Prenatal Yoga at Refresh Yoga Studio (28 weeks pregnant)

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

 -Buddah 

This Saturday morning, I met up with my friend Rita, for some prenatal yoga. bumps rita and meg

Rita is about one month a head of me, due date July 19th. She too is expecting a baby girl. So many baby girls are being born, these days.

If you have read my previous posts, you may already know… for the last month I have been doing prenatal yoga, and it has become my new found love. I have tried prenatal yoga at JounreYoga and Mind the Mat. But today, Rita invited me to join her at the studio she has been practicing at – Refresh Yoga Studio in Old Town, Alexandria.

refresh yoga

Rita and I started our morning with a 40 minute walk around Old Town. The weather this Memorial weekend has been amazing. So our walk was refreshing. I also saw another mom, with the BOB running stroller, and asked her how she liked it. She claimed it was the best baby item she owns. Everyone loves the BOB! I haven’t heard one negative thing about it.

Our walk ended at the front door of the yoga studio. Although, the studio space was small, it had positive energy and a very zen yoga like vibe to it – my favorite type of vibe! The room was small and so was the class, only six moms to be, and one instructor. But the smaller class size was nice, and more personable. The less people you have the more attention you get.

Erin was the instructor, and she was fantastic. Like most prenatal classes she opened the class with us introducing ourselves and telling the class how far along we are. This week I am 28 weeks. Happy – first day of the 3rd trimester – to me!! She also customized the class, by asking us what we wanted to work on. Most of us wanted to work on hip openers. She also wanted it to be an individual practice, so we quietly chose our own word to focus the class around. I chose Courage.

This class started out relaxing, but as the class went on became more strength building, with some squats, warrior poses, down dog, and prenatal push ups. It ended relaxing with a gentle scalp massage, and a cool towel over our eyes.

yoga mat prenatal

Some of my favorite things during this class was the breathing techniques, and the combination of relaxing and strength building. This combo really made the class a full body workout.

I also really enjoyed some of the postures, such as, down dog, dolphin pose, goddess pose, pigeon pose, warrior pose 2, peaceful warrior, triangle pose. I also like the squat work and the prenatal push ups. I use to be the push up queen, but didn’t know they were safe for pregnancy, but I am definitely going to include more push ups to my workouts during the week.

Over all, this was a great yoga practice, and a lovely studio. I definitely plan on going on a regular. Being pregnant, has opened my mind to different kinds of work outs and yoga poses. I have been having a lot of fun trying the different studios and instructors in the area. Each class is so different, and each instructor has something to offer.

PREGNANCY UPDATE

It is hard to believe that today, I am 28 weeks pregnant, or in other words 7 months pregnant. It is the first day, of the 3rd trimester for me. I really can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by.

In a way pregnancy is much like long distance running. The first few miles you feel uncomfortable, but once you find your groove, you can comfortably keep running. When you take it one mile at a time, you begin to really enjoy yourself.

When it comes to pregnancy, most women are the most uncomfortable in their 3rd trimester. For me so far, everyday that goes by, I am feeling more and more comfortable. And¬†because I don’t have much more to go,¬†I am living in the moment, and enjoying this pregnancy more and more.

It is a pretty amazing thing, creating life.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Prenatal Yoga at Mind the Mat Yoga Studio

One of my absolute favorite times of the week are my Saturday mornings. Usually, I wake up early, and hit the running trail for a long run. But now, because I am pregnant, my body has changed so my fitness goals have changed. Now that I am pregnant, I have been using these mornings to practice prenatal yoga, at my local yoga studio Mind the Mat. When else will I have the opportunity to do prenatal yoga, better take advantage now.

Although, I am really missing my long runs, at the same time I am loving my yoga practice. Because the class is so popular, I arrive to the studio early, to find a spot close to the mirror. I lay out my mat, make sure my water bottle is full, and patiently wait for class to begin.

prenatal yoga bag

At the beginning of class, we go around the room introducing ourselves, telling the class how far along we are. Sarah, the class instructor, also gives the class a focus theme. Last week I was 26 weeks, and the class focus was courage. We each revealed, what we wish we had the courage to do. Today, I am 27 weeks, and the class focus was on our favorite childhood game. We each laughed, as we went around the room and exposed our favorite game.

Then the yoga begins. 

It ends up being a full body workout. The major focus is on  strengthening areas of the body that need to be strong for labor. We practice deep hip openers, preparing us for labor. We also work on arms and back, for carrying baby later. We work on strengthening the pelvic floor, and do some core strengthening poses that are safe during pregnancy. We also practice some poses that are great positions to use for natural child birth.

About the Studio

mind the mat

Mind the Mat yoga studio has two locations, but I have only practiced at the Del Ray location. I love Del Ray. It is an awesome area, filled with lovely local boutiques and delicious restaurants. It is also a very artistic neighborhood. Today, after yoga, I hit up the farmer’s market, which I plan to do more often.

About the Instructor

Sarah, the instructor for the class, is awesome. She provides us with the yoga poses we need that are both safe for pregnancy, but also the ones that strengthen, and make us sweat. Her class also is very yoga like, and when we need to cool down, very relaxing. She definitely provide a great balance.

My favorite part

One of my favorite things about the class, is the community feel. Its a class full of mom’s to be with the same priorities and goals. We all want a healthy, fit pregnancy, with the ultimate goal to bring a child safely into the world.

prenatal yoga class

Last week, Sarah did a head count, because the class was so large. We had 20 mom’s to be, 22 babies to be, and 2 instructors. This was a total of 44 yogis. I thought this was amazing!¬†

Have you practice prenatal yoga?

© sweat1xdaily 2015

 

…because I am missing Thailand.

Sorry, I haven’t written much this month, I have been having the winter blues. However, exactly, a year ago today, I had finally escaped the cold winter by traveling to the oh so exotic country of Thailand. The minute I got off the plane, I could feel the heat. It felt so good, and because I long for that same hot Thailand air, ¬†I have decided to publish this blog post. ¬†I found this post waiting to be published in my draft section on my wordpress dashboard. I remember writing these words, when I first started to explore Thailand. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by.

Bangkok, Thailand (February 2, 2014)

Yesterday, was my first day touring around Bangkok.

We woke up and relaxed on Elissa’s balcony taking in the view and getting familiar with our new Bangkok neighborhood. Shockingly the city was quiet in the morning time.

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Once we got ready, we headed for breakfast. My friend, Elissa new an amazing brunch place.

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I ordered a savory crepe with egg, spinach, mushrooms, onion, and feta.

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We sipped on coffee and drank down fresh juices. I got watermelon juice of corse.

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After breakfast, we headed to the embassy to convert some American dollars to Thai baht. While Elissa was converting the money Erik and I hung outside strolling down a side street that were lined up with street food vendors (similar to our food trucks minus the truck part.) Everything smelled amazing but we ended up getting refreshing bubble tea. Of corse I went with Papaya.

After our tea time we headed for a pedicure while Erik got a massage. The pedicure I got is the best I have ever had. Next time I might go for a massage.

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After our spa services we headed to the Jim Thompson house. We took the BTS which is their metro system. It was packed so we had to squeeze in.

We saw a rally of protestors on the way.

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The election happened on the day we arrived, so the protesting has significantly died down. A lot of people back home were scared for my safety because of the protesting and political issues in Bangkok. But it wasn’t out of control.¬†

Anyway we made it to the Jim Thompson house and it was gorgeous. Jim Thompson was an American architect who fell in love with Bangkok, later making it his permanent home.

That’s all from that post.

Anyway, I hope this blog post finds you happy and healthy. I hope it gives you a little warmth to dream about on this cold gray winter February.

xo  ~ M

Don’t you wish you could drink that watermelon juice?!

Other blog posts about Thailand…

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

The story of why I stopped drinking Milk & a Cashew Cream Recipe!

When I was little, I refused to drink milk. I still remember the day my older sister scarred me for life. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and we were both about to down a glass of white rich creamy milk, when she said, “You know, thats from a cow’s boob.” She ran off smirking, when I on the other hand, immediately put the cup down with a look of disgust. I vowed, from that day forward, I would never drink a glass of milk again.

Now a days, if you don’t want to drink milk, or heavy cream you don’t have to. There are tons of dairy alternatives right on your local grocery store shelves. They are available and the variety is endless. However, there are sneaky additives to some of the most popular brands, and it is just as easy and quick to make your own, fresh at home.

When I started to cook more vegan and plant based meals, I noticed that most of the dishes that required heavy cream such as Clam Chowders, used Cashew Cream.

I first came across Cashew Cream in the, Isa Does It, cookbook. But today, I found another variation on the blog I have been reading, My New Roots.

Can you believe I made that creamy goodness from the raw organic cashew nuts sitting in the bowl behind.

Cashew Cream

 

So here it is, the Cashew Cream recipe…

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Place cashews in a large bowl and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and let soak for a minimum of 4 hours at room temperature or overnight refrigerated.
  • Once cashews have soaked, drain water.
  • Place soaked cashews in Vitamix, and add water, garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt.
  • Blend until completely smooth.

That’s all you do.

That’s it!

Enjoy as a replacement to (dairy) heavy cream in all of your recipes!

Have you made Cashew Milk before? What is your favorite dairy replacement?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I don’t like labels.

Last weekend, I went to DC VegFest. It was totally cool hanging out with all of those vegans and vegetarians. ¬†The Veg community¬†is a very friendly group, and most wanted to know my story. I was asked by a couple different people, ¬†“What brought you to VegFest today? Are you vegan?”

My answer to that questions is…

No. I don’t feel it comfortable or necessary to label myself as anything. I don’t want to follow rigid rules of any kind, when it comes to food – I am too much of a foodie to be so restrictive and disciplined. I simply want to eat a healthy well balanced diet – full of color, flavor, and texture. And although, I eat and cook mostly organic plant based, I¬†am opened minded, adventurous, and willing to explore all different types of food lifestyles.

I recently found my new favorite blog called, My New Roots. When reading Sarah’s (the owner of the blog) About page, I thought to myself, ” Wow! She nailed it. This is exactly how I feel.”

Sarah says, “The only label I‚Äôll slap on myself is ‚Äúwhole-food-lover.” Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I¬†never¬†count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.”

I agree with her 100%. Although, my diet is mainly plant based, consisting of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, I still can not label myself as vegetarian or vegan.¬†There has been weeks in which I have gone meatless, but there are days you can find me eating a greek yogurt. ¬†I absolutely love eggs and eat them a couple times a week. I also can’t live without fish. My favorite thing about summer time is eating a Maryland crab feast or a Lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, your main priority is eliminating all animal products. But the most important thing to me is that everything I eat is organic and whole. It is a very rare day, if you find me eating something that is not organic. I avoid GMOs and processed foods. I try to buy everything from local farms, and eat seasonally. If I am eating eggs, they are from cage free hens eating an organic feed. When I eat fish, I only eat wild caught. And on the rare occasion that I eat dairy or any other animal product, it must be treated as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics and hormones.

There are times in which I love labels, and there are times in which I hate them. There are some labels that are simple, while others are more complicated. The times in which I love them is when they are simple and define ones identity. The times in which I hate them are when they are complicated and become stereotypes.  I can label myself as a marathon runner, simply because I run marathons. But, I can not label myself as vegan or vegetarian, although I often cook and eat that way.

I bought this pendant from a vendor at VegFest…

 

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It says, Plant Strong.

So if I must come up with a label, Plant Strong is a pretty awesome one. I also love the label that Sarah from My New Roots came up with РWhole Food Lover.  Add organic to it and slap it on me.

What’s your label?¬†

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

DC VegFest

Today was a fun and fulfilling Saturday.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a drop of humidity in the air. It was the perfect day for a quick five mile loop around the monuments. 10653611_10102009897351646_5078060190360476724_nI wore my new running shoes, Newton Gravity. I also wore my new running watch, Garmin 620. It was my absolute first time wearing the watch and I loved it. ¬†However,¬†I will be writing a detailed review on the Garmin 620 later this week so stay tuned.

10702231_10102009114106276_1414548754899070551_nThen it was off to DC VegFest

The DC VegFest was located in South East DC at the Yards Park right along the river. Growing up in the DC area, South East was a part of the city you always tried to avoid, it was poor and dangerous. But now, it tells a different story. The famous Eastern Market is located in South East, and eastern market is one of my favorite markets in the area. There are also some really cool bars and restaurants on the neighboring streets.

But today, the VegFest took me to another area in South East. I would have never thought to go down to the waterfront. Wow! Things are changing everyday. Check out how cool the South East waterfront is…

dc water

DC waterfront

DC water rest

After walking around the waterfront my friend and I headed over to DC VegFest. 10625143_10102009396749856_5438624594030666857_n

DC VegFest

DC Veg Fest

At the DC VegFest, there were some fabulous vendors, delicious plant based food, free samples, and amazing guest speakers.

SPEAKERS

I didn’t get to see all of the¬†speakers, but I saw a couple. They discussed the health benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. They also touched on politics, and environmental reasons for becoming vegan. They touched on animal cruelty, and some told their personal stories of why they went veg. The last speaker of the event was actually on the October cover of Runner’s World, wearing vegan compression socks.

VENDORS

Veg Fest soapsThere were some awesome vendors at the festival, but this soap vendor was by far my favorite. I have been using this sugar based shower gel from Blue Mercury which has been irritating my skin. Sugar is bad for you in every way.¬†¬†So when I saw this vendor, I thought perfect just what I needed. Buying soap here, saved me a trip to Sephora or Blue Mercury. All of the soap is free of animal products and both of the bars of soap I purchased have coconut oil in them. Coconut oil is my new obsession… (I will be writing a detailed post on the health benefits later this week so stay tuned.) The only negative thing I saw is that some of the soaps contain palm oil. Palm oil is in everything, and although it is not an animal product, it is not very vegan. Palm Tree farms in South East Asia, are taking away food and habitats from Elephant, Tigers, and many other animals. Anyway, I went home with two soaps a coconut one and and oatmeal one. The coconut soap is free of palm oil, but the oatmeal one may have some small amounts. Unfortunately, palm oil is hard to avoid.

FOODVeg Fest lunch

Going Veg is all about eating your veggies. If you go to DC VegFest next year, make sure you come with an appetite. There were tons of amazing food vendors and food trucks. A lot of the vendors only took cash, so make sure you bring cash. However, there are ATMs for those who forget. The food ranged from pizza to Indian, Ethiopian to mexican. There were sweets, and southern cooking, even greek.

Overall, I enjoyed DC VegFest!

I highly recommend VegFest for anyone who is already living a plant based lifestyle, and for those who are just interested to see what it is all about. At DC VegFest I learned a little more about animal cruelty, politics, and the environment. I also got the chance to eat some awesome plant based food, while learning how I can help create a better food system for the USA. And in my eyes, at the end of the day that is the most important thing. You are what you eat.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when I heard part of the secret. What we eat is a matter of life and death. Food is who we are.‚ÄĚ ¬†~ Scott Jurek

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts…

  1. Review on Garmin 620
  2. Coconut oil health benefits.

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Running on my Wedding Day!

From the title of this post…

Thoughts of a run away bride may be passing through your mind…

But nope, hell no… There is no way I would ever run away from this handsome man.¬†

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no way… we are stuck like glue!

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So I wasn’t a runaway bride, but because I am a runner, I was desperately trying to fit a run in the week of my wedding.

I flew out to San Francisco Monday, June 23rd. I stayed in the Berkley area with my mom, and then drove to Upper Lake (Wine Country) on Wednesday the 25th. I really wanted to run over the Golden Gate Bridge while I was in San Fran, but it was impossible. My mom and I were so busy, shopping, eating, and wedding preparations consumed us.

I had been lifting heavy and running consistently leading up to the wedding, so taking a few days off felt really good. Plus my main priority was getting married and having a fabulous celebration (wedding.)

My sisters and now husband met me in Upper Lake, on Wednesday night. I will never forget that smile my groom gave me when he first arrived. He was so happy to see me his wife to be, and I was happy to see him.

The rest of the week was still busy with wedding appointments and errands. So it turned out, I wasn’t able to fit a run in until the morning of my wedding.

My sister made me a running bib that said BRIDE.

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We pinned on the bride bib, grabbed our running gear, and off we went. We run a 3.5 mile loop in Lake Port, along the lake. It was gorgeous. I always wanted to run in Wine Country, and what better day to do it then on my Wedding day.

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There is my something blue… So blue…

 

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There I am running… I know you are jealous. This is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever run.

Although, it was a short run, any run is better than no run. This run will be an unforgettable one. It got me sweating for my wedding and relived any stress I had.

When my sister and I were done with our run, duh… we stopped at Starbucks. The Starbucks girl wrote Bride on my cup.

bride cup

With a good run and a lot of Caffeine I was pumped to do the damn thing or in other words, get married to my favorite man, and get the party started.

Did you run on your wedding day?

© 2014 sweatdaily

 

Fed Up! The most IMPORTANT blog post.

hey there!

I want to apologize for being MIA for the month of May. I have so much to catch you up on… ¬†And although I haven’t posted much, I have been one busy girl.¬†Travel, work, running, weight lifting, cooking, and wedding planning has consumed me, and continues to consume me. However… last week I was able to squeeze in some movie time with my good friend R (check out her fashion/lifestyle ¬†blog. It’s awesome!)

The movie we saw is called Fed Up (watch the trailer here.) Because it is a documentary it is only playing at the E Street Theater in DC. This is bitter sweet. The sweet part: I love the E Street Theater and was thankful the movie was playing in a theater in my area. The bitter part: After seeing the movie I felt so inspired. I wanted to shout from the roof tops, “Everyone should see this film.” ¬†Then I became really disappointed that only one theater is showing this film in my area. And what about other smaller towns? The odds are no theater is playing it.

That is the reason why I am claiming this to be one of the most important blog posts I have written. I am trying to spread the word about this film the fastest way I can, and there is no way faster than through social media. Please reblog this post and continue to spread the word.

Now about the movie…

I first heard about the movie Fed Up on Kris Carr’s facebook page. I can always count on Kris for keeping me inspired, informed, and updated. For those who don’t know Kris Carr – she is an amazing cancer surviver who wrote the book, Crazy Sexy Diet, and created the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer. I love her book, and watch her documentary often.

Anyway, she posted that Fed Up would premiere May, 9th. Immediately, I knew I had to see it. So I marked it in my calender and contacted R, the one friend I knew who would enjoy the film as much as I would.

This movie is a must see. It is about the American Diet, claiming that sugar is the reason why so many American’s are fat.

Ideas that were expressed in this film that really stuck with me…

  • Sugar is as addictive as cocaine. It releases the same signals from the brain to the body, the way cocaine does. One will drink a sugary coffee drink in the morning. It gives you a high, but in two hours the person feels tired and sluggish, then craving sugar again. People who are overweight, this includes children, continue to crave and often after loosing weight, they will gain it back. Bad habit and routine also causes weight gain. Poor education, not knowing what is healthy also causes weight gain.
  • Sugar without fiber is quickly processed by the liver and stored as fat. This includes fruit juice.
  • The body can not tell the difference between sugar and sugar replacements.
  • Honey, agave, nectars, although natural, are still forms of sugar and effect the body the same way as sugar does.
  • Scientists come up with different names for sugar, and companies label their product with these confusing names. The most common one being¬†high fructose corn syrup.
  • Buying low fat or fat free is not healthier for you. Most low fat or fat free items are processed. Scientists remove the fat and replace it with sugar or man made chemicals.
  • Companies focus on trendy diets in order to sell products. ¬†When low calorie diets were trendy they create products like Coke Zero. Creating products like Coke Zero¬†is just a math equation. It is easy for Scientists to remove calories, but when they remove something they need to replace it with something else – in most cases a chemical. At the end of the day hot pockets vs. lean hot pockets – both of them are equally junk food.¬†
  • Doctors go to medical school and prescribe medicine. In some extreme Doctors will even choose surgery. The problem is medicine and surgery only treats the symptoms. Being obese is a symptom. When children are overweight, there is a deeper reason why… In most cases their parents don’t know the difference between a healthy food vs. a non healthy food. Schools don’t have healthy options in the cafeteria.
  • Advertisements are also a huge reason why Americans are overweight.
  • Politics are also a huge reason why Americans are overweight. Do we want to be the richest nation or the healthiest? Can we have both?
  • This problem is becoming a Global issue.

Although, some of the content I already had knowledge on there were other ideas that were totally eye opening.

 

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Don’t forget to see this film, and bring your friends too. Spread the word!

Do you have a sweet tooth?

What is your favorite documentary?

© sweatdaily 2014

Are you an annoying runner?

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In the April issue of Runner’s World, there is a short article titled, Annoying? Who Us? It was way too funny not to share.

As a runner, I know I am guilty of annoying quite a few of my family members, co-workers, friends, Facebook acquaintances, etc. especially during marathon season.

But honestly, I don’t care. Some people may think my running behavior is an obsession. Some people may think I am addicted to running. But these people who are annoyed are not runners. Running is my passion and only other runners can truly understand.

My favorite part about the article in Runner’s World is about running stickers. To my readers who are runners: Do you have a running sticker on your car? How many do you have? What do they say… 26.2, 13.1, runner girl, ultra marathon? The article compared a runner with a lot of running stickers to a crazy cat lady. This made me laugh out loud, because it is so true. I have one sticker on my car, 26.2, but there are some runners who have their whole bumper covered. And although, you may be the runner who has 10 running stickers on your car, we get it running is your passion- while this may annoy others it doesn’t bother me at all. Just like a crazy cat lady who has 10 cats, you just love your stickers.

However, what annoys me and what I think is the ultimate running offense is being a stuck up runner. I have written about this before, but just because you run an ultra marathon doesn’t mean you are more fit then someone who runs half marathons or full marathons.

People run different distances for different reasons. I also get annoyed when runners put down 5ks, fun runs, tough mudders, Ragnar relays. I have heard some runners, put these races down saying, “that’s not really running.” Races like these can help get more people running races. A fun run 5k may be someone’s first race. Running this race, may help them fall in love with running, making them ready to try a longer distance. Although, I have yet to try a tough mudder, races like these are totally different than a road race or trail race. But having races like a tough mudder gives the running community more race variety. Race variety and how diverse the running community has become is one of the reasons I love this sport.

As a runner, all I do is run, and when I’m not running, I’m talking about running. This is the annoying offense I’m guilty of. I have great conversations and connect well with other runners. But for those who don’t run, I am hoping to inspire and share as much knowledge as I can.

Now at the salon, a lot of my other co-workers have gotten the runner’s bug. I hear my co-workers Katie and Marlene talking about running as much as I do. Katie just completed her first 5k and Marlene set a new PR on her second 5k. This makes me smile! I love that more and more people are becoming runners. Us runners may sound annoying sometimes, but we mean well. We are passionate people, just trying to inspire, seek answers to our running questions, and trying to share our very own running experiences.

That is all…

What are you guilty of? What annoys you?

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