Marathon Monday: STWM Race Recap!

Happy Marathon Monday!

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I sat here last night looking at a blank screen for much longer than normal because I truthfully don’t even know how all of yesterday even happened.  If you’ve been following along with my training, you know that I was sick all of last week so I wasn’t able to get any training in and was not eating much at all.  I lowered my expectations for yesterday’s half marathon because I just knew that I couldn’t put the same pressure on myself.  I tried going for a shake out run on Saturday to see how my legs felt and everything went well but I ran a bit longer than I had wanted to because I got lost (I ran in a new area while I waited for Princeton to be groomed).  7.26 miles is a bit of a long shake out if you ask me.  At least he looks cute though…

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After my run I had to go to the expo and I also was able to get my new phone set up, which took the store about an hour, so I was on my feet way longer than anticipated.  They felt really tired when I got home.  Maybe it’s because I took so much time off and then did a lot in one day?  No idea.  Anyway, I already had my race/post-race gear laid out from Friday (#loseralert) so when I got home I didn’t have too much to do.  I think I went to bed around 10pm but kept waking up to pee because for the first time ever I tried to hydrate and my bladder was just like “Nope.  Not going to sleep just yet!”  Then I got hungry so I went and grabbed some cookies to eat in bed.  Can’t go hungry the day before a race!  Could have probably chosen something better than cookies but…you know how it is.

I woke up at 6am, got ready, grabbed an apple, a single-serving box of Love Grown Foods Power O’s, and some Vega Sugar-Free Energizer, then headed out to make my way downtown.  I got there just after 7am and the race didn’t start until 8:45 but I knew parking would be nuts so I just blasted the heat in my car while getting myself organized.  Before I knew it, it was time to head out for a bathroom stop at Starbucks and a quick warm up.  I didn’t get to warm up as long as I had hoped (less than a mile) because I was afraid I’d get stuck at the back of my corral so I wanted to make my way up to the front as early as possible (and got to hang out with Michelle Clarke until the gun went off!).

No point form rundown of each mile because I can’t remember everything I was thinking/feeling but here are my splits!

Mile 1 – 7:48
Mile 2 – 7:33
Mile 3 – 7:22
Mile 4 – 7:27
Mile 5 – 7:25
Mile 6 – 7:40
Mile 7 – 7:33
Mile 8 – 7:39
Mile 9 – 7:32
Mile 10 – 7:41
Mile 11 – 7:47
Mile 12 – 7:41
Mile 13 – 6: 31 (<- I think this might be wrong because it seems pretty freaking impossible, especially at mile 13)
Last 0.51 (my Garmin distance read a little longer than 13.1) – 3:23
 

I finished in 1:41:05 and my average pace (according to my Garmin) was 7:29/mile.

I really tried to pace myself and be as consistent as possible.  It kinda sorta worked.  My average pace (according to Sportstats) for the first 10km was 4:43/km (or 7:35/mile) and my pace for the remainder of the race (11.1km) was 4:50/km (or 7:47/mile).  My watch read a little longer so there’s a bit of a disconnect with average pace and such but all in all, a decent result.  No negative splits…still learning.

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Thanks to Coach PK who took this photo and cheered like CRAZY!

To sum it up, I had no idea I would set a new half marathon PR yesterday and actually feel pretty decent while doing it.  None.  I’ve been struggling to beat my previous PR of 1:44 for years and thought it was just not going to ever be possible.  I came close a couple of times but just couldn’t seem to shave those few seconds off and yesterday I shaved minutes.  Looks like being sick, not eating, taking five full days off, and being on your feet for too long the night before works for me!  Kidding.  Kind of.  I think it’s because I didn’t put any pressure on myself.  I barely looked at my watch during the race and just tried to go based on how I felt.  I also had to pee again right at the start of the race and held it the entire time.  It was super painful and I actually considered peeing on myself (TMI?) more than once.  I didn’t actually do it, don’t worry.  I know a handful of people that have though and I can’t imagine that it is a very pleasant feeling!

A bunch of my friends came out to cheer but unfortunately I missed Angela, Jess, Danielle, and Claire [no blog but you can see her pretty face below].  Danielle did make these awesome signs and although I missed them, a lot of people said that they had a good laugh when they saw them on the course!

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Bahaha.

Danielle and Claire had to leave early so I went to Fresh for lunch with Angela and Jess for some much-needed fuel before heading home.  I ordered a vegan clubhouse wrap and sweet potato fries.  Hit the spot.

It was such a great day and as crazy as it might be to wake up early, pay ridiculous race entry fees, and wait in the freezing cold to run the streets of my own city…I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now I’m determined to run a sub-1:40 and may or may not make an attempt at the Hamilton Half Marathon in two weeks.  We’ll see!  Us runners are never satisfied, huh?

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Hope you all had a great weekend!

The plan for STWM

I cannot believe I only have two more sleeps until my half marathon.  Ugggggg.  This was not a good week.  Everyone is posting their excitement on Instagram saying how ready and excited they are and I’m just here praying that my nose stops running.  I got THE email early this week and it gave me even more anxiety.

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I haven’t even considered any sort of race strategy.  I’ve gone on ZERO runs this week so I have no idea what my legs and body are capable of right now.  Based on the SeaWheeze Half (1:45:20) and my recent Toronto 10-miler (1:18:30), I think there is a possibility I could set a half marathon PR on Sunday if I’m feeling okay and eat like a normal human for the next 48 hours (I’ve been living off toast, popcorn, and spoonfuls of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter).  To run a sub-1:44 I would need to hold a 7:56 average pace for the entire race.  SeaWheeze was an 8:02 average (and kind of a hilly course) and the 10-miler was a 7:51 average but I just about died and not sure I’d be able to hold that pace for 3.1 more miles.  All these numbers make my head hurt.

I had no idea that we start on a hill either.  Apparently I like to leave checking maps and elevation until the very last minute.

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What. The. Heck.  It only lasts about 3km (1.86 miles)…but still.  Maybe I’ll treat this race as a negative split practice run?  I have a lunch date with Phaedra (aka Coach) and Danielle after I pick up my race kit tomorrow so I’ll see if I can get any professional advice but as of right now, my plan is to have no plan and base everything on how I feel.  If I have a crappy race, there’s always Hamilton in a couple of weeks.  I think I’m most looking forward to being done with Hamilton so that I get my week of doing “absolutely nothing” (Coach’s orders) before Phoenix Marathon training starts…

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From Phaedra’s Instagram (@blistersandblacktoenails)

At the end of the day, a race is still a race and a wonderful accomplishment.  I know a lot of people running both the half and the full, plus some really awesome people are coming out to cheer.  I anticipate eating something delicious post-race as well so there’s always that…

I’ll leave you with this:

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Is it just me or is that not the most accurate thing you’ve seen all day?

I’m not sure if I’ll be back on here again before the race so have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday with a race recap!

9 things I didn’t know before blogging.

Today was supposed to be What I Ate Wednesday buuuuuut being all sick doesn’t lend itself well to eating amazingly delicious things.  It’s all about the toast life these days.  Instead, I decided to put  together a post about some of the things that I didn’t know I would discover/do/realize before I started blogging.  I can’t remember how I came up with this post idea.  It is quite random.

Here goes.

1.  That you could put green things in smoothies.

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I first heard about ‘Green Monsters’ from Oh She Glows (she was the first blogger I started following along with HRG) and at first was like, “WHAT THE…??”  I thought it was straight up weird.  Spinach and kale in a smoothie?  Nope.  Never doing it.  Until I did it…and realized it tastes like nothing.  For a vegetarian who hates a lot of vegetables, it’s a pretty great way for me to get an extra serving (or two) of greens in my day.

2.  Canadian grocery stores are highly lacking in product in comparison to the United States.  I know that there have always been more options south of the border but when you start reading blogs written by American foodies, you get really jealous.  They have Justin’s Nut Butter EVERYWHERE in the USA. EVERYWHERE!  They get pumpkin spice everything.  And Pirate’s Booty.  Not to mention, everything is cheaper there… #RUDE

3.  You can meet some pretty awesome people on the Internet.

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A lot of people think I’m crazy when I say, “Oh I’m just going to Arizona for a few days to stay with my BFF that I met online.”  I’ve gone to a whole lot of meet-ups and flown to a couple of different states (and Trinidad!) to meet/stay with people I’ve never met before and it has been the best thing ever.  I’ve had such memorable experiences with people who will without a doubt be in my life forever.

4.  There are a whole freaking lot of diets out there. I probably would have learned this regardless, but over the last few years there has been quite an eruption of labels (especially on social media) – vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, fruitarian, raw, paleo, primal, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free……..So. Many. Diets. I know everyone has their reasons for eating the way they do – heck, I do too. I just find it interesting and fascinating how people adapt to different ways of eating based on how certain foods make them feel. We are all so different and I think that’s pretty rad.

5.  I’d run another marathon.  Scrap that.  TWO marathons.

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After completing the Ottawa Marathon in 2010, I told myself I would never run a full marathon again.  I hated not being able to walk for a week and didn’t think the pain was worth it.  Fast forward four years and I ran the Phoenix Marathon and the Vancouver Marathon just two months apart.  WHO AM I?  And guess what?  The pain is worth it.  Can’t wait to do it all over again in four months!  With Emily.  Again.  Because apparently I don’t run marathons without her! ;)

6.  I’d dream to run Boston. Anytime someone has asked me if I ever wanted to qualify, I’d reply with “No way, I’m not fast enough! I just run for fun.” Well, things have changed. I might still not be fast enough, but I will be. I shaved 25 minutes off my marathon time once and I have all the faith in the world that I can do it again. It might take me a while, but IMMA GET THERE.

7.  Mason jars aren’t just for the tomato sauce my family makes in my grandmother’s garage.

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People drink out of these and apparently now I do too.

8.  Nutritional yeast is really a thing and it’s not as gross as it sounds.

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source

It makes things taste cheesy, is a complete protein, and packed with vitamin B12.  HOLLA.  Oh, and people call it “nooch” for short.

9.  Food photography would become normal.

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I swear at least 50% of the photos in my iPhone are of food (the other 50% are of running shots/Princeton).  I’ve become that annoying person at dinner that’s like, “WAIT!  Don’t touch anything!  I need to take a photo first!” …as everyone grunts and moans because the food is getting cold.  Or that person that positions their breakfast outside on a rock because it just looks too good to eat.  YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Aaaaand that’s a wrap!  Is there anything you’d add to the list?  Bloggers and non-bloggers – what is one thing you learned since you started blogging/reading blogs??

Marathon Monday: taper time [& a GIVEAWAY!]

Happy Monday and a very Happy [Canadian] Thanksgiving!  I celebrated with my family yesterday so today will just be a relaxing day at home playing catch-up on all kinds of blog-related/email stuff.  I am also sick as a DOG so the rest is much-needed.  Better to be sick now rather than later in the week because I’ve got the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon to run on Sunday.  I’m lucky that this week calls for very little activity.  I am usually not a fan of tapering but I’ll be happy to maximize bed time this week for sure!

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Here’s how last week went down:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: track workout – 3.25 mile w/u, 5×400 (1:41, 1:42, 1:43, 1:42, 1:41), 1.71 mile c/d = 6.73 miles total (including 2:00 walk breaks after each lap)

Thursday: 3 miles @ 8:32 average

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 8 miles @ 8:04 average (2 mile w/u, 7:47, 7:46, 7:40, 7:38, 7:39, 1 mile c/d)

Sunday: 10 miles @ 8:30 average

Total: 27.73 miles

Not a super crazy week for me but I’m kind of enjoying a more laid back approach to my training for now.  Phaedra is starting my marathon training plan on November 9th so I’m taking advantage of a few more “easy” weeks.  I’m not quite sure how this weekend will go.  I’m hoping to PR but I’ve noticed that my tempos haven’t been as fast lately.  I’ve done a couple back-to-back tempos/long runs so maybe I’m holding back because I know I have a long run the next day?  Or maybe my minor leg issue set me back a bit?  No idea.  All I know is that I’m going to embrace this easy week and hope for the best on Sunday…

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Also hoping that all the rain gets out of the way before race day.  This is not good.  I don’t mind running in the rain but RACING in the rain is definitely not my favourite.

In other random news…

I finally got my hands on the Thug Kitchen Cookbook!

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Now I’m not big on cursing.  Like, at all.  You will very rarely hear me throw out the F-bomb (except during a marathon when I can feel blisters popping in my shoes).  However, the guys behind Thug Kitchen are pretty funny and do have some great, easy, plant-based recipes.  I’m hoping to get out of bed at some point today and make some things to have ready for the week…but no promises.

Aaaaaand finally – I’m holding a giveaway on my Instagram (@the_athletarian) for these leggings from Albion Fit!

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Search my profile for the photo (it’s currently my most recent pic) and all the details are on there! :)

That’s it for now.  Hope you all have a fab day!

Four things I dislike about running

I was originally going to title this post ‘four things I HATE about running’  but then realized how strong of a statement that was.  I don’t think I could hate something that I love soooo much.  Something that brings me so much joy, peace, and happiness. Let’s get real though – there are some things associated with running that we (or at least I) could do without.

1.  Chafing.  Now I’ve gotten pretty lucky because I don’t chafe too often.  I know what kind of clothing works for my body and have therefore been able to steer clear from anything too serious.  The only thing that I have to be a bit careful with is the SEAMS on shorts or pants.  Sometimes (especially in the winter) they freeze and because they are wet from your sweat, the seams basically turn into blades.  My worst experience was at last year’s Hamilton Half Marathon where it was like 0*C out and I insisted on wearing short spandex shorts that were obviously not made for winter running (duh).  Yep.  They froze and literally cut my legs so deep that I had blood running down my inner thighs when I crossed the finish.  It was pretty attractive, let me tell you.  The wounds were so deep that I couldn’t wear pants for a week.  No lie.  I cried every time I went into the shower because the water on the wounds burned so bad.

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2.  Missing toenails.  I swear that every time I used to go get a pedicure the ladies working at the spa would tell me I have such cute feet.  Now they ask me what the heck happened to them.  I have calluses everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  I cannot for the life of me remember when the last time was that I had all ten toenails.  As soon as they look like they are about to return to normality, BOOM.  I run another race, a toenail turns black and then…falls off.  Time to wait for a new one to grow back.  It takes a helluva long time to grow back too.

3.  Hunger.  I know this is probably not something I should particularly hate because eating is FUN and quite possibly the best thing ever.  But honestly, when I’m in the midst of FULL marathon training, I just cannot. keep. up.  My hunger is through the roof, especially on weekends when I do my long runs.  It gets to the point where I feel like I don’t do anything else except eat and run.  And SLEEP.  I’m not going to complain about the sleeping part though.  Us runners need our rest! ;)

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4.  Showering.  Don’t get me wrong, I love taking showers and I’ve always taken one (or more) a day even as a non-runner.  Thing is, I used to be able to put my hair up in a bun/shower cap and get away with washing it every other day (while still washing my bod, obvs).  Now there is noooooo way I could do that unless I have a rest day following a run day.  In the summer it’s not so bad because I can just let my hair dry on its own but now it’s a pain in the butt to have to freaking blow dry and style it nearly every damn day to avoid having it turn into icicles. #firstworldproblems

I thought about adding other things to this list like tough runs, injuries, setbacks, etc….and as much as those things suck, they make us stronger and teach us valuable lessons so I chose to leave them out.  Chafing most definitely doesn’t make me stronger but at least it did teach me never to wear spandex shorts when it’s freaking cold as F outside.

Is there anything else you would add to this list??

In other news, I am finally getting a new phone.  I got a call last night from Bell Mobility telling me I could upgrade so I spent an hour talking to one of the customer service representatives trying to figure out what the best option would be.  After going back and forth, she convinced me to go with an iPhone 5S in GOLD.  Yeah, she even suggested the colour.

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I currently have the 4S and it’s basically hanging on for dear life.  I have trouble opening apps, I don’t receive notifications for texts (I need to manually go in and check for them), it keeps telling me I have no more storage even though I moved 3000+ photos to an external hard drive, and it’s having trouble charging.  Sometimes it recognizes there’s a charger in it, sometimes it doesn’t.  Anyway, I asked about the new iPhone 6 because I figured I had this one for so long so I may as well get the newest model but the girl advised me against it.  It would have been more than double the price and apparently there are too many things going wrong with it?  She said with any new model that comes out, always wait for the ‘S’ version because by then, all the kinks are worked out.  Whatever.  I just wanted a good deal on a phone that works so I will patiently wait for this to show up at my door.  Kind of exciting!!!

ETA: just as I was about to hit ‘publish’, a co-worker DROPPED MY FREAKING PHONE!!!!!!!!!  My screen is all cracked…

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Geez Louise.  I can barely see the letters when I try and type.  Talk about timing, huh?!  Hopefully my new one doesn’t take too long to arrive!  I had no idea what to do except laugh.  He didm’t know that I ordered another one so he felt sooooo bad.  Told me he will buy me a burrito every Friday to make up for it.  I think I may have benefitted from this??? ;)

That’s it for today’s random thoughts/drama!  I hope you had a great week and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my fellow Canadian friends!

WIAW: I guess you can say it works

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

So remember how last week’s eats were a bit of a bomb?  Well, turns out if you have good and healthy food handy, you will eat good and healthy food.  I guess you can say that weekly food prep kinda works… ;)

This morning before I headed out for my track workout I ate two of Amanda’s vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with my Vega sugar-free energizer…

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I did a 3.25-mile warm-up, 5 x 100 @ 1:41, 1:42, 1:43, 1:42, 1:41 (with 2:00 rest/walk in between each lap), and then finished with a 1.71-mile cool-down.  Not going to lie, it felt awesome.  Hard, but awesome.  I was starting to get tired of just going on mediocre runs so the challenge was great and I feel like I accomplished a more meaningful workout today.  Once I got in, I couldn’t decide of I wanted something sweet or savoury to eat…so I had both.

One slice of toasted pumpernickel bread with chickpea salad (recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook).

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Frozen banana, strawberries, pineapple, and coconut water.

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Lunch time rolled around and I dug into my meal prep stash to make this warm kale salad:

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Kale (with hummus/lemon juice dressing), roasted butternut squash, quinoa, and avocado.  Pretty sure I could eat this every day.  It was so good!

Before I knew it, it was DINNAH TIME! [horrible lighting...I apologize]

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One of Lauren’s magical burgers topped with mustard, avocado, and tomato on a whole wheat bun.

Snacks (not pictured): spoonfuls upon spoonfuls of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter (I was able to find it here in Toronto at Summerhill Market!) and corn chips with salsa.  Not many days go by where I don’t have chips and salsa.

There you have it!

I hope you had a great day full of delicious eats.  See you soon!

Marathon Monday: and so it begins…

Here we go.  It’s a fresh week and I’ve got a lot of amazing things to look forward to over the next little while: Thanksgiving, birthdays, the Scotiabank Half Marathon, the Toronto Women’s 8K, the Hamilton Half Marathon, and the start of MARATHON TRAINING.  Yep.  I said it.  That means there’s no turning back.  I know I’ve mentioned that I would be running the Phoenix Marathon again in 2015 but it was so long ago so it didn’t really feel “real”, if that makes any sense…  Well, now that I know I don’t have a stress fracture and my leg feels normal thanks to my chiropractor, I’m getting myself back into a training groove.  So Marathon Mondays will actually be MARATHON Mondays now (instead of half marathon Mondays or 10K Mondays)!

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Last week wasn’t a super strong week in terms of workouts but I’m slowly getting back into a routine of some sort and didn’t want to kill my body by doing too much too soon.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 6 miles @ 8:30 average

Thursday: 3 miles @ 8:35 average + strength training

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 7 miles @ 8:04 average

Sunday: 12 miles @ 8:56 average

Total: 28 miles + 1 strength training session

Honestly, a part of me wants to cancel my gym membership.  I worked legs on Thursday and I swear I’m still feeling it today.  I didn’t even lift that heavy and my runs really suffered over the weekend because of the muscle soreness (Saturday was supposed to be a tempo run (#fail) and Sunday’s long run was quite a bit slower than usual).  Maybe it’s because I haven’t lifted since June and my muscles were just really angry at me…but I’ve always found it kind of difficult to balance running and strength training because of the DOMS that seem to linger FORever.  On the other hand, I know how important strength training is in becoming stronger, faster, and staying injury-free.  Maybe I just have to stick to lighter/bodyweight/resistance band exercises?  If that’s the case, then I can just do it at home because I’ve got enough equipment in my basement.  I don’t know what to do!  Bah.

What I do know is that food prep needs to go back on my weekend to-do list from now on.  Multiple burritos a week isn’t going to help my training…or at least I don’t think it will.  If someone has any scientific evidence proving that it will, please share because that will make my training cycle very enjoyable! ;)  I think I did a pretty good job this weekend at getting things ready for the week.

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Left: chickpea burgers (recipe here <- I swear these are the best veggie burgers I have ever made in my entire life and I will never go looking for another recipe ever again – THANK YOU LAUREN!!!) and chickpea salad from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

Right: quinoa, roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (recipe here)

I also chopped and washed the biggest kale I have ever seen so I’ve got lots on hand for salads, smoothies, chips, etc.

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And so it begins!  Let’s DO this!  I emailed Phaedra yesterday regarding my plan and was told I will get “..different long run workouts that should help you run faster on tired legs come race day!  And I think I’ll get you to do more than a couple 20+ milers this time around.”  And for some reason, this gets me more excited than scared.  Bring. it. on.  I’m ready to tackle Phoenix again and if you want to come, XTINA10 will get you 10% off (any distance).  SO many fun people are coming and we are ALL GOING TO PR!!!  Come party and we can eat Cafe Rio and Pirate’s Booty and all that other fun stuff I can’t get here in Toronto.

Hope your week is off to a great start!!