Behind the Scenes at a Fitness Photoshoot for Work

Yesterday was a bit of an usual day for me as I got to tag along to a photoshoot for work!

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The shoot was for a fitness personality so I got to call what kind of shots to take which was a lot of fun! I felt a bit like a personal trainer calling for squats and planks!

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^ As you can see we hired the Patriots equipment manager to deflate the stability ball to make the photoshoot extra hard for our client! She was a champ though!

Check out my vlog of the day here:

In addition to the photoshoot I also did a bit of shopping yesterday and picked up a cute new gym bag by Under Armour (among other things)!

I tweeted about needing a new gym bag the other day and finally found The One. I love the pink and grey combo!

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In the vlog I show this baby off, but I totally forgot to say WHY I suddenly need a gym bag!

You may have noticed that I haven’t been running at the beach much lately when I used to do it every single day.

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My new apartment is only about a mile further from the beach than the old apartment BUT that one mile winds through a fairly dark neighborhood (since I run at night). It’s a really safe neighborhood but running through the streets still makes me a bit nervous, so I’ve decided I’m going to bring a gym bag full of my running clothes with me to work. I’ll change at the end of the day and then drive over to the beach to get my run in.

It kinda sticks having to DRIVE to the place you want to go running, but it’ll be worth it because I miss the sand and the waves!

I’m still able to run to the beach from our place on the weekends when I can run in the sun. And I’ll be able to do it on weeknights after the time change finally comes around!

Alright, I’m off to wrap up this work week and then prep for the Superbowl! Have a great day!

Which team are you rooting for this weekend?
- Let’s do this thing, Brady! Make the AFC East proud!

Superbowl + Fitness Challenge

This year will be the first time Adam and I have hosted a Superbowl party since 2008!

I flipped through old pics last night and was so SHOCKED at how young everyone looks at our last party!

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I guess 2008 really was that long ago!

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We were still in college!

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I’ll never forget the 2008 party because we invited too many people over and didn’t have enough space for everyone to have a seat so I sat on the floor!

While the Red Solo Cup and junky snacks were featured at our old SB parties, this year we’ll try to go a bit healthier (but not too healthy since it is a Superbowl party after all)!

One fun Superbowl party related thing I’ve come across on a couple of sites are lists of Superbowl Fitness Challenges! Here are a few that I thought I would share with you!

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From Active.com:

Touchdown Pushups – Every time your team scores a touchdown, do a pushup for each point they earn (so 7 pushups for 7 points). Every time the opposing team scores a touchdown, do DOUBLE that mount (14 pushups)!

Penalty Crunches – When your team gets a penalty flag thrown at them, you have to do crunches. Do one crunch for every yard penalized and multiplied by five. For example, if there is a five-yard penalty then you do 25 crunches (5 x 5).

Burpee Coach Challenge - If the coach of your team wins a red flag challenge you will celebrate by doing as many burpees as you can in one minute!

From Health.com:

Start of Each Quarter – Do five pushups.

First Touchdown of the Quarter (for each team) - Do 10 alternating lunges.

Whenever a Time Out is Called - Do 20 mountain climbers.

For Every Commercial Break - Do 10 jumping jacks.

Every Time There is a Touchdown – Do 7 burpees.

During the Halftime Show - Do a 1 minute wall sit.

From Huffington Post:

For Every Touchdown - Complete 20 pushups.

For Every Field Goal - Complete 20 squats.

For Every Extra Point – Complete 5 pushups.

For Every Safety – Complete 50 jumping jacks.

For Every First Down  – Complete 10 ab classic crunches.

If you scroll down in the HuffPo article you’ll see a bunch of other options from Interception Arm Circles to a Time Out Knee Highs!

Some of these are a little redundant, so you might want to just pick and choose your favorites from the master list and put together your own Superbowl fitness challenge. Once I get into the game I’m not sure how often I’ll remember to do any of the challenges, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Aaaaaand just because I haven’t posted this pic in a while, here’s Cecil from 2008 right around the time we hosted our last Superbowl party :).

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He would like you to know that he was merely tolerating the shirt. He says for me to use the #FirstWorldCatProblem hashtag.

Are you up for doing any of the Superbowl Fitness Challenges? Do you think your friends would call you crazy for trying to make them participate?!

 

I Have a Question for You!

It’s Wednesday! We’re HALFWAY through the work week!!!

Today I mustache you a question…

I’ve been thinking about some of the fundraising I’ll be doing for the Chicago Marathon as part of Team PAWS. I really, really appreciate the comments from Cheryl, Jess, Jenny and others who have said they would be happy to donate!

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Adorable photos from Team PAWS Facebook Page.

To encourage more runners to give to this important cause I’m considering hosting a virtual 5K or 10K to help raise money for PAWS Chicago, the no-kill animal shelter I’m running for.

Everyone who donates $20 or so dollars would be able to participate in the virtual race and would receive a special Olympic themed finisher’s medal! (Not all of us can run in the Olympics but we can all be champions for animals looking for their forever homes!)

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For those willing to submit their times after the race, I could even send out special 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medals adding a fun competitive element to the race.

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All of the costs associated with having the medals created and mailed would be covered by me, ensuring that the full donation you make for entering the virtual race would go directly to PAWS Chicago.

Before I put down any money towards the medals, I’d like to get a sense for whether anyone would even be interested in participating in a virtual race to help homeless dogs and cats.

If you would just take a second to vote in this anonymous poll I would really appreciate it!

I’d also welcome feedback on the donation amount you’re willing to give. Right now I’m thinking about $20, but if that seems too high (or low) let me know in the comments please.

Also let me know if you like or dislike the medal design and I can go back to the drawing board!

If I host a virtual race I want it to be one that you love! :)

I’ve participated in virtual races for others who are fundraising and they can be a lot of fun if done right. We can use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. to follow along with each other’s races and cheer each other on!

Of course if you have a doggie it would be SO PERFECT if you ran the virtual race with him or her and shared those pictures via social media! I might finally get Cecil that jogging stroller I’ve been thinking about so I can take him out for a spin!

Thank you in advance for voting and for commenting with any ideas/feedback/suggestions!

Figuring Out What Type of Training Works for Me

I’ve been thinking about Sunday’s race and how the heck I made significant improvements since the Fort Lauderdale half in November. After all that was just two months ago and my training in December and January wasn’t the strongest.

Photo of the 2015 Miami Marathon & Half

Photo of the 2015 Miami Marathon & Half (credit: Miami Marathon Facebook Page)

Here’s a summary of the running related stuff that’s gone down since November:

  • In December (and Jan) I missed a handful of runs due to holidays/moving/calf injury
  • I ran a 5K PR right before Christmas
  • I ran two 14-milers in December
  • My longest run during the training cycle was 15 miles the first week of the year
  • I took a week off in January for the calf thing
  • I ramped up my avg. weekly mileage from the 20s into the low to mid-30s

(Okay, so maybe my training wasn’t as bad as I was remembering it to be…)

Here’s what was new for me during this 13.1 training cycle:

  • Doing three long runs that were longer than the half marathon distance
  • Ramping up my weekly mileage into the 30s

I think the key element that helped me PR two half marathons in a row was just running more…. running more miles at an easy pace AND running more miles at a hard pace.

I trust my coach 100% but the analyst in me cannot help but want to look over every aspect of my training and “figure it out.” 

I likely haven’t been running long enough to really know what works for me; there are so many new things that I can try, but this is the theory I’m building up right now!

Finding the Right Weekly Mileage (for Me)

Trail near my mom's house.

Trail near my mom’s house.

Not everyone is cut out to run monster weekly mileage. My coach runs 50 to 70 miles per week (mpw) which is out of the realm of possibility for me. I don’t have the time, energy or need to do that. What I am learning is that I do have the time and energy to run mileage in the mid-30s pretty comfortably and when I do that my running improves.

During marathon training my weekly mileage was in the mid-30s and I improved my overall pace and ease with long distance running. I feel certain that’s how I knocked out a gigantic PR on Nov. 9th. Then, during this half marathon training cycle I stuck with weekly mileage in the mid-30s and PR’d again.

The best part about Sunday’s half marathon is that I never really hit the wall. The 13.1 miles felt like a solid distance, challenging but friendly. As Cheryl commented, that probably means I didn’t push as hard as I could have and I likely still have another PR in me. Hmmm… that’s a discussion for another day!

This week my mileage will be low as I recover from the race (18 miles in total), but I’ll probably start building my weekly mileage back up next week.  I’d like to get back into the low to mid-30 mpw range soon because, similar to the race over the weekend, that mileage feels challenging but friendly to me.

Days of the Week That I Run

A snap from part of my training log.

A snap from part of my training log.

I run 6 days per week which means at 30 mpw my weeknight runs are usually in the 4 to 6 mile range, including speedwork sessions. When my mileage is only in the mid-20 mpw range my weeknight runs are usually between 2 to 4 miles and speedwork is the same. That’s not bad, but those 2-milers feel a bit short.

I could just run fewer nights per week to make the mid-20 mpw range work better for me, but I enjoy running almost every single day. It’s my favorite way to transition from work life to home life and it gets me outdoors which I love. I don’t see myself cutting down on days anytime soon.

I really think ramping up my weekly mileage helped me during the last two months in preparation for the Miami Half. (It also helped that the weather was perfect on race day, I’m not discounting that at all.)

Of course, what works for me probably won’t work for you since we’re all different! I know plenty of amazing runners who do less mileage and run wayyyy faster than me (by “know” I mean I read their blogs, haha) and also those who run way more than me. I’m just trying to figure out what works for me and share a bit of it along the way.

Sooooo that was probably more info about my daily running than you wanted to see in one post, but I wanted to work through my thoughts on the topic so I know where to start when I begin training for my next goal half marathon! :)

Hope it wasn’t boring and maybe even helped you think deeper about your own training!

Do you have weekly or monthly mileage goals that you like to hit even when you’re not in a specific training cycle?

What’s the most you run during half or full marathon training?

I DID IT!!! [Miami Half Recap]

Helloooooooo NEW HALF MARATHON PR!

I did it! I finished half marathon #4 in under 3 hours!

2:57 and 8 seconds to be exact! The Kristina who took over 3.5 hours to finish her first half marathon in Nov. 2013 is REALLY EXCITED about this!

My finishing time starts with a 2!!!!

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This whole weekend was pretty great but the race was just perfect.

Next month the A1A Half Marathon will be my last race of this season, and I’m excited to go into it pressure free since I nailed my numero uno goal yesterday!!

Saturday: Expo Day 

On Saturday Adam and I drove down to Miami to check into our hotel and head to packet pickup.

As part of my Christmas gift Adam booked a suite which was pretty cool, it was gigantic and the floor was made of marble! The living room in the suite was almost as big as our living room at home! I wish we could have brought Cecil, I think he would have liked it, haha!

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The expo was pretty standard for a large-ish race. I don’t love crowds so I grabbed my bib, found my name on the race wall, took a picture and headed out to dinner since it was almost 5pm by that time and I always eat my pre-race dinner at 5pm.

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What? It’s Miami, we all race in flip flops.

After dinner I was in bed by 8pm and asleep soon after! I think that may have been the first time I actually was able to fall asleep so early!

Sunday: Race Day

My wakeup call came at 4am since the corrals opened at 5 and the race began at 6:15.

I ended up going with the teal Sparkle Athletic skirt and black Under Armour tank. I really liked running in the skirt!

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I brought a throw away sweater but threw it away a little too soon and was FREEZING in the corrals, which were located right in front of the AAA where the Heat play!

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The race announcer said it was 53 degrees, the second coldest start in race history!! By the time my corral was set off I was so thankful to be moving!

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My coach had me break the race down into segments:

Miles 1-4: Ease into it @ 13:45 pace.

Miles 5-7: Pick it up a little. Stay comfortable but keep pushing.

Miles 8-12: Ramp it up @ 13:25 pace.

Mile 13: Give it all you’ve got!

I did my best to stay on track – with the exception of mile 5 when I went a little bit too fast. I was just getting so excited that I was having a perfect day, but I reminded myself I still had more than half the race to go!

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I honestly could not have imagined a better race day!

The first few miles just felt breezy and effortless. Around mile 9 I started wondering when my body was going to demand I slow down since that has always happened to me. Instead I was eventually able to pick it UP for the last couple of miles and really soar into the finish.

During miles 11 and 12 I just keep telling myself I HAD to pick it up because I didn’t want there to be a shadow of a doubt that I finished sub-3. I would have been happy with 2:59 but I knew finishing faster would mean there would be no question about what happened out there on the course!

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Truthfully, I felt pretty AMAZING the whole time. The weather was PERFECT, I crushed my A-goal of running sub-3 and after the race I felt GREAT. I was able to walk normally and the soreness didn’t settle in until after the 45 min car ride home!

Oh yeah, and I had added Will Smith’s “Miami” to my playlist and it started just as I was rounding the corner into the finisher’s shoot! Incredible timing!

♫ PARTY IN THE CITY WHERE THE HEAT IS ON! ♫

I could not be happier with the way this weekend went! I hope you had a great weekend too!

Have you ever had one of those races where you just KNEW it was going to be a PR day once you started? When/where was it?

GOALS for the Miami Half on Sunday

You may have to admit to yourself that you have a bit of an Amazon problem when you come home after only being gone for two days and this is waiting for you.

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If you’re around my age PLEASE tell me you got that reference and just sang the rest of Mailtime song from Blue’s Clues in your head!

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Ah, the good ol’ days!

One of the boxed items that arrived was my RW Cookbook!

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Thank you to everyone who commented earlier this week with your cookbook recommendations. The RW book ended up with the most votes so I went with and I can already tell I am going to like it.

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Any book that starts by describing me so perfectly (“runners love to eat”) is my kind of book!

Today I was planning to do a whole post on Miami Half prep since the race is this Sunday, but truthfully I have not done anything to get ready yet!

I kind of, sort of have an idea of what I’m going to wear:

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Who needs a top anyway?

My goals? Well, let me just throw ‘em out there:

A.) 2:59 (I achieve an exciting PR)
B.) 3:05 or less (I get in a decent training run)
C.) Finish with a smile (I finish half marathon #4)

I wasn’t planning to go for my A-goal this time since I had been dealing with a calf issue, but the weather is going to be SO NICE on race day that I don’t know if I can pass up the opportunity to try for a PR.

This time next month when I’m running the A1A Fort Lauderdale Half it could be 80 degrees. Heck, YESTERDAY it was 80 degrees! This cold front that’s rolling in and bringing the temps down to the 60s on Sunday is really too good to be true.

I don’t know if a PR will be in the cards on Sunday since my longest run in the past two weeks has only been nine miles but I’ll give it a try!

Have a great weekend!
Anyone have a BIG run on tap this weekend? A race or a really long run?

*** Runner’s World Cookbook link is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book through Amazon using my link I will make a small commission… we’re talking pennies! haha

Celebrating the Life of My Grandpa

Tomorrow I’ll be blogging about the Miami Half Marathon that’s coming up this Sunday (!!!!!) but today I want to take a minute to reflect and honor my grandfather who you know passed away on Sunday.

My grandpa with my aunt and my mom on his 91st birthday. My mom is the one with short hair, my aunt in the red lipstick.

My grandpa with my aunt and my mom on his 91st birthday. My mom is the one with short hair, my aunt in the red lipstick.

Yesterday my family gathered for my grandpa’s funeral and burial. He would have been 92 years old this August. He lived a long, healthy and happy life with my grandmother, who passed away four years ago also in January.

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When my grandmother passed away it was the first time I had really attended a funeral and everyone was very sad because she struggled at the end and of course she was leaving my grandfather behind.

My grandpa was very strong during the whole funeral process for my grandma and he was there for my mom and aunt who were very emotional. However, I’ll never forget when we were leaving her viewing, the last time he would see her before the casket was closed, he leaned down to kiss her and said, “you promised you would never leave me.”

I honestly could not imagine anything more sad. They were married for over 62 years. I’ve only been with Adam for 10 years and cannot imagine my life my life without him. To lose your best friend, the person you’ve shared your life with and built your family with, after 62 years would be the hardest thing.

Towards the end of my grandpa’s life he kept saying he was ready to go, that he just wanted to see my grandma again. He had the onset of dementia and would often ask where she was, and when she was coming home.

I know their reunion on Sunday must have been a very happy one.

When my step-father died almost two years ago now, he went very unexpectedly and at much too young of an age. His funeral was the second one that I can remember and it was a very sad one as well.

Yesterday, my grandpa’s funeral was so different than my grandma’s and my step-fathers. His funeral was truly a celebration of his life. While there were plenty of tears shed, I would say the general mood was positive. We were all gathered there to honor and celebrate him.

I love that my grandpa wasn’t afraid at the end. I’m not surprised, since I cannot remember him being afraid of anything.

f9042977645145b318dfcfbe682f8895He was a proud Navy man who served in two wars. And now he’s back with his bride for good.

RIP.

Grocery Shopping for the Good Stuff

Hi! Happy middle-of-the-week!

I don’t normally participate in WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) because I am FAR from being a healthy living blogger and you probably could care less what I eat anyway.

Today I’m throwing my hat into the WIAW ring though, sort of.

Over the weekend I posted on FB and Twitter that I had a meal prep FAIL.

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I really wanted to prep some veggies this week, specifically sweet potatoes and butternut squash. I bought the squash pre-cut and hacked the sweet potato to death. It was hard. Sweet potatoes do not like being cut when they are not yet cooked.

Despite my very poor attempt at cubing the potato, it actually turned out tasting REALLY good thus proving that it’s not what someone looks like on the outside that matters!

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All I did was add a spritz of canola oil, a pinch of garlic pepper, a dash of onion powder and a drizzle of honey and then bake for 25 minutes at 350. I don’t do measurements, I go by feel, sorry!!!

I seriously should have made way more of the baked veggies because the little bits were so good and I basically ate them all in one sitting as soon as they came out of the oven. That’s what happens when I taste test something that I end up really liking!

If you’re interested, I also put together a quick video of the stuff that Adam and I got at the grocery store last weekend.

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^ Normally we take canvas re-usable bags to the store, but this was an impromptu trip to Publix on our way home from someplace else.

It’s my goal to put together at least one video per week. Most weeks it’ll be a Day in the Life vlog, but today it’s my grocery shopping stuff since I’m on a bit of a hectic schedule this week.

(Yep that’s Cecil on the counter again in the vid. The only time he’s not allowed up there is when I am prepping food and cooking. To get him to stay off at those times I give him something better to do… like eat treats or play with a fun toy.)

I hope that you’re having a great week so far.

Just three days to go until the Miami Half for me!

Do you measure your ingredients precisely when cooking or go by feel?
Best veggie to bake? I’m going to start baking veggies more often because they seem to come out tastier than when simply steamed.

PUMPED UP for the Miami Half This Sunday!

Yesterday I was browsing the Miami Marathon website and THIS 2015 video just got me sooooooooooo PUMPED UP for the race!

The medals for this year were just unveiled too and they are stunning!

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To tell you the truth, up until recently I’ve been feeling a bit unconnected to this race. Not only was I sad that it wouldn’t be a PR attempt, but I knew my training during the holidays wasn’t as strong as it could have been, and to cap it all off my grandfather passed away on Sunday night.

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He went peacefully at the end of a long, healthy and happy life. The best that any of us can hope for really, but Adam and I will be making an unexpected trip out of town for the funeral.

You know what they say about race week… try to relax and don’t do anything out of the ordinary. I’m not sure I have that covered this time!

It’s okay though because I know the race on Sunday will be the happy ending to my week. 

I feel certain of this because running strong can be so many things — stress relieving, cathartic, euphoric, healing. It can be whatever you need it to be, and after the last couple of weeks I really need it to be ALL of those things.

A week ago I would have told you I felt unconnected to the race, but now I feel like I have a purpose for it again and am feeling totally plugged in!

I’m looking forward to running the causeway. I’ve driven over it so many times and have always thought it would be a great place to run!

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See the cruise ship there off to the right side? That’s the Port of Miami!

Adam’s office is really close to there since he works for a cruise line. (Speaking of which, we’ll be cruising again SOON :) Can’t wait!)

Race day weather even looks really good!!!!

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It’ll be in the 60s at the start and the high for the day is only 75 with clouds. What more can a runner ask for?

I heard last year it was brutally hot at the end for the middle and back-of-the-pack full marathoners, but this year it will be much nicer for them. I’m planning to stick around for a while at the finish line to cheer everyone on!

As I’m finishing the half, the leaders of the full marathon pack should be finishing too! ;)

Anyone else racing this weekend? (Hanna, I know you are!!!)

Weekend Running & Stuff!

What a weekend!

I’m supremely jealous of everyone who has today off of work, but I made the most of Friday evening – Sunday.

Friday after work I got together with a girlfriend to go see Into the Woods. In my opinion it was pretty bad, but I LOVE the dine-in theater with big comfy seats!

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It’s awesome when you have a friend whose willing to let you eat the ice cream in exchange for giving her the whole brownie. That’s the kind of friend you keep for life.

On Saturday I got in a short but quality run. I pushed on the last mile but not super hard so I was REALLY pleased to see a mile in the 11s!

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Saw this sign on my run — east Fort Lauderdale peeps keep an eye out so Molly can get back home ASAP!

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Sunday I was planning to get my long run in early in the morning before the couch came and before the football games began, but I slept in until 9 “by accident.”

Ended up running all nine miles on the treadmill while watching poor Aaron lose to the Seahawks. The last two minutes of that game was pure BANANAS!

My long run wasn’t the easiest one ever. I felt really out of sync the whole time, which may just have to do with being on the treadmill. I’m not sure but I need to get it together because the Miami Half is this coming weekend!!!!

Even though I won’t be racing for a PR this time I still want to do the best I can! No more treadmill runs for a while!

Sort of off topic, but do you have a favorite cook book? I’m looking to purchase one this week!