skin.
Good Luck!

64 Jessica September 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Gotta love the Body Glide! That has saved my armpits several times. ๐Ÿ™‚
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65 Nicole September 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm

So excited for you and your tri this weekend! You are going to do awesome!
7 hours…holy cow. ๐Ÿ™‚ Go, you!!
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66 Ali @ Ali Runs September 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Good luck this weekend! I’m so excited for you! You’ve trained hard for this race, you’re going to do amazing!
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67 Sophie September 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I’m not sure I would be able to cope with the organisational stress! I am a compulsive checker when I travel and trying to remember all that would drive me mad!
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