What’s on Your Wish List?

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m sure everyone is busy prepping and buying gifts for their friends and family. It’s such a great time of year to shower others with gifts and, hey, maybe you’re picking up a little something something for yourself while you’re at it. I know I have been.

So, what’s on your wish list as an active person/athlete/runner? I thought I’d put a few things together that I know I’d like to have!

New Kicks

My current shoes trained and ran a marathon, and still have a lot of love left in them. I’ve also got some great cross-trainers and I’m the proud owner of a brand new pair of trail running shoes (to be used this weekend!), but I know a runner will never say no to new shoes!

How adorable are these Christmas Brooks?

 

Fresh Clothes

As a SkirtSports Ambassador I get a great deal on any Skirt product, but who wouldn’t love to get some awesome gear as a gift! I know I love funny running and workout shirts, and gift cards are always a plus.

Headgear

Since testing AfterShokz with BibRave last year I’ve been IN LOVE with mine. I’m sure there are plenty of other products like them out there, but these are definitely my favorite.

 

Socks

I love the fun socks from Sox Box. They have great compression and funny sayings! You can’t go wrong!

Race Entry Fees

If you really love someone, find out a race they want to run and pay for them! There are a ton of races out there that people are dying to run!

Coffee/Snacks

Getting up for those early runs or staying up late to take care of those workouts can be tiring and also leaves us a little hangry. Feed us and tell us we’re strong.

What’s on your list?

 

BOCO Grab Bag of Awesome Giveaway

We’re sharing the love from our BOCO Gear Grab Bags of Awesome with TWO BOCO Gear awesome giveaways! We love this company so much and can’t wait to share the love with two lucky winners who will score two hats each.

Check out the Vlogs and leave a comment here on this post to enter by Friday, May 24, 2019. We’ll notify winners over the weekend so be sure your comment is linked to your email! US residents only.

Giveaway One from Mer’s Grab Bag of Awesome

Giveaway two from Jenn’s GBOA

 

How to Sew a Patch – Scoot Stitches

Happy Friday, Lovely People! I’m bringing back our Scoot Stiches series today to show you how to sew a sew-on patch. BOCO Gear sent all their 2019 Ambassadors a sew-on patch, and I quickly realized not many folks know this easy-to-learn skill. The great thing about patches is that you can sew them on to just about anything, and today’s video tutorial will show you how in a snap! I’ll be sewing my patch onto my Skirt Sports Toasty Girl Vest (which I love).

 

Check out some of our other tutorials in this series; Make a Running Skirt with a Waist Band Pocket, and Make a Gear Bag from a Race T-Shirt

Race Recap: Miami’s 305 Half Marathon, Part Two

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 305 Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Earlier this year I was looking into races to prep for my season. I say “season” like I separate running into different parts of the year, but I really just like to have a race every month. It’s fun to earn bling each month, don’t you think?

So. I didn’t have anything for March and had my eye on a BibRave race for awhile. I texted Mer to get some ideas on how to sign up, as I’d only done other campaigns with BR, not races and that kind of got the ball rolling for this. Mer said in her post that she didn’t think I was invited her well, jokes on her because it’s fun to talk people into running races with you. Really, though. I was worried about running a half on my own and was super relieved when Mer said she was thinking about joining.

After I signed up (using the super user friendly Athlinks), I started with some light training. As you know, my goal is to love running again so I’d been going out and having some fun on my own without having a goal or something to work for. I did pretty well with training for this race because I ran a 15k the weekend before and just considered it my last training run.

When race weekend came, everything still felt too laid back, if that makes sense. I wasn’t worried about running or PRing or anything. I got up on Saturday morning and went through some of my weekend routine before heading over to the east coast. It’s about a two and a half hour drive for me so I sort of took my time. I was excited to spend some time with Mer because it had been a couple of years since we’d seen each other. I was also excited because we’d be in a condo and not sleeping in a van together.

I got to the other coast in the early afternoon, so Mer and I hung out and then went for dinner and ice cream. Carb-loading is a real thing, okay?

Since we had a drive in the morning, bedtime was an early one. My anxiety usually kicks in the night before a race, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. When the alarms started going on at 3:30 I tried to deny it. We got dressed quickly and made our way. We still had to pick up our bibs and that turned out to be no problem. There was even a little coffee cart for me to visit because I don’t function well without, to be honest. Soon enough, we had found our place.

I was feeling great when we started. As a native Floridian, this is the type of weather I’m used to. It was nice and cool…and then the sun came up. It definitely got warm, but thankfully the course had a nice breeze and plenty of places with shade. I mean, there were also BRIDGES, but I digress. The race was well organized and a lot of fun, too. I’m used to Florida, but sometimes it’s just really pretty to me. I love the ocean, palm trees, and all kinds of random things you might find along the way. The course was great because it showed some beautiful sights and the little quirks of Miami, too!

Aid stations were at every mile along with porta-potties and everyone stayed well hydrated. There were a few DJs out with music, which was great since Mer and I didn’t run with headphones. The best part, to me, was that even though we are kind of the “back of the pack” runners, there were still police officers at every intersection and they kept the roads closed for runners. I know it probably takes a lot to do that, especially in a city as big as Miami, but it was much appreciated.

It was pretty warm by the time we reached the finish and it felt like we were never going to get there! They even announced our names (though pronounced mine wrong) and said that we were part of BibRave, which was cool. The after party was hopping when we finally made it there. I got some free shaved ice and had a tasty croissant, which hit the spot pretty well.

And then I carb-loaded again.

Free race photos were an absolute plus and I was so stoked that they turned out so well! I feel like I always struggle with pictures that I have no control and these turned out cute! (Very Instagrammable!)

This was a great race and I’m glad I got to share it with Mer. When’s our next one?

 

Race Recap – Run to Home Base 5K

Last Saturday I ran my first race of the year, as I posted in my races for the new year. It was a 5K benefiting the Run to Home Base organization that helps veterans and their families. From what I’ve read about this program, it’s based out of Boston, which is why there is a Florida race – at the Red Sox Spring Training center! JetBlue Park is a fairly new facility (I don’t know, I’m not big on sportsballs) and is kind of surrounded by a school and some office buildings. Not the best scenery to run in, but it was still nice.

My alarm went off on Saturday morning and I was immediately exhausted. I never sleep the night before any race, so this one was no different. I had coffee and oatmeal for breakfast, but took some water for my drive since I was pretty sure hydrating at happy hour the night before wasn’t going to be good enough. I was very right about that.

I got the field early for packet pick-up since I wasn’t able to do so the night before and I live about thirty minutes from the park. It was a cold morning, meaning it was less than 60 degrees. I’d chosen my Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris and a Captain America tank (because heroes), but I also left the house with two jackets on over my tank because, hello, I’m a born and raised Floridian and I’m cold.

After I picked up my packet I warmed up in the car and listened to one of the books of The Raven Cycle that I had been listening to (hey, read these books). Opening ceremonies were held before the race with different speakers inside the stadium.

 

 

It was truly a beautiful morning, perfect for a little race! The start was late. Well, later than scheduled but I got off to a pretty strong start. I’d ran a couple of races since Chicago but nothing too intense. I felt like starting the year with a race and having a few more planned for the year would help with me wanting to train and run more. I had a solid 11:00 mile for the first mile, which is pretty much my best mileage, haha. I’ve got little legs and they just don’t go very fast sometimes, but I was really happy with that time! Once I hit the mile mark I started to feel a little dehydrated and stopped for water. I took some walk breaks after the first mile, so my time definitely suffered.

Sometimes it is so apparent how your diet plays into your performance. I ate terribly the night before, even though I knew I had a race, and I definitely suffered after my first glorious mile. On my walk breaks I texted with Michelle because she was out on a little training run, too. It had started to warm up and I was absolutely regretting eating ice cream the night before!

This summer when I was training for Chicago and struggling I started listening to books instead of music, so that helped me stay focused on the task at hand. The race was small, but there was never really a lag in the crowd where I wasn’t alone.  The course was nice and shady and by the time we’d looped around to come back to the stadium I didn’t even realize we were almost finished!

Coming into the stadium was fun. As much as I’m not a huge sports fan, I still like to see cool stuff. We came in behind second base and ran up the length to third to the finish line. There were cameras there so I put on my best “I’m not dying, I’m having a great time!” smile and prepared to cross the finish.

 

I love free race photos!

My overall time wasn’t my best 5K, but I was still pretty proud of myself for getting out there on a Saturday after a long week of wrangling children. After we crossed the finish line we had a chance to take a picture running over home plate. It happened quickly and mine turned out pretty cheesy! I’m not even close to home plate in it and I just look silly.

Since I ran alone I asked a random girl to take my picture after and a stranger made a comment about it being a “Facebook/Instagram post” which it, of course, was. That comment kind of put a damper on my whole experience because it felt so negative about sharing your accomplishments. Sure, people don’t have to know every little thing you do, but I had a lot of people text and ask me how my race went. There are so many people that have been part of my “learning to be an athlete” journey and I love to share my wins. I posted it, of course, but then took to Twitter to complain, as one does. We should be proud of every little accomplishment, from marathons to 5Ks to getting out of bed in the morning. Heck, I know I’m always trying to do better with that last one.

Yeah, I posted on Instagram, so what?

Have you done any races to far this year? I’d love to hear about them! 

2019 BOCO Gear Ambassadors

Have you heard of BOCO Gear? You may have one of their awesome hats in your closet and not even know it since they make headwear for many popular races. Mer and Jenn are new ambassadors, and share their  BOCO collections and what the like about the brand. There is so much to love about BOCO!

 

Race Recap: Chicago Marathon

So. Last Sunday I ran a marathon. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise as I feel it’s all I’ve been able to talk about for the past few months. When I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon with a charity team, I knew I had to do something different than I did when I ran the Space Coast Marathon in 2016. Basically I knew I had to train. If you’ve followed my journey you know I started training earnestly this summer. I live in South Florida, so it basically sucked. I learned so much about myself, what I could do, what I needed to do to take care of myself, how hard marathon training is.

BUT – it definitely paid off.

 

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Post race pic, but I thought I’d start with something happy.

 

Last Thursday I took a half day off work and my mom, sister, and I got ready to fly to Chicago. It was typical hot weather here on the Gulf Coast, with a few showers. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:00 and we ended up being delayed until 6:50. It was about 8:30 Chicago time when we landed and we ended up taking a shady cab to the city. I’m not going to go a lot into the city and trip because I feel like there’s so much of the race to talk about, but we had a great time. It’s been sweltering down here recently and the change of weather was nice. Even if it was rainy and cloudy, it was better than suffocating in the heat. A true testament to my taper diet was the fact that I had to try on all my jeans before I packed to make sure they fit. Don’t worry, I also packed leggings…just in case.

We did the sightseeing thing Friday and Saturday, making sure to see the good stuff. We walked the streets, rode an architectural tour boat, and ate some good food. On Friday I met Michelle at the expo so we could pick up our packets. We also picked up some t-shirts, headbands, nuun – the essentials, ha! A lot of you also know that I signed up with the American Heart Association and I finally got to meet the team leaders at the expo. It was nice to talk to them about my story and to finally put a face to their names. I reached my fundraiser goal a week before the race, so that was a huge weight off my shoulders!

Saturday night Michelle and I planned to meet at the hotel restaurant for some last minute carbs, only to find it was closed for a private event. We took the opportunity to go to a pizza place around the corner to grab a slice (okay a whole pizza) and drinks. Beer and pizza seems to be our pre-race ritual, so this was spot on. (We did not get deep dish as it would have taken an hour to cook and I was starving.)

After dinner I went back to my room to prep and make sure everything was ready to go. And to set up my Flat Ash pic, of course. I went to be early, knowing I wouldn’t sleep well. Every time I woke up it felt like I’d been asleep for hours, until my alarm finally went off at 5AM. We’d planned to meet at 6 for breakfast and a walk to Grant Park. Our hotel was full of runners doing the same thing so we hung out a little bit in the warm breakfast area before getting ready to brave the cold.

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I know I said the cold was a relief, but not really when you’re running in a skirt and tank top. Michelle’s brother walked with us to the start line and we parted ways as we got ready to enter our corral. The crowd was already huge and it was only 7AM. Our start time was 8:35! We filed into gear check with everyone, sloshed through the mud, stood in line for the porta-potty, and finally shuffled into our corral. The energy just waiting to start was intense. Everyone was in sweaters and ponchos, taking pictures, and having a good time – in the rain, by the way. I met two Skirt Sport Sisters and chatted for a few minutes before we got shuffled up to the start line.

Our wave finally let out at almost 9AM. It had stopped raining by this time so I’d shed my poncho but kept my sweater for a while. We started out slow and steady, keeping a good pace with everyone around us. I chucked my sweater around Mile 1 because I was starting to warm up. About that time I – literally – ran into my Internet Friend Maura. We’ve known each other on Twitter for years and had been keeping up with each other’s training these past few months. I joked that we would “run” into each other and we did! (She also crushed Chicago, by the way.)

I’m not sure when it started raining again, but I seriously regretted throwing my sweater and poncho when it did. It got cold quick and didn’t let up for a while. Besides the rain, the course at the beginning was great! When you read that there are 1.2 million spectators you can’t really visualize that. But when you finally see all the people on the sidelines it gets a little overwhelming! The first few miles seemed to go pretty fast, even if my running wasn’t that fast. We made sure to stop for water and Gatorade and kept up with our fuel. Seeing so many different parts of the city was so much fun and the people at each turn were different in so many ways.

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At Mile 8 I met another Internet Friend with her amazing sign. We hugged for like two seconds then I ran away.

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By this time it had stopped raining, but I was definitely starting to slow down a little. We’d been running full (kind of ) speed and my body just wasn’t used to it. At Mile 13 my mom and sister were on the sidelines with hugs and a super fun sign for me. (Captain America is my favorite superhero so my mom had a nice Chicago resident make a sign for me.)

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Technically this is an after pic, but whatever.

A little after 15 I started to slow down a lot. I told Michelle to go on without me. I was sad we were getting separated but I just couldn’t keep up with her pace. My hips were killing me and there wasn’t enough BioFreeze in the land to make it stop.

Going on by myself was tough, but I managed. I set my phone to do intervals so I could take some walk breaks. I knew I had to keep a 15:00 pace so every checkpoint I peeked at my app to make sure I was scheduled to finish on time. We had chosen not to track through any running app (I usually use Nike Running) because we were told the GPS would mess up and we didn’t want to kill our phones, knowing we’d need to find everyone at the end. I let my sister and Mer know that I was on my own (and Twitter). Everyone’s encouragement was amazing and I knew that I had to get through it, if not for me it was to not disappoint others. I hate doing that. As we continued to move through the neighborhoods some of the crowds got smaller, but they were still enthusiastic. By this point pedestrians were trying to cross the street in the middle of runners, which I didn’t really care for. I know that life must go on, but some of them were a little reckless. My legs weren’t working that well and I didn’t want an injury when I was so close!

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I remember texting Mer when I was close to the end and visiting one last BioFreeze station. It was basically something like “I just BioFreezed my butt” to lather up my hip. I’m usually pretty modest, but I was dying. At some point it started to sprinkle again and I’d kind of lot track of where I was, mileage wise. There were bananas on the course and I ate a couple in the last few stretches. My friend Lily was tracking me and tweeting my progress, and Mer was texting me encouragement. Without them I probably would’ve ended up walking and not caring about my time. People around me were struggling, but there were still so many people behind us. I always makes me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one suffering!

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When I hit the Mile 26 mark I almost cried. Mostly because there was a big hill at the end and I wanted to die. But also because it was over. As I rounded the hill to come into the finish a girl next to me was crying. I told her “You got this!” and she said “I know, I’m just so happy!”

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That’s a marathon, y’all. It hurts and it sucks. It takes six months of your life and then suddenly none of it matters because you’re there and you’re trying not to cry or throwup or quit. It’s hard. I admire people who do more than one every couple of years. Whether you’re Sir Mo running your sub 5 or you’re me and my crew struggling to keep your 15 minute mile. You’re awesome.

So, back to the race. Coming across the finish line I felt a lot of emotions. I felt strong, tired, hungry, and delirious. Michelle was waiting for me right after medals, so we took pics and got our free beer. We sloshed our way through the mud to get our gear and WALKED DOWN THE STAIRS to get out of Grant Park. My mom and sister were waiting with the crowd outside and we grabbed and Uber with Michelle and her brother. It was fun piling into someone else’s car all gross and smelly for once.

Everything after that is kind of a blur. I took a nice Epsom salt bath while my mom went across the street to grab me food. It was still early in the day, but I stayed in my pajamas and ate a cheeseburger and fries in bed. I answered all my texts and tweets, assuring people that I was still alive in some way. After it all I managed to pack my suitcase to prepare for leaving the next day. I even walked to the Nike store the next day on my own, albeit slowly. My flight was excruciating to say the least. I got stuck with a middle seat and we were pretty much confined to our seats due to turbulence the whole flight. There were some inhuman noises from me once I was able to stand up.

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Once we got home Monday afternoon I didn’t move from the couch. I elevated and binged Brooklyn 99 while my sister brought me things so I would stop moaning and groaning every time I got up.

Everyone at work this week has been amazing. They are all so congratulatory and don’t care how long it took you or if you walked any of the race. Sometimes the kids ask “Did you win?” and you just have to laugh. This past Wednesday my class talked about setting goals and it was really perfect timing! They’d known all year that this was my goal and it was something I got to share with them. As far as my race goals are concerned, I was really hoping for a sub 6. I ended up with a final time of 6:26 and some change. While I didn’t reach my goal, it was still a 33 minute PR! I’m pretty proud of that.

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BioFreeze cheers from my people.

If anyone is thinking about running a marathon, I’d definitely look into Chicago. The course was amazing, the people were great, and the city is beautiful. Even if the runners totally destroyed it.

Thanks to all of you for following this journey and all of your kind words!

Don’t ask me if I’m ready for another one.

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The Road to Chicago

Happy Independence Day/Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a nice holiday/week/summer/day/whatever you’re doing. This past weekend my running buddy and I did our longest run yet for our Chicago Marathon training. It was a tough one, but we pushed through with a good, steady pace. (Even if we did get a little lost and almost had an encounter with an alligator.) Marathon training during the summer definitely has some challenges, but it’s going pretty well. You can listen to me ramble about it below.

High of 90? We got this.

 

Sorry for the TMI. Don’t you just love running?

Post run refreshments are a necessity.

Be Cool, Sodapop

Summer! Don’t you just love it?

Okay, I know it isn’t “technically” summer just yet, but I live in south Florida. It’s the land of perpetual summer. Except when it’s hurricane season.

This week I tried a vlog to talk about how to stay cool and hydrated this summer. Apologies in advance for being super awkward.

 

I love this Cool It skirt!

Leave me some comments about how you stay cool.

Princess Half Recap

Actually, how far I went was a little over 13.1 miles, but I wanted something cute to start off with!

This weekend was Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World and I participated for the second time, running my seventh half marathon. Princess Weekend consists of three races: a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon. Running all three race is on my bucket list, but I’m just not there yet. (I mean, have you every paid for a runDisney race?!)

Since Princess Weekend starts on a Thursday with the expo my friend and I took Friday off from work and drove the three hours to Orlando. We spent the afternoon at the expo in ESPN Wide World of Sports. It’s a lot of fun just kind of walking about and checking out all the great running and fitness stuff that on display, not to mention all of the official runDisney merchandise that, of course, I purchased.

Now, Michelle and I weren’t running until Sunday and were fully aware that we didn’t really need to go up until Saturday for the expo and packet pickup, but we did anyway. Our job is stressful, we’re both annual passholders, and a day at Magic Kingdom is a cure-all. I’m not kidding. We spent most of Saturday at Magic Kingdom riding rides, dodging crowds, and stuffing our faces with delicious food- er, race fuel.

Flat Ash with a Princess Anna/Frozen theme is ready!

Saturday night was an early bedtime, of course. Anyone who has ever done a Disney race knows that while races start at 5:30ish, it’s best to be at the venue at least an hour in advance. My outfit was all set thanks to my Skirt Sports Lioness skirt and my friend JD over at Harpo Graphics. Princess starts at Epcot and since we weren’t staying on Disney property we left our hotel at about 3:30AM. Traffic is also pretty horrendous due to some construction, so we ended up getting to Epcot around 4:00AM. We hung out in the car before trekking into the welcome area. We’d had coffee at the hotel and bagels with peanut butter in the car, which is my go-to race day breakfast. I usually pair it with a banana, too.

We knew the weather was going to be rough. Early that week there was an advisory about heat and humidity. As south Florida is our home and normal running place, we weren’t too worried. I did start hydrating with Nuun on Thursday and made sure to drink plenty of water all weekend. We had plenty of time to take pictures and visit the porta potties and nothing felt rushed at all. I guess that’s a perk of waking up at 2:30 in the morning!

At the start line!

Once we made it to the corral there was a lot of waiting. My friend and I are not fast runners, so we were in one of the last corrals that also happened to be a very large group. There were about 25,000 runners on Sunday morning, so it was packed! If you read my post about training fail then you know I was not at all prepared for this race! I signed up last summer with the intent of training and things just did not work out for me. I won’t make excuses because it was all me, for sure.

The thought of “faking” a half marathon was pretty daunting but we were ready to run, walk, and have a little bit of fun. The weather was nice for the first few miles…until the sun came up. We had a smooth first half and the sun was coming up just as we were entering Magic Kingdom. One of the greatest things about a Disney race is the characters on the course. There are, in true Disney fashion, always long lines. Don’t worry. You can just take selfies.

My Princes await…but so does the finish line.

Now, the sunrise is Disney is great, don’t get me wrong. It’s the heat that comes with the sun at miles 7-10 that were killer! About mile 8 my legs started to get heavy and I was doing more walking than running. Thank goodness Michelle was there to push me (as always). I had a Gingerade GU to try and perk me up as I was starting to feel hungry, too.

Volunteers were handing out sponges to help runners stay cool.

Mile 10 started with a fairly intense cramp that I couldn’t seem to shake. We were making decent time for a not setting an actual pace and doing some walking, so we took it easy for a little while. The crowd was still pretty thick around us and once we hit an overpass you could still see a sea of runners behind us. It sounds mean, but as a “back of the pack” runner I’m always glad when people are behind me! Coming into Epcot means coming up on the finish, so Spaceship Earth was a lovely sight!

Always be on the lookout for Disney photographers for your fun pics!

I love running through the parks and seeing all of the people there. Even if they are actually there cheering for you, they are still cheering! Unless they are just park goers who had no idea there was a race. Then they are just looking at you being all sweaty and weird. Running is such a fun sport because there are so many different levels of it, but everyone is still very encouraging. One of my favorite things about Disney races is seeing everyone’s running outfits and just the joy (really) of running through Disney.

When no one gives you high fives, you smile anyway.

I made sure to high five the choir for Meridith (no pics, sorry) and that is how you know you’re in the home stretch! Rounding the final corner to the finish line is exhilarating and exhausting. I almost tried to stop, but Michelle pulled me through and we finished at a little over three hours. Our goal is to do a sub three one day, but this was not the race for that.

Once we stopped moving I felt a little queasy. It was nothing a runDisney snack box and some ice didn’t fix. The race was as tough as I expected it would be. My legs were screaming at me afterward as we headed to Disney Springs to eat all the food and then head home. It was a great weekend of fun, even the running part of it. I will always recommend a Disney race to people just because it’s such a huge event and it’s always a lot of fun.

Even if you don’t train for it.

Always get the castle pic.