2019 Cowtown Marathon Race Report

I hate you I love you
I hate that I love you

Marathons hurt… but I guess we’re in an on/off relationship

I haven’t been posting much about running or racing cause well it’s been pretty minimal. In the past 13 months I have ran a half marathon, a 10K, another 10K I got too lazy to recap and the rest I ran vicariously in my sleep from the comfort of my pillow.

The 10K felt good and sometime in the fall, I decided hey if my crappy foot could hold out for 6 miles, why not 26. I started searching for  marathon in the January/February timeframe with a few objectives – If I’m suffering through a marathon, I want it to be a new state and possibly somewhere with a high chance of not being freezing rain.  Soo after several cruises of running in the USA and google flight searches, we landed on COWTOWN Marathon.

Cowtown is held in Fort Worth Texas (Dallas Area) and is actually a two day running festival with 26,000 runners consisting of 5k, 10k, a half, a full and for the overly ambitious a 50K and if you want to be extra, you can do a combination of some Saturday and Sunday races because why not be extra. In another time (another decade) that extra extra may have been me but for now the marathon was sufficiently 20 miles to extra enough for me.

My training wasn’t terrible, I stacked up four 20 milers including one pretty happy 21 miler, some solid high teens and pretty much swept up each week with about 35-40 weekly miles. Not quite BQ training, but the thought of BQ2020 did flirt my heart too often.

I even enjoyed my taper like a seasoned athlete, taking long naps on the couch, cruising a few 5 milers at race pace and carbo-loading with pizza like the pros.

By Saturday AM, I was ready for my flight and eager to get running. In typical fashion of getting too distracted by eating and exploring, I made it to the expo at 4:50 (we may have gotten a bit lost in the giant expo center block of buildings and museums). With 10 minutes to spare on picking up my number (there was no same day number pick up), I caught about zero to none of the expo, but it looked pretty extensive and I’m sure it had the typical – nuun, gus, shoes, and headbands that you would expect. If i had a do over, I would have come a little earlier to check out the new running digs out in the market.

The race started at 7AM and I was a little bit nervous about making it on time. Setting the alarm for 5AM made me want to cry and question why am I such a masochist. My wake up time is usually 8AM and I am more of a sunset runner than a sunrise anything. I also had the outfit dilemma. The weather was predicted to be anywhere between 35 – 60 degrees so I felt lost in how warmly or not I want to dress up. I opted somewhere for the middle – light leggings, a long sleeve and a sacrifice of a winter hat that I hated anyways.

Of course on the morning of the race, the Garmin that I haven’t used in months decided to crap out. I thought about using runkeeper, but I needed to save my phone battery to find Tony and my co post race.  I contemplated stumping the S— out of the garmin but then decided it’s not that important anyways.

The race organizes some hotels that offer discount runner rates but they were all sold out when I tried to book. We managed to snag one with a fairly decent rate that was 2 miles away. Except lesson for next time – avoid hotels around train tracks because instead of getting 6 hours of sleep, you’ll get 6 naps of sleep in between horn blasts 😉

The race organizers sent us an email the night before telling us all to be patient so I decided to try to make it to race start 30 minutes early but things seemed easy enough that I just chilled in the car until 15 minutes before the start. The Coral organization was pretty amazing! I forget how many in total (def more than 8) but there was plenty of space. The race started on time without any issues so massive kudos to the organizers, volunteers and everyone in between.

The above map was posted and if you can follow it, kudos. For me, I never really had a clue where I was so I just hoped there was a runner in front of me. The Marathon and Half shared the course for about 10 miles.

We passed the stockyards which were a fun little district of cowboy boot stores and saloons. It also happened to be on brick road which did not feel pleasant at all.

There were water stops about every 1.5 miles and while I didn’t notice any clocks on the course, the mile markers were there every mile and super easy to see and guesstimate into a pace.

For the first half things felt good. I mostly hung behind the 1:40 half marathon pacer (I couldn’t find the 3:25 one) as I figured I’ll slow down in the second. I didn’t have a watch but the race results have me clipping around 7:35-7:45 pace through the 13.1 miles. This got me through the half in 1:41:30, a pretty respectable half if I don’t say so myself.

I remember thinking somewhere between miles 10-13, it’s not that it’s hilly, but this sure as heck ain’t flat. The other thought, damn I forgot how painful running fast on concrete feels. (I usually run on a treadmill or dirt path on the Charles when I can).

Somewhere between mile 13-16, my quads decided they’re done with this whole running thing. Done with a massive DONE. And somewhere after the 20 miles, my right foot decided it really feel like being walk on either.


Mile 22-25 was around this park river that pass our hotel where my brother got a shot of me attempting to jog or walk or just not cry at mile 23. When your body starts losing it’s ability to move, you have two options – give up and cry or just get the damn thing done. I knew my BQ has slipped after mile 16 and I probably let that weight down my legs just as much as my angry quads – determined to finish but really not interested in running hard anymore.

I ended up crossing at 3:50:29. so 1:41 half 2:10 second half. Not my proudest pacing moment. I knew going in that I was probably a steady 3:40 finish but the dream to try for a BQ just won over. Could I have ran a smarter race in a faster overall time? Probably, do i regret trying for the BQ? Not at all! Maybe 2021? But I got a new state, a new medal and I rung a cowbell at the end.

The post race was just as organized as the start, they had marathon blanket and a finishers jacket that sort of resembled one of those reusable grocery bags in a neon green. After that, you went into this barn that had food – a noodle soup that felt like a beacon of hope (seriously, all marathons should have ramen or noodle soup at the end), some bananas and another gray finisher shirt that was quite nice and I’m excited to wear! There was also some music and a beer tent for two beers per runner.

Overall Time : 3:50:29

Age Group Place:  11/56

Gender Place: 49/406

Overal: 225/1,095

Until next time – As for now, I am resting my foot and eating some more donuts 😉

Last Second Gifts for your Favorite Runner under $20

Twas the week before Christmas and you scream o shit, I haven’t ordered a gift. Luckily the Amazon slave elves are working away and thanks to the prime employees, you still got time to pretend you planned weeks in advance.

As always, I recommend stopping by a local running store if you have a chance. Instant gratification and all. Its also nice having a running store near by in business and not another bank or Sweetgreen chain.

But it is less than a week, and work is busy and humanity is tough to deal with so if you sneak off a few amazon orders, I won’t judge.

Fun Arm Sleeves! $19.99 as you have to buy them separately – Cause races start at crack of dawn and crack of dawns tend to be cold

2019 Desk Calendar $17.99 for your daily dose of reminding you to take a run

No Limits Medal Rack – $39.95 – Okay, not in the under $25 category but it can hold up to 60 medals and I want one because the medal rack that i once tried to make on my own is still sitting in my old house’s basement or in the land of crafts with good intentions but failed efforts land

When your legs get tired, run with your heart tags $10.99 – no real reason why you need these besides when you’re panting with your hands at your knees wondering why you’re doing this to your life, you can look down at your shoes and smile with your heart

Lock Laces $7.99 – nothing like a PR killer when your shoe laces untie because you didn’t double loop your rabbit ears – here’s a solution
Lock Laces (Elastic No Tie Shoelaces (Hot Pink)
Drying Inserts for Shoes – $14.97 okay I don’t know if these actual work but I’m going to try them but rain or shine, a race goes on
Balega Socks $9.99 These are currently my obsession since my feet suddenly decided they want to sweat like balls (or so I imagine) and blister with other brands. Also, Amazon has the lowest price I’ve been able to find. Although sometimes the run specials of buy 3 get one free at expos and running stores
Need more ideas? Check out prior lists I’ve made
Want to splurge and treat your runner? Ask them what their favorite shoes and shoe size is. Or a race they want to run. Or better yet, running is nice, but a spa gift card for a massage is also never wasted 😉
Mizuno Waver Riders – Size 7, A marathon in Maine, o and I love Etant spa in the south end, but who’s hinting ;).
Happy Holidays and Happy Running!

Red Wine Ice Cream Floats with OPEN NATURE® Non-Dairy Dessert

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Companies . The opinions and text are all mine.

Hot muggy days of summer has drowned us in sweat around Boston and I find myself doing the following

  1. Running in the comfort of an air conditioned gym (I’m a runner not a masochist)
  2. Summer Movies – Air conditioning (I have a theme)
  3. Shopping – yes free air conditioning and growing my dress and yoga pants collection
  4. Sitting on my little humbled city deck drinking wine and eating ice cream to cool off

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So one night while non milking our way through a pint of non-dairy ice cream (formally known as frozen dessert) in one hand and a glass in another…

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I know! I am literally brilliant….

Step 1 – open wine bottle and try not to drink it all

Step 2 – Open Ice Cream carton and try not to eat it all

We have been digging Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. It is a great non-dairy alternative to traditional ice cream and is made with almondmilk or cashewmilk.

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Step 3 – Combine the following

1 Glass of Pinot Noir

2 scoopes of Open Nature Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (salted caramel swirl)

Step 4 – Stir, swirl and eat/drink it all

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If non-dairy isn’t your thing Star Market also has their Signature Reserve premium
ice cream and the Open Nature Scandal-Less Light Ice Cream. I buy my Open Nature
products at my local Star Market here in Boston, and you can also find them exclusively
at all any of the Albertsons Companies family of stores including Albertsons, Safeway,
ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Vons, Pavilions, and
Carrs/Safeway (search for the store nearest you here).

Summer Must! 2018 International Sand Sculpting Festival @ Revere Beach

Somehow through the snow and the polar vertex, summer snuck into town and nothing says summer more to me than the amazing sand sculptures at Revere beach! This was the 15th year Revere played host to these sand magicians and it really is one of my favorite events of the summer. Hoards and hoards of people flood in to see it because well they’re amazing! I usually try to go a few days later on a low key night as the sculptures can often last through the week.

However, with the rainstorm emoji covering every day, I hustled over Saturday to swim through the seas of humanity. Learning lessons of years past, we didn’t even attempt to drive and altered for one of MBTA’s finest lines the blue line to take us to Wonderland (MBTA stop.)

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20 world reknowned masters competed and the above is the 1st place winner, Pavel Mylnikov with “Vanishing Muse”

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Prepped by the artists in collaboration and sponsors, this was the toughest one to poke through for a view! I was also pretty tired from weaving so this was the best I could do. It took me a good 15 minutes to adjust to the crowd density who all wanted same thing as me. Capturing a piece of the magical talent and creativity.

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Steve Topazio’s “It’s about time” was my personal favorite!

IMG_4171‘Some of these had fun designs in the back as well as the front. (I don’t remember which front this was though)

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Paul Hoggard’s Baby LoveIMG_4172

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3rd Place Winner Ilya Filmonstev’s “The Fall of Icarus” was my personal third favorite once I was able to get a closer look

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My 2nd favorite! Rachel Stubb’s “A Nouveau Love” which took 5th place

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4th Place Winner Fergus Mulvany with “Breath In and Breath Out” but sort of reminds me of Venus or something of that nature

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The raven and the frog by Mac David – sad confession but I still don’t know who the frog is.

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2nd place and Sculptors Choice award winner Jonathan Bouchard (Jobi) “Gravity Drops” Vertical smooth elements are some of the toughest to accomplish in sand!

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“An American Dream” byHelena Bangert

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This one was called Teen Age

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Wasn’t able to capture the names of the rest of few but are just as amazing!

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I’m always sucker for a heard!

I wasn’t expecting much from the fireworks, but Revere definitely impressed me with their 25 minutes beautifully timed and color fireworks display!

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aside from sand sculptures and fireworks, there were plenty of food trucks to keep your hunger at bay. We opted to try this amazing venison chili as I was feeling a bit cold.

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What sculpture was your favorite?

2018 B.A.A 10K Race Report

Maybe 10Ks are not that terrible.

Yes, I wrote that. After swearing for years that a 10K is a miserable distance. It’s got all the painful parts of a 5K that just refuses to end. However, the B.A.A. 10K felt different this time. I don’t know, I guess lately I’ve been embracing each racing distance almost like a racing virgin. Guess a 3 years racing gap with a rejuvenated love for running again can make you love the things you used to hate.

After my fun run, but race in my mind, Donut 5K, I signed up last-minute for the BAA 10K cause all the cool kids (my friends) were doing it. I generally don’t do BAA races because well I am cheap ($10 per mile!!!!!!), they’re early, and crowded but I’ve been feeling like I needed something now that I haven’t ran a BQ in a few years. However with summer hitting up Boston (who else is dying after 6 straight days of 90 degree weather?), the racing options besides post work evening 5Ks have become slim and this race started at 8AM. Early, but doable with an easy access of starting in the Boston Commons.

I picked up my race bib and race shirt at Adidas’ B.A.A store, RunBase and won’t lie, I was pretty pissed off to learn the shirts were Unisex. Prime example of sexism in the running industry by race organizers and sponsors. First of all, no they’re not unisex, they’re men’s that you think I should settle for. Let’s have a race director use women shirts as unisex and see how the men react. The shirt is part of my race fee, I deserve to havee a damn shirt that fits just as much as any male does. Also, Adidas makes women shirts, this isn’t a local race director putting on their first race who doesn’t know how what a tech shirt is to begin with, this is a well-oiled B.A.A. machine that should know better. A store for runners (not just male runners) should respect and realize the value in giving shirts to women that are cut to fit them. Running in ill-fitting clothes is a great way to get hurt and hate running. RunBase & B.A.A, you should be ashamed of yourself. SHAME SHAME SHAME

shame

Plus the shirts had unicorns 😦

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 Anyway back to race night as I’ll rant about “unisex” shirts another day. Although I am up to 10 mile runs now, I still had the race night butterflies that seemed a little like joy and excitement crushed by extra flavorings of fear of oversleeping, or stomach problems  so after waking up like 10 times, I finally gave up at 6AM (hey, I usually wake up at 8am) and decided to eat and get dressed. It was also probably not a good time to realize on race morning that, that I probably should have done workout clothes laundry the night before because my options of running clothes were limited to blah, eh & meh. At least I found an old unused sports bra and blessed the workout gods that let me forget this one at the bottom of the drawer.

So walking out slightly like a toddler who dressed herself in the morning half blind in clothes that no longer fit quite right, I still had goals in mind. My public goal, 50 minutes (figured with a 23 min 5K, this seemed reasonable given double the distance and the confusing weather where I felt overdressed and underdressed all at the same time). My secret goal was 48 minutes wanting to stay slightly on pace with my 5K time.

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So walked over, tummy feeling relatively okay, pondering if I drank enough water (yea probably didn’t cause half a cup of tea doesn’t count as hydration); I started trying to figure out corrals. It was self-seeded (with 10,000 runners in a relatively narrow street, I was surprised they didn’t do required seeding. I saw a 5:59 pace sign (yea definitely not even in my prime), and then the signs just dropped off. I started walking back and forth trying to figure out where my paced peeps are all at and settled on basically finding other women who looked like me, short girls, slightly soft with muscular legs and decided, yea these are people who probably run like me.

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Despite the feel of confusion when I tried to seed myself, the race started really smoothly! I fangirled over the elites like Meb & Desi doing their strides or charge ups or whatever it is that real runners do before a race to warm up (isn’t that what the first mile is for?). And before I knew it, it was my turn to run around 8:05 or so.

I stopped running with a Garmin when I was constantly injured. Getting reminded of my pace on a regular basis would frustrate me because I kept wanting to run at my former speed and so I was still running device naked. I had runkeeper on in the background of my phone, but with no audio queues. Instead I just ran by feel of where I pushed myself just enough but not enough to heave on the side of the road (or worse). At the mile markers, I estimated I was running somewhere around 8 minute miles. Also surprisingly, my corral seeding strategy worked as the group I was running with was in pretty similar pace where I didn’t have to zigzag to pass people nor was anyone really zigzagging around me. baa10k_coursemap The course starts and ends at Boston Commons and is basically the JP Morgan corporate challenge course that doesn’t end because part two is the BU 5K.  It runs up Comm. Ave, a short bypass to Bay State road and back to Comm. Ave to continue past all the BU green line stops wrapping up into a turn around by West Campus just to see the other side of Comm. Ave as you make your return.

Overall, the course is “flat” with the exception of the rolling hills around the BU Bridge. I cursed and really wondered how 15 years from when I was a little BU Freshman, that this damn thing is still under construction. The cursing at the bridge distracted me for the next few miles (I hate that damn bridge) as I looped back into the 2nd half. Cursing at things is usually what leaves me face planting into concrete, but luckily I avoided that stage in this run as I realized I had less than 2 miles to go (33%!! Yea anyone else think of miles in race through percentages?). While I was happy that I was feeling pretty comfortable in my pace (look Ma, no walk breaks!), I was struggling trying to pick up the pace as glory of negative splits came to my brain know that going back should have a decline. I guess with no real speed work under my belt, it makes sense I had no surge abilities.

As I went past the 6 mile marker, I did try to kick a little (or kinda look like a duck trying to run out of water for bread crumbs) and damn is that .2 miles always taking forever. But just like that it was over and I was into the finishing area. Medal check! I was stuck in a daze between wanting to grab all the “free” food I can and the feeling of if I eating anything this moment, I may throw up. There were bagels, bars, chips, cranberry raisins, and probably more crap that can let you eat up to your heart’s desire. Being lazy, I settled for a few bags of chips and a bottle of water and went to find Tony who was waiting by the finish line (yet somehow missed my champion finish line crossing).

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My runkeeper app said I ran 6.33 miles but the satelite on my phone isn’t the most accurate so the pace may be a little offer, but overall I am pretty happy with the fairly steady pace versus my old style where I start fast, die mid way, and drag myself through the finish.

Official finish time was 46:37! Woohoo I hit my goal and it’s been a damn while since I hit goals (I estimated for the photo).

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 Another unicorn joins the collection

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Sousaku Bistro Japanese Tapas & Bar

If someone asked me what is one of my favorite dining spots in Boston, they might be surprised to find out that it’s not in Boston but instead hidden in one of Boston’s suburban cities, Malden (Although I do have my many favorites in Boston too). I have my mixed feelings of a love hate for Malden but Sousaku Bistro continues to be the gem that I love to visit.

A relatively spacious spot with a modern Asian menu in what I would call a slightly back streets of town, does stand out much from the outside. However, parking is never too much of a struggle and the meal and drinks are never a disappointment.

Tony loves to start out with a Mai Thai

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I am a boring dinner drinker, usually clinging to my reliable glass of red wine, something on the dry side. Tonight I decided why not be adventurous with this Wasabi-Tini (It consisted of plum wine, a splash of pineapple juice and wasabi with the side to adjust to taste).

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We ordered some chicken wings – crispy and a sweet chili spice – could have eaten 100 of them given the chance

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Chicken Skewer tiny but tastyIMG_3409

A pork bun, never disappoints

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Chicken Don – One of my regular choices

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And because we haven’t had enough chicken yet, the garden chicken – Grilled boneless chicken with terkiyaki sauce wrapped in parchment paper with vegetables & baked to perfection

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Lastly, one of my favorites is the Sushi Pizza which just combines my two favorite things in the world, sushi, pizza = looooove. Fried rice base, some tomatoes, with shrimp, scallop and tuna.

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Another happy dinner that was definitely worth the drop into town

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Donut 5K Recap

June 1st, the great day of all… or national doughnut (donut?) day as social media posts will tell you. A lovely day for a 5K organized by Tracksmith, a running store that also happens to be a running club for super fast runners. No I didn’t magically get fast, but there was promise of donuts at the end so I thought I’d invite myself over.

Rewind, yes, I am writing a recap of a fun run 5K organized by a store. One man’s fun run, is another one’s race against their inner struggle and attempt to overcome their fear of recording their time compared to days of former personal speed.  Plus there’s donuts so that in itself warrants a recap.

Tracksmith, a running store on Newbury, holds training runs, long runs and potentially everything in between. regularly. This one similarly to many others (although I’ve never gone before) started at their store with a mile jog or so out to the Charles River Esplanade path (one of my favorite running spots in Boston). The 5K was actually a relay with a male and female partner running 5k each.

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It was a gorgeous evening, but not so much for a run. I forget the exact temp but the humidity level was so high, I felt I was in a sauna before I even started running. Somehow, we jogged over and I didn’t die. Although I did contemplate, patting myself on the back for that one mile jog to the start and head back home to nap instead.

The ladies were out first, and I was out in my little stride, huffing and puffing. I was definitely gunning the first half mile above my current abilities and realized that I should slow down before I make it to the news as local story of a girl having a heart attack mid run to be used as a caution story against all runners.

Surprisingly, after a while, maybe by mile 2, things didn’t feel so terrible, I’ve slowed down into 7:40s or so and despite the humidity I was actually enjoying that feeling of trying to to run.

As I crossed the finish line, my partner Dan ran off to do his leg with the speed of the Flash. Before I was even done panting and dying on the side of the path, he was coming back.

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Team DoNutCare – I forget what out total time was (Dan ran like 17min 5K), but the fire was lit. For the first time in a little while, I felt I was ready to start “racing” again. And so I am signed up for two more races, BAA 10K in June and Malden 10K in July!

Final score 23.30 – 7:30s or so average (my 5K PR is 20:20 so I have some minutes to shed)

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All it took was some doughnuts to get me excited to race again!

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Bonus points includes a beer – Good but did not taste like Grapefruit

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Donuts definitely made the sweaty run worth it! Winning team was like 37 minutes combined time but I bet they can’t eat a donut as fast as I can.