Boston Marathon Eve & Expo

A few apologies for all the typos and horrible ramblingB of my last post. B That was horrible writing even for me (and that’s saying a lot since my normal writing is about as a good as an engineering exchange student). B I was in a rush and wanted to post my thoughts.

I haven’t been taking the smartest steps in the past 3 days. B In the words of my Daily Mile friend:

I didn’t run Friday or Saturday and with the stress of having my parents and their dog visit me, my mind and body was craving a run. B Craving! B A short 3-miler turned into 10.3.

I did make a few smart decisions on Saturday. B I went to the expo early. B Okay, correction I tried to go to the expo early but mixed up the Boston Convention center with the World Trade Center also at the Seaport. B I cursed a little at my wasted quarters in the meter and finally made it to the correct location by 8:45.

Got my number (all the way in the back of the expo since I’m starting never (aka 3rd wave). B It was quick and easy. B Awesome part was that for T-shirts they had XS for women. B THANK YOU BAA! B Nothing angers me more than race swag that doesn’t realize that runners are small and we can’t run in giant snuggys.

The expo was pretty busy at 8:45 and by 10AM it was swamped and I left. B I didn’t have time or patience to play Runner Groupie so I can’t report on seeing any of my runningB heroes or anything cool like that.

The coolest exhibit/vendor was Brooks. B They had a heaven theme. B I’m sorry that me and Brooks running shoe didn’t work out but I still love them. B Those guys always go all out! B I took a picture running with Abe Lincoln and Gandhi! B Super cool! B At the DC Marathon, they had a carnival theme and I got to play skeeball! B If you’re ever at a running expo, hit up Brooks.

I have a real camera I carry everywhere and yet I always end up using my iPhone with one hand out of laziness. B Yes, my goal is to make everyone dizzy with my blurry photos.

I don’t think there was anything too impressive from the vendors. You had your usual head bands and compression stuff B with all the usual running shoe company giants. B I was on a search for a technical version of my Old Navy tank top (I hate having my chest confined because the sweat makes me break out, I know charming, you welcome). B I needed a tank with a pocket but all the ones I saw at the expo were either fugly or were too constraining near the neck/chest area. B I guess I’ll just carry my chomps in my handheld. B Ladies, what are your favorite running tops? B My running skirt has no pockets either =(.

I did wear my new ProCompression socks all day Saturday. B Yes my parents and everyone else around me gave me some looks.

And a funny picture of the Day:

Tony put the Dog on top of Jack’s favorite stumping ground. B Needless to say, Jack was not amused and jumped up to kick Rocky of the bureau. B Yes it’s been fun making sure the kitten and the puppy don’t kill each other while my parents were visiting. B You can see why I was craving that 1o-miler now =).

Time for my charity team dinner!

I am not deferring and neither should you!

As all the runners keep refreshing their weather app (or website), we all moan a little when the high of 88 degrees doesn’t seem to budge (in fact in only went up from 86).

The BAA has been on constant email alert letting runners know that if they chose they can defer their qualification time until 2013. B It also basically told us that unless you’re very fit (whatever that means) please don’t run. That is a nice offer since for a lot of people who are not fortunate enough to live in Boston or who worked their tails off to qualify, might not always have a chance. B However, I think if you’re already living or visiting Boston and you don’t have any medical conditions I think you should still go for the race.

Here’s the reasons why I’m not deferring and neither should you

1. Not every race will be a PR and that’s okay! Many things will impact your personal best and weather is one of them. B Just because a race or a run is not going to be your best doesn’t mean it’s a worthy run.

2. BAA is not offering refunds, so you might as well try to run it! B Or turn it into a $150 walk ($300 for charity runners),

3. You’ve trained for this, I’ve trained for this and you should put it towards something. B All those 4 hour weekend runs, all those given up weekend morning sleeping ins foiled to the blare of an alarm clock. B Lets make sure that was not for nothing. B Sincerely as written by the bags under my eyes.

4. You’ve fundraised (if you’re a charity runner). B Most charity runners had toB fund-raiseB $6,000 for theB privilegedB of running the Boston Marathon. B They worked hard and their friends and family are behind them. B They will still be there whether you finish in 4 hours or 6 hours, so don’t despair! B This is a reminder to myself as well and all my amazing friends that contributed to myB my charity. B I amB surroundedB by some amazing individuals and I am very fortunate.

5. You earned your right to be on the course! B Don’t give it up. B You earned your right to take as much time as you need to complete the course! Don’t give it up. B And I know by the end of the day, you and I can finish and I’ll see you at the finish line.

With all the reasons of why I’m running, I’m still going to take a few extra precautions.

1. I’m carrying my own water. I know there’s water on the course every mile or so but I don’t know how busy it’ll be at each station and if I get desperately thirsty in between two miles. B I want to be prepared so I’m bringing my own water with a Nuun (electrolyte) tab in it. B I plan to refill it at water stations as I drink it.

2. I’m changing my running outfit and going for bareB minimum. B Sorry no compression socks for 88 degree weather, no matter how cute my new baby blue argyles look.

3. I am slowing down. Sadly this won’t be my sub 3:20 race but luckily I’ll have plenty of other races in the future to be my best (time). B Most likely I’ll finish in 4 hours maybe more with some walking involved and that’s okay. Running is more than just being your fastest. B It’s about enjoying the state of being. B Enjoy the spectators. B Enjoy the course, you’re taking part in history! B Soak in the scene and remind yourself of all the reasons you love running.

Good luck everyone! B I hope to see you all in the athlete’s village and the finish line ! B If you’re running, say hi to me. B I’ll need some company while I wait 2 hours at the village. B My number isB 25077. B I’ll be starting out in the back of the pack, but worry not, I’ll catch up ;).

Relaxing & Saucony Panel event.

I’ve been taking it easy as the final days of tapering are coming in.

Thursday final 6 miles at an easy pace in 51 minutes

Friday I decided my legs felt tired and decided to opt for a 10 mile elliptical session in 55 minutes.

After work I hit up the Saucony Running Panel I mentioned before. B It was pretty inspiring to hear other runners and their stories.

There was a beautiful video montage dedicated toB B Caballo Blanco (Micah True) B with some words from Ultra Marathoner Luis Escobar.

Afterwards Mark Herzlick of NY Giants told us how he found his strong through running

Followed by Karen Smyers, a triathlete told her story. Voted most likely to get eaten by a shark by Sport’s Illustrated, B she was quite adorable and cute. B I think she might be more accident prone then me!

Bill Rodgers followed Karen. B I think he had a mild ADD attack. B He was originally going to give us tips on finishing the marathon but instead told us all the times and places he DNF on the course. B I guess it was comforting to hear that even Boston Marathon winners and Olympic qualifiers sometimes just call it quits.

A very short Q&A

Afterwards the main event opened up.

The event was calledB Find your StrongB and I personally find all my strong at the bottom of a wine glass or three.

Followed by a visit to the coolest bathroom ever:

My parents are visiting with their dog so we had a situation:

Jack meet Rocky, Rocky meet Jack… please be friends.

Do you have pets? B Cats? Dogs? Both?

Frogs Legs and Trail Racing

A couple of days ago, I asked Tony how’d he feel about driving me 2 hours south to Rhode Island so I can do another marathon two days before Boston. B He responded absolutely not. B Puppy dog teary eye didn’t work on him so I gave up. B Luckily, that didn’t deter me too much. B Instead I looked up other events in the area. B I signed up for a half May 12th that we’ll run together. B However, something loomed in the back of my mind.

Eureka! B I suddenly remembered that a dailymiler friend of mine was doing a marathon at the end of April. B I initially looked at it and decided not to do it because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from Boston (before I became the crazy addict I currently am just a few weeks later). B This race is the TARC Spring Classic.

Much to my disappointment the race was sold out (with only a $20 registration fee who can blame them); however, there was a waitlist. B Its also only 20 minutes out of Boston! B I signed up for that, and somehow signed up for the 50K instead of the marathon. B Whats a few more miles right? B I can crawl them! B Besides it was just a waitlist, I didn’t really expect space to open up.

Today, I got an email saying I’m off the waitlist and to confirm that I’m still interested. B Of course! B Who doesn’t view a 50K as the best way you can spend a Saturday morning.

So now, a month after running my first marathon, I’m doing my first Ultra as well as my first trail race. B My Daily Mile friend said the course is fairly flat and not that trail intense. B I’m putting my trust in her and hoping I don’t lose a limb on this excursion.

My work cafeteria gets creative sometimes and decided to serve something new:

Yup, frog butts in cream sauce. B It was french cuisine and that was what was in the hot station. B I guess they ran out of chicken?

Some more running motivation borrowed from Runner’s World. B I’m slowly catching up on my long list of magazines to read.

If this guy can do it at 81, me and my 25 year old bag of bones have no excuse!

I’m still amazed that until 1972 females were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon. B Nina and other runners like her are an inspiration to us all!

Have you ever ran a trail race? B Whats the biggest difference? B How should I prepare? B I know I’ll have to carry my own fuel belt and I might get some less slipper sneakers. B Any tips?

Some cool Boston Marathon events

Today I ran 12 miles, two times of 6 miles each. B Two more miles than the B planned 10 but I felt too good to not run. B Taper be damned! B But I kept them at incline 2 and at whatever speed I felt comfortable at!

I wish I could attend every Boston Marathon weekend event but with my parents visiting this weekend and Tony and I closing on a house I’ll have to keep my Boston Marathon event and expo visit short and sweet. B However, on Friday I’m going to attend this event courtesy of Saucony.

Friday, April 13th, 6:30-10:30pm
The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont Street)

Hors dboeuvres & beverages, including beer/wine will be provided (woot dinner!)

Kick-off your Boston Marathon experience with Saucony. Hear inspiring stories of strong from all-star panel of athletes:

B7 Bill Rodgers: 4X winner Boston & NYC Marathon
(Find Your Strong in the Boston Marathon)
B7 Karen Smeyers: 3X world triathlon champion and Ironman Kona champion. (Passion, Perseverance & Perspective)
B7 Mark Herzlich: 2012 NFL Super Bowl Champion, Boston College All-American. (Up Yours Cancer! The Fighting Spirit in Us All)
Moderated by Sharon Barbano: National race commentator, 1984 US Olympic Marathon trials competitor; V.P., Public Relations, Saucony

A special tribute in memory of Caballo Blanco, mythic hero of Born To Run, will be given by Luis Escobar, his close friend and a renowned ultra-marathoner.

Runners are invited to try Sauconybs award-winning line of footwear; coaches and treadmills available for one-on-one coaching.

Registration is only $5 and goes completely to charity so sign up here

I also spent some time trolling the Running world forums for tips here’s a few I stole from the noble wise men and women of the forum. B Most are either direct quotes orB paraphrasedB directly from others. B My thoughts are inB bold italics.B

  • Take a roll of Duct Tape to athletes village (AV).B Use it to reinforce the seams of your checked bag and tape it shut before you hand it in.B Bags have been known to split on people.
  • Take a black sharpie and print your bib number on your gear check bag in a few places. Even though you’ll be putting your bib number sticker on the bag I have found that having your number in more than one place speeds up bag pickup!
  • Wear sunscreen. B I can’t stress this enough. B The race starts at 10am and the sun will by high in the sky the entire race. B If you’re in the 3rd wave like me, you won’t start until 10:40 and might become a lobster before the fnish.B
  • Take some plastic (or pool raft, or cheap air mattress) to sit / lay on in AV.B The grass is often wet and you want to sit down. Not sure where I’ll be getting a raft, maybe a giant garbage bag to nap on.
  • Speaking of AV, it might rain Sunday or Monday, and I heard the grass stays wet, you’ll be waiting there a while before the race starts. B I read some people bring old shoes to wear before the start that they’re okay with donating.
  • The walk from athletes village to the start line is about a mileb&.make sure you leave with enough time to get to the start line and use the portolets.
  • The line for the portolets at the start line (Colellabs market) is usually pretty long.
  • Bring extra toilet paper, baby wipes and everything that makes you feel great. B Cleanliness is godliness…
  • Take the BAA busses to AV, you will have fun talking to the person who you randomly sit with, you wonbt have to worry about getting there on time, and the sight of all the runners boarding theB busesB at the Commons is pretty cool.
  • Right after you crest Heartbreak hill you will come to this massive downhill, hold back or you will pay.B ItB isn’tB called the graveyard mile just because it runs by a graveyard.
  • High-five all the kids you will see on the course.B I hate kids but people seem to enjoy this. B The spectators at this race are beyond incredible.
  • When you make that last left onto Boylstonb&..be prepared for itb&.it is awesome!
  • When you cross the finish line, pass directly under one of the clocks, look up at the media platform that runs across the length of Boylston Street — where the Marathon Foto photographers are taking pictures — and give the victory pose of your choice for a great finisher’s photo. B And whatever you do, DO NOT reach across your chest to turn off your stopwatch or you’ll block your bib and wind up spending hours combing through the lost and found photos.
Weekend & Expo Tips
  • You wonbt like driving in Bostonb&.do as little of it as you have to.B The subway works great and is easy to use.B There is a 7 day unlimited use pass that is very reasonable in price. B Its $15, but personally I think you can walk everywhere unless you’re trying not to tire out your legs
  • There is a very cheap (on the weekend) parking garage under the Boston Commons.B The entrance is off Charles street about halfway through the park. B Although if you’re in the metro area, take the T
  • There are free posters in the Adidas booth of the expo with every runnerbs name on it.B Make sure you get oneb&.only take oneb&.they run out.
  • Try your shirt on when you pick it up, they will exchange it for you, if they can, if itB doesn’tB fit.
  • Go watch the BAA 5k and the mile races Sunday morning. Desiree Davila (second place Olympic marathon trials) will be there, and it is really neat to see the pro and scholastic mile races.B Impressive stuff, and free entertainment.
  • If you want a good picture under the finish line Sunday morning before the races is a good time.B The road is closed and everything is there. (I’m not sure this is true?)
  • If you drive home after the race wear your new shirt or jacketb&.wave to all the other runners you will see on the road doing the same. (I have no desire on buying stuff, registration fee was high enough, but if you do, flaunt it!)

I think I got a plan and the best microwave meal ever

I’m starting to enjoy tapering. B For example I took a6 mile run on incline 2 with no pace goal other than feeling comfortable. B It ending up being only slightly slower than my tempo run speed.

However with the lack of mileage and fear of trying anything new (I don’t want to be sore for Boston) I tried to adjust my diet accordingly. B I tried to eat like my co-workers with calories and control in mind. B I tried, but I failed.

I substitutedB my muffin + 3 cups of peanut buttered oatmeal for this:

Ignore that giant ball of cream cheese, it’s there for calcium

Lunch I tried again to be normal

Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean with Rice! B Although not nearly enough food, I have to admit this was my favorite microwave meal for under $4. B It’s under 250 calories, but that doesn’t mean much if you consume an equal amount of 250 calories bag of trail mix. B I liked how the sauce was cooked separately in that steamer thing leaving my food not that least bit soggy.

The plan for the rest of the week is

Wednesday 10 miles

Thursday 6 miles

Friday rest/cross training

Sunday easy 4

This should leave me for a total of 25 miles for the week and then the marathon!

Any suggestions for healthy lunches? B I’m bored of salads and I’m not eating to run this week. B Therefore, I will be trying to keep my apetite in check to the limited level of activity.

What mankind stole, nature took back until both learned to work together

This is what the High Line in NYC reminds me off. B I find the history and the creativity of this park one of my favorite parts of NYC or at least Manhattan. B Others, between locals and tourists agree as we all walk, sit and bask in the sun.

What is the high line? It is a 1-mile linear parkB on a 1.45-mileB section of the former elevated NYC subway tracks that ran along the lower west side.

Basically it went from this:

To this:

This is where my family and I spent a Sunday afternoon before my luxury Chinatown bus ride back to Boston.

But first Rocky and I had a walk once we both left the couch

We strolled for 1.5 miles before both our tongues were hanging from thirst.

B

We came prepared with snacks of course. B Walking 1.5 miles there and back is hard work.

We looks down upon the city

and forward

After conquering the 3 mile round trip walk, we made our way down to Chelsea Market. B I was originally set on finding Fro-Yo but got distracted by a bakery.

What started with a taste of the olive bread roll, ended with 4 more rolls including a rosemary yellow raisin fennel roll, a pumpernickel roll and a walnut oat roll. B I guess I started the carb-loading process a week early. B If you’re interested in more carb porn, I got the photo fromB this blog. B Needless to say I never found my froyo place.

A day of family and Azerbaijan food…

That was how I spent myB Saturday. However today was Monday and boy was that rough. B After a weekend of friends and family, sleep was hard to come by Sunday night. B I almost dosedB off at my desk today knocking my coffee over.

I’ve fully went into taper mode so no running today. B Instead after dragging my sleepy self off my desk, I did 10.5 Miles on the hands-less elliptical (crossramp?) for 55 minutes instead. B I was going to skip working out all together but I’ve become so used to this marathon training routine that not working out now feels foreign.

But back to Saturday. B We celebrated this guy’s birthday.

We went toB Caucasus Gadens, a AzerbaijanB restaurant. B Although a former member of the Soviet Union, the cuisine is closer to Middle Eastern/Turkish style than to eastern European.

We started with some salads.

Objor Salad – In case you’re curious beef tongue, carrots, horse radish with fried onions on top.

I passed on the beef tongue and opted for a Shepherd salad

Kharcho – Traditional Georgian soup made with pieces of lamb, rise, dill, garlic, tomatoes, and celery. B Tony and IB splitB the soup until he dripped some into my eyeball, I got cranky and that was the end of that.

The entrees came and we all got busy with eating of our own and each other’s plate.

My brother and his beefB stroganoff

I sat on the boys’ side of the table. My brother, me, some smelly kid I’m dating (JK) and my uncle.

Although we both live in Boston now, I don’t see this guy often enough <3.

I got the Lamb kabobs

Tony got the chicken kabobs and we had a glorious plan of sharing. B I then took all the leftovers and had a great second meal on the bus, but that’s a different story.

After our lunch we took a walk and played with the duckies in Prospect park. B It what cool New Yorkers do.

It was 60 degrees but my mom didn’t get the memo and I guess in her mind and jacket was still in Siberia.

I found some sleepy duckies that I later woke up

They were a little camera shy and ran away from me. However, Tony and I love photos!

We wrapped up family day by having some pastries from a random Italian bakery at my Grandmother’s house and coffee.

Yes the tiramisu cup was amazing. B However, the other pastries were nothing to write home about.

Overall a perfect day of Family dining, walking and more eating. B Afterwards Tony and I went out to visit some of my high school friends. B I found myself somehow staying up til 3AM which is way past my Boston/Marathon training bedtime but well worth it. B I am quite a lucky gal 🙂

How do you spend time with your family? B Do you live close to your parents? B Mine are a 5 hour drive away so I don’t see them often enough. B Tony’s are upstairs of our apartment and once we move to our new hour will be a mile away.

New York 20-Miler

Reporting to you from the first class seat of Fung Wah bus (a cheap bus that travels from Chinatown NYC to Chinatown Boston).

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Sadly flights were only cheap going to NYC but coming back I had to settle for good old Chinatown bus service. Perks include no advance ticket purchase required with always a bus available within an hour. Perfect for those lazy family Sundays where you go with the flow. Other perks include a luxury rest stop at a McDonalds where I get to fulfill my monthly fast food requirement. Plus I’m a slight addict to their Mixed Berry smoothie. It can be quite refreshing on those hot packed and full of yelping babies bus rides.

This weekend aside from family time, I forced in a 20 miler. I left my parents’ house at 8:30 AM; earliest I ever left for a run yet. I think it helps that NYC is 12 degrees warmer than Boston. I was planning on having a great tempo run at an average 8 minute pace; however, that did not happen for a mixed amount of reasons. My average pace ended up being 8:45, but it was still a great run. It reminded me of why I love Brooklyn and the diversity of New Yorkers.

Mile 1 was ran through the streets of my parents’ neighborhood before I reached my running path. I think it’s official name might be Shore Parkway but I’ve known it as Caesar’s Bay. The first mile wasn’t fun. Every intersection had a light and angry drivers even at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. I breathed a sigh of relief when I made it to the running trail without getting run over by a car or an old Asian man on a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Mile 2-5.5 sucked. My sigh of relief was quickly interrupted with a slap across my face by the wind. I thought I faced some windy days on my Boston runs. However the wind of my woody runs are nothing compared to running along the shore of the Atlantic ocean. Every second felt like my face was getting beaten. I contemplated going back to the sidewalks of Brooklyn, but I wanted to finish my 20 miles sometime before the sun set and the stop lights and cars would have made that difficult.

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Luckily as I ran along in my fight against the wind I had a few things to keep me company. For one these school of duckies. Another was the image of the Verrazano Bridge. I have lived near this bridge for 10 years. I ran this path probably a total of 3 times (and only more recently since I started this running addiction). However I have walked it hundreds of times; some summers it was a daily ritual with friends, family or boyfriends and dates. I grew up with this path and being on it is always a sentimental moment. I learned how to rollerblade here, ride a bike and even had my first kiss here.

Before I knew it, I was at the end of the trail. okay that’s a lie the wind was making me very aware of each minute I spent running. I checked RunKeeper and saw I only had 5.28 miles down. Blast! 15 to go, this was going to take forever! My mind recoiled.

I took a moment or two at the pier and waved to Manhattan.

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Mile 6-8 flew by! I had turned around and was no longer going against the wind. I picked up speed going at a sub 8 minute pace. I decided to stop at halfway point and instead of going all the way to the start and doing two big loops I broke them up.

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Mile 9-11 was once again against the wind. I ran this way because had I ran all the way to the start I don’t know if I could have mental strength to convince myself to do another straight 5 miles against the wind.

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Mile 12-13 were again fast miles as I ran back towards under the bridge.

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Mile 14-16 were also fast miles heading towards the beginning of my trail. It was past 10am by now and fellow Brooklynites were joining me. You had your regular athletic young adults, the older less fit joggers with their water belts and a few things I don’t see in Boston. I love how so many types of people share and coexist. You have your older Russian and Italian men in their bright windbreaker track suits running along with the slow old Asian ladies and their tai chi and random others just doing their workout without a care of what it looks like.

As I stood at the start of my trail at mile 16 part of me wanted to call it good enough and head home however the more stubborn part reminded me I only had 4 miles left. That’s 3 on the trail and 1 on the streets. The OCD part agreed and so I ran back out for 1.5 miles taking some more face slapping and to wrap it up back home. As I ran through my childhood neighborhood for my last mile I appreciated each street light for an excuse for me to stop every other minute.

How did your run go this weekend?

Happy Passover and my Dad’s birthday

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I’m currently in NYC visiting my parents for my Dad’s birthday and Passover.
Me and my brother hoarded our pennies and got my father an IPad3. We figured he earned it for living half a century.

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But worry not I spent majority of the day treating myself. After my regular 3 cups of peanut butter oatmeal I decided I can do longer say no to the cinnamon swirl in the cafeteria; because I’m worth it.

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Lunch were free work sandwiches from Roast Beast. Fridays are awesome!

I got a lunch run in. 6 miles at incline 2 with moderate effort. I decided to not try to hard because I was planning a 20 miler while I’m in Brooklyn (recap later but I love running in NY. The run was everything I love about New Yorkers).

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I didn’t have good Friday off but the office did close at 3pm so it’s better than nothing. I took a 6pm flight out of Boston and by 7:10 was in JFK.

Once I got to my parents house I dug through their leftovers for food. Travels makes me hungry even if I’m just sitting.

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Piroshki! Cabbage and meat!

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Pickles a requirement.

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Wrap up with some zucchini mushroom potato pancakes.

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Always room for desert of some matzo raisin dried fruit and nut concoction. Yes I’m a master at eating my own weight in one meal.

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Wrapping up with some cuddle from Rocky and Tony