Brooks, Job, NYC, Running, Yoga

Some Running, a Recipe & a lot of Randomness

Hey friends!

Today I am coming at you with a training summary, a recipe, and as always, some random thoughts. This week’s training has been pretty similar to last week, which is nice. I think consistency is an essential element for any training schedule (meaning that you settle into a routine as far as what days you do what types of runs, not meaning that you run the same workouts every week). I will have to adjust my schedule in the next few weeks as I settle into a new routine at work, but hopefully that won’t be too much of an adjustment for me.

Monday

I have been trying to take it easy on Mondays, so this week started off with 6 miles at 8:34 pace. Monday evening I went to yoga, and got in some good core work and stretching.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning I did my hill repeat workout again. I did the same route as last week and by doing that, I am able to pretty easily track my progress. I was a little bit stronger this week, so I am encouraged that I am moving in the right direction.

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Tuesday evening was the standard group run at Running Wild, followed by a fun little birthday celebration for Lizzie!

Wednesday

Wednesday morning I headed over to run with Rebecca. We ended up with 11 miles at 8:08 pace and may or may not have planned our route around the best (and by best, I mean coldest) water fountain in the area. Yeah, we definitely did and we definitely stopped at it more than once. No shame.

Thursday

Thursday morning was another easy run and Thursday evening was the final night for the Robertsdale High School Summer Track Series that Rebecca put on to raise money for her XC team. The events this week were the 400, the distance medley relay (the teams are made up of four runners and the distances are 1200, 400, 800 and 1600), and the grand finale was the milk mile. The track meet was my speed workout for the week. I ran the 400 and did the 1200 leg for my relay team. It was fun to “race” on the track, as that is not really something that we typically do.

I did not, however, race the milk mile. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, you drink 8 oz. of milk, run one lap around the track, drink 8 oz. of milk, run one lap, etc. etc. until you get to a mile. There is a penalty lap for “spewing.” Someone had to film it, right? So for your viewing pleasure …

Friday

Today was an easy 8 miles at 8:23 pace with Daniel.

That catches us up on the training front. Tomorrow morning is my training group’s first double-digit run of their training cycle. We will be hitting the streets early tomorrow for 10 miles! Sunday morning I have a 20 miler planned. I’ve done 18 and 19, so I know I am ready for 20, but something about that one extra mile seems a bit daunting. I will let you know how it goes!

And now for my latest recipe creation … Balanced Bites. I’ve seen these called both energy bites and protein balls, but I like the term balanced bites better. This is one of those things that you can definitely experiment with and just combine whatever ingredients sound good to you. I am very pleased with how mine turned out. The real test though, of course, is what Daniel thought of them. On his food critiquing scale (1 being olives and 10 being pizza), he says they are a solid 7. He said they were better than he thought, but if he had the chance to choose something unhealthier he definitely would. Ha.

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Here is the recipe I came up with.

Copy of Ingredients

As I wrap up my last official day “off work” this summer, I have been reflecting back on my time off and what I have learned, etc.

The Good

  • I think that one of the best things that came from my break is definitely the blog and me being more open to sharing my story. I am still really enjoying writing and I feel like I have posts constantly swarming around in my head (for instance, I want to write about perfectionism, control, balance, safety for runners, etc.), although it does take a decent amount of time to actually put the thoughts down to “paper.” Even if they don’t ever make it to the blog, I am still thinking more deeply and introspectively than I was before. I definitely want to continue working on the blog part-time and we’ll see where that goes.
  • Another good thing was just the fact that I stood up for myself and took the time off that I needed. I am not one for a lot of down-time, but I definitely felt like it was something that I needed this summer and I stuck up for myself and put my family and my health in front of my career for the first time in too long and it felt amazing!
  • I have enjoyed having more time to read and learn new things, which is something that I want to continue.
  • Having more free time allowed me the chance to take on new opportunities, such as “coaching” the marathon training group at RW.

The Not-as-Good

  • I thrive on structure and routine. I know this about myself, but I wasn’t really prepared going in that I would feel “off” without having set things to do each day.
  • I still struggle to find balance in many areas. While I know I made a lot of healthy changes this summer (cooking more), I feel in some cases that I sacrificed other healthy habits for the new ones.

And just because. Well, just because. This picture of Brooks and his new toy with teeth. I die. We love our little buddy so much!

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Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. We have a fun canoeing trip planned with my new firm tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that. Gotta run!

Faith

Ephesians Chapter 4

Hello friends!

Today I am coming to you with my takeaways from weeks six and seven of our study of Ephesians this summer. Week 6 looked at the first half of Chapter 4 and week 7 looked at the second half, so this will be a combined post on Chapter 4.

Chapter 4 transitions the letter (that Paul is writing, from prison) from doctrine, principle and position to duty, practice and behavior. He is explaining to us what we do now and how we live now that we have established who God is and who we are in light of who He is (which was the subject of the first 3 chapters).

We are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Walk here means our daily conduct: how do you handle your finances, your marriage, your time, how do you see your possessions, etc. and calling here means our salvation: the glorious grace of Jesus. Our walk (daily conduct) should match our calling (salvation).

In true Gospel-driven Christianity, we need to start with what we believe, not with what we do (i.e., follow rules), because you don’t “behave” your way to God. You believe your way to God and once you get there, your behavior changes. A true Christ-follower’s life should begin to look different from the rest of the world’s. Verses 17 through 19 give us a list of four characteristics that, according to Paul, should change:

  • Your broken mind becomes a renewed mind.
  • Alienation from God becomes connection to God.
  • Callousness becomes sensitivity.
  • Careless lives become disciplined lives.

But Christianity isn’t simply modified behavior, it is a brand new nature. God gives us a new nature that is capable of doing what He wants us to do. He changes even your desires, and you begin to want to do what God wants you to do. Verses 25 through 29 give us another list of characteristics, or fruits that according to Paul, should be seen on the trees of our lives:

  • Truthful (most of our lies or exaggerations are told out of insecurity, but once we are secure in who we are in Christ, we care less about what others think of us because we are secure in our identity as a son or daughter of Christ)
  • Controlled anger (anger is a God-given emotion; we can be angry, but we control our anger and do not let it lead us into a sinful place)
  • Measured words (God helps you control your tongue and instead of doing unkind, destructive things with your words, He will enable you to harness the power of your words and speak grace and encouragement to those around you)
  • Kindness (kindness is internal, it is a heart-thing, and is different from simply being “nice” to someone)
  • Forgiveness (Christians forgive because we have been forgiven; you will never forgive anyone of as much as you have been forgiven by God; unforgiveness is like you drinking poison yourself and hoping that it will hurt someone else, it will eat you alive)
  • Sensitive to the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit indwells and seals believers, leading us into truth (meaning that He teaches and illuminates the word of God for us); being sensitive means that when the Holy Spirit convicts you of something, you will pay attention to it and you will repent and change)

Grace is a one word definition of the Gospel. Grace is both a noun and a verb. It is both the character of God and simultaneously the activity of God. It was His character that prompted Him to love us and His activity that was displayed on the cross. Your life needs to look more and more like the grace by which you have been saved. The gap between where your life is and where you want to be has been covered by Jesus. That is His grace. The cross didn’t let us off the hook, it put us on the hook, so to speak, because now our lives are being used. We are witnesses for God and should be always be moving towards a life that clearly displays God’s grace to those around us.

We are saved as individuals into a body (the church). Believers are meant to live out their calling in the context of a unified community called the church. The church reflects the Triune God, unique yet completely unified. The church is a unified community of uniquely and sovereignly gifted individuals all saved by grace. Church is not meant to just something you attend, it is a family that you are part of. The church is a beautiful bride with a dirty dress, being constantly cleansed by her loving Groom.

Lots of really good stuff here! I really hope that everyone learned something or read something that they needed to hear today.

 

Bay Life, Brooks, Running, Sunset

Weekend Recap

Hello and happy Monday! I am going to link up with Tara over at Running ‘n’ Reading for my weekend update again this week. This will be a semi-abbreviated recap though, since I posted Friday and Saturday this week as well.

My parents were in town this weekend, as well as our wonderful friends from Auburn, who coincidentally happen to be here for the big events in our lives, even though it isn’t always planned that way. We enjoyed catching up with everyone Friday evening over pizza and a nice sunset. If you haven’t noticed, “sunsetting” is one of our favorite pastimes. They are always beautiful and never the same. I also really love sunrises as well, but those are usually enjoyed while out for a run or in the car on the way to a run (neither of which make for good picture-taking opportunities). So while they may not photographed as much, it does not mean that they aren’t equally as appreciated.

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Since Saturday was a big day, I mentioned that we had dinner reservations to celebrate. We had an amazing meal at Camellia Cafe.

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In my opinion, this is one of the best restaurants on the Eastern Shore. The chef is very talented. They use only fresh seafood and local fruits and veggies and every sauce, dressing, etc. is made from scratch. I am not pretending to be a qualified food blogger or restaurant reviewer by any means, but I can definitely tell you that I would use very technical words like “wonderful,” “delicious” and “yummy” to describe everything that we had. It is a must try for any locals that haven’t been there and for anyone visiting the area.

Daniel and I both tried the local tomato salad (pictured below) with peas, okra, corn, and balsamic vinaigrette and he had the Kobe burger with truffle fries and I had fresh gulf snapper with sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Everything was so good!

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I think that the cooking that I have done recently made me more appreciative of the taste and presentation of the meal at the restaurant. I picked up on different spices that I probably wouldn’t have noticed before, like the tarragon in the tomato salad. With that being said, I have decided not to continue with the Blue Apron meals. I did enjoy it, at first, but then it started to feel like such a chore. I really wish that you could choose the number of meals per week that you get. If I could do one or two a week, I think that would work great. I will continue cooking some, but I want to try to come up with some recipes on my own. Seems like a fun experiment 🙂

Sunday we took a break from our typical route and made the trip across the bay to meet up with the “Holla at the Dolla” group in Mobile that meets on Sundays during the summer. We ran the “Big Balla” loop (their terminology, not mine), which is 12 miles and 645 ft. of elevation gain. My workout called for the middle 7 miles of my run to be up-tempo (between 6:45 and 7:00 pace) and let me just tell you, those hills were no joke! I ended up with a 7:02 average for the middle 7 and a 7:19 for the whole run. It was glad to get some good tempo miles in on the hills!

After our run, we played in the bay for a little bit before catching the late service at church. Brooksy and I did some paddleboarding, while Daniel chilled in the hammock. Brooks loves to swim, so usually that means that he doesn’t want to “ride” on the board with me because he would rather be swimming beside me. He actually rode with me for a while yesterday though, so that was fun. His little tail was hanging off the board, wagging in the water acting like a rudder.

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The rest of our Sunday was filled with typical Sunday chores (cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping) and thankfully, some rest! I hope everyone had a fun-filled weekend and has a great week ahead.

If you had to choose, are you a sunrise or sunset kind of person?

Daniel, Job

Big News!

I have BIG news …

I ran today. And then went to Coffee Loft. But that’s not the big news. I’m sure I fooled you!

My car is full of balloons …

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Because Daniel passed boards and is now a certified family nurse practitioner! Woo hoo!

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I am beyond proud of his hard work and dedication. He has been working full-time and in school for the past three years and has worked so diligently to study for his boards. His hard work has definitely paid off and I couldn’t be happier for him. He is one of the most caring and compassionate people that I know and I know that he has a great career ahead of him!

So to celebrate, we have lots of balloons and cake! And dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant!

Also in other unrelated, but also great news, our internet is magically back working! Apparently emailing the corporate office is the way to go to get your issue resolved ASAP.

I hope y’all are having an amazing weekend too!

Running

Meb for Mortals (Part 3): Racing

Well hello and welcome to the next installment of my summary of ‘Meb for Mortals.’

This chapter is devoted to how to be your best self physically and mentally on race day. The chapter is broken down into three sections: the warmup, race nutrition and the psychological side of racing.

Warmup

  • Don’t stress out if you don’t sleep well the night before the race (because likely, you won’t). Focus on getting good sleep in the week heading into the race.
  • No matter how close you like to a race, get up at least 2 hours before start time so that you don’t have to rush and are fully awake when it is time to run hard.
  • Have a warmup routine that you know works for you, but don’t get too tied to it in case surprises pop up. You don’t want to go to the start thinking that you can’t race well because your warmup was altered.
  • Meb actually does a 3 mile jog before all races (including marathons!), but recommends us mortals to do somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes of running before shorter races and 10 minutes before a marathon.
  • He says the main exception for the warmup if it is really hot (hello south AL summertime). It doesn’t take much for your muscles to feel warm and loose, so you can cut back on your normal warmup time or distance.
  • After his 3 mile warm up job, he does 10 minutes of stretching and then strides, which are short bursts of speed typically about 100 meters where you accelerate to somewhere around your 5K pace.
  • By doing all of this warmup routine, your body is completely ready to go once the race starts and you aren’t spending the first miles of the race getting warmed up.
  • I love that Meb says that on the start line, he takes time to calm himself and just be thankful to be there. He says that he is in meditation mode before the gun goes off and that he prays and thinks about how fortunate we are to be able-bodied and to have the opportunity to test ourselves in this way.

Race Nutrition

  • Meb recommends learning from others without thinking you need to copy them. Take other people’s advice and see how well it works for you.
  • He says that before shorter races (up to half marathons), running out of fuel isn’t really a risk and so you shouldn’t go overboard with carbohydrates the night before. You should mainly stick to your main diet (which hopefully consists of some sufficient amount of carbs to begin with).
  • Even for a marathon, he says that he doesn’t agree with the idea of “carb-loading” the night before. He writes that one meals isn’t going to be what determines if you run strong, whereas eating too much could lead to stomach issues or pit stops, as well as interfere with your sleep.
  • He actually has a very unique fueling strategy for marathons where he eats very small “snacks” as he wakes up throughout the night the night before the race.
  • He recommends taking in 16 to 20 oz. of a sports/electrolyte drink the morning of the race before starting the warmup.
  • As far as fueling during the race, he basically alternates between two types of fuel. One is a bottle with “sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes” and the other is “sports drink mixed with a caffeinated PowerGel.” So … he didn’t really give us his magic formula. I’ve always wondered what they were drinking in their bottles. I would think that he drinks UCAN during the race, since they are one of his main sponsors, but who knows. The gel in the bottle is an interesting idea (kind of sounds like a stomach disaster waiting to happen in my opinion, but might be at least worth a try).
  • He recommends practicing drinking on your long runs, so that it feels normal on race day. He also says to practice with the drink you’ll be using during the marathon. Find out what the race will have on the course (since most of us don’t have the luxury of having our own personalized bottles waiting for us at the aid stations like the elites) and try that out during your long runs. If it doesn’t work for you, you might have to carry your own bottle.
  • He also says, start drinking early in the race, and keep at it throughout. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty because by then it is too late and your performance has already begun to suffer.

Psychological Side of Racing

  • He says, “Once the gun goes off, racing is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.” Just let that sink in for a minute! Once you start the race, how close you get to racing your best (based on your current fitness) is largely based on making good decisions and staying strong mentally.
  • He says one of the most important decisions in a race comes in the first mile. You have to have wisdom and maturity to go out at the right pace and not get sucked into a pace that you can’t sustain due to the adrenaline at the start of the race.
  • Once you are under way at a reasonable pace, the mind games begin. Oh the mind games. He recommends having a plan to beat the mind games. His definition of plan is a full set of goals, ranging from A to Z. You need a wide variety of goals to motivate you to keep fighting to the finish. If you only have one or two goals, and you realize mid-race they aren’t attainable that day, they you are adrift and you have no good response when the voice in your head starts asking, “Why am I doing this?” The idea is to find a way to keep a positive spin on whatever the current situation is to keep yourself motivated to giving it your best on that day.
  • Not every race is going to be a personal best. But every race, good or bad, can be a learning experience. We often learn the most when things don’t go well. After a race (or workout even) that didn’t go well, figure out what went wrong and use that as a way to improve your performance the next time.

Lots of good stuff here! Hopefully we can all learn something to take with us into our next race. What are y’all training for? I am getting ready for NYC!

Brooks, Coffee, NYC, Running, Treadmill

Unplugged

Hello friends!

It has been a while since I have managed to get a post up, but I have a decent reason … our darn internet is down. No bueno for blog life. Today, I am coming to you from Coffee Loft (like I needed another reason to hang out here, now I come to get both my coffee and internet fix). We have been down a few days now and according to our lovely service provider, they say that the first available time they can send a technician is August 11th. Um, really?!

I have been trying to settle into a decent routine with my blogging anyway, and this has thrown a major kink into that. I will be going back to work the week after next, but I plan to continue to get at least two or three posts a week done, if not more. I have a few things written up at home on my desktop, but I have no way of accessing those documents online at this point, so today will mainly be a training summary of this week. 15 weeks until NYC!

Monday

I’ve been taking it really easy on Mondays. This week was an off week for our yoga class, so I waited until Monday evening to run, which gave my legs a few extra hours to recover from Sunday’s long-run. Daniel and I did 6 miles at 8:12 pace.

Tuesday 

Tuesday morning I had some hill repeats. The workout called for 12 miles with some 20 second pickups while going up hills. I have a great out and back route for this that basically incorporates one hill per mile, which is perfect. Also theoretically perfect is that there is a bathroom and water fountain at the turn around. Unfortunately it was locked this time, so that didn’t go as planned, but I managed. I did 12 miles at 8:14 average pace with ten 20 second pickups. Check out those hills!

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Going into NYC, my biggest concern is the hills at this point. I don’t feel like I race strong on hills. My PR marathon in New Orleans was pancake flat. So, we are gonna work on those hills in the next 15 weeks and hopefully I will build up my hill running muscles (and my brain muscle’s confidence).  Here is what my coach sent me this week regarding the hills, “Yes, there are 5 significant hills on the NYC course: Start – VN bridge – 164′ climb; at 8 miles – LaFayette Av – 53′ climb; at 13 miles – Pulaski Bridge – 45′ climb; at 15 miles – Queensboro Bridge – 120′ climb; at 23 miles – 5th Ave – 80′ climb. So good to do your pick-ups on some hills and incorporate a few moderate hills into your tempo runs.” I love how detailed he is! Fun fact, he is a former corporate accountant turned coach. We share the dork gene 🙂

Tuesday evening was an easy 6.5 mile run at RW. I don’t usually wear my Garmin on my secondary runs. Just take it nice and easy and enjoy the company while getting in a few extra miles.

Wednesday 

Wednesday would typically have been workout day, but my mom and I took a little day trip to Birmingham. She had some errands to do and twisted my arm to come along with the promise of some early birthday shopping (not that I wouldn’t have gone anyway).

I ended up at Foxy Nails III (yes, really) to kill some time while she did her errands. I was a tad skeptical going in, but I’m pretty sure that was the best pedicure I’ve ever had. The girl rubbed my feet for a good 15 to 20 minutes! It was heavenly. I tried to give up pedicures this summer. One, because I figured that was an easy thing to cut out of the budget while I wasn’t really working and two, because of the blisters. I have had really bad blister problems in the past, usually right after a pedicure because they take off all of my hard-earned callouses. Anyway, I fell off the wagon a few times, but overall did better than usual. This one was definitely worth it and I haven’t had any blister issues (knock on wood).

Anyway, the trip to Birmingham made for a long day traveling, but Daniel and I got in an easy 5 miles when I got home.

Thursday

Oh Thursday. I was definitely dreading my workout Thursday. I think I was just tired from traveling, but regardless I was feeling pretty lazy. Brooks shared my sentiments. He actually spent the day Wednesday at a doggie play school, since Daniel and I were both gone all day. He was worn out!

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I feel ya buddy! I had 3 X 2 mile repeats on the schedule with a goal range of 6:25 to 6:35. Ick. I successfully procrastinated until about 11 a.m., but finally found my motivation at that point. To the treadmill I went … Here is what I did.

2 mile warmup: starting at 6.0 mph for 2 minutes and increase the speed by .2 every 2 minutes

1st 2 mile repeat: averaged 6:40 (9.0 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.0 mph

2nd 2 mile repeat: averaged 6:35 (9.1 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.0 mph

3rd 2 mile repeat: averaged 6:30 (9.2 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.0 mph

1.5 mile cool down: started the cool down at 6.0 mph for .25 and then kept it at 7.0 mph for the remainder

I started the workout portion a little conservatively, as I wasn’t sure how that pace was going to feel. Overall, I was very pleased with this workout. It was very challenging and I was drenched by the end. I would like to personally thank Nelly for powering me through this workout (think Country Grammar, Ride Wit Me, Hot in Here, etc.).

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Thursday evening was an easy Garmin-less 7 mile run with Rebecca and Squishy (aka, the cutest baby ever).

Friday 

Today I did a 8.5 miles at 8:42 pace. And now I am sitting at Coffee Loft talking with you guys, so I guess that catches us up on the training front!

Tomorrow is my training group’s first long-run in their training for Pensacola. They will be doing 8 miles, so I will be running that with them. We have some friends in town this weekend and are planning to go out on the boat for a little while tomorrow afternoon after that. Sunday will be the usual, long-run followed by church and probably some grocery shopping thrown in there somewhere.

I am really hoping that we can get our internet fixed before August 11th! I will be a decade older by then! Ha. But really. I will try to stay in touch periodically regardless. Follow me on Instagram @mobilebayrunner for more frequent updates!

Until then, I’ll be “unplugged” and enjoying time with friends and my last week of “freedom” until the new job starts! Who has fun weekend plans? Tell me about them!

Brooks, Coffee, Job, Running

Weekend Recap

Hello and happy Monday! Today I am going to link up with Tara over at Running ‘n’ Reading for my weekend update.

Friday I had a training session to attend for my new job. It was nice to be able to meet some of the folks from the different offices that I hadn’t met yet and everyone seems to be really nice, so I am getting excited about starting there in a few weeks. The training session was on a new tax software that we will be using, which shouldn’t be too bad. I’ve worked with several different softwares at this point and they are all pretty intuitive if you know what you are trying to accomplish.

I had a track workout planned for Friday evening. I should’ve done it Friday morning, but once I started doing the math on how long I would need for the workout and then to get ready and get to the training, it was going to mean a wake-up call somewhere in the 3 o’clock hour. Not saying I haven’t done that before, but I knew that I would have time Friday evening to do it, so I decided to pass on the morning workout. Unfortunately, when we got out of our training Friday it was like a mini-hurricane outside. Terrible, terrible weather. I guess I could’ve taken the workout to the treadmill at that point, but my motivation was dwindling and I decided that I needed a rest day more than I needed the workout. It’s all about balance, right?

Saturday morning I headed to RW for some group run fun.

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And of course, I had to stop at Coffee Loft on the way home. I decided to play drink fairy and came home with all. the. drinks. Brookser thought they were for him, but he was sad when he realized he had to stick with his plain water and that the drinks were only for the humans. 005I did a little work on the training schedules for my group Saturday and got everything lined up and organized for their training, which starts today.

Saturday evening we headed over to Mobile to watch the Dauphin Street pole vault competition. They also added a 400M race this year, so we thought that would be fun to watch as well. The pole vault brings in some elite competitors so we were thinking that the 400M might have some really fast runners, but that wasn’t really the case. It was mainly kids and local runners, but it was still fun to watch. We had a surprisingly good meal at a sports bar downtown and caught some of the amateur pole vaulters before calling it a night.

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Sunday morning was long-run day. This week the schedule called for an 18-20 mile long-run with a goal pace of 7:30 to 7:50. What I actually did was (because it didn’t really happen if you don’t have the Garmin to prove it) …

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Whew! I was really happy with how this run went. My pace was better than last week and I felt really good, despite the usual, tough summer conditions. I started the run out with the group and ran with Daniel, Kenny and Ali until we got to around mile 10. They weren’t going quite as far, so I knew going into it that I was going to break off from them at some point and do the remainder by myself. What I wasn’t sure of is whether I was going to be able to keep the pace after I broke off from them. Somehow I managed to though, and that was a major confidence booster for me. In any given training cycle, there are always those runs that you can think back to on race day, know that you put in the work and feel calmer about the race. This was definitely one of those runs for me!

The rest of our day was extremely lazy. Long runs in the heat will do that to you. We ended the evening on the couch, watching the tour.

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Well, that concludes my weekend update. I’ll be coming to you with my Ephesians Week 6 summary in the next day or two. I hope everyone has a fabulous week! Gotta run!