Five Things Friday: Yoga, Athleta & Salad Fun

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these, but I have a bunch of fun things to share and none of them make a big blog post. Before we get to those, make sure you enter my giveaway!

1. OXO Salad Chopper

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Lauren, one of the owner’s of Achieve, recommended this to me a few weeks ago and I friggen love it. When it arrived (thank you amazon prime shipping) I immediately washed it and made a salad.

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Spinach, Beets, Edamame, Broccoli, Hard-Boiled Eggs, and a small bit of goat cheese

After yoga on Wednesday I added some grilled chicken sausage to it, and ate a serious portion of this for dinner, it was perfect. I loved that there were no awkward large pieces of lettuce or spinach. It also came with a great booklet of ideas for salads to make, I can’t wait to try them.

2. Kid Classes

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Because I don’t have any many mom friends in my area, I joined a facebook group for moms in my town. One of the moms owns an art studio that does primarily kids classes (she has a few paint nights for adults) based on their age. She had a few open spots in her 2-3 year olds class and offered a free class to check it out. I went in with zero expectations, but B loved it, so we have decided to keep going. Fun fact: when he wanted to paint the left side he used his left hand, and when he wanted to paint the right side he used his right hand.

3. A Quinoa Fan

Nick had never had quinoa before, I’ve made it for myself for lunches etc… but never for dinner. I decided to just make it and see if he and B liked it. Turns out he loved it, I guess I should’ve done that sooner. B also likes to call it sweet potatoes…can’t win em all.

4. Athleta legging love

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It’s not a great photo, but I bought these leggings on a whim when I was in Athleta the other day. They were soft and comfortable and reasonably priced. I wore them to yoga on Wednesday night and I loved how they moved with my body. I would buy a gazillion pairs of these! (Someone wanted to come to yoga, but he’s a bit too young)

5. YOGA LOVE

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I took a Lululemon community class on Wednesday night. Danielle, the owner of Studio Poise, is a Market Street Lululemon ambassador. On Wednesday night Yoga Jake (also a Market Street Lululemon ambassador) held a class at Studio Poise.

I’ll be honest, I was super anxious and nervous to attend this class. I started taking yoga classes in November and haven’t taken that many classes. I was worried that everyone would be better than me and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I re-read these great posts from Christine and Angela and had a great pep talk from Caitlin.

I got to class and got settled, Jake started talking about how yoga is an individual practice and to do what you can. It really started to relax me. I don’t really want to delve too much into what happened to me and how I practiced, because it was a very personal experience, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to mentally let go of a lot and to relax. What truly surprised me was during shavasana I felt a moment of complete happiness and next thing I knew tears were rolling down my face. It shocked me, but I had heard from more than one person that it can happen. It felt freeing to let go of all my anger with the miscarriage and my unhappiness with our struggles trying to get pregnant. I am by no means over it, but it pulled me to a better place, and today I feel less frustrated with the entire situation than I have in months.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to take this class and grateful that I didn’t bail because of my anxiety.

What are some of your favorite salad mix-ins?

What’s your favorite piece of work out clothing?

Have you ever had a yoga moment that moved you to tears?

 

Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Enthusiast!

This post was sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Koss. All opinions are my own.

There are a hundred runner’s gift guides out there this year, and I made my own last year, gifts for runners under $100, but what I don’t see a lot (or any) of are gift guides for those who love fitness but aren’t necessarily into running. This is my gift guide for the Fitness Enthusiast featuring the new Koss Fit Series headphones as part of a FitFluential campaign.

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Let’s start with the Koss Headphones.I was sent two different types from the Koss Fit Line, FitClips ($29.99*) and FitBuds ($29.99*).

First, I love that these headphones are made for women by women. Koss teamed up with Dara Torres, an Olympic Gold Medalist, to create these headphones. The FitBuds (on the right) are 33% smaller than any previous Koss created headphones. With the fit buds you get three different sizes of ear cushions, I personally had to use the smallest ones, so that you can get your best fit. The FitClips (on the left) do not fall out, are sweat resistant and also have three different sizes of ear cushions.

I personally prefer the FitClips, since I haven’t been running and most of the classes I take you can’t wear headphones in, because I end up using them a lot around the house. The FitClips don’t completely block out all noise, so I can wear them while B is napping and I am listening to music or a book while cleaning and cooking and I will still hear him if he cries out. I also wear them in bed if I am listening to a book or podcasts, and they are not uncomfortable. I would absolutely recommend these to other women, especially if you have small ears!

*During the Holiday Season the following retailers will promote these headphones for $19.99. (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Walgreens, Kmart and Sears)

athleta

I love that Athleta has gear for every aspect of your life and fitness. They have yoga, running, studio gear, hiking and many other sporting gear. They also have dresses and jean type clothing. Both with strength training and studio classes I always wear multiple layers. I always have a tank and some sort of long sleeve on until I warm up. The All I Want Sweater ($98) looks perfect for this, lightweight, soft and thumb holes, pretty much all my must haves.

As a mom, I find that leggings are a big wardrobe staple, especially in the winter. I can throw on a sweater or tunic and a pair of boots and still look pretty together. The Athleta Herringbone Finesse leggings ($44) are also lightweight and have a fun design that can go with pretty much anything.

The sparkle knit leggings ($39) are one of my favorite items, when I go to classes really early in the morning it can be very cold and most of my bottoms are capris. Not only do they keep my legs warm, but they are comfortable and cute!

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I have a lot of friends that are into fitness but also pregnant, working out while pregnant can be a battle enough, but finding clothes that fit your new body and make you feel good in your workout can be hard. For that I recommend For Two Fitness, they have tanks with fun sayings and they also have capris, pants, t-shirts and jackets. My favorite is the sweating for two tank ($49.99).

I have lusted after this Oiselle Runfinity Scarf ($22) for over a year, when I was finally ready to purchase last year it was sold out. I need to pull the trigger on this one ASAP. In a lot of studio classes I noticed that the students and teachers where lightweight scarves, ones meant for activity not your everyday scarf, to keep their upper body warm.

The other Oiselle item I want to try is the Stripey Long Sleeve Scoop Neck ($44). It is lightweight, soft and with thumb holes. I can see myself wearing this to yoga or a strength class to warm up in.

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I love the Runaway Fleece. It is perfect for post-class freezing walk to the car and it has a hood and thumbholes. I also like that it looks fancy enough so that you can wear it with a pair of jeans and boots!

I love the idea of the Namaste Yoga Tote IV, I have contimplated just getting a strap to carry my yoga mat, but I love that this has pockets so I don’t have to carry my mat and another bag. I also desperately need some sort of sweat towel, I used to have ones for my treadmill running and the gym, but those have since bit the dust and I have gotten rid of all but one. The (small) towel would be perfect for all of my classes at Studio Poise and Achieve, and I love that it is super small but also absorbent.

Lastly, I have been looking everywhere for some sort of fashionable but also functional ear warmer, I have extremely thick hair so most ear warmers end up being way to tight and uncomfortable, but this one does not. I also love how wide it is, the Keepin’ It Cozy Ear Warmer is definitely on my wish list this year.

 

 

I added this after my first publish, I actually had mixed feelings about it. I know that lots of people are taking a stand against Lululemon and I respect that. I don’t like the things the CEO said, but I truly believe he is not the first nor the last to say or believe such outlandish things. I haven’t quite sorted out how I believe, but I do know that I love the ambassadors and the employees at the Lulu near me and ultimately, that is why I decided to include these items. 

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Of course I would also recommend a gift certificate to your Fitness Enthusiast’s favorite studio. For me that will obviously be Studio Poise!

What items are on your fitness wish list?

What’s In My Fitness Closet: The Clothes

Fitness closet

Pavement Runner has once again come up with a brilliant link up! Showing our readers our fitness closets. I am going to show you just my clothes — pants and tops. I will get to accessories, shoes, gear, and recovery equipment in a few different posts!

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Long Sleeves
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From L-R: Wicked Salem Half long sleeve, Old Navy Active top, Nike Women’s Half half marathon long sleeve, Nike Women’s half marathon half-zip.

For a small and local race the Salem half long sleeve is extremely comfy, I was actually unsure of sizing so I ended up getting a top that was too big. I usually wear it while I warm up or if it is very cold. The Old Navy Active top I originally saw on Julie’s blog, but unfortunately they are almost all sold out online, but check your local store!

I know I have a lot of Nike Women’s (Half) Marathon purchases, but here is my reasoning, it was (supposed) to be my first half-marathon, and is probably one of the only destination races I will ever do. As much as I’d really love to travel for cool races it just financially and family wise is not feasible. I had a budget, and I spent it, and I am not one bit upset about it. At first I purchased the half-zip at the Nike store, but I saw the finisher long-sleeved for the marathon at the finish line tent, and the half-marathon long-sleeve was sold out, sad face. My sister, however, is a shirt ninja. She found the last existing shirt and grabbed it for me, score it was my size. They are both extremely comfy, only the half-zip has thumbholes, but I don’t discriminate.

Tank Tops
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These are all Lululemon cool racerbacks, I actually prefer the extra long ones because they do not budge, even as a shorty, I find the regular length moves a lot. Plus the extra long keeps the top of my thighs warm during cold races.

Other Tops

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From L-R: Nike Women’s Finisher Tee, Nike Women’s Half Tee (purchased), Colosseum Tank via pvbody, purple and coral Old Navy Active bubble tank

I love the Nike tee’s, sometimes I wear them over a thin tank, especially if I am strength training and will be moving a lot. The Colosseum top doesn’t have nearly enough support in the chest area so I usually wear it around the house or I double up on bras. The bubble tanks are awesome, especially when you are feeling a bit bloated, and I love how it has a peep hole in the back, but it is small!

Luxury Pants
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From L-R: Nike Dri-Fit Slim Legend (mostly cotton), Nike Dri-Fit Slim Legend Poly and Lululemon Run Inspire Crop

The Nike pants are the ones that the stylists put me in at the Nike expo, I LOVE them. I wear the cotton ones a lot around the house, perfect flexibility to chase a toddler. The Lululemon crops are a newer addition, I love the zip pocket and the high(er) waistband.

Reebok Capris
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From L-R: The first three are Reebok Skinny Capri – which unfortunately they do not carry anymore, huge bummer, because they are some of my absolute favorites! The last pair I was sent when I ran the Canton Road Race, the crossfit skinny capri.

Old Navy Pants
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From L-R: Old Navy Compression Leggings in black & grey, Old Navy Compression Capris in grey (I had black too but cannot find them!)

I hate running around to find clothes in the morning, so I fold all my clothes into sets for the week and stack them in the drawers that way.

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For example, the bundle of clothes for today’s workout include:
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Reebok Skinny Capri, Lululemon Cool Racerback and an Old Navy long sleeve tee.

So, what is in your fitness closet? What are your must have’s? Did anything surprise you about mine?

Gifts under $100 for a New Runner

I won’t claim to be an expert runner, or an expert to what works for everyone, because we are all different, but I thought I would put together a little list of items for a new runner.

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I think its great to be supportive of the runner in your life, but running can be an expensive sport. Every item on this list is under $100. I will forewarn you now, I am not including any types of shoes, because the right shoe is so personal. I would give the runner a gift certificate to a local running store, one where they check gait and stride, not just a local store that sells sneakers. My favorite running store is Marathon Sports.

So here are a few of my favorites!

Lululemon Cool Racerback – $42

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I actually prefer the extra long length, although they no longer exist on the website… I hope that doesn’t mean they are getting rid of them. This is my favorite tank, hands down. It comes in a bunch of different colors and also is a flattering fit and cut. It is lightweight so you can use it as a base layer and not once have I had chafing issues.

Reebok Skinny Capri – $39.99

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I have these pants in black, black/pink and the gravel/teal. These are my favorite capris, especially for long distance runs. They fit on my hips and don’t ride up or down while I am running. They are also comfortable for every day wear. I love to wear dark bottoms, but love the pops of color. Although, unfortunately it looks like they aren’t making more of these. Check out the Play Dry Skinny Capri ($35), I have these also, and I do love them, I just prefer the above pair.

Pro Compression Marathon Sock – $50

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again, compression is KEY when recovering from running. Just because the name of the sock is marathon sock doesn’t mean they are only for marathoners. I have worn them after a tough 5 mile run, after a half-marathon and to bed before a race. The swelling and soreness is seriously reduced if not gone because of this. Just know that sizes aren’t based on shoe size, but the customer service is top notch and can help you out.

The Stick – Travel Size $27.50

Another key part to recovery is stretching and making sure your muscles are nice and loose. Again, this is personal preference, some prefer a foam roller others prefer The Stick. I have the travel size because I used to drive to my running group, I travel for a fair amount of race and I run at my in-laws. It’s easier for me to throw the travel size stick in a bag.

Sparkly Soul Headbands – $15 or $17

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I don’t think its any secret that I love these headbands. The colors are bright and the glitter doesn’t fall off, you know what I am talking about. They also work for thick hair, a blessing and a curse, no headbands would ever stay, except these! I love them so much that I sometimes accessorize non-running outfits with them. I prefer the thicker width, but that’s my personal preference.

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Kona Kase – $15 a month

You can read my review here, but this is a great way for new runners to test out new types of fuel and find what really works for them.

Yurbuds – Inspire $29.99

I have reviewed these also, but I have used them every single day since I got them. I have small ears and these never fall out and they don’t give me a headache. Bonus, you can hear noise around you.

ShowerPill Athletic Wipe – $16.50

Once more, I have reviewed this product, but it is great for those who are on the go, the hardest part of being busy is fitting in time for a workout and shower, with this you can delay your shower without offending those all around you.

What would you recommend for a new runner?

Disclaimer: No one has compensated me for this post all product reviews are my own.

San Francisco: Day 3 – The Half-Marathon

Check out where I shopped and what I ate before you read about how I raced!

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It’s here, it’s finally race day. Decked out in my favorite reebok capris, sparkle skirt, lululemon tank, TNT tank and of course no outfit is complete without a sparkly soul headband or garmin ;)

I may have a big smile on my gave but I was a wreck. My sister made me coffee while I showered and dressed. I drank about half a cup and choked down an english muffin with some peanut butter. I met the rest of my Team In Training group in the hotel lobby, we took some group photos and headed to the start corrals together. I took a banana with me so that I could have something to eat, but ended up eating it before we left the hotel. We got into the corrals around 6ish, the race didn’t start until 7 am.

Let me start by saying, I did have race goals, ones that I kept to myself, the first was to finish and be happy, but what I really wanted was to finish in the same time as my first half or PR. So when I bird pooped on my head on Friday I thought, hey this race is going to be awesome and I am going to ROCK IT.

Unfortunately, this is not a happy tale. As I mentioned before we went to our start corrals about an hour before the race started and because it was such a large race and my corral was so far back, it took our group about 30 minutes to even cross the start line. I ended up starting my fuel earlier than I usually do.

The race started in Union Square and made its way down towards the Embarcadero and the Marina, Christine managed to find me in the crowd and I actually heard her, thanks for the encouragement! The first 4 miles were relatively flat and I was under my goal pace for those miles, but I still felt like I was not really pushing myself, I wanted some energy in the tank for the hard miles.

I made a bathroom stop around mile 3 and around mile 3.5-4 was the first big hill, but I just powered through it and got to the top, I saw my sister at mile 4…(sorry to anyone I sent this too, she took this pic at mile 4 NOT the finish line)

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I wish I had remembered to grab the extra fuel that I packed for her to take but I forgot, problem #2. I had my fuel around mile 4.5 – 5, these areas were fairly flat, I remembered that there were going to be shot bloks at the aid stations so I thought I would be okay. Mile 6 was were it started to take a turn for the worse. It was a winding hill that I thought was going to never end. I trained on some hills but they were nothing compared to this. I ended up power walking about halfway through, but I was starting to feel woozy at the top. I started walking when it flattened out and grabbed as much water and nuun as I could carry and hoped that I was dehydrated, but the fluid was not helping either. Around mile 8 a girl that I talked to earlier in the race noticed that I had slowed down, and maybe saw the desperate look on my face. She offered me a pack of sports beans, black cherry flavor, and I was so grateful, I wish I had caught her name or something, she saved me from a DNF, I am quite certain.

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This is what desperation looks like

I call mile 8 – 9.5 my dark miles. These are the ones I was alone and all I wanted to do was quit. It was an internal battle. I started secondary fuel way too late and I just wouldn’t be able to recover. Which meant walking the last 5 miles, I ended up on my feet for much longer than I ever had been before and that really hurt my knees and hips.

I was texting my sister and told her that she was going to have to wait longer than we had anticipated, but she was awesome.

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Honestly, I was not feeling it, I just wanted to finish. My time was 03:56:45, a full 38 minutes slower than my first half-marathon. I ran through the finish line, determined to have a smile on my face, it didn’t hurt that the commentators were discussing my awesome sparkle skirt over the speakers.

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FINALLY

I grabbed my necklace, finishers T, food and bag! I just wanted to eat and go shower, so I only stuck around long enough to snag the last long sleeved 13.1 finishers shirt.

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Caty and I hopped on to the TNT shuttle back to our hotel and showered & changed then proceeded to Boudin and Ghiradelli for my post-race treats, and unfortunately I forgot my ID so no post-race beer for me

48 Hour Fundraiser

Saturday morning I am running my longest run to date and my longest run before the Nike half-marathon. In honor of that I am holding a fundraiser, the catch? It is for 48 hours ONLY.

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I am in the final push to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through my Team In Training efforts. I have FOUR great gift packages. For every $13.10 donation you will receive one entry in to the raffle.

First, donate here! Again, $13.10 gets you one entry, for each additional $13.10 you receive another entry. Example $50 = 3 Entries.

Let me tell you a little about where your money goes before I tell you about the great prizes.

✷76.2% of all funds go to research projects, grants, financial assistance to patients, producing educational material and videos and run support groups.

✷$25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

✷$50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.

✷$100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

✷$500 could provide patient aid to THREE patients with Leukemia or a related cancer for a year.

✷$1,000 makes possible one-on-one conversations with health care specialists who provide patients with information about their disease, treatment options, and helps prepare them with questions for their health care team.

WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Now onto the prizes!

First ($140 value):

✷Gift card to Lululemon

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Second ($130 value):

✷Gift Card to Starbucks

Sparklysoul Headband and Fit Approach SweatPink shoelaces

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Third ($130 value)

✷Gift Card to Johnny Cupcakes (apparel)

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

Fourth – The local package ($125 value)

✷Gift Card to Marathon Sports

✷Gift Card to Emack & Bolio

✷CASE of Carb Boom gels

✷Team In Training NUUN

✷Water Bottle

I will contact all the winners on Wednesday! Good luck and GO TEAM!

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TNT Update, PDR & DNS

It’s been awhile since I did a Team In Training update, 2 months actually, so I thought I would let you all know how the running is going. I also want to thank everyone who purchased a headband through my SparklySoul Fundraiser, I will be posting a video of the winner by the end of the week, if you already told me you purchased one that’s fine, if you haven’t then let me know.

In the past two months I have made a conscious effort to go into every run with a good attitude and mentality. The run may not end well, but I am far more unlikely to be grumpy at the end, regardless of the outcome.

My long run is now up to 9 miles! A new PDR (personal distance record) for me. Before training, the longest I had ever run was 5 miles and it was hard, and now I have run 9 miles. It was definitely hard, but I know that all the time and training I have been putting in is definitely paying off.

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Before my run with some of my favorite workout gear. Lululemon tank & socks, Reebok capris, Asics sneakers and of course a SparklySoul headband. I also didn’t realize how much pink I was wearing.

I have made our informal team track workouts a necessity for me. We do a different workout every week and I can see the improvement in my speed on my long runs. My breathing is more even and less labored, and the hills, while still tough, those are getting a tiny bit easier. My first 8 mile run only took 5 more minutes then my last 7 mile run, if that’s not improvement I don’t know what is.

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How I relax after a long run…compression socks, the pink strikes again.

With a PDR their has also been some bad runs and a DNS (did not start) and a shortened training run. Lets talk about the DNS first, I was signed up to run The Color Run, I decided not too. I am definitely bummed I didn’t run the race, but it was also important to me to run my first 8 miler and to do it with my team. I am sort of glad I didn’t run because there were A LOT of race issues, mostly because an accident shutdown major roadways and the point to point race relied heavily on shuttling.

I also recently had to cut an 8 mile run to a 5 miler, and a 5 mile run isn’t something to shake your head at, it is still a wonderful accomplishment, but I was a little frustrated, I had some stomach issues going on, and the humidity was insane, I drank 20 oz of water during my run and I still felt completely dehydrated.

Then of course the 9 miler, I went into the run feeling super confident and I was doing great, until mile 7.5. My lower back started aching and it was painful to run. My awesome coach walked with me, and every time we tried to run, it would be okay at first and then slowly the back pain would creep in again. I am going to try to add a banana to my morning routine, she said that might help. Have you ever had any lower back pain? What did you do? While these things certainly stink, I am also glad I am dealing with them now and I hope that I can get over them before the half!

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The rest of my Saturday was spent relaxing and hanging out with my two favorite guys. The little one was caught trying to steal daddy’s bagel.

I have to add, while I was reluctant at first to dedicate myself to Team In Training because of my own fears of finishing a half marathon or even the ability to run one, I am so happy that I have decided to run Nike with TNT. I have found a wonderful support system of runners, and strangers who have become friends, totally cliche but true. If you are on the fence I would highly recommend you at least try running with your local chapter!