Happy 4th- Running Roundup

Happy 4th of July!!

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What a great weekend it has been. The weather has been gorgeous and there has been so much relaxing going on around here.

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I think I’ve been on the front porch with my coffee for about two hours now. I’ve also enjoyed a beer or two on the porch as well. One of my favorite things to do is read a magazine or look at a catalog and enjoy a beer. I am really liking the variety pack from Leinenkugel! It is so good.

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So since we last chatted I was just starting back into running post kidney surgery. Well the stent came out and I got back at it the very next morning. We started off with our normal hill routine. This routine involves a three mile loop with a steep hill that we run up and walk down three times. No matter how many times we do it, it never gets easier. The thing that does get easier, is encountering hills in other locations. This workout helps prepare us for that. I felt great. I felt like the month rest really helped my body, well rest I guess. I was so happy to be running again that I didn’t feel any pain as we ran.

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Thursday morning was boot camp and Friday we did our five mile loop. The five mile loop felt great too. We ran at about a 8:30 pace. Then I ventured out on my own last Saturday. I did an out and back six mile run. It was a major struggle. I did not feel like I was fit enough to run that distance which was beyond frustrating. I ended up walking a little bit. I made it to the turnaround point without walking but then I had to head back walking. I guess I went about a quarter of a mile walking before I picked it back up to a normal pace. I made it to the steep hill and started up it but had to walk about three quarters of the way up. Then I ran the rest of the way home. Don’t be fooled by the smile in the picture.

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I decided to give it another try on Sunday. I waited until later in the day which probably wasn’t the greatest idea because it was still very hot outside at 5pm. I wanted to get a quick three mile run in and figured I better go then and get it out of the way before dinner. So I did and it was hot and just felt very challenging. I think my Instagram post said “even for an avid runner, running is hard”…and I meant it. That is the way it feels right now….

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sometimes running is easy and sometimes it is just really really hard.

I know when you come back from an injury or time off or even kidney surgery you have to build back up. You can’t always be in tip top running shape. Your fitness level will always ebb and flow. Frustration is part of the game. The only thing to do is to just keep chipping away. Enjoy the highs, work through the lows, and figure out what works for you and what does not. So I am just going to keep at it and realize that not all runs will be good and I won’t always feel like I love running. Then there will be days when running is awesome, and I am reminded of how much I love to run and that is what keeps me coming back. So if you’re struggling with your running or exercise program keep at it. If you’re battling an injury, do what you can (even if that is nothing at all but rest) and trust the process. Just keep moving forward! Do what my shirt says, find your balance!

This guy keeps at it until he catches a fish!

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Running is a great way to keep you on track during these summer holiday weekends!! If you overdid it this weekend…get out there and run! Happy 4th of July. I hope you’re enjoying your summer and that you have a little glimpse of childhood and beautiful sunsets.

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Life Lately-No. 2

Hey everyone! Is it me or have the last few weeks been a whirlwind? I feel like there are so many different things going on and we are constantly on the go. It has certainly made regular postings to this blog difficult, but I’m trying to squeeze it in when I can. First off, happy summer everyone!! Yesterday truly did feel like the longest day of the year. I swear it was still light out at 10 after 9. So let’s catch up.

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As I mentioned before, I had kidney surgery back on June 6th and prior to that I had a stent put in to help drain the fluid on my kidney…way back on May 24th. So I haven’t been able to run since then. They said I could try running but it has been too painful and the thought of bouncing sends a quick reminder to my brain of how bad my kidney can hurt. So I’ve been walking a lot. Thankfully my running partner has been up for walks so I either walk with her or my dog. We have been able to do a boot camp or two during this time as well. I’m anxious to get back at it and to move the basement boot camp outside now that summer has arrived!!!

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Thankfully today is the day the stent comes out! So after a month, a surgery, and a trip to the ER thrown in there, I am more than ready to have the stent removed and get back to running! I’m starting off with hills tomorrow. I figured I might as well jump right back in where I left off. Although I might be saying something entirely different by my next blog post.

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I really miss running but I was so excited for this little guy! He won 3rd place in the half mile race in the 7 and under age group. It was his first race of this distance. Josh said he took off when they said go and never looked back. I was waiting at the finish line and when I looked through my camera lens and saw his shorts, I could not believe it. Nolan ran the 1 mile race. He did a great job too. Seeing the boys run and enjoy it makes my heart happy. I can’t wait to run a race with the two of them.

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I’ve written about this event in the past, but every year we volunteer at this local event called the Perk’s Main street Mile. It is a one mile race for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The boys love helping out. Brooks loves manning the stand and we all pitch in during the event. It is for such a great cause and the family that organizes the event is just such a great family.

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I love teaching the boys about giving back. This is the first year that Nolan realized what the race was for and he had so many questions about it, but mainly he wanted to make sure that the boy the race was started for was okay. His concern was so sweet and innocent and I could tell he was happy he was a part of it. It was like he understood it.

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Speaking of Nolan, he wrapped up 2nd grade last week! I cannot believe it. I know I say it all the time but seriously…a 3rd grader. I hope this summer is nice and long because I’m not ready for 3rd grade.

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We had a lot of end of year activities like the field trip and field day.

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I was able to catch up with my college roommates. As always, it was great to see them!

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We are experiencing travel baseball for the first time. Talk about busy, oh my! So the 8-U team had their first tournament this weekend.

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We weren’t sure what to expect, having never seen the team actually play together, but they were simply awesome. The best part about the whole tournament, even better than their come behind rally to go onto the championship game (where they lost 10-0), was the time in between games.

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We set up tents and tables with food and all the boys came and just hung out under there. Watching them interact was so neat. I can see that they are starting to form bonds and all the laughter and messing around and just 8 year old boys being 8 year old boys was just so cool to watch. What a great time in their lives. Watching that was the best part for me, there are a lot of characters on this team and I love that.

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Seeing Josh hand Nolan a trophy was also pretty special.

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And this I’m sure was the best Father’s Day present Josh could have asked for, being together with his two boys playing a sport he loves.

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So that brings us to today! Hopefully in the next week or two I will be back with running information! Until then, enjoy your summer!

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Setbacks Sometimes

Sometimes life is going great and you feel like finally you are getting things in order…and then you have a setback. Setbacks are tough. That is the honest truth. I mean sure you can focus on the positive, which I always recommend, but sometimes you just have to have that melt down where you just let out all that frustration that comes with experiencing a setback when things were running so smoothly. Unfortunately that is life…you have to roll with the punches I guess. I am sure we all have those moments where we get overwhelmed with life in general, health issues, running routines, etc. and you just have to vent. I think that is good. Get it out and then move on. Sometimes the moving on part takes a little longer but you just have to do it in your own time and you can’t beat yourself up about it.

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So for me, the new job is going great. I am so happy to be back in local government. The steps I took and the setbacks I experienced along the way were necessary to get me where I am now. I am embracing the commute, accepting it for what it is, and trying to make the most of it by using it as time to just listen to music and relax before my day begins. Then using it as a time to decompress after the work day before I get  home to the family and the mad rush from dinner to baseball to homework to showers to bed ensues. Having a weekly menu plan has been beyond helpful. I highly recommend it. I haven’t committed to meal prepping yet but I added it to my to do list. As summer approaches we will make a few more adjustments but I finally feel good with our routine. So on the work/home balancing act, things are running smoothly after the setbacks we encountered over the winter and early spring months. Good things can come from setbacks.

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On the running front, I have had a major running/health setback. In April I logged 150 miles. In May I logged 104.5 miles (actually the same amount I logged in March too). In June the miles logged have been miles I’ve walked not run.

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So I went from 150 Miles in April to kidney surgery in May and June. For a runner that is very frustrating because as you all know it is a lot harder to build up your fitness level than it is to lose it. I sort of feel like all the work I put in the past few months, where I was even beginning to look at marathon dates and setting goals for longer distances, has been undone by this ongoing situation with kidney stones. I have been dealing with kidney stones on and off for the past 10 years. I have had every procedure they offer at this point and we have not yet been able to pinpoint what the root cause is and how I can try and prevent stones from forming over and over again.

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So yesterday I had what I hope is my last procedure for the foreseeable future. I am officially stone free at the moment! Next week I will have my stent removed and I have been given the okay from my doctors to slowly return to normal activity including running. As I was laying in bed last night I started to think about how kidney issues have become a part of my life. How it is something I have grown accustomed to dealing with and just sort of accepting it. I actually am not sure I even know what it feels like not to have soreness and cramping pain in my left flank and abdominal area. I don’t notice anything yet since I’m still extremely sore from the doctor poking around in there yesterday but I am so looking forward to feeling what no pain in that area is like. This recent kidney stone setback has made me realize that I really want to educate myself on kidney health and stone prevention. I am going to study up on lifestyle changes I can make to reduce my chances of developing more stones. I am going to seek guidance from a new doctor I am seeing and I am also going to work with a nutritionist so that someone can tell me what I need to eat.

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This setback has made me think about how much I love running and how I want to continue running well into the future. In order to do that I have to take better care of myself and I have to really think about what goes into my body. I am good at lifestyle changes and will commit to anything if it means no more stones. So maybe I can marry the two, get a fresh new nutrition plan to follow and get myself into racing shape. I truly want to be a better version of myself. Not just physically but mentally as well.

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The frustration I have experienced through setbacks has surprisingly taught me more patience and that is what I know I will need as I get myself back on track. These setbacks have given me a renewed “I can do it” attitude and that is the silver lining I needed to see.

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Setbacks really can be opportunities for growth. We just have to change our thoughts. I plan on speaking a little bit more about my battle with kidney stones in future posts and I plan on sharing some of the nutrition and exercising tips I learn as I go through this process on the blog. I am determined to spin this into something positive now that I’m over the frustration!

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One last thing, I know when I do experience a setback I always try to think about how grateful I am for all that is good in my life. This necklace from Momentum Jewelry is my new favorite because each time I put it on I think about what it says.

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Here are a few examples.

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My sweet little niece Sawyer Mae who is just too cute!

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Have a great week!

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Summertime-Unofficially

Well here we are, the unofficial start to summer! I am sitting on my front porch writing this post and it is a hot, sunny, Sunday morning. Funny how last week it was cold and rainy and then in a blink of an eye it is full on summer weather. No complaints on my end. I had a different post planned for today about setbacks, but I decided I was not in the mood to post that. The sun is too bright and summer means happiness to me, so I didn’t want to focus on things like setbacks today. I’ll save that for another day.

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So my baby graduated from pre-school on Friday.

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Yep that’s right he’s a graduate.

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It feels like it was just yesterday we were getting our first day of pre-school picture taken and now we’ve wrapped up the pre-school years.

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I’m sad to see them go but excited for what’s next. Brooks is so ready for kindergarten. He cannot wait to go to the same school as his big brother. Thankfully the kindergarten program is only a half day so he still has another year to sleep in and have the majority of his day free. Naturally, I was super emotional at his ceremony, but I am truly happy for him. I’ve said this mantra before on the blog and I think about it whenever I get upset about what’s ahead “give them wings, give them wings”. So I will continue to repeat that in my head.

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So like I mentioned the heat is already on around here. I’m a warm weather runner. I actually like running in the heat. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would take 60-70 degrees over humid and 80 any day, but I don’t mind the heat. I know there are a lot of people that think otherwise. So how do you beat the heat in the summer while you’re trying to run?

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I think the key is you really have to adjust the time of day you run. I always try to get out in the early morning before the sun has really warmed things up. The evening hours are also a great time to head out. As hot as it was yesterday, around 7:30 a light breeze came through and the sun went down making it ideal for running. You just have to make simple adjustments to accommodate the changes around you. Some other things I do-

Drink plenty of water…goes without saying

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Wear a visor…keeps the sun out of your eyes without adding heat to your head. Also, make sure your sneakers are sized up so that you allow room for swelling and avoid black toenails.

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Wear light airy shorts with a liner. These shorts from Old Navy are my favorite and they are inexpensive. I wear them all the time in the summer.

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Wear sunblock and try tanks with dry-fit material to keep the sweat off of your skin.

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Don’t give up your running because it is hot. Stick with it. Simply adjust your sails. Try a shorter run with some sprints. Maximize your effort over a shorter length of time.

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Follow the sentiment on this shirt! This shirt came yesterday! I love it…aside from being super comfy the sentiment is exactly how I feel about life in general. Check out this website for available items.

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This momentum jewelry motivational wrap is also pretty awesome! I love the bronze and black combination.

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In other happenings…we have the garden planted. The cornfield was finished up yesterday. Now today I just have to add the zinnias around the border.

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I have the pots planted.

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I’m sidelined with a kidney issue again so I am just sticking to walking the dog right now. I’ll talk more about this in the setback post.

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Then finally we’re just enjoying this holiday weekend and remembering and thanking those who have served and are currently serving our Country.

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Celebrate Mom & Life

Happy Mother’s Day to all you special mom’s out there! I love Mother’s Day…what better person to celebrate than MOM…right? I woke up Sunday morning and received my Mother’s Day gift right away, a quiet house and a nice cup of coffee while everyone was asleep. Perfect. Just me and the dog.

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I tried to write a blog post before the craziness of our day began and I was too busy to think about how much being a mom means to me. I did just that but am just getting around to posting it. So while it was quiet, I thought about how these two little boys have changed my world and how absolutely honored I am to be their mom. I read the most touching post by Joanna Gaines on being a mom. You should read it. What she says is so true about loving the stage you’re in with your kids and enjoying them in the now.

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I have a tendency to wish my boys were babies again and Josh is always eager and excited about the next step. I guess it is a good balance. We took the boys to a minor league baseball game last weekend with their little league and it was at this game that I realized how much I love our kids now. Right now exactly how they are. This is the best stage, they are the perfect age. Then I reread something I had written about them a few years ago and they were perfect then and were the best age and we were in the best phase. It is funny how that happens…it is all perspective I guess.

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Every phase will be unique and different and special in its own way and navigating these times is the challenge of motherhood, but I cherish every phase of life with Nolan and Brooks. Being their mom is the most important, most fulfilling role I have ever played and raising good humans has become my purpose. Motherhood is simply the best thing that has ever happened to me and everyday I give thanks for my two little boys. I also give thanks for my own mother and all the mothers I know.  Motherhood has taught me just how much my mom means to me and ever since Nolan was born 8 years ago I have had an entire new appreciation for my mom. There is just no one quite like your mom and no matter how old you get, you always always need your mother. So I’ll wrap up my sap but from the bottom of my heart I hope you all had a very Happy Mother’s Day.

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In other happenings…we have been sprucing things up for Spring…if it ever arrives.

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We logged 150 miles in the month of April!! That is the most mileage I’ve ever logged in a single month. At least that is the most I have ever tracked.

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That will slow down a little this month because I start my new job today! Yes more life changes are happening around here. I am very excited to start this new chapter but it is a little bittersweet because I have gotten to spend so much time with my little Brooks.

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He’s heading off to Kindergarten in the Fall and so this little time I’ve had with him has been awesome. He is anxious to get back into his routine too though so I think this new transition will be good for all of us, but it is still a transition. There are schedules to figure out, meals to plan, school activities to attend…you get the picture.

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We’ll figure it out though and it will be good. I am determined to stay positive and embrace this change. My miles will have to be logged in the early morning hours again, but they will be logged!

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Have an awesome week everyone! Once again cheers to Mom and cheers to new beginnings!

work hard and be kind

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When Race Day Conditions Are Not Ideal

Happy Saturday everyone! Today I’m talking about race conditions that are less than ideal. You know, those races where it is cold or windy or raining! You train and train for the big race day and you envision crossing the finish line in perfect sunny 70 degree temperatures and then a few days before your race you get the weather report and you begin to panic.

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When the weather conditions factor into the race it leaves you totally confused and it can reek havoc on your race day plans all the way down to your race day outfit. Suddenly you have to rethink your get up, your running strategy, your shoes, and just how well you’ve trained. You are probably asking yourself why you thought this was a good idea a few months ago when you registered. Maybe you’re not sure if you will be able to run in less than ideal conditions, all your training sessions were probably completed during those so called ideal conditions that I noted above. Maybe all of your training was completed in a temperature controlled environment on a treadmill in your local gym. Whatever the case may be, we all want perfect conditions for almost everything we do in life but unfortunately if we waited for perfect conditions we would never get anything accomplished. You just have to go with it.

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Try and shift your focus which can be an extremely difficult feat, I know- trust me I’ve been there. Here are some tips I’ve compiled for coping with tough race day conditions:

TIPS FOR RUNNING A RACE IN LESS THAN IDEAL CONDITIONS:

Everything is temporary- Nothing lasts forever, even your race! Try and remember that when you’re standing at a start line waiting to get going and you’re cold or wet. Once you get moving you will warm up quickly and you will no longer notice the cold or the wet. If it is raining I recommend wearing a hat. Keeping the drips off your face will help keep your mind off the rain.

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Run the mile you’re in- Don’t think about how far you have to go or how many miles you’ve run. Focus on the now, focus on the mile you’re in. Sometimes the overall race seems daunting and overwhelming to think about as a whole. When you think about the race in its entirety it may feel like something that is too difficult to accomplish. Instead break the race into small sections, break it into miles. If you’re running mile 4 don’t stress about mile 9 because the truth is, if you don’t get through mile 4, mile 9 is really not an issue. So coach yourself through each mile as you’re running it.

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Mind over matter- Keep yourself motivated as you run. Remember you trained for this, you can run this distance. Don’t let conditions dictate otherwise, keep your mind clear and focused on the fact that you can do hard things. When doubt creeps in, ignore it. Keep going and repeat “mind over matter”.

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Expect the unexpected- Maybe the unexpected is that your sock keeps falling into your shoe or your laces feel too tight. Maybe your music isn’t playing or your earplugs keeping falling out of your ears. Whatever it may be, make a simple adjustment and keep going. Don’t let unexpected occurrences derail your race. Sometimes a million different mishaps can snowball into a lousy race, you have to push those things out of your head and just keep going. Things don’t always go as plan, you just have to roll with it.

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Keep your eye on the prize- When those thoughts of “why did I do this to myself” start creeping in, try and remember how great you will feel when you cross the finish line. It doesn’t matter if you are running the best race of your life or the worst, the finish line is the finish line no matter when you cross it and it will feel truly fantastic. The accomplishment you will feel when you are finished is hard to match so celebrate…finishes, though sometimes difficult, are sweet for certain.

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Then my final tip is the same as the first….your race is temporary and will have an end! Remember every race won’t be your best or one that you PR. Sometimes you have to fight to finish, sometimes the finish comes easy…but finishing is finishing.

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So for everyone racing this weekend especially those of you heading to the Broad Street run in Philadelphia, best of luck to you. Also, to my friend Shannon running Broad Street I hope you have an AWESOME RACE!!! I know you will. Run happy my friend.

 

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