5K Recap & Racing Plans

Happy Monday…where do the weekends go? They are always too short. It is the first day of school in our neck of the woods, which means my little Brooks-ee-roo is going to Kindergarten. Since I’m still sobbing about that fact and the fact that summer has dwindled away, I decided to post an entry I actually completed last week but never published. So today I’m recapping a 5K race that I actually ran back in July. Better late than never.

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I have run this 5K many times. I ran it before I had kids, pregnant (didn’t know it yet), with a baby in tow, with a toddler and baby in tow, and then again with one toddler. I love this local little 5K run. For being a small little race they get an excellent turnout, have great post-run food, and have a DJ that adds to the high energy atmosphere surrounding the race. The race itself weaves through two little boroughs and people sit on their front lawns cheering on the runners and spraying them with their hoses. It is held on a Wednesday night in July. So usually it is extremely hot and humid and this year there was rain right up until the start.

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This year was extra special because both of my boys ran in the kids mile race prior to the 5K. Brooks was a little unsure and there were tears at the starting line because he didn’t realize I was not running with him. His big brother stepped in and reassured him that he’d be right there with him. However, when the starting whistle went off, Nolan took off and never looked back. It was so exciting to cheer them on and when we saw Nolan coming over the crest of the hill headed down toward the finish line we were cheering so loud. He crossed the finish line and secured his first win! He was so excited. I was able to make my way back up the road a little and I found Brooks. I ran the last part of the race with him and he was so happy. He finished strong. Then he asked me if I knew what he thought about the whole race, I said “no what”. He replied “you”. Then he told me all about how bad his side hurt. I absolutely loved that the boys participated in this race. We are always busy with baseball, football, fishing and all that stuff, that it felt good that we did something I love as a family. It made me feel really proud to watch these two little boys run their hearts out.

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My race started shortly after their raced ended. I was nervous, which always happens no matter how many times I run a race, and I wasn’t sure what I expected out of myself for this race. I wanted to get a good time but had a feeling I wasn’t quite in 5K racing shape. A 5K to me is a major challenge in that there isn’t enough time to worry about pace and things like that. Its short so I usually approach that as just go all out until the finish. I had a few things to contend with in this race though. One it was hot and humid, second it had just rained so the surfaces were slick, and third I started deep in the middle of the pack.

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So right off the bat I started out way too fast but felt that was my only option to break away from the pack. I like running on the outside lane so I always make my way there right from the beginning. Coming into the first turn though I felt winded. I think it was part nerves and part just starting out way too fast. I settled myself down and tried to stick with a pace that was a little faster than my normal run. It was a challenge but I held onto that and as I rounded the last corner and headed up the hill to the home stretch.

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I could see the clock at the finish line and I knew I hadn’t hit the time I wanted. It was still a good time 22 minutes and change but I was hoping for 21 or better. It was enough to win my age group but I couldn’t help but feel that I could have pushed it more. I know we all do this to ourselves, I kept thinking that at some other point in my life I was in better shape and I was faster and I could have finished the race in a better time. Although, then I think there were also times in my life where I couldn’t come close to a 22 minute 5K. I remember trying to finish in under 30 minutes. It’s all perspective. What racing does though, is it fuels a fire. It creates a spark in us that makes us want to do it again. At least that is what it does for me. I was so glad I participated in this race because it reminded me of how nervous, excited, exhausted, and awesome running can make you feel! So I am trying to figure out a fall racing schedule. I haven’t committed to any races yet just because our schedules are just getting worked out. However, I am planning on a half marathon and then something longer than a 5K but shorter than a half. I’m not sure what that will be yet but I’m excited about the upcoming running season…especially with the Fall like temps we had last week! What are your racing goals for the upcoming season?

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Well have a great week. I’m going to gather my many thoughts about school and will post about that later after the tears have dried! Be happy go running!

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Back to Running After Vacation

And just like that…July is gone!

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Oh July you were such an awesome month…why couldn’t you stay a little longer?

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Sorry August, nothing personal, it’s just that July was that good. What a busy month we’ve had. I just did a double take on my last post…I can’t believe I haven’t written since the 4th. That was unintended, I didn’t realize the next opportunity I would have to write wouldn’t be until August 1st! So let’s get back at it.

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While July proved to be my favorite month of the summer thus far, it is also a time of year where vacations, baseball games, picnics, concerts, pool parties, and all the fun stuff summer has to offer can get you off track with your exercise routine.

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That is why I titled this post “Back to Running After Vacation”.

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I don’t typically ever take a break from running. I am usually still mindful of my running schedule no matter where I am and I squeeze it in. If running won’t work I do something else. I adapt to the situation and tailor my routine accordingly.

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However, I’m human, and when my son asks if we can go on a bike ride along the beach in the morning, I say yes even if I had planned on running. When the family wants to walk to the ice cream parlor for cones I go along and I have an ice cream cone.

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We’ve had a month of baseball tournaments, which also means a month of eating dinner at 8:30-9:00 p.m. often at a nearby restaurant, and countless trips to the snack bar for soft pretzels, hot dogs (my son- I don’t eat hot dogs), and whatever other unhealthy treats that might be available on a hot day in July.

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A week at the beach, as lovely as it is, also means drinking Summer Shanty and sitting in our beach chairs watching the kids play in the water while snacking on chips and the like. Backyard BBQ’s, summer concerts, pool parties, and all that other good stuff often involves eating and drinking more than you had wanted to or planned. Throw in a few missed runs or workouts and you’re left feeling pretty heavy and full and just “blah”. You probably feel like you are in need of some cleansing and that you need to get yourself back on track. You need to get back to running after vacation!

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Trust me we all need and deserve a vacation so first things first, don’t beat yourself up too bad. Like I say earlier, you’re human. Sometimes life gets in the way. We all need a chance to unwind and enjoy without pressuring ourselves to be doing something else. So with that said, enjoy that vacation, enjoy that break from the normal, just don’t unpack your bags and move in for good. Don’t make it permanent. Get yourself back on track and into a routine when your break has ended. You’re never too far gone to start. So start today. Get moving.

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The first thing I did the day after we got home from vacation was go running. I was determined to run. Now it poured rain and I had to cut it short because I was drenched, but I was determined to run no matter what. I finished up the last few miles on the treadmill. This morning I got up and ran my normal Monday morning run and just like that I’m back on my schedule.

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Commit to your workouts. No excuses…not even rain. If you think you’ll figure out a way to keep yourself from exercising, get out there first thing in the morning and get it done. If you tackle it in the morning you’re more likely to complete it. When you put it off throughout the day you’ll put it off and eventually later will be never. Don’t fall into that cycle. Make time not excuses. If you are someone who does better with a goal set, sign up for a Fall race today! If that is the motivation you need, then do it.

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Drink water. You don’t need a fancy expensive cleanse, you just need to flush your system. Water can do that just fine. Increase your fruits and veggies and lay off the snacking.

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Plan your weekly meals so that you know what’s for dinner and you know what time you’ll be eating. If you’re like us, football starts today! So I have to really think dinner through. I need something quick, healthy, and on the table by 5:00 p.m. If I wait until after we’ll start that cycle of eating at 8:30-9:00 p.m. and with school on the horizon I need to break that routine now.

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Add something new to your routine. If you’re a runner, add a nice evening walk into your schedule. Take the dog along or go on a nice bike ride with your kids. Add some strength training into your routine or a few sprints. Adding a little something extra will help you feel like you’re bouncing back quicker and that you’re back on track.

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Vacations are great, we all need them. We all need these July’s in our lives where we can enjoy life and the people we share it with, but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of our health and well being. It felt great to have a little time to myself to do what I love, to run!

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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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