Happy Today-Is-My-Friday Day!

I am very happy today because I have a half day at work before a couple of days off for Thanksgiving! WHOO! I hope you have time off work too!

I’m finally feeling in the holiday spirit! I started my Christmas shopping yesterday and I even put a couple of decorations up around the house.

(We don’t have a tree because we have a cat who is not able to handle a tree! ;) )

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I have zero talent when it comes to interior decoration, so I really just put things up wherever it feels right which sometimes doesn’t end up looking right.

Oh well, Adam and I hardly ever have anyone over who can judge us!

Sorry, I’m not sorry that I use Pinterest to find motivational running pictures instead of home decor ideas! :)

Last night I went for an easy three miler in the sauna  around my hood. Only 91% humidity yesterday, so that’s an improvement over Monday!

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Who wants to come join me? Anyone? No takers for running in the sauna?

You have no idea how much I am looking forward to the change in weather that will roll in briefly on Thursday!

As you can see ^ I got caught at the drawbridge again. Damn bridge. Although honestly it was so humid my heart was beating like crazy by the time I got to the top and I was pretty grateful for the mini break. Only one boat had to pass through, so it didn’t take too long.

So, I’ve had a very last minute Thanksgiving change of plans. I won’t be going out of town for the holiday, which means I can sign up for the local Turkey Trot 5K.

I am scheduled to run 5 miles on Thursday, and the start and finish of the race just happen to be about 1.5 miles from my house. That means I can easily get in my full five miles by doing a warmup and cool down jog on my way there and back.

The only reason I am hesitating is that the race fee is now $40 and you don’t even get a tech t-shirt or medal. Hmmmmmm. I run this same route almost every single day of my life for free. Should I pay $40 to run my normal route just because it’s Thanksgiving?  That’s a tough one.

Hmmm hmmm hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a 5K? 

Are you braving the grocery stores today? I am and I’m scared!

The One That Almost Killed Me

Yesterday morning I popped out of bed full of energy and ready for an early morning run.

When I opened the door I was hit with a blanket of humidity (81 degrees, 80% humidity). I completed one whole mile before turning around and going home. Hardcore, I know.

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The evenings tend to have lower humidity here so I figured running at night would be better. Boy was I WRONG! At night it was 79 degrees with 95% humidity! And guess what I had on tap? Speedwork.

My workout consisted of a one mile warmup, three miles with 2 minute hard intervals / 1 minute easy intervals and a one mile cool down. 

I was able to crank out my fast intervals between 9:35 and 10:45 pace but I’m pretty sure I died a couple of times! I texted my coach to say the workout killed me … in a good way :).

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^ At least the wind has died down!

Some things I learned during last night’s run:

- I can run for short periods of time at a sub 10-minute mile (who knew?!)

- I can even hold the sub-10 minute mile pace when I’m running up the bridge

- After running hard intervals in the 9 to 10 minute pace range I need to walk slowly for a minute

My target for the fast intervals was 10:00 – 10:30 pace. However, I am having a hard time maintaing a specific fast pace. Heck, I just learned how to keep a consistent pace at 13:00-13:30!

I’m sure I’ll get there with time … although my pacing inconsistency allowed me to discover I could dip into the 9s (and even the 8s one time) which is pretty cool to know! Especially in this sticky, awful weather.

You guys, we can do hard things!

You know what helps? Eating a Jolly Rancher while you’re doing a hard run. I picked up that tip from Ali’s blog. She’s a genius! Not only does it make you feel less thirsty but it’s delicious! Last night’s workout was a two jolly rancher kind of night.

Tonight I’ve just got three easy miles on the sched. so it will be a one Jolly kind of night.

When was your last OMG-I’m-Dying workout? Was it running/lifting/core work?

Wind, Running & Strength Training

My weekend was full of wind, wind and even more wind with a few sprinkles of rain.

Saturday I headed down to the beach for my long run and nearly got swept off the path by 20mph gusts!

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There were lots of running groups out, but everyone was just heads down trying to cut through the howl and strength of the wind.

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These waves may not look like much to you, but the ocean down here is usually super calm and almost glass like. I have never seen Fort Lauderdale beach with waves like this!

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Running in the wind feels 10 times harder than a regular run! I had 10 miles on my schedule, but I called it a day after 10K because I was tired. Plus my stomach was giving me some trouble, so that didn’t make things any better.

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I don’t remember taking this picture, I must have hit the button by accident, but you can see how gusty the wind was by my hair!

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Anyway, I feel guilty now because I didn’t do my long run last week while we were on a bit of a mini vacation, and this weekend I cut it short by almost four miles. My rule has always been “NEVER compromise on your long run” and now I’ve done that two weeks in a row. Who have I become?!!

I have an inkling that I probably should have taken a little more time to recover after the marathon and this is my body’s way of saying that. Although I didn’t finish the marathon FAST, I was on my feet for A LOT OF TIME. Plus months of training can be mentally exhausting, I suppose.

I had intended to run the Fort Lauderdale Half and Palm Beaches half easy and to ramp up slowly to run the Miami Half at the end of January as my goal race. But after running a strong PR at Fort Lauderdale I’ve had it in my head to PR again at PB….

I’m trying to get myself back in check and on a good routine. I’m wondering if I should skip the PB half in two weeks just to take the pressure of “I want another PR” off ….. hmm.

The good news is there will be PLENTY of time for quality running this upcoming week thanks to the holiday and a few days off of work!

Other than running stuff, I also got in a decent upper body strength workout. I normally go for high weight, low reps, but on Sunday I decided to switch things up and go lower weight, higher reps:

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Planking at the end of that workout was hard. I am not even mad that I only held for 1:15!

And in other important news, I have a really cute cat.

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So cute that he trapped me on the couch by sleeping on me. I just couldn’t get up because I didn’t want to disturb him!

I hope you had a great weekend! And a big thank you to everyone who read my Friday post about the dangers of cub petting!

Are you doing a Turkey trot this week? 

Do you cook for Thanksgiving, or just sit back and enjoy the feast? 

A Cause I Care About

Last night was one of those nights. I just could NOT get into my run at all.

My stomach didn’t feel right, my calves were ridiculously tight and the wind felt like it was pushing me backwards. We NEVER have wind like that in Fort Lauderdale. It is very much unwelcome!

Oh well, for every bad run there are 100 good runs so I just need to wipe that one from my memory. Since I don’t have much to report on from my run, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about a cause I really care about.

As some of you know I am a donor of Big Cat Rescue (BCR), a sanctuary in Tampa, FL for lions, tigers, bobcats, jaguars and other large cats.

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Today I want to just talk briefly about something that many of you might not know is really bad  - cub petting.

There are many companies out there that will allow the public to pet, pose for pictures with and even swim with lion and tiger cubs.

Some of these companies pretend that the revenue made from these activities goes towards animal conversation, while others just pitch it as a fun activity.

But this petting process is not fun for the poor cubs involved, and what’s really not fun is what happens to these cubs after they become too large to participate in petting activities.

A loophole in US law allows for cubs between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 weeks to be exploited for money. Under the age of 8 weeks the immune system of the cubs is too wear to be handled by the public, and after 12 weeks of age the cubs are deemed to be too dangerous for public handling.

To keep profits up and work around this loophole companies overbreed their big cats to ensure they always have an ample supply of 8-12 week old cubs available for petting. Sometimes the handlers don’t even wait until the cubs are 8 weeks old. Age violations are very common between the Department of Agriculture only has around 100 inspectors who must perform around 4500 inspections on an array of facilities including breeders, safaris, zoos, dealers, auction houses, circuses, etc.

In short, handlers know they can get away with putting younger cubs up for petting.

Here are a few important things to know if you’ve ever considered cub petting:

  • Cubs are torn from their mothers prematurely
  • Cubs are sleep deprived so they can ‘work’ which causes stress on cubs that require long hours of sleep
  • Cubs are often handled at an age where their immune systems are not developed resulting in sickness
  • Females are overbred so that an ample supply of 8-12 week old cubs are always available
  • Inbreeding is common resulting in serious health issues
  • When not in the public eye, cubs are confined in small cages, transported to unfamiliar settings and handled for long periods of time by scores of people to make the most profit – there are no regulations for the size of cages for cubs or adult big cats
  • Cubs are often disciplined with stun guns, drugs or worse
  • Cubs and mothers are often deprived of veterinary care, food, water and clean housing

For example, on www.TigerCubAbuse.com (graphic) you can see some cubs that have gotten sick from mistreatment. “The keepers follow the cubs around wiping diarrhea off the floor and then use the same towel to wipe the cubs’ irritated rear ends and the poor cubs scream in pain.”

Handlers who offer cub petting services are NEVER working with or affiliated with nonprofits or conservation efforts. Ever. Period. However, they do often lie about being affiliated to earn your trust and your money. 

So, what happens to the cute little cubs after they are 12 weeks old? 

Because the cubs have been handled by humans their whole lives they are not suitable for wildlife preserves as they haven’t been taught to hunt or interact with other animals. Because of this the cubs are usually destined for very dim futures.

  • Cubs are sold into the black trade market where they are killed and sold for their parts
  • Cubs are sold to game reserves where they have no method for escape and are hunted daily until they are finally killed
  • Cubs are left behind to starve and die in empty warehouses and other similar places
  • Some cubs are rescued by sanctuaries like Big Cat Rescue, but these organizations receive more requests than they can respond to

The idea for playing with cubs is very enticing for any animal lover, especially one like myself who has a house cat.

However, it’s important to remember that lions, tigers and other big cats are meant to be wild animals. They should have as little human interaction as possible.

For more information about the dangers of cub petting please see these resources:

The Big Cat Handling Crisis Fact Sheet

Why Petting Cubs Leads to Abuse

Stop Cub Petting

What You Need to Know About Playing With Lion Cubs

I hope this post didn’t come off as too preachy. I probably do dozens of things per day that are unintentionally hurting animals or our environment in some way, and I hope if you see me doing something wrong you’ll let me know.

However, here in South Florida we have several handlers who offer such cub petting services and I thought it was important to bring it to your attention in case you see something like this going on in your area.

If you do, you can contact Big Cat Rescue and they can put you in touch with an appropriate contact in your area who may be able to help.

If you made it to the end of this post, Cecil and I thank you for listening!

Have a great weekend! 

I Mustache You Some Questions

I have a food hangover from yesterday’s delicious anniversary dinner! Does that ever happen to you? I just want to lay in bed forever, but that would be wrong so instead I’ll blog! :)

Yesterday Kristen tagged me in the mustache linkup, and who am I to say no to a linkup with such a clever name?

Here we go!

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Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  1. Baby ⟶ Adam
  2. Meow ⟶ Cecil 
  3. Kay ⟶ some old friends from elementary school
  4. Stina ⟶ some old friends from high school

In high school one of my best friends was also named Christina and we were Stina1 and Stina2!

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Beauty Advisor at the Walgreens cosmetic center
  2. Technical writer & usability intern at Citrix Systems
  3. Marketing Manager at ion interactive
  4. Marketing Director at my current job

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

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  1. Confessions of a Shopaholic
  2. Sweet Home Alabama
  3. Homeward Bound (always makes me cry when Shadow comes over the hill)
  4. All of the Harry Potter movies

I honestly don’t watch very many movies more than once. TV series are a different story! I love to re-watch TV series multiple times from beginning to end — Angel, Dollhouse, Gossip Girl, Arrested Development, etc.

Four books I’d recommend:

Here are my four favorite running books!

1. Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (Scott Jurek)

2. My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom and Insights of a Road Racing Icon (Bart Yasso)

3. Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth (Adharanand Finn)

4. Running for the Hansons: An Insider’s Account of the Brooks Sponsored Marathon Training Group Made Famous by Olympian Brian Sell (Sage Canaday)

Four places I have lived:

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  1. Spring Hill, FL
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. North Miami, FL
  4. Fort Lauderdale, FL (the best place to live!)

Four places I have been:

  1. Paris, France
  2. London, England
  3. Cozumel, Mexico
  4. Falmouth, Jamaica

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. This is a tough one because I am currently at home and very content!
  2. TBD

Four things I don’t eat:

Friends not food! :)

Friends not food!

  1. Seafood of any kind (gross)
  2. Brussel sprouts (gross)
  3. Raw carrots (gross)
  4. Spicy things (ow)

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Beef satay (with peanut sauce)
  3. Gyoza/chicken potstickers
  4. Fuji apples

Four TV shows that I watch:

  1. THE MINDY PROJECT!!!!
  2. New Girl
  3. Workaholics
  4. Football

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. Hopefully getting another new half marathon PR next month
  2. Giving Christmas gifts (I love giving them!)
  3. Having almost two weeks off of work in December
  4. Planning out Adam and my 2015 vacation schedule

Four things I’m always saying:

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  1. Mother clucker (in an attempt to curse less)
  2. Hey, what’s going on? (how I answer my phone for friends)
  3. Okay, so when are we going to _______ (I gotta have a plan!)
  4. I’m going for a run, I’ll be back

Four people I tag:

  1. Meg
  2. Ali
  3. Heather 
  4. Lou 

^ The teacher-runner crew!

What is your favorite book or movie of ALL TIME?

Today is a Special Day!

Guess what showed up in my inbox this week?

This little beauty!

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You know I hung it up on my wall at work right away!

The certificate represents the perfect reminder to just take a deep breath and carry on whenever anything at work starts to bug me!

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I hunt the certificate in its rightful place: near my picture of Adam, Cecil and tin of fancy chocolates. All the important stuff in my life in one spot.

So, you remember on Monday it was 82 degrees on my run? Last night it was 62 degrees! Yep, that arctic blast has finally hit South Florida!

I went for a nice easy run before warming up with a chicken burrito bowl from Chipotle.

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Does anyone else get creeped out by DEAD end signs? I think they should be called something else!

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My body is not made for the cold! It took me 2 miles to warm up and I only had 3 miles on the schedule for the day!

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I love running in the cooler weather, but my calves always feel so tight at first when I run in temps below 80!

Brrrr!

So, a little off topic, but today is a really special day. Today is Adam and my 10 year anniversary of being together! We met when we were both going to the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Not soon after we started seeing each other he moved from Orlando back to South Florida where he’s from.

Long distance relationships don’t work right? Especially when the relationship is between two kids, aged 18 and 20, who live a typical college lifestyle! That’s what the haters said anyway! (hah!)

Let me tell you a long distance relationship can work (temporarily) very easily if you have found your soul mate! As corny as that sounds, it’s really true! Adam and I were long distance for a year before I decided to transfer schools and move down to South Florida too.

♫ Ain’t nothing better, we beat the odds together
I’m glad we didn’t listen, look at what we would be missin’

They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”
But just look at us holding on, still together, still going strong 

♫ You’re still the one I run to, 
The one I belong to,
The one I want for life 

Transferring schools and moving to Miami in 2006 was the best decision I ever made.

I get to be with the love of my life everyday, we adopted a perfect cat, I found a city I’m happy to call home and I get to call the 3X champion Miami Heat my team.

LIFE IS GOOD!

Happy anniversary, Adam!

What is “your song” with your significant other?

What is your favorite song to run to right now?

Priority: Have a Good Time!

My Instagram feed is filled with pictures of snow from friends up north, and I’m down here like, somebody please turn the a/c up!

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Everyone else in the world seems to have barren trees and driveways blanketed in white, while I’ve got palm trees, pink flowers and a cat who loves to sunbathe in the nude. ;)

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Last night I didn’t go running until almost 7:30pm and it was still 82 degrees!

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I tried to channel Kristen up in Bend, OR who recently ran in -1 degree F temps but I don’t think it worked because I still finished my run feeling way overheated!

I got caught at the drawbridge in mile 2 because I guess that’s my new thing.

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Dear Drawbridge, we really need to stop meeting like this!

Last week I didn’t run as much as I should have because Adam and I ended up going up to the Fort Pierce / Port St. Lucie area for a belated birthday getaway. (That’s also why I didn’t blog on Friday.) I didn’t take any pictures (GASP), but I promise it really happened!

I packed my running stuff, but I just never felt like lacing up.

Truthfully, last year for Adam’s birthday we went away for the weekend and I was SO sore and tired from my long run that I was grumpy/complained a lot. I’m sure it wasn’t a pleasant birthday experience, even though Adam would never say anything.

This year I just had to prioritize having a good time!

Life is all about balance right? Missing a couple of runs to spend more quality time with Adam was totally worth it, but this week I’m back in the game and it feels so right!

And I am looking forward to our cold spell later this week… I hear it’s going to be in the low 60s tomorrow night!

Happy Tuesday! :)

What’s the coldest it gets in your area during the winter?

What’s the coldest and temp you’ve ever run in? Hottest?

Getting Caught Up in Finishing Times

You remember how the Fort Lauderdale half I ran last week had some issues with timing? Some of us got caught at a draw bridge and others got caught at a train crossing. The race was kind enough to provide two sets of results – the “official” time and an “unofficial” or adjusted time based on these two factors.

I am not sure how the adjusted time was calculated though because my official time is listed as 3:03:20 and my adjusted time is listed as 3:03:21.

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So basically, instead of subtracting X minutes from my adjusted time they added one second?

I couldn’t help but notice that other people have complained.

Someone on the Facebook Page wrote, “Official time 1:45:41. Unofficial time 1:45:42. Watch time around 1:41.”

Another person wrote, “I had two minutes less on my watch than your official or unofficial time.” 

And a third person wrote, “You do know the unofficial and official are the same right?”

So, the general consensus seems to be that the race times are off by 2-3 minutes, which is what I believe as well since I crossed the finish line in under 3:01 and both of my times are listed at 3:03.

I saw one person comment about the draw bridge and the official response was that people who got stopped at the bridge were running slower than 16 min per mile which is the cutoff time so their times wouldn’t be adjusted, but that would be impossible since at that time I was averaging about 13:25/mile and my finishing time averaged out to 13:45. Even if my time WAS 3:03 there is no way I could have been averaging 16+ min/mile at the bridge and finished in the time I did. Maybe the drawbridge went up twice?

Plus my time WAS adjusted and an extra second was added.

I know I really should not care what some website says about my finishing time, nor should I care about a couple of minutes here or there. It really shouldn’t make a difference…. but it is kind of driving me crazy!

I should be like the person who commented and said, “Wow folks! It was a race for fun. Yes we all take our training seriously but we are not professionals. Get over it and just put an asterisks by it and chalk it up to an unfortunate part of an otherwise great event.”

And the guy who said, “AMAZING EVENT! WHO CARES ABOUT A SMALL HICCUP! ITS ABOUT THE RUN AND THE ATMOSPHERE NOT ABOUT YOUR TIME! YOU STILL GOT A MEDAL RIGHT?”

I want to be like them, and I usually am! I guess the couple of minutes here just matter to me because this was such a big PR race for me. I don’t want to put an asterisk next to it!

Even with a 3:03***** finishing time I still had a huge PR day so I really should not care but … hmmmm!

This is just adding more fuel to the fire for my upcoming half marathons!!!

And just so this post doesn’t seem too negative, I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures from this weekend:

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Can you believe this guy?! :P He’s living the good life!

Have you ever experienced a race timing issue like this before? Or ever had a bit of a grey cloud hang over your PR times?

Half Marathons & Full Marathons on My Mind

You guys, I am already so excited about the Palm Beaches Half. Two nights ago I had a dream about it, and last night I had a great progression run which left me wishing it was THIS WEEKEND!

Speaking of which, I can’t believe I forgot to show you the awesome bib from last weekend’s half.

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I love that the background is of the beach! The medal was a little bit boring though.

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Last year the medal was of the state of Florida which I thought was really cool.

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I’m not familiar with the course at Palm Beaches at all, but the map sort of reminds me of last year’s Fort Laudedale course in that it’s mostly just straight up and down the coast. I love courses like this!

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Obviously, I’m really excited about half marathons right now, but I’ve also got Marathon #2 running through my mind.

In fact, I’m currently on the hunt for a Fall 2015 marathon to register for!

At first I thought I might want to run the Miami Marathon in January 2016, but I realized that:

A.) I don’t want to wait until January to run my next full and

B.) There is the potential that it will be 80+ degrees in January here in Miami which would be killer. It was in the 80s at the end of the Portland Marathon for me and I don’t want to experience that feeling again anytime soon.

My requirements for Marathon #2 are simple:

  • Almost guaranteed cool / cold weather
  • As flat as possible
  • Scenic course

If you have any recommendations, I am all ears!

I know now if I choose a course up north no matter how flat the race is described as it won’t be as flat as I’m used to down here in Florida, and that’s okay. This time I will be sure to train properly for a “flat” course rather than a flat course ; )!

Maybe Chicago? Hmmmmm……

Are you registered for any 2015 races yet? Planning any big races for next year? Which ones? Marathon recommendations are welcome! 

11 Things About Me You Might Not Know (Liebster Award)

Happy Wednesday! Last night I enjoyed a short, breezy run to shake up my legs. Nothing too interesting happened there to blog about BUT I will be coming atcha with some thoughts about the Palm Beaches Half tomorrow!

Yesterday Meg nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thank you, Meg! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought I’d give it a go today!

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As part of the Liebster I have to answer the 11 questions Meg gave me and then nominate 11 other bloggers to answer a new set of 11 questions I have written. Here we go!

1. What is your current health related goal?

I really want to get back into a 3-day-a-week strength training routine. I usually run six days a week so my current norm is 1 to 2 days of strength. I need to figure out the best schedule for properly mixing in an extra day!

Maybe someday I can get back to squatting this:

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Actually that left me really sore on running days, so maybe just get back into a solid squatting routine period.

2. What is your biggest irrational fear?

I am scared of the vampire that lives in my closet. And the monster that wants to grab my feet when I get out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

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3. Do you enjoy wrapping presents?

Does artfully arranging colorful tissue paper in the cutest bag I can find count as wrapping? Because that is my signature way to give gifts : ).

4. What’s your favorite cross training activity?

Kicking my legs around in the pool on a sunny day with a cold glass of unsweet iced tea. It might not be the most strenuous thing but I like it!

5. If I came to visit you, what would we do?

Run at the beach, of course!
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6. You have 2 weeks off of work and 2 round trip plane tickets ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?

I would take Adam and probably go to Korea (I was born in Seoul). We have talked about going for a few years but the plane tickets are really expensive!

7. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you during a run or race?

Having to run off the race course and into a Subway to use the bathroom. It was an Emergency with a capital E.

8. Tell me the 3 best days of your life. Or at least the first 3 that pop into your mind.

The first things that popped into my mind:

1. The day I met Adam.

2. The day we adopted our baby cat.

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3. The day I started watching The Mindy Project.

9. Okay, you HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would you choose and what would you order?

Does Chipotle count as fast food? Isn’t it technically classified as “casual fast?” I would definitely get a chicken or steak burrito bowl!

10. Have you ever met a celebrity?

JOEY FATONE from *NSYNC! It was such a great day in my 15-year-old life!!!!

11. Share a picture of yourself in non-workout clothes! 

Me and Alice the Camel at the Miami Metro Zoo:

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Me being super fashionable in teal tights at Centennial Park in Atlanta:

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And now it’s my turn to nominate other bloggers!

Today I want to nominate a few of the blogs I’ve started following since the last time I did a Liebster: Simple RunnerFairweather RunnerRun, Jenny, RunLily Runs the WorldWhy Mom Runs and Simplify Life!

There are about 10 other blogs I WANT to nominate so if I didn’t name you know I stalk read your blog every day, you are nominated too!

My 11 questions for the nominees:

1. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you choose?
2. If a movie of your life was made, what would the focus be on and who would play you?
3. What is your DREAM job?
4. Describe yourself in just three words!
5. If you could be anyone else for a day who would you be?
6. What item that you don’t already have would you most like to own?
7. If you were a fruit, what type of fruit would you be?
8. If you could break any running world record, which one would you choose?
9. What is the best joke you’ve ever heard?
10. What is your typical morning routine like?
11. What is the most recent movie/book you’ve seen/read?

Seriously though, I have to know, what is your DREAM job???