Aloha!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Recovery Day...

Today my heart felt like running but my legs did not.  Somehow the happy balance between heart and legs was a hike through the Kohala's.  It's more of a little hill, considering the real volcano climbing we endure around here.  It might even fit better as a "stroll through pretty".  In any case, it was a good morning under a beautiful sky.  And I felt like being in the country. After Kentucky I am craving country!  My fix of all things George Strait was not fixed, so I'm living it up a little here on the island until it passes...

My country fix flowed by cornbread baking today, slow cooking some bbq ribs, picking out corn on the cob, looking through photos of my older sister and I mud wrestling at the Red Neck Yacht Club, and then organizing a "secret date" with Masuda on some horses after work tomorrow. I think my surprise went South (literally) though.  Bucked off...

It's okay, nothing wild flowers and a giant field couldn't fix...





That's all I have to report on, here is a little story put up on ST if you need something longer to read over your morning coffee... I know, ST is scary, I never visit that site either, Tim sent me the link...IM Kentucky Champ.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!
Bree

 
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”  Lao Tzu said that.... I wish him and I could go to lunch because he always has me fired up about something.  And right now it's simply that, being concerned with my reaction and attitude about life.
 
Monday we arrived home to what I'm pretty sure was the best "Finish line airport party" ever!  It was a complete surprise, it moved me beyond tears and brought about such a flood of "What wonderful people I get to know and live on an island with".  It was so special. Wendy organized something like 40 of the greatest people I know to share in the "Welcome home", and now the house smells like a big flower garden from all the lei's!  Being home feels...the exact same. 
 
Except for one or two small things...
 
My inbox was literally flooded with emails, texts messages continued to fill my phone for 2 days later, and I even got phone calls!  (That's very excessive for a girl like me).  People called for interviews, I've done 5 already.  A magazine called, a shoe company reached out, and I got flowers (lots of them).  At the moment I can't relate to this, none of it, my life consists more of phone calls to hit the beach, not answer questions.  My texts are all about how late I am to practice because I'm in school traffic dropping off Kainoa.  And my emails, those are mostly all from my mom. Okay, the flowers I'm no stranger too, Masuda and Kainoa pick them often for me...
 
I was given a spa day, complete with hot tub, oils and salts that landed into a massage.  A local actupunturist reached out to offer free services for recovery too! It all made me feel beyond spoiled, maybe even a little uncomfortable, but I of course appreciated it.  At the end of the day though, it feels so nice to just be home, to be at the ocean with my friends that tease me, to wear the same shorts everyday, and to shop for papayas at 7 for $2 bucks...the simple life. 
 
The outpouring of kindness has been very beautiful and of course means so much to me.  Part of me says, "It was just an Ironman, there is so much more to life", and the other part of me says, "IT WAS AN IRONMAN, SERIOUSLY HOW AWESOME", and then I pinch myself.  I guess it's a matter of staying grounded, realizing a dream that came true, and then of course...reaching for more. I am a girl who always wants to go for more in this life, in fact taking it easy this week is a challenge, I crave life to the fullest!
 
Being home also means time to appreciate the wonderful people that help make this life possible.  I've been trying to find ways to creatively thank them.  One person that was new to my life is Susan B Cox.  Do you know of her?  She was recently inducted into the triathlon hall of fame and was my bike escort during the run!  I tried to talk to her out running, she wouldn't talk to me at all (she said she was just following the rules and not wanting to distract her runner).  Well, we got to chat at the midnight finish line and through some emails, she is simply wonderful!  At 75 years young she can still beat (a lot) of people in swimbikerun!  I love that she was MY BIKE LEADER for the entire marathon!  (I usually change, a few times during the run...).
 
This is my new favorite photo at the moment... it pretty much sums up the finish line.  So happy (me) meshed with (thank God my mom is finally done running, I waited all day) Kainoa.  He holds tight to the medal, clings to the memories we shared in Kentucky, and has already asked where we get to go next?  I can tell you one thing, it will not be Vegas 70.3 as I rolled down my slot.  Oh, I wanted to go and am thrilled to have that option, but family first...and we have some family matters that "matter" very much to me on September 9th and 10th.  Next up will be....(to be continued)...but I'm already wanting to race again.  For now, a hike is planned for tomorrow and that will have to do as my "training, recovery, adventure" for the week...

Alright, that's a wrap, all I have time for so I can make swim practice on time. Yes, I am going.  It will be more of a "float practice" but you know me, an opportunity to see the Kona Aquatics crew is always on my list of enjoyable activities... 

Home sweet home,
Bree
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Ironman Louisville Race Reflection...

It was in that moment, the one where I was holding the finish tape that I finally took a breath and realized I won.  For just over 9.5 hours it felt like an uncomfortable hunt, I was the hunted.  If for even a moment I let up, gave up, or caved into the pain, I'd of lost the moment to win my first Ironman.  A moment most girls who get their pro cards dream of...mine has now happened to me.

Coming into the Ironman it felt as if I had nothing to lose.  Most of my sponsors have dropped me, for almost the last 3 months I've been coaching myself, and it just felt as if something I love so much (triathlon) was slipping through my hands.  When I look around at my life though, the things that matter most (family and friends), are as strong as ever.  The love that has been lavished upon me within my community, the people in my life, and those that have reached out from afar has given me an inner strength that perhaps had more to do with this win than the miles spent training. And to Hawaii, this win is ours, the very first Ironman title by a man or woman from our state.
Photo thanks to Ali Elgin
 
The swim was the usual, get in and go for 2.4 miles trying to stay on feet.  It was on the bike that the moment of taking a chance came into play.  About a mile into the bike I caught up to Nina. (The race favorite), we had a few trade-offs for the lead.  After about 15 miles I noticed I was making gains on her on the climbs and the descents, it was the flats we were more evenly matched.  With that I decided to make a move down a hill then fly up a hill and no longer trade off these up and down hill lead battles, but go out on my own. 
 
In my head I would hear Patrick Evo (Men's race winner).  He left me with 2 prerace thoughts.  1. Eat a lot on the first and last 10 miles of the ride. 2. Don't be a first loop superhero. (the bike is 2 loops).  With Chris McDonald's (2nd place man) plan in place (eat till you throw up), I was good to go.  I ate so much it was disgusting.  Anything and everything, just stuffing myself silly.  When my stomach felt so full that I would barf I stopped taking calories, when it felt light I'd shove more in.  It was pretty awesome and worked really well.  As for the first loop, I stayed as calm as I could and the second loop I just smiled (cried a little too), full of emotion to be out leading the race.  The plan was to put time into Nina (she can run), little did I know she actually dropped out of the race at some point...but that time would be very important for the run, as eventual 2nd place woman can RUN.
 
On the run it was all about heart.  Coming into this Ironman was last minute, like 14 days ago kind of thing. That meant one long run of 17 miles all season, that run was also broken (13 in the morning, 4 in the evening).  For a girl like me, miles do matter and I was short, but it was all that would happen in 14 days unless I wanted to fry myself for the start line (good self coaching plan, right?).  The run was the most amazing part of the day for me.  Never have I been so forced to dig deep than I was out there in Louisville and never has the combination of physical and mental pain landed in so much pleasure. 
 
Somewhere around mile 19 I heard a crew of Jackie's supporters saying, "You got this Jackie (2nd place woman), this is yours, stay smooth, you are going to take it".  She was on my heals.  I knew she was closing in but literally a 3 minute lead went to 2, to 29 seconds in a matter of a mile!  I could hear her, hear them, and I began to cry.  My quads were aching like nothing I ever felt, my brain hurt from trying so hard to stay strong out there all day, blisters were taking over, my heart started to get sad.  Honestly, she wanted it, she was runner up last year and was ready to be 1st this year, but I wanted it more.  I saw my friend Michelle (Ironman Oz winner) on her first loop and she saw the entire "almost pass" unfolding.  She said, "Bree it will all be worth it, you are still in front".  I was in front, I was going to stay there, determined like never before.  I told myself, "Bree, you can fall at the finish line, you can pass out, collapse, even black out, but you will not give up no matter how bad it hurts.".  I was in so much pain tears were blurring my vision but Michelle was right, to lose would hurt worse, this pain is worth the win, especially being this close, hold on for another 40 minutes Bree... 
 
I put my head down, thinking of all the help I do have, telling myself, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", and then I saw Kainoa's little face.  6 miles to go.  5 miles to go.  4 miles to go.  I looked back, I had too, she was there, but I wasn't sure how close anymore.  The day I win an Ironman my vision would be to enjoy it, to high five the crowds, smile, soak it in, and collect memories of the finish line awaiting me, I did not want a sprint finish with Jackie (who I know can run very well).  And off I went like a mom on a mission... 
 
My entire body paid the price for sure, I threw up (And more) all over myself after making it through the medical tent (sorry for the disgusting details).  My body literally gave all it had and my heart was thankful it did.  I am an Ironman Champ and that is something that I once thought other girls, not ones from small Big Islands, get to be.  It was a beautiful day in my life.  Above and beyond words thankful for the support out there, cheers from strangers and friends.  From volunteers and family, it was a moment that I get to own forever...

The men's winner, a few of the other pro men, and I landed at the finish line to pass out finish medals to the final finishers of Ironman Louisville.  It's pretty special being part of someones finish line.  The emotions, the tears, the thrill of it all, I just loved it.  And let me tell you, this race has one of the best finish lines ever!  At 11:15 this morning is the big awards ceremony, 11:15 this morning is also the start of Kainoa and my 15 hour journey back to Hawaii...sadly, I won't be there to give my first ever speech!   Kind of bummed about not being part of the celebration & showing appreciation and thanks, but the best part, that finish line was more than enough. 

Lots of Aloha,
Bree
 
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomorrow...

Tomorrow is the day, a long one that holds so many opportunities.  There is something so special about 104.6 miles.  It is one of the rare times in life that you endure mental and physical pain that result in pleasure and sheer finish line joy (if you want it).  Awaiting us are chances that take courage, moments of weakness that can be overcome by a single change of attitude, and of course an entire day mostly dealing with yourself.  You are your own cheerleader, your very own encourager, and you have the power to shut down, break down, and everything else if you let yourself...so many ways to take a day all by our attitudes. 

Of course things out of our control happen too, bike issues, people kicking us in the swim, dropping nutrition on the run, you know what can happen and it seems everything does happen at some point.  But so much good happens too.  Volunteers, family/friend support out there, competitors throwing support, and being prepared.  Tomorrow is my 11th Ironman and I am thrilled about it!
The bike is checked in, the bags have been packed, and now the feet are up with a wonderful J-Lo movie on, I love those chick flicks you know.  Perhaps the high-light of going through check-in here in Kentucky is getting your own personal escort to your bike rack and bag drop.  Mine of course was more familiar with horses than bikes, I think.  He asked if this was my first time in Kentucky, I told him my 3rd time racing here.  Then he asked if I've ever done an Ironman, I told him this will be number 11.  His response, "So you have done this before, right?".  By now I am laughing.  He took me to bag drop row #2500-3000.  I was number 29 and told him I think we are in the wrong row, he told me he thinks the run is first so I should put my bags there.  Now I am laughing even more and very sure he is more familiar with tractors, farms, and horses. Gosh I love it here...
 My mom is here too, that's her in the middle of the photo, next to Kainoa.  The woman on the right, I'm not sure who she is.  I saw this action coming out of bike drop and had to smile.  My mothers best advice growing up was, "Make a friend everyday Bree".  And still to this day she makes one (or more) everyday. Back when I was single though, it was worse, she would tell "nice guys" about her nice daughters.  She clearly has moved on...
 ...and this is my favorite moment in Kentucky, so far.  Kainoa.  Every now and then this life gives us the most pure and simple reasons to smile.  They don't take much effort to cause a big happy to happen in our hearts and they often hold more splendor than anything radiant we chase after. I love sharing this journey with Kainoa and my mother, it has been wonderful...
 Kainoa has ridden trolley after trolley (of course making friends with everyone). 
 I endured all the meetings and sporty must-do's that happen before throwing yourself into 140.6 miles. Kainoa endured those too.

 We got to catch up with a lot of friends from near and far.  That is something very unique and special about triathlon, all the people from all over, very different and not so different, that come together all because of swimbikerun.  It creates a pretty cool little family on the roads...

 I also had the pleasure of training with Kainoa, yes we did take over the hotel gym one day.  My legs needed to run, he wanted to be part of it. Field trip?  And his homework, that is all done too, courtesy of grandmas help!  I on the other hand had to tell them to quiet it down at night, the laughter and story telling would have went till midnight if I let it....memories in the making!
...and now for a very cool celebration, they did it!  My little sister, her hubby, and son officially finished their 3 month long bike ride from Seattle to Sarasota!  They rode the final 90 miles today (making an Ironman seem so easy), landed at my older sisters door and nobody was home!  They rode too fast, as my mom is still in Kentucky with me and our dad was at the shop working on a truck (not expecting them till tomorrow)!  What hoot, haha!  Tomorrow is already exciting me and it's not even here yet!  Butterflies are lingering and my belly is already looking forward to gels and sports drinks-all day.  To all something like 3,000 Kentucky racers tomorrow, have a great day!  I'll see you out there.  And thank you to all those that I have been fortunate to meet this trip and have cheered me into this day...!

Lots of aloha,
Bree
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

...And here we go.

The thing about this part of my life, the travel, is that no matter where I go "There is no place like home".  12 countries, lots of pretty islands in both the Pacific and Atlantic, and plenty of mainland states have all had my eyes happy with views, my heart thankful with experiences, and my feet on paths that will always be with me.  But home is always my favorite spot on Earth...

The thing about travel is that you learn so much, that has left me with a strong sense of knowing what I want and what I like.  It fills me with a certain inner joy, no matter when I am I can close my eyes and get lost somewhere I have been. It has taught me to never leave home without my shoes, a camera, and my journals.  Perhaps it even keeps my mind open, as every place near and far new people show me new life...

So here we go, Kainoa and I.  I've already told him to relax when lines are long, to say "please and thank you" when those words fit, to share a lot and expect the unexpected...

This morning an ocean swim, this evening an airplane ride across the Pacific, over the entire mainland, and finally landing in the blue grass state.  Aloha ahiahi,

Bree and Kainoa
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travel at 6...

When you are 6, your packing list for 15 hours of travel is very important, as Kainoa has taught me.  Some things are mandatory, like reading, "You have to, the teacher said".  And a hat, "Mom you said we never leave the house without a hat".  Of course you can't possibly bring the kitchen so snacks are a must.  Colors so we can draw, (and watch them roll all over the aisles of the airplane), have to be packed too.

Kainoa was in charge of his own packing this trip.  If he is shirtless and underwearless all week long in Kentucky that is because he packed, in Hawaii he never wears shirts or underwear.  If by chance he has one slipper and one shoe, that was his doing, I'm also guessing he will be in the same shorts at least 3x.  It is a "learning adventure" for the 6yr old...

The day before race travel I'm usually feeling the homesick just about to kick in.  This time I'm just excited to go, with Kainoa it's as if a part of home is coming with me.  He remembers everything from our last Ironman Louisville.  He's been nonstop talking about horses, trolley rides, the lights and the streets with bricks.  He of course is so excited for the elevator and the Ohio River too. 
As for me, my legs still feel pretty tired. I was hoping by this time in the week they would be "ready to go".  I'm not stressing it or anything, in fact today I was spoiled like a princess!  The Coconut Girls gave me the "Blue Hawaii" treatment!  It's a must if you ever visit the Big Island!  It goes something like this:

-light, flushing massage
-Coconut oil infused with Hawaiian sea salt right from our ocean rubbed into your skin
-roll off the table and into a hot tub with blue lights and more "ocean potion". 
-let the tub do the magic as the oils, salts, heat, flush out toxins
-Sit in the tub while getting a head/scalp massage
-Hair coconut oiled/conditioned
-legs and arms rubbed out again
-rinse

It was like nothing that has ever happened to me in a massage. I've never been to a spa or been pampered like that, of course it had me feeling like a new woman when I left. Tomorrow, time to fly and I'm very ready to go for 140.6 miles.  There is something so beautiful about that distance, maybe it's the challenge, the respect to go that long, or the appreciation that my body is healthy enough to do it.  Either way, I love it and will most likely enjoy it...

Aloha,
Bree
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Post Cards From Kentucky...

We are not in Kentucky yet, this time next week we will be!  That is right, as of today BOTH Kainoa and I will return to Kentucky for 140.6 miles of Louisville fun, (round 3 in the bluegrass state, baby!).  I say "fun" in so many ways, the challenge, the respect to the distance, and I like swimbikerun-ing.  Kainoa is ready too...his grandma will be there to pal around with him!  Kainoa is older now, so I hope this year he won't sit on my lap all 15 hour flight, but we can still share the same IPOD...
Yes, I LOVE the swim!  My top 3 reasons:

1.  It's warm
2.  It's warm
3.  It's warm

AS for the sea creatures and clarity of the water, not so much.  But it is warm and it's not everyday a girl from an island can say, "Today I swam in the Ohio River". 
The bike is a favorite on mine.  It always makes me feel like a little girl on my grandpa's farm!  Horses everywhere, barns, tractors, green grass, farmers, cows.  It's just awesome to feel young again even if only by memories.  PS-the bike is warm too.
...and the run.  This is my favorite photo of the run course.  I love running over that bridge, maybe running in places so different than home bring upon an entirely new sense of motivation.  With my 17 miler in the bank Tuesday (and nothing more all year long) it is a very good thing I like running in Kentucky, because I'll be out there for another 9.2. 

I have some of the best memories on this run course.  A few moments of struggle, fight the mental battle, win the battle.  A few barf sessions in bushes, a couple ladies getting out of random homes from rendezvous the night before, some very good cheer leading drunk men on the corner, and of course getting to see Kainoa and my parents out here in previous years.
 This is my "almost there" spot each year...it's not even that close to the finish, but for some reason it's all I remember before the finish line.  Maybe I'm in survival mode and delirious after this turn. 
And the finish line!  What a party, a total celebration that place is.  With the packing begun, the training winding down, and excitement that I get to race another race this month, of course I am counting blessings!  First, that Kainoa is along for the ride, (thanks to my dad for that help!!). Thanks to my dear friend Vicki for sharing some airline miles, my mother for coming to help watch Kainoa for 140.6 miles, and of course my crazy, beautiful heart that yet again, saw a good thing and went after it pulling me along for the journey...

Have a good weekend!
Bree
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life. Love. Sport.

Monday I was riding my bike when the usual flood of "what seem like important life questions", invaded my solitude with the sun soaked Queen K. The who, the what, the where, the when, the why, the how-those ones.  And with that I was on a plane.  No, I didn't run away from home like the time I was 15 or something, I just cashed in my free flight to another island while Kainoa is at his dads.  Why not? And because I needed to see my best friend...that's what a girl like me does.  I just follow my dreams and my heart and some how that makes life feel sweet (and work) for me.

With my run shoes and a couple sports bras I was off to Maui.  20 minutes over the Pacific Ocean later, I landed at Masudas job site, a complete "surprise" to him (and me too), and there you have it.  Just like that the who, what, when, where, why, and hows of life faded away and there stood the man of my dreams, my run shoes, and a beautiful island with nothing to do but run till Wednesday when I needed to get Kainoa from school.  You see, when you are blessed with a very wild for life heart like mine you land in trouble some days and paradise other days...PS there was trouble in Maui, I collided with a car (I'm not calling it a crash, but it was an accident).
 Monday night we drove up to the top of the island and watched the sunset.  I did that thing girls do, make wishes on stars, plan up all sorts of dreams, sit back and appreciate the life you've been blessed with, and of course hold hands and smile that massive smile that happens only when life feels as if it is going according to plan.  Of course the desire for socks and more warm clothes lingered too, so back in the car and down to sea level we went, singing songs on the radio like teenagers do.  Gosh I hope to never loose my passion for life, that was a good night.
Tuesday was quickly off to work for Masuda and eagerly into run shoes for me.  I could hardly wait to run along Maui's coast.  It always invigorates me to run in places other than home.  I got lost, jumped a fence, had cows moo at me till I about wet my pants in fear of a stampede, had a monster truck hunt me down in his sugar cane field but let me run anyway if I don't take anything, and then I felt so humbled.  I went up and down the hills of 3 winding valleys, it was perfection, it was everything I ever wanted to see on a Tuesday run.  I ran 17 miles like that and never stopped smiling. 

You know, life is pretty cool like that, new views and new appreciation around every corner.  Of course it was easy to discover in a place like Maui. That run went in the bank for Kentucky, yes Ironman Louisville.  It was my longest run of the season and truthfully my long rides aren't much longer, but I'm going anyway, going to tackle an Ironman because I love the distance and want to race another race. So there you have it.  And recovery after that run???  A ball game!  From run to Masudas ball game where I became the number one cheerleader in the bleachers, you know it was time for me to cheer him on swinging a bat since he has cheered me on through this sport life...



Maui was a very quick trip, (not just because the flight was like 20 minutes), I'm home now focusing on the next trip-a 15 hour journey to Kentucky next week.  After that I can honestly say I'm not exactly sure the who, what, where, when, why, or hows.  I just know if those questions come knocking I'll be just fine...

Aloha ahiahi,
Bree
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

My First Prom...

This has very little to do with triathlon and so much more to do with a "regular day" in my life...because you know, life is made up of more than miles on a bike, (even if some of those are the best miles).  Maybe because the cute surfer boys in my high school didn't really do the prom thing, I never went to mine.  After last night, I can officially say I went to prom!  Let me explain, it was actually a friends 40th Birthday party and the theme was "prom and slippers".  It was a really big hit here on the island...I know, we have it so fun!

It all started Thursday...just like I never imagined a prom would happen.  A photo (the above one) came in from Maui with a text:  Will you go to prom with me Saturday?  ooooooh Prom!  Does that mean slow dances, French Kissing, hotel rooms, spiked punch?  Who's parents drive, a limo, hair and nails?!  I felt about 17 years old...

Of course when that text landed on my phone I was at the beach with Kainoa, his school buddies, and the moms, so I sent back a photo, no words needed.  Is that how it worked in High School?  I really missed out if it was that simple. Go? Yes.  Now for the fun.  A dress.  Not sure I remember ever searching for a dress in high school, I have much more experience now.  About 3 stores later I found the second best dress!  The first would have been if I found a super short neon pink one like in "Legally Blond".  Mine was a little plain, but it was short and tight, totally fit my theme as I would be the "girl at prom who already has a 6yr old".  Keep your opinions to yourself...
The day was busy, a bike ride, a wedding for a friend, some dominoes with Kainoa, then finally into the little dress I never got to wear in high school!  It was all kinds of awesome!  Brushed my hair, sun kissed cheeks, and too many bracelets!  The above is the back drop to the prom, YES, so much better than a high school gym!  The 17 year old me was in full motion all night long.  My legs hurt from dancing, even my back and arms-who know what dancing I must have done to hurt that bad!  It was like I always imagined a prom would be.  A bunch of sweaty people going crazy on a dance floor, all the pretty hair styles were now a mess of knots, make up was totally running down the faces, and there must have been a few people "sneaking out" for the French kisses!
My prom date and I, so worth the wait!  Neither of us actually went to our proms so this was pretty funny to be here a few years later...with kids, (at home of course).
A handful of us girls taking in the sunset before more dancing than we probably anticipated.  I really wish I could post some photos of the dancing.  Let's just say, if you went to your prom you can imagine my photos.
 ...and then the sunset that flung us into an all out dance party, sweaty mess, that felt a lot like an Ironman on my legs! 
There was even a photo booth.  Have a "G" rated peek...
The night was one to remember, that's for sure. AND now, I can say I have survived a real prom...

Bree
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