Running refines us, just like the hard stuff in life does too… plus date night.

Seven miles done and done yesterday.  A few today.  Very few on Thursday and nada on Friday.  That’s the way I’ve done it forever and that’s what I’m gonna stick to.  Isn’t it crazy how close you get to your running partners?  All of those miles and talks and sweat along the way makes them feel like family by the end of a training cycle.  We’ve been running together for 3 years now.  Here’s to another 60:)

Brooke is convinced that Beretta loves her pink blanket as much as she does.

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Fewer miles each day = more time to blow dry and curl your daughter’s long hair.

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We hit up the park for some fun time.

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And sometimes all I need is a sandwich on toasted bread (Dave’s Killer Bread at Costco might be the best store-bought bread there ever was).

PS this is my favorite kid stage (yes, I know I have been telling you that same thing through every part of Brooke’s previous 4 years on the earth but this time I am convinced it really is the best).

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Such a hard life these two have.

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We had our Tuesday night date night.

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Italian food was our craving for the evening.

This bruschetta was heaven.

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With froyo for dessert!!!

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And we finished off with Hobby Lobby.  I really like naps.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes us actually ready for race day?  It’s not like we get up to the full distance in our training (i.e. I only go as far as 22 miles in preparation for the 26.2 miles) for our race.  Sometimes race day presents crazy weather, or we start that wonderful time of the month just in time for your race and get to deal with cramps in addition to fatigue, or we go through something emotionally taxing leading up to race day that really throws us off, or sometimes the hills that come up on the course are way more than anything we are trained for—>  But somehow we finish it (unless a DNF is in the cards which does happen at times).  It’s always especially amazing to me that I bump up from 20/22 miles in training up to 26.2 miles when that really is a HUGE jump.  So what makes that jump possible?  How do we overcome any of those race day obstacles that pop up (which they always do) when we haven’t experienced them before?

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I think the answer I’ve come up with is that running and all of the training truly refines us.

Refine is a word that I have thought a lot about over the last few years.  I’ve come to the conclusion that we all go through different hard things in life to be refined.  And running does that same thing for us.

Refine:  Remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance).   Improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory, or method) more subtle and accurate.

The hard times that I had a few years ago really helped to refine me a bit.  I think the struggles and trials that we face along the way in life no matter what they may be (and I’m convinced that everyone’s definition of hard is correct for them and truly hard) forces growth.   The pain, hard things we go through with friends/family/work/kids/anything, the loneliness, sickness, injuries… it all kind of fine-tunes us.  The hard spots make us push out of our comfort zones and find solutions to become stronger because of it.

It isn’t the easy downhill with a tailwind training run that is getting us closer to a personal record in our next race (although easy running is important).  It isn’t jogging in place in the comfort of our warm house with a smile on our face and a caramel milkshake (can you tell what I am craving right now;) in our right hand that builds strength to make that jump from 20 to 26.2 miles.

It’s those runs that hurt, that challenge you (physically or mentally), that you want to quit because they are so hard, that make you strong enough to reach that finish line.  Those runs make you strong because they make your muscles work in a way that they have never worked before.  They force you to focus.  To get rid of the fluff and grasp on to the important things like your form, breathing and mental strength.  It’s when you are so out of breathe and each muscle is shaking from fatigue that you keep putting one foot in front of the other and proving to yourself that you can in fact do hard things that refine us in preparation for race day.  Those challenging runs make you reevaluate how you have done things in the past and how you want to do them in the future.  And when you do enough of those refining training runs, you gain strength you never would have imagined and you eventually hit those personal/distance records in your race.

Thinking about those really hard training runs and things that get me out of my comfort zone as ways to refine myself and/or my running makes those hard runs a whole lot better.

One of the hundreds of reasons why we keep on running is because running refines us.  It improves us through small changes.  It rids us of some of those unwanted elements (fear, anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, anger ((oh how running helped me through angry times of life in the past) etc.).   Each training run that we do makes a small change in us or our running.  It challenges us to find better ways of doing things and over time it refines us to have the mental/physical strength that we need to finish our goal race/distance.

We need to keep up with all of the refining we are doing with our training.  It just prepares us to handle whatever comes along the way.

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Those of you that have a running partner… how long have you been running with them?

How has running refined you?  How has the hard spots in life refined you?

Pasta person… yay or nay?  What’s your favorite type?

Tell me about your last challenging run!!!  How did you get through it?  A mantra, a goal, your running partner?

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54 comments

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I don’t have a running partner but there is a reason some of the greatest oeople in the world are runners. We are tough people

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Mmm that bruschetta looks delicious! :)

I definitely agree that running helps refine us. It builds character, gives us mental clarity and teaches us that we have what it takes inside to push through hard things (runs or just LIFE stuff). When I first started running I used to always have a running mantra but right now I don’t — and I need to fix that! I want to have a mantra for this training cycle!

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Brooke has such long beautiful hair! I have really long thick hair and wish I had someone to do it for me because it is a chore in itself!

I think if you look at most athletes they have one thing in common. A unique determination to live beyond expectations. That’s what makes them stand out from others and keeps them pushing forward.

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Running partner 1: the last 13 years, minus the three years in CA. She’s the one I do all the crazy stuff (aka marathons) with and it’s good to be back together again.
Running partner 2: my sanity saver for the three CA years. I miss her.
And a random assortment of others who’ve been around for 3-5 CO years and the last CA year.

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I’m not a huge pasta eater but sometimes a good plate of pasta at an Italian restaurant is perfect and so good!

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I think running has shown me what I’m capable of. Knowing that I can (as you like to say) “do hard things” as far as running goes, helps remind me that I can do hard things in life. A few years ago, my husband went off to Basic Training and AIT for the Army. We had never been apart for more than a couple of days, and I was having a really tough time knowing he would be gone for SEVEN months. My dad stopped by my work and pointed out that I pride myself in being stubborn with running or martial arts. I just put my head down and do it. He told me to think of that time like a race that I had to get through. I can’t tell you how much that helped.

Pasta? Of course!

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This was a great post! I love running mantras and my current favorite is “one step at a time.” I hardly ever run with anyone else. I’m surrounded by people all day, and running is my quiet time to listen to music or just be alone.

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My mum and I have been running together on and off for about 4 years. She’s the one that gets me through the last few miles of our long runs. Except for this week – she made me laugh so hard when she choked on her gu and ended up coughing it up all over herself. I couldn’t breathe from laughing and almost had to stop running! We both need to practice fueling on the run before race day!

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I also don’t have a running partner, unless you count those rare times my husband and I get to run together.

Running has refined me in many was, I think. It’s helped me to be more disciplined at work and home – more organized. It helps me focus and buckle down when life is crazy busy with our girls – a pep talk I often give myself is to remember a hard run and how I made it through, so I’ll make it through this crazy week too. Running has been my constant at times when life was not so great. When my husband was between jobs, when family members have been ill, when a move went bad and we moved back to our old house (long story!). I put my faith above running, but running is right up there as something in my life that I depend on. They are almost inter-twined, and I’ve had some really sappy runs where the endorphins are pumping and I have these “we are all so connected and if we could all see that everything would be right with the world” moments. Yep, lots of sap sometimes. :)

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I think running has definitely refined me. It parallels so much with life–sometimes it’s easy, sometimes there are uphills and downhills, sometimes there are storms, etc.–and you simply have to face whatever comes your way and sometimes push through the pain.

Pasta? ABSOLUTELY. I really love angel hair pasta with Ragu Alfredo sauce. (I know it’s like the cheapest sauce ever, but it’s not as rich as most Alfredo sauces, and it is SO good.) Top that with some Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got yourself some greatness! :)

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Okay, my friend took me to that restaurant once (you were very close to where I live, so I recognized the background) and told me the Mora pizza (prosciutto, basil, blackberries) was in her top 5 for “Last meal before I die” foods. Seems like an odd combo but quite honestly, it is almost a year later and I still think about that pizza.

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YES YES YES!!! Bona Vita is so so good, I’m so glad you’ve been there and I will be going back next week to try that pizza!! It sounds incredible!!!!

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I’ve been running with my hubs for a few years and we’ve recently (3 months-ish) starting running with a shoe tester/former collegiate coach and he’s really pushing us to join a local running group.

Running has shown me that I am strong and mentally tough. It has been my friend and therapist.

The best pasta I’ve ever had was lasagna in Rome!

My last challenging run was due to my dumb foot being hurt and honestly I was at the half way point and I had to get home! Plus I was running with 4 boys and I had to keep up with them!

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I think of running as that thing I do so I can do other stuff. It makes me mentally and physically tougher for climbing and hiking. I doubt I would be able to do the weekend warrior stuff if I didn’t do the weekday runs.

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Moving away from my family, my country, and the life that I had made me a runner. Running kept me grounded and focused on adapting to my new life at that time. It also helped me to leave behind what I needed to leave behind. Now I’m convinced that running makes me stronger every day to face almost any difficulty. That’s how running keeps refining me.

Pasta is totally a YAY for me. Pesto, chicken, mushrooms and white sauces are my favorite toppings. I ate too much pasta in the summer and now I’m cutting on it, but I’ve started to miss it already.

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Running is a gateway to other parts of life, or an enhancer. I could still do most of the stuff in my life without running, but running just makes all of those things better/easier/more fun. It’s like a video game boost or something, like the star in Mario.

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I met my running partner (who is now also my closest friend) in 2009, right after we both ran the marathon in Victoria on Thanksgiving weekend. We had never met each other, and had no idea who each other was. But the photographer at the race got our race photos mixed up! So she got my pics emailed to her, and vise versa. Then one day, someone at work (she’s a teacher) told her about this girl that runs as much as she does (me!) and she ended up coming to one of our group runs. So she pulls up, walks toward the group and then we recognize each other from the race photos. How many thousands of people run that marathon?!?! What are the chances?!?! So cool, eh? I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s the exact same pace as me, and my closest friend. She is probably one of the biggest gifts in my life.

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Okay, NO WAY. It was meant to be… the changes are too small for that to happen. I love this story Suzy, so amazing.

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Love the way you described how running/doing something hard refines us. It really helps put all the hard work in perspective! I can’t wait to hear about how your marathon goes. Good luck!

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I run with a group for about 6 years now and people come in and out. I have a few fairly steady partners that I just enjoy running with. One of them is returning to running after having her baby in February. I’m beyond excited. :)

After running my first half-marathon I realized I did something I never thought possible and I could pretty much do anything else in life. I quit my job that had become stale after 14+ years and went to school instead. Now I freelance and do health coaching.

I enjoy pasta but don’t eat it as much as I used to. My current favorite is fresh parpadelle with broccoli rabe, sausage, and white beans in garlic and oil. I like a good puttanesca, arrabiata, or marinara sauce too.

My current mantras are “this too shall pass” and “this is tough but I am tougher.” I really don’t want to pool run today but I’ll go and do some sprints to liven it up.

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I enjoy your blog and have a couple of questions for you. I typically run alone, but not always by choice. How did you find your running partner? How do you handle speed differences with your running partner — e.g., what if she wants to run her tempo run at 6.10 per mile, and you are closer to 6.25 per mile? Keep running and writing.

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Hey Richard!!! I met my running friends through one of my friends that knew a huge group of girls and she convinced me to come run with us… the rest is history. I was hooked to running with people. I know that people meet running partners through races, group runs that their local running store puts on or online groups (Utah has a Facebook group for Utah runners). Good luck!
Handling different speeds—> we just end up doing the warm-up and cool-down all together and do our own paces for the workout portions. Josse and I are pretty much at the same fitness level so we are always right next to each other. Sometimes she beats me though and sometimes I beat her during different workouts. Easy runs we just all kind of end up at a certain pace and it works well. Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for you comment!!

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I love pasta! I make this chicken, mushroom, and sundried tomato alfredo sauce with bowtie pasta — BOMB! My hubby loves it and it’s a total CopyCat of Macaroni grill’s pasta milano!

I don’t have a running buddy (since I’m too afraid I’ll slow them down and annoy them) — but during my craziest and hardest long run, I called my hubby for support. He got me through!

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Okay, your pasta dish sounds like heaven!!!!

I was TOTALLY afraid of slowing down my running friends or annoying them when I needed to stop but I think people just want to run with other people and are all happy to accommodate one another:) THAT IS AWESOME that your husband came for support, love it when the people we love are so supportive of our running!

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Girl you gotta try it!

http://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/pasta-milano-copycat-macaroni-grill/

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I hadn’t run with anyone in the past but recently did with someone and I surprisingly really enjoyed it!

I got divorced last year and I definitely feel like it refined me. I came out of the situation a much stronger and confident person. Hard times are hard but reaching the light at the end of the tunnel sure feels great!

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Sam, I am so sorry for what you’ve been through over the last year… I totally get it though—> it strengthens us BIG TIME!!!

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I just love this post. It’s so well said and so true.
Running has 100% refined my life, it gives me something to focus on, strive for and look forward to when I’m struggling in other areas. I’ve noticed this since my mid-20’s, when, even though I’d been running for years, a group of runners completely restored my love for the sport and just my overall faith. I’ll never have running partners like them again (although we’re still great friends), as we’ve all moved to new places and new stages of life. I miss that a lot. And I think it’s why I like running blogs so much now, they give me some motivation and community back. Especially since moving to SC has been such a struggle.
But…I will say, my favorite ever running buddy is my chatty little toddler in the Bob. ;-)

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LOVE what you said Mollie! Isn’t it nice that we have such an awesome online running community between blogs and running magazines online pages?!? I love it a lot too. I really hope that your struggle in SC is lightened a bit with time. HAHA yep, running stroller conversations with a little one are the best!

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It’s interesting because as you know, I’ve moved a lot and I feel as if running has been there for me. In different states, areas and with different friends. I’ve been pretty much everywhere. Great post Janae!

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It’s the constant that we love. Now move to Utah and teach me your crazy speedy ways and run with me:) xoxox

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Definitely agree! I am a completely different person than when I got married over 4 years ago. It has been incredibly hard but thankfully it has also been fun! And I 100% think I wouldn’t have been able to get over the bumps of life without running! I don’t even know how I coped before I loved running!

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So i’m working on my half marathon training (6 weeks until race day) and I was out for 7 miles on Sunday morning. Getting through mile 6 felt so hard, I had no idea how I was going to make it through mile 7. Then the craziest thing happened…. I turned the corner! What was just a slight breeze created just this subtle resistance that made mile 6 feel so hard. Sometimes the resistance in life is so subtle and so constant that you forget it’s there and don’t recognize it for what it is. But when you make it to that corner and make that turn and then wind is at your back you feel like you can fly. You’ve turned the corner and all that resistance that you pushed against and through, made you stronger and ready to fly. What once flew in your face will now propel you to the finish. Go kill it on Saturday!

Also, years 1-6 are my favorite kid age. I would always say, “oh this is the best age” but now at 7 & 9 , I would love to go back to 3 & 5 any day of the week.

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Okay, that is perfect Candy. I totally get what you said about how going through the resistance makes us cruise through the parts after that! I LOVE what you said. Thank you so much! HAHA yeah… not looking forward to those teen years either!

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Brooke is too cute!

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I LOVE pasta but don’t eat it often. Should work on that. Also, can we discuss how Brooke is more stylish and has better hair than I have at any point in my life? She’s kind of awesome.

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and with that, pinned to my running motivation pinterest board :) Thanks Janae! sending prayers up and wishing you luck for saturday, though you won’t need it ;)

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Thank you SO much Bailey!! I hope you are having an awesome week!

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Big pasta fan here.
I’ve got to admit, every year of my daughter’s life has been my new favorite stage! It just keeps getting better! Yes, each age has its own challenges but the advantages are so worth it.

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Running has shaped my life in so many ways, but one of the best things I’ve learned from running is to take challenges and hard situations one step at a time. When I was in labor with my son, during each contraction I pictured myself running, which gave me a sense of freedom and helps to remind me that I can do hard things, one step at a time.

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My mantra (if you want to call it that:)) for this weekend is Hilary Weeks new song- Win The Day. The lyrics are absolutely perfect for running a race! So excited to get this done! Good luck this weekend!!

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GOOD LUCK TO YOU MARIE and I’m going to look up that song right now!

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Love this post – I’ve struggled with a few minor injuries training for my first marathon, and certainly puts things into perspective!

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Oh lame… I hope those injuries stop popping up and you get to your first marathon! Keep me updated with how everything goes!

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Oh my gosh, I love that pic of Brooke and her dog…Beretta has got to be saying .. “you know I love this kid, but really??”

LOVE any and all pasta but spaghetti and meat sauce is my very favourite, and my dog has gotten me through many long hard runs… plus my mantra which is ‘Just Believe’ .

I think having a baby definitely refines you because it teaches you to trust your body to get you through the unbelievable pain, for the incredible end result. :)

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Oh I totally agree with you Jade… having a baby really does refine us because of that very reason! And now I need some spaghetti and meat sauce, that sounds so good right now.

I LOVE that your dog has gotten you through some tough runs. So awesome!

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IS that a baguette in your purse (the date night photo). If so, atta girl!!!

When I moved overseas I had the hardest time saying goodbye to my running partner. She and I met working night shift as maternity nurses. We had the funniest and best runs, and some not so good ones. We ran through heartaches, joys, world sadness (I’ll never forget our 9/11 run), holidays, etc.

Enjoy the rest or your tapering week!!!!

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HAHA I wish and it sure does look like it… it’s actually the top of the purse:) But next time I am putting a baguette in my purse. Oh I bet it was so beyond hard moving away from your running partner. I got goosebumps reading about all that you ran through together.
Hopefully you find another amazing running partner soon!

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Several of your posts (like this one) have helped motivate me in my running. Just last night I was running a tough (hilly) loop I’ve done before, but last night there was a strong wind in my face during one of the uphill portions (no fair!), & I just kept telling myself, “I can do this. I’ve done this before. I can do hard things. This will make me stronger.” Sound familiar? :P

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Oh I love this Julie… WAY to go girl on conquering that hill with the headwind. Isn’t amazing how a little mental pep talk like “I can do hard things” makes it so we can do it!??! I love it! I hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday! xoxox

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Yes! I think the thing that amazes me most about running is how mental it is! As a quick follow up: I ran again tonight (I don’t usually do 2 long runs in a row but the weather was gorgeous & my legs felt good & I couldn’t resist) & the flat out & back route felt so easy after the hills yest. 😁

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New to your blog – and new to running! I’m reading this while icing my shins from W3D1 of Couch to 5K, and this post really resonated with me tonight. Even though I’m only a few weeks into this, I think there’s something to powering through the hard stuff. Something that I kind of need right now. Thank you – looking forward to getting to know you and your blog.

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I love Dave’s Killer Bread!

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This is really beautifully put and I think about that a lot when I’m running and in life as I keep moving forward out of a tough time into an easier one.
Thank you for sharing. So happy your marathon went so well. I’m looking forward to mine! :)
Love xo

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