Bring on the pain, that is going to be a big day & let’s focus on our breathing while running.

It only took four full days for my legs to finally feel some life again after my half marathon on Saturday.

My legs no longer felt sore so I got in an 8 mile run on one of my favorite roads in the state of Utah (it is a bit of a drive but totally worth it in my opinion… switching up my routes is key to my running happiness).  I averaged an 8:17 average pace and while my body felt much better, my breathing felt harder than usual.  The usual case for me after I do a hard race.  It usually takes about a week for everything to work normally again.  Whenever my breathing is off during a run it usually leads to stomach cramping or side stitches (which really are still quite a mystery as to why they are caused but these things always help me) so I try to focus in on my breathing and ask myself two questions…

1.  Am I breathing in and out of my mouth (mouth breathing is the best way to get in the most oxygen… Which our muscles need during the run)?  The nose just can’t get in as much oxygen as the mouth can when breathing BUT it can do a part of the breathing… just focus on breathing through the mouth.

2.  Am I chest breathing or belly breathing?  I think when I start chest breathing = cramps or side stitches.  When we belly breathe we get in more oxygen so let that stomach expand while you are running/breathing.  Chest breathing is way more shallow and it makes it so that your lungs don’t fully let out all of the oxygen when you exhale.  Good stuff.

Whenever I do start cramping a bit or feel that wonderful side stitch we all love (I kid)… I just try to slow down my breathing, take deeper breathes and focus on my stomach expanding (not my chest) with each breath.

As far as breaths to steps ratio goes… do whatever is best for you and what feels comfortable.  There are plenty of different opinions on this but unless I’m running in the Olympics and have a coach telling me the exact amount of breaths to do per steps… I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the run and do what feels comfortable.   Sometimes thinking too much makes my breathing worse so I just try to relax:)  Trust your body to do what is right for you.

Usually I do not really think about my breathing during a run unless—>  I am recovering from a really hard race or workout, I’m out of my normal ‘running shape’, I’m going uphill or doing a speed workout.  I think our body adapts better to breathing most efficiently with more and more experience.

Okay, last thing about BREATHING but when I finish a race and start coughing like crazy I really try to stay UPRIGHT.  While it sounds like a great idea to lay down or bend over or hunch over… staying upright will help me to get more oxygen!  Our chest expands and allows more oxygen in when we are standing up.

PS I take Andrew’s gopro out with me on my runs:)

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Just a little bike riding in pajamas.

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Shower and then straight to a dense blueberry pancake

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A little mid-day family picture.  If we are out somewhere doing something and we call it a ‘family activity’ the kids go NOOOOO our whole family isn’t here.  Beretta is a vital member.

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The day turned out to be really warm so there was plenty of trampoline time (Beretta is waiting for Knox to throw the ball for her).  It is quite a strange thing to see a lab jump on a trampoline.  Back before I met Andrew he had gone out of town for a week and the neighbors fed Beretta… while he was gone, Beretta chewed a whole through the net of the trampoline so that she could be on it while Andrew was gone.

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We also made it over to the park.

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My 12 year old (ehhhh 31 year old) self hurts a little each time I find one of my old Beanie Baby’s tags ripped off.  Selling these was supposed to be my retirement.

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Dinner, baths and drive-thru Wendy’s to pick up some Frosty’s.  Within 2 minutes of taking this picture, Knox spilled a huge glass of milk all over the kitchen quickly followed by Brooke spilling her entire Frosty on me and the floor.  Fun stuff.

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Lots of spills call for time just us on the couch watching the end of Moana.

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Just like me… falls asleep so easily in a movie.

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**April 28th is going to be a big day.  FINALLY.  Why has M&M’s waited so long to fill that chocolate shell with everything on the planet other than caramel.  I am guessing that these will easily pass peanut/peanut butter/almond/mint M&M’s for first place as the best type of M&M’s!**

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Also, my friend Kristi posted this and I really loved it:

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Last random thing to share today—>  I have a new race mantra for my next half-marathon:

BRING ON THE PAIN.

My middle name is Worrier and for some reason I tend to worry about a situation before it even arises (I’m better than I was a few years ago with this but still working on it).  But here is the thing with races… what’s the worst that could happen.  Some pain comes along during those final miles?

Fun fact:  We’ve felt that pain before and we kept pushing through it.  I’ve felt that pain that happens on race day a ridiculous amount of times and I still finish, love it and sign up for another.  So why worry about the pain.  We know it is going to come (for everyone) somewhere along the course so instead of trying to ignore the fact that it is going to happen… time to welcome it with open arms.  Time to prove to myself again that I’m strong enough to experience the pain/desire to quit and push through it.

Growth/faster times/further distances isn’t going to happen without it (not the injury type of pain…) so BRING ON THE PAIN:)

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What has your latest mantra for your runs and/or races been?

What is your opinion of the best M&M flavor?

Ever get side stitches or cramps while running?  What do you do to help them?

Collected anything when you were a kid?  What about now?

-Beanie Babies were number one for me as a kid followed closely by Polly Pockets and Pogs.  Now I mainly collect clothing that I don’t really need but want and running shoes.

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60 comments

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Aww, these pictures make me really excited for warmer weather! Yay for Spring!
The only thing I remember collecting as a kid was books, particularly books about horses. Pretty sure I have every single Saddle Club and Thoroughbred book ever written! They’re all still in a box somewhere.

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I love dark chocolate peanut m&ms and peanut butter m&ms best.

I used to collect baseball cards back in the early 80s! ANd smurf figurines. I’m glad smurfs are still around. :)

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LOVE that attitude- I am definitely working on my attitude about pain, but like all things it takes time.
When things get tough in a race, I have had success in the past saying to myself “this is exactly where you want to be- this means you are doing it right”.
I have tried almost every M&M flavor and I still think the peanut ones are the best, but the caramel ones look like a winner.

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Ick I hate side stitches. I usually have to quickly dig in there back and forth and it seems to calm down after that. Cake batter mnms are pretty darn delicious, so I’d say those!

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i love your outlook on dealing with pain. it reminds me of one of my go-to racing/running songs lately, “sucker for pain” by wiz khalifa/lil wayne:

“And I’m a sucker for pain, it ain’t nothin but pain
You just f***** complain, you ain’t tough as you claim
Just stay up in your lane, just don’t **** with Lil Wayne
I’ma jump from my plane or stand in front of a train
Cause I’m a sucker for pain”

okay that was way more explicit than I thought ;) haha sorry Janae!

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Oh how I LOVE that song…. I think we are all suckers for pain with our running:) Thanks Mallory!!!

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OH man that last bit about pain was a game changer for me. Just knowing that IT IS GOING TO HURT for some reason makes it so much easier (for me) when it does. There’s no point of being scared of it. It’s going to happen either way. I try to think of pain like a friend. When he decides to show up, he’s just telling me that I’m pushing myself extra hard and he’s just going to run with me for the following x amount of miles.

I think running is kind of like life in this respect (and a million others). We know there’s always potential for heartbreak/pain in every situation, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from doing something really great .Same with running. We know there’s going to be pain there too, but we should never let it stop us from pushing through or signing up for that next race. Anyway. I RELATE is what I meant to say. Speaking of which…off to do my 22 mile run before work…

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I love that mantra and definitely need to use it!! Can I just say how happy I am because I ran for the first time this morning since having my kidney surgery and the kidney infection that resulted from it. I don’t even care that I didn’t go that far or that fast–I RAN!!!! (Thanks for letting me share my joy.) :)

I used to collect Pogs, too, but now I’m similar to you: I’m all about the clothes and running shoes. Also, I love all of your sweet family pics together! Y’all are all so precious.

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Haha POGS! Forgot about those, but loved them…well really, I think I got into them because the little boy I had a crush on loved them :) I didn’t know that about mouth breathing and side stitches, thanks for the tip!

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right now I love pretzel m&m’s!! and crispy. and the plain lol. I don’t really like caramel so I don’t know if I will try the new variety but it’s always exciting when they come out with a new flavor!

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Since I am coming back from injury I worry running sometimes thinking do I need to stop, is that my injury,is that just my mind focusing too much on that body par, is it my mind worrying about re-injury………finally I just let my mantra be God Will Step in On Your Behalf.

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My mom was crazy addicted to collecting Beanie Babies. We would go to stores and stand in line and wait for them to open when new beanies were released. Now we have tubs full of them, who knows maybe by the time we are retirement age they will actually be worth something? haha
My favorite M&M flavor is white chocolate. The candy corn ones they release at Halloween time that are white chocolate are my absolute favorite! Caramel sounds good though!

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YES… I used to do that too to get the brand new beanie babies! Good memories! Oh I have never had the white chocolate ones but I love white chocolate so I need to get those asap!

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Love the mantra. LOVE the idea of caramel M&Ms! Love the pic of Brooke on the swing–pure joy!!!!

Mantras: Pressure is a privilege (Billy Jean King!)–esp after injury, I love this one. “Smart, Fast, Strong!”, “I can; I will; I am”–got that one from YOU! “Your body will adjust”–when conditions aren’t optimal.

Best M&M flavor–plain followed by peanut butter :) I’m boring!

Collections–then: Beanie Babies, stickers, Barbies,
Now: redware pottery :)

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Okay, Pressure is a privilege—> that is such a good one! That helps change perspective from complaining about the run/pain to feeling lucky/grateful for it! I’m so glad that one of my mantras has stuck with you!

I just googled redware pottery… AMAZING!!! I fully support that collection!

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Best M&M flavour is the new coffee one in my opinion. :)

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I am SO EXCITED for caramel M&M’s!!

I collected Pogs, Beanie Babies, Polly Pockets, Legos, and Barbies!

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Oh man, I totally had Beanie Babies…and I pushed them around in a stroller. I was super cool, obviously. I also had American Girl Dolls, it was tradition for Grandma to buy the grandkids one when they turned 8.

My mantra lately has be “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

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Oh Beanie Babies! We have tubs of them in storage at my parents house, it would be fun to go through them again. I collected those, barbies, and anything Wizard of Oz (which I still collect!)
I am a worrier too. Recently it has been worry that I have done too much damage to my body from so many years of under eating and over exercising to ever be back to normal.
I love the candy corn M&Ms at Halloween, the coffee nut, almond, mint, and I just tried the vanilla cupcake ines and they are so good too. I’m excited to try the caramel!
A mantra I sometimes repeat is “sky above me, earth below me, fire within me.”

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I definitely think breathing is an important component to running and is often overlooked. I’ve found myself getting side stitches when I’m not hydrated enough.

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Labs are the best!!

My mantra as of late has been “I am strong and powerful.”

Caramel is my fav so I’m sure they’ll be delicious! We bought the vanilla cupcake flavor last night and my kids went nuts!

When I get a side stitch, I make sure to breath out when my opposite foot strikes the ground. Weird, but I swear by it.

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I love the dark chocolate and also the peanut butter M & M’s. I would think a mix of those, PLUS that new caramel flavor would be the best ever, as far a mouthful of M&M’s goes. Or maybe on top of ice cream too. Yummmmmm
Fun that the kids are not only in PJ’s, but a pair of Christmas PJ’s :)

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BRING ON THE PAIN! Love it. I’m going to keep that mantra in mind during my half on Sunday. :)

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GOOD LUCK ON SUNDAY VANESSA!!!

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Ok I’m SO looking forward to try out those new M&M’s. My favorite ones so far has been the pretzel flavor because it really reminds to me a cookie I used to eat back in my country when I was a kid.

I do get a lot of cramps and stitches while running. One thing that has helped me is to hold my breath for a few seconds and then do this again until I feel is going away.

And I collected key chains when I was a kid. I’ve always wondered what happened to all of them.

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Oh that is really interesting Nathaly! I’m going to have to try holding my breath for a few seconds next time this happens. Yep, the pretzel m&ms are so so good!

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I also just try to take deeper breaths and slow down a little bit until they subside!
Peanut butter and crispy ones are bomb but I think peanut will always be my favorite!
We had so many beanie babies growing up. Wish they were worth something, they are in storage in the attic now.

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Oh you are so right, those crispy m&ms are amazing. I hope you have had a great day Salina and maybe someday the beanie babies will be worth thousands;)… that is what I’m hoping at least!

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Every since I’ve listened to a podcast featuring Lauren Fleshman, I have been in love with embracing pain. She said “learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Pain tells you that you are performing and moving in the right direction (not to be confused with pain as in injury pain, in that case STOP!). But she said she eventually would view pain as a friend in a race and go “hello, pain you old friend!”. That totally changed my mindset in racing. Now instead of wilting in the last half of a race, I pick it up to feel that pain because it represents all the hard work I’ve put in and I know I can push through it.

I can’t for those M&Ms!! I love them all, except the coffee flavored ones, I feel they really missed the mark with those :(

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Alyena, thank you so much for sharing this with me… just what I needed to hear. Such an amazing perspective on pain and I’m going to have to use this during my next race! I have never tried the coffee flavored ones but too mad they aren’t great!!! Enjoy your evening and thanks for your comment:) I’m going to reread it before my next race!

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What a great view during your run!

Peanut butter M & Ms are hands down the best flavor. :)

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My mom would totally agree with you on your M&M choice:) Thanks Angela! I hope you are having a great night!!!

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What is your opinion of the best M&M flavor?
My favorites are Peanut or Peanut Butter, but I’m really interested in trying those caramel ones!
Ever get side stitches or cramps while running? What do you do to help them?
I focus on breathing out and strides.
Collected anything when you were a kid? What about now?
When I was a very small child I collected stuffed monkeys. I still have at least half of them…although I’ve given my pup a few to play with when he was a pup.

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Oh I love that you collected stuffed monkeys and that you still have a lot of them! Let me know what you think of the caramel ones! Thanks Desiree!!!

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It must just be the week of cramps. I had side stitches and stomach cramps on my 6 miler Tuesday. So very annoying!!! I was so concerned because its new that I almost call the Dr. Hahahaha

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BUMMER… have you had any since your Tuesday run? I hope they don’t happen again! Enjoy your night Mindy!

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Peanut m&ms are candy perfection. I collect bruises lately because I’m clumsy and tired from trying to attain my goalz. And lately I have been getting side stitches and I try to raise my arms up and breathe deep.

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Good call on raising your arms, I’m going to try that one too! NO MORE BRUISES… be careful out there! Thanks Elizabeth and I hope you get some peanut m&ms soon!

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I can’t wait for the caramel m&m’s! I love dark chocolate ones the best right now!

I had lots of polly pockets……….and these dolls called cherry merry muffin dolls…………each one smelled like a different muffin/cupcake flavor and I had most of them!

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Omg I had cherry merry muffin dolls too! My mom couldn’t stand the smell of them so she made me keep them sealed in ziplock bags when I wasn’t playing with them. 😂

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WHAT!?!?! HOW DID I NOT HAVE ANY CHERRY MERRY MUFFIN DOLLS!?!? I can’t believe I went through childhood without those!

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I collected lollipops and pins as a kid; whenever we went on a trip I bought a pin from the destination and put them all on a denim hat! It’s kinda cool, hehe. The lollipop collection, however, was not the most popular idea I’ve ever had… just a bunch of lollipops in a box that I refused to get rid of for 20 years.. hahaha.

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Okay, that is awesome Krista! I hope you still have the pins and hat! Hope your Thursday is a great one!

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My mantra is “my kids my kids my kids” – through my running I aim to show them an example of setting a goal and going after it – not giving in when it HURTS or is HARD.

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Oh Deb… I LOVE that mantra. The perfect thing to repeat to yourself to really help yourself to keep going! I used to repeat Brooke’s name over and over again during those final miles of hard races! I hope you and your little ones are having a fabulous day!

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I have tried the caramel M&Ms and I was disappointed. That could just be me but I don’t want you to get your hopes up! (Several of my coworkers agreed.)

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THANK YOU Jessica for the heads up so I don’t get overly excited about them. Bummer… I thought they were going to be amazing. Guess I should just stick to Milk Duds!

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I always tell myself “I can do hard things”! I also love “Pain is temporary” to help push extra hard!

Ummmm…..i can eat an entire bag of the peanut M&M’s in one sitting but I have a feeling this new flavor will be my new favorite!! HOW DELICIOUS!!! Why on earth did it take so long?? Cant wait.

Ugh…side stiches. The absolute worst. Sometimes I just try and walk them out for a minute or two until they go away and of course focus really hard on deep breathing.

I totally had beanie babies! I wonder where I put those things at….. I also collected Lisa Frank stuff!

-Beanie Babies were number one for me as a kid followed closely by Polly Pockets and Pogs. Now I mainly collect clothing that I don’t really need but want and running shoes.

Falling asleep during movies is probably the greatest sleep possible. I have no idea why but I do the exact same! :) Here’s to movie sleepers!!!

Have a great Thursday!!!

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I collected beanie babies and stamps as a kid. Now, I just collect running shoes haha. My running mantra (especially for hills) = “scary feet”.

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I’m super excited to try these new M&Ms. They sound delicious! I’ve always been partial to the peanut variety and also peanut butter.

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I used to have lots of beanie babies (which I still have, at my mom’s house) and Polly Pockets (which she got rid of, but I wish she hadn’t because they were the best and my daughter would have loooooved them. The new Polly Pockets are totally different).

Love the coconut m&m’s, which are hard to find in Canada, and peanut m&m’s.

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I love “bring on the pain” as a mantra! What I’ve done in the past is to set a separate mantra for each section of the race. Say it’s a half marathon: for miles 1-4 I’ll tell myself “settle in” and then 5-9 might be “keep it steady” and then 10-13 is “stay strong.” Yes I get into alliteration with mantras, apparently!

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Oh I love those Emily!! Thank you for sharing… perfect way to divide up the 1/2 marathon for the needs during those miles!

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I’m so behind on my blog reading (ah back to school!), but congratulations on the killer half marathon time!

I never thought about chest breathing vs. belly breathing, but the idea makes total sense. I need to start keeping a lookout for this on my upcoming runs.

When I was a kid I collected postcards! They were cheap and easy to acquire whenever we traveled. :)

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YAY for being back to school… I bet you are busy! Thank you so much Julia and I love that you collected postcards:) I hope you still have them!

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Fun fact about breathing through you mouth, you can bruise the roof of your mouth doing it! I did a HIM a few years ago and after I finished and cleaned up I was starving and went to eat but could barely do it because the roof of my mouth hurt so bad when anything touched it! I thought I was going crazy but it lasted a couple days so I googled it. I found out that breathing heavy out of your mouth for a long time can cause the roof to get dehydrated and actually bruise. Who would have thought!? I laughed at the fact the the part of me that hurt the most after a HIM was the roof of my mouth haha.

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WHAT!?!?!? That sounds so painful! You go out and rock a HIM and the roof of your mouth is the most sore afterwards! I had no idea that was possible! Thanks for letting me know Amanda and I hope you are having a great day.

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Haha, pogs were huge when I was in junior high! I remember so many people playing with them before and after school as well as at lunch. I haven’t thought about them in forever!

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LOVEEEEE that quote!!! Thank you for sharing that!!!
I loved collecting stamps(yes, I would beg to go to the PO so I could pick out new stamps) and the DISNEY glasses that were from McDonalds!!! They were actually really nice:-)
Best M&M: coffee nut!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Such a great perspective on pain! It’s gonna hurt, there’s no way around it. Someone else said recently that we don’t train to avoid pain, we train to be ready when it arrives (I may be paraphrasing nycrunningmama here)! When I am tired in a race my form falls apart, so the mantra I started using is “Run tall, Step small,” which reminds me to focus on form and increase my cadence. It’s not easy to hold good form but this got me through my last half marathon strong!

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