Things that make me feel good.

Things that make me feel good: 

 #1: Fun notes next to the various alarms I have set up on my iPhone. Sure this involves a fair amount of early wake-ups each week but just these little notes next to each one make me just a little bit more excited about the dark-thirty wake-ups.

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For example, the ‘b9 6am class’ alarm goes off on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, while the “Tues AM run” is set for Tuesdays (obvs, lol) and then “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph” goes off each Wednesday. So yup, pretty much every day of the work week involves a 5:xx alarm. And somehow, I’m totally ok with that. <– will be even MORE ok with that when it’s bright and sunny out well before my alarm goes off #hurryupspring

(and yes, I realize that these are all pretty random alarm times I’ve set here. I can’t ever choose a normal time like 5:00 or 5:30, it has to be random. Am I weird or do you guys have these random alarm rules too?)

#2: Accountability by way of new fit gear. Yup, accountability comes in many shapes and sizes folks. Not just from shouting it out loud and proud on Facebook for all to see and hear, but sometimes just the sheer thought of rocking out some new fit gear can get my butt shifted into #ampitup mode.

Wednesday morning was one of those occasions. (aka “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph”)

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I finally got a chance to test out my new Ellie gear and I am IN LOVE with both pieces. The top is suuuper flattering – looove the neckline and the thumbholes. Perfect for a post-class run or a pre-class layer to keep me warm and cozy before teaching or taking a class at the studio.

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And the bottoms are lightweight, also very flattering and fit just right, totally true to size (top was also true to size, btw).
But best of all? I felt GREAT in my new gear. Energized and excited for class and then a quick run today, just the ‘me workout’ I needed mid-week. #accountabilityrocks

(If you want to try out Ellie, I’m an ambassador for them and so far have really appreciated the new gear so much. If you want to snag 20% off, you can click this link.)

#3: New food finds! Oatmeal lover up in here finally tried a new (to me) way of prepping my oatmeal. Baked!! I am in LOVE with this style, especially during the week when I’m at work and reheating my oatmeal vs. cooking it fresh on the stovetop.

Before:

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After:

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(I practically licked the bowl clean!)

Perhaps this requires a ‘foodie Friday’ post to dig a little deeper into some of the recent new foodie finds I’ve discovered lately. It’s been awhile, hmm?

So there’s that – my “what makes me feel good” list for the week. Fitting seeing as its winesday and I’m off to enjoy a much needed date night in with the hubs.
And yup, wine *will* be served. Cheers! ;-)

Community: (re)defined

The concept of community has been all around me the last couple of days in particular, but really — community has been on my mind for weeks now. I started to think about how I defined community the last time I wrote about it here:

So now when I think about “community” — my definition is quite different.  It’s about finding common ground. Above all else. Kind of like this amazing fitness and healthy living community that I am damn proud to be a part of. A beautiful phenomenon…another community where I’ve made friendships that I cherish, with awesome women (and even a few guys!) who I’d never ever have met if not for this blogging thang.

As I read and re-read my words from that post, it dawned on me: I was writing about it from a very different perspective — the perspective of the student surrounded by a loving, warm and supportive set of mini communities. But today, I sit here thinking about community from the perspective of instructor or teacher.And while I still define community in a similar way to how I wrote about it over a year ago, I’m coming at the concept of community from a (re)defined perspective today.

…as a barre n9ne instructor.
…as a forever student of this fit lifestyle I’ve grown to love.
…and as a quasi-‘teacher’ of what fit can mean if you apply it to all areas of your life.

Community means…support without strings attached, just lifting up your fellow friends, clients, family, etc., because you want to. Period.

Community means...learning from eachother. Whether it be at the studio and figuring out how to connect with your core better, or through fit friends who show you how to run with heart and soul (yep, that’s you Meaghan).

Community means…putting yourself out there and knowing that those in your personal community will be there to catch you if needed. This happens all the time with fit besties Steph and my sis Jo. Anytime I’m having a moment of personal struggle, no matter how big or small it is, they are there to remind me to think bigger, to pull back and look at the situation with a new perspective, and usually it’s a fit perspective at that.

Community means…leading by example as an instructor, in the hopes that at least one client will be inspired to reach for a higher goal, push a little harder in class, or simply smile at themselves in the mirror when I tell them to focus on the work they’re putting into that plie or bicep curl.

Community means…beautiful friendships, connections and memories built on that common ground, and with a foundation of trust and support above all else.

Community is beautiful.

And, as we near the end of 2012, I am damn thankful for the various communities that make up such a big part of my life today.

Source: toms.com via Jess on Pinterest

Fit thoughts.

Fit Thoughts…

The first bite of what I consider more of a ‘winter’ fruit – a pear – and thinking: “man, I need to buy these more often, so yummy.” <– love how good ‘healthy’ tastes…

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Glancing in the mirror while washing my hands in the bathroom at work the other day and doing a double-take, thinking: “is that really ME staring back at me in the mirror?” <–fit ‘self-love’ moments like these are rare, but when they happen, embrace them: note to self but also note to all of YOU to celebrate you and your unique beauty and strengths more often…

Shamelessly shooting ‘selfies’ and sharing them on instagram after particularly fun sweat-fests and resisting the urge to think: ‘man, I must look so vain by posting this,’ and instead thinking: ‘Sweat just feels good. Maybe someone will see this and get motivated to get their workout in today…’ <–this actually happened after I posted this pic the other day on instagram, and seriously it made my day.

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Excitedly discussing ‘fitdate’ plans with my sis over IM – both in advance of last night’s fitdate at the barre (where my sis royally kicked my ass at barre n9ne thankyouverymuch) – but also in advance of next week where schedules will finally allow us more fitdates together, and thinking: “how geeky do we sound right now chit-chatting about when we’d like to run together and what classes we can take together…but I wouldn’t have it any other way….” <3

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Taking the extra time this week to throw a few fun curveballs into my barre n9ne classes – which took the form of killer core and glute work, two of my favorite areas to work (if I *had* to choose…hee) – and thinking: “I hope clients don’t throw the silver balls at me after class is over…” ;-) #Ilovethisjob #livingthedream

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Fit makes me happy, what can I say? What also makes me happy? Spending the next few days with the ones I love most on this earth, cherishing every memory made, every moment big or small. And I hope you’ll all be doing the same. <3

Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN

So I’m titling this post: Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN. 

But really, the title *should* be: The workout where my ass fell off. 

Seriously — if you EVER need to get your ass literally handed to you, just talk to my fit and fab friend Meaghan who happens to be my running idol and one of my dearest friends (reason #3,478 why I love blogging: ‘finding’ friends like Meaghan who I’d NEVER have met if I never started blogging to begin with…)

This was our text exchange midway through my workout this morning:

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And this was what I looked like when all was said and done:

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What you can’t quite see in that pic is just how sweaty I am — particularly my hair: I. Was. Drenched.
…and exhausted

But deliriously high from the rush of the endorphins this workout gave me. For real, it was KILLER. But I managed to keep my promise to Meaghan – I had FUN with the workout even though it was quickly kicking my ass. And you know what? That, to me, is what working out *should* be about, bottom line: having fun.

Sure, we all have goals for ourselves when it comes to our own physical fitness and those goals come in many shapes, forms and sizes. But honestly? Setting hard and fast goals aside can be such a liberating thing and can be just the reminder you may need to get your ‘mojo’ back. At least that’s what I’ve been LOVING lately — having fun with my workouts, not focusing on any real goals other than staying as fit as I can while having as much FUN as I can. And making as many fitdates as I can fit into my schedule (something I’ve been failing at miserably lately, but I’m determined to fix this in the new year!). 

While I’m not going to share every last detail of what this workout looked like (since it was Meaghan’s creation, I think it’s only fitting that she share it if she so chooses…maybe if you ask nicely, she’ll post about it soon, hehe #peerpressure), I will share what it felt like:

The warm-up was fun, nice easy pace and it shook the cobwebs out (fighting off some weird sniffly thing over here, bah #notsicknotsick)
The first set was all about hills mixed with speed. There were SIX (very intense) rounds with tonnnnns of incline work.
The second set was all about speed, speed, speed. Sprinting FAST, but not so fast that form suffered. My core is now killing me from focusing on my form so much during this set (it also didn’t help that I taught arms & abs last night at the studio, heh)
The final set was a mix of moderate speed mixed with a small hill. I needed this set, like whoa.

In all? I managed to kick out 6 miles of INTENSITY all before 6:30am this morning. If THAT doesn’t make you feel badass, nothing will I’ve decided. 

And on that note — I’m off to find my ass, it fell off somewhere around mile 3 or 4 during that first set… ;-)

Accountability.

Guess what? 
…even I need a kick in the ass sometimes to get my workout in. 

Shocking, I know. ;-)

But seriously, this brings up a very valid point — accountability can be a huge motivator. HUGE. So today, I’m here to tell you how to find that accountability, harness it, and get that workout in. In three very easy steps. 

Step 1: b*tch and moan vent to your fit friend and sis about how much you really don’t want to get your run in after work. (while sitting in traffic on the way home, NOT texting while driving, I swear). Call your husband and do the very same thing. Only to hear: “I’ll motivate you, and you’ll motivate me, we’ll get it done.” (remember this, you’ll need to reference it in a sec). 

Step 2: Read the following text from the same fit friend and sis while filling up your gas tank (it’s really quite awesome to see your gas light come on while in traffic after a long day…am I the only one who hates filling their gas tank and always waits until the most inopportune time to fill it??)

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Step 3: Call your husband back. Tell him you’re almost home and to get ready to work. His response: “I’m tired, maybe we should skip it.” <–what happened to motivating eachother?? My response: “Nope, we’re doing it. My run won’t take as long as your weight workout so get upstairs and get moving, I’ll be home soon.”

The result: 

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Four sweaty miles, done. That’s all I really wanted — I didn’t care about how far I went, I just wanted to get a good sweat, feel that rush of endorphins and get my heart rate up. Something I desperately needed after WAY too much sitting at work all day.

And that my friends, is all it takes to stay accountable to your fitness goals. Three easy steps* is all it takes.
#makeitcount

*Note: it also works well to post your workout intentions on Facebook or Twitter, then it’s out there for the world to see, and do you really want the ‘world’ to know you skipped out on that workout? ;-)

Ruminations (#1 of…)

So I’m titling this post ‘Ruminations (#1 of…) for a specific reason (you know me, I always do things with intention, right??).
…I’m leaving myself room to expand on this into a series if I so choose.

You see, lately I’ve been struggling to collect my thoughts, to find focus. There are many reasons for that, none of which I care to dive into here. Generally speaking, you all know pretty much why that is. Why I’ve been so focused on simplifying, finding or re-creating a new sense of balance, etc. So while I’m figuring out my flow over here, I didn’t want to just plain stop blogging entirely. I have lots of thoughts going on, none all that cohesive per se, but some that are totally worth sharing here, in rumination format instead of my usual ‘themed’ posts.

(wow was that a long preamble to today’s post! Man.)

Ruminations (#1 of…)

Seeing this girl absolutely CRUSH 50 miles on Saturday was an honor and a privilege.  Other than inspiring the hell outta me, she also restored my faith in running joyfully, because you LOVE it, above all else. This girl absolutely lives and breathes running…and I adore that in her.

#runsherpa duties are no joke. I mean, seriously — it was *such* hard work passing time in between Meaghan’s 12.5 mile loops by basically bar hopping in between loops three and four. <wipes sweat from brow> But seriously, it was SO much fun seeing her pass each loop, giving her whatever she needed in the way of support — healthy bites (fueled by Healthy Bites woo!), gummy bears (so glad I packed those from Scott’s secret stash!), refilling her gatorade, handing her love notes to read along the course and shouting words of encouragement as she jetted off for the next go-round. Jo and I were seriously working hard as can be in this pic, hmm? (note the photo bomb by a certain #teamsutera member…)

It similar running related news — I’m scarily excited to run intervals tomorrow morning. Now that I’ve gone into totally unstructured territory with  my running, and because I have much less time to dedicate to running lately, I gotta make every single one count (#makeitcount!). Plus, I’ve neglected speed work for so long that it’s oddly fun to get to that puketastic/sweatastic point. While I DO miss endurance running, I know I’ll get back to that in a couple weeks once things settle down at the Sutera Manor (more on this later), for now — quick and dirty is the way to go (TWSS). Let’s hope I feel this way post-workout in the am. ;-) (I’ll report back, don’t you worry)

Speaking of endurance…ya’ll have to quit running marathons and writing such inspiring race day recaps. It’s making me want to run another marathon. Wait, I didn’t say that…ohhhh but I did. NO news (yet) buuuut #teamsutera is definitely mulling it over just a teensy bit. Not gonna lie. #arewecrazy #maybebutwhatelseisnew #notcommitting #runsimplyisourmantra

“Me dinner” nights are frickin’ tasty occurrences up in here. Tonight’s dinner was jammed full of veggies, apparently my body was majorly craving them given this ‘kitchen sink’ style stir fry I whipped up. In it you’ll spy: mushrooms, summer squash, yellow beans, tomatoes, chicken sausage (woops, that’s not a veggie) and mashed sweet potato with plain greek yogurt stirred in. I’m pretty sure as soon as I took this pic, my plate was clean. #hungryhorrors up in here.

In other foodie news — pretty sure this will be happening shortly: a red velvet ‘cupcake’ made with red velvet cake mix and a can of pumpkin stirred in. Two ingredients — ridiculously tasty and equally ridiculously low calorie (approx. 150 cals in this sucker…a titch more if you add a tsp of melty nutella on top like mine will have tonight…). 

And because I can’t get enough of barre n9ne – my #b94lyf gush-fest of the night? I am way, way, way too excited to be teaching a heck of a lineup of classes this week due to some subbing I offered up, y’know because I’m such a team player and all. ;-) I’m in the studio every single day this week except for tomorrow. I kinda love it. (and don’t worry, I will not be running a lot this week; nor am I taking any classes this week — teaching a ton means pulling back in other areas so as not to burn myself out…remember: balance is good. I loooove balance.)

Hmm. Apparently I had more to say than I thought. This may not be the most organized or theme-driven posts of all but it still follows my blogging personality quite nicely — goofy, honest, real and still with intention, per the usual. ;-)

(here’s to #1 of___ to come?)

The beauty in friendship.

I am a very lucky lady. For a multitude of reasons (I love to count my blessings, they’re not something to take for granted, right?)  really — but a big one on my mind right now?

I have awesome friends.

Both near and far, “IRL” and of the bloggy variety — a line that continues to blur more and more, and in the best possible way — the friends I surround myself today are nothing short of beautiful.

I’ve mentioned the running sherpa ‘thing’ a couple of times now but I don’t think I’ve done it any sort of justice. And I don’t even know that this post will do it justice either, but I had to dedicate an entire post to the topic. It dawned on me after reading Spabettie’s blog post from last week (a fellow sherpa friend!) on this entire phenomenon, that I really needed to give thanks, right here on this blog, right now, for the world to see.

Quite simply - I’m in awe. 

In awe…that this group of beautiful sherpa friends has surrounded little ‘ol me (and Scott!) with a ridiculous amount of support during marathon training. I never saw it coming. And not because I didn’t think my friends were capable of such support, but because I guess I didn’t think I warranted such support. As odd as that sounds.

In awe…that they call *me* an inspiration to them. Um hi, you ladies inspire the hell outta me every single day. Your friendship, your loyalty, your own journeys as fit, faithful woman? Gorgeous. And awesomely inspiring.

In awe…that the love and support keep on comin’. The closer we get to October 7 (aka ‘d-day’), the more warm and fuzzy I feel nearly everyday that I log onto instagram, or twitter, or facebook or gmail. Little notes, words of encouragement, and funny-as-hell hashtags? Yes, please. :)

In awe…that I can count each of you as friends. Even the friends I have yet to meet in person (it WILL happen). I am a lucky, lucky girl.

So today? I’m thanking each and every one of you sherpa friends: 

Heather
Dorry
Lindsay (aka queen sherpa! *and* healthy bites genius…she’s even making Scott and I special marathon bites just for use on the big day, <3 her!)
Jo
Spabettie
Melissa
Sarena
Amber
Christine

In addition to such fine sherpa friends as these, I also have some IRL friends who have been quietly supportive in their own ways. Either by running ‘with’ me on long runs days (and texting me to tell me so!) or by sending me cute text messages that I usually see right when I get back from a long run, cheering me on from afar. You have no idea how deeply it touches me to read a simple “thinking of you” text message after knocking out a double-digit training run. It means the world. <3

You are beautiful, you are incredible friends, you are so dear to me, I can’t even begin to describe it. And you know what? I will run with a little more heart on marathon day (ONE MONTH from today!!) because that heart will be full to the brim with love for each of you. I promise to do you proud. <3

<<and I’ll certainly need an extra dose of your sherpa support when Scott and I stare down our second 20-mile run on our training plan tomorrow morning. Be prepared to rally, please!! xoxo >>

20 miles: fought, and won.

20 miles. 

20 MILES. 

20 FREAKIN’ MILES!

…holy crap, we actually hit super-ridiculous double-digits this morning. 

Sorry — I had to repeat that a few times to literally remind myself that we just nailed our (first) 20 miler. 

Not that I need much reminding — my entire body is legit screaming at me right now, it hates me, I’m convinced. Everything. Hurts.
…but guess how much that pain was worth to me today? Every. Single. Mile — WORTH. IT. 

Now that I’ve had time to let the concept of running 20 miles digest a bit (and I’ve eaten my weight in oatmeal, thankyouverymuch), I am completely in awe. Not just of what our bodies are capable of if we trust them enough, but that once again, we did this together.

…and this time we had a TON of beautiful (virtual) sherpas with us. 
Case in point:

(what you can’t see is who commented on Heather’s post in particular – there was lots of love being shared around from fellow blog besties Dorry, Sarena, and my sister.)

I mean really — if that’s not enough to make a girl smile her silliest grin ever as she drifted off to sleep last night, I don’t what is. These ladies are seriously amazing. I sensed every single one of you by our side this morning. And in fact, I know God was working his wonders as usual when I saw not one, not two, not three — but NINE bunnies all in a cluster in one particular neighborhood about five miles into our run. To me it was as clear as day — God was showing me physical proof that my virtual sherpa friends were with us, cheering us on, running ‘beside’ us and giving us the extra strength we needed to push through the pain.

And we REALLY needed that support today. 20 miles hurts. It hurts a LOT. And lucky for me (lol), I totally hit a wall about 10-12 miles in. Not pretty at all. Thank God I had such wonderful virtual sherpa’s pushing us through, and the incredible love and support of Scott beside me pushing me with his words but also just with his sheer presence beside me — so comforting at times, and at other times seeing him struggle and overcome the urge to give up was all that I needed to keep up the good fight. He is so good to me, I just adore him. <3

So yeah — today, I’m feeling all over the place with my emotions, post-20 miler:

Joy — that we continue to learn so much about ourselves, about eachother, each time we set foot out there for our long run

Pride — that we overcame the dreaded wall today and pushed through all the way to the end. No stopping. No walk breaks. No nothing. The Sutera’s? We don’t give up. Ever.

Confidence — that we *will* make it all 26.2 miles on October 7 (though, to say that those last 6.2 miles is going to take sheer willpower to get through? Um yeah, cannot fathom how much *more* that’ll hurt…)

Gratitude — Scott and I are literally surrounded by virtual sherpas both near and far who love us, who support us, who lift us up just when we need it. I am thankful for each one of you. So much more than I could possibly frame with words properly.

Faith — I never, ever, ever expected to have my faith renewed the way it has through this journey. My faith in God is stronger and more apparent than ever. I see and sense Him so much more strongly today. And our faith in eachother? Again — I have no words. Through this journey, I have fallen deeper in love with Scott, more committed and dedicated to him and our relationship than ever, and more proud of how strong we are as a couple. Adoration, through and through. <3

So even though we look rather beat up in this picture of us just after we got home after our 20 miler today? I’d call today’s run a fight worth fighting as hard as ever for. Worth it, worth it, worth it. 

Virtual sherpa’s for 16 miles

A word of advice for any of you contemplating 26.2:

Surround yourself with sherpa’s.
(borrowing this concept from my dear friend Lindsay who is an incredible sherpa to the hubs!)

To say that I felt embraced and supported by my circle of sherpa’s on this morning’s 16 miler would be an understatement. I felt surrounded by love, encouragement, faith and courage.

From my sister (and M) who ‘virtually ran’ almost 8 miles of our 16 miler ‘with’ us this morning.

From Lindsay whose healthy bite creations were an incredible burst of energy for me at about mile 9.

From Heather who also ‘virtually ran’ 7 of our 16 miles ‘with’ us this morning.

And bestie Steph who texted me at 5:05 this morning to tell me she decided to get up and get her run done ‘with’ us, versus waiting until later in the day to get her workout in.

…virtual sherpa’s at their finest.

As if I wasn’t lucky enough to have such fine sherpa friends virtually surrounded me this morning, I also had the hubs by my side, the best damn sherpa that ever existed. I’d like to think I’m a fine sherpa for him, too. We swapped that role a few times this morning, actually. Me – opening the baggie of fuel, jamming a handful of gummi bears in Scott’s hands. Him – handing me my own baggie of fuel, even when I didn’t think I needed more, he knew…and automatically gave them to me. And both of us – offering words of encouragement, cracking jokes or telling little stories to break the silence now and then.

This morning’s run was far more than another PDR for me — it was a shining example, THE best example I can think of, actually — of why I run. Why we run.

It’s about experiences like these, bonding moments like this between Scott and I, but also bonding moments between loved ones — both family and friends — and also moments of faith, sending silent prayers yet again to Him a few miles into our run. Those words gave me the peace and calm that I needed to keep from getting too mental about the run.

Sure, there were moments where I had to battle a bit to quiet my mind, or when my joints would get a little achy and it made every step feel tougher and tougher. It isn’t all puppies and rainbows up in here. It was hard work. I was wilting by the end of it. But the bottom line is we made it. We made it together. And this run, these moments — well, I’m pretty sure I’ll cherish them always.

…who knew training for 26.2 would turn into such a spiritual, emotional journey for me, even more so than a physical one? I had no idea. But I love it.

Reasons to love the #rundate

Reasons to love the #rundate:

Major accountability — knowing that your bestie is en route to your house at 5:30am is more than enough motivation to get your ass in gear before she shows up

The company, obvs — nothing better than logging a few miles without really even feeling those miles whiz by. Too busy chatting it up to notice.

Pace-less, numbers-less running — rundates typically do not involve pacing (unless you’re hardcore training together, I suppose) or lots of numbers talk. It’s more about the experience itself. Sharing a workout with a friend, particularly a friend who digs fitness as much as you do.

And last but not least, the funny things that tend to happen on rundates. Things that nobody would believe really happened if you were running alone that day.

Take today, for example. Steph met me at my house to run with me. Just a handful of miles to keep the legs happy before race day and to get our workout in before I went off to teach barre n9ne. We were so proud of ourselves for getting up and getting it done early in the day (nothing worse than the workout hanging over your head all day long!) – so off we went, ignoring the fact that we were both really tired from the long week (and the rainy, yuck weather).

The run was super fun, the miles went by fast, we felt great that we’d gotten it done. Accountability, company, pace-less running. Check, check, check.

Now, the funny story. As we were rounding the path by the park that winds by the river near my house, we saw a bunch of geese meandering around. I looked to my left and pointed out some baby geese (geeslings??) to Steph, noting how cute and fuzzy they were (sooo wanted to pat them!). Then we saw a couple of other geese right in our path, and one of them had a baby goose following it closely behind. I KNOW how protective geese are of their little ones so I was a little nervous, not gonna lie.

And for GOOD reason. The goose promptly gave us the stare down and HISSED at us. HISSED. Who knew that geese hissed anyway?? Sounded like a freakin’ rabid raccoon! I jumped and promptly ran into the grass waaaay around the goose that was hissing. Steph followed me and we both kinda giggled nervously. Of course, neither of us wanted to be the “scared” one so we played it off like it was funny. But seriously, a goose hissing at you is kinda scary. Especially at 6am in the morning.

So anyway, had that happened on a solo run, it a) might not have been nearly as funny and b) might not have prompted this blog post reminding ya’ll how fab #rundates can be.

Plus my workout is all done for the day so I’m happy. And so is Steph. As you can see from the pic below.
Win-win!

(PS. I almost wrote “wine-wine” — apparently wine is *always* on my mind, even at 8am in the morning). ;-)