Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Was My Face Red!

When I was a kid I used to read Highlights magazine. One of the features that fascinated me may have been called Was My Face Red or something similar. It was about kids who got in embarrassing situations.  I must have been storing up humiliating stories to lessen the feel of the ones I managed to get myself into in the future.

Those of you who have been following me for awhile know about the head gear on one early morning run.  That could have had this title.

But my most recent adventure has to do with the switched bike shoes.  I remember finishing the race and looking at the design inside the bike shoes near my bike and knowing that my shoes were plain black or something similar inside so these couldn't be mine.  When I got home I used them on my bike and they didn't clip in as nicely as my own shoes had and they hurt and they were too small.

I looked at the photos taken that day and the bottom was not the same.  I sent an email to the race director to see if he heard from the person who had taken my shoes.

Tuesday I took a bike ride and the shoes I had hurt and didn't click in well.  Today - Wednesday - my foot hurt all day.  So I decided I needed to get the shoes I had had before they got switched. I went to Burlington and basically chatted the sales guys ear off and told him all of the above. He got some new shoes for me and was putting the cleats on when I remembered the shoes I had now were in my car. (I had told him they were at home.) So I went out and got them, brought them in and they were the same shoes I had gotten out of my car.  What does that mean?  I had had my own shoes all along.

Why did my foot hurt? In fact it still hurts!  Why was it not clicking in as easily?  Why did the bottoms look different?  Perhaps the reverse placebo effect.  You expect it not to be okay and it is not.  I felt like a fool although the guy gave me some outs like I was concentrating on riding not what the shoe looked like and perhaps I had not straightened out the tongue. Truthfully my foot is killing me tonight. I am going to ride to school tomorrow and expect it to feel fine! But I hope my bike develops on problems because I am never going back to my favorite bike shop again.

quick side notes

It wasn't a wasted trip to Burlington. I went for a run on the bike path at a beautiful time of day. Loved it!

Colleagues who read my facebook account of my race instantly stopped me in the hall to see my calf (the number) which was no longer there!  They were most fascinated by that.  Why do tris do that and running races not? Does anyone know?

I am still just a  wee bit giddy over how well I feel I did last weekend. I got wonderful calls from both my children!  Loved it.

I have yet another tri this coming weekend, probably the last for the year. As I am typing this I have a big smile on my face.  I do like triathlons.

And back to the bike shoes -- I may be embarrassed but I have around 100 dollars I didn't expect to still have! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Age Group Winner in my Second Triathlon - REALLY!

There's my age.......didn't stay on though.

Okay I'm starting with the nitty gritty. Then onto the report.  Yes, I was an age group winner!  It's great being older!  

A Goal: 1:48:40
B Goal: 1:53:00
C Goal: 159:59

I hit that A goal out of the park.  1:40:58!!!!! Can you say Woot Woot!  92/117 

Swimming ............20 minutes. 14:31 - (lightning fast in my world.  I still don't get this.  I am counting right in my pool.  It is a 25 yard pool and I do 24 laps for 600 yards.  Takes me forever.) 97/117

Biking......53 minutes. 51:09
84/117 (includes 3 DNF)

Running 30:15.
29:55 86/117 (my biking beat my running :) :)

T1 3:40.  3:34 ( beat this one too but barely)
T2  1:45. 1:51 Oops

So I beat all my goals but T2.  I am very happy with all of this. I was pleased with my second tri even before I knew the results.  I know in the big scheme of things I am far from the top but WTHC!!!!!

Okay on to the report that I wrote yesterday while waiting for the results.

Today's tri was the one I hoped to be doing for the second time so I could compare my results from June and now.  As sprint tris are all quite different I can see I will have to go back next year and do some of the same ones for a true comparison to see how I have grown.

I do know that had I not broken my wrist in June and done this tri I would not have been as prepared as I was today.  When I broke my wrist I had not even taken my wet suit out of the package it arrived in 3 months earlier.  Today not only had I done one other tri, I had come to Lake Dunmore 4 different times, 3 of them doing the complete  tri.  Well sort of.
Most people are looking forward. I'm still looking at the
@#$%% distance I have to swim.

I walk as far as I can.

Very happy to be done the swim!  

I found out today that I have not been swimming the full 600 yards.  When I walked down to the water and looked at the buoys it was hard to know the course because there was also a half Ironman distance race going on and I didn't know which buoys were which.  My husband pointed out what he thought it might be (turned out he was right).  I asked a guy who looked like he had a clue and he told me the same thing my husband had told me. I politely thanked him but as we walked away I quietly told my husband with complete sincerity and belief, "He's wrong. It can't be that far." Well, you can see where this is going, he wasn't wrong and we had to swim ALL that way.  So some more panic set in! I was so glad I had that one other triathlon under my belt.  I was wearing a watch, all set to do all the sections but I didn't think about it until I  was well into the swim. So I did not know how I was doing.  I did do the free style more than in the last tri for sure which was one of my goals although the breast stroke and side stroke made their appearances again.  I did a pretty decent job with sighting when I was doing the free style only needing to readjust my direction one time.  Finally I was around that last big buoy headed into shore.  My husband and my friend, T, were there cheering me in!  I yelled and asked them how long I took.  They didn't really know but the estimate wasn't bad.
Can you see me? I am off on the bike.

My transition wasn't terribly fast but I didn't forget my chip again and got headed off.  This was the part I was looking forward to.  It seemed like last time where no one was around me. I did pass one person in the first mile but I didn't see any other bikes for a long time. I settled in to my ride - other races in sight or not - and just kept pushing. Once on a downhill I started to coast but quickly reminded myself to keep on pedaling!  Once I was on Route 7 around Mile 6 I could see other bikes in the distance.  Now the fun really began. It took awhile but I caught up and passed the rider - on - a - hill! This was feeling like my last tri.  The other cyclists were a ways ahead but I knew I had already done some significant catching up.  Many were younger and had actually started two minutes ahead of me.  So one by one I passed all the cyclists I could see.  I passed about 4 on Route 7 and then we were on the road with the long steep hill and I wasn't sure if my passing would continue. But it did! I passed about another 4 people and then I was on the last stretch of about 3 miles.  I could see one more person and managed to get by her before I turned into the park - where I had to go on the grass because of cars!  I glanced at my bike computer before I got off and I could see my pace was great and my time shorter than I had thought!  My pace was 16.4 which is the fastest I have ever done!  I got my shoes changed and off I went to run.
Heading out on the run.

And back!

Finished!  Surprised at my time knowing I can subtract 6 
minutes or more.

I felt sloshy and full from the water I gulped down.  It seemed harder than ever to run and I wasn't expecting a great time.  I passed a few people but I have to admit some of the people I passed on the bike caught up and passed me on the run.  Once we turned around though I could see there were more people behind me than I thought.  Then I was coming into the finish and done my second triathlon!  I cannot wait to do this again!  What a great sport it is.

Hanging out with T after.

One big bummer......when I was packing up to go I thought my bike shoes were different but there were no others around.  I brought them home, they fit although maybe a tad small and the clips work. But after looking at pictures closely I can see they are not the shoes I rode on the bike which were absolutely my shoes!  Has this ever happened to anyone?   I have emailed the race director although I don't have high hopes.  I so see how it can happen with the minimal space you get and the obvious hurrying you do as you switch between sports.  

Also - did not need my email. I was not signed up as I suspected but race director totally believed me and I had everything needed in no time.

I love love love triathlons and if you are thinking of trying them go for it. A year ago I never would have believed I would ever do one to say nothing about immensely enjoying them.   

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tri Goals


My second tri is two days away!

I am very confused about swimming. When I swim 600 yards in the pool it takes me about a minute per 25 yards which I know is super slow but......... When I swam the 500 yards in the last tri it took me about 13 minutes including the run up the hill to the timing mat.  How is that possible?  Was the distance wrong?  Do I swim faster in a meet?  That much faster?  Does not having to make all those turns make a big difference?  Is it the buoyancy in the wet suit as I don't have all that drag?  Who knows?  I surely don't so how do I predict?  I will set as my goal for swimming ............20 minutes.

Okay on to the bike.  It is slightly more than 14 miles........hilly........but I have ridden it a few times.  It will certainly be less than  an hour but I am not sure how much less. I am going to say.......53 minutes.

On to the run.  How tired will I be?  I am going to say 30:15.

Now the transitions.  I hope to have learned a bit from last time.  Plus the distance is shorter from the swim to the bike.  So transition 1 - I still think I will be slow. I will say 3:40.  Transition 2 I will say 1:45.

So what does all that add up to?  1:48:40 if I did my math right.  Truthfully that sounds a little scary. I do hope to be under 2 hours so I will call this my A goal.

A Goal: 1:48:40
B Goal: 1:53:00
C Goal: 159:59

I am a bit nervous because I haven't gotten an update email about the race. I got one for the June race I couldn't do so I am worried my deferment got missed. I do have the email where the race director told me I could do the August 26 race so I will bring it with me.  This is a small race that you can even enter on race day morning so it shouldn't be a problem. Right?  I just need you to tell me it sounds fine and should not be a problem.

I also hope to do free style more than last time and not leave my chip behind in transition!

Things should go fine.  I have practiced the whole thing more than once.  I don't think I swam the distance but the ride and run were right on.  I can't wait to do this and am very glad I did my NH tri first!  My second triathlon.  How cool is that!! The weather prediction is perfect and my husband knows he is coming!  I don't know if anyone else will be there for me but one spectator is good!

I hope all of you have great plans for the weekend.

This is the part I am looking the most forward to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone - In a Different Way

Being fit and supporting others in healthy choices has caused me to go out of my comfort zone.  Yes, swimming and entering triathlons got me out of the old comfort zone but less obvious things also sent me to that place I don't necessarily want to go. 

What did I do that was so uncomfortable?  See the picture of the bridge above. I drove over it.  So what you might ask.  Well I don't particularly like driving over bridges and look at the rise on this one!  It was after Emily's ultra marathon and she wanted me to drive part way home.  I wanted to say, "Well, I know you just ran 32 miles in the heat and humidity and I only sat in the shade and watched but why should I drive?  The plan was that you would."  But I couldn't quite utter those words so soon enough I found myself driving over this bridge and up the interstate through Maryland.  But I hadn't lost my mind so before we reached DC, a major city, a place I just don't drive, I did pull over and exchange spots with Emily.
Any city with a skyline must have terrible traffic, right?

Then this past weekend, I drove on a very busy highway and into the third biggest city in New England to run a race.  Now my cousin has lived in the same spot for years and I have never visited her because it could entail driving through Boston.  But in a weak moment I signed up for this half in Providence, sure I could get someone to go with me who would probably drive.  Well, that didn't happen and I could see I was going to have to drive. I AGONIZED over how to do this.  It came down to driving on 495 which sounded like it would be full of trucks and speedy cars all trying to intimidate the woman driver from Vermont.  Then I would have to drive into Providence not once but twice and of course that also means I would be driving out of Providence twice.  I googled Providence driving where  I didn't find out much. I googled images of bridges for Providence and there certainly seemed to be a lot of them. I tried to figure out train schedules to see if that would work.  I worked myself up into quite a frenzy.  
One of the many bridges that calls Providence home.

Then I had to calm down. It just wasn't healthy. I was going.  I wanted to see my cousin. If I got there and didn't want to go into Providence so be it.  If I drove in on Saturday to get my race packet and was never setting foot to the pedal on the way into Providence again, I would have my race shirt and a visit with my cousin accomplished.

So Saturday came and off I went with my map quest directions, emailed directions from a friend and my GPS. I am a one hand on the wheel, sipping a cup of coffee driver. But once I reached 495, I had my hands gripped tightly on the wheel at 10:00 and 2:00.   My driver's ed teacher would be so proud.  Yes, it was crowded. Yes there were lots of trucks.  Yes, 65 seemed to be the slow speed.  But I got in the middle lane and stayed there going 65. I refused to be made to think I needed to go faster.  But I didn't even think of answering the phone, sipping coffee or gawking around to see what license plates I could see. I was on this road for 60 minutes but once farther south it did get better.  When I got off the highway even though I was close to my cousin's I pulled into a DD to use the bathroom!  Whew.  I was done the first big section.

I got to my cousins but I barely had time to say hi before off we went for Providence.  Now having someone  else in the car lessens the anxiety considerably!  I did find out that even though she lives about 20 minutes away she never drives into Providence (or Boston). Could my problem be genetic?  Well, I don't know if it was because it was Saturday but the whole driving into Providence thing could not have been easier!  I did make a wrong turn but Mrs. LuLu Garmin, one of my very best friends,  recalculated and we had one of about 1000 conversations over the weekend and things were soon fine.  Time to leave the city, no problem there either.  Same with the SOLO trip back the next day.  Then back onto 495 and before I knew it I was back in friendly not so populated NH and I could have one hand on the wheel again.  

So it may seem like nothing to many of you but believe me, once again for my love of fitness and racing, I ventured Way Way out of my comfort zone.  Will I try again?  Perhaps but small steps. I won't be going to a race in Boston anytime soon or driving down to see my daughter. Airplanes were invented for people like me.  But who knows how this fitness journey will take me out of my comfort zone next time?

495 much too busy a road for this Vermont lady

What has taken you out of your comfort zone?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A "Non Race" Makes Me A Running Lover Again


I wasn't expecting it to be **** especially before I knew I was staying with my cousin.  I'll get to that later.  Let's start with the race.

Rock and Roll Half Marathon - Providence, R.I.
Before the start.. wearing a new shirt, hat and shorts.  Didn't 
seem to bother me!

Nice spot to begin and end.

Pluses and Minuses

+ I said I wasn't going to race this race and I didn't!  I ran at a very respectable pace and had a great time. I never got exhausted or got that just can't wait for it to be done.  I even picked it up a bit the last 3 miles. All of my miles were in the 10s with the fastest being 10:12 (the first no surprise) and the slowest being 10:50.  

+ Yes, it was a PW but I'm okay with that. I ran it in 2:20 with my previous slowest being 2:12. But like I said I didn't plan to race it. I could have tried and gotten discouraged and more tired than I want to be before next weekend. Instead I enjoyed the race IMMENSELY. I came into this feeling burned out on halves and not at all excited about doing one.  It may really be that I was burned out on long runs since most of mine have had issues mainly GI and chaffing.  No fun!  I was even thinking I might be done with longer runs and races.  Not after today!  Everyone should have that much fun in a race!  

+ It was well organized.  I always always appreciate a well organized race.

One of the bands.....they were every mile........... a pretty clear
indicator another mile was passed!

-There was a band every mile but they were nothing special. Some sounded like they were doing funeral dirges rather than something peppy.  The one band that really pumped me up was at Mile 8 playing the Monkees  - "I'm  a Believer"  That was fun! It was a nice distraction from the running so maybe this should be a plus and a minus.

+ Favorite sign - It takes balls to be a runner. All the other sports just play with them.

+ Gorgeous day - great spectators - large race with lots of positive vibes
This is on the last stretch.

A quick self portrait  along the way.

+ Nice location - most of the race went through the city of Providence which I don't know at all.  We went on lots of cute streets through very pleasant neighborhoods. Some of it was along the water with a small part being a little sketchy - or it would be alone at night.  I think we went near where I ended when I rode on the bike path from Bristol last year.

This is from last year on the bike path.  We ran right next to
these bridges today.  

+ Lots of aid stations - mostly well stocked, gus, lots of medical tents along the way

+Cold, cold chocolate milk at the end - this was spectacular!

+ I like the shirt, the medal is okay but some of the other rock and roll medals seem to be more fun.

+++++ I loved it and for today I loved being a runner again!
Heading to the finish.....



That wasn't the only good part of my weekend.  I stayed with my cousin who lives close by in Mass.  We didn't grow up together, we lived in different states and she was older than I was.  But we have become friendly as adults even though we don't see each other much.  I LOVED staying there and spending time with her.  We didn't do a lot - but that wasn't what mattered.  It was just great to have the time to reconnect.  We agreed our mothers would both be so pleased the two of us are friends and stay in touch.  She had everything all set up for me to get ready this morning.  The best thing was the coffee.  Just regular coffee with cinnamon in the filter.  Unbelievable.  So so so good!  
Deb had fun at the Expo......

.......warning me not to put the "hat" on because
it could have lice.  But I couldn't resist.

From the gardens at Deb's house. I love the tin
man a friend made her.

Did anything rock your weekend or is there something coming up before summer ends that you can't wait for?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Today I am going to do one more tri practice with swimming, biking, running plus transitions.  I am hoping it might make the run after the other two feel a little easier.  The weather is supposed to be awesome.  I want to do this this week rather than the week before the tri.  I guess I will taper a little next week although I am not sure how.  Do less I guess.  I am considering the Lake Dunmore Tri my A race for tris so I will have to come up with some goals as it gets closer.

2. This weekend I am doing my so not an A race in Rhode Island. It is a rock and roll half which I registered for last winter when they had a special.  I am not excited about the race itself. I always say I am not going to "race" a race but then I do. This time I won't be. I want to be all fresh and sparkly the following weekend for the tri.  I will run this race and hopefully enjoy it but I have no time goals.  I am going to stay with my cousin who I don't see very often. That will be awesome.  I will go to the Expo which is always fun.  When I signed up I didn't realize but this race is on the 40th anniversary of my mother's death so I will be doing this race in her memory.  I have done other races for my mom including my first marathon and a race I did when I was the age she was when she died. I raised money for a charity in her honor for that race and it was exceedingly special.  This time it just happened but it is a good "just happened" so Mom, on Sunday it's for you.  I know that she would be proud of what I have done to be fit.  In her day few people exercised or tried to stay fit in any way.

3. Random thoughts while training today:

  • how far is 600 yards in this lake
  • who switched wet suits on me and gave me this smaller one
  • why are those fishermen fishing so close to where I am swimming, there are NO fish near me
  • I guess I'll turn and go back and not disturb the fishermen
  • the zipper on this wet suit goes where
  • I must have not swum 600 yards if that is my time
  • I think I'll wear long sleeves on the bike, it's cool
  • push, push, push
  • there's a Louisiana plate, I wonder if I have that one
  • here comes that #$%^ hill
  • I'll certainly be familiar with this bike route when I do the tri
  • Damn my bike is the slowest yet
  • oops I missed a call from Jameson
  • Let's just stop the timer, I can call him back
  • hey, the run feels pretty good today
  • much better than last week
  • 3.1 miles isn't so far
  • almost done, then I can rest
  • the lake is beautiful today.
  • That's the 4th squirrel to cross the road in front of me
  • DONE!  Overall time a little slower than last week.  I think I do need to taper some next week.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just Registered for Triathlon #3

I'm taking a leap of faith that I'm going to like Triathlon #2 because it's still more than a week away and here I go registering for number 3!  I am sitting here smiling as I type this so I'm quite confident it's the right decision.  Here are some of the reasons.

  • it's a 3 day weekend so easy to fit in
  • it's near where I went to college so I get to hang around my old stomping grounds and remember when
  • one of my old college friends (the one I visit every summer) is going to come up for it to see me in a triathlon and to hang out around Plymouth too
  • I wanted to get 3 triathlons in this summer and even though I started late with the broken wrist and all this will let me do it.  There is another one in Sept. once again in NH but much farther away and I'm going to stick with 3.  Triathlons aren't cheap.  However next summer I am confident there will be more than 3 triathlons that I will make it to.
  • I spent a lot of money on tri gear (not really - hit some great sales) and it allows me to get more use out of them.
  • I looked at the web site and they had some great t shirts.
  • I'll get one more chance to become a bit more confident in an OWS.
  • I'll get to race on my bike again
  • The run is short and maybe I'll have a better pace
  • Right now my heart is totally with tris so why not make my heart happy?
What in the exercise world is making your heart happy these days?

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Daughter, the Ultra Marathon Winner

I was lucky to be in DC (Virginia) for this race!

It was a quick start and I had to hurry to get out of the way.

It can be as much fun to watch your child compete as it is to compete yourself.  I was fortunate enough to be visiting DC when Emily ran her second ultra marathon.  It actually took place in King's Court, Virginia. I don't know the geography of this area very well but it seemed strange to drive most of the way through Maryland to get there.  The race was in a rural area on rail trails and turned out to be  a distance of 31.9 miles.  It was extremely hot and humid so thank goodness the race started at 6:30.  It started quickly and it was time to go to the first aid station. It was actually an aid station with no aid unless someone brought it for you. There were about 6 of us that tromped through the woods to bring our runners some aid although none of them wanted it at Mile 8.9.
It was easy to see your runner coming from a decent distance.

The other spectators were very helpful and friendly.  It turned out that one of the racers and his wife who watched with me share the same alma matter as I.  They live in North Carolina but knew a lot about Vermont which is unusual.  When Emily went past she was the second woman but not by a lot.
Emily's bright pink top was easy to spot from far away.
Good choice from a spectator's perspective.

I thought she'd stop and regroup but it was a quick grab and off she went.

The next aid station was at mile 19.9 and was quite a drive away, not at all an as the crow flies route.  I followed two other cars to the spot which was a bit tricky as it turned out they drive much faster than I do.  But we made it and I got there in time to see Emily come through it looking strong as the FIRST WOMAN!  She grabbed a Cliff shot and headed out with barely a pause. Would she be able to hold that lead in the heat?  I didn't stay to see when the next woman came in as I was worried about getting back to the end in time.  It seemed like we could but some people had missed their runners at this spot and I didn't want to miss the finish.  Turned out we had plenty of time so once back we found some shade and began our wait.  The winner came in 15 minutes before the next runner. Wow!  There were no fights for the finish line as the early racers came in one at a time on what looked to me like a hot, hard hill to finish on but we could see them coming and there was plenty of time to get ready for pictures.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 men came in and then the 6th runner came and it was my EMILY!  She was the first woman!
Once again you could see your racer coming from a distance, 
especially if they were wearing a pink top and had a pony tail
swinging behind them.

I don't need to quit my day job to become a photographer but
I gave it a try.

Actually there is a small story within this. Another woman came by first as the third racer. The other women watching with me said what I was thinking which is that there was no way she was the first woman. We had not seen her go through either of the aid stations ahead of any of the people she was now way ahead of.  They said I had to find out about it as they were very indignant on Emily's behalf if she was still the first runner.  It turned out she had turned around and finished without doing the whole thing - the race director was completely aware of this so no worries!

Emily was amazing!  Not only was she the first woman, she had set a new course record.  Each of these brought a very sweet cash award!  She was very excited and thrilled with her victory and accomplishment. She kept telling me her running hadn't been going well but man it did this day.  The rest of the day she was starving and working to fill that void. We made our way back to DC and Emily glowed - not just from the heat all day.  Her time was 4:20.  The previous course record was 4:24.  It is the first race she has won and I'm so glad I was here to see it!
Emily accepting her awards!!!

I loved the nail - rather unique.  I'm sure Emily loved
what was in the envelopes the best!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Delightful Birthday

Always one of my favorite sites when you come up 
over a hill to see Lake Champlain spread out before you.

I planned my whole workout week around today. It's my birthday and the only thing I wanted on the docket was a bike ride.  Before I had PF two years ago I only ran but that year I began cycling to keep in shape. I knew shortly after I started that I wasn't going to let cycling drop out  of my life again.  When I broke my wrist early this summer, aside from missing my triathlon my biggest concern was not being able to ride.  When my doctor told me I could bike again, I waited a bit longer to be sure but getting back on my bike was a wonderful thing!

So with the time well planned and the weather cooperating I headed to my favorite cycling spot - the island county in the north western part of my state.  A friend went with me and we took our time and enjoyed every tenth of the 33 miles we cycled.  I took the time to stop and take pictures, have a drink of water or a snack. It was all about........relaxation.
Most of this ride is along the   water.

My friend was worried I would be way ahead of her and she would be holding me back.  People who don't race seem to have a misconception that everyone who races is fast.  Well I'm not and today especially I am so not hurrying!  

The water isn't the only pretty thing on this ride.

On the ferry headed to New York 

The ride in New York is just a short one, 6 miles around a peninsula.  But between the beauty of the ride and the fun of the ferry it is worth it.  While on the ferry you can just enjoy the lake, relax and have a snack.  When you're on the west side you can look back and see Plattsburg and there is a spot where you come around a corner and look out at the lake but you feel like you're looking at the ocean. All you can see is water.
So many people out enjoying the day..

All you can see is water in the distance.

My friend sees that I am not way ahead!

Back on the ferry headed back to Vermont.

Out for dinner last night with my favorite men!

I always love my birthday. Yes, I'm getting older but life keeps getting better and it sure beats the alternative!  This will be my last year in my 50s but this has been a good decade of my life in the working out part and I expect this year to just continue that trend.  So happy birthday to me!