2016 Revel Big Cottonwood Discount

Registration is already open for Big Cottonwood Marathon & Half for 2016.  Talk about a jump start!  The 2015 race was just a few weeks ago.  They open it early so that folks can plan in advance, and get in on the lowest pricing.

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With that being said, current pricing is as follows, and will stay at this price until 4/12/16.

Half Marathon $79.95

Full Marathon $99.95

My plan is to head back to Utah for this race in 2016 (since it’s one of my absolute favorites) and have created a team that you can join for an even lower price.  Joining my team gets you an additional $5 off current pricing, and if you “Like” them on Facebook during checkout they offer another $5 off.

My team name is “Chasing Boston”, so when registering, just choose “join a team”, and enter that name.  We don’t have to run together, but we can save money together, right?  This past race I had over 20 people join my team, all saving money along the way.

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The Big Cottonwood course is a fast, downhill race that qualifies tons of folks every year for Boston, hence the team name I chose.  So?  What are you waiting for?  Join in on the fun in Salt Lake City.  You may even see a moose or two during your race down Cottonwood Canyon.

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BQ Ready

I’ve done all I can.  I’ve run set paces, I’ve run hills, I’ve been eating better.  I’ve been hydrating.  I’ve lost about 7 pounds, and feel good.

That moment of hitting the starting line in hopes of running a Boston Qualifier time is quickly approaching.  I’ve already started doubting myself, but I guess that’s only natural.  If it will be, it will be.

This will not be easy!  Getting a BQ is something I’ve never been able to achieve.  Granted, I’ve really only ever realistically tried to run a BQ only once before.  It’s funny for me to even think of it that way, but it’s true.  I really only tried once before.  Last October at Big Cottonwood.  I went into that race just after being sick with bronchitis, and with aching hamstrings.  This time, no illnesses, fingers crossed.  This time no hamstring issues.  I came away with a 3:41 at that race.  16 minutes too slow.

This time I feel more mentally ready.  Let’s face it though, anything can happen on race day!  Anything!  All of the stars must align just perfectly for me to hit my mark.  My best marathon finish to date is a 3:32 at a City of Oaks a few years ago. Just 7 minutes shy of my mark.  I wasn’t even trying for a BQ.  The course was hard, but the weather was perfectly cooperative.  To this day I don’t know how I managed to run that fast on that course.  Maybe it’s because I wasn’t stressed.  I ran free.  I ran with abandon.

The Revel Rockies Marathon a week from today will be my 20th marathon.  It’s only fitting I make another attempt to qualify for Boston at this race.  It would be so sweet!

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I am going to give it my all.  If it all falls into place, then I will be as happy as a clam.  Not sure anyone will be happier than me on that flight from Denver to Raleigh later that evening.  I’m going to take it easy this week.  Yes, I have to work the next three days, but I have Thursday off, and fly to Denver on Friday.  I’m going to do some meditation, and try to keep myself very calm leading up to race day.  I have a few slow pace runs planned over the next few days, and of course, my shake out on Saturday in Aspen.  All the rest I have to leave up to chance, and how my body feels on race day.  I’m not an elite athlete, so it’s going to take the race of my life, but hey, I am an optimist.

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Revel Rockies Race Discount

With just a little over a month to go before race day on 7/19/15, I wanted to once again share a way to save money for those of you out there on the fence about running this race.

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My team “Running Down a Dream” as of today is 20 runners strong!  We had 20 signed up about two weeks ago when one member had to defer her race entry until 2016.  With that, we had 19.  Today, we had another runner sign up on the team, so we are back to 20.  BUT….. There is room for more!

If you still would like to race either the Half or a Full Marathon consider joining my team.  You will save $5 for joining, and also save another $5 if you “like” Revel Races on Facebook when you checkout.  So, with a savings of $10, why not join us?

I will be running the marathon with a BQ in mind, but every kind of runner is accepted and welcomed on the team.  So far we have about 6 running the Half and the remainder running the Full.  We don’t have to run together, as being on the same team doesn’t mean it’s a relay.  Being on a team just means you save money when you register, and we can, if you want, get together for a group photo at the start or finish, or both!  It’s a fun way to meet new runners, and I am really looking forward to it.

I have teams created for the other two Revel races this year as well.  You can join team “Chasing Boston” if you want to run a Big Cottonwood, and/or Canyon City.

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For Rockies in July though, search for team “Running Down a Dream” when you are signing up, to save $$.

If you have any questions before or after registration, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout.  See you in Colorado!

Revel Race Series Discount

Fast

Beautiful

Downhill

All words that any marathoner loves to hear!  Revel Race Series has all of these, and much more.  Like free race photos, free personalized highlight videos, great medals and race shirt.

Price increases are next week for the race in Canyon City and the Rockies event.  If you register before the increase, you instantly save $10.  You can save an additional $10 if you join any of the teams I have created for the three Revel Races this year.

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https://www.runrevel.com

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Anyone can join my teams.  Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, BQ seekers, anyone.  We don’t have to run together, but we can save money together by being on a team!

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Revel Rockies Marathon & Half

Revel Race series is currently a group of three incredibly beautiful, downhill races in western U.S..  Big Cottonwood, in Utah (which I ran this year), Revel Rockies in Colorado, and Canyon City just outside of Los Angeles, California.  The inaugural event at Canyon City is this weekend, so good luck to those of you lucky enough to be running there!

A huge fan of this race series, I have to check them off my race to-do list.  Why?  I can think of many reasons.  Traveling to race?  Yes!  Up until my race in Utah in September, I hadn’t been to any of the three locations they offer races.  A great reason to run.  Visiting Salt Lake City was a load of fun.  Getting to see a beautiful area on foot while running a marathon was just amazing!  Downhill races equal faster races.  Better chance for a PR or BQ, or both?  Another huge factor for wanting to run these races.  They have a naturally higher percentage of Boston Qualifiers than most races in the States.  Beautiful vistas, mountains, canyons, nature.  Courses designed for beauty and speed, amazing!  They also have great bling, swag and offer a very generous cancellation policy.  You don’t see that in many races at all.  So many reasons to run a Revel event.

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I have decided to run the Rockies event in 2015.  Race day is July 19th.  I haven’t booked any travel yet, as one of my favorite airlines, Southwest, hasn’t opened up their flight schedule that far out yet.  Travel details will work themselves out in the months to come.  For now though, I have created a team, and would welcome anyone who wants to join in.  You only run together if you want to, but joining a team allows you to get a discount on registration in addition to liking them on Facebook (which gets you another $5 off).  My team name is “Running Down A Dream”.  You can click on the following link and be taken to the registration page.  https://www.brooksee.com/rdv/register?team=146952.   Let’s Revel Rockies.

Take a look at the great finisher medal from the inaugural event this year.  It’s huge!

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The Rockies event promises a beautiful downhill course.  Just look at the elevation chart.  I can tell you from experience, you must train differently for a downhill race.  Do some research, and find yourself a good training plan so that your legs aren’t wrecked post race.

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If you are anything like me, you base many decisions on what events you sign up for on the overall runner experience. You look at race recaps, online forums, and race websites.  Based on my experience at Big Cottonwood this year, I know the folks at Revel Races do races right.

Check out this great race series online.  You can read all about their mission, read runner reviews, check out the race course maps, and much more.  www.runrevel.com.

I didn’t qualify; but I’m ok

Now that a few days have passed since my BQ attempt at Big Cottonwood, with each passing day I am becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I will not be at the 2015 Boston Marathon.  Looking at pictures from my days in Utah, how can I really be disappointed?  I ran an amazing race, my fourth best marathon out of 14 overall.  I got to see a new part of the country.  I got to run in beautiful natural surroundings.  At the end of the day, it was incredible.

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As I sit here I can’t help but feel that it still stings a little bit, but soon enough I will be over it.  There will be other chances for Boston, just not next year.  All things happen for reasons though, so as I come to terms with it my focus turns to qualifying for 2016.

I still have a very busy fall running schedule.  I actually have two more marathons this fall, so I may qualify at one of those.  Maybe I won’t.  After giving it my all this past weekend in Utah, I am not sure I really have the legs to be honest.  It may have to wait until next year.  I’m ok with that.

Next up is Chicago.  Yes, running in Chicago will be just a treat.  I am looking forward to the crowd support and running the streets of Chicago, one of the big marathons in the world.  Time to turn my focus to that.  I just want to enjoy the marathon in its simplest form, feet on pavement.  I will run it keeping in mind how lucky I am to be healthy enough to run 26.2 miles.

Big Cottonwood Marathon – Race Recap

A whirlwind of a trip, I got home from Utah late last night.  I had the most amazing time not only traveling to Salt Lake City for the first time, but participating in the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon as well.  I have so many images and memories fresh in my mind, that I think it’s time to share them.

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Saturday morning, September 13th, 2014.  The day that would find me competing in my 14th marathon, and 6th this year.  I had everything I needed for race day laid out for my wake up call at 3am.  I have been struggling with a bad case of bronchitis, so upon wake up, I was happy that I felt fairly good.  I worried a lot however, about how my lungs would react to running a downhill course starting above 9,000 ft. In elevation.  My sea level training runs certainly wouldn’t help, so the nerves of coughing attacks had me a bit on edge.

Staying at a host hotel, the Crystal Inn (a mile from the finish) has its advantages.  Three charter buses pulled right up to the street outside of the hotel at 5am sharp for those of us staying at the hotel to board, and immediately ride right up to the start at Brighton Ski Resort high in the mountains.  Equipped with my race bag, a long sleeve shirt and throw away gloves, I was on my way.  The buses left about 5:25am.  It took about 40 minutes to make it to the start, in the utter darkness of an early morning.

We piled out of the bus, greeted by 36 degree temperatures.  Glad I had the extra layer, and race provided Mylar blanket for the wait.  The starting village was well equipped with port o potties, had plenty of space to walk around, and even had a tables set up with cups of water and Gatorade.  At over 60 races, I have never seen pre-race drinks available.  Certainly a nice touch.  As I looked at the stars in the clear dark sky, I prepared my mind and stretched my legs.  I threw my drop bag into a large truck at 6:45 to make my final preparations.  About a minute later an announcement was made that the race would be delayed 15 minutes so that several late buses had enough time to get to the start.  With that news, I was irritated that I had just gotten rid of my long sleeve shirt.  The race was delayed again about 10 minutes later, the eventual starting time being 7:25.  Certainly the longest delay for a race I have ever been in.  I tried to take it in stride, and just enjoy the rising of the sun and the illumination of the surrounding area.

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Lined up with over 1,500 runners, the gun went off.  Knowing that I was hoping for a BQ at this event, I started just behind the 3:25:00 pace group leader.  My plan was to wait until the crowd thinned a bit, and then increase my speed and catch up to the 3:20:00 pacer.  We started actually uphill, running through a little village of ski chalets that surrounded the base of the ski resort.

As the course turned downhill, I thought ok, here we go.  The views were amazing.  More beautiful than I had ever imagined.  So much eye candy to keep focused on.  My neck still hurts today from straining and enjoying all of the views along the way.  No lie!

One of the biggest treats ever during a race came up just a mile and a half into the race.  A moose!  Right on the side of the road.  Seriously, I thought, am it really seeing a moose in its natural environment?  Wow!

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See?  It was unreal.  Photo credit to this woman’s friend.  I knew that stopping for picture taking wouldn’t bode well for a Boston attempt.  The first few miles I just tried to find a good rhythm, taking advantage of the downhill grade.  I felt like I was flying, and yet there were tons of runners ahead of me, flying even faster.  It truly was a unique running experience, and I knew that I had 15 miles through the canyon to enjoy.

I made my way.  I passed that 3:25 pacer, and then passed the 3:20 pacer.  I was clipping along.  In  looking and mapping out my race a few weeks back, I figured that I wanted to be coming out of the canyon, 15 miles into the race at an overall pace of 7:30.  I figured that pace would give me enough cushion to hit my BQ goal over the remaining miles which included about 6 miles of rolling hills.

Hitting the timing mat 5.3 miles into the race at 37:50, my pace was 7:08.  Happy, for sure.  Can I keep it up though?  That was my question.  My lungs were holding up ok a few coughing attacks, but tried hard to keep them under control.  A few tenths of a mile later was moose sighting #2.  This moose was further back from the road, standing in a clearing and just watching the running spectacle in from of him/her.  I was amazed how many runners around me completely missed seeing both of those majestic animals.  So many runners has ear phones in, and just were focusing on the road ahead.  I didn’t understand.  Weren’t we there to enjoy the views?  To enjoy the sounds of the rushing waterfalls, babbling brooks and streams?  For me, the views and sounds will last in my memory longer than the run itself.

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Moving right along I hydrated when needed, and tried so hard to keep focused on my breathing.  The combination of my illness, the elevation and running at a pace I don’t often run at, has left me with a very sore chest today.  Nearing the bottom of the canyon, I crossed over the half way point in 1:38:05.  Overall pace 13.1 miles in was 7:29.  I was right on track with where I wanted to be coming out of the canyon.  Turning onto Wasatch Blvd., the race became a whole new beast.  Coming out of the canyon, no longer shaded from the sun, my pace began to decline.  Having just run 15 miles downhill, a change of elevation from near 9,000 ft. to just under 5,000 ft., heading out onto a 7 mile out and back stretch with rolling hills completely in the sun was a massive challenge.  This challenge greatly affected my pace.

I watched my overall pace on my Garmin tick further and further upwards.  I was disappointed, but trying to stay positive.  I was losing speed at an alarming pace, and was not thrilled about it.  Even though there were beautiful views of downtown Salt Lake City in the distance, I found it harder to concentrate on my surroundings.  I was laboring more and more.  My lungs were killing me.  Right around the turnaround point on Wasatch was the 18.75 mile mark timing mat.  I crossed in 2:27:01.  Still ok overall, even with my struggles, but with twinges of calf cramping and aching Achilles on both sides, I knew this overall pace wouldn’t hold up.  At this point my overall pace was 7:50.  Totally thrilled with that on most days, going for a BQ meant it had to be better than that.

Trying hard to keep hydrated to stave off cramping, I spent too much time at the next two aid stations.  I also had to take my one and only potty break.  Paying a lot of attention to my Garmin, my pace was dropping.  Between miles 19 and 23 my Boston dream at this race went up in smoke.  I knew it, but couldn’t do anything about it.  I couldn’t push myself any harder.  I wasn’t giving up, but I felt the pangs of disappointment.  Looking back at my pace during this section, I am actually a bit disgusted.  Why couldn’t I have been healthier?  Why couldn’t I have felt 100%?  During this four mile rolling section heading back toward Cottonwood Heights my pace was 10:21.  Ugh!  Goodbye Boston.  This wasn’t the day.

I still had a great race going, and I wanted to finish as strongly as possible.  With the out and back section behind me, I turned onto Fort Union Boulevard for the final 5k, the race finish in the distance.  23.1 miles in, at 3:12:04, and overall pace of 8:19.  Time to push, and finish this race.  Because of the unique nature of this race course, it doesn’t lend itself to much spectator support.  I missed it.  This last section though, running through Cottonwood Heights, the support was tremendous.  People in passing cars on the other side of the road yelled out words of encouragement.  Family and friends and residents gathered all along the road to support us.  Many thanks to you all!  It’s always just what I need at the finish.

Getting closer and closer, I could see the finish approaching.  I ran as fast as it could.  Finally running through the finish at 3:41:59.  Greeted by smiling faces of a crowd of awesome volunteers, an amazingly huge, beautiful medal was placed around my neck.  No matter what, I was still proud, I was happy.  I then was given a freezing cold towel, which was a blessing.  I draped it around my neck while I grabbed a water and a few cups of diet coke.  I stopped for a moment, leaned on a table and washed my salt covered face with that refreshing towel, washed my hands and neck.  It was a moment of refreshment that I truly needed.  Looking back toward the finish line I snapped the picture below.

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I can’t imagine a more gorgeous finisher area.  I ran right down that canyon in the background.  Hobbling a bit, as my legs started stiffening up, I walked further into the finisher village.  Lots of great food choices, but I only grabbed one slice of pizza, and gnawed on that as I proceeded down toward drop bag pick up.  Because of the late start of the race, I had very little time to recover and rest before I had to head out and back to the hotel.  As I searched for my bag, I was greeted by Jared Rohatinsky, who so graciously offered to find my bag so I wouldn’t have to bend down to pick it up.  Yep, it’s the little things sometimes that can make a race.  Was great to meet Jared finally.  Barely able to walk with any pace now, I had to summon up some final energy to walk back to my hotel.  I had 45 minutes to walk that mile, shower, pack, checkout and board the shuttle by 12:15 back to the airport.  I made it though.  A couple of flights later, I landed in Raleigh and drove home.  I arrived at midnight, and couldn’t have been happier to lay down in my bed.

My take aways and final thoughts about this race?  I’m sure there are few around that compete.  This race was amazingly organized from start to finish, had great volunteers, course and swag.  The weather was perfection.  A nice chilly start, and a mild finish.  Finally, let me just say that from every direction, the entire time I was in Salt Lake, Murray, Sandy and Cottonwood Heights, every person I met was super friendly and polite.  What a great first impression of Utah.

Big Cottonwood Marathon finish:

Chip time: 3:41:59.  Pace: 8:28. Overall finisher 379/1487. Age Group: 56/124

To Revel Races and Brooksee Events, thanks for the memories!  Big Cottonwood was incredible, and I cannot wait to participate in more of your events.  I’ve got Revel Rockies and Canyon City on my list already for next year.

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Revel Big Cottonwood is tomorrow!

My trip so far has been smooth as silk.

I arrived in Salt Lake City yesterday evening about 5pm.  Uneventful flights, smooth sailing.  I am staying at a host hotel, the Crystal Inn, about a mile from the finish in Murray, Utah.  The staff couldn’t be more helpful.  They have all been so kind.  They sent a free shuttle for me to the airport to pick me up and drive me here.  They offer a breakfast and light dinner right here in the lobby, so it is very convenient.

Upon my arrival yesterday, I was immediately blown away by the beauty of the mountainous area that is Salt Lake.  I’ve just been in awe of the Wasatch mountains.

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I did not rent a car for this trip to try to save some money.  Turns out, at least staying at this hotel, that you really don’t need a car.  When it came time to go to the expo today (about 8 miles from the hotel), they offered to drive me over to the train station nearby.  The train ride is like 10 minutes, and only cost me $5.00 for a round trip ticket.  The Expo was at Sandy Civic Center, and was very well done.  Lots of space, more vendors than I expected, and a great race shirt, throw away gloves and Mylar blanket in the race bag for the chilly start tomorrow.  What a nice touch!

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I met the race director Josh, who seemed to be taking the enormity of the day and overnight ahead of him all in stride.  I’m sure the race will go off without a hitch.

So, my race prep.  I’ve continued to struggle with my bronchitis, especially here at an elevation much higher than I am used to.  I had a great nights sleep last night, and felt a little better.  Still struggling with intermittent coughing and hacking.  I really hope I survive the 9,000 ft. Elevation at the start tomorrow without hacking up a lung.  I managed to go out for a 4.25 mile shake out run late this morning in beautiful sunshine.  Temperatures here, with a cold front that dipped down from Canada last night, were in the 40’s when I woke up today.  It was about 50 when I went out for my run.  Perfection!

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Dinner tonight, and turning in early.  I need all the rest I can get before this epic race tomorrow.  I have dreamed about this race for a long time now, and tomorrow is the day.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my trip so far.  Tomorrow is a wake up call at 3am.  Buses are loading here at the hotel at 5am, and we will begin the journey up Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton Ski Resort where the marathon begins.  A 7am start time, the temperatures will indeed be chilly.  Probably in the 30’s.

I’m pretty excited.  Can’t wait to share my race experience with you.  Stay tuned.

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Big Cottonwood Marathon – 3 days away!

I cannot believe it, but my 14th marathon is now just a few days away.  The Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon is this Saturday in Utah, and I cannot wait to get this running adventure started.

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It seems like eons since my last marathon back in May.  I’ve spent virtually the entire Summer preparing for an honest attempt at a Boston Qualifying time, and now it’s almost upon me.  That chance for a PR, that chance to get to Boston.  It has been a very personal journey, with many highs and lows.  I am optimistic.  

Being sick this past week has not helped at all, but I am finally on some heavy duty antibiotics to hopefully kick this crud out of my system for good before I toe the line on Saturday morning.

Revel posted late yesterday that the Half marathon had sold out, and that there were only a few spots left in the full. I’m thinking that I will gather with many other happy runners in a few days to take one epic journey down Cottonwood Canyon, enjoying the beautiful surroundings.  The weather forecast looks perfect.  Temperatures in the mid 40’s at the start high up in the mountains at Brighton Ski Resort.  Daytime high of around 80 degrees at the finish, but will more than likely be in the low to mid 70’s when I finish.

I am so looking forward to meeting some new faces, and really enjoying my first race in Utah.  Marathon #14, State #5.  This love affair I have with running continues to grow.  Look out Big Cottonwood, here I come.  

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Training week recap

I can’t believe it, but I actually got all of my planned training in this week.  A real relief considering the wacky week overall.  Tons of work, and just sort of a week that felt like I barely had any time to myself to think, much less run.

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Have you ever had one of those weeks?  Boy, I’ll tell ya.

I got in some great downhill training this week.  Five runs, all focused on downhill training.  Look out Big Cottonwood, here I come!  I also got in a long run of 17 miles, which considering the heat and humidity here in the south, is just awesome.  We actually had a bunch of rain and cooler temperatures this past week, and for the cool off, I am grateful.  

I can really feel the training in my feet at the end of the day.  And quads.  Increasing my pace and stride on the downhill portions of my runs has been key.  I am hoping that factor alone will propel me to an amazing finish in Utah in a few weeks.

Big Cottonwood Marathon is four weeks away now.  The time crunch is ON!  

As I head into another week of preparation for my upcoming BQ attempt, I need to throw a bit more focus on my eating habits.  Time to start really watching my snacking, and my water intake.  More water, less snacking.  Simple!  Well, not for me.  I am a nibbler.  I promise not to buy any corn chips for the next four weeks.  Oh, who am I kidding, that will never happen.  I just have to cut back.  Way back!  I also will limit my nighttime indulgence in ice cream.  My downfall.  I promise to eat it just two times a week.  I must adhere to this!  I really want to drop about five pounds in the next month with better overall eating.

So, that is the plan.  Better, more healthful eating, and sticking to my training plan.  

The only way I am going to see the results that I want to see, is to maintain this focus.

Have a great week everyone!