Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend + Kentucky = FUN!!!!

My Memorial Day Weekend was as near perfect as it gets.  I had a relaxing time with my family in Kentucky.  It all started with my much less than perfect trek to KY via a very long, drawn out Delta flight, but then the fun began.  I told my parents to hold off on making the drive to Jordan's until later in the day on Friday so I could have some uninterrupted Brinley time.

Love that she is looking right at me here.
So cute :)
They followed directions pretty well.  However, by mid-afternoon, my whole family was present at Jordan's.  This was the first time we had all been together with Brinley. We all had fun passing her around and waiting for her to wake up so we could pass her around again.  Jordan and Jen even trusted us enough to leave us alone with her for the first time since she was born while they went to run a few errands.
Grandpa got her to sleep.  He is good at that.

Wide awake for some pictures with Auntie :)
Back asleep again with Grandma...
We even took a walk before we went to dinner at one of my favorite spots - Cracker Barrel.  Yum, Yum!  Check out three generations of Heflin women :)

We went to pick up Chris at the airport around 11pm.  Brinley had fallen asleep and I thought he wouldn't be able to see her until the next morning, but when we got back, Jordan had waited up for us.  She was asleep, but Chris held her for a few minutes before we all got ready for bed.

Chris said he didn't think he'd ever held such a newborn before.
The next morning, McKinley arrived bright and early for our Louisville day trip.  We toured Four Roses Distillery (Chris and I are on a mission to complete the KY Bourbon Trail...but that's a post all on its own.) and the Muhammed Ali Museum.  We also met one of my best friends from high school at Chick-fil-A for lunch.  I love that place!!  We had a great time on our little adventure.  Lots of fun,  lots of learning, and lots of advice.

Chris and I gave Jordan another gift before we left for our adventure.

Clearly having a great time :)
Me and Nick....we've been friends FOREVER :)
We were both excited to tour the museum.  Definitely recommend it!
Chris shadowboxing with Ali.  Love it!
That night Jordan grilled out and we had a fun night of relaxation topped off with some homemade ice cream. The guys played Rook until the wee hours of the morning.  On Sunday, we slept in and went to the 11:30am service at Southland.

Daddy got me all dressed up for church.
We had another relaxing day topped off with more delicious food and a movie night.  McKinley snuggled up with me and Chris on the couch :)  We finally saw Haywire, but Chris wasn't too impressed in the end.

Getting more comfortable holding little Brinley :)
Checking out her crazy Uncle!!
All ready for the movies in the icebox basement...
Monday was sad because it was our last day.  It passed by so quickly.  We took an impromptu family photo session right before we left for the airport.  Here are some classics.

Cute little family :)
Sibling shot with screaming Brinley!!
McKinley is hilarious and Brinley is happy to have her paci :)
Gotta love self-timers...turned out GREAT :)
And here's one last picture of me and my cute little niece...I already miss her so much!!

I love you little girl!!!

Andrea :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Meeting Brinley

Meeting Brinley turned out to be more of an adventure that I anticipated.  On Wednesday night, the day before my flight, I packed up my things for the trip more quickly than I may have ever packed for a trip in my life. I was very excited to finally be going back to KY to meet my niece!!  Thursday morning and afternoon seems to drag on and on while I was at work.  Our office is closed on both Friday and Monday for the holiday weekend so for months now I had my trip to KY booked to meet the newest member of our family.  As the months, then weeks, then days passed by, I couldn't get them to go by quickly enough.  Jordan and Jen were great about sending updates, pictures, and videos, but there's nothing like being the only one that hadn't been able to hold that sweet little bundle of joy yet.  I was beyond ready by late Thursday afternoon when I left work.  I rushed home to grab my bags and then trek down to Penn Station for the short LIRR ride to JFK airport. Now, I knew the airport would be busy since it was the holiday weekend, but I never could have imagine the craziness that would ensue from roughly 5:30pm until I finally arrived in Cincinnati just shy of midnight.  Not only did I have to wait 20 (make that 21...thanks, Delta!) long days to see my beautiful, precious, little niece, but then after I rushed to get to the airport I was forced to wait in the security line for nearly an hour before boarding the flight which was roughly an hour late.  After a short run through the torrential downpour with no jacket and no umbrella (hey, it is supposed to be in the 90s in KY all weekend, why would I bother packing either of those two items), I finally boarded the plane only to sit and wait and wait and wait and wait...for a little over 3 hours.  This was torture.  Pure torture.  But eventually, just after 10pm, we took off for Cincinnati.  We landed just before midnight and I can't say I was looking forward to that hour plus car ride back to Lexington, but fortunately, Jordan and Jen had a little surprise for me at the airport - Brinley made the trip...and she even brought her aunt some cupcakes, too :)
My airport pick up sign - Brinley made the drawing on the bottom
My first picture of my niece...sleeping in the car!

Needless to say, all the crazy travel mess was TOTALLY worth it.  The minute I laid eyes on her my heart was so full of joy and happiness.  She is the cutest thing.  I couldn't believe that she was so little.  I just love her to pieces!!
My first time holding Brinley Kate around 2am this morning!!
Once we got home, I was able to hold her for a little while before Jen fed her and I gave her a little gift.  I gave her a little elephant outfit and princess shoes along with an elephant shaped sandwich cutter.  She probably won't be using that for awhile, but I couldn't resist.  After Jordan helped her open the gift, we took a couple of pictures of her in the bag....too cute!
Looking sleepy....
Reading her card...she is clearly uninterested...haha!
Looking a little scared, but still SO cute :)
I can't wait to spend the rest of the long weekend with her...and the rest of my family and Chris!! Contrary to popular belief, they all do still exist.  Well, at least when Brinley's sleeping...haha :)

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!

Andrea :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Race #7

Name: Brooklyn Half Marathon 
Date/Time: Sunday, May 19 at 7am
Location: Prospect Park to Coney Island
Length: 13.1 miles
Bib Number: 20306
Official Time 2:52:55
Average Time per Mile: 13:12

During this race, I truly realized that running 13.1 miles is no joke.  It is a very difficult task.  To be honest, I probably wasn't quite as well prepared as I should have been.  I was ready to run about 10 miles, but 13.1 was tough for me.  This race started for me a couple of days prior to Saturday when I saw that the NYRR had already put out a heat advisory for the race.  They advised runners to be extra hydrated prior to the race along with a slew of other suggestions.  I took heed of many of them, especially the one about being hydrated.  I drank bottle after bottle of water.  This caused me to wake up around 3:30am on race day before my official alarm went off at 5am.  Needless to say I was a bit tired before the roughly 45 minute subway ride to the start just outside of Prospect Park.  Chris and I arrived roughly 7 minutes before the race was set to begin, but I knew I'd be in one of the back corrals so I wasn't too worried about cutting it a little closer than anticipated.  I had time for another quick bathroom break before telling Chris goodbye and heading to my corral.

Chris snapped a quick picture pre-race.
Chris and I had discussed his plans for which miles he would try to make an appearance to cheer me on the night before and again briefly before I headed off to my corral.  He had anticipated being able to make it to miles 2, 5, 7, and the finish.  I was already looking forward to seeing him at mile 2 as I began waiting in the line to start the race.  I was literally at the very back of the 16,000+ pack of racers as we moved toward the start.  I officially began the race with 19:55 on the official race clock.  I had decided about 3 days before the race that I wasn't going to use my self-timer method for the miles in this race because I didn't want to push myself too much initially and tire out too quickly.  However, I started at a steady pace and was surprised to see I ran my first mile in 11 minutes.  Since miles 1-3 were set up in a sort of down and back pattern, I began to look for Chris as soon as I hit that section of the race.  When I didn't see him, I was a little concerned, but thought he might have been delayed and kept telling myself he would surely be there after I made the turn and headed back between mile 2 and 3.  In the midst of all my looking, I did meet two of my friends - Reba and Amanda - on the course. They were roughly a mile or so ahead of me at that point so I saw them just before my 1 mile marker closer to their 3 mile mark.  It was fun to see them especially in the sea of people at that point in the race.  The first part of the course was interesting and exciting because I was fresh and ready to go.  Once I came around to mile 3 and began my trek through Prospect Park and I still hadn't seen Chris, I started to get a little concerned, but convinced myself that I shouldn't be too alarmed unless he was also missing at mile 5.  As I later found out, there was just too much congestion at the start of the race for him to get in a spot where I would really be able to see him and there were just too many people packed together in a small running space for him to be able to find me.  He was there and I definitely passed by him, but we just didn't know it. Reba ended up seeing him at that spot though.  Anyway, back to my entry into the park.  Just prior to entering the park, I hit the 5k mark at 36:24.  I knew I had run the first mile in 11mins and thought the next two were roughly 11:30, but when I saw my time at the 5k I thought two things - 1) I think that might be the fastest I've ever run a 5k...too bad this is a half marathon and 2) I'll definitely be paying for this later in the race.  Regardless, I think I kept my 11:30 pace for the next couple of miles. I have done a few races in Prospect Park so I knew there was one particularly large uphill stretch that I needed to keep on my radar, but I seemed to be breezing right along.  I noticed we had started an incline when I looked up to see Chris and the mile 5 marker.  I was so relieved.  I started waving and then headed over to say hello, get a quick picture, and take a slight, but very needed break from the race.

My posed Mile 5 (almost, but not quite halfway there) picture....

I told Chris then that I thought I had made really good time on the first 5k, but was starting to tire out and knew the last part of the race would be difficult.  We didn't talk too long before I jumped back into the action, but I felt refreshed by seeing him.  He planned to meet me at mile 7 and we determined he would have roughly 20 or so minutes to get there before I came though.  I told him I thought he'd have plenty of time.  I'm not sure how quickly I ran those next two miles, but I know I was happy to have seen him at that point in the race.  I took a very quick port-o-potty break between mile 6 and mile 7 and prepared myself for the toughness and the heat of the straight stretch on Ocean Parkway that was just ahead for me.  I think I took this break just after the 10k mark which I clocked at 1:18:33.  I knew that time was pretty close to the time I had run for my earlier couple of 10k races so I was feeling pretty good about my pace.  At the exit to the park and mile 7, I looked all around for Chris, but he wasn't there yet.  Turns out it took him much longer than we thought to get across the park due to a concert set up and general craziness of the park pathways.  I was relieved when he texted me as I arrived at 8 mile marker that he must have missed me.  I took another quick, but much needed break to text him back my location and that I looked forward to seeing him at the finish.  As I proceed to struggle through the next few miles, Chris jumped on the F train and headed 15 stops to Coney Island. I think when he was telling me that post-race is the moment I realized that 13.1 miles covers some serious ground.  I know I don't ride the subway too often, but if something was 15 stops away, I would most definitely opt to jump on the train rather than walk.  And I pretty much walk everywhere.  Mind you that is 15 stops after running 7 miles.  If I was contemplating not taking the train before, I would FOR SURE take the train under those circumstances.  For some reason, that just totally put some perspective on it for me.  But, back to the race, when not only was I unsure of how many train stops it was on the subway, but I was just concerned about when would be the next time I would see the coveted mile marker signs.  My mental game went totally out the window around mile 9 when I hit the 15k mark at 2:02:10.  My pace had dropped significantly at this point.  I had to take a couple of walking breaks, however short they may have been, to mentally recharge and convince myself that I could in fact finish the race.  I struggled most of the way through miles 9-11, but when I hit the 11 mile marker, I realized I was close enough to the finish that I could make it.  I got a burst of energy and picked my pace back up to what I am guessing was about a 12 to 12:30 pace.  I'm not sure if it was the heat - the official temperature was 58 degrees, but I'm pretty sure it was much hotter by the time I finished - or the race getting to me, but as I hit mile marker 12 I turned to the totally random runner on my right and asked if we had one more mile or two left.  She assured me we had 1 mile left...actually 1.1 mile left, but I told her I'd take the .1 over the 1 any day and kicked up my pace a bit in relief that I was ALMOST there.  I clocked 20k at 2:43:48.  My splits were consistent in the first half and the second half with the first half being splits I was much more proud to claim :)  Regardless, about halfway through that last mile, I began to see signs with Coney Island references.  This was huge.  I knew I was almost there, but when I saw signs and the boardwalk and the crowds of people, I was certain I was almost there.  The last stretch had a lot of crowd support and was actually kind of fun.  With about 400km to go, we entered the boardwalk area and ran the final stretch there.  I started looking for Chris and our two friends - Janet and Loan - that had come down from Albany to cheer me on at the finish.  I was looking so much for them that I almost tripped myself up on the slated boards of the straight stretch to the finish so I went back to concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.  I did manage to look up again just steps before the finish and saw them just in front of the finish line on the right.  I was EXTREMELY happy to see them there.  I took my last steps crossing the finish with just under 3:12:52 on the race clock.  

Great action shot taken by Loan at the finish!
With my math skills being as poor as they are, this lead me to believe that I somehow set a PR.  However, I was thinking that I officially finished in around 2:43 rather than my actual time of just under 2:53.  Anyway, it was kind of fun to think that I had done so well for an hour or so.  Who knows, maybe next time I actually will do that well :)  After the race, I met up with my race support crew for some pictures before we made the hour long trek back to the city for brunch.  Take a look.

So happy and relieved...only 2 more races to go!!
My amazing boyfriend who woke up super early and searched all over the park for mile markers to support me for this race just because he knew how much it meant to me for him to be there!
Two of my Albany favorites - Janet and Loan.  Thanks for coming down to cheer me on!! :)

It will be a long time before I subject myself to the insanity of a half marathon again.  And before I do, I will be certain to be well prepared because I know that makes a big difference.  Even though it was torture on my mind and body at the time, I did enjoy the race.  I liked the course (well, the 5 miles of straight nothingness was a big much, but otherwise...).  I had a great sense of accomplishment after the race which was a very good feeling.  However, this race did make me realize how crazy I am for thinking a full marathon is a good idea, but all I know is that it is on my bucket list and I'd rather knock it out sooner than later. In all seriousness though, I think it will be a great experience for me. It will likely be one of the most difficult things I will have ever done.  Actually, I am already certain of that.  But with that being said, having this race behind me, I have two left to qualify for the craziness that will be NYC Marathon 2013.  Stay tuned... 

Andrea :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My friend Emily and I recently went to see the broadway show Memphis.  We had a great time catching up over lunch and cheesecake (yummy!!) at Juniors before heading next door for the show.  The musical numbers in the show are truly fantastical (this is not a'll have to go see the show for a full appreciation of the term).  The entire cast is very talented!!  The story is set in the 1950's in Memphis.  It spotlights both the changing music industry of the time and the struggles of an interracial couple to be free to love one another without having to keep it a secret from the world.  I enjoyed the show, but a couple of scenes were difficult to watch for me.  I know that things aren't perfect for interracial couples these days, but things sure have come a very long way in the past 50+ years.  My hope is that the world continues to grow and mature in this area to the point where race and ethnicity truly doesn't matter anymore.  I believe that things will continue to get better and better in this area, but off my soapbox and back to the show.  I was a little surprised by the way it ended.  I won't give it away because I definitely recommend you all go see the show as soon as possible!!  It was definitely worthwhile...especially since we got tickets for $29.50 - what a steal!

Let me know your thoughts if you are able to go check it out!!

Andrea :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Counter

A few months ago now, my friend Mary and I decided to try out a new restaurant - The Counter.  We weren't sure what to expect prior to our dinner date, but we came away particularly impressed.  The idea is that you can build your own burger.  They have a checklist with types of bread/buns, meats (they even have a turkey burger option), toppings, sauces, etc.  You can choose the items that you would like from a whole slew of options.  If you know me at all, you know that the 3 times I have been there, I have had the same thing every time.  However, those accompanying me have tried a variety of things and all were very pleased.  I get the burger pictured below with pineapple and cranberries (pickles on the side) on a bun.  Very good stuff!!  When mom and dad visited recently, we tried a couple of the appetizers.  I can't speak for the onion straws (yucky onions!!), but the fried pickles were delicious!!  Here is some photo evidence from my second stop at The Counter with Chris.

The milkshakes were tasty!!

Sweet Potato Fries - you can definitely share the double portion!!

*Note: It is a bit pricey, especially for burgers, but it is a great experience for an out of towner or for a fun date night!!

Let me know your thoughts if you try it out!!

Andrea :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Race #6

Name: Japan Run
Date/Time: Sunday, May 13 at 8am
Location: Central Park
Length: 4.0 miles
Bib Number: 7325
Official Time: 50:12
Average Time per Mile: 12:33

Well...I made it and even 2 seconds per mile faster than yesterday.  That in itself is a small miracle considering how painful it was for me to run those first three miles. The first mile was ok, but I knew it was going to be a long race when I hit that mile marker just after my 12 min timer expired on the iPhone.  Knowing the second mile is the most flat on the course, I attempted to pick up my pace, but was only able to maintain it with my timer going off again just prior to the mile marker.  I braced myself for a very long and hilly third mile.  It lived up to my expectations.  I'd say I likely hit that mile marker at somewhere around 13 minutes.  I really wanted to improve on my mile time from yesterday, but at that point I wasn't sure it was going to be possible.  Fortunately, God answered my prayers to help me get to the end of the race and my body finally kicked into gear.  I picked up my pace considerably in Mile 4.  Maybe I just needed to get warmed up.  There were portions of that mile where I was truly amazed that I could be moving so quickly at that point.  I couldn't have been happier or more relieved when I saw the turn to the finish.  I also actually saw my co-worker, Jennifer, just prior to the finish.  I believe she must have been doing her +1 volunteer experience.  She gave me an encouraging high five before my last few strides to the finish.  My friend, Reba, had waited for me at the finish so it was nice to see another familiar face there after such an exhausting race.  Overall, I learned a valuable lesson for myself today - back to back race days are not for me!  Not only was I sore, but I was exhausted from getting up at 6:30am on back to back days.  The getting up early might have been the worst part actually.  I did not want to get out of bed this all!!  It did help that it seemed cooler today.  The weather was officially 63 degrees, but the sun was hiding behind clouds or something because it did not feel very hot at all.  There was actually a bit of a breeze at various points on the course.

Check back next week to see how the Brooklyn Half Marathon goes for me.  I know I can survive the race, but I hope to maintain a consistent pace.  Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for me on this one!!  I'm mostly looking forward to moving one race closer to the end.  Stay tuned... 

Andrea :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Race #5

Name: UAE Healthy Kidney
Date/Time: Saturday, May 12 at 8am
Location: Central Park
Length: 6.2 miles
Bib Number: 10065
Official Time: 1:18:05
Average Time per Mile: 12:35
Looking tired, but ready to run :)
This was my first race of the year where I really felt the sun beating down on me.  Fortunately, I remembered to put sunscreen on my face prior to leaving my apartment!  The official temperature was 55 degrees, but it felt much hotter out there!  It was just a relief to hit a patch of pavement that was shaded!! Regardless of the weather, I survived the run.  I decided prior to the race that I was going to run in honor of a couple of people I know that have faced (Edna Bates) and still face (Ben Bugbee) kidney issues.  This alone helped power me through a few stretches of the course!  I know how difficult it was and still is for them to deal with everything they face as a result of their kidney issues.  I didn't officially raise funds for the cause, but I did make a personal donation and would encourage you to do the same.  The link to donate to the National Kidney Foundation is here

I felt pretty good as I started the race.  My goal was to run under 12 minute miles.  According to my iPhone timing method, I managed to be just under 12 minutes at each of the first three mile markers.  My official 5k split was 37:20 so I think my timing was pretty accurate.  The first half of the course is also particularly more challenging because that is where all the hills lie so I was pretty pleased with myself as I hit that 5k marker.  I'm not sure what happened after that though.  Maybe I was dehydrated or maybe I had just exhausted myself on the first half of the course, but I noticed a bit of a drop in pace even though I was still trying my best to hit the mile markers at 12 minutes.  At mile marker 4, I was about 15-20 seconds over 12 minutes.  Miles 5 and 6 were closer to 13 minute miles.  I was pretty tired when I crossed the finish to the open arms of my very encouraging friend, Amanda!  I didn't think too much about my time at that point, but as I reflect on it now I am hoping that my slower pace was due to my lack of running this week because of the rainy weather and a work trip.  I will have to be better about that this week.  I will have to walk a fine line between preparing myself and not overdoing it as I have the Brooklyn Half coming up next Saturday.  I am confident I will finish that race, but I was hoping to clock consistent 12 minute miles for it.  That race will be on a much more flat course, but my timing issues in this race don't make that goal look too promising at this point.  Either way, finishing a race is still finishing a race and I am happy to have run for such a great reason today.

Happy to have another race under my belt!!
Here's hoping I make it through all four miles at Race #6 tomorrow!  Stay tuned...

Andrea :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Competitiveness = Love

Chris and I had never been bowling together until recently.  We are very competitive so we have taken our turn at competing in many various sports.  It all began about three months into our relationship when we were set to make a trip to Pittsburgh for me to meet some of his close college friends.  We were meeting the group at a Dave and Buster's.  Chris and I had discussed for weeks beforehand the terms and conditions for a basketball game we intended to play there.  We both had every intention of holding nothing back for this game.  I am happy to announce that I won...2 out of 3.  I was challenged to best of five at that point, but decided to stop while I was ahead.  Since then we have played mini-golf (twice...I lost both times), a real game of basketball (loser again, but I had just run roughly 3 miles prior to the game so you have to take that into account), tennis (loser by all stretches of the imagination...unfortunately), and another round of best of three at Dave and Buster's in Times Square (victorious...FINALLY!!).  But in all that time, no bowling...which might have been a good thing for me in the end.  Chris not only definitely beat me, but he also did particularly well in our second least until the flashing disco lights came on in the bowling alley around the end of that game.  Here are a few pictures from our fun bowling night with some friends.

I think he got a spare on this bowl actually.
Game 1...Eddie wins, the rest of us are getting warmed up :)
Game 2...Chris destroys us all with his awesome score!
Game 3...Loan brings home a victory for the ladies :)
Group shot at the end of the night :)
On the way home, Chris challenged me to another best of three at Dave and Buster's which is perfect because I'm definitely slated for a victory soon!!

*Side Note: I also learned the game of darts this same weekend.  Chris beat me in all three games we played, but it should be noted that I came just shy of closing in on a win in two of those games AND it was my first time EVER playing.  Just thought I'd throw that in for good measure!!

Andrea :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Race #4

Name: Run As One
Date/Time: Sunday, April 29 at 8:30am
Location: Central Park
Length: 4.0 miles
Bib Number: 10611
Official Time: 46:17
Average Time per Mile: 11:35

Upon checking my official race time on Sunday afternoon I proclaimed, "I can't believe it!!  I SET A PR!!"  Chris was very happy to hear I did well, but I'm not sure he initially realized how shocked and amazed I was by this feat.  I knew I could do it (run under 12 minute miles), but I wasn't sure I would be able to do it so soon or by so much!!  Two things were critical in this accomplishment - the weather was almost perfect for a run (sunny, but 45 degrees with very little wind or humidity) and two of my friends slowed their pace significantly to encourage and motivate me to push myself to my full capacity.  I am very proud of myself for pushing through the pain to attempt to keep the pace they were setting for me.  Run as One was a truly fitting theme for this race :)
Chris has really perfected the pre-race pic :)
The race itself was the exact course I had run in Race #2 so I was familiar with it and might even go as far as to say comfortable with it as I had a good run that day as well.  The first mile we just trudged through at a steady pace.  When we hit the mile marker, Reba asked if I took note of our pace and I indicated I believed we ran that mile in just under 12 minutes.  Reba said we should try to pick up our pace on the next section of the course since it was mostly flat/downhill.  I managed to do that as we finished that mile in roughly 11 minutes.  Mile 3 is the most hilly and was my most difficult.  Reba and Amanda kept a good pace, but had to slow up and wait for me to catch up a few times. I was very glad they stuck it out and stayed with me because I know that I would have fallen significantly off pace at this point without their support.  The hills were a beast and I was exhausted especially knowing there was still a full mile left on the back end of those hills.  Reba stopped off for a restroom break at the end of mile 3 and in all the discussion, I totally missed the mile marker there.  Amanda continued to encourage me every step of the way that last mile...and I totally needed it!!  I was completely exhausted at that point.  I was so very relieved when we saw the turn for the home stretch.  I picked up my pace then and headed across the finish looking for Chris (who I was so thankful to see at the end of such a draining race) and vaguely noticing the time at 58 something.  I remembered us starting at 12 something so I knew I had done pretty well, but I was too worn out to try to do much figuring outside of that.  I knew I had run under 12 minute miles, but I had no idea it was that much under.  When I saw my official time, I really was surprised and then very excited because since Race #1 (recall the 13+ pace), it has been my goal to get down to a roughly 11:30 pace.  I know I will have to work to keep myself on track with this pace, but I believe I can do it.  The test will come over the course of my next few races when I don't have my friends running with me.
Thanks, again!! Couldn't have done it without you :)
I'm attempting to conquer back to back race days this coming weekend.  That will definitely be an adventure...stay tuned!

Andrea :)