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Archive for March, 2011

Hey friends 🙂 I wanted to tell you all about this cool event a bunch of us went to on Tuesday night just south of downtown Orlando… the food truck bazaar!

  

Now I don’t know how regular this thing occurs, but I’m glad we were there! Basically all the local food trucks come out in the parking lot of a church and folks get to pig out – then they have an artist market inside with live music – sounds like a recipe for a good time eh?

Crazy crowds, lines wrapping around each other…

We rolled with the taco truck – waited in line 45 minutes to order the food and another 15 for it to be ready – I don’t know how anyone could feasibly do that on a lunch break, but I’m also thinking they don’t typically have such long lines of customers to feed.

Total 1-hour taco domination

(actually that was a cheese quesadilla and a veggie sope (sopes?))

There was a new cupcake truck too but by the time we got around to dessert they were all gone 😦 Most of these trucks use Facebook & Twitter to announce where they’re setting up shop that day, so some days it could be in the Walmart parking lot, other days in a metered spot in downtown, wherever there’s a crowd I guess.

There were other cool trucks too like the Winter Park Fish Market, Korean BBQ Taco Box (?), Pupusas (stuffed tortillas!), Red Eye BBQ, Shipyard, Crooked Spoon, and Big Wheel Provisions (yum – this guy lives in College Park & I see his truck all the time, he emphasizes using local fresh ingredients).

We headed inside to check out the artist market, where a bunch of Kellie’s friends were selling stuff. I picked out a new necklace (made buy single moms in Africa, this group in Orlando buys them and then resells them, then donates those proceeds to a separate charity for keeping kids off the streets – it was a long story and hard to keep track of but I liked the recycled paper beads!)

*test picture… side note – I’m not a necklace wearer. I didn’t pick this one actually, I got a longer green one. I’m more of an earrings girl, and not even wearing a necklace at the wedding b/c they usually just look weird on me*

They also had some acoustic tunes,

and a funky art box where you can go inside and draw on it, then the light shines out for everybody to see

After we left, we all headed down to Jax (one of the older bars in CP) for a round of drinks & wedding talk ~~congrats to Bridget & Brian!!!~~

washed down with a bunch of their homemade pickles!

When we got home, I took some of the almond biscotti I bought at the artist market and dunked it in red wine like the vendor (Kellie’s friend Pam) suggested…

It. Was. Awesome =)

I’ve taken to drinking out of these smaller sample-sized wine glasses (we got them from Harbor Nights, which is an EXCELLENT DATE NIGHT for you Orlando locals – music, Italian gourmet food & all you can drink wine for about $35/person at Universal’s Portofino Bay!). You know how they say if you want to eat smaller portions, use a smaller plate? Well the same thing goes for wine – there are some days where I want a big big fishbowl glass of red, but most days this little guy does the trick 😉

Onto some interesting & fun eats this week… most of my breakfasts have been peppermint patty green monsters – just can’t get enough!

Then we ran out of the ingredients, so I rolled with a banana & a Vega bar yesterday.

Verdict on Vega Bar… didn’t really taste much like chocolate to me – sorta like a Larabar but with a more planty-taste, and it costs 2x as much as a Larabar, so I’m just gonna stick with my old favorite 🙂

Also had some goldfish mixed in with the last of this bean dip (mixed right in the jar, overnight oats-style!)

and finally, I just wanna say thanks to Kellie for bringing me back some of the TJ’s harvest grain mix from her vacation out west 🙂

Someone at work said it looks like bird seed hahaha

What are you all up to this week? I’m thinking about doing a Q&A post soon, so if you have any questions post a comment – maybe a video Q&A is in order?

See ya!

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Hey everybody! I hope the weather is nicer where you are than in Orlando (or if you’re in Orlando, hope you’re staying dry!) – it’s naaaaaaaasty here…

image

I woke up this morning ready to run completely exhausted (didn’t get a good night’s sleep… too much soda before our marriage prep class :-/) so the rain was a nice surprise. I was bummed to miss the chance to run in the AM, but happy to have an extra hour to stay in bed. Plus I promised the fiancé we’d go running together after work.

For breakfast I made a mind-blowing breakfast masterpiece: Peppermint Patty Green Monster (recipe here from Angela) – it helped me use up an almost-rotten banana (freeze it the night before so it doesn’t go bad!), plus get in my greens and some amazing minty flavor!!!

FYI that’s like a 20 oz glass! I crumbled half of a dark chocolate square on top – the best part was that at the bottom, the chocolate chunks were waiting to be gobbled up hehehehe

It honest-to-goodness tasted like a mint chocolate chip milkshake, and I think all the kids in my family wouldn’t know the difference – the fiancé loved it too and didn’t freak out when I told him there was spinach in it!

and a fun lil’ green mustache…

Speaking of the rain, I had a really scary drive to work this morning. My car has 60,000 mile-rated tires on it, and my odometer just passed 64,000 miles so it’s time to get some new ones, but I’m cheap so I wanted to see how much extra time I could wait before shelling out major bucks for new tires (the fiancé suggested used tires but I’m not totally comfy with that…). On the way to work I was headed towards a red light (in the RAIN) and going about 50 mph into the intersection when the light turned yellow. I knew I was close to the light and if I kept going I’d end up running it, so I laid on the brakes. The car didn’t stop. My anti-lock brakes were working as hard as they could, and the car skidded right into the middle of the intersection!!! Thank God there weren’t any cars in front of me in line or I would’ve hit them. So here I am, gliding along the pavement in the pouring rain and my car is definitely NOT stopping, so instead I revved up the gas (we are WAY beyond the red light here) just to get out of the way! I was so afraid and called the fiancé as soon as I got into the parking lot at work to tell him we need to get me some brand new tires ASAP – the time has come! On the way home I drove like a total granny and never went over 30-35 mph in a 45, which I was fine with b/c it was pouring down rain and I was scared of my uncooperative tires. So guess who gets to spend her tax refund on some new tires 😉

On a more positive note, work was great – I was all by myself today since my whole department was on vacation, and I got a LOT done without any distractions! I missed Kellie a lot though 😦 My lunch was a gigantic salad with balsamic dressing, roasted red peppers and a sprinkle of this mixture of sprouted beans (very FRESH tasting – I liked it!)

When I got home the fiancé told me he invited over his best man for dinner and our guest would be there in about 20 minutes. I still hadn’t done my 3 mile run yet so I said either wait for me to start eating or go ahead without me, but I’m gonna need about 45 minutes of ME time (aka 36 minutes on the treadmill plus time to get to the gym & back).

image

So I suited up in my running clothes with my older tennis shoes (didn’t want to get the new ones totally drenched in puddles on the way there) and a hoodie to stay dry up top. I made it onto the treadmill (my gym’s a ghost town when it rains since most folks walk there – love it!) and cranked out 3 miles in 34:25 (11:28/mile) while watching a full episode of King of Queens. Most of the time I kept a 5.5-5.7mph pace, with brief 4.0mph walking breaks of no more than about 30 seconds to a minute – I ran a LOTTTT!

I had a half of this shot blok before heading out – the tropcial punch flavor is GOOD!

and came home to an amazing pasta dinner courtesy of the fiancé… this time I did the dishes while he relaxed, it’s the least I could do for him being so awesome 🙂 I’ll end with an exciting update…

Our wedding is in exactly 2 months! May 28th is right around the corner!!!!!!! 🙂

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Two totally different topics today, so let’s jump in first with the running shorts…

I bought a tiny pair of Nike running booty shorts a few months ago b/c I see a lot of girls in my age group (26-30, formerly 20-25) who run in hardly nothing down there, and I wanted to try it out. Let me just start out by saying my legs are already super long, so normal shorts look shorter on me.

Before my 5-mile long run on Saturday, looking pretty PC and harmless, a little on the short side but nothing to cover your eyes about…

Here they kinda look like biking shorts (the fiancé requested I do a “live long & prosper” sign).

I downed one of these beforehand, it tasted really good and I should’ve had another since I got fatigued during Mile 4:

During the run I felt GREAT! The shorts were riding up and it felt like I was running in my bathing suit bottoms, but honestly I loved it! 🙂 My legs weren’t confined or restricted at all, and it was a lot of fun considering I have to run in t-shirts til the wedding to avoid tan lines with my strapless gown and I don’t want to burn up in this Florida springtime weather.

I finished with an 11:55/mile pace, right on track with my training plan 🙂

Now for the AFTER… (children avert your eyes):

That was how high they hiked up – Honestly I was really self-conscious about these BEFORE I started running (i.e. they are so short they show a couple of less-than-flattering parts of my legs) but I noticed that after covering 5 miles, I felt like my legs looked amazing (or maybe I just didn’t care???) Oh BTW – where did those calves come from? haha

So the shorts are a little too “cheeky” to wear to the Corporate 5K (i.e. I don’t really want coworkers checkin’ out all that up close & personal) but I am TOTALLY wearing these for other summer races!

For dinner I made an awesome recipe for vegan mac n cheese, adapted from this recipe here:

I used almond milk, and instead of tomato paste used Louisiana hot sauce, and instead of broccoli used peas – AMAZING!

and not a dab of dairy in there! It tasted like white cheddar mac n cheese! The fiancé woke up this morning and said “Kim, can we make more of that mac n cheese but in a bigger pot, so we can eat it for days or weeks?” haha I know it’s a hit when he thinks about dinner the next day!

OK – next topic – grocery store exhaustion

Do you ever find yourself standing in the aisle at the grocery store for more than 5 minutes deciding what type of bread/peanut butter/cereal/etc. to buy? It’s like we have TOO MANY choices and not enough information to make a good choice!

Tonight I went grocery shopping at Chamberlin’s and was on the lookout for my favorite brown rice chocolate protein powder. Well, they only had the original and vanilla flavors, so I had to scan the ENTIRE AISLE to find this baby:

Not exactly what I was looking for, but I’ve wanted to try this for a while and will definitely be making some chocolate chia pudding!

Also picked up some coconut to make my first batch of macaroons!

Then I headed over to Publix to get the rest of our groceries, and was faced with about a dozen flavors of hummus to choose from (this is NOT a problem – I looooove hummus, any flavor!)

I went to grab our go-to whole wheat wraps and they were all out!!! I wound up grabbing whole wheat pitas and some Ezekiel tortillas.

Salad dressing: again, so many choices so I just go straight to the Bolthouse Farms section (in the produce section) and had to dig for the only anchovy-free Caesar around:

Picked up some goodies for some green monsters:

and got some goodies for the fiancé (give the guy a break, he eats ANYTHING I make for him so I wanted to spoil him with some sweet PB/chocolate muffins)

and then there was the toughest decision… sugar… we have just a tiny bit of white sugar left in the house that I’ve been using for baking, and honestly I’m just tired of it. It makes me sad that it’s so much cheaper than the Stevia stuff we want, but I know in the end if I’m going to be putting 2 cups of some sugary ingredient into a recipe, I want it to be good for us and not something that’s gonna give me a headache.. so I picked this one:

Per ounce it’s about 10x as much as the Publix white sugar (OUUUUUCHHHHH!!!! –>said my wallet) but we use it sparingly for occasional muffins/cupcakes so I’m trying not to obsess about it.

I also made my way into the natural skin care section b/c I’m almost out of moisturizer (right now I use the generic version of Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 15 moisturizer since it’s about $10 cheaper per bottle than Aveeno and I like it a lot). I’ve wanted to try an all-natural product for a while now but the prices are SERIOUSLY daunting ($17 for a tube the size of my chapstick????) and I honestly don’t know the difference with a lot of this stuff, like what’s a paraben?  Fragrance or no fragrance? Is glycerin OK to put on my skin?? I came across a few common brands in several stores, like Alba, Burts Bees and Kiss My Face, but don’t know which one I want to go with. And should I even be worried if I love my Aveeno-knockoff stuff to begin with?

HELP! Do you any of you have any recommendations/experiences with all-natural daily moisturizers? What should I be looking out for, and what are some of your favorite products?

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Cupcakes and Hooky

Happy Friday everybody! 🙂 The fiancé & I took the day off work and decided to play hooky at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

But before that, we pigged out on some vegan cupcakes I made last night (we did cupcakes & wine with my future mamacita-in-law). It started with this recipe for the cupcakes and this recipe for the frosting… follow along in pictures:

Mix the dry ingredients (I used whole wheat flour b/c that’s all we had, it made them taste healthier too hehe)

wet ingredients mixed separately – again using vinegar instead of eggs (we’re obsessed with vegan baking now)

mix

it turns kinda into a crumby texture, so I added another tbsp of vegetable oil and a few tbsp of water to make it into more of a batter

then I ate a scoop of butter ice cream.

Psych! Just melted that earth balance (my vegan “butter”) to make the chocolate frosting!

And voila – it made a full 12 cupcakes, they didn’t all make it into this picture

nom nom nom real strawberry chunks inside

Before we left for the theme park we made a lunch with a hummus wrap, taboule salad & strawberries

When we were at the park we watched the Indiana Jones stunt show (my first time!) – watch as the stage breaks down for the next scene – I thought this was so cool…

whoaaaaa

ooooooohhhh aaaaahhhh

and some crazy stunt action

we also did the Backlot Tour (after a beer & some popcorn – that’s about all the theme park food we could handle today) – here’s the fiancé getting engulfed by a flash flood…

SO FUN!

and then we saw the Lights Motors Action stunt show – it was cool but smelled like burning rubber really bad.

We came home and made this super good pasta (quick to make from Publix, we’ll keep this on hand for nights like this where I don’t feel like whipping up a masterpiece)

A pretty good way to start a weekend! 🙂

Now I’m down to Cupcake #12 – they are SO much better cold after the frosting is hardened… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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Our Frankenhouse

Last night while the fiancé was tinkering in his man cave and I was reading blogs, the power went out. Nothing majorly wrong with the electrical grid in Orlando – just our Frankenhouse doing its usual “I’m mad at you for using so much power so I’m just gonna quit” attitude. He had to go outside and reset the breaker – a common chore in this house. So let’s get into why our house is so moody…

Most homes in College Park started out with the same floor plan b/c they were mostly built by the same developer, and looks something like this:

frankenhousebefore

Two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a fireplace, and a garage.

Sometime after the homes were moved into, folks decided they wanted more space, and did something like this (this is ours):

frankenhouseafter 

Took out the fireplace and replaced it with an air conditioning system, added a sunroom (with no insulation), added an office (also with no insulation), added a workshop and patio, and converted the garage into a den (i.e. living space).

See how the den is sunken down lower than the rest of the house and it’s all surrounded by concrete block walls? That’s b/c it used to be a garage. Actually the driveway leads right up to it, we laugh b/c a lot of the houses in the neighborhood did this same thing.

Then the AC – you can see where the fireplace used to be if you look closely at the patched up wall:

This thing is so old they don’t even sell this model anymore, and the owner didn’t built the air handler into a closet (like in a lot of homes/apartments), they hid it with a nice curtain 🙂

Here’s how they used to keep a house in Florida cool before air conditioning (some folks think A/C has always been around…. yeah not so much).

You used to have what’s called a “whole house fan” in your attic, and when you turn it on, it sucks all the hot air out of your house and exhausts it through louvers in the attic, and you open your windows to let in cooler air.

Our house still has the whole house fan in the attic, so I took a field trip this morning to get a picture of it. Here’s the access panel (which would normally be left open if you’re using the whole house fan)

and the switch in the hall closet to turn that fan on (it doesn’t work anymore)

and here’s the fan itself – this thing is HUGE!

 

It’s hard to tell by this picture, but this fan is about 4 feet in diameter.

I read articles about homes up north in more modest climates using these and the architects are always bragging “it’s such an amazing sustainable design” and I’m thinking “well no duh, just look at a Florida house that was built before A/C was invented…”.

I work with engineers who design air-conditioning systems all day long and lemme tell ya, after learning how wasteful the systems can be on energy (think about an AC system for an office building being left on 24/7 when nobody is there b/c the system is too advanced for the guy operating it to understand how to shut it off…) and how harmful the refrigerants are on the environment – I like to avoid using it whenever I can. I hardly ever use AC in the car (hello windows & sunroof!) and use ceiling fans in the house until it gets unbearable in the summertime.

So back to our power outage – what happens in a Frankenhouse is that the owner adds all this extra power-using stuff/space in the house and doesn’t size up the electrical panel to handle that power. Just think about all the stuff in this house that uses power:

Dishwasher – installed after the house was built (extra power)

Washer/Dryer – installed after the house was built (extra power)

Water heater

Refrigerator (big relative to what was here when the house was first built)

and a stove/oven:

So our dilemma is – we can’t run these things all at once or else the electric panel gets overloaded and quits. Basically any time we run any of these combos, we’re in for a blackout:

  • Air conditioner + washing machine or dryer
  • Dishwasher + ANYTHING ELSE IN THE HOUSE (including the AC)
  • Stove/oven + washing machine or dryer

It’s taken us a while to get used to it, and when we go house hunting for a place to buy, I hope the realtor doesn’t laugh when we say “ok now let’s try turning on every major appliance at the same time and see what happens” – because seriously, it’s natural to want to run the dishwasher & washing machine at the same time.

What’s interesting is that the power in the den (formerly the garage) never goes out – we’ve found out it’s on a separate panel – which leaves us with the constant glow of our Himalayan salt lamp (anybody else have one of these?)

Speaking of Franken-stuff, this morning I made breakfast and got freaked out by this frankenberry:

wwweeeeeeeeeeeeird – ended up making a strawberry banana smoothie in a bowl with chocolate granola:

YUM!

So now you know a little more about our home and the way we make it work. Does your home have any weird quirks?

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My First Tempo Run

Alright – for all you new(er) runners out there, if you aren’t sure what a Tempo Run is, I’ll tell you what I learned this morning, but first let’s talk gear…

Track Shack had a sale this week so I headed on down for some new shoes, a hat and some race fuel. Yes, I wrote it on my hand so I wouldn’t forget.

My old shoes (Saucony Hurricanes) are great but I’ve had them for a year now (even though you can’t really tell and they definitely have some more mileage left on them since I didn’t run like a madwoman in 2010!), so I wanted to get a new pair during the sale. And you bet I’m gonna keep using these shoes until they’re no longer fit for the road – they cost like $90 last year! I have another old pair of tennis shoes that I use for camping, mud volleyball, etc. that only cost me $10 at Walmart (they’re made from plastic bottles so it’s neat but horrible to run in).

The new shoes: Asics GEL Kayano. I wanted something with the arch support like the Hurricanes, but lighter weight (so it didn’t feel like I was doing bun busters with bricks on my feet).

The pretty pattern is nice too, and when I tried them on they were all soft inside like bedroom slippers – love it 🙂

I also got this hat to keep sweat off my head since my 5K on April 30th is on a completely un-shaded course…

Yeah, that’s getting returned. I’ve never actually bought a hat, this one was $20 on sale and I still think it’s too dorky and probably not too much greater than the free hat I have from an old employer.

I picked up a bunch of new flavors of fuel, including some shot bloks and various gels:

OK, onto the Tempo Run.

This morning my training plan said:

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What this means is to cover a total of 4 miles, including a 1 mile warm-up jog, 2 miles running at a 10:13/mile pace, and a 1 mile cool-down jog.

I looked back at previous race times and my 5K personal record is 10:04/mile during the OUC 5K in December. I felt confident knowing I had done faster than today’s training pace before, and for a longer distance. I kept reminding myself that over the past day to keep my spirits up and stay confident.

So this morning I laced up the new kicks,

(that’s not an optical illusion, the shoelaces really do curve inward like that)

and downed a Honey Stinger gel. I like this because it’s natural ingredients that don’t taste like crap.

Seriously, look at it – it’s HONEY!

plus some B-vitamins and strawberry flavoring. It took me a while to eat it (the nasty gels are easier b/c you just want to get it over with) b/c it was so sweet but now this is my favorite flavor!

I kept singing in my head “Honey to the Bee” by Billie Piper and thinking of my mom’s dog Honey

To stay on track for that 10:13/mile pace, I wanted to shoot for 10:00/mile in case I had to take a breather, so I wrote down on my hand the quarter-mile splits. My road is exactly 0.25 miles long and shaded, so I used it to pace myself (better than a track workout in my opinion!).

I didn’t have my GPS Runkeeper app going (it’s a pain for shorter runs like this where you’re counting every second, but great for long runs), but here’s a rough breakdown of the splits from my memory:

  • Mile 1 (warm-up)
    • Walked the first 1/4 mile to see how long it would take if all I did was walk, this was about 3:30, stopped for water (not timing the first mile so water breaks are OK)
    • Sprinted the second 1/4 mile to see how fast I could possibly go, this was about 1:50 (YEEEEEEEAH!), stopped for water
    • Jogged the remaining 1/2 mile to balance out the pace and get used to being in the 10:00/mile range, stopped for water
  • Mile 2 (Tempo) – I ran this in about 9:40 (somewhere around there) and it was FUN, not torture on my body, and I was feeling good! I stopped to get a swig of water but kept the clock going like it was a waterstop in a race
  • Mile 3 (Tempo) – this got more challenging but the honey stinger and all the water helped me keep my energy. I knew I was keeping a good pace and the small 1/4 mile intervals (down and back, down and back, down and back…) helped keep me calm and focused on the finish – with this time:

Um yeah, totally smashed through the time goal! I came in at 9:42/mile – that’s 31 seconds per mile faster than the goal! ***My goal of a 30 minute 5K PR would require a pace of 9:40/mile – YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAHHHHHHHH!!!!! So close I can feel it! 🙂

  • Mile 4 (I didn’t forget) – this was a cool-down for me and I walked the whole thing, feeling super floored by my Tempo Run time 🙂

I think the idea of a Tempo Run is to get you used to running at or close to your ideal race pace, but for a shorter distance than your race, so you know that your body can handle that pace and then you just have to work on the distance (enter weekend long runs). This was such a motivator for me to see this fast pace in the middle of a training plan – I’m not stopping now!

Lesson learned: the “waterstop” I did added about 20 seconds to my time, so I think I’m going to try and skip it during the Corporate 5K and see how my time ends up. I know I can go 3 miles without a water break, especially at night time, so that should work fine.

Oh – and the first impression of the new shoes? Love them! They are great for running in, give me plenty of support, but still feel like bricks on my feet when I do bun busters. That’s ok, I’ll just do those exercises barefoot 🙂

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Gooood morning 🙂 Well technically it’s the afternoon here but who’s counting…

Lately I’ve been into a “trying new things” kick, whether that’s new recipes, new workouts, or letting myself go outside of my comfort zone with stuff like shopping…

I made our first batch of vegan blueberry muffins!

Here’s the recipe – I had to stop myself from licking the bowl, the batter was SO GOOD!

We’ve been getting away from eggs lately since the fiancé gets grossed out by them – even though he admits missing veggie omelets, but I think that’s more for the cheesy goodness than the eggs themselves – so I wanted to see how to make muffins without eggs – and it was SO easy! Apparently vinegar will give you good muffins too – who knew?

This was my favorite batch of muffins ever, and the fiancé agrees too – he said two things:

  1. Let’s never use eggs for baking again.”
  2. Next time let’s use peanut butter chips and chocolate chips… go ahead and get all that fruit outta there!” –HAHA!

I also went to Target this weekend for some shopping therapy and came home with:

A pretty picture for our bedroom

with my favorite quote on it

A super cute guest book for the wedding, it’s recycled & matches our wedding colors perfectly:

and a new grown-up wallet!

When I was a kid we used to call these “bill-folds”. FYI this is the 2nd wallet I’ve ever owned, and it’s replacing this one:

I mean really, with a wallet like that, who needs a new one? 🙂 I wanted something more grown-up that said “I’m a respectable mature engineer” instead of “I just found this on the sand and picked it up” LOL

We also made our first pizza from cold dough (bought the dough at Publix, came home and rolled it out together, loaded up with toppings) – this was GOOD!

I like how the multi-grain crust has nuts in it!

Lovely zucchini “pepperonis” 🙂

I also totally nailed a 3-mile run Monday morning – love this runner’s world training plan! 🙂 I was going for 11:58/mile and did it in 11:19/mile!

It took me a long time to get used to running in the morning, and honestly we’ve been doing it for the past 2 weeks and it WORKS! It’s the only time of day we can run here since as soon as the sun comes up it’s sorta a waste of time to run outside – you’ll be burning up & dehydrated really quickly. Doing our runs in the morning gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and I come home after work feeling like I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want =)

Yeah I don’t know what kind of face that is 😛

Do you run in the mornings or afternoon? What new things have you tried lately that surprised you?

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