Posts tagged ‘exercise’

TLC

Well, hello there. *Wink*

After my rough evening last night, I felt like I really treated myself well today.

My lunch went undocumented because I scarfed it up so quickly. Seriously — you gotta make this Greek quinoa salad. It’s easy as pie, keeps well, and tastes incredible!

And for the record, Trader Joe’s organic pea shoots are SO TASTY. They’re like a cross between sprouts and sugar snap peas.

I left work a little early because I needed to get to a doctor’s appointment by 5:15. As I mentioned before, I was dealing with some health issues that were really stressing me out. Well, after today’s appointment, I finally feel like I can rest a little easier.

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the view from the beach in Bonita Springs, FL -- my happy place

I’ve always had a lot of moles all over my body, but never really thought much of it. Recently, though, I have noticed that several were oddly colored, oddly shaped, or would get raised or itchy when I would get a sunburn. After silently stressing about it for far too long, I finally went to my doctor and asked her about it, thinking she would shrug it off as nothing.

Unfortunately, she didn’t do that — she told me to make an appointment with a dermatologist right away to have them looked at. I was super freaked out, but didn’t let my fears get too out of control before seeing the derm. Two weeks ago today, I headed to the doctor, unsure of what she would say. After looking at the three or four that I pointed out, she told me that two were unusual looking, but not overtly cancerous-looking. She wanted to remove them anyway and have them biopsied and sent off to a lab to check for cancerous cells.

I don’t know if I’ve told you guys, but I am completely, utterly, absolutely terrified of needles. It’s a legitimate phobia — one that I know is totally irrational, but one that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve gotten much better about it in recent years, but it’s like no matter what my mind says, my body just totally freaks out. What that means? I faint.

Yep, I faint every time I get a shot. So after they injected the lidocaine into the two spots to be biopsied, I laid there patiently in my paper gown, waiting for the procedure to be over, breathing deeply — in and out, in and out. That is, until I started to feel lightheaded…I’ve fainted enough times to know what it feels like before it happens, but let me tell ya — you don’t have much time to get that message across.

Before I could finish my, “I think I feel lightheaded..” sentence, I was out cold.

Oh, and I pissed all over the place.

………..

Yes, let’s just sit here for a second and let that sink in. I peed all over myself and the exam table at the dermatologist’s office.  For the record, I was unconscious, so it wasn’t inentional. I feel lik this is obvious, but just wanted to, ya know, throw it out there. I debated for quite awhile whether I wanted to post about it, since it was pretty embarrassing, but ultimately it was more hilarious than anything. I think the most humiliating best part was having to throw out my underwear, and then being sent home with a pair of bright blue paper underwear, reserved for liposuction patients. In white jeans. My life really should be a sitcom sometimes.

Well, I went back today, two weeks after the pee incident, and received the incredible news that the lab results came back negative, meaning nothing showed up cancerous. One of the moles had “abnormal architecture,” which basically meant it could potentially have turned into something down the road, but it was removed completely so it won’t be an issue. Needless to say, I am so incredibly relieved.

:)

—-

After leaving the doctor’s office feeling like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders, I had planned on meeting up with a few friends for drinks and dinner. Sadly, our plans fell through, but I had a serious hankering for pizza since our plan was to hit up Piece in Wicker Park. So… I decided to improvise.


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I toasted a FlatOut Wrap in a cookie sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then I added all the goodies.

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And cooked it for 7 minutes or so in the oven at 375 degrees. This bad boy started with some Whole Foods marinara, then I added a hefty layer of baby spinach, some sliced red pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese, garlic gold and red pepper flakes.

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It was SOOOOOOOOO good. Just what I wanted, and healthy to boot. I didn’t calculate the calories, but now I’m sort of curious. Certainly it’s gotta be better than restaurant pizza, anyway ;)

After taking some time to clean up (but I’m still not even close to being finished) and letting my food settle, I got myself ready for the gym and headed out the door. Unfortunately, the sky was green and I felt a few rogue sprinkles coming down, so I dashed back inside and grabbed my umbrella. The last time we had a big storm, I was unprepared…

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hey, baby

I thought I looked too hilarious and SOAKED not to take a picture. Check out those sexy raccoon eyes! ;) Hubba hubba.

Anyway, I got about ten feet down the street toward the gym when it started to pour. The sky turned black and the wind picked up out of nowhere, it was so neat. I love storms, so instead of giving up and going back home, I decided to wait under an awning for the storm to pass, or at least for the rain to slow down. It took a good ten minutes before my umbrella would have even made a difference, so I was really proud of sticking it out and keeping up wtih my commitment to hit the gym.

Because my legs are still having issues (shin splints, IT band and knee pain, blegh), I decided to take it easy and read my new issue of Women’s Health on the recumbent bike for a good 40 minutes, then I hit the elliptical for another ten. By that point, it was actually hailing, so everybody at the gym was just glued to the windows, mouths agape. Let me tell you — this was good motivation to stay at the gym and keep working out! Haha.

I did some wall squats, which I’ve read are easier on your knees and also strengthen your gluteus medius, which is supposed to help with knee pain. I also did some hip raises (I’m pretty sure my hips are super weak because my running gait is all sorts of wrong) and shoulder + chest exercises. Finally, I finished off with a good ten minutes with the foam roller of death. It hurt, but I could tell I needed it badly. I really need to get one of my own for home.

When I got back, I needed a snack and couldn’t figure out what I was craving at first. After looking through the fridge for a minute, I decided to top a toasted Kashi waffle with some whipped cream cheese and a little fig spread, then topped it with a sprinkle of chia seeds. This was beyond delicious — I think I could eat this every day of my life and not get sick of it.

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eattttt meeeee

Sorry my pictures are kind of blurry — I’m not quite sure why I’m still so sucky at snapping my food!

Speaking of which, I realized I never posted pictures from my dinner with Allie and Mel at Karyn’s the other night. I had two undocumented (aka too delicious to remember to take their picture) drinks — a caipirinha and a Sazerac, and we shared an arugula, potato and Daiya pizza to start.

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I had two slices, and while I’m not a huge fan of Daiya, this was pretty tasty. The heaping mass of fresh arugula really made it fresh and delicious.

For my main meal, I had their “chicken” drumsticks. They were served with barbecue sauce, which was sweet and delicious, and reminded me of Sweet Baby Ray’s, and some spinach and sweet potato hash. I ate the whole thing! The chicken was made out of seitan and was perfectly crispy on the outside, and very “meaty” on the inside. I was surprised by how good they were.

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cute little "drumsticks!"

Again, sorry for the blurriness. But how lovely is that presentation?? I think I moved it around a little bit before taking this, so it didn’t look quite as asymmetrical when they first brought it over ;)

Anywho, I’m going to get a little work done, then hop in bed with my book. I’m currently splitting my time between The Hunger Games and More Than It Hurts You. They’re both excellent and I can’t wait to finish them.

Thanks for all your kind words and comments lately — you guys are so great :)

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June 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm 8 comments

I did it!

2.5 miles down the hatch, plus abs, shoulders + biceps :D

June 2, 2011 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

Hiatus

Friends, I have a confession to make…

I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much lately. That I’ve gone MIA from time to time. There’s a reason for this.

It has been..gasp…an entire month since I’ve worked out.

Gulp.

I could explain to you how life has been hectic and stressful (it has), with starting a new job and moving to a new apartment. I could explain how I simply feel burnt out, and couldn’t get myself excited or motivated with the usual tactics. I could even tell you about the knee pain that has been plaguing me, with the only solution being a seemingly expensive trip to the physical therapist that I simply cannot afford at the moment.

Unfortunately, these are just excuses. I haven’t exercised (vigorously) because…well, because I haven’t. I’ve chosen not to. There have certainly been days (say, the two weeks I was very sick with a nasty cold/sinus infection) where working out wouldn’t have been an option, or at least a good one, but there have been other days where I simply said, Eh, I don’t feel like it today. I’d rather watch TV and lay around the apartment.

I need to cut this shit out.

I’m running my first 5k in a few weeks, and thankfully I had been training enough beforehand where I feel I’ll still have plenty of time to do just fine, but this is the point where I need to shake some sense into my lazy ass and get it back in gear. I know a huge part of this has been feeling sorry for myself, not being able to fit in all the fun social activities brimming from every corner of Chicago in the summertime AND get my workouts in. Oh, well if I work out after work, I can’t do spontaneous things after work, like beers on the patio or concerts in the park. Well, Laura, figure it out.

I can’t lie to you — I’m freaked out. I’m worried that I’m going to continue to lose my diligence and totally suck at (or even completely bail out of) this 5k, especially after telling almost everyone I know about it. I’m worried I’m going to lose a grip on the progress I’ve made from making healthier portion and food choices, resulting in a ~10ish lb. weight loss. I’m worried I’m going to slip on a bathing suit and feel terrible about myself (again). I’m worried the lumpiness I see creeping up on my thighs is going to get worse.

I don’t like how I feel when I’m not working out, but sometimes — well, I’m a lazy piece of shit. It’s go-time, and I need to keep my eye on the prize and come up with a solution that will work with a) my tendency toward skipping workouts in order to lay on the couch or grab dinner/drinks with friends, b) my busy schedule, and c) my utter hatred of mornings/total inability to wake up early.

I have no idea how to do this. If you’ve been reading for awhile but never commented, now is the time…any and all tips, suggestions, stories or motivators are welcomed….Oh hell…PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS, GUYS! I NEED HELP!!

Hmph. Well, that’s that :D

In other news, I’m still totally addicted to Greek yogurt. Seriously, this stuff is my crack — I go through a giant tub per week. It’s so delicious! And ya know what else is in abundance in Casa de Laura?

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STRAWBERRIES. Oh. Mah. Gawd. I can’t get enough.

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I had some with oatmeal the other day, but it couldn’t hold up against the creamy Fage 0% I usually roll with…There is almost always a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon, Milk + Honey Cafe Mix Granola and walnuts involved as well.

I’ve also been rolling on the salad wagon lately. Below is my unbelievably tasty mustard maple chicken atop some butter lettuce, cukes, goat cheese and Sabra roasted red pep hummus. Despite the fact that I was pretty hungry a few hours later (no carbs, maybe?), this salad was GOOD.

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Today I mixed it up a bit with butter and torn-up red leaf lettuce, cukes, some pinto beans, goat cheese, baby carrots and some organic chicken breast that I slow cooked last night with thyme, TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute, garlic powder and veggie broth. The chicken was insanely flavorful, and all the flavors mixed together perfectly. As a bonus, the added beans really gave this bad boy some sticking power, but because I am a fatty and seriously can’t understand how anyone can eat JUST a salad for lunch (wtf??), I swiped a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle from a friend, watered down half the can with some hot water from the Keurig, and had at it (only 70 calories! nice!). It was a perfect lunch for a wet, dreary day. I love gloomy weather from time to time, but Chicago has been testing my patience recently…

Anyway, I’m off to finish up the work day. I did some seriously ill-advised shopping last week and came home with far too many adorable dresses, so I’ll be sure to share those coming up here. Thanks for reading my nutty rant, and please do provide feedback if you have any, I’d love to hear from you!

May 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm 4 comments

I *don’t* have a case of the Mondays!

Hello friends!

How was your weekend? Lovely and fun-filled, I hope — whether fun for you means vegging on the couch or out and about all day.

I had an interesting morning today; get this — I didn’t wake up feeling crabby.

I know — where did the real Laura go, right?!

A good part of yesterday was spent cleaning and attempting to reign in the complete organizational chaos that is my bedroom. I have never been an organized or particularly clean person, and when I don’t have proper space and storage capabilities, that mess is increased TENFOLD. My room almost always has stuff all over the floor (which is a paltry 5×10 little spot next to my bed) and if something isn’t on my nightstand, windowsill or dresser, it’s probably lost and gone forever.

Do you ever feel like your head is a mess when your living space is a mess?

The problem is also compounded by these guys:

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Translation? Cat hair is everywhere. I feel like I am constantly picking and sweeping up little black tumbleweeds everywhere in my apartment, and especially in my room. Since it is so tiny, the fur has nowhere to go so most of it CLINGS desperately to my area rug and the rest clumps up together in corners. I kid you not, it is seriously gross.

Anyone have any suggestions for keeping pet hair/dander at bay, especially in small spaces? I brush them regularly, but with all the petting these little attention-seekers get, the hair is always coming off. (I vacuum and sweep frequently, of course).

Anyway, my long preamble was to explain why I felt so nice falling asleep and waking up after tidying up. I also have some squeaky clean sheets and a freshly made bed (you know, replacing the top sheet so it’s no longer bunched up on one side of the bed), which really makes for a deliciously luxurious night’s sleep, no? Maybe I should do that more often…

What I found made the biggest difference, however, was a surprisingly simple fix…

I opened my curtains!

I wish my view was this beautiful

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Not only was I able to sneak in some fresh air since Chicago’s weather has been so nice, but the difference having a little sunlight in the morning really astounded me. It was easier to wake up on my own (although I still needed the alarm clock to actually get out of bed) and I just felt..well, happier! *facepalm* Duh, Laura…

My weekend was also full of good things. I got my first outdoor run in for the year, and was able to do so in a t-shirt and running capris. Talk about a mood booster! My mileage was average for indoors (for me, anyway) at 2.5 miles, but pretty darn good for outdoors! The pain in my knee is always an issue, so I have to be very careful when running outside, which is why I was so thrilled to make it all the way through my standard treadmill mileage! The sunshine didn’t hurt either ;)

I also spent most of Saturday with a certain someone and had the best time. I am almost afraid to talk about for fear of jinxing anything…as you may have noticed, I’m a total worry wort and overthink things way too much sometimes. But for now, I’m just trying to enjoy every second and try not to get too stuck in my head!

We went to dinner at a Japanese barbecue restaurant that I had never heard of before…it was so good! The best way I can describe it is a mix between Korean barbecue and fondue. There is a small grill in the middle of your table, then you order whatever combination of meats + veggies you want (they are served a la carte) and cook them yourself with a little set of tongs. It was so much fun, and I tried beef tongue for the first time…I was so nervous because, well, obviously it sounds nasty, but it was actually quite good.

There is a fun review of the restaurant here.

We went bowling afterward, then spent some time with his friends playing drinking games. My kind of night!

After some serious cleaning, I decided to hit up the gym yesterday with my Women’s Health book in tow. It had been a few days since I had really done any strength training (okay, five) so I really wanted to get back into it and feel the burn, baby.

And holy cow, am I sore!! I have slowly increasing my push up skills and can not only do many more than when I first started, but I can also do them better. Proper form really does make all the difference, and I have found that simply squeezing my glutes while doing push ups really improves the stabilization of my core (blegh, that was a mouthful). But you get the point — squeeze your buns and tighten your abs (whatever that means) while you’re pushin’, and your torso will stay straighter! Fun little tip from a newbie like me!

The rest of the workout included:

  • body weight squats with shoulder raise
  • single leg dead-lift with dumbbells
  • standing supported dumbbell row
  • hip raise with feet on a Swiss ball
  • Swiss ball roll-out
  • Swiss ball crunches

I think I’m missing one move in there after the squats but can’t remember what it was…Either way, I love these workouts. I really can’t endorse the WH Big Book enough — BUY IT!

My post-workout dinner last night was a delicious oven-fried chicken recipe I cobbled together from several online — I’ll post the recipe soon, because it was mighty tasty! I also picked up loads of veggies from WF, along with a few other things, so I’m excited to put together some fun meals this week…one of which will have an extra guest! :)

Adieu for now!

March 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

My workout story + the importance of *FUN* in your health/fitness routine

well, hi there!

Naomi from OneFitFoodie had a great post today about doing what you love to achieve your fitness goals. (She says she’s “preaching,” but I’d hardly call it that!). This is something I truly believe in, and will also be the first to admit that it is something I need to be reminded of regularly.

When I first started exercising in high school, I had every ounce of motivation I needed just in going to the gym. I had never exercised (consciously) before, so the results (even with just 30 min of easy cardio a few days per week) were noticeable pretty quickly. I found the new activities fun and challenging, and loved how great I felt for the first time in quite awhile.

But as anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight knows, a plateau eventually came and my body wanted to stay at its “set point.” From what I understand, your set point can change and be budged with some hard work, but after losing a certain amount of weight, your body starts to say, “Nope, I’m done.”

This is why motivation is HUGELY important, because when that plateau hits, the looser jeans or slimmer face aren’t enough because that’s where it (albeit temporarily) stops. You’ve got to find a way to keep moving, new ways to change up your routine, and new reasons to focus on why making your health a priority is so important to you. And one of the easiest, and longest-lasting ways to keep up that motivation is by making achieving your goals fun. You have to love what you’re eating and thoroughly enjoy (or at least somewhat enjoy!) your workouts. Plain and simple, you will not stick with anything if you can’t find a way to enjoy it.

My workout routine, while still challenging, is beginning to feel somewhat repetitive. There could be a few reasons for this: I do the same thing on every gym day (work, gym, dinner, shower, bed – repeat) and it gets boring at times; the sun still sets before I leave work, so heading home in the dark can be kind of a drag; or perhaps I’m just afraid to shake things up and see where I can push my mind and body to next.

While I’m sure all of these things contribute to my little fitness rut, I’m pretty sure the last one has a lot to do with it.

I’ve never been thin. Save a few childhood years when just about everybody is a beanpole, I spent most of my adolescence as a chubby, albeit sassy kid. The weight loss in high school was hugely motivating, and while it ultimately sparked my interest in food (okay, that interest was always there), fitness and healthy living, I still had a lot to learn. I thought that my newly-slim figure was permission to begin eating whatever I wanted again. Obviously, this didn’t work, and I began slowly gaining weight though my freshman year of college. While I didn’t gain the “freshman 15,” I did arrive back home that summer plumper than when I had left.

The “cycle” began again when I was home for the summer, where a boring summer office job and few friends in town meant I quelled my boredom by hitting the gym every day on my way home from work. I wasn’t aware of any weight loss this time around, but many of my friends commented that I looked thinner when I went back to college in the fall. Again, though, I eased up on both exercise and healthy eating habits, and slowly filled out again.

My biggest battle, therefore, is consistency. Taking care of yourself by eating proper portions of healthy food and exercising regularly is rewarding, but sometimes…well, you just want to throw your hands up in the air and shout, “ENOUGH ALREADY!” I love healthy food, but I sometimes feel I can become obsessive and hyper-focused on what I eat when I’m trying to maintain a healthy diet. And that’s just no way to live.

A hard lesson I’ve had to learn is that you need to treat yourself regularly, but you must build those treats into your overall health and fitness plan. A glass of wine means a little less pasta at dinner, or 3 days at the gym instead of 4 one week means squeezing in a little extra time at the end of each of those 3 workouts. That extra skip day, of course, would be for a manicure or massage :)

I’m still trying to figure out how I can have a big, juicy burger once in awhile though! Alas, a work in progress…

One of the reasons I love blogs like Carrot’s ‘n’ Cake, EatLiveRun, Peanut Butter Fingers and food.fitness.fashion. is because they all focus on living a life with balance and moderation. Julie from PBF has admitted regularly that she is a maniac about sweets and carb-y cereals, Tina and Ali (CNC and FFF, respectively) are both regular beer drinkers (women after my own heart) and Jenna from ELR quite possibly posts the most delicious recipes I have ever come across. These ladies know how to do it right, and I love them for that.

My workday is finally starting to wind down, and I plan to hit the gym with a new goal in mind: try a machine, exercise or routine I have never tried before. I haven’t decided what it will be yet, but I’m hoping a little butt-kicking is exactly what I need :)

Cheers!

February 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

London Weather

The foggy, misty, still-icky-but-not-that-cold weather Chicago has been having reminds me of the weather the winter I lived in London. It rarely got below 30 degrees, but most days had some sort of misty/rainy overcast business going on. Surprisingly, I loved it…it felt very, I don’t know, romantic? Either way, this weather is making me miss being in London terribly. I really can’t wait to go back — either as a tourist, or as a resident :)

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So despite my gung-ho (hah!) attitude about getting laundry done yesterday, it didn’t happen. I swear, mom, I had a good excuse!

A friend was having a yucky, horrible day, so I arrived with reinforcements in hand — a bottle of wine, lots of hugs, and a penchant for Thai food. I honestly believe that “girl time” and maintaining your female friendships is one of the most important parts of life. Relationships come and go, but when you really need them, your girlfriends are always there.

I was going to skip the gym (again) tonight in favor of laundry, but that seemed counterintuitive (somehow?), so I’m really hoping I can get it done anyway tonight. I’m going to be making an eggplant and celery stew for dinner (recipe here!) because I have both an eggplant and a bag of celery waiting to be used in the fridge (I’m trying to get better about using my groceries and budgeting — can be seen in Tina’s latest post here!), so maybe I can get some of the laundry done while that’s cooking.

Lunch today had to be thrown together from the grocery store (talk about contradicting my goal of budgeting right away, sheesh) because I got home late last night and didn’t have the energy to put a lunch together. It came out really good anyway, though!

I had about 3/4 of a red bell pepper cut up (they were SOOO pretty and on sale for $0.99!), a sliced organic cucumber, some fat-free ranch salad dressing for dipping and my favorite chicken burrito. I normally don’t eat fat-free salad dressings because, aside from tasting bad, I think they’re really silly. Veggies need fat to help you absorb their nutrients, and usually these FF dressings are loaded with sugar and HFCS to compensate for their lack of fat (aka flavor). I think I should have stuck to my guns, because I’m now dealing with a really awful stomach ache, and there wouldn’t be any other reason for it. I actually am wondering if it might be the corn syrup, because I have essentially cut that stuff out of my diet completely. Does anyone else ever have trouble with HFCS sensitivity?

The kitties have been super cuddly lately…perhaps they’re wanting to bundle up because of this weather too. Some shameless Mojo pictures…

why are you taking pictures of me? leave me alone!

okay fine, I'll be cute...but just this ONCE

January 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm 3 comments

Packages!

There is something about getting a package (or even just mail!) that always makes my day. This is why, despite the fact that I read about a zillion blogs regularly, I still make sure to subscribe to at least a few magazines at a time. Not only are they great for taking to the gym to keep me huffing and puffing longer, but actually having the magazine in your hand is much more satisfying than reading it on a screen (which I do ALL DAY) anyway.

So imagine my surprise when I came home yesterday to find a package that I had already forgotten about ordering. *facepalm*

isn't she purty?

My Lifefactory 22 oz. water bottle arrived in the mail and I couldn’t wait to open it up and check it out! I saw one of these awhile back on some blog talking about how Audrina Patridge used it or something (gross). Despite my less-than-stellar feelings about the girl, I was curious about her water bottle because it looked so cool! They are kind of expensive, but if, like me, you have to work to drink enough water, it can be a fun way to do so.

It’s heavier than I anticipated, but I suppose it is glass after all. It can be washed in the dishwasher without taking off the silicone sleeve too, which is a really nice feature if you’re lazy like I am. I thought the 16 oz colors were cuter, but I wanted the larger one. Take a look and see if  you might want one too!

I thought about bringing it to the gym with me after work tonight, but I haven’t had a chance to wash it yet, and it smells kind of funny :P Stickin’ with my trusty Camelback instead.

I’m pumped to hit the gym after work today because, despite being crunched for time, I had a really great run yesterday. My stamina still isn’t where it used to be (for running, at least), but I can definitely tell it’s increasing.

I had a killer lunch today, but I’ll have to upload pictures later when I get home. Hope you’re having a great afternoon!

January 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

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