wednesday review: JayBird BlueBuds X

Hi! How is everyone doing? I’m in a great mood this morning! I don’t know if it’s because my new running shoes are coming tomorrow, the fact that we’re halfway through the week or because I have an awesome giveaway that will be appearing on That Running Girl later this week (stay tuned!). Whatever it is, I’m loving it!

I’m going to be totally honest, there’s nothing too exciting about yesterday’s eats, but I’ll share them anyway. :-)

Breakfast was my final Van’s berry waffle in the box (sniff) topped with almond butter, chia seeds and a sliced banana.

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Around 11, I started getting hungry, so I snacked on some Skinny Pop I’d packed. This stuff…. MMM. Expect a review soon.

For lunch, I threw together a taco salad with one of the leftover hamburger patties from the night before.

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Finally, dinner… which I sadly did not photograph. My stomach was being funny when dinnertime rolled around, so I cooked one of the TortillaLand flour tortillas we picked up at Costco last week (the tortillas come uncooked and you just throw them on the skillet to cook them), then topped it with almond butter and a sliced apple. I don’t know why, but that was the only thing that sounded good. It wasn’t nearly pretty enough for a picture (not that any of my food really is…), so I decided to spare you guys a photo.

After dinner, Mark and I met my mom at our church for an Easter event they had put together (a walk-through of Jesus’ final days before his crucifixion… it was so powerful!). Evening event = no run.

Wednesday review

For this week’s review, I want to share with y’all my love for my JayBird BlueBuds X headphones.

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When I first started running, I would lug around my Sony portable CD player. Please tell me you guys remember these…

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When the iPod came out, I felt like my whole world had changed. And then iPhones started carrying music. However, I would still have to deal with annoying headphone cords while I ran. Despite having an arm band that can carry my phone, I typically still hold it while I run. Call it habit. So when I would run with normal headphones, my cord would always be awkwardly hanging there.

Enter JayBird BlueBuds X headphones. Mark bought me these headphones for my birthday (or Christmas? I can’t remember) and I was pretty unfamiliar with them at the time. As soon as I ran with them the first time, I was instantly hooked. The freedom that these headphones allow when you’re running is amazing. I seriously almost forget I’m wearing headphones when I run with these on.

I also have really tiny ears, so most headphones tend to fall out of my ears while I’m running. But the JayBird BlueBud X headphones have ear cushions, so the headphones hug into your ear and don’t move throughout your workout. The headphones also connect quickly to your phone; just turn on your phone’s bluetooth and the headphones will connect.

The only downside to these is that you have to charge them, and I’ve come dangerously close to running out of battery mid-run, but it hasn’t happened quite yet. With 8 hours of play time, I typically only have to charge my battery every 5-7 days. If I turn off the headphones when I’m not using them, the battery will last even longer. The headphones come in both black and white.

So like always: buy it, try it or deny it? At $169.95, these headphones are definitely an investment. However, I use them every single time I workout, so I truly feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth. If you use headphones regularly, I definitely say buy it. Or add it to your birthday wish list. ;)

Do you listen to music while you workout? What was your favorite 90s gadget?

staches for Boston

Hellooooo! How is everyone? I’m a little sleepy this morning, but that’s what iced coffee is for, right?

As most of you know, today is the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. As a country, what happened was horrendous. As runners, what happened was unimaginable. I watched the race online from work for the first couple of hours as the first runners crossed the finish line. However, I had to turn off my live feed, and didn’t hear about the tragedy until it was breaking on CNN. I’ve never felt prouder to be part of the running community, as we all ran for Boston throughout that week.

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I have an opportunity for all of you readers. For Dallas readers, come check out the social run at the Luke’s Locker near you. The run is benefitting Bostache—a fundraising project started by runners from Dallas that were running the Boston Marathon in 2013. You can make a donation online to the Boston Police Department here, and donations will help “fill the gap” on needs of the Boston PD.

Alright, now let’s dive into yesterday’s eats and run and then I have something pretty awesome to share with you all.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a Van’s berry waffle topped with almond butter, chia seeds and raspberries. I can’t get enough of these waffles; sadly, I am eating my last waffle in the box this morning.

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For lunch, I had yet another slice of the pizza from Friday night. This pizza is seriously the gift that keeps giving.

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By the way, you may notice my new water bottle hanging out in the picture above. Over the weekend, Mark and I picked up some ello glass water bottles at Costco. I love adding lemon essential oils to my water, but you can’t add oils to anything you’re drinking from a plastic bottle or cup (the oils will pull the toxins from the cup into your water). I love this water bottle so much. Call me crazy, but the water just tastes more pure and the bottle doesn’t get cakey when put in the dishwasher. Mark and I got two bottles for $15 at Costco. Totally worth the purchase!

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When I got home from work, Mark headed out for a quick run, while I hung at home with the dogs. Once he got back (by the way, he is seriously shaving time off his run times lately, I am so proud), I headed out for a little 5k of my own. As part of my attempt to shave time off my 5k time, one of my weekly runs is going to be a 5k where I consistently push myself out of my comfort zone.

Since this is my first day of “training,” my goal was to simply stay below a 9-minute mile the entire time. I only noticed myself hit a 9-minute mile once and I immediately dug deep and sped up for the remainder of my run. 3.1 miles @8:33 pace. I definitely felt like I pushed myself throughout my entire run and consider it a good start to my training. I’m definitely in a better place with my running than I was even 6 months ago speed-wise.

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When I got back home from my run, Mark was prepping some burgers to throw on the grill. I took care of the green beans (I usually work on the sides and Mark does the meat cooking), while Mark grilled the burgers. PS, the Ezekiel burger buns were amazing. I definitely reccommend them!

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Alright, now I’ve got something to share with you guys. The time has come for me to order new running shoes. I’ve had the same pair of Brooks Glycerin 11s since August 3 and just based off a very rough estimation, have put about 700 miles on them. You’re supposed to change your shoes out every 6ish months or 300-500 miles. So I’m overdue, to say the least.

Typically I go to my local running store to pick up the latest and greatest in running shoes. My current pair cost $160. (I can never imagine spending that much on a normal pair of shoes, but for some reason, I didn’t even blink when they told me my total for these back in August.) Anyway, Mark and I hopped on the Running Warehouse website and picked me up a pair of Brooks PureFlow 2s for $50.

I am all about local running stores, trust me. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning when I go into one. But having to replace shoes every 6-9 months can get expensive, and Running Warehouse seems like it will be a great way to minimize the cost of new shoes. The website has brand new models, which are only slightly less than you would find them in-store. However, there is also a liquidation store on the site, where they list any model of shoes they are trying to get rid of. The PureFlows I got were listed for $59, and Mark found a promo code (FB15D) that knocked another 15% off.

I’m certainly not trying to take away any business from our local running shops. I still plan to shop there regularly. However, if you’re looking for a new running shoe and can’t afford to spend $160 like I did last year, Running Warehouse is seriously a great alternative. I am so excited to get my shoes in the mail within the next two days (free shipping too!).

Dallas runners, is anyone planning to do a Boston social run? Where do you buy your running shoes?

get ready

I’m about to smother you in pictures. ;) Every Monday I have so much to catch up on that I pretty much just go into picture overload. Hope you’re ready!

Friday:

I got to the office on Friday and saw these sitting on my desk. There was no name on the post-it note, but I figured out it was from one of our project managers. So nice!

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Breakfast was a Van’s berry waffle topped with almond butter, chia seeds and a sliced banana.

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For lunch I brought home a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A. Yes, I added a small waffle fry. ;)

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After work, I went for my first run in 6 days. I kept this run short and easy so I could ease my way back in. 3 miles @ 9:22 pace. Man, I missed running.

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Once I got back from my run, I immediately got ready and headed to my old boss’ new house for a housewarming party. So much fun! And then I stopped by Mark’s favorite pizza place and picked up a pizza for us to eat at home. This pizza was huge. We’ve eaten it for several meals this past weekend and still have some left!

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Saturday:

Saturday morning’s breakfast was so good: oatmeal with peanut butter and chia seeds. Served with an iced coffee, of course.

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After a mid-morning run to Costco to stock our pantry, I heated up a slice of pizza, which I ate with some leftover salad from the night before.

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Saturday afternoon, I went for another easy run. 3 miles @ 9:14 pace.

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PS — I passed these ducks during my run. They hang out in our neighborhood a lot. I love them!

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Immediately after my run, I showered and got ready for a Dallas Mavericks’ game with Mark, my mom and sister. Mark and I got to the arena pretty early so we could grab something to eat before the game started. Chicken tenders and fries for me. This wasn’t my healthiest weekend…

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I have so much fun at Mav’s games. We have been going for years and I seriously love it! (Fun fact: Mark and I went on our first date to a Mavs game.)

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My mom. :)

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On our way home from the game, Mark and I stopped at Yogurtland for some frozen yogurt. My favorite.

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Sunday:

Sunday’s breakfast was similar to Saturday’s: steel cut oatmeal with peanut butter, chia seeds and banana slices.

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After church, Mark and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some produce before I threw together something for our lunch. I sauteed chicken/kale sausage with some onions and spinach, served with macaroni & cheese.

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Sunday afternoon I came up with my own at-home workout. For some reason, the ball of my right foot and my right knee were acting up on both of my runs this weekend (I’m assuming I need new shoes), so I figured a different workout would be beneficial.

This workout had my heart rate up for about 45 minutes straight yesterday. During the 10-minutes of spinning on each repetition, I made sure to keep my heart rate high with spinning intervals and sprints on the bike.

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Dinner was takeout Pei Wei since we had a gift card. Yum.

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Now that I’ve drowned you in pictures of my weekend, tell me about your weekend!

Did you run this weekend? What’s the coolest thing you did this weekend?

it’ll be good to be back

It’s Friday, it’s Friday… it’s Friiiiiday! Is anyone else excited about that?! It’s been a heck of a week, I’ll say that. But the weekend is finally almost here.

Yesterday’s breakfast was plain Greek yogurt topped with Barbara’s multigrain spoonfuls and blackberries. I don’t want to talk about how quickly I went through that entire box of multigrain spoonfuls cereal by myself…

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Mid-morning I got hungry… I mean really hungry, so I grabbed a Sabra hummus packet at the cafeteria downstairs in my office. It hit the spot!

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For lunch, I threw together a chicken wrap with the balsamic grilled chicken we had for dinner Wednesday night. Kroger’s homemade tortillas are pretty legit, y’all.

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Around 3:30, I got hungry again. I don’t know what was with me yesterday, but I was hungry. Luckily, I’d packed a banana and some almond butter, which I had with an unsweetened black iced tea from the Starbucks in my office. Perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

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Unfortunately, I had to work late and ate dinner (Jason’s Deli) in record time, so I failed to snap a picture.

So it’s been 6 days since I last ran. I miss it so much and I get major runner’s jealousy when I pass someone running this week. But I truly believe this week has been good for me mentally and physically. I’ve been reminded how much I miss running when it’s not in my life… and I’ve been reminded how poorly I eat when I’m not worried about running. That’s enough motivation to keep running if you ask me. ;)

I am hoping to get an easy run this evening and Mark and I have already discussed a bike ride together tomorrow. It’ll be good to be back. Starting next week, I’m going to (attempt to) start working to shave some time off my 5k PR. The 5k has never really my race per se, but being able to improve my time over the past few months has been really fun for me and I’d love to push myself to continue to get better.

So how do I plan to do that? I did some research and will be following a training plan I found on Runner’s World. I will be focusing on the 6 “puzzle pieces” below:

For our 5K puzzle, we assemble pieces to create these six islands:.

* Stride Efficiency
* Aerobic Endurance
* 5K-Specific Endurance
* Intermediate Fast-Twitch Endurance
* Versatile Race Pace Efficiency
* Post-Run Recovery & Injury Prevention

Basically my workouts will consists of technique drills, short hill repetitions, a weekly long run, track/interval workouts and foam rolling. I am realistic about my weekly workouts, so I will likely continue to take two rest days (like I always do), but will follow the below workout as closely as possible. I am thinking I will skip one medium run and one short run each week. Although, we’ll see how that works out once I begin.

So this is my workout plan for the next two weeks. I’m not sure exactly when my next 5k will be, but I’m looking at a few different races in the next month or so. I’ll keep you all posted!

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Any tips on improving your race time? When is your next race?

a strange day

Hi, guys. Today is a little strange for me, but I felt even stranger not popping in for a post.

Three years ago today my dad passed away unexpectedly, so the anniversary of that day is always just a little…awkward. I honestly feel no sadder than I would any other day, but it’s a day that is obviously much more acknowledge by my friends and family.

So I wanted to share one of my favorite pictures of my dad. He was my best friend and the reason I got started running in the first place. Each time I run I think of how thankful I am that he gave me this passion for something I love so much!

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I apologize for the lack of a normal post today, but I’ll be back tomorrow. :-) Thanks for always letting me share what’s on my heart!

wednesday review: essential oils

Hi! Happy Wednesday. We’re halfway there, y’all. Let’s run through yesterday’s eats so we can get to my weekly review.

Yesterday’s breakfast was Trader Joe’s honey Greek yogurt topped with chopped walnuts and blackberries.

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For lunch, I made some Back To Nature Macaroni & Cheese, which I combined with spinach. Anything is healthy when you add something green, right?!

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I had to eat dinner pretty early yesterday because I had a class to attend at 6:30. I call this the Early Bird Special: tuna salad with raisins and a chopped apple. Mmm.

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Last night, I attended a class on essential oils. You may remember me speaking about them a little in the past. For the past month, I’ve been using essential oils regularly for various reasons, and have really loved the results I’ve seen. So much so that a few weeks ago I signed up for a class educating essential oil users on how to use the oils best to help with depression and anxiety.

If you’ve read my story about anxiety, you know it’s something I’ve dealt with for a couple of years now. I had little idea what to expect going into this class, but I figured any information could be helpful. The class was absolutely packed and started 15 minutes late because so many people were pilling in. (High quality picture coming up…)

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So I decided for this week’s Wednesday review I would share just a little about my experience with essential oils so far.

Young Living Essential Oils

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When I first started hearing about essential oils, I was skeptical to say the least. I don’t consider myself an overly “crunchy” or “granola” person, although I like to use natural remedies and eat real foods whenever possible. But when my friend Tania invited me to a Young Living essential oils “party” to learn more about these oils, I decided to give it a shot.

The class was extremely informative, but I felt overwhelmed and unsure whether or not I wanted to spend the money on oils at that time. I went home, armed with the information I’d learned in the class, and did my own research, trying to figure out which oils I may benefit from.

Most oils range between $10 and $40. I knew I wanted to try a few, but I didn’t want to over-commit. As I considered what “problems” I would most utilize the oils for, I determined I would try out Peppermint Oil for my sinuses, Lemon Oil for general health and a sample pack of Peace & Calming for my anxiety.

Over the past month, I’ve consistently used all three oils. I’ve seen tremendous success with all three and honestly was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with essential oils. I put one or two drops of the Lemon Oil in my water (only do this in a glass; no plastic!) for overall happiness and a refreshing pick-me-up nearly every day. The Peppermint Oil has worked wonders for my sinuses (I simply dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil ((olive oil)) and rub it over my sinuses.) and I even use it for headaches and other aches and pains. But the Peace & Calming has been my favorite. At least once a day (often twice) I rub some P&C on the back of my neck and into my palms to help alleviate nerves and anxiety.

I know this sounds too good to be true and I’m not saying essential oils are for everyone. I do know that the woman who led the anxiety & depression class last night was on Prozac for most of her life before she found essential oils. I truly believe that using essential oils can work in place of many over-the-counter drugs and be a natural solution to many of our problems.

So buy it, try it or deny it? I say buy it. However, I would highly recommend doing your own research and make sure you buy through a reputable company (Young Living and Doterra are two of the best). You can find essential oils at places like Whole Foods and GNC, but they are most often adulterated and not pure enough to ingest.

PS here is an awesome blog post by Tania @ Run To Radiance discussing how she has added essential oils to her beauty routine.

Have you ever tried essential oils? If so, share which ones you use!

avoiding burnout

Hi, friends! I hope you’re having a great week so far. This week is pretty busy for me, but busy can be a good thing!

Yesterday started off with a Van’s berry waffle topped with almond butter, chia seeds and blueberries. Served with an iced coffee, of course.

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 For lunch, I went home to let my dogs out and made myself a turkey/spinach/cheese wrap which I ate with a packet of guacamole and a handful of tortilla chips. Not too pretty, but tasty.

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After work, I met up with some friends I used to work with for a drink at Chuy’s, who just so happens to offer free chips and queso if you’re there during happy hour. I ate my fair share of chips and queso, so by the time I got home, I wasn’t starving.

Mark and I decided to just make our own dinners, so I went with a smoothie. I threw in a banana, a handful of blueberries, a spoonful of almond butter, a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt, a handful of spinach and some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Yum.

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Mark and I were talking about my new goals with running and decided I should take a “mini break.” I have been running for almost 15 years, so finding that balance between fitness and burnout is important. After my PR race on Saturday, I have decided I want to work to shave some more time off my PR, so I’m going to start incorporating more interval and long runs into my running schedule.

With that being said, I am taking a few days to recharge my battery and to avoid burnout. This fell at a great time since I have plans every night this week, so I am not having to stress out about when I fit a workout in. :) I already took Sunday and Monday off, and I will likely take off today and Wednesday as well. I may ease my way back in with an easy run on Thursday or Friday and hopefully hop back in full force next week.

And last, but certainly not least, I leave you with this hilarious photo I found yesterday. I don’t know why this is so funny to me, but I can’t stop laughing every time I look at it.

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Do you enjoy taking time to “recharge” your running? What has worked best for you to improve your PR times?

my new 5k PR

Hi, everybody! It’s Monday. I know, I know. Mondays are not the best. But I had a pretty enjoyable weekend, so today seems less painful than most Mondays.

As always, we’ve got lots to catch up on this Monday. So let’s just start with Friday: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. No run for me Friday!

Breakfast was plain Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s, topped with Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls and blueberries.

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Lunch came from Cafe Express: chicken sandwich with a side of fruit. So good.

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For a snack, I munched on a KIND bar.

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Finally, dinner wasn’t super healthy, but it was super tasty. Half an order of Fish Tacos with a side of fries ordered from Rockfish and eaten on the comfort of my own couch. Perfection.

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Saturday morning I was up bright and early for a 5k Mark and I signed up for on Thursday (we are kinda procrastinators). I hadn’t really been training for this race, with the exception of one run last week “at 5k pace,” so I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of my pace. I got lucky and the weather was overcast and in the 50s. Perfect race day weather.

This race was extra exciting for me because it’s the first Mark and I had run together since our half marathon two years ago. I love running races with him. Sometimes we stay together when we race, other times we run our own races.

5k 2014

For Saturday’s race we decided to run our own races and meet up at the end. I am so proud of Mark, he ran such a great race.

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Since I knew the race route well, I felt comfortable pushing hills since I knew when a downhill slope would follow. Mentally, I felt so prepared for this race, even if I hadn’t really been training for a PR physically. My watch clocked me at 24:39, but my official race time was 24:44. Hey, I’ll take it. Either way that’s a 5k PR for me! My previous race PR was 26:37, although my 5k PR run on my own (not during a race) was 25:15.

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I was so excited that Mark’s mom and friend came to cheer us on at the finish line after they finished their own run nearby.

5k Race 2014

Once we’d explored the booths and other fun things they had set up, there was an announcement that race times (at least the runners that were finished) had been posted. Immediately there was a stampede of people rushing to find out their official time/placement for this race.

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According to the original posting, I finished 52nd. However, after rechecking my time online Saturday afternoon, I was bumped down to 56th out of 407 runners. Here were my splits. I’ve really got to work on not tiring out.

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After the race, Mark and I grabbed some queso and breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Holy yum.

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This kept me full for most of the day, so I never really ate lunch, just snacked. By dinnertime, I was starving, so Mark and I went out for a little date night to watch the Texas Rangers at a local restaurant. I had a stuffed potato and salad. The lighting was dark, so these pictures don’t look great, but it sure tasted amazing.

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And we splurged with a little ice cream afterwards. I love chocolate chip cookie dough.

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Finally, let’s wrap up with yesterday’s eats.

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Sorry about the quality of these pics, for some reason they all came out just a little dark or grainy.

How was your weekend? Do you have any races coming up?

short and sweet

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet for two reasons: work is crazy and my day wasn’t anything too exciting yesterday.

I had a 7:15 am dentist appointment (gross) before work, so I treated myself to Starbucks for breakfast on my drive in. Venti iced coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. YUM!

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I went home for lunch to let my dogs out and made myself a random “cleaning out my fridge” hodge podge.

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Finally, after working late, I came home to some Jason’s Deli that Marked picked up on his way home. Is anyone else as obsessed with this place as I am?! I always prefer eating in the restaurant though because they offer free ice cream. I like ice cream.

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Yesterday was my second schedule rest day of the week since I had my weekly small group and not much time in between work and having to leave for that. I’m planning to get in a short and sweet (theme of the day) run today and tomorrow Mark and I have a 5k we are running together. :-) We haven’t run a race together in two years, so I’m super excited. Yay!

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Do you have any runs planned?

(the day after) wednesday review: trader joe’s cold brew coffee

So it’s Thursday, not Wednesday, but I may or may not have forgotten to do a Wednesday review yesterday. So let’s just pretend today’s Wednesday and we’ll all be super happy when we wake up tomorrow and it’s Friday. Deal? Deal.

Since I’m already a day late, let’s not waste any more time. Today, I will be reviewing Trader Joe’s cold brew coffee.

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If you’re anything like me, you could stop at Starbucks for an iced coffee every single day. Sadly, I am not a millionaire, so that’s not an option for me. I’ve tried making my own iced coffee at home for years now, but it’s always a huge hassle to brew my coffee the night before and make sure it sits in the fridge overnight. Plus I can never seem to get the taste just right. Enter TJ’s cold brew coffee.

This stuff is strong. In fact, the container suggests a 2:1 ratio of water/milk to coffee concentrate. Typically when I make myself a glass of this, I fill my bottle 1/8 the way with water, add (a lot of) ice and top the rest with half coffee concentrate and half almond or soy milk. It’s so easy to throw together in the morning before work and it’s the closest I’ve come to replicating Starbucks. Culicurious offers a great cold brew coffee recipe here as well.

So buy it, try it or deny it? I say buy it — and then buy another bottle for backup. ;)

Ok, time to recap yesterday’s eats and run now. I started off my day with an Ezekiel english muffin topped with peanut butter, chia seeds and a teeny dollop of organic raw honey.

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For lunch, I made myself a turkey, turkey bacon, guacamole, cheese sandwich. Served with an orange.

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Sadly, I didn’t snap a picture of dinner because I was still cooling off from my run, but it was pretty dang tasty. Mark and I are still trying to work our way through some of the food we have just hanging out in our pantry/fridge, so Mark whipped up a pasta dish using ground turkey, quinoa pasta, a little bit of marinara sauce, tomato soup and minestrone soup. I don’t know how he does it, but it was amazing.

While Mark was working on dinner, I went on a run. We have a 5k coming up this weekend, so I decided to run the race course last night to get a feel for it (and because the 5k is literally in our neighborhood and actually passes our street ;) hahaha). 5k in 25:15 @ an 8:09 pace.

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Last but not least, I have to share yesterday’s shopping finds with y’all. I am not much of a shopper, nor do I shop often at all, so I always get really excited when I stock up on clothes and accessories. I am totally ready for summer now!

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Do you like your coffee iced or hot? What’s something you’d like to see more or less of on That Running Girl? :)