My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

The Friday Five

Happy Friday, everyone!  The last official week of summer has come to and end and the Labour Day Long Weekend is upon us.  Time for the Friday Five.

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1.  I am completely addicted to Big Brother!  I even watched last night’s episode twice!  My hubby had baseball at 7 and then had to go to the bar with his buddies, so didn’t get home until well after 10pm.  I couldn’t wait, and watched the show live.  When hubs got home from ball, he asked if I had already watched and was a bit disappointed that I watched without him.  He asked if he could watch on PVR now instead of me watching whatever it was that I flipped to after Big Brother ended.  Since I had zero investment in whatever I was watching I agreed and re-watched it with him.  It was just as good the second time!  After watching it twice, here are my thoughts on last night’s episode:  -  Dan is brilliant, and I think quite possibly the best Big Brother player of all time
-  Ian has no idea how to argue
-  I will not miss Brittany and her constant whining!

2.  I’m running a virtual 10 mile race this weekend
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My training schedule for the Niagara Falls half marathon has me doing 16k this weekend…which happens to be 10 miles.  I figured since I needed to run that far anyways as part of my training, I may as well enter the virtual race and try to win a prize.  The race is being hosted by fellow blogger Mommy, run fast! and she has some great prizes lined up.  For information about the race, click here…there is still time to sign up (there is a 5 mile option too).

3. Summer is coming to a close.  This means back to school for the kids and back to crappy commutes to work for me!  I’m also hoping it means back to a normal routine and schedule for both work life, exercise, life with the kids, and food.  This summer has proven to be a bit of a challenge for me on the food front.  With time spent at the cottage, kids staying at the cottage longer than expected (which just means I stay at work longer since I don’t need to be home with them), hubs and my sports schedules, training runs, and life in general, I have found it tough to prepare clean eating meals on a regular basis.  I’m hoping that once we get back into our usual routine I can get back to cooking and eating clean.  I was doing very well with it in the spring, so hopefully I can find my groove again this fall. 

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4.  I am going to be taking part in Fitness Cheerleader’s September Healthy Living/Fitness Blogger Writing Challenge.  This is a blogging challenge where each day a topic is given and you write about it, then link back to Janice’s site and you can see what other bloggers have written about the same topic.  I’m interested in this because there are some days when I just can’t think of anything to write about, and this gives me 31 interesting blog topics.  Also, it will likely be a great way to pick up new tips on fitness and nutrition and expose me to more great blogs out there that I have yet to stumble upon.  Look for the first writing challenge topic tomorrow.SeptemberWritingChallenge-e1346381228528

5.  It’s a long weekend!  The Labour Day long weekend officially marks the end of summer, but we do get one last long weekend up at the cottage before we head back to the school year routine.  The forecast for this weekend looks amazing!  There is a slight chance of rain Sunday, but they are calling for hot and sunny for most of the weekend. While this is great for sitting on the dock and drinking beer, I also need to run 16k this weekend, and it sounds like I will need to get up early Sunday morning and get my run in before it gets too hot or starts to rain.  I’m actually looking forward to my run…which is very weird for me…and the part I’m actually looking forward to the most is the killer hill at my 7k mark.  Now that I look at it on gmap-pedometer, it actually goes on for almost 2k. Yikes!!!

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That hill kicked my ass last time….this week it will be my turn to kick it back.  My newly discovered determination is going to get me up that hill and when I get to the top I may just do a happy dance! Smile I will let you know how it goes.

Well, there you have it, another edition of the Friday Five.  I hope your week flew by and that you’ve got great things lined up for this last long weekend of the summer.

Are you sad to see the end of summer?

How do you stick to your clean eating routine when things get hectic?

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Working My New Attitude

So, yesterday I decided I was no longer going to wait to be motivated – who knows if that is ever going to happen. Instead I have decided to be determined, and so far it’s working!

Determination got me thru my hill training yesterday, and its what got me out of bed early this morning to get my tempo run done before work. Despite going to bed a bit later than I had planned, I still had the longest night’s sleep that I’ve had in a very long time. Still, when my alarm went off this morning I really didn’t want to get up…but I was determined to get that tempo run done before work. I had people coming for dinner tonight, so there wouldn’t be a chance to get it done after work.

After hitting the snooze button once, I got up, put on my run gear, grabbed my excellent run tunes, my trusty Garmin, and headed out the door. The schedule called for a 6k tempo run, but since for some reason it took my Garmin about 5 minutes to connect to the satellites, I shortened my route a bit and only did a little over 5k. It was a pretty good run. It wasn’t easy and there were times I wanted to stop, but I kept moving. I was just determined to run it, and there were actually times when it felt good to run fast (fast for me, at least!). I am starting to feel like a runner! Finally!!!

In the end, this was my fastest tempo run yet!

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Another thing I am determined to get back on track with is my clean eating. Today was a good clean eating day food wise for me. Breakfast was Skinnytaste Overnight Oats in a Jar, lunch was Chicken Ginger Soup (from the Aug/Sept issue of Clean Eating magazine) that my sister made and shared with me, and dinner was a grilled turkey sausage on a bun, with raw carrots, cucumber, tomato, and yellow beans. I did have a treat tonight while watching Big Brother of a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich, so it wasn’t too bad.

Even though it’s only been a day with my new attitude, I have to say I’m liking it. For me, being determined is a LOT easier than being motivated!

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Tomorrow is the start of a long weekend! Wohoo! We are heading to the cottage, and I will have to do my 16k long run up there on Sunday. This means it will be a tough run with more than a few hills. Hopefully this time, when I get to the seemingly never ending hill around the 7k mark, I will remember my new attitude and be determined to haul my ass up that hill. Fingers crossed!

Finally, did you watch Big Brother tonight? Can you believe it? Best move in Big Brother history for sure. Dan is a genius! Man, I love that stupid show!

Hope your Thursday was a good one. Only one more work day to make it through until the long weekend starts! Got any big plans or big runs?

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Time to Get DETERMINED!!!

So, I came to a bit of a realization today…and I had some help from a fellow blogger. One of my favourite blogs to read is Running Haiku. All of her posts are in the form of a Haiku, and some of them are hilarious. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should.

Today’s haiku was about the struggle to get out of bed and get workouts in before you start your day. Be sure to click on the link above and it will take you right to the haiku. It hit home with me since I constantly struggle to get out of bed and run before work. I set my alarm, it goes off, I wake up, shut it off, and because I am so tired and not motivated, I just roll over and try to get another hour of sleep. Charla’s haiku was about winning the struggle. I commented on her haiku saying how impressed I was that she got up and did it, since I don’t usually. She replied back with something that hit home. She said I should stop waiting to become motivated and just be determined.

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So, as of right now, I am no longer concerned with motivation. I am now just going to be determined. Determined to get my training runs completed. Determined to work up to running 8k without stopping. Determined to complete an 8k tempo run. Determined to run faster. Determined to finish the Niagara Falls Half Marathon in 2:30 or less.

I put my new found determination to the test tonight as I tackled my first hill training session of my half marathon training schedule. I really wasn’t looking forward to this run tonight, but I was determined to do it and despite wanting to stop on that last uphill run, I refused to quit. I think it helped a lot that I was running with my sister tonight. As you know, she is fast, and I just kept chasing her up that hill! In the end, with a short warm up run from where we parked at the Running Room to the hill, 5 runs up the hill, and a short cool down back to the car, we logged 5.68k in 43:33 for an average pace of 7:40/km. This pace included a bit of a walk once we got to the top of the hill and a bit of the way down before we ran down the hill, and a short walk before we started our next lap back up that hill. All in all, I am pretty pleased with that.

Here is what the hill laps looked like:
Hill 1: 2:42:45 429m. 6:21/km
Hill 2: 3:01:65 431m. 7:02/km
Hill 3: 3:02:68 431m. 7:04/km
Hill 4: 2:56:27 425m. 6:54/km
Hill 5: 2:56:02 428m. 6:51/km
The first trip up was my fastest, but I was impressed that I managed to improve my pace on my last 2 hills. I was tired, and feeling it, but I was determined to keep going!

So far, I’m liking this determination thing. I’m not waiting to be motivated anymore, I’m just going to be determined to do it!

Once my newly determined self got home from my run and showered up, it was time to sit my ass on the couch and watch tonight’s Big Brother episode. I won’t give it away in case you haven’t watched yet, but I will say that Dan has perhaps pulled off the biggest move in Big Brother history. The guy is a genius! I can’t wait to watch tomorrow night and see who gets the boot.

Alright, it’s late and time for bed. I hope your Wednesday was a good one.

Are you watching Big Brother?

Do you have a challenge that you are facing? Are you determined to succeed?

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Totally Random Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Here are the random things going on with me on this fine day:

1. It was my golf league tonight. I am still in search of that elusive sub 50 score. I played fairly well tonight, but 2 penalty strokes for lost balls on the same friggin’ hole and four 3 putts made sure that didn’t happen tonight. Still, despite all that, I shot a 52…. Not too bad, all things considered.

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2. I missed my run tonight 😦 By the time I got home from golf it was already dark and I was feeling wiped, so instead of changing into my run gear, I had a quick shower and got into my cozies and hit the couch. Some days I just feel a bit like this cat:

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3. I am really struggling with getting enough sleep. I know I should be getting to bed earlier, but I just can’t seem to make it happen. Hopefully once school starts next week the kids will be going to bed earlier, which means I can hopefully get to bed earlier too. This might give me half a chance of getting up early to run before work…but somehow I doubt that will happen. I know everyone says just get up early and get it over with, but I’m just not sure that routine is for me. I may try it for a while and see, but I’m just not sure.

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Well, that’s it for tonight. I’m gonna have a cup of David’s Tea Mint Chocolate Rooibus and then hit the sack.

Hope your Tuesday was totally random!

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Weekend Round Up

I’ve had a busy last few days, and missed a post or two. Here is a re-cap of my weekend.

FRIDAY: Friday morning I was up early to meet my friend Andrea (who I call George) at the car pool lot. We drove down to Niagara Falls together for our practice round at Ussher’s Creek. George was competing in the first flight and I was playing in the scramble division. I played my practice round with my team. We practiced the best ball format and tried to make notes about where we wanted our drives to land, areas of trouble, and pin placement for the competition round on Saturday. They had marked the pin placements with small red chalk dots on the green. We used these dots to get a read on the greens and how the ball would play from various positions around the green. In the end we had a good practice round and were looking forward to the competitive round on Saturday.

After the practice round we grabbed a bite to eat in the clubhouse while we waited for the rules meeting. Between the beer on the course and the beer I had with my cheeseburger and fries for dinner, Friday was not the best clean eating day for me. Oh well!

The rules meeting was a good refresher about some of the more common rules of golf that tend to come into play a lot on courses. It was a good review and really reminds you that this competitive golf is serious stuff. If you violate rules it will cost you penalty strokes…and no one wants to be given any penalty stokes!

After the rules meeting we headed to the hotel in downtown Niagara Falls to check in. We were all exhausted, but since it was only 8:30pm, we decided it was too early to go to bed. A few of us decided to go for a walk and see some sights. We walked to Clifton Hill and did some people watching, then we found a bar and had a drink and some nachos (again, not on the clean eating plan!).

While we were at the bar we listened to a kid play some acoustic and sing. He was pretty good. At 10pm he had to take a little break because of the fireworks. Apparently every Friday and Sunday night at 10pm there are fireworks over the falls. This good to know for when my sister and I go back to Niagara in October for the half marathon. Hopefully when our families join us after the race for our bonus night in Niagara we will be able to see the fireworks…although I will have to check if they still go off that late into the fall. Bummer…I just checked the Niagara Parks website and the fireworks have finished for the season before we will be back in October. 😦

SATURDAY: Saturday was another early day as we were up early for breakfast at the hotel before heading to the course to hit some balls at the range and then get ready for our 9:11am tee time. At the Sectional Semi Final level of competition scramble teams have a marker who travels with them on the round keeping track of shots taken and ensuring everyone’s drives are used the required 3 times. We had a great lady from the Waterloo chapter named Marilyn Brown, who said we should call her Brownie, as our marker. She was a lovely woman and we thoroughly enjoyed our day with her. Within a few holes, she had already given us all nicknames of our own. I was Lefty, since I golf left handed. She was very encouraging and would cheer for us and even gave a few “get in the hole” shouts that made us smile.

In the end, we shot 3 over par, and with our handicap of 3, our net score was 71, or par. We were pretty pleased with our round, especially since it was the first real competitive round we had played. We were pretty sure that our score was not low enough to be in contention for the win. Last year 7 under won the scramble division, so we didn’t think even par was going to do it. Turns out par was exactly what was going to win it. Problem was 2 other teams also netted out at par. This meant that they would have to go to a scorecard playoff. I’m not exactly sure how that was done, but in the end, when they went to the scorecards and took handicaps into consideration, we ended up in third. So, we got close, but not close enough. We are kicking ourselves over three lip-out putts that we had..if only just one of those would have sunk, we would be going to Florida for the overall championships. We will just have to try again next year!

While I didn’t advance to the championships in Florida, my friend George did! She played the game of her life on Saturday and she won her flight. She is off to Florida to represent EWGA York-Simcoe and the Upper Mid East Division! Way to go, Georgie!! You are gonna kick ass in Florida!

Saturday after golf, we packed up and headed home. I was pretty tired after 2 early mornings, and a long round of golf in the hot sun, but on the drive home I got a BBM from my sister asking me if I wanted to do this week’s long run with her that night instead of Sunday like I usually do. Dispute the fact that I was tired, and not really wanting to do a long run, the thought of having to get up and run alone Sunday morning was enough to seal the deal. So, I got home, changed into my run gear, ate a GU shot, grabbed my water belt and was out the door.

Turns out that it was a good decision to run Saturday night. I had a great run, it wasn’t easy, but it was nice to have company, and my sister kept me moving when things got tough and I would have loved to take a break. I forgot to take a pic of my Garmin before I reset it, but we did 10k in 1:15, which is an average pace of 7:32, which includes walk breaks every 10 minutes. Not too bad! It is just about the pace I will need to run to complete my half in my goal time of 2:30.

The best part about getting the long run out of the way Saturday night was that I didn’t have to get up and run it Sunday morning!

SUNDAY: Since I didn’t have to get up and run, I stayed in bed for much of the morning catching up on the blogs I follow and reading Divergent. It was so nice to just lay around and relax, but eventually I got up, and did all those things that needed to get done: laundry, menu planning for the week, and groceries. Fun, fun, fun!

I’ve got a great menu planned for the week: buffalo chicken wraps, turkey and pepper penne, penne and white bean pasta, and broccoli, cauliflower & ham casserole. All but the buffalo chicken wraps are clean eating recipes.

Alright, well, there you have it…my weekend re-cap. Lots of words, and no pictures…sorry.

Today was a rest day in my training schedule. Tomorrow if I can get out of work in time, I’m going to golf and I’m supposed to run 6k. I’m not sure if the run will happen. It is way too late now to get up early and run before work. Maybe I can run after golf if it isn’t too late. I’ll let you know.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Did you Do anything exciting this weekend? Have you got any great recipes planned for this week’s menu?

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The Friday Five: EWGA Edition

Another week done! Thank God. It’s time for the Friday Five!

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This week’s five are all about the EWGA!

1. The EWGA, Executive Women’s Golf Association, is an organization for women golfers of all abilities. Currently there are over 19,000 women participating in EWGA chapters throughout the US, Canada, France, Bermuda, Ireland, and Italy.

2. This Saturday, EWGA members from the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo, York-Simcoe, Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Metro Detroit, Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, and Greater Grand Rapids chapters will be competing in the Upper Mid East Semi-Final Championships at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course at Legends of Niagara. In total, there are 82 women playing in 5 different flights, plus a scramble division.

3. Winners for low gross and low net score for each flight, plus the winning team from the scramble division will move onto the 2012 Championship Finals which will be held in beautiful Palm Beach Gardens, Florida at the PGA Resort& Spa on October 5th & 6th.

4. I am playing on the York-Simcoe Scramble team. Here is a picture of Nycole, me, Michelle and Marlene receiving out trophies for winning our Chapter Championship, which qualified us for this weekend’s Semi Finals.

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I will admit that it was easy to win our Chapter Championships because we were the only team from our chapter!

5. Our scramble team will be put to our first real test as we compete against 6 other teams from the other Upper Mid East chapters. Only the top scramble team advances to the finals in Florida. I think we have a good shot at it. We have a practice round today and the actual competition round is Saturday. I will update on how we did in a post on Saturday.

So, there you have it…a little info about the EWGA and my upcoming competition. If you play golf and are looking for a league to participate in, check the EWGA US website or the Canadian website and find a chapter near you.

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My Dinner Date

Today was another busy and productive day at the office. I would still rather be up at the cottage with the rest of my family, but at least I’m getting things done.

The highlight of my day was dinner at my sister’s place with the cutest dinner companions in the world. Wouldn’t you agree?

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As I expected, my sister made us a clean eating dinner. The main course was Sausage and Pepper Pasta. She has made this for me before and it is so good.

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Dessert was the best mini angel food cake with berries. So tasty, and only 240 calories!

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After dinner we watched Big Brother. Erin is completely addicted to the show too. We actually started watching the original season way back when. She had just moved into town and was staying with us while she saved up for a house. We used to have a tradition when we watched. We would each pick a treat and then split it into 3 (hubs was part of the tradition too) and have a little candy smorgasbord while we watched. It was so fun. Tonight the was no candy smorgasbord, but it was still fun to watch. We are not fans of Boogie…hopefully he will be out the door tomorrow.

Since I went to my sister’s for dinner, I missed my run tonight. It was supposed to be my first night of hills. I’m not going to stress over it. I have been doing very well with my training so far, and making most runs. Missing one here and there isn’t going to ruin my whole training program.

Now, as usual, it’s late and I should get to bed. I am supposed to do a tempo run tomorrow. I am going to try to get up early and get it done before work since I’ve got a hair appointment after work. I am about 6 weeks late in getting my hair done, and have quite a skunk stripe going on. I have a feeling I’m going to be spending a bit of time waiting for the colour to take…which will likely get me home too late to run. I’d rather not miss two runs in a row, but it may happen.

Do you ever miss back to back training runs?

Do you adjust your schedule at all if you do miss back to back runs, or do you just keep going with what’s on the schedule and not look back?

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Totally Random Tuesday: Home Alone Edition

Here are a few random things that are going on with me on this fine Tuesday.

I am home alone this week. This is supposed to be our last week of family vacation up at the cottage, but work is too busy for me, so I had to come home and go into the office. I got lots done today and it’s looking good for me delivering what I need to my client on Thursday, so that’s good…but it sucks to be working this week.

It also sucks to come home to an empty house. With hubs and the kids still at the cottage, it’s just me and the cats, and they are not nearly as noisy as my kids! It’s so quiet…I’m not used to it! The cats did get a bit noisy when they were being tormented by a cardinal on our back deck. I think the bird was teasing my cats. It would fly from the hammock to the couch and stare at the cats. It drove them crazy!

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After my crappy day at work, I came home, grabbed my run gear and headed out the door, hoping I would be in a better mood when I got home. I had my run tunes, my bad attitude, and a 4k steady run to complete. Turns out a bad mood is just what I need for a good run. I felt great for every step of my run. I felt like I found a groove. I felt like a runner! It was great!!! My steady pace was almost as fast as my tempo run. I think I’m getting faster. Wohoo!!!

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Now, I’m sitting here, watching some tube, and about to make some popcorn for dinner. It’s 10:30pm, which seems like a perfect time to make popcorn for dinner! Brutal, right? I’m just not motivated to cook for myself. Tomorrow I don’t have to worry about that. My sister has invited me for dinner and she is big into clean eating. I’m looking forward to having something delicious with some great company. It’s gonna be great!

Well, my popcorn is calling! I hope your Tuesday was totally random!

Do you run better when you are in a bad mood?

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Best Workout Nutrition Choices

I saw this infographic in the Women’s Running Magazine blog I read, and they got it from Greatist. I thought it was awesome, so I am posting it here.

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

What a great resource! I can’t wait to dig into the Greatist website and see what other gems I can find!

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14k Long Run Day

Today was my long run.  14k…and it was tough.  I was running on cottage country roads and there was a killer hill at the half way point.  It must have been at least a kilometer long and it felt like it was never going to end.  I did walk part of it, but the part I did run was at a snail’s pace…I felt like I was moving backwards at times.  I was doing an out an back run, so I did get to enjoy the downhill after making my turnaround.  In the end, this week’s 14k was just a couple of minutes slower than last week’s and I’m sure it was due to that never ending hill! Here’s how my run looked when finished.

aug 19 long run

The best thing about hauling my ass all over cottage country is that it burned 941 calories.  That means I don’t really have to worry too much about what I eat today.  That being said, I still tried to avoid eating crap, but I certainly had a good appetite today!

The run did make me pretty tired, and I tried my best to stay awake all day, but at 4:45 I finally caved and came over to our sleeping cabin and crawled into bed for a half hour lie down before we had guests coming for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 5:30.  I didn’t sleep, but it was still nice to just relax and chill in some piece and quiet. The kids were all playing Minecraft in the main cottage and their excitement with the game (i.e. yelling at each other) was driving me nuts!  A half hour of alone time was just what I needed.

Tonight was my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner.  He wanted to prepare a pasta dish he had had once before and really enjoyed.  It is a Jamie Oliver recipe, and It was quite good.  Other than the fact that he made it with regular white pasta, it was also fairly clean.  It was quite tasty. and looked quite impressive.  Here’s the picture of the dish as shown on Jamie Oliver’s website, where you can also find the recipe.

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Since it was his birthday, we also had chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert.  I didn’t feel the least bit guilty eating it after all those calories I burnt off on my run!  Plus, after we cleaned up the kitchen and got the kids to bed, we went for a half hour or so walk around the point.

Now it’s late and I am exhausted.  I can’t wait to get this post uploaded, turn off all the lights, and get back into my book I’m reading.  That’s one of the best things about reading on an iPad.  You don’t need any lights, so you don’t have to get back out of bed to turn anything off.  Just close up the iPad, roll over, and off to dreamland!

Tomorrow is a rest day on my training schedule.  Yay!  The kids are going to sailing club for the morning and I’m going to lay around a read some more.  I’m supposed to be on holidays this week, but work is too busy and I can’t take it off. I am however, taking tomorrow, since it is my oldest son’s 13th birthday tomorrow and I can’t miss that!  We will have his birthday dinner and I will head back to the city after dinner.  Rory and the boys will have to survive the rest of the week without me.  I’m sure they will manage!

Did you do your long runs today?  How did they go?

Read any good books lately?

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