Final PR of the Year … DONE!

I did it! I am the proud owner of a new 5K PR! I can think of no better way to close out my running year.

My finishing time of 38 minutes on the dot is almost a full minute faster than the PR I set in September!

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The temperature for the race ended up being nice, although the humidity was a KILLER. It was about 94% at the beginning of the race and 97% by the end.

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When I finished the race I noticed that my legs felt like they had a lot more left in them, but my heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. On a day with less humidity I think I could easily knock some seconds off my finishing time!

The Cute Costumes

Overall for an inaugural event, I thought this 5K was pretty fun! At packet pickup we all received a “one size fits all” Santa suit and most people showed up to the race wearing it!

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By the middle of the race people were stripping off their suits while running (pretty funny to watch) and at the end most of the suits could be found in big heaps like this one:

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This race probably works well in cold weather states, but in Florida the weather is gonna be too hot 360 out of 365 days in the year!

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It was fun seeing everyone all dressed up at the beginning though!

Adam was supposed to run this race with me but he ended up having to do an emergency work related thing at the last minute. I’m hoping he and a couple of my friends will do this 5K with me next year because it seems like the kind that would be so fun to do with other people you know!

My Racing Details

I can’t lie, after my last speedwork session a part of me really thought that 36:XX (even 36:59) could be in the cards if the day went really well. I started out strong and on pace to make that happen, but the weather got the best of me.

I ended up positive splitting the race as I always do in the 5K. I think I’m going to run another one in February and I will try really hard to be more consistent!

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Oh well, it doesn’t matter if the splits were positive or negative, I still ended up with a shiny medal and a new personal best!!! Merry Christmas to ME! :)

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I don’t know if I’ve written about this before, but I’ve dreaming of a 36:XX since I started running. I have no idea why 36, but it’s been my arbitrary 5K goal since the beginning.

Last year I was finishing 5Ks in 46:XX and this year I’m down to 38:XX. Every day I get one step closer to my goal.

This is a good reminder that the the journey of reaching any type of goal is a marathon not a sprint (even if 5Ks feel like an extra long sprint!).

The Annoying Thing

The only big downer to this race was that the same timing company that messed up results for the Fort Lauderdale half in November, also messed up the results for this 5K.

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They are listing my clock time and chip time as exactly the same even though I did not start at the front making it IMPOSSIBLE for these two to be the same. There’s even video from the beginning of the race showing me crossing the starting line well behind lots of other people.

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I’m guessing since my Garmin read 38:00 and I started it right as I crossed the starting line that it is my chip time and 38:14 is my clock time. I wish I knew for sure … I was hoping the official results would be reliable and I would have found out I finished in 37:58 or 37:59! Bummer.

Anywayyyyyy….

Comparison to My Previous PR

I’m really bad about running tangents in races and always end up running beyond the 3.1 according to my Garmin.

At the Optime 5K in September my official finishing time was 39:30 (12:43 pace) and my Garmin 5K time was 38:53 (12:30 pace).

I have been thinking of 38:53 as my PR since I ran wayyyy over 3.1 at that race, although I put 39:30 in my spreadsheet…. since that was technically the official time.

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Either way, I crushed both of those times yesterday! :)

I’m waiting to log my official time for the Jingle Bell Jog until the timing company provides us with an update regarding the “changes and corrections” they are making / have made.

On a more positive note I am looking forward to seeing official pics from this race! I bet they’re going to be funny!

Final Thoughts

Overall the timing issue bummed me out a bit, but I am exceedingly HAPPY with this race. I knocked out a definitive PR to cap off my second year of running which is exactly what I set out to do!

(PR PR PR PR!!!!)

I hope you had a great weekend filled with running, too!

Are you pretty good about running tangents in the race? 

Do you ever stop at aid stations in short races like the 5K? I usually don’t.

My 5K Times: 2013 vs. 2014 (so far)

So, about that 5K I have on the schedule for this weekend… I’m getting pretty excited for it!

Earlier this week Jenny wrote an awesome Year in Review post complete with the best looking running charts I’ve ever seen. Not only because her running over the last couple of years is completely inspiring for someone like me hoping to get faster, but because her analysis is just … incredible! If you’re a data nerd too, you HAVE to read this post.

I’ve started using her charts as a guide and have begun working on my own so I can track my progress more easily through the years.

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After all, I’m planning to be running until I’m at least 100 years old! :)

Since I’ve got my final race of the year coming up on Sunday and it’s a 5K I thought I’d share my stats comparing last year and this year (so far).

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This exercise was actually a sharp reminder to myself that I’ve only been doing this thing for two years.

A lot of the blogs I read are written by runners who have been at this thing far longer than I have. Sometimes I find myself comparing my progress to theirs and wonder what I’m doing wrong.

Maybe I don’t have the competitive drive. Maybe I’m too lazy. Maybe I’m not focused enough. 

You know, all the normal self-doubt stuff that I think most average runners face from time to time. Maybe all runners in general.

Seeing this chart, as ridiculous as it looks, made me feel a bit better.

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The chart is OBVIOUSLY really misleading at first glance. It looks like I made a gigantic step forward in my running and paces for the 5K distance this year, when in reality I (so far) have made a 2 minute per mile difference.

That’s actually pretty good for the 5K distance though, right?

I’m hoping I can improve these numbers even further after Sunday’s race!

Time to get after that new PR to close out the year!

What are you up to this weekend? Anyone else racing?

Catching Up!

I’ve been slacking on real time running related posts this week because I haven’t been running!

After my long run on Sunday one of my feet was feeling a little achey. I suspect it was because I thought I could get just one more long run out of a pair of shoes I should have retired a couple of weeks ago.

The ache wasn’t very bad, but since I have my final 5K this weekend I decided to be overly cautious and take a couple of extra rest days.

After a few weeks of really wonderful running weather I am SO BUMMED to see that on Sunday it’s going to be warm for the 5K. I was hoping the weather for the race would be in the upper 50s or 60s.

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I did finally get in a run TODAY and it felt really good to be reunited with my favorite activity after three non-running days in a row! 8 miles along the coast!

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Since I’ve been slacking on running I have had time to focus on cross training – especially strength training!

Here’s an upper body workout I’m proud of:

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This was a good workout but I need to increase weight on those bicep curls if I am ever going to impress anyone when I flex! haha

Finally I have to tell you some exciting news – I saved the best for last….

My coach is offering a 20% discount on all coaching services and training plans right now through the end of the year! To get the discount all you need to do is email her (laurenfloristraining@gmail.com) and mention it!

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You can see her normal pricing for services here (you would deduct 20% off of the prices you see there).

If you have any questions about what it’s like to work with Lauren shoot me an email :)!

Enjoy your Thursday!

Anyone else super excited to listen to the final Serial episode today?! (Yes, I have listened to all 11 episodes already even though I just started the podcast on Saturday!)

In Broad Daylight

Happy Wednesday! Today is my work holiday party, woot! I got my boss the best, most fitting gift! I’ll have to share a pic of it here after he opens it!

Today I just want to talk about running safety for a minute because we should all be running as safely as possible! I’m not going to bore you with tips you’ve probably read before, instead I’ll just tell you a story.

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During the summer I am lucky enough to get to run during the daylight on weeknights. My normal route is always filled with lots of other runners and it’s, in my opinion, pretty safe.

During the winter I run in the dark a lot, but there are still always lots of people out because I live in the downtown / beach area which is heavily populated. When I run in the dark I don’t listen to music unless I’m around LOTS of other people. I keep my eyes and ears peeled for anything weird. I’m guessing you probably do that too!

Yesterday I was reading Jesica’s post about runner safety in which she mentions the story of a friend of hers who was attacked and groped by a stranger in broad daylight while running on regular neighborhood streets.

I honestly never really thought about being attacked in the daylight in an area where there are other people around. If you’re like me, you probably imagine being attacked in much more sinister conditions.

This got me thinking … while I’ve never been physically attacked I have had an unpleasant encounter and it happened in broad daylight too.

Last summer when I was marathon training I was running along the beach in the late afternoon; plenty of other people were at the beach at that time.

As I was nearing the far end of the beach I ran past what I believe was a homeless person and he yelled out, “hey girl, nice titties!”

Charming.

The far end of the beach is more secluded than the main area, but it’s still not an area that I would ever think to feel unsafe. However, after that encounter I didn’t run down to that part of the beach again for months. I stuck to the much more populated central area of the beach.

Luckily for me I had noticed the guy in advance and had dropped off the sidewalk and was running a few feet away from him when I passed, but who knows what could have happened if I didn’t. Maybe instead of a verbal encounter he might have tried to grab me. I’ll never know, and I’m glad for that.

My story is nothing compared to what Jesica’s friend endured, but what strikes me is that they both happened during times and in places that we all would generally feel safe. 

I guess I’m just writing all of this as a reminder to myself (and you) to not let your guard time. I used to never run with music, and then I switched to listening music but with only one ear bud, and now sometimes I put both ear buds when I’m not at risk of being hit by a car.

I’m thinking about going back to running without music just to make myself more aware of my surroundings.

I’m also going to let Adam teach me basic self defense. He trains in MMA and is very well versed in how to protect yourself. He’s asked me to learn several times in the past and I’ve always shrugged it off, but now I’m ready to learn.

Adam says all it will take is one hour per weekend for a month and I’ll have all the basics down to where I can feel confident if I’m ever in a bad situation. Hopefully that will never happen though.

I urge you to also learn self defense if you don’t already.

Remember that pepper spray and other weapons are only good if you know how to use them, and that they can easily be used against you.

Here are some tips from Road Runners of America for running safety.

Also, on Jesica’s advice I have ordered myself a Sabre Personal Alarm. It’s currently on sale for just $6 (with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime).

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The personal alarm comes in red, pink and black. I ended up getting the red one after learning that Sabre will make a donation to RAINN for every red personal alarm sold. RAINN is the Rape, Abuse and Incest Network.

If you’re still looking for a holiday gift to get a runner friend, or yourself, this is it!

Stay safe, my friends!

What safety precautions do you take when running? Do you run with a personal alarm? Ever take a self defense class?

My 2015 Race Plans? Hmmm.

I feel like every other runner in the world has nailed down their schedule for next year and I’m still focused on 2014 and that 5K I’ve got coming up this weekend.

have picked out my next marathon though!

Just the other day I got in touch with wonderful people at PAWS Chicago, and I am now 99.9% sure I am going to fundraise and run the Chicago Marathon as part of Team PAWS next October. PAWS is the largest no-kill animal shelter in Chicago!

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I’ve been thinking about fundraising for a while and this feels like the perfect opportunity since Chicago has a lottery system for regular registrations and I can circumvent that by fundraising.

Is the course in Chicago as flat as my 0 elevation here in South Florida? Nope.

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(Image Source)

But it looks pretty friendly (and flat). It definitely doesn’t include the 150ft climb that Portland throws at you in mile 17! That thing still haunts my nightmares!!

Running the Chicago Marathon should help with my future goal of running the Chicago Lakefront 50K at some point in the future (probably spring 2016).  You know I’m always thinking ahead towards my future as an ultrarunner! :)

Cecil approves of me joining Team PAWS and thinks he should be allowed to complete the race while perched upon my shoulder:

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(I seriously have no idea  why he decided he should climb up but he seemed to find it comfortable!)

After the 5K this weekend I’ll probably start thinking more broadly about my 2015 running plans! I’m excited that part of those plans will (probably) include running in one of the biggest marathons in the world!

Have you ever raced for a charity? What was it like? I like that it pairs up two things that will make me feel good (running and raising money for homeless pets)!

A Weekend Filled with Miles & Smiles!

I’m so sad that the weekend has come to an end because it was a really great one for me!

I ran 5 miles at the beach on Saturday morning in the most beautiful weather and listened to episode one on the Serial podcast.

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The podcast is so addicting! By the end of the day I had listened to episodes 2 and 3!

On Sunday morning I woke up super early to get in my long run (11 miles) and couldn’t wait to start listening to more. If you were a fan of the Twin Peaks tv show or you like murder mysteries in general, this podcast is for you!

I ended up listening to FOUR episodes during that run! It seriously made the miles FLY BY!

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After my run I had to really kick the day into high gear because Adam and I were heading over to the greyhound rescue for their holiday party and open house!

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We got to meet lots of adorable greyhounds, but really we were there just to see one: Boy.

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Such a cutie! He’s super calm and very friendly!

This handsome guy is called Boy because his official name when he was racing was My Boy Myth. He’s the one that stole our hearts the first time we visited the rescue a few weeks ago.

Boy ran his last race in January of this year. We believe he was retired due to injury because he has a missing toenail on one paw.

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Cut Adam out because Boy is the star of the show ;)

Prior to Boy’s injury he was racing well and was a 2X champion and had come in second and third place a couple of times as well. Not that any of that matters though. Adam and I are anti-racing for dogs! Although I do hope Boy will want to enter a doggie 5K or two with me :) . We won’t be racing though as I don’t think I could keep up with his 40mph pace!

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He was super excited to show us every different part of the yard!

Adam and I got to spend about an hour and a half walking Boy and playing with him.

I tried to tell him soon his new name will be Duke and that we’re going to buy him all the best toys in the world but I think he was just happy having his ears scratched.

I really really really hope that soon his new name will be Duke (the name Adam picked out for him). We’re nervous that someone else could adopt him while we’re waiting to hear back about our appeal.

The very kind woman who runs the rescue said she would keep him “on hold” for us for a few weeks but after that … well, he deserves to go to a good home as soon as possible.

We understand that although it’s heartbreaking to think about because we can tell he’s such a good dog!

We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed that the appeal goes through FAST. We would love to have Boy (soon to be Duke) home for the holidays to complete our little family of four :).

How was your weekend? Finishing buying / wrapping your gifts? 

The Soundtrack of My Life (2014 Running Edition)

HAPPY FRIDAY! I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s been a really long week and I am looking forward to relaxing a bit this weekend!

I’ve got 11 miles on the sched. for my long run and the weather is supposed to be pretty amazing (lows in the 60s, highs in the 70s)! SCORE!

You probably don’t know this, but for the last couple of years I’ve had a premium Spotify account. When I first started running I never listened to music, but now I listen to it 90% of the time.

Just recently Spotify gave me a 2014 Year in Review of my musical listening habits:

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I’m not surprised to see that I listen to music most on Saturdays since I (used to) do my long runs on Saturdays.

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(I just recently switched my long runs to Sundays because I really wanted to sleep in on Saturdays during the holidays :) .)

This seasonal chart made me laugh because it’s so spot on and totally syncs up with my training schedules!

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During the very early parts of this year when I was training for the Princess Half Marathon and the Fort Lauderdale 5K I was always listening to Roar and California Gurls by Katy Perry.

Then during the Spring when I wasn’t really training for anything I just listened to a lot of JT <3.

This summer when I was training for my marathon I listened to “Started from the Bottom” by Drake a little too much, and most recently the Blackout and Femme Fatale albums by Britney have been the soundtracks to my Miami Half training!

You could say I like running to pop music.

I keep hearing about this Serial podcast EVERYWHERE though, so I might need to start listening to that on runs!

What are you listening to these days during your runs (if anything)? 

When you’re training for a specific race do you listen to specific songs? I listened to “Started From the Bottom” during marathon training sooooo much I’ll always think of Portland when I hear it! 

Speedwork is Doing Its Job!

Hey! Whoa, I went MIA from the running blog world yesterday. Nothing crazy happened, I just needed a night to watch the Heat play and relax with my guy :).

Since my last post I’ve gotten in a couple of really nice runs!

In fact, last night I got home from work really late and the little devil on my shoulder said it would be okay to just skip the run but I AM SO GLAD I DIDN’T LISTEN!

Check this out!!!!

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I’ve run an 11 minute mile before a few times, but never two consecutive ones! That’s good stuff!! 

Granted I did take a pitstop break in the middle there, but I’m still feeling really good about my progression as a runner so far this winter! I’m also feeling good about my upcoming 5K and achieving a PR.

It probably helped that the weather yesterday was the coldest of the year so far:

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I don’t know how you cold weather runners do it, my legs felt like icicles yesterday!

Outside of running, Adam and I have gotten some upsetting news recently. As I alluded to a couple of weeks ago, we are planning to adopt a retired greyhound from a local rescue group! They’re great dogs for people who live in condos because they sleep SO MUCH and they’re good for people with dog allergies because they don’t have a double coat.

One of the cute guys up for adoption at our local greyhound rescue!

One of the cute guys up for adoption at our local greyhound rescue!

Unfortunately when we went to get the paperwork from our condo association we were told that renters are no longer allowed to have dogs!

Whaaaat?

When we moved in we signed a contract that said we could have up to two pets! Apparently the bylaws changed and that’s no longer the case.

Our landlord has put in an appeal to the board of directors of the association and we’re currently awaiting the verdict.

If that doesn’t work out it’s not the total end of the world. Our lease is up soon and we have already researched other apartments in the area that are very dog (and cat) friendly. It’s just a bummer because now we very likely will not be able to bring our doggie home for the holidays.

We are going to the rescue this weekend for their annual holiday party. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures last time, but I will be sure to take some this time! 

Keep your fingers crossed for us that the appeal goes through! That would be the best Christmas gift!

What are you hoping for this holiday season?

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received?

Ways I Am Taking My Cross Training to a New Level!

Hola! Bonjour! I hope your Tuesday is off to a good start! I’ve got the sniffles thanks to a few sick colleagues, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it doesn’t get any worse than this!

I can’t get sick because this month I’ve made a commitment to roaming outside of my comfort zone when it comes to cross training and I have to stick to the plan!

Up until this point my workout routines have pretty much consisted of the same three things: running, weightlifting and light cardio.

Just last month I started venturing into strength training with lower weight, higher reps, and this month I signed up for Brooke’s Holiday Burn. The burn is super cool because Brooke sends everyone signed up a weekly email with a bunch of full body workouts to try!

One of those workout routines last week included wall sits, so I decided to give ‘em a go. They looked easy enough and according to Brooke’s plan I only needed to do 4 wall sit reps at 30 seconds a piece. Doesn’t sound too hard, right?

I decided to add in bicep curls while doing the wall sits to help the time pass by a little faster.

All of that went great, I loved the wall sits and definitely felt the burn by the third and last rep. And then I really felt the burn the next day! And the day after! And even still today I am feeling the burn! haha

In addition to Brooke’s full body workout ideas, I’ve also gone through Meg’s latest video routine:

Pretty sure I was sweating and huffing after the first minute!

I challenge you to try this routine and see how many times you can do it!! Meg suggests doing the routine four times in a row (I only did it once!!).

I’ve also decided to start trying out some of the Blogilates videos! There are like a million of them, so I’m using Cassey’s 4-week beginner schedule to start navigating my way through.

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Each day you just look at the schedule and do the recommended video(s).

At first I was like this girl is wayyyy too cheerful, I can’t take it but she’s kind of grown on me!

I’m finding that venturing out of my cross training comfort zone and trying new things is a lot of fun! Of course I’m still focused on making gains in regular ol’ strength training, but being able to vary up my routine is making life a lot more interesting!

I’m even getting up EARLIER than usual to fit in this extra workout time. I used to sleep in until after my snooze alarm went off 10 times, and now I only wait 5 times :). Kidding! (kind of).

There’s no reason to wait until January 1st to start making changes to our routines, right?

Anyone else trying to take their cross training to a new level in 2015?

Have you ever done any Blogilates videos? Thoughts? 

Any other video series or online XT recommendations I should try?

My Final PR Attempt of 2014 Will Be in the 5K!

Can we talk about the 5K for a minute?

It’s just 3.1 miles of hell, right?

A couple of weeks ago Adam and I signed up to do a Jingle Bell 5K the weekend before Christmas.

It’s a convenient race for us because the start and finish line are both within walking distance of our house, and it seems kind of fun because a lot of people will be dressed up as Santa for the race!

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In fact, instead of giving out t-shirts at packet pickup, all participants will receive a Santa costume to run the race in! 

I won’t be dressing up as Santa though because I’ll be gunning for a final new PR to close out 2014.

December in Fort Lauderdale can be brutally hot so I’m not sure if I would be wearing the Santa suit anyway, but I hope other people do! :)

I’m excited to be running another race with Adam – the last 5K he did with me was back in February. (I am using the phrase “with me” loosely since he runs at about 8 minute pace and of course… I do not!)

I’m not excited because it’s a 5K! I don’t think any other race distance intimidates me as much! I don’t do any specific training for 5Ks other than the speedwork that I do in general so it’s just sort of like tackling a race on the fly.

The last 5K I did was in September and my (positive) splits were as follows:

Mile 1- 12:05
Mile 2 – 12:33
Mile 3 – 12:58

My finishing time was 38:53 which was a 15 second PR.

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When I cross the finishing line at the Jingle Bell Jog I hope to PR by at least a minute (as always my goal will be to get as close to 36:00 as possible), and of course I hope my splits are more negative than positive :).

When I ran the 5K in September I was at the very end of marathon training. The weekend prior I had run my 20-miler and the day before the 5K I had run 12 miles.  This time I’ll be going into the 5K with fresher legs which gives me hope!

I’m writing all of this now a good two weeks in advance to psych myself up for the race.

I’M RUNNING A 5K AND I’M GOING TO PR!

We gotta close out the year with a bang, right?

Are you working towards a final fitness goal for 2014? 

Have you figured out your goals for 2015 yet? Too early to talk about that?

PS: Congrats to Kristen for earning a shiny new marathon PR at CIM yesterday and congrats to my coach for coming in first place female at her half marathon over the weekend! Way to kick butt!