Volunteering at IMWI

I’ve been asked why I put forth so much time + effort to volunteer at races when I’m not a participant. That is such an easy answer…I do it because I LOVE IT! I LOVE supporting other, I LOVE the energy that surrounds race day, and I LOVE seeing the joy radiate from the athletes when they achieve something they once thought was impossible. I LOVE watching them cross that finish line and all the emotions that come with it!

Last weekend, I volunteered to be the captain of the women’s change area at Ironman Wisconsin and a few myths came about throughout the day that I want to take a few minutes to dispel.

  1. “I didn’t know that the volunteers moved all of our gear. I thought paid Ironman employees did all of this and that it was just magically done when we finished the race.” As an athlete, our race fees do not pay for all the moving around of our gear, directing of traffic (yes some officers get paid for this, but the volunteers on course don’t), and handing out water + food on the course; even the staff in the medical tent are volunteers.
  2. “I thought our race fees went to paying for people to work the even like you.” I am not paid. The captains of different areas are also volunteers. We are not paid for the time we spend emailing all of our volunteers, coordinating all of our volunteers, running the area we are volunteering in, and making all of the decisions we have to make throughout the day (no matter how difficult they may be to keep athletes safe)…but I wouldn’t change it for the all the money in the world!
  3. “If you don’t get paid, do you at least get a free entry into a race?” The captains of different areas are not given a free entry into a future event. We are given a free shirt, cap, and lanyard…nothing more. We do this because we LOVE supporting others, LOVE the race day atmosphere, and LOVE seeing the smiles on so many faces when we get to help athletes throughout the day.
The many volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin!

Remember to thank a volunteer when you are racing. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do what you love (or it would cost so much more)!

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What’s Up?! – August 2017

Wow! What a month! What a truly AMAZING month! It filled my coeur (heart) with pure love, joy, and happiness!

Racing:

Ironman Mont Tremblant was so much fun! A great venue, a great day, beautiful weather, patience, and following my coeur lead me to a near perfect race execution and a shiny new PR. You can experience my day via my race report.

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

Training:

Due to racing Ironman Mont Tremblant, there wasn’t much training done in August. The little training we did do was in beautiful places…Lake Placid, NY and Mont Tremblant, Quebec!

Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
Riding Chemin Duplessis in Mont Tremblant…such a beautiful bike course!
Running on the IM Mont Tremblant course…SO BEAUTIFUL!

Swim: 12.5 miles
Bike: 260 miles
Run: 51 miles

Loving:

Family + spending the majority of August on vacation (we left July 25 and didn’t return home until August 22) = #happyheart

Swimming with my fave in Lake Placid!
My family from California came came for a few days! #happyheart
Love these three monkeys!
Family snuggles
We went to the top on the gondola again!
Getting ready to ride the luge in the summer!
These peeps hold 4 keys to my heart!
Love these peeps!
So grateful to have Dad and Aunt Linda come spend time with us in Mont Tremblant and cheer us on to PRs on race day!
So grateful to have Dad come on crazy adventures with us!

Feeling:

Rejuvenated! Spending a month on vacation was a great way to see new places, refill my heart, and prepare for the coming school year.

Listening to:

The Voice of Ironman Mike Reilly is an incredible podcast! It is so amazing to hear about Ironman from his perspective. The finish lines, the atmosphere, the energy!

Ideal Racing Weight with Matt Fitzgerald is full of all the things I love…nutrition, mental training, and chasing dreams. It is a must listen to!

Own Your Awesome Podcast with Amy Dixon is so inspirational! Amy lost her sight, but gained so much more as a result. Amy is a blind triathlete who recently became the first women to complete an Xterra triathlon. She is a paratriathlete who will be competing at Worlds in Rotterdam in September and has her heart set on on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She is a motivational speaker and when you listen to her, you will know why!

Returning to:

Work…yes, the dreaded 4 letter word for a teacher at the end of summer vacation! I am very grateful to have such a good job with summers off to enjoy time with family and friends! The beginning of the year is so exhausting, but I will be back into a consistent routine soon enough!

Looking forward to:

The changing seasons…I love summer, but I also love the beautiful fall colors and adventures with my fave and our girls in the snow! I’m looking forward to the opportunities that fall and winter bless us with (remind me of this in February when I’m ready for it to be summer again)! I am also looking forward to returning to a consistent routine. It has been fun to have a break from this routine, but I am definitely ready to have routine and normalcy (for us) back in our lives!

How was your month of August? What were your August highlights? What are you looking forward to?

Racing Ironman Mont Tremblant with Coeur

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do – this is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plummer, US Olympian

Grab your favorite beverage, kick up your feet, and enjoy what is a really long race report! 🙂

Pre-Race:

The alarm went off at 3 am, but I was already laying awake. I didn’t sleep well at all, which was a first for me, but thankfully it didn’t seem to impact my day. After eating my pre-race breakfast of muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder + frozen mixed berries with a Karma Kombucha, I donned my Coeur Sports race kit and prepared for the day by reading my pre-race quote from Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox before heading to the race start.

My pre-race ritual…read Swimming to Antarctica while drinking my Karma Kombucha!

We arrived at parking lot #2 by 4:30 am, which made it easy to find a place to park that would be convenient for after the race to get all of our gear loaded up. We walked to the transition area, dropped off our bike and run special needs bags, and waited until 5 am for body marking and the transition area to open. After body marking, I had bike support fill my tires, lubed up the chain (it had rained on Saturday after Mojo was racked for the night and I wanted to make sure my chain was greased back up), filled my water bottle, put my bike bottles on my bike, got my Garmin on my bike and started, saw Erika and gave her a pre-race hug, put my salty balls in my T1 bag, and hit the kybo up one more time before heading to the swim start.

Ready to race!

At the swim start, I got into my Roka wetsuit, ate part of a granola bar and two Pure Clean Beet’ums, drank down some water, dropped off my morning clothes bag, got another hug from Erika, and made my way to the water for the swim warm-up. As I was exiting the water from the swim warm-up, a lady came up to me and gave me a hug and we shared good luck wishes to each other. I have no idea who this lady was because we were both wearing wetsuits, swim caps, and goggles, but I am grateful for the pre-race hug, so thank you to whomever you were! It was this point that I decided it didn’t matter what the day brought me, I was going to race with Coeur (French for heart) for the entire day! I am going to share my coeur, but also fill my coeur up throughout the entire day!

The Iron Hippie and I making our way to the water.

After the Canada National Anthem and fly over, the fireworks went off and the male pros were off, followed by the female pros and then the age group athletes.

Lined up and ready to start!

Swim: 1:24:16 (average pace of 2:11/100 meters)

We lined up by the 1:15-1:20 pace sign for the swim and were soon moving into separate corrals waiting for the beep every 5 seconds to send the next group of swimmers into the water. This was the cleanest swim start I’ve ever experienced! As I entered the water, a calm came over me like I’ve never experienced before and I set out at comfortable pace. I felt solid and strong. The water temperature of 66*F was perfect…I much prefer the colder water! I had very little contact with other swimmers until buoy #6 when I swam up on a guy who couldn’t hold a straight line for nothing. He was definitely a faster swimmer than I was, but because he was zig-zagging back and forth all over the course, he swam a lot farther than he needed to. Every time I tried to pass him, I would get cut off by him again. This continued for about 3 more buoys before I finally passed him. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful as I had very little contact with other swimmers. I had a slower swim than I’d hoped for, but also didn’t leave everything in the water. I was trying to pace myself well for the long bike + run ahead. So much coeur during the swim!

Let’s get this party started! #swimlove

T1: 10:09

There is a rather long run (300 meters) from the swim exit to transition. When I got to the transition area, I grabbed my T1 bag and quickly made my way into the women’s change tent. I was shocked at the lack of volunteers in the change tent to help the athletes. I am very self sufficient and don’t change, but for those ladies who do a full change and need help getting a dry sports bra on a wet body, they would have had to get help from other female athletes. I quickly put on my socks, bike shoes, and helmet. I loaded my pockets and put on my arm coolers and sunglasses as I ran to my bike.

Long run on the red carpet from the swim exit to transition!

Bike: 7:05:08 (average speed of 15.81 mph)

As I left transition on my bike, I saw Dad and my Aunt Linda cheering me on! I quickly mounted Mojo after the mount line and set off on the bike. Coach Kelly instructed me to dial it back and go out conservatively for the first 56 miles. I was feeling good and really wanted to hammer, but I knew I had a long day in the saddle, so I sat back and tried to keep my watts near the 130 mark. I consumed 2 salty ball every 30 minutes on the bike and NBS hydration every 20 minutes while sipping water the rest of the ride, which is exactly what I’d done in training and it worked beautifully.

Let’s go ride!

This course is essentially 2 x 2 different out and back sections. The first out and back is from the village on Montee Ryan to 117 out to Labelle, back on 117 to St. Jovite, from St. Jovite back on 117 to Montee Ryan and back to the village. There is a “no passing zone” on Montee Ryan in each direction (away from the village and toward the village). The second out and back is 10K out and 10K back on Chemin Duplessis. There is another “no passing zone” on one of the big descents on this section as we return to the village. If an athlete passes another athlete in any of these “zones,” the athlete doing the passing is automatically disqualified and removed from the course. There is plenty of climbing on this course, but in my opinion, this is much easier than Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course.

Loving this course and enjoying the beautiful views!

I felt great during the first 56 miles as I consumed my nutrition according to plan and held back my power so I could open it up during the next 56 miles (or so I thought). My only two goals were to keep my power at 130 watts or less and not get lapped by the professional triathletes racing. I had to remind another athlete of the “no passing zone” leaving the village on Montee Ryan as we were headed to 117, since he attempted to start passing me, but backed off when I reminding him of the no passing zone. I also wanted to go faster in this section, but there was an athlete in front of me that I had to stay behind on the descent to avoid a DQ. As I made my way out to Labelle, I was in awe of the beautiful scenery around me. Sure there were hills to climb,  but there were also some amazing descents to enjoy. As I made my way to St. Jovite, I just soaked it all in…the beauty, the spectators out cheering, and the feelings of pure joy that I was getting to ride my bicycle! I was also super pumped to have achieved both of my goals for the first 56 miles!

Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!

Each of these out and back sections is done twice. So during the second 56 miles I was ready to cruise, but Mother Nature had increased the winds a bit. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my NBS hydration bottles before fighting some headwinds on the way out to Labelle. Thankfully it was only about 12 miles of fighting the headwind while climbing to Labelle…riding in Iowa means a LOT of windy training rides, so I was ready for this! Mentally I got into a bit of a negative funk as I was struggling physically…not just with the headwinds while climbing, but I felt a bit depleted nutritionally despite nailing my nutrition plan to this point. Once I turned around in Labelle, the tail wind was a blessing and I stopped at the aid station just outside of Labelle to eat a banana and use the kybo…I just can’t make myself pee on the bike while riding. I felt good and strong as I made my way to St. Jovite and was rejuvenated by the crowds and the fact that I was heading back to the village for the final push on the bike course. The 10K out on Chemin Duplessis was tough, but I settled into my easiest gear and steadily climbed my way to the turn around. I was so happy to have ridden the whole course (there were some people who walked their bikes up some of the steeper hills) while staying in my saddle (I never climbed out of the saddle…wahoo). I kept my power and heart rate in check, which would hopefully benefit me on the run! Lots of coeur on the bike!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

T2: 5:47

I quickly handed Mojo over to an amazing volunteer who returned her to her spot and removed my helmet on my way to the change tent. I also unzipped my speed top as I knew I wanted to run in the tri top I was wearing under my speed top. I grabbed my T2 bag, stripped my top, changed my socks and shoes, grabbed my nutrition visor, and race belt. I put my race belt and visor on while exiting T2. I made my way to the kybo to pee one more time before starting the run.

Run: 4:51:26 (average pace of 11:07 min/mile)

I felt so strong at the beginning of my run, but having run countless stand alone marathons and 4 marathons at the end of Ironman races, I knew it may not last, so I decided to ride this wave for as long as I could while keeping my pace in check. I broke the marathon into ~8 x 5K segments. I started off easy as I made my way through the first 5K of the run, which is rolling hills. I was so pumped to see one of my Coeur Sports teammates, cheering me on during this section of the run! Thanks for the love Ericka!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo! #runlove

Once I hit the bike path, I knew I had just over a 5K to the turn around. We had done some training runs on this section of the course, so I knew it would be flat and very quiet with few spectators…mostly other athletes + the sounds of our own footfalls. I was still feeling good, so I just kept ticking away the kilometers (everything is in kilometers in Canada). I was taking in water at every aid station, bananas and oranges at nearly every aid station, and my Motts fruit chews every 30 minutes. At mile 4, I HAD to visit the kybo…well, this was a first! I’ve never had this problem during a race before! After a quick stop, I was back to running and spreading all the coeur I could on the course…I hope this lifted others up as much as it lifts me up to spread the love! On my way to the turn around, I saw another Coeur Sports Teammate, Erika, and the Iron Hippie, both running strong! I made it to the turn around, knocking out just over another 5K and was still feeling strong, which I was super stoked about. The only walking I had done to this point was through the aid stations to eat and drink and up the big hills. I decided at this point that I would continue to run (with the exceptions of the aid stations and the bigger hills) at least through the half marathon and re-evaluate how I was feeling. I had never had an IM marathon feel this good, so I just rode the wave and went with it! At about mile 8, I needed to visit the kybo again…ugh! Feeling much lighter, I was still running strong! 😉 Onward…to the end of the bike path and through the rolling hills back to the village! It was so much fun to see Dad and Aunt Linda in the village (as well as all of the other spectators) and know that I was still feeling strong and ready to rock the second half of the marathon!

Yep…Still running strong!

With 4 of my 5Ks behind me, it was time to buckle down! The new goal…make it through the next 2 x 5K distances while still running and feeling strong and then re-evaluate. I continued to knock of the kilometers, spread coeur, see Erika and the Iron Hippie on the run, and made my way to the 19 mile point before needing to visit the kybo again…this time I had to wait a bit for an open one, but I knew I COULD NOT make it to the next one without a mess down my legs, so I waited just a few minutes. After lots of relief, I was back to running strong! I was starting to feel the fatigue, but with just over 6 miles this is where I knew I needed to kick in the mental game, stay focused, continue to run as long as I could, spread more coeur, and enjoy the ride to the finish line! As I made my way to mile 24, I could hear Mike Reilly bringing people home to the Ironman Mont Tremblant finish line and I was so excited to hear him call me across that finish line!

Thanks to Beth, my Track Cat teammate, for capturing this finish line photo from the live feed!

Overall: 13:36:44 = 43 of 86 F40-44, 237 of 461 Females, and 1169 of 1816 Overall

It was a beautiful day for racing in Mont Tremblant! The weather was near perfect…a high of 77*F on race day with winds picking up later in the day. This is the first Ironman race that I feel like I executed it the way it should be executed! I finally nailed my nutrition (despite the kybo visits), I was mentally and physically strong, and I had a PR on the distance by almost 30 minutes! I set myself up for a run that I was FINALLY able to actually run and It. Felt. Amazing! Moving up 514 places on the run was a dream! I left some of my coeur on that course, but I took so much more with me! For this, I am very grateful!

Gratitude:

I am SO grateful to my tribe for helping me get to the finish line! My parents, Aunt Linda, my sisters and their families, my friends and family, Jeff & Deb, Nick with Vitality Massage (my massage therapist), Melanie with Massotherapie Sportive (my massage therapist in Mont Tremblant), Chris with Team Chiropractic (my ART Chiropractor), Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes, Coeur Sports + my Coeur teammates, Sound Probiotics, Roka Sports, and Newton Running. A special thanks to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for setting me up for success, making me #trackcatstrong, and helping me achieve a new PR. To my fave, my #1…the Iron Hippie…you are my rock and I’m so grateful that we are on this crazy journey together! Thank you!

Burn Baby Burn

As I kick my feet up to rest up for tomorrow, I can’t help but think about the journey that I’ve been on. The blood, sweat, and tears have brought me to the start line of Ironman Mont Tremblant. I have accomplished things I thought were too far out of my reach. I have put a lot of hay in the barn in the last 9 months and I am ready to light the match and let the barn burn to the ground!

Mojo is racked and ready for an epic adventure tomorrow!

Thanks to everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, inspired me, and have cheered for me on this journey! If you wish to track me tomorrow, I am number 699. See you at the finish line!

1 week ’til #IMMT: Northeast + Canada Trication Part 3

Hello race week! Where did you come from?! I Have been awaiting your arrival for so long! Now that you are here, I’m kind of wishing time would slow down a bit so we could savor this a bit longer!

We made it to Mont Tremblant last Monday and have filled our week with tapering workouts, family time, and relaxation.

Swim: 2187 yards

We got to swim in one of the most cleanest, nicest pools ever in Mont Tremblant! Why can’t we have an indoor facility like this in Ames?!

Bike: 31.5 miles

Riding in our condo thanks to the rain outside.
Putting in some work, but alas the storms showed up and cut our work a bit short for this ride!

Run: 14.7 miles

Getting my happy on with my last double digit run done before race day in this beautiful place!
These running/biking trails are spectacular!
Running with my fave for a few miles to shake out the legs post massage.

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core most days

Weekly Totals: 5 hours & 54 minutes

Weekly Positives:

Crossing the border into Canada!
Arriving at our condo…look at this view!
Riding the gondola to the top of the hills to look out over Mont Tremblant!
The top! These views!
This amazing pizza…I’m dreaming about it!
Getting a pre-race massage at our condo. Melanie Jardot did a FANTASTIC job. HIGHLY recommend her for massage if you are in need of one in Mont Tremblant!
My family from California came came for a few days! #happyheart
Love these three monkeys!
Family snuggles
We went to the top on the gondola again!
Getting ready to ride the luge in the summer!
Riding into the village…that is the Ironman tent in the background!
Taking a quick gander at the Ironman Village as it gets set up!
Enjoying a beer by the fire after babysitting the nieces so my sister and brother-in-law could enjoy a date night!

Quote of the Week:

My heart is full of happiness, love, and gratitude!

What’s Up?! – July 2017

How is it already almost the middle of August?! The month of July seems to have flown by MUCH faster than I’d like, but I guess that means I’m having fun! Here is a look at what went down in July:

Training:

Hello Vermont Track Cat Training Camp!

#trackcatstrong

HUGE hugs to Coach Kelly, with Track Cat Fitness, for challenging me on so many levels, pushing me WAY out of my comfort zone, and making me #trackcatstrong this year! I am forever grateful for her guidance + support this year!

Swim Totals: 16.5 miles
Bike Totals: 487 miles
Run Totals: 98.7 miles

Racing:

I raced the Okoboji Triathlon in the middle of the month and got 2nd in my age group and 11th overall female!

2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!

Reading:

The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall PhD and Lesley Paterson is a practical guide to help athletes with their mental training. I love that this book gives you “homework” to do to help you improve your mental performance. It isn’t just a book you read, but if you use this amazing tool correctly, it is also a hands-on approach for you to overcome negative thinking, feelings, and acting that have the potential to sabotage your potential and love for sport. This book has helped keep the fun in triathlon!

Mental Training Homework: Two Brain Hacks to Help Embrace the Suck by Carrie Cheadle is a great read! She gives some great tips for overcoming mental obstacles that you may encounter while training or racing.

Mental Training Homework: Increase Confidence with Simulation Training by Carrie Cheadle is another great read! Simulation training helps you stay in the moment when challenges arise!

Studying:

The Ironman Mont Tremblant race course. Thanks to Mary Eggers for her review of the course and to Patrick for his 3 bullet points for race day!

Enjoying:

Our Northeast adventures! We have enjoyed Stowe, Vermont and Lake Placid, New York. We are officially in Canada and ready to enjoy a few more weeks of adventures with a little Ironman race at the end of our adventures!

Looking Forward To:

Ironman Mont Tremblant race day! I can’t believe we are less than 2 weeks away! How did that happen?!?! Eeekkkk! I’m excited to get to spend time with family in Mont Tremblant before the race and really get a feel for the area!

#Fearless check-in:

My intention for 2017 is to become more fearless! So…how have I been doing with this? I’ve continued to make progress on becoming more fearless. I am also really working on not letting others opinions of me bother me and I think I’ve gotten much better at this…hello #sportsbrasquad and wearing bikinis at the pool for lap swimming. Am I comfortable…not completely, but I’m facing the fear head on and getting more comfortable everyday! Since I’m on summer break, work is on the back burner. I will be back at it soon enough! I have made some BIG gains while training this month thanks to the Vermont Training Camp + many solo workouts that have caused me to stare fear in the face and stretch WAY out of my comfort zone! My fear of heights was also challenged as I went to the top of the Olympic Ski Jump in Lake Placid to look out over the surrounding area. Hello queasy stomach!

Overcoming fears and going to the top of the ski jump to look out over Lake Placid and surrounding areas.

While I’ve made progress on becoming more fearless in different parts of my life, I still have a LOT more progress to make, but don’t we all?! I know I’m a continuous work in progress!

How was your month of July? What were your July highlights? What are you looking forward to?

2 weeks ’til #IMMT: Northeast + Canada Trication Part 2

How is it even possible that we are just under 2 weeks away from Ironman Mont Tremblant?!?! We spent this last week in Lake Placid, NY and it was spectacular! The views, the training, the quiet time, the time spent meeting others…all of it was simply spectacular!

Swim: 11,966 yards

First swim in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid with my fave on Tuesday! These views are amazing!
First swim in Mirror Lake…there is a 1.2 mile cable in the water to follow, just like the black line on the bottom of the pool! How awesome!
First swim in Mirror Lake…I just love the underwater cable!
Swimming in Mirror Lake again on Wednesday…this underwater cable is the bomb!
Swimming in Mirror Lake on Friday with my New Wave buoy! I love that there are no motorized boats allowed on this lake!
Sunday morning’s swim in Mirror Lake was a bit chilly as the air temps were 51*F when I started.
Thankfully the sky started to clear up and allow the sun to start to shine through during Sunday’s swim, but it was till only 59*F when I had to strip my wetsuit…brrr!

Bike: 93.8 miles

Easy recovery ride to shed the training camp fatigue
Easy spin on the bike on a rainy day.
Riding the Ironman Lake Placid bike course means a quick stop at the Olympic Bobsled track!
Mojo loves the views of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course!
I also love the views of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course!
After climbing out of Jay, it was time for a little descending.
But we had more climbing (this is looking backwards) back to Lake Placid from Wilmington.
Amazing waterfall views on the way back into Lake Placid!
Beautiful views on the Ironman Lake Placid bike course!

Run: 7.96 miles

Views from my run on River Road (part of the Ironman Lake Placid run course).
Views from my run on River Road (part of the Ironman Lake Placid run course).

I forgot to take pics of my run around Mirror Lake 😦

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core almost daily

Weekly Totals: 12 hours & 13 minutes

Weekly Positives:

Soaking in the beauty of Mirror Lake!

Getting to explore the Olympic venues!

The Ice Hockey venue where Miracle on Ice took place!
Being tourists in Lake Placid
The Ski jump!
Standing on the podium for the ski jump
Overcoming fears and going to the top of the ski jump to look out over Lake Placid and surrounding areas.

Free music on the lake on Tuesday night!

A beautiful night for a free concert on the lake!

Eating at some great places:

Sitting on the deck overlooking the lake at The Cottage
Selfie on the dock at The Cottage
Enjoying a drink at the Blue Line Brewery in Saranac Lake.
Emma’s ice cream (don’t worry…it is dairy free for me)
Big Slide Brewery has some great pizza options and some pretty tasty craft brews also!

Doing laundry…

Meeting Amy Farrell…one of my Coeur Sports teammates!

This lady is AMAZING!

Last day in Lake Placid:

Soaking in the views one last time at Mirror Lake

Quote of the Week:

“The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love!” ~Amanda Boyarshinov