Tag Archives: weather

Am I running or am I driving? Because Santa Monica Blvd is a f[rea]king nightmare!


Yes, the one event in my life for which I am shamelessly, obnoxiously, totally cheesy-ly and excessively excited and enthusiastic!!!

I was looking at my marathonfotos, and in almost all the pics IDed so far I have the most ridiculously blissful great big smile, it’s like, who is this person?! hahaaa.

Because I love LA. I love the LA Marathon.

Every year, without fail, it’s a grand, fun, challenging, and emotional journey unlike any of the other marathons I’ve done.

Turn-by-Turns where I choked back tears a little:

Elysian/Dodger Stadium

Caesar Chavez

Grand Avenue

Hollywood Blvd

Sunset Blvd

little Santa Monica Blvd




San Vicente


so…… almost all of them ūüôā

No, not horrible tears of pain and frustration. Like the Tony Awards. How I Met Your Mother, Harry Potter, the Tony Awards, and now, apparently, every mile marker of the LA Marathon are the occasions during which I tear up.

This one was rough.

We had record high temps, so the vast majority finished slow, and we had double the number of medical aid requests and DNFs, according to the reports I’ve seen/heard.

I was terrified, to be honest, not about the weather, but about kneehab. My very darling, loving, insomniac husband stayed up to drive me to the shuttle at 4:45 a.m., and on the way over:

Me:¬†I mean, now I’m nervous… I could just go home and nap.

Spouse:¬†F that, I stayed up all night and we are two blocks away. You are racing and I don’t want to hear from you until you cross the finish because I am going to sleep. Where do I turn?

Oh, what a sweetheart. He always knows exactly what to say ūüôā

Really, Seattle and Kneehab had me scared. The farthest I’d gone in kneehab was about 16 miles, in the safe and controlled environment of my gym’s newer treadmills.

But I’m me, and the fact is I would eventually be doing another full, so it may as well be LA because I LOVE LA. Gotta start somewhere. If the knee is going to fail, at least it will be on a course I love surrounded by people and places I feel really comfortable with.

So that was the Race Plan. No pushing hard. Easy pace, pay attention to the knee, see if you can cross the finish with no alarming or questionable LCL sensations, and see if things feel normal the day after. ¬†Running by feel to finish with two knees that could run again (albeit much shorter distances) later in the week. I mean, I was hoping to come in around my LA course record, which I felt was reasonable because it’s almost a half hour slower than my PR and matches nicely with the kneehab paces. But that was a back-seat thought, not an actual goal.

I am grateful for 2 things in this race: That I was already set to do it as a Kneehab test, so no agressive pace goals, and that I ran with my heart rate monitor.

Because it was HOT. So very very very hot. Record breaking hot, with clear, cloudless skies, running on shade-less, blacktop roads.  FANTASTIC beach weather, though.

“Am I running or am I driving? Because Santa Monica Blvd is a f[rea]king nightmare!!!”

There came a point where walk breaks were frequent. Most notably the stretch on Santa Monica Blvd from Beverly Hills to the VA. This is when I finally thought to scroll through the garmin and check my heart rate. 176-177 running, and even with the specific decision to walk and slow my heart rate down, I had a hard time getting below 160.

My resting heart rate is around 60. I am a generally fit person and experienced marathoner, drinking extra water and gatorade, ¬†wearing plenty of sunscreen, weather appropriate attire and a very effective visor, and¬†I can’t get my heart rate below 160 during a walk break. ¬†I can not imagine how it was for some of the other people I know or saw.

So it was a challenge. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to cross mile 18. I heard later that many people behind me dropped around 18 and 19, and one of the elites had dropped at 20 much earlier in the day. ¬†Once we got off Santa Monica and into the VA, there was more shade and a little Ocean breeze, and only about 10k to go.

I got my 3 oz beer at Mile 20, finally stopped at a bathroom around 22 – I’d had to pee since the start, but refused to stop until I found one with no line, also in the hotter areas, whether I still needed to pee was a good indicator of whether I was adequately hydrated.

Finally started to cool down around 23 and putt-putted on through to the finish.

Met up with a Maniac I had talked to earlier in the race, he finished about 10 min ahead of me.

Got a bag of ice from medical to put on my head.

Made sure to get the official finisher photo, since this is one I especially wanted to commemorate.

Out of the finisher area, straight up one block to the 2nd street Coffee Bean for a latte and croissant (they were out, so I had marble loaf instead).

From Coffee Bean to the Sanuk on 3rd to buy the sandals I’d been daydreaming about since mile 4 or so.

From Sanuk to the Double Tree to check in with Leggers, cool down, and figure out how I was getting home.

BFF, who was supposed to pick me up since he only lives 3 miles from the Double Tree, woke up sick.

The traffic was horrific.

The cab co. said it would be an hour wait, which mean it would be an hour to get back out of Santa Monica, too.

And like hell I’m paying for cab fare to sit in a cab for an hour when the place I’m going is only 3 miles away.

“This traffic is ridiculous and you sound terrible. Forget it,¬†I’ll walk.”

So after a little sit and some ice water at Double Tree, I reapplied sunscreen, refilled my latte cup with water, put on my new sandals, and walked to BFFs house in Venice, where, once he woke up, spouse came to pick me up safely outside the zone of ridiculous and horrific traffic.

The End.


Yeah, that’s because there were none. My knee was fine.

My knee was fine and another fantastically fun LA Marathon has been completed.

Now, I get to work on kneehabbing my way back to my normal paces… I’m looking at you OC Marathon ūüėČ

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Portland, Long Beach, and ….. what?!?!

Registered for my first maniac double. yep, yep.

But we’ll get to that, let’s get caught up first. Lots to update and “memorialize in writing” before things get even busier!

Portland Marathon!!!!

Was a blast. Remember, how I set no goals at all and was just going to “enjoy the experience”? Yeah, that went really well. No sarcasm.

Highlights: cruised through the first half spot on my “easy” half marathon pace. ¬†Parts of this course are really f-ing tedious on the mind, at least for me, and about mile 14 I was like, you know, I’m good. No time goals right? Let’s take a walk break and call some people.

yes. I’ll repeat that.¬†Let’s take a walk break and call some people.

This was followed by a little conversation with myself wherein the royal “we” assessed whether we would really be ok with it if this walk break turned into an “i don’t want to run anymore at all” situation. How would I feel if this walk break (and i’m not talking 30 seconds or three minutes, i’m talking like, a full mile) turned in to an incredibly lack luster finish time? could I live with that?

YES. I’m here for fun, dammit.

So, I decided to try to call BFF in Texas…. but the freaking app I’m using (iSmoothRun, love it, it exports to EVERYTHING and let’s you program insanely specific and complicated workouts) would not allow me to make a phone call without pausing the run. Touche, iSmoothRun. You win.

Portland, btw, was my first marathon as an official maniac. So I was wearing my pink Maniacs singlet, and met a TON of maniacs. Since I could not make phone calls, my revised race plan became, if you see a maniac, shadow them until you can’t anymore.

I maintained this race plan for the rest of the race, to great success. I wound up having nice little chats with three Maniacs, and it was a total blast. At mile 26.0, a far-higher-ranking Maniac came up behind me and said, “come on maniac, you got this, let’s sprint!” and we did, and that instance alone took about 3 minutes off my finish time.

Final result: Second fastest marathon ever (missed a PR by 7 minutes and 3 seconds) and I (felt like I) wasn’t even really trying. Also, beat last year’s Portland time by 51 minutes and 16 seconds. Very satisfactory results for my “embrace the experience” approach. Actually, pretty satisfactory results generally.

That’s not to say Portland was easy, it was not. Mentally taxing, and apparently a little more physically taxing than I realized, since I was actually sore and stiff the next day. I’ve gotten my recovery rituals pretty refined, so I haven’t had this degree of soreness or stiffness after a long run in a while. I guess, much like I was apparently “moving forward” faster than I thought I was, I was also working a little harder than I thought I was!!!

Which brings us to…..


The 2007 Long Beach Half Marathon was my very first running endeavor ever. Before this, I had run, at most, three miles at a time, pretty slowly, and only a few times. I had signed up for my first LA Marathon, and all the books said try a half to practice race day logistics. So I did, and like many, I’ve been hooked since.

2013 Long Beach Half was 3 of 3 in Beach Cities Challenge. I was not excited to do this the week after Portland, but that’s just how things played out. I accepted that this could be a very long walk, and set the Garmin for an easy recovery session of run 4 minutes, walk 30 seconds, with no assigned paces. I had the loose goal in my head of beating my 2007 time by 30 minutes, because that is a nice round number. In the end, I beat the old time by 29 minutes and 11 seconds.

Effectively, I ran on autopilot in both Portland and Long Beach, to some very enjoyable and satisfactory results. I feel like I’ve found that magic balance between aiming for specific paces and splits, while still enjoying myself. I’m really interested to see how things go in Seattle, which is about six weeks out at this point. I genuinely took the week after Long Beach off, some light indoor stuff, 3 easy miles at the track Wednesday, and no run, long or otherwise, over this past weekend. Easing back into it this week with some indoor and outdoor workouts, as well as a 14 mile LA Marathon training run on Saturday with LA Leggers.

Which brings me to what I DID do this weekend……

or, in the two weeks since Portland. You Ready?

I registered for my first Maniac Double!!!

2 marathons in 48 hours. I wanted to find an ultra that coincided with my birthday in February, but the logistics just weren’t working out. Then, I discovered two sets of (relatively) local double marathon weekends, one actually on my birthday, and one two weeks earlier.

After some recon, I settled on the earlier one.  San Diego Trail Marathon on January 18, and Carlsbad Marathon on January 19.  The logistics were just too perfect to pass up. Some points of note: the start/finish area of the two races are 26.5 miles apart (marathon magic number!); and the races are exactly seven weeks after Seattle and seven weeks before LA. Carlsbad is only a 90 minute drive from home, and there are about three really excellent hotel options within .5 miles of the expo/start/finish area. I could go on, but this post is already super long.  No, wait, one more: the Monday after is a Court holiday, so no one can give me Ex Parte Notice for a hearing on the day after Carlsbad!

The trail race is ridiculously flat. WAAAAAAAAAAAY flat, with one mega-hill at the start and finish of an out and back course. Not a lot of shade though. Carlsbad has gentle rolling hills throughout, and one mega hill from about mile 5 to mile 8, but is mostly scenic oceanfront views.  The moral of this story: totally doable.

Whew! So it’s been a busy two weeks! Next!

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All’s Quiet on the Western Front…

Hello there!¬†What’s happening?

Not a lot. I’ve been on my very best behavior so there’s not much to write about!

Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon was fun, surprising finish time given the net elevation gain, and that it was my first long run off the treadmill since San Francisco. Spot-on Portland Marathon pace, actually. In fact, miles 8, 9, & 13 were my fastest miles, so it would seem I effectively distributed my effort across the up- and down-hills.

It’s summer, it’s So-Cal. Very sunny. Hot & Sunny. Humid, like 80-95% with cloudless direct-sun-light skies. And I’ll be candid – I spend too, too much money on skin care products to risk the kind of sun damage that cloudless direct sunlight can cause. Even when taking every precaution, things happen. Sun screen sweats off, or gets wiped off inadvertently, or the visor shifts, and BOOM massive sun damage that takes months or years to undo.

So I’ve been indoors. A lot of treadmill with some elliptical for variety. Netflix. Strength training. Yoga. ¬†Fortunately (sort of) it’s often extremely warm and humid in the gym, so I’m still getting practice acclimating for the high-heat, high-humidity August and September races.

I keep setting my alarm to run in the mornings, before the marine layer burns off, but then I hit snooze and wind up running at 9 or 10pm (yes, nighttime) instead.

I got a crockpot, FUN! And I’ve learned to make stew, ALSO FUN!

The Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones stopped working again, so I will be exchanging them again, for a 4th pair — not so fun.

I may or may not register for the Bulldog Ultra on August 25, a very hilly, moderately technical 50k. WE SHALL SEE……

So that’s what’s happening! YAY SUMMER!!!!!!

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SD/SF Distance 1

My first double! 

Ok, I don’t know that for sure, it’s probably not my actual first double ever, but it’s my first double in a while. And I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve split a long run during training.

Sunday was to be 15 or 18 miles. I had every intention of starting early and finishing by like, 10:30 or 11:00. Instead, I slept in and didn’t get out the door until about 10:15.

It’s the beach, and the weather was great for beach stuff, so naturally there were about a million people out by then – not pleasant for someone who regularly runs at night when there’s hardly anyone around, and who can only tolerate the crowd at the track by spinning it as “preparation for race day crowds.”

So I set out down to the water, but instead of my usual south I went north through the Marina. Pretty, but not really fun. About 6.5 miles out I began the trip back, thinking I’d take Lincoln home and then tack on the last few miles by the house.

The subsequent 4 miles became more of an exploratory adventure run, with a lack of sidewalks on a busy street, water obstacles, a shanty town, and a jaunt through part of a nature preserve on a wood chipped hiking trail.

This trail is a mile from our place, and is not new in the least, but I had no idea it was there until yesterday. Interesting. My mind went straight to trail 5ks…

By the time I got to the vicinity of home, I’d gotten to just over 10 miles and it was time for lunch with the spouse, so I cut it short, thinking I could always go to the gym later and make up the miles on the treadmill.

And I’m proud to say that I did, in fact, go back to the gym around 8:00 p.m. and got in just over 5.0 miles!

I learned a few things today: As I already knew, but sort of forgot, I don’t like running between 10 am and 4 pm. ¬†I have the will power to do a double, even a lengthy double (10 + 5!!). And there is a 3.0 out and back woodchip trail right by my house.

Paces for the first 6.5 were good. Paces for the rest of the 10 were fine. Paces for the evening 5 were good. Not my usual training day, but still, I think, a success.

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What’s Next?

OK, so the allergies became a sinus infection, but now the sinus infection has abated. I feel like the older I get the more prone  I am to things like this!

BUT moving forward……

LA marathon came and went. Next up on the 2013 Big Goals is Rock n’ Roll San Diego Full and SF Marathon, both in June. But what to do in between?

To date, I’ve managed a half marathon race each month in 2013, and I think I’d like to continue that. ¬†Also, I realized that through my 80/20¬†adherence¬†to the Run Less, Run Faster training plan, I have managed to improve my paces and fitness level from casual distance runner to respectable amateur at each of 5k, 10k, 13.1, AND 26.2.

So now what? Besides, obviously, the marathons. I asked the running club, and oh my the levels of crazy to which I was tempted to commit!

After talking myself down from some insane, and I mean truly insane, possible racing schedules, I settled on a schedule and some 2013 Little Goals.

I want to start doing trail running, I want to continue the one-per-calendar-month 13.1 racing streak. I want to do some formal 10ks. ¬†I want to improve my 13.1 PR by 15 minutes total by August. I want to improve my 26.2 by 20 minutes in June. ¬†I’ll finish out the Beach Cities Challenge in 2013, and do the Triple Crown in 2014.

For April, my half will be the Chino Hills Trail Half Marathon, and for May the OC Half. June and July will be challenging, but I’m keeping an eye out for a race the weekend of June 29, and anything in July somewhere that is not unbearably hot and humid. I also need halves for September, November, and December to complete the streak.

So that’s where we are. Now that the sinus infection has abated, I’m switching from my recovery 5 and 10ks to the regular training schedule to prep for June. Tonight, the track!


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Run Like the Wind Half Marathon Recap

Last week was the big 2-0, the last really¬†long run before LA;¬†this week, the assigned long run was 13 miles at marathon pace, and my social calendar was pretty full. I had BFFLYLAS show up last minute from DFW for an LA weekend escape, and yoga buddy bro who I haven’t seen since November demanded¬†we stop flaking on each other for brunch and actually get together, as well as¬†multiple friends birthdays at various dinner/drink establishments over the last seven days.¬† And I’ll admit, none of this is particularly conducive to adhering to my Pre Marathon Lock Down philosophies.

So how do I make sure I fit in the 13 miles, and that they are 13 quality miles with all the taper time long run marathon plan test drive components?

Google! I found a very small, semi-casual race taking place incorporating parts of the route I was actually planning to run anyway: Run Like the Wind Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10 miler hosted by Rocket Racing Productions. Only a $33 dollar registration fee to boot.

But still, it started at 6:30 am, which means waking up at 5:30 a.m., which is a pretty big commitment. And running this long run as a race made me a little nervous. What if I didn’t have the anti-ego will power to start slow and maintain an even marathon pace or pushed myself to hard trying for a better Half Marathon Race PR and hurt myself before LA? What if I showed up and hit the wall half way through and was debilitatingly disappointed with my performance going into LA Marathon?

A few weeks ago I wanted to compare the course and swag for the La Jolla Half, SD Safari Park Half, and the OC Half. In my google results, I came across the blog Run Like ¬†A Coyote. Through that blog, I discovered a national, online running club called¬†Run It Fast. After a little more time exploring the blog and the Run It Fast website, I joined. They have the best camaraderie¬†vibe I’ve found in a runners group so far – and I’ve been trying to find a running club for a while – very nice, supportive, and fun people. So when I couldn’t decide what to do, I asked the group via the face book page.

Of course they said do it! But those who responded also gave great input supporting my initial instincts as to why I should do it, so I did!

And guess what? Not only do I have a new Half Marathon Race PR (by about 5 min), but I also satisfactorily executed my LA Marathon Race Plan test drive!

For the reasons listed here¬†I don’t normally post my paces or list my actual PRs on social media or the blog. ¬†But if you go back to the very beginning of this blog, you can find the LA Marathon Target Finish Time my training plan has me training for. A very fast time, a time that seemed pretty ridiculously unrealistic when I started in November, almost a full hour faster than my personal target finish time, so yeah. In my world, a very fast time.

Today, I comfortably completed the Half Marathon at exactly the target MP for the training plan. The difference between my slowest mile and my fastest mile was about 45 seconds, with a nearly even first half/second half split, and Mile 13, the final mile, was my fastest mile. I finished within seconds of one half of the target LA marathon finish time, and felt like I could keep going.¬†Not like, oh that was a great half marathon, but now I need to vomit and have someone carry me to the car, no. Like, oh, gee, that was nice, but we’re done now? Really?


Do you know what this means? This means that even in the worst case scenario — if I get sick, or injured, or hit the wall early, or otherwise have to revamp the race plan mid-marathon —¬†even if I have to walk up to one half of the marathon,¬†I can still finish within my target LA Marathon finish time. I could slow my pace by 2-3 minutes and still finish within my target finish time.

So I will repeat, with gusto, WTF.

The Race

The race itself was simple and fun. Looked like about 75 people, doing various combinations of three loops marked out on the bike path and sidewalks with chalk. The start was in Santa Monica, incidentally about two blocks from my home yoga studio. For the Half Marathon, the first loop went down the beach along the Venice Boardwalk to where the sidewalk for the boardwalk¬†dead ends just past Washington, and back to start.¬†The second loop went from the start up a combination of the bike path and ocean front walk to Will Rogers, with the turn around just past Temescal Canyon. Started on time, with one of the organizers giving an overview of the course and a few instructions before a countdown. They used a Garmin to time everyone and wrote down an “official” time as you came up to the aide station/registration table at the end. All of the participants were really considerate of and friendly to each other. Overall, a really enjoyable experience. I think I will do other races hosted by this company.

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Last long run before LA Marathon, done.

20 miles, close enough to target pace to make me happy.

The 20 miles went well, but it was not easy.¬†That’s my take away. I’m happy with my paces, and effort, and the experience. But it was¬†not¬†easy.

This is not a 5k, I had to keep telling myself.¬†Because it’s not!! It’s not a 10k or a half marathon either. Starting MP slow is a huge challenge, my goodness, but I’m getting better at it.¬†

I maintained a consistent pace for the first 13. Then I maintained a different, but still consistent pace for the remaining 7. Although, to avoid ending on an uphill I tacked on an extra mile at the halfway turnaround, and then called spouse from mile 17 and asked him to pick me up in front of our friends’ place at the bottom of my usual uphill homestretch. So while a negative split does not seem likely, finishing comfortably in my target finish time range is looking realistic.

And of course, since I had procrastinated to the last possible minute to start and finish the run before the Oscar telecast, I went straight from pausing the garmin at mile 20, up a flight of stairs at the the friends’ apartment to gather spouse, back down the stairs to spouse’s car, to the grocery store, through the grocery store carrying a gallon of milk and a 12 pack of bottled beer, through the parking lot, upstairs again at our¬†apartment, jumped in a super quick shower, and straight back to the car to meet some friends for mexican food before I¬†truly¬†got to sit down and cool down. But whatevs, such is life! And those were some damn good enchiladas.

Things I learned:

I will not be using the Nikes for the marathon. I will be using the black brooks pureflow 2s in marathon size. Too much pounding. I like a lot of things about the Nikes, including their effect on my form and how that subsequently requires the use of new muscle groups. They are making me a stronger runner. But the pounding is killing my feet. I will continue to use them for training runs of 14 miles or less, but not for longer distances. Since there are no more long runs before LA, I will be alternating between the Nikes and the pureflow 2s for the next three weeks.

I will not be using bluetooth headphones for the marathon, and I will be using a mophie. Battery life issues. My phone keeps dying on longer runs. Battery drain from the bluetooth, and also I think from running Audible and Nike+ at the same time. So I’ve got some nice green Bose sport headphones that I will use, and even though I wanted to ditch the extra weight of the mophie, I don’t want the psyche-out of my batteries dying at mile 23, so I will be using it anyway.

I will be running with CEP calf sleeves. I tried compression calf sleeves for the first time, I recently bought one pair of Nash and one pair of CEP, during the last two long runs, and I’m in love. Nothing too crazy, I would describe the effect as that last little extra bit of support to keep me moving. They just feel good.

Due to a shipping mix up, I don’t know yet if I will be running with a hydration pack. I bought a super small (50 ml) Hydrapak E-Lite Vest, that would have been here Friday but for a problem with postage. I’ll use it for this weekend’s 13 mile run, and then decide. If this pack is not comfortable, I will need to come up with a solid fuel/hydration plan, because drinking too much water in the last quarter of long runs has often been my downfall. Even on this last 20 miler, I stopped at the water fountain about 5 times. The last two times I could not help myself from chugging. When I’ve used hydration packs for hiking and 10-15 mile runs I don’t have the gulping issue. But the packs I have are both too uncomfortable for a full marathon. One is too heavy and bouncy, one is too heavy and ugly. I need one that is at least smaller, lighter weight if I’ll be carrying it the whole time. I don’t take much fluid while actually running anyway, I think I’ve mentioned before that I feel this is a side effect of doing Bikram yoga six days a week for a year, so I don’t need even a full liter. Just something to take small, periodic sips from throughout the run. I’m better at sipping vs. chugging when my water is on my person instead of only available at the aid stations. And I’m no good at all at running with a stomach full of water.

Also, since¬†Surf City USA, I have made a point of running the last two long runs during the day and in the sun. I’m normally a night runner. I don’t really enjoy running in the sun, so I’m forcing myself to learn to adapt and overcome the psychological challenge of running directly into the sun. These next three marathons are all in California with little to no chance of cloud cover, so time to buck up and deal with it! I’m happy to report that I’m getting better at not letting the sunlight affect my performance.

And oh, my super amazing birthday presents from the spouse arrived from Amazon!!

A foot spa and a foot massager. And oh my goodness, I mean, wow. Two incredibly simple and inexpensive devices have combined to make our living room a full blown foot pampering heaven. And if I put the foot massager on an end table in front of the couch, it becomes a calf and ankle massager too.  Between these and the calf sleeves, long run recovery time has been drastically reduced.

Speaking of how awesome spouse is, did I mention, my spouse’s work won an Oscar last night?¬†Shameless spouse brag moment, sorry! Spouse was in Canada for a year working on Life of Pi at MPC. He is a freelance VFX TD who does particles and fluids and other things I’m not very good at describing. He created a lot of water (rain, ocean, stormy-stuff) for Life of Pi, and during the telecast they showed several of the shots he worked on as part of the various Life of Pi montages. And Life of Pi won the VFX Oscar to boot! To give credit where it’s due, every VFX shot takes a village of artists and techs specializing in different components of creating each shot, and without any one of those components the shot would effectively look like crap (or so I have gleaned over many dinners and happy hours in my years with a vfx spouse and vfx bffs), but it was certainly fun to see the montages play as though they were taken straight off spouse’s reel ūüôā

And on that note, let’s taper!! Yay!!!!!

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