Whole30 Results!

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I feel like I say this every damn time I start a blog post, but man it has been a crazy week….and it’s only Wednesday! Good thing I’ve got tons of stored energy to get me through this week (and next…because I’m already managing my time for when it arrives)! I’m happy to be writing right now. It has become such a huge stress reliever for all the built up craziness that ensues throughout my day. Well, lets jump right in, shall we? Mama’s got a hot date night downtown with her Valentine from two weeks ago. I am curling the hair and putting the lipstick on and going all out since our date nights for the past 30 days have consisted of me cooking us dinner in leggings and t-shirts.

I don’t even know where to begin. If you’ve been following along with me, then you know that the most important change that has occurred has been my psychological relationship with food. I feel like I’ve taken back the reigns of my life in some sort of way. I don’t feel powerless and afraid anymore. I feel like I’ve come back to myself. I’m more me; the best of me if there is such a thing. After having such an emotional roller coaster of a year, feeling this way means so much to me.

With that said, I also reaped some other pretty awesome benefits like:

  • Hair: My hair is shiny and healthy! I’ve had 3 different people in the last week positively comment on my hair-blog post coming in the near future on this!
  • Nails: My nails are hard and thick now! And I am a biter! But, I was always led to bite my nails usually because they always chipped and cracked. My nails are strong! I even scratched my inner thigh in the shower when I was using my hand to scrub with a loofah. I am not used to such sharp talons!
  • Definition: Now that all of the initial bloat and inflammation is out of the way, I’ve got my abs resurfacing, my quads shaping, and my arms toning!
  • Inflammation: Gone! My ankle’s swelling and throbbing went away right in the first week and has held up since, even with all of the high impact workouts and running. I haven’t even used my ankle brace! I would also always get back pain as well after running or doing a lot of jumping. I had to spend a lot of time stretching before and after workouts…and I have not had any at all. It is pretty awesome to not feel like your an old and decrepit  woman when you’re still in your 20’s….Plus, my engagement ring and wedding band have been much looser since. I love this feeling, because it was really starting to tighten up toward the end of last year.
  • Sleep: I’ve recapped on sleep pretty often. It’s great! An interesting side note though-this past Monday and Tuesday night I have not been able to sleep in due to my hectic schedule and I can definitely tell when I’m not getting enough sleep now throughout the day. Will fix this immediately!
  • Attitude: Happy! I’ve got a pep in my step. I’m extra friendly and bubbly. Like I said, I feel like myself and this is worth everything!
  • Energy: No more ups and downs throughout the day. My husband said to me the other day “slow down and pretend like you wanna be by me.” I felt so bad! I was just walking so much faster than I usually do. It feels like I have all these stores of energy that I can tap into whenever I want.
  • Fitness: Not only do I feel like I am able to push myself more with workouts, but I also feel much more in tune with my body. I am learning how to let myself rest and recover when my body needs it. I can definitely tell an improvement in my fitness because I recover much faster from workouts without the pain of soreness bothering me all day. I also ran every Sunday during my 30 days and my runs improved with longer mileage and faster pace each time. My first Sunday run was 2.57 miles at a 12:05 min/mile pace and this past Sunday was a 3.91 mile run at a 10:35 min/mile pace. Now, I gotta get a sub 10 pace and I’ll be good for the 5K I’m scheduled to run in March!
  • Cravings: Gone, nada, zilch! I am still not going to test out any unleashing of a sugar dragon. I have a pretty nasty addiction with the stuff so even though I am happy to report I don’t crave any sugar, I am not going to risk it for a while.
  • Skin: I’ve luckily always had pretty clear skin. I had a few blemishes throughout the second week and afterwards my skin looked better than ever. Today in the mirror while washing my hands I couldn’t believe how clear and healthy my face looked. It looks “fresher” if that makes any sense.
  • Libido: This is pretty self-explanatory. It was an unexpected but welcomed side affect.
  • Relationships: Not only has my relationship with food changed, but also with my husband. I eat to eat now. This past weekend I forgot to eat lunch! I quickly scarfed something down when I realized I went on a run and had been doing yard work for an hour on Sunday–not because I was hungry but because I knew that I needed to give my body nutrients and energy quickly since I missed out on lunch AND a post-workout meal (woops!). I enjoy cooking meals for Hubs and I. We get to spend that time at home and eat dinner together which was something we never really did. I’m a happier person and now I get to share myself more with my husband because I am present!
  • Weight: Unfortunately, I did not take any before measurements. I wish I did, but it was something I just simply forgot to do. I did take measurements on my 30th day so that I can now keep track from here on out. However, I did lose 16.4 lbs! I’m pretty psyched about this. It is a great start.

So, what now? Now, I plan to follow a Whole9 lifestyle. My 30th day was Monday and I have stayed compliant. I plan to take it day by day and stay on course as close as I possibly can and only straying when it is absolutely worth it, and only absolutely worth it!  I’m sure I won’t be perfect at this right away, but I hope to get better and better at it with time as I not only build my confidence up but the trust I have with myself. I am definitely a work in progress. The Whole30 has already given me an amazing head start on my whole-kind-of-life plan. I will elaborate more on some personal goals I have for the Whole 9 Factors. Now, I must go get ready for our date! And, just for the record, I am sampling a beer tonight. And I do think this one is absolutely worth it.

Day 30!

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I can’t believe today is Day 30! I seriously feel like I’m just beginning; yet I also kind of feel like a bad ass pro at the same time. I woke up super excited that today was my 30th day. Maybe even a bit too excited?

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I especially feel like a bad ass pro after the surprisingly challenging day I had….Ironically enough, my last day of the Whole30 started off its morning with a staff retreat to a cooking class! We knew we were going somewhere, but no one had any idea what we were doing until we pulled up to the location. Ha! The menu items were a crusted quiche, cornmeal fritters with bacon and corn, followed by the ooziest-gooiest cinnamon rolls. Half the time was spent cooking and the other half of the morning was eating at a family style table. Ha! I couldn’t believe the irony. I got my hands dirty and helped roll and slice the cinnamon rolls. After all, I am still a kitchen queen and I do not diet discriminate.

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The other half was a little uncomfortable. I waited for everyone to ask why I wasn’t partaking in the fruits of our labor. It was awkward being the only one not eating but it wasn’t hard at all. In fact, I didn’t once give into thinking of off-roading. I could have easily talked myself into eating with everyone else by ending my Whole30 a few measly hours early, but the thought of how I would feel afterwards trumped any mouth-watering that my have occurred. I knew how sluggish and gross I would feel afterwards. I wouldn’t want to be productive once we returned to work. I wouldn’t have any motivation to exercise because I would be too full. I was having none of that! So, it really wasn’t hard. The experience actually has given me a lot more confidence in officially finishing my 30 days and starting to transition into a more balanced day-to-day life. Perhaps, there will be a moment that arises and it will most definitely be worth it to off-road. But today was not that day. And tomorrow doesn’t have any prospects of looking that way either (unless there may be another work surprise I don’t know about).

I couldn’t even eat their fruit salad because it was glazed with honey! There were a few grapefruit and orange wedges I was able to at least nibble on. I honestly wasn’t even hungry, but I felt like I should be chewing on something along with everyone else.

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So, after I dodged my Day 30 Bomb, the rest of the day fell right into place. Once we returned to work, my co-worker and I worked out right away before I locked myself into to my office to play catch up for the rest of the day. I made a delicious salad for lunch with my own dressing.

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I took the leftover Chile and Lime Chicken I grilled the other night and sliced it with some Bibb lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I used a magic bullet to make the dressing: cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a dash of jalapeno pepper, garlic clove, lemon juice, and avocado. It was super easy! While eating my lunch, I was so grateful I pushed throughout the morning. I enjoy the food I eat now so much and am so happy I didn’t settle for the lack of quality in nutrients I put into my body. By the way, how pretty is Bibb lettuce?! It’s so wavy!

The rest of the day flew by while playing catch up. I made myself eat a serving of mixed nuts before I left work to go to my 5:30 gym class. I blew off some steam and lifted some weights and then finally came home. I didn’t feel as good as I thought I would coming home though. I feel a little bit anxious and sad. I have no idea why. Because my Whole30 is over? Because I am scared about what will happen next? Because I felt strong this morning when I thought I wouldn’t? Not to get too deep and philosophical here, but I kind of feel like this morning was a huge stepping stone for me. I have not been able to trust myself in so long. Self-sabotage was weekly, if not daily. Even though today was a success (Hell, these past 30 days were a success),  it has been a long journey to get to where I am now, mentally. I am scared about what will happen next, but today has also made me really realize how strong I am going forward.

Speaking of going forward, I had the best dinner to top off my 30th day. This past weekend I bought some Sunflower Seed Butter on sale at my local coop. I’ve never tried it and have always wanted to. Trader Joe’s sells a product, but it has cane syrup in it. This type just had one ingredient: raw, organic sunflower seeds.

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Hubs put some beef tips in the fridge to defrost this morning. We also had a bag of frozen veggies: carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts. I tossed everything into the cast iron with some diced onion. After my medley cooked a bit, I mixed the sunflower seed butter with coconut aminos, lemon juice, coconut oil, and garlic clove. I dolloped my sunflower sauce on the stir fry and let it all simmer.

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Then I added salt and pepper and topped my bowl with some raw cashews.

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This was probably one of my favorite meals. I am kind of mad it took me so long to make this. Oh, I just remembered that I did just find the sunflower seed butter the other day. Good thing I have a whole jar to keep playing with!

I will post my results sometime this week. Tomorrow is my crazy busy day. Wednesday night is our concert date night. We will also be going out to eat Wednesday night for dinner. I plan on drinking a beer Wednesday night, but that is it. Hopefully I will have successful follow ups to report later this week! Happy Day, Whole30ers.

Sunday Mornings and Saturday Night Dinner

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I love Sunday mornings. If Sundays weren’t followed by Mondays I’d stretch to say they are my favorite part of the week. I love having the morning to myself while my husband sleeps in. I love taking that first sip of coffee after waking up and savoring its flavor in my mouth. I love it when Lady wakes up shortly after me and comes out of my sleeping husband’s lair in hopes of licking my empty breakfast bowl. Nope, sorry Lady, but you are welcome to snuggle in my lap while I force pictures upon you. Image

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Now that I have photographic proof, it is undeniably a perfect Sunday morning. I think I will just go ahead and say it is my favorite part of the week. It helps that I actually enjoy my job and don’t mind that Monday eventually arrives. There was a time that I hated a job I had so much that I would get sad it was Saturday, because I then had only less than 2 full days before I had to go back to work. Glad those days are over!

It is pretty cool in the house right now since the temperature dropped down to the 40’s overnight. Instead of turning the heat on I cloaked myself in blankets. Lady is also helping keep me warm. Today is supposed to be a high of 68, but I’m hoping it feels even warmer than that! The hints of warmer weather are really getting me excited for whats to come: afternoons on the beach, blueberry season, farmers markets, tan lines, and grilling out! Speaking of grilling out, we grilled for the second time this week.

I bought some chicken legs and chicken drumsticks on sale from Whole Foods the other day and found the perfect marinade from Nom Nom Paleo: Chile and Lime Chicken. I spent a bit of yesterday morning in the kitchen prepping everything for this evening, so by the time dinner came around it was super easy to put everything together.

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I made the marinade and got my hands dirty making sure all the chicken was well coated before putting it in the fridge. I also bought a turnip root and rutabaga for my side dish. I peeled and diced the roots which probably took up the most time. Rutabagas sure are hard to slice! I think I also got in a good arm workout (even if it was just my right side!). After dicing the roots I put them in the fridge until I was ready to boil them later.

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After about 5 or 6 hours, I added my diced roots to a boiling pot of water and let them simmer for a good 15 minutes or so. I then heated the grill outside and threw my chicken on.

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One thing I should have done was patted the chicken dry to get the excess marinade off. The recipe stated this, but it simply left my mind when I was in the thorough of cooking. Because I didn’t do this, the outer skin of the chicken charred much faster, so it was hard to tell if the chicken was actually cooked the whole way. We played it safe though and ended up cooking the chicken a bit longer in the cast iron on the stove. It ended up being fine and the chicken still had its grilled and charred taste.

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 While the chicken was cooking, I took the boiled roots and emptied them into my blender after draining them. They were a really pretty peach color! I added some ghee and then pureed them.

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I’ve only ever had rutabaga one other time. One my first Whole30, I added some rutabaga to a pot roast I made in the crock pot. I had no idea what they would taste like and hoped my husband wouldn’t have a bad first impression with them. They were so good! They had such a similar texture to white potatoes and were the perfect addition to a pot roast. I thought pureeing them would give a similar consistency and texture. We were not disappointed, not even Hubs! I added some salt and pepper to them and that was all it needed.

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And of course, I am happily adding some extras to my leftover collection to use during the week. After dinner, we headed to Hubs’ brothers place and played Trivial Pursuit. It was such a great time. It was nice being social without worrying about explaining to people why I’m not drinking beer or eating sugar. Instead, I had to explain why I am so bad at Trivial Pursuit. In my defense, the 25th Anniversary Edition has a lot of questions pertaining to subjects that occurred before I turned 10 years old.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Day 30. Surreal! However, I’ve been grocery shopping no differently. I still have a spaghetti squash in the fridge to find a recipe for. I feel pretty damn great and don’t plan on sabotaging the way I think and feel for anything, including chocolate. Or peanut butter. But probably beer.

Spin Sin

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Here I find myself again….blogging while dinner cooks! Today was a great Saturday. Most Saturdays I feel like I am either not resting at all or find myself resting too much; and then I feel lazy and not productive enough (in case you didn’t realize it by now, I have issues with practicing balance). Today was a day that was not too busy and not too lazy…it was just right!

I woke up around 7 AM, which means I got about 9 solid hours of sleep last night. I did wake up once or twice in the middle of the night to empty my bladder, but I didn’t have any trouble falling back to sleep once I hit the pillow. I woke up and brewed my coffee (my favorite part about getting out from bed) and then heated up the last piece from last night’s turkey meatloaf. I fried two eggs and put it on top. My two eggs connected themselves together and made me think of twins for some reason!

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One time, I cracked an egg to fry and out came two yolks from the same shell! That made me think of twins too. Ha! Anyway, this morning’s gym classes were either Spin at 8:30 and/or a Cardio/Weights class at 9:30. I have consistently been attending the cardio and weights class on Saturday mornings, but my body still felt a bit run down when I woke up this morning. I have been thinking a lot more about the Whole9 article on Rest and Recovery I blogged about yesterday evening and I decided to do spin. I still craved a really great workout, but knew that I didn’t want to fatigue my muscles too much. Spin is the perfect workout because I am able to push myself, but at a much lower impact on my joints. I honestly never thought I’d like spin that much, but having a great instructor makes the world of a difference. I don’t know if I could do it more than a couple times a week in fear of getting bored with it. However, I can’t take it Tuesday evenings anymore because of my band rehearsal, so having it on Saturday morning is perfect. I also had to take spin last weekend because my mom was visiting and I couldn’t make it to my 9:30 class and I loved it! My spin instructor said that when you run, your joints are getting an impact of 3 times your weight. That is pretty crazy! I always knew cross training was important, but I am really glad that I am incorporating more lower impact training in my routine to give my body more “active” recovery.

Today’s weather didn’t get into the 70’s, but it was still sunny and beautiful! It probably got up to a high of 64. Hubs and I went on a walk around the neighborhood and then went to the island for the annual Polar Plunge. There were so many people on the beach and at the bars. It makes me so excited for summertime! Afterwards, I ran to Trader Joe’s to grab some meat and veggies. I have slowly been emptying out my freezer and fridge, so I needed to stock up on some things including turkey burgers, bison burgers (I’ve never tried these!), prosciutto, pearl tomatoes, pecans, cashews, sweet potatoes, and avocados. I got my weekend Trader Joe’s trip out of the way so that is one less thing I have to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the high 60’s, so I will plan on taking my Sunday run around the neighborhood if my legs feel up to it!

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Lady loves the sun too!

Hunger Pains

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This is my fourth Friday on the Whole30. This will be my last weekend officially on it. Monday will be my 30th day. It really has flown by! I feel like I am only just beginning my journey though. Plus, there are still so many fun and adventurous recipes I really want to try out. I plan to keep on chugging along on the Paleo train. But, I’ll cross that bridge on Tuesday morning.

I am still feeling great; however a little more tired and hungry lately. Not sleepy tired. My energy is still stable all day long and I’m not experiencing any ups and downs throughout the day. Just feeling a tad more bit fatigued in my body. I am probably overworking myself in the gym. And my hunger is definitely letting me know! I came across a really interesting Whole9 article about Rest vs Recovery that I found on the Whole30 Forums. It is really freeing to read something about health and fitness that tells you NOT to kill yourself in the gym everyday. I’ve struggled with this in the past and still do. I have been to the gym 3 times a day before. I love working out and enjoy it, but I flirt with a fine line between balance and extreme. I still do two-a-day workouts throughout the week, but I balance them between recovery workouts like yoga and less intense exercises. Plus, our lunchtime workout sessions are only 25 minutes, which is short and sweet.

I’ve been a lot hungrier this week than I have been before, especially first thing in the morning. This is also a good thing, because it means my cortisol and leptin hormones are at good levels and that my metabolism is working way better than it did 4 weeks ago. I just want to make sure I’m getting enough food to fuel my day plus my workouts. A lot of comments on the Troubleshooting section of the Whole30 Forums focus on making sure you are eating enough amounts. So, I’m currently trying to find my sweet spot when it comes to meals. I’ve been eating a bit more fat at dinner time because I usually get a hankering to eat something right before bed. I haven’t tweaked out the right amount yet, but I am hopeful to figure it out. Tonight for dinner I had two servings of turkey meatloaf instead just the one I would usually limit myself to. I feel happily satiated now.

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I made a deconstructed burger for lunch with spinach, cooked kale, cherry tomatoes, fried egg, mushrooms, avocado, a grass-fed burger, and avocado oil and vinegar. The avocado and oil lasted me throughout the rest of the day but by the time I got home after 5 I was gnawing on some celery and mixed nuts to hold me until dinner.

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Tonight’s dinner was turkey meatloaf cooked with ground turkey, onion, butternut squash and a tomato paste topping. I roasted some broccoli with coconut oil and mustard to go with it. It was very filling! I probably need to pay closer attention to my morning meals. I tend to go lightest with the fat in the morning because I don’t spend as much time cooking breakfast before work. I love the weekends because I really get to take my time in the kitchen on my morning meal. I don’t mind if I fall asleep now so that I can wake up to get started! 🙂

Whome Stretch

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Get it?! I was going to type out “Whole30 Home Stretch”, but I decided to just combine Whole30 and Home together! Okay, I’ll stop.

Before I started typing anything I wondered what day am I even on?! So I counted and today is Day 26. I can’t believe it! After the halfway mark, everything just becomes so routine and I stopped thinking about what day I was on. Everything is starting to feel very second nature and so easy. I’m starting to become more and more nervous about what will happen if I off-road once I finish this Whole30. But, that is entirely another post for another day. Hopefully the easiness of this 30 day challenge will smoothly transition to a more whole lifestyle. Hence, the name of this blog. Note to self: don’t stop blogging after finishing Whole30.

This work week has flown by. I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately, but it has! I’m sure it is the time of year, so everything has been a little more chaotic while gearing up for Spring. I’m excited tomorrow is Friday! I left for work early this morning for a 7:30 AM meeting. Because of this, I was in the kitchen until 8:30 PM prepping everything for today. I cooked a chicken breast and made a salad for today’s lunch. I took last night’s leftover pork chops and green beans and made an omelet with some bacon for today’s breakfast. I even grinned up some coffee beans and filled the coffee pot with water so everything was ready to go this morning when I woke up. I am really glad that I prepped the coffee pot the night before! It was like magic just pushing the button with no extra work. I think I can even set it up so that it starts brewing the coffee at a certain time. I need to look into that! Anyway, with all of that said, I have not yet prepped anything for tomorrow! However, when I wake up tomorrow morning it will be Friday, so I don’t really care.

Our little lunchtime workout group stepped it up this week. We started the second phase of Focus T25: the Beta workouts. So far, I’m liking them more than the Alpha phase, but it’s most likely because it feels novel. Still, I love mixing it up. Today I was feeling a bit overworked because my body felt so sore. I was able to leave work a bit earlier today because of our morning meeting, so I decided to attend a 4:30 class at my gym called “Yoga Ball.” I had no idea what to expect, but it was just what I needed for my muscles. It was basically an hour of stretching with a stability ball but it felt great, especially for my legs.

The weather has been so beautiful lately. Hubs had the day off so I assigned him to cleaning the grill outside.We haven’t used it in months and it was in desperate need of a scrub. Tonight’s dinner was so good and so easy. I salted and peppered some pork steaks and threw them on the grill. That was it! I paired it with some oven-roasted asparagus. All I did was add some lemon juice with salt and pepper to the asparagus. After roasting it, I drizzled some Tessemae’s Lemonette over it and then I squirted some mustard on mine (I love mustard!!). It was so effing good. I forgot how easy grilling is. I hope this weather keeps up!

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Now I just need to figure out how to get my husband to remake the bed after he naps in it…

Running Scenes

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Today is my long day. I get up at 6:30 to make my lunch, breakfast, coffee and then get ready for work to arrive at 8 AM. I leave work at 5 and then I get home, change, scarf some dinner down and meet my carpool buddy in town by 5:50. Then we drive to community band rehearsal and practice from 7-9. Then we drive back to her place and I get home around 10:15 PM. It’s a long day. I am so thankful for such a beautiful run outside in today’s gorgeous sun. The temperature was about 62 degrees and sunny. Here are some pictures I took while running. I didn’t want to stop but I didn’t NOT want to capture the beautiful scenes.

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On the road towards the basin.

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The basin.

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One of the ramp docks.

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Signs welcoming the ferry-goers.

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A shaded part of a bike path.

It wasn’t a long run. Just 2.21 miles. But, I knew it was going to be a long day for me and I wanted to move while I could. I also was quite surprised that my legs felt so good. Last night’s gym class was dedicated solely to legs and abs and our instructor was advising us to make sure when we woke up the next morning to stretch our legs and move them around to get the lactic acid going. I was kind of scared how I would feel, but I woke up feeling fine. My legs were stiff but not sore. Before starting on the run I thought surely they wouldn’t be able to carry me too far, or if they did I was going to feel like crap. But they did and I felt great on my little 2 miler! Plus, I have been shaving time off my pace every day I run. Lets hope it keeps up!

Time for bed. It was a long day after all.