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Brian and I decided to stay home for Christmas. Traveling on the holiday didn't sound like something that either of us wanted to do. We slept in and had brunch over at Jenn and Bob's house (bff and husband) and decided to go up to the barn later in the day. We had a shite Christmas and it was actually snowing as we got up to the barn and readied our horses for the ride. We rode in the falling snow and it was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride!!! Upon arriving home we packed the truck and decided to head out early the next day so we would have some of the day to visit, once in Missouri. It is about a 10 hour ride to my Mom and Dad's farm, so we left at 6am on 12/26. The trip was uneventful and we had no issues with weather. I ran a little over 3 miles when I got to the farm on the driveway in the dark with my nephew, Toad riding ahead of me on his bike with a headlamp clamped to his head. It was fun to involve him and my Dad made a point of complimenting him on "training me". On Friday we all decided that it would be fun to go into Springfield and have lunch at the Brewery, pick up my race packet, locate the Start/Finish, do a little shopping and visit PFI (my favorite Western Store). We had a great time! Mom has a 7 passenger van and we took advantage of every seat. Mom, Dad, Peggy(sister), Pete(sister's husband), Toad(nephew), Brian and I all fit comfortably in the van as we made our stops and got back home in time to watch a bunch of college football so the boys were happy and eat homemade soup so the rest of us were happy. My Mom is a great cook! I got up at 7am on the 28th, got showered and decided to wear shorts and a T-shirt as the weather looked good enough for that. Here is an important running tip...dress for 20 degrees warmer than the ambient is usually pretty reliable, unless there is wind, then wind chill, screws us all up (remember Ohio!). We left for the race at about 8:30 and were there a few minutes after 9. My other sister, Susan and my niece, Shannon met us there!!! I use the bathroom and warmed up and headed for the Start to figure out what the running plan. It was a 4 lap race, so I needed to determine where/when to turn and where/when to go straight. The instructions were simple, turn left

if it isn't your last lap and go through the Start gate again. On the last lap, don't go through the Start gate, go straight through the Finish gate...easy peasy!!! The first lap felt sluggish, no doubt from all the Christmas cookies I had been diet hadn't been great in weeks! The second lap I don't recall, I don't remember much of the third lap other than Mom, Toad and Brian at the cut off waving. The fourth lap I saw the whole family and heard my name called. I did it in 01:53:58, 59 of 215, 3rd of 13 in AG, an 8:42 pace. I'm happy with it considering how bad my eating habits have been through the holidays. Number 11 - DONE!!! Texas is next!

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