What I Do All Day (MY JOB!)

What do I do all day? I work for an advertising agency!

Basically just picture Don Draper but less sexist and much healthier and that’s me. Just kidding! 

I manage online marketing and advertising campaigns for brands looking to generate leads, sales and increased brand awareness for their companies.

I usually work with medium sized companies, but sometimes I get to work with famous bloggers and semi-celebrities.

Just kidding, I DO NOT work with Mindy Kaling. I just wish I did!

Just kidding, I DO NOT work with Mindy Kaling. I just wish I did! The semi-celebrities I’ve worked with are much less famous than her. (Although I do manage the social media for a TV show that you might watch which is kind of cool.)

I’m the head or director of my department within the agency, but we’re a small team, so I wear many hats.

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A typical day for me consists of a balance between writing strategy and executing it. Boiled down, you could say I put together ads and crunch numbers to make sure the ads are delivering a return-on-investment for my clients.

Here’s a mix of things I might do on any given day:

  • Conduct market research
  • Write a marketing plan
  • Put together a report showing money spent vs. money made for clients
  • Write copy for print ads
  • Write copy for online ads
  • Select images for print or online ads
  • Set up online ad campaigns
  • Write blog posts on behalf of a client (if you’re ever reading a blog post online for a company or semi-celebrity and it reminds you of my blog… I might have written it!)
  • Reach out to bloggers about writing sponsored posts
  • Write marketing emails on behalf of a client and then set those up
  • Manage social media campaigns
  • Optimize a website / landing page
  • Review the work of other people in my department
  • Etc. etc. etc.

One of my absolute favorite things to do occurs every time I put together a new online advertising campaign: I create an a/b test!

An a/b test consists of pitting two ads against each other and seeing which one performs better with the target audience.

Here’s a simple example from Twitter:

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Twitter a/b tested whether the copy “Sign Up” or “Create an account” on the button would generate more new users for them.

Most of the a/b tests I could to execute are a bit more complex than that.

For example, one client of mine is in the retail pet industry. One of their goals is to build trust and credibility with pet parents, and as such they share helpful tips and information about pet care via their blog and Facebook page.

To build up their brand awareness we run community growth ad campaigns on Facebook — you know those ads you see in your Newsfeed that are about topics you’re interested in but perhaps not from brands you’re already aware of.

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When I am putting together a community growth ad campaign I don’t just arbitrarily choose any old picture and pair it with a sentence I thought up on the fly.

Instead I carefully select two or more images that I think will resonate with the audience, in this case affluent pet parents, and I write several different lines of copy for the ads. I then test all possible image + copy combinations against each other to see which one delivers the best results — in this case the most Likes on Facebook.

So, for dog parents I might start by testing these two images against each other:

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And let’s say image #2 achieved the best results … I would then start creating varieties of that ad to see if I could improve the results even further.

So I might go on to test these two variations of the image against each other:

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You would be surprised at what a different something like the color of the bubble could make. I can tell you that one of these colored bubbles outperformed the other one by 20X!!

After I find out which color performs the best, I’ll might try a different color or change the copy and see if that makes a difference…. and the testing continues on until I reach a plateau. After I hit the plateau I’ll start over again with a new image and the process continues!

My job is basically all about writing hypotheses and then testing them out. 

I hypothesized that the ad with the yellow bubble would generate better results than the blue bubble because the color is more eye-catching. After running the test to statistical relevance I discovered that I was correct OR I was wrong and I believe that is because _____ so I am going to test ______ next.

I love a/b testing because it so closely ties creativity with data. It’s such a great balance for someone like me who loves both sides of the marketing world!

Sometimes I work with semi-famous people like bloggers/vloggers, former professional athletes and other ‘celebrities’ to take their personal brands to the next level. That’s always interesting and I could probably write a small book about what it’s is like! I think I better save that for another day though as this post is already getting quite long!

Sometimes it’s hard for me to separate this blog from work — there are SO many things I could do for The Bar (Blog About Running) that I don’t because this blog is for FUN not for work! I try to keep things as simple as possible here so that it remains a hobby.

I hope I didn’t bore you too much with the dirty details of my job!

What is the one thing you love most about your job? 

Any fellow marketers out there? 

PS: HEAT NATIONNNNNN! Loved that game last night! #HeatLifer

Finding a Mini Challenge in Each Run

Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words yesterday. The online running community is the best!

Last night I ran down to the beach for the first time in about a week.

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I know I’ve said this before, but now that I have a goal time in mind for the Miami Half all of my runs feel like they have a purpose. This makes each one feel much more satisfying.

When I was only running for distance I would get a lot of gratification from reaching new long run milestones, but sometimes my short runs felt like busy work.

Now I feel like each run: short + easy, short + fast, easy + long… they all really mean something. I know each type was always important, but now I feel like their impact is tangible.

A short + easy run where I still have to “beat” a certain pace is nice. I mean, after all, an easy conversational pace for me could be 13:30/mile or 14:30/mile … but one of those paces is better characterized as lazy than truly easy. 

I saw this chart on Kristen’s blog yesterday and it really resonated with me.

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I’ve basically always fallen on the left side of that chart when it comes to running.

I thought I was really motivated, but really I was motivated just enough to get the job done. That’s not a bad amount of motivation, but it wasn’t enough to really challenge myself.

I’m inching closer to the middle of the chart these days and it feels good. It makes short + easy runs feel engaging when they used to feel a bit boring.

The long run will always have my heart, but variety is the spice of life and these days I’m excited about finding a mini challenge in each run!

Do you prefer training for time or distance? 

Keep Your Fingers Crossed for Me!

Hello! Sorry I didn’t pop up a post earlier this morning, but I’ve sort of been stressing about a health related issue I haven’t blogged about….

A couple of weeks ago I found a lump on my breast and last Friday I finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. My doctor thought it could be Paget’s disease (don’t Google it, the pictures are gross), a form of breast cancer, so he referred me to a cancer specialist who I saw today.

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Needless to say I’ve been just a little bit stressed out / not sleeping well / etc. Last night I was just too exhausted and anxious to run or blog.

This morning I had an appointment with the specialist to have my lump biopsied. The doctor I saw today said he doesn’t think it’s Paget’s, but rather a type of skin cancer. 

This is really good news! (Probably, anyway.)

The doctor said we have to wait until the test results come back, but that the procedure for what he thinks it is will be really simple. I’ll basically just go into the hospital for a day to have the lump removed, have a bit of cosmetic surgery (due to the placement of the lump) and then I’ll go home and be back to normal!

I’m not totally out of the clear yet for anything really bad, but the doctor I saw today IS a cancer specialist and he said he is not worried.

“Kristina, I’m not worried so I don’t want you to worry” were the doctor’s exact words. 

I’m trying to follow that advice!

I do think it is a little weird to possibly have skin cancer on my breast as I’m not really the sunbathing topless type, but I have learned that not all skin cancer comes from sun exposure!

I didn’t ask the doctor about how this will impact running because I was thinking about a million other things and also feeling relief in knowing that it’s probably not breast cancer. I guess I might have to back out of the Fort Lauderdale half if I have to have surgery soon, but maybe not? I’ll know more after the test results come back.

Hey, maybe it will be nothing serious at all! There’s always a chance!

Please keep your fingers crossed for me! 

Also, please go to the doctor if you ever notice any weird lumps/bumps/moles/weird things. After I finally saw my primary doctor last Friday and he said the word “cancer” I really wished I had gone as soon as I noticed something was wrong!

Ghost Kitchen and a Long Run That Got Cut Short

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend!

Last week my mileage was quite low at only 13 miles (whaaat :-O )!

DAY
AM / PM
MILES
PACE
TEMP.
HUMIDITY
Mon.7pm313:3386*64%
Tues.8pm213:2575*83%
Wed.
Thurs.8pm313:13Indoors
Fri.
Sat.12pm513:3378*82%

Sadly I took an extra rest day on Friday and cut my run short on Saturday because of my super tight hamstring.

On Sat. I stopped to drink some water after mile 5 and the hammy cramped up pretty good : (. After stretching it felt MUCH better, but I’ve never felt a cramp like that before!

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A sweaty selfie while stretching in the gym post-run. If there’s no picture the run didn’t really happen, right? #BlogRules

Saturday night Adam and I went to a little surprise party with friends and family to celebrate his 30TH BIRTHDAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM!!!!!!! 

I’m a bad blogger and instead of taking a lot of pictures, I drank a lot of wine instead. Oops!

I did manage this grainy picture right after Adam blew out his candles! It’s hard to believe I met him right after he turned 20. It’s been a good decade!

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One of Adam’s gifts that came in the mail was a big package from Omaha Steaks. The food comes packed in dry ice, so naturally we had to mix it with water for a nice Halloween effect!

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(I can’t believe that ^ is what my voice sounds like….. just AWFUL! Blog friends be glad that you don’t know me in real life so you don’t have to hear that every day!)

Another one of Adam’s gifts was a Go Pro! He says for the first video he wants to film us running down to the beach and then diving straight into the water (the Go Pro can film under water)!

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I can’t wait mostly because this means he’s going to run with me, even if only for a few minutes! :D

All in all it was a great weekend, my hamstring issue is annoying, but I know it will get better. It has to because I have a bunch of races coming up!

Speaking of races, CONGRATS to Cheryl on finishing her first marathon and BQing!!!! Whoo!

Go congratulate Cheryl and please leave a comment here telling Adam that his 30s will be great! Now he can brag that he’s with a young 20-something ; ) 

6 Places That I Want to Race!

Happy Friday! So far as part of the 10 Day Challenge I have shared my nine loves and eight fears and seven wants. Today I’m sharing six cool places I would love to race!

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Thank you to Kristin @ Sweat Courage for starting this challenge!

1. Antarctic Ice Marathon

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(Photo Credit: Antarctic Ice Marathon Facebook Page)

A race where you run into penguins on the course? That sounds like a good time!

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(Photo Credit: Telegraph: Travel)

The downside? The windchill factor can reach -20C (or -68F)!

Oh yeah, and the registration fee is 10,000 euro or $12,654. Justifying that price for a race could be just as challenging as the course itself!

2. Big 5 Marathon

In my running bucket list post I wrote all about the Big 5 Marathon in South Africa.

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(Photo Credit: Big 5 Marathon Facebook Page)

In this race you get to run along side the five most famous African game: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard!

I dare you to tell me this doesn’t sound like an incredible experience!

3.  Hardrock 100

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Okay, I’m NEVER going to run the Hardrock 100. I doubt I’ll ever run a 100-miler period, let alone on the toughest course in the US!

The Hardrock course has over 67,000 feet of elevation change and a deceptively generous cut off time of 48 hours because it’s so tough!

BUT if a genie wanted to grant me a wish, I’d ask to finish the Hardrock 100 within the time limit and to have Scott Jurek as my pacer.

Scott won the race and set a new course record in 2007, and then in 2013 he paced Seb Chaigneau to a new course record and victory! You know those two guys are my running idols and I want to be just like them.

4. Paris to Versailles 10-Miler

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(Photo Credit: ME! This picture is from our trip last month!)

While the Hardrock 100 is just a dream, I am most definitely going to make this Paris to Versailles 10-miler happen!

Runners start at the base of the Eiffel Tower, run along the Seine and race to Versailles.

I really wish Adam and I had time to visit Versailles during our trip last month, but now that I know about this race I have a good excuse to return to France!

5. London Marathon

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(Photo Credit: ME!!! Another one from our trip last month!)

Similar to the Paris to Versailles race, the London Marathon WILL happen.

I cannot tell you how much I really loved London and I only saw a fraction of it! The next time I am in that beautiful city I will explore 26.2 miles of it by foot!

6. Patagonia International Marathon

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I’ve been hearing little things here and there about the Patagonia marathon since it’s inception in 2012 as a few of my favorite ultra runners have raced it. The views along the course look just spectacular!

….. A GLACIER!!!!!

I want to run past a glacier!!

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(Photo Credit: Official Race Website)

I know I complained an awful lot about the elevation change in Portland which was practically nothing compared to many of the courses on this list… but this girl from a flat and hot part of the world is super intrigued by mountains and cold weather!

Can you believe the Antarctica race costs $12,000 USD?! 

Have you ever raced internationally? Best place you’ve raced so far?

Building Habits During Training

Since this is a build week for me I had (an extra) rest day yesterday. I know building back up to higher mileage takes time, but my legs really want to run! Hmph!

I filled my non-running time by sampling Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter. I am now a believer. That stuff is GOOD! I cannot wait to stock up on Fuji apples and put this stuff all over them!

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I’ve read about elite ultrarunner, Timothy Olson, eating Justin’s Hazelnut Butter during races and that is something I don’t get. I really want to be able to eat these during runs, but  they make me really thirsty!

So, yesterday during my lunch I was catching up on Miami Dolphins news and this one article in particular made me think about … running. Wow, shocker! ; )

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“As much as that loss was like taking a punch to the gut, perhaps something good has come out of it.” 

Translated into runner’s terms: “As much as that bad race was like taking a punch to the gut after months of hard training, perhaps you learned something valuable from it.” 

For me, the Portland Marathon has led to something good – it’s lit a fire inside of me that makes me want to train right and get better every day. The marathon really pulled me out of my comfort zone and made me realize it’s going to take a lot more than what I was doing to get to where I want to be.

It’s possible to have a bad race and to not get anything good out of it… if you don’t want to get anything good out of it. But I think we should try to find lessons learned in ALL of our races. The worst race and the most well executed one can teach us a lot of things.

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“What makes him [Cam Wake] most unusual is that he plays as hard on the final snap as he does on the first snap. The guy blocking him is getting tired and Wake isn’t letting up. He practices that way and plays that way.”

Translated into Runner’s Terms: If you train the right way you give yourself the best opportunity to run a great race. When others are slowing down at mile 5/10/20/etc., you’ll keep running strong because you didn’t allow yourself to wimp out during training runs.

There’s no doubt that we build habits during training.

We can build bad habits by always listening to the voice that says, “This is just a training run, it’s okay if you want to slow down now” or we can build good habits by listening to the voice that says, “Let’s go! Only X miles left, let’s finish this thing strong!”

I’ve definitely fallen pray to the bad voice before, but I’m all about that good voice now!

This training cycle I am laser focused on creating good habits!

I’m retiring my Portland Marathon playlist and building a new one – any song recommendations?

Slow & Steady

We’re halfway through the week! And what a week it’s been!

Work has been a whirlwind for me, and I didn’t even have a new Mindy Project episode to look forward to last night!

1. Yesterday after work I just did a really short run – but I ran it straight through with no walking breaks – and it felt right. #SlowAndSteady

The other day I wrote about how hard it is for me to control my pacing, but by eliminating walking breaks I was able to really dictate the pace the whole time.

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I’m going to try to permanently break free of walking intervals over the next little while.

2. I ordered a sampler kit of Justin’s nut butter……. (ugh) I’ve been hesitant to try it because I just can’t reconcile spending $10+ on a jar of something called “Justin’s nut butter,” but I was curious to find out what all the hype is about.

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So far I’ve only tried the vanilla peanut butter and it was eh. I’m pretty excited to try the chocolate almond butter and the honey peanut butter though!

3. I saw my neighbor and his little kid (baby?) yesterday and I asked, “how old is he now?” My neighbor’s response, “she’s 20 months.” I was so embarrassed!!!! In my defense the little girl was wearing a gender neutral outfit and has short hair.

I really just should have said, “how old is the baby now?” instead of inserting my foot into my mouth!

I’m sorry neighbor, I don’t know anything about kids!!!

4. This bum needs to get a job.

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5. Nicole BQ’d over the weekend in what can only be my favorite BQ story ever. In 2006 she ran her first marathon in over 6 1/2 hours and now, 14 marathons later, she has her BQ!

How awesome is that?! Way to go Nicole!

Do you buy Justin’s fancy nut butter? If so, which is your favorite flavor? 

- Honestly, I’d like to be able to bring the little packets on the run with me as a supplement to my chomps. I’ve tried PB Gu and … I just don’t like any Gus.

My Winter Half Marathon(s) Game Plan

Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve officially started my “I am Going to Get a Huge Half Marathon PR This Winter” training cycle. Whoooooo! Nothing like turning up the pressure!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got one half marathon per month scheduled for the next few months which means I have plenty of opportunities to knock out a great race!

November – Fort Lauderdale Half

December – Palm Beaches Half

January – Miami Half (<— the targeted PR race)

February – Fort Lauderdale Half #2 (Maybe)

March – Miami Beach Half (Maybe) or Sarasota Half (Maybe)

I was originally targeting Palm Beaches as my big PR race, but after some additional consideration I decided to push it back to the Miami Half in January.

Why? I just want to give myself the proper time to really ramp up and feel confident going into the goal race.

GOALS:

When I ran my second half in February of this year it was only my second time EVER running 13+ miles.

I’ve logged just a few more 13+ mile runs since then : ).

Now that I feel comfortable with the distance, I’m ready to train for finishing in a specific time. This adds a whole new dimension to my running that I’m really excited about!

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Over the last few months I’ve been insanely inspired by so many other running bloggers training to reach specific goal times and I’m excited to join that club.

I want to run 2:45 at some point (and then 2:30 and then 2:15 and then …), but I’ll be really happy to hit 2:59 (13:39/mile) during one of the races on my list above.

My fastest half ever is 3:04 which happened during a marathon training run not that long ago. My official half marathon PR is 3:24 from back in February.

It’s pretty exciting to see such a big difference from just eight months ago!

I may be slow, but I’m making progress! Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s happening!

So, based on my training run, I need to find a way to shave off 5 minutes from my overall time. It seems doable on the right day with fresh legs.

I’m glad I’m signed up for multiple races though, I feel like that takes some of the pressure off to execute a perfect race on any specific day.

GETTING STARTED:

Last night was my training kick-off run. It was just an easy 3-miler to work my way back into training, so it was pretty uneventful.

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It rained lightly during the first mile and that made me feel pretty badass for a few minutes!

Then it got really muggy and I felt considerably less badass and considerably more hot for the rest of the run. Oh well!

Temp was in the mid-80s! Boooooo, high 60′s please come back!

What is your proudest running accomplishment so far? 

A Relaxing Weekend Leading into the Kickoff of My Next Training Cycle (Starting TODAY)!

I woke up SUPER early (4:30am) on Saturday to take advantage of the cooler temps we’re seeing here in South Florida during the pre-sunrise hours!

Unfortunately about a mile in I went to jump over a little puddle and pulled my hamstring. It was feeling pretty tight but not painful so I debated with myself for a little bit about whether I should cut the run short or not. In the end I decided to walk home.

When I got home I showered and climbed back into bed for a couple more hours (ahhh that felt good). Later in the morning I took care of business stretching and rolling. IMG_0485

Cecil gave me some pointers and then we read through Kim’s blog and Meg’s blog for some additional non-running workout ideas!

IMG_0482Afterwards Adam and I walked to the beach for lunch!

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The beach was pretty packed for a day in the middle of October, but the weather is still really warm here in the afternoons.

IMG_0474I hope it cools down a bit soon! Not just because it makes running easier, but also because I love bringing a book and a blanket to the beach when it’s deserted for an afternoon of reading in solitude.

Plus I want to start drinking hot chocolate!!!!

Sunday was filled with football, football and more football as usual! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Today marks Day 1 of my “I am Going to Get a Big Half Marathon PR This Winter” training cycle!

I feel pretty comfortable saying this because I would have achieved a 12 minute half marathon PR if I had stopped at the halfway point at the Portland Marathon! 

After a month of inconsistent running due to vacation, tapering and marathon recovery, I am SO looking forward to getting back into the routine of running six days a week! I love routines!

Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! I love that fall is here and my Instagram feed is full of smiling faces and shiny new race medals!

How did your (long) run or race go this weekend?!

What is your favorite fall dessert? I’m in a baking mood! : )

What’s On My Mind: 5 Things FRIDAY!

We’ve made it to Friday! Whoo!

Heading into the weekend I’ve got a few things on my mind…

1. I need to figure out how to run even splits.

AM / PM
MILES
PACE
TEMP.
HUMIDITY
7pm3.113:2184* 45%

Last night my goal was to run 13:30 even splits. I ended up with one 13:50 mile (oops too slow), one 12:43 mile (oops too fast) and one 13:36 mile (almost!).

I know proper pacing will only help me achieve a PR in my upcoming half marathon(s) so it’s something I have to nail down sooner rather than later.

I’m going to try really hard during my medium/long run this weekend. I’ll report back on Monday!

2. Cecil is the most curious cat. 

He’s always all up in my business…. but I like it that way!

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When I get home from a run all sweaty and gross he loves to come and sit in my lap.

I’ve decided either he loves me a lot and doesn’t care that I’m gross OR he thinks he’s going to get treats for dealing with me being gross…

Probably the latter. He’s very food motivated.

3. I need to get a new bib / medal holder.

I bought a bib holder after my first 5K last year and have been loading it up with every piece of race memorabilia ever. I really need to upgrade to a bigger holder!

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I think I am going to buy this one to transfer my medals to:

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4. My Western Red Cedar is growing!

My little red cedar from the Portland Marathon is now almost 6 inches tall!

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This type of tree can grow up to 230 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter!

I guess I’m going to need to buy a really big house at some point in the future.

5. It’s Almost Halloween! 

I met Adam TEN YEARS ago on Halloween! I can hardly believe it was that long ago!

I still need to figure out the perfect 10 year anniversary gift for next month.

I think if I could somehow get him a Dolphins win in Chicago this weekend it would be much appreciated. The end to last week’s game against the Pack was really disappointing!

Fingers crossed for Sunday!

Any tips for getting better at running even splits?  

KICK ASS at your 10K this weekend Meg! I would say good luck getting that PR, but you don’t need luck!