I’m headed to the Philly Hot Chocolate 5K/15K!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate Philadephia 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!”

I’ve finally come to accept that I am probably done with racing for 2017. As much as I want to race, nothing really fits into my training schedule for the Goofy Challenge at this time. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t look forward to 2018! I already have four races planned, with one of them being a race I’ve wanted to check out for a while now!

On April 7th, 2018, I’ll be heading to Philadelphia for the Hot Chocolate 15K! Here are just a few reasons why I’m so excited:

1. 15K (or 9.3 miles) is a new race distance for me. A new distance = automatic PR! There is also a 5K 🙂

2. A Philadelphia race didn’t happen for me this year (Rock N Roll Philly).  The race start/finish is near the famed Art Museum with the Rocky Steps, and the course runs along a riverbank, which is flat! I’m happy to finally be getting there to run.

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Art museum on the left, you will run a majority of the race on the right side of the river!

3. Have you heard about the awesome swag?! Hot Chocolate races are known for their incredible premiums and medals. The shirts for this year’s races are so pretty. I’ve been needing a purple shirt for my collection! I also like that the medals come with a city-specific key chain!

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photo: hotchocolate15k.com

4. Finish line sweets! Most of you know I’m all about the post-race beer, but  hot chocolate, and warm chocolate with goodies to dip in it? Sign me up! (I might have to run with a mini of Bailey’s for that hot cocoa 😉 ) There are also sweets on the course!

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photo: hotchocolate15k.com

5. I’ll be there as a Bib Rave Pro! I’m super excited to be back as a Pro in 2018. I ran three great races with them in 2017 and cant wait for more wonderful experiences and products to try! Don’t miss out: Bib Rave Pro applications for 2018 are open now, until 11/15! Don’t be afraid to apply to be a part of an amazing team. Feel free to tell them that I sent you!

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Do you want to run with me in Philly? Hot Chocolate races consistently sell-out, so sign up now. When you do, use the code BRHCPHILLY18 for a free hat!

Charles St 12 miler training: 8/7-8/14

Another week down and August is still going strong. I hit 700 miles for the year this week, which is a milestone I was hoping to meet by the end of July, but I’ll be able to catch up. Two-30 mile weeks in a row and I’m feeling pretty good (despite a desperate need to roll more!)

8/7: Rest day

8/8: 5 miles easy effort. Tried to make it a little more of a “super easy” effort, but humidity and hills killed that.

8/9: 2.5 miles easy effort around the Inner Harbor, and 2.28 miles at November Project. No “double” today as I slept for an extra half an hour! (Seeing as the workout wasn’t super cardio based, I’m happy with my decision)

8/10: Rest day – I had planned my speed work for Thursday, but I slept through my alarms. SHOCKER. Gotta switch up those alarm tones again…

8/11: 4.5 miles of speed work. 1 mi wu/cd (+ a little more), 8 x 400 with 1:00 walking recovery. Hit all of my paces with two of them being a few seconds fast. The last one felt hard, but I got it done. I’m loving some structured challenges each week.

8/12: 4 miles of crap. Seriously. It was supposed to rain so I ruled out the November Project Ravens stadium workout. Turns out, it didn’t rain, but it was seriously swampy. Slept in a little so I got a late start; pair that with tired legs and it’s a calling for a really crappy run. Went out for 6, cut it so Sunday would be successful.

8/13: 12 miles of wonderfulness. It was cooler and the dew point dropped, making the air feel so much better. Managed a big negative split and 4 of the last 5 miles were sub 11:00. I’m cool with it. For next week’s long run I’ll run the other half of the Charles Street 12 course!

Trivia playoffs after running long(er) = splurging for lunch!

Total miles: 30.28

I was aiming for 32-33, but with a run cut short and never knowing exactly how many miles I’ll log on an NP morning, it’s cool. I’m just happy to be back in the 30 mile range! Ready for a bigger week this week before starting to taper a little for the Charles Street 12 miler.

Pre-Goofy Diet Clean-Up: Featuring Luvo!

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Frozen Meals to review 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!

As summer has hit I am getting back into a more solid running routine, building up a solid base for Goofy Challenge 2018 training. While gaining back the weight I lost before the NJ Marathon isn’t my sole motivation, I’ve been working hard to clean up my diet while I have extra time home to make more meals. While I still have kept my favorites in my diet (CHEESE) I’m also making more healthy swaps to add in more nutrients into my life.

1. More vegetables, and more of them FRESH! Cucumbers and peppers as snacks, eggplant parmesean, salads with lettuce from my garden, and brussels sprouts. Seriously, where have these been all of my life? They’re great fresh, but since I’m on a summer budget I’m a fan of the $0.99 bag of frozen baby brussels from Trader Joe’s. I love pairing some with a Luvo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese bowl.

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2. Frequent shopping trips: Frequent, small shopping trips allow me to get more fresh food and also explore the area stores. There are so many grocery stores around me, and each one carries a different variety of Luvo meals. Wegmans is my favorite for, as they carry the Luvo Bowls, but I also like the Orange Mango Chicken that I found at a Giant food store. They also have a fantastic bakery and fun produce section.

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Luvo Bowls and Wegman’s cheese bread. HEAVEN.

3. More salads – During the school year I went in and out of “salad mode”. I like to have a big salad for lunch many days – it fills me up, but yet I don’t feel like a bloated mess when I head to the pool. Don’t think I’ve let go of my ranch habit yet, though.

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Post November Project double “feast”

4. Trying new things – Seeing new Luvo meals forces me to try new things. Like the Orange Chicken Luvo meal I mentioned. I am not a mango person, and rarely have kale (I’m trying to eat more of it!). While it wasn’t my favorite (I’d love it, sans mango), I realized that I don’t mind edamame and kale mixed in with other things.

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Source: Luvo website. Look at those stats!

5. Simple exchanges – Coffee is now made with a smidge of sugar in the raw and half and half rather than the sugary artificially flavored creamer. I’m eating more veggies as sides instead of pasta sides. I even made myself order whole grain pasta at Olive Garden last night (I used to do this all the time but have gotten away from it!)

I’m excited to be making these small changes, along with others. Keeping Luvo meals on hand, instead of my old Lean Cuisines (that would only keep me full for like, an hour!) is definitely helping me get closer to some overall health goals.

Thanks again to Bib Rave for giving me the opportuinity to test out Luvo meals once again. Do you love running and related products? Apply to be a Bib Rave Pro and drop my name, as summer applications are open!

Getting back at it: 5/15 – 5/21/17

Week 3 post-marathon: I started the week feeling refreshed and ready to do a little bit more than the past couple of weeks.

I started doing 30 burpees a day, inspired by this Runner’s World article. I’ve successfully made it through the first 7 days, each day getting a little easier, aside from Wednesday (burpees after a big dinner a beer or two). Saturday was the best day so far, and I can feel my form getting better, as well as not being as dead after a set of 10.

Monday: 30 burpees, ’tis all

Tuesday2.15 mi at Girls on the Run. It was HOT and the girls did great. I felt good running as well. Then, 30 burpees.

Wednesday: 3 mi. 2.1 at November Project, then .9 to get to a number that made me happier. Plus, 30 burpees after dinner, with my roommates cheering me on in the living room.

Thursday3 mi in my new Adidas Ultra Boost X’s. I felt great, but didn’t go longer because I was nervous to do so with the new shoes. With a dessert of 30 burpees, which felt significantly easier than the night before.

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Friday: Rest, and 30 burpees.

Saturday: 5.5 miles on the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon course  with Beth! It was hilly, but a great run – aside from getting screamed at by someone in a car. AAND 30 burpees a few hours later.

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I can deal with more post-run Brunches!

Sunday: 22.5 miles on my bike, with Jake and a couple of his friends. It was a great, mostly leisurely ride. The stop for ice cream made it completely worth it. Lastly, 30 burpees!

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Run miles: 13.65

Bike miles: 22.5

I’m happy with how the week went. My body is still a little off, and I’m fighting a lot of muscle tightness, in both my glutes (still) and my calves. I’m sure it’s probably normal after a marathon, but I don’t remember the residual tightness and stuff after my first one.

This weekend I also weekend that Zooma is only two.weeks.away. Oh lordy. Realistically, I know I’ll be fine and get through it, but I’m already telling myself to be realistic and understand it won’t be a PR and it may not be pretty!

How long does it take you to feel back to normal after a big race?

Do you have any goals for the week/the rest of May? I’ll be happy to reach 20 miles this week!

NJ Marathon: Goals and Race Prep!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon 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!

Everything for the last 4 months has been about this race. I’m so ready for Sunday! I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to think of realistic goals…

I’ve been so emotional over the past two days. This marathon is just for me. In October, I ran side by side with someone and it greatly changed my experience. I made the mistake of not taping both of my knees and my ITB locked up. I adjusted and proudly finished, but it wasn’t what I imagined after a great training cycle.

Outfit: There will be a “Flat Sam”, but help me pick my skirt! Seriously – I can’t decide!

Race plan: 60:30 run/walk intervals, around a 12:00/mi pace for the first 5 miles, to make sure I don’t go out too fast. After 5 miles, I’ll switch to 90:30 run/walk intervals. Typically my “easy” pace with 90:30 intervals is around an 11:30. I plan to hold this until half-way, when I’ll speed up to a pace I feel I can hold. Every one of my long runs was a negative split, and I’m gunning for that again. I feel so confident after two-three hours now. Plus, I’ve promised myself that if I run a negative split, I’m buying myself this….

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Image credit: Sarah Marie Design Studio

Time goals: In my heart, I truly think I can, and want to go after a sub 5:00:00. However, the fear of hitting “the wall” and failing pushes me back (I didn’t really hit a “wall” in my first 26.2). However, if it is an absolutely perfect day, I think I have the ability to do it. I know with my whole being that I have a 5:15 in me – none of my long runs (60:30 intervals) have been with slower than a 12:00/mi avg, and I’ll be running 90:30 intervals instead of 60:30 for a majority of the race.

C Goal: PR (current PR: 5:32:17)

B Goal: 5:15:00

A Goal: 5:10:00

A+ Goal: Anything with a 4 in front of it!

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While I have races planned for the summer, I’m already struggling with thinking that my next marathon isn’t until the Goofy Challenge in January 2018! I really do love training for a marathon – the long runs are my only time I let myself “slow down” (HA!) during the week.

But really, I’m just hoping for a fun, successful, positive race experience come Sunday. I’m excited for a little road trip out of town, and to explore a new place. And for extreme bagels and blackjack on Monday. #allthebagels

If you’ve run multiple marathons, how did your time differ between races 1 and 2?

Skirt advice, anyone?

 

 

New Jersey Marathon Training: Week 16 + Monday

Week 16 of training is complete and there are now just 12 days between me and my second marathon! Watching the Boston Marathon yesterday was so inspiring. While I am nowhere near chasing a BQ, I am chasing my own unicorn and can’t wait to have my turn to get to the starting line!

For my first week of tapering, I took the mileage down a bit, but not too much. Most of my runs felt great, aside from the very end of my long run.

Monday: This was the first rest day in a while that I was emotionally/mentally dying to get out for a run! But alas, I was good

Tuesday: 1.7 mi. Anxiety plagued me all day, to the point where I almost bailed on Girls on the Run. I ended up being with girls who were walking more, but it felt great when I was able to motivate them to try to run more. I’m happy I went, but I missed a run after due to prepping for my mom’s visit.

Wednesday: 5.14 mi at an easy pace. It felt so wonderful to run a few minutes later and not have to wear my headlamp!

A fresh pair of Balegas makes for a great run!

Thursday: 4.26 mi. I planned for them to be at marathon pace, but it ended up being a strong progression run with my fastest “training run” pace of this cycle.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 5 miles super easy (avg. HR – 140). I was bored stiff, but I knew I needed to keep this run easy!

Sunday: Rest day — I planned to run but Jake and I were out late and I really just wanted to be home with him and make breakfast. Sooooo after I drank my UCan I just went back to bed. Whoops.

+1 Monday:   13.5 miles. I am on Spring Break through today, so I had Monday to run! I felt great until mile 12, when I started feeling horrible. I bonked for the first time in a long while, and I’m not quite sure what went wrong. My run turned from 15 miles into 13.5 and I felt so relieved when I got back to Jake’s without passing out/vomming.

Because my phone won’t upload my skyline photo you get this…

Weekly (+Monday) Total: 29.6 mi

This week I’ll be dropping the miles even more, and I know I’ll start to go a little crazy! I’m starting to think more about my concrete goals, and finding it in myself to believe that I can achieve them. I signed up for a 5K, as my friend is an ambassador. The participant list and expected finish times is posted, and there’s only one other girl in my age group at this time with a similar “expected time”. So I’m very tempted to race-race even though it’s just a week out from my race. We’ll see what happens!

March 2017 + NJ Marathon Training week 14

Happy April, everyone! I’m so happy that spring has sprung! The flowers are blooming and I’m finally starting to feel more like myself again. I haven’t done this in a while, but let’s look back at the last month of running, because it was a good one!

March 2017

Highlights: A new 5K PR, growing confidence

Low-lights: An 18-miler turned 6

Races: Rock N Roll DC, Shamrock 5K,  Baltimore Road Runner’s Club St. Patrick’s Day 5k

Miles run: 125.1


This past week was a bit of a step back week. I had a half marathon scheduled as a long run, and did a couple of shorter runs. All in all it was a great week and I’m ready to head into my “peak week” of training for the New Jersey Marathon!

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Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: 4.75 miles total – 1 at Girls on the Run, 3.75 Easy-Moderate effort at home. My left foot and ankle were bothering me a bit, but I survived. Also bodyweight exercises while watching tv.

Wednesday: 5.95 miles, half on my own, half with Jake. I ran without scheduled intervals and felt good until when I tripped and fell!

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Thursday: 3 miles super easy to recover from the last couple days of harder (for me) runs. I contemplated a rest day, but I really wanted to reach 125 for the month!

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: 13.1 miles at the Oldfield’s Half Marathon – recap coming up soon!

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Sunday: 13.5 mile bike ride to give my legs some needed downtime after that half

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Running miles: 26.8 miles

Ready for one last big week before it’s TAPER TIME! Less than 4 weeks to go – the countdown is on!

 

Product Review: Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals to review 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!

A few weeks ago, I came home to a welcome sight in the mail – COUPONS! Not just any coupons, Luvo Meals coupons. I’ve seen these frozen meals in the grocery store(s) I frequent, and I’ve wanted to see if they are the real deal. I’m lucky to live in a suburban area where there are at least 5 grocery stores in a 2 mile radius, so I had some exploring to do.

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If you know anything about me, I’m 1) a pretty picky eater, 2) horribly indecisive. I took myself to the Luvo website to browse their food selection. Between their 4 kind of products, there was plenty to choose from. I was a little worried I wouldn’t find much to fit my picky tastes, but they had many staples, just with a healthy twist on them.

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Through my adventures I found that each store carried a different variety. My favorite meals I tried, the Luvo Bowls, were only available at my local Wegmans. Each store I went to also had at least one meal that I could see myself trying!

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I must admit, all the meals I’ve tried were pasta based (#sorrynotsorry). I first tried the Turkey and Kale Lasagna, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. I felt the noodles were a bit rubbery and the sauce over powered the other flavors. I then tried the Kale Ricotta Ravioli, and I was in love! I’m not a big kale eater, but this meal made me change my mind a bit. I also liked that unlike other frozen meals, this one actually kept me full!

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Another thing I loved about these meals was the presentation and how they were cooked. The “steam in pouch” meals were, well, steamed in a pouch instead of a typical plastic tray. From there it was an easy “slide” onto your plate. The bowls came in a nice paper bowl, which was very convenient for a school lunch!

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Cauliflower Mac & Cheese bowl – my favorite!

I seriously loved the combination in the meals that I tried. There were enough “simple” ingredients that made the others more easy for a picky eater like me to try. And in terms of the ingredients themselves, they were whole, less processed foods. I gasped when I compared the ingredient list from a Luvo meal to my roommate’s Lean Cuisine in the freezer! I could actually pronounce all of the ingredients.

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I’m in the point of marathon training that I’m really trying to clean up my diet for peak weeks and taper. Knowing I was going to eat a healthy lunch gave me motivation to eat better throughout the day. I “cleaned up” the snacks around my office with Krave Jerky (my new addiction), kale chips (I bought some, next time I’ll just make my own), and Moon Cheese – instead of cheez-its and cookies. They also made for a great dinner with a salad on the side (and HALO TOP after, duh).

I’m so glad that Luvo Meals are now in my life! While they’re a little more than I tend to spend on lunch, but they’ll be great to keep in the freezer. When the rest of my team orders out, I can bring one of these for a “special” lunch and not feel so guilty afterwards! With loads of protein, veggies, and whole grains, these meals are guilt-free.

Where can you find Luvo? Check out the store locator on their website. I was able to find them at Giant, Safeway, Shop Rite, and Wegmans.

Have you tried Luvo meals before? What’s your favorite?

Do you eat freezer meals? Do you splurge on good ones or go simple? I used to get Lean Cuisines, those days are over!

NJ Marathon Training: Week 8 + RNR Discount Code

Another week of training is complete! Schedule wise, it wasn’t the most beautiful, but I got my four days of running in. My right quad/hip was still feeling off, so I changed weeks up and used this week as a step-back week to lower the mileage a bit.

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Week 8 (February 13-19):

Monday: Rest – I was actually sore from my long run.

Tuesday: 1 mile on the treadmill. My hamstrings were weirdly tight, and I didn’t realize it until I started running. My form was suffering, so I came off and spent lots of time with my R8 Recovery and foam roller.

Wednesday: 3.5 miles before SkeeBall. My hamstrings felt better, but my hamstring/quad still felt off. Sacrificed an extra .5 mile to have extra time to stretch before hitting happy hour.

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Thursday: Rest day. I had planned to run 6, but between house work and trivia, I didn’t have the time.

Friday: 4 miles before work. It was the coldest morning of the year, but I made myself get up (after some bargaining). Hamstring/quad felt about 80% – didn’t hurt while running but was really tight after.

Saturday: 5 miles in 70 degree weather!! My body was not ready for the sudden heat shift, but I can’t complain. My HR was high for the day before a long run, but I felt great and my quad loosened up after about 2 miles.

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Sunday: 11 miles in BaltimoreI was torn on how much to run, but running out of water and needing a potty break told me that 11 was how far I was going! My leg felt about 90% after 4 miles, but is still pretty tight the next morning (I haven’t gotten to roll it out yet)

Week 8 total: 24.5. Not the best, but I’ll take it for a step-back week.

The next two weeks will have higher mileage (hoping I can break into the 30’s) that I’m hoping will bring some needed life back to my legs. Higher mileage felt so good on my legs during my last cycle, but I just can’t get there as of yet. After that I have a weekend of races – Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon and the Baltimore Shamrock 5K. I’ll likely run both for fun and not focus on any time, but we’ll see.

Have you wanted to run RNR DC but haven’t signed up yet? Sign up with the code BibRave15 and save $15 on the half or full! (This is good for ALL open Rock and Roll races!)

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Also don’t forget about my New Jersey Marathon code – it saves you $5 off the Full, Half, or Relay! (I’ve guilted Jake into doing the 5K, but alas – no discount).

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I’m linking upCourtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Winter Training Recap linkup. Check out how other runners are training this winter!

Do you have any races coming up?

 

3 Years Running

This week marked three years since I started running again. I had just been broken up with, I was in a bad place with my body image and was super stressed about getting into grad school. My best friend had kept trying to get me to start running with again, and I finally gave in. I started with the Couch to 5K plan, running a few 5ks before graduating college and ran a half marathon 8 months later.

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Still sad we didn’t get to run this. WDW Marathon Weekend 2018 is happening.

3 years later, I couldn’t be more thankful that Beth started to get me running again. We were good friends before, and she would still be my best friend without running. But our love of running (and Tri’s for her, too) really strengthens our friendship and allows us to have some great times together. (If wine festivals, wedding dates, and double dates weren’t enough)

3 years and 2,000 miles later, I’ve..

…Run 10 half marathons, cutting 20 minutes off my PR…

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“First” (but really second) half – all by myself, all day. But I lived.

…Completed a life goal of running a marathon.

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…Recovered from my 7 year eating disorder & failed attempts at recovery. I didn’t think full recovery was a thing 3 years ago, but is if you believe it can be. Despite the occasional, fleeting thought that I’m “too big” or eating something that’s “unhealthy”, the biggest reminder is a pen I have from a speaker event I went to when I was truly starting to recover, in February 2014. (That pen is starting to die and I’m SO SAD because IT’S THE BEST). I’m still at a point where truly “dieting” brings out the risky thoughts, but I’m okay with leading a rather “balanced” life for now.

…Had/have amazing times with friends (and family) running for fun and in races.

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And now I’m “coaching” my roommate though this year’s B3 series.

..Developed much bigger legs that chafe if I wear shorts, but they’re much more powerful.

…Gone from running guns blazing every day and being injured to running modestly, but healthy.

…Stopped/started blogging a few times, but still enjoy writing.

…And oh yeah I ran/crawled 3 miles up that mountain after running (and coming in DFL) a 10K, while injured. That was a blast and I will happily never do it again.

…Always set bigger and better goals for myself.

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Hat Trick in October. 3.1 and 6.2 on Saturday, (HILLY) 13.1 on Sunday
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Goofy 2018 – I’m coming for ya!

If I didn’t start running 3 years ago, I probably would have gone freaking nuts in grad school, would have gained much more weight, and honestly would still be at war with myself in my body. I often think of how my relationship with running would be if I didn’t stop after my first half marathon, when I ran for the completely wrong reasons. But yet, I almost don’t want to know, because I love the relationship I have with the sport now.