The workout that helped me get in the best running shape of my life & heaven on a plate… make this NOW!

We just got our pictures back from the amazing Niki (her photography Instagram is amazing:)!  The last time that we had pictures of all of my siblings and parents was 23 years ago so it was time for an update!

Sure love these people a whole lot.

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Yesterday afternoon Brooke had a friend over so there was a lot of play-doh and my current favorite snack of yogurt, peaches, strawberries and granola.

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She was pooped afterwards and took a nap on Andrew.

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Spent some time at the home depot to get things for our yard!

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The thing that will be entertaining our kids all summer—>  a sprinkler to put underneath the tramp.

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When I saw THIS RECIPE for strawberry shortcake pop up on my phone, I knew that I had to have it asap.  It was amazing.  I might have it for breakfast today too.. because strawberries… it is practically a breakfast food.

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It was delicious!

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Make this now.

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I sent a text to my mom telling her what we made.  She and my dad drove over within a few minutes!  We live for strawberry shortcake.

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While I was out on my run yesterday I was thinking about different types of workouts that I want to use for my own personal training for my next round of marathon training.  I was also thinking a lot about what type of workouts I will want to use with different clients that I will coach in the future.  When I was in the best running shape of my life, I was working with my coach Dave (he was AWESOME).  He had me doing all sorts of different types of workouts in preparation for my marathon… tempos, fartleks, plenty of easy runs, track workouts, hill workouts… you name it, it was part of my plan.  I hit my 1/2 marathon PR during this time and I was on track for that beloved sub 3 that I crave so badly (and will get some day)… but my body had different plans once the marathon came (I had a lot of stomach problems going on so my dr said no to the marathon I was planning on so I pushed back to a different one and yeah… I exploded).  BUT ANYWAYS (I love tangents) those months in the end of 2015 were definitely my strongest running months ever.  The workout that I think did the absolute MOST for me and my training, was the…

FAST FINISH LONG RUN!!!

Here was an example of what that looked like for me after training for a few months of these… First 10 @ 7:30 and last 10 @ 6:40.  I was happy that I finished within 5 seconds of what my coach had planned for me that day;)  I’m a numbers freak and seeing that my average pace was the same as what he wanted made me feel really good.

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Long runs are hard and finishing them fast… that takes them to the next level.  

What is a fast finish long run?!

For this workout you run the first 8-12 miles of your long run at your normal long run pace, for the last 3-10 miles you run them fast.  This article advises running those miles between 10-15 seconds faster than your goal marathon pace!  McMillan recommends during those final fast miles to finish the very last 10-30 minutes of your long run like a race… ‘run as hard as you can and sprint at the finish.’  The fast miles (the last 3-10 miles) at the end are the focus of this type of run.   This workout is an AWESOME predictor for your marathon… “if you can finish these very strong and fast, you are on target to achieve your marathon goal.”

Another resource for pacing the fast finish long run is below (remember this is an awesome workout for whatever marathon time/pace goal that you have):

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How often should we be doing these within our marathon training?  

“Because fast finish long runs can be tiring and difficult, you shouldn’t include them on your training schedule every week.  Sometimes, you need to relax and put time on your feet, especially while you build up your distance.” (source)  So you don’t want to be doing these each week but maybe trying them every 2-4 weeks could really bring about some benefits for you!  Fast finish long runs are pretty hard workouts so you shouldn’t be doing them for every single long run.  You don’t taper for these either which means you are really dealing with some leg fatigue for those final miles.  This article advises to not start out doing this workout until about 8-10 weeks before the marathon (so that you don’t peak too early)!

Why try out a fast finish long run?

-The Fast Finish Long Run workout is meant to build endurance, leg resistance to fatigue and to practice race pace.  I LOVE THIS WORKOUT because it is teaching your legs to be okay with being uncomfortable for those last miles of a long run= it is going to help you out big time on race day when you are uncomfortable during those final miles.

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-This is an incredible workout for your mental game (which WE ALL need to practice).  It gives you the practice you need for race day to keep pushing until the end no matter how tired you are.  ‘Mentally, you undergo the extreme fatigue that marathon racers inevitably face during the final few miles.’  (source)

-It trains you for a negative split race.  This workout really helps me to learn how to avoid flying and dying on race day.  I have made the mistake of going out too fast too many times during a race.  This workout teaches you patience in the beginning and then to really push it for those final miles (or second half) of your race!

-Dress rehearsal for RACE DAY.  You get the chance to really practice your routine. While you are doing this workout you can practice your hydration, your gear, your nutrition the night before, or even a course that is similar to your future race course (if you can practice on the race course it might be even extra helpful) etc.  This workout helped to make race day a little bit less scary because I knew that I had really practiced the paces and everything else many times before going into the race!

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-This workout will help BOOST your confidence!  Going into your marathon (or whatever race you are training for) knowing that you have a few long runs under your belt where you did the last 8-10 miles at your marathon goal pace (or faster) will help you to feel confident that you can hit your goal pace on race day too.  With tapered legs and all of the adrenaline that comes on race day, race pace will feel even better than it did during your fast finish long runs.

I know that I’ll be using fast finish long runs again during my next marathon training cycle!

PS you can do this same type of workout for ANY race distance training (just shorten the miles:)  Teaching your body to hold the pace with fatigued legs at the end of the race is beneficial for any distance!

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Have you ever done a fast finish long run?  Have you ever added anything different/new to your long runs? 

What is your goto snack lately?

Finish the sentence….  If I was only able to eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be _____________________!!!

What do you think is the key workout is for YOU and your running?

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57 comments

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My go to snack lately is peanut butter and jelly on a slice of toast for sweet or sea salt potato chips and hummus for salty

Warm chocolate chip cookies or blueberry cobbler ala mode for my desert choice

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The biscuit part of that strawberry shortcake looks SO delicious!! If I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be sugar cookies (preferably from Tiff’s Treats). :) And my current go-to snack is the Maple Brown Sugar Nature Valley Granola Crunch with a sliced banana in there and some Wheat Thins, of course.

I think tempo runs are key for me in my running. When I’m actually training for races (and hopefully I will be again someday), I especially like to add a few tempo miles into some of my longer runs. They help me feel more race ready and serve as a bit of a confidence booster.

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If I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be peach pie. Love all pie, except the kinds with nuts, but peach is my favorite.

I do every run as a fast finish, but I do an all-out sprint for two minutes. Your way is probably a more effective way of doing things!

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I am not a big sweets fan…pizza, fries, nachos, those are my weaknesses! If I do have dessert, my favorite is a simple cheesecake with chocolate sauce or a Peanut Butter cup Blizzard. If my dessert has fruit in it, it doesn’t really feel like a true dessert…too healthy:)

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chocolate fudge cake. I think it will always be chocolate fudge cake (ok maybe chocolate chip cookies, I can’t decide!)

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I love fast finish long runs. There is nothing that builds my confidence more! Right now I’m not really doing long runs due to some calf issues but I can’t wait to get back to them!

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My go-to snack recently has been all-the-fruit with some trail mix mixed in! Plus, Trader joe’s unsweetened sunflower butter on eevvverrything! So good!

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oh man, that strawberry shortcake looks AMAZING! I might have to try some ;) But if I could really only have one dessert for the rest of my life, it would definitely be raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. But you’d have to limit me to, like, once a month or less or else I’d just eat it all the time!

I really like speed interval workouts the best when I train. I feel like they really help me gain strength and I can really see speed improvements when I incorporate intervals. Right now my goals are to gain both speed and endurance (I use speed loosely here because I am *slow* haha), and I’ve really seen the most improvement from my interval workouts!

Also, my go-to snack is Lara bars now. I got hooked on them during Whole30 and love them now. Just a little hit of sweet during the day, plus they’re made of simple and healthy ingredients, which is always a good thing!

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Apples and pb have been big for me lately.

Oh I like that workout! I’ll definitely have to keep it in mind for upcoming races. I think my long runs are usually a nice even pace so it would be good to step it up the second half.

I notice a good difference in my running when I’m incorporating speed work into my training. Really helps train those legs to turn over faster and more efficiently!

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I always feel the strongest when I do fast finish runs too. I think that’s what made me strongest when I PRed at races. That and incorporating hills during my runs which I think built leg strength.

Those family photos look great.

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If I was only able to eat one dessert for the rest of my life … COOKIES.
Can’t get enough cookies. Especially because they just opened and Insomnia Cookies nearby my condo and they’re too die for!

The workout that has been key for my running – SWIMMING! It’s helped me a ton to recover faster and get faster in general! I swear by it!

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Sounds like a great trainjng tactic and a real good one for the mind! Your strawb shortcake stack is unreal. My go to snack lately has been mini perfect bars!

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That workout sounds so intense – I’ll work up the courage to try it! I’ve signed up for a half marathon in October, and I’ll be adding these once I start officially training in about two months. I consider myself in “pre-training” now, where I run regularly without worrying about pace, strength train a bit, and of course make sure I have enough running clothes! And while I get rid of this nasty-tasting cough. It’s been fighting leaving me, so I’ve been mostly snacking on cough drops (not delightful). When I do get rid of it though, I’m going to reward myself with fro-yo. That is the one dessert I could eat happily for the rest of my life, because there are so many flavors and toppings!

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That strawberry shortcake looks AMAZING! Definitely my favorite summer dessert (or all the time dessert). When I was a kid and we would stay in hotels and they had continental breakfasts I would always make a “makeshift strawberry shortcake” with the biscuits you were supposed to use for biscuits and gravy and the strawberries basically in jello that were for who knows what.

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My go to snack, actually made me think of you the other day………frosted mini wheats.

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The absolute best. Now I need to go have some of those. Remember when I used to eat those every single day of my life?!

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Totally unrelated! Did you watch Party of Five back in the day? I missed it by a few years but it’s on Netflix and it’s become my go-to treadmill and elliptical show. I’m halfway through and realizing the 90s had much comfy-er clothes than I remembered!

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AHHHH I used to watch that show back in the day… the best! Oh keep enjoying and hahah yes about their comfy-er clothes:) It’s the best to have a good show for the treadmill/elliptical!

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It’s hard to pick….but I think french silk pie. I don’t eat a lot of sweets anymore because they’re all made with flour (I had to go gluten-free), but there are still days I miss them a lot.

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Strawberries make everything better. Growing up, my mom would make a shortcake that was more like a white cake than a biscuit, we would smother it in syrupy strawberries, and top it with milk. Made it mushy but in the best of ways! And nowww I want some <3

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Oh that sounds amazing… I need some of you mom’s version ASAP!!!

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That strawberry shortcake looks wonderful! My birthday is May 8th (turned 50 this year), and my mom sometimes made this as a desert for my birthday when I was a child. Maybe I’ll look up a recipe and treat my family tomorrow. I did a 45 minute fast finish workout today. I had a headwind on the second half, so my speed didn’t go up much but the effort was there. I think my favorite desert is Creme brulee, but it’s hard to choose. Do you have any tips for blisters on my toes?

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EVA!!! HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY earlier this month! Awesome job Eva on your run today… fast finish with headwind = SUPER hard. Wow. As far as blisters go, I would try new socks… maybe a new shoe too. What are you currently using for your running shoes and socks?

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I love strawberry shortcake, but I don’t think I’ve ever made it, that looks delicious!

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Brownies and ice cream forever is my favorite! Even had this for our wedding instead of traditional cake!

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I LOVE that you did brownies and ice cream instead of wedding cake. LOVE THAT! The real question for you today… nuts or no nuts in your brownies? I am all about no nuts!

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no nuts in brownies allowed! And slightly undercooked makes even better!

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I’m getting really excited about training for my half marathon using your fast fininish long run ideas. It makes sense to make your body run faster after you’ve put in all those miles and your body is already fatigued. My half isn’t until November so I have plenty of time to go easy due to a previous foot fracture but I’m pumped!

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Amber, I am SO excited for your half marathon training coming up! Keep me updated with how your foot is feeling and how your training is going!

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Your family is beautiful! Your parents must be so proud of all of you!

Go to snack–these crackers called “Seedlanders”—I think they look kind of like hard tack. My husband says they look like bird food. ha ha They’re crackers with all kinds of nuts and seeds on/in them. I’ve been digging Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt, too :) And, chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s! :)

If I could only eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be birthday cake with lots of buttercream icing and icing flowers on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Oh thank you so much Jen!I have never tried Seedlanders, I need to find them!!! Oh those chocolate covered almonds at TJ’s are so amazing:) Enjoy the rest of your day Jen!

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My go to snack has been Spicy Nacho Doritos (impulse buy when I was at the grocery store hungry…never again!). I think my go to dessert would be graham cracker chocolate chip cookies!

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Graham cracker chocolate chip cookies… I need to hear more about this!?!? That sounds awesome Maureen! Enjoy your Tuesday!

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They are SO good! They stay chewy longer than a typical chocolate chip. I personally love cookies that are on the chewier side of things. Have a good day Janae!

Here’s the link: http://getinmybelly.com/graham-cracker-chocolate-chip-cookies/

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You are the best for sending the link.. I have to make these!!!

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Thanks for the tip! I will definitely have to incorporate a fast finish long run into my training!

My go to snack is always fresh fruit! Especially since summer brings so many good options!
I would definitely pick ice cream if I could only have one dessert!

And my key workout is anything with speed!! I feel like I naturally have quite a bit of endurance, but getting my legs to move faster for those miles has been a bigger issue. Speed workouts (and tempo miles) help me a ton!

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I’m right there with you… summer fresh fruit is the BEST!!! I hope you have some delicious fruit today Tiffany! I’m with you… the endurance comes easier for me so those speed workouts really help!

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Fast finish is great, especially as whenever possible, I try to negative split my races.

If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life, I would choose either dark chocolate or soft serve ice cream.

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I think the last photo my family took was at least 15 years ago. Isn’t it crazy how long ago it is, but it doesn’t seem like that long?

As for my favorite dessert, I’m not sure if I could pick just one – there’s just too many good ones to pick from. My top three would probably be pound cake with berries in it, reeses pieces, and brownies.

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I LOVE strawberry shortcake but the dessert I could eat for the rest of my life? Definitely COOKIES! I love cookies. Warm chocolate chip. MMM!

I’ve never done one of these fast finish workouts but they look intriguing! My go-to to finish strong is to run a few miles to the gym (5+), then do a quick leg circuit, and run home (a mile away) – it’s not super difficult but it helps me get into shape so fast!

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That strawberry shortcake looks amazing!! I’ll have to try it. It’s interesting how everyone has a different version of strawberry shortcake (sweet biscuits, angel food cake, etc…). Our family always has it on yellow cake with real whipped cream (with sugar and vanilla). If you’ve never tried it, you should! It’s AMAZING!

My go to snack lately is the new caramel M&Ms and pretzels. WOW!

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Yellow cake… that sounds delicious! I am going to try that ASAP:) So good to here the caramel M&Ms are good and with pretzels, BRILLIANT!! Enjoy your day Sue!

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I love the picture of your family in front of the temple.

That strawberry shortcake looks amazing. I need that in my life.

I keep making the Levain Bakery copycat cookies and eating them for lunch, or snacks….it’s a problem. It is a toss up between cookies and ice cream for the dessert I could eat for the rest of my life.

Fast finishes are my favorite. That is how I did all my long runs when I trained for my marathon. Still positive splitted like a boss though. hahaha.

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Dang, those strawberry shortcakes look DELISH! If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life, I’d be indulging in donuts forever. They’re my weakness.

Thanks for sharing the info on the fast finish! That’s something I should definitely incorporate into my training.

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My go-to snack lately is popcorn and almonds!
If I could only have one snack for the rest of my life, it would be carrot cake with a (THICK) layer of cream cheese frosting :).

I have been reading your blog for years (It was actually one of the first blogs that I started reading way back when), and it gave me the courage to recently start my own blog. Like you were, I am a middle school teacher and needed a creative outlet to pursue my love of writing! Thanks for writing a blog that is so relatable! ( http://www.thelushlobster.wordpress.com )

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I typically try and finish all of my runs with a little kick, but taking it 30 seconds faster than my goal marathon time happens once or twice a month. It definitely helps me to feel and push through that pain.

My go to snack has been peanut butter filled pretzels. I cannot get enough. And frozen grapes because for some dumb reason it is over 100 degrees today!

If I was only able to eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be ice cream!! All day, every day!

There are a couple of key workouts for a strong marathon for me. Running with others (who are faster than me) is key. Repeats, hills, and running in the heat is also key.

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Totally making the strawberry shortcake this weekend – Whenever I think of Memorial Day weekend I think of strawberry desserts and this looks perfect! Thank you for sharing!

My one dessert would be…hhmm, this is an unfair question! (especially since I’m 31 weeks pregnant!) haha I’ll do categories:
Butter crunch (Ice Cream)
Apple (Pie)
Vanilla (cake) w/ vanilla frosting
Sugar (cookies) with frosting

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I LOVE Strawberry shortcake! I wish we had it more often in our house! My current go to snack though is Mangos, I’m not sure why they are just delicious!

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i love that your parents drove over because you baked. so sweet.

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If I was only able to eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be Ice cream!!!! I can’t live without it.

My got to snack lately has been nut bars. Kind bars, RX bars, and any kind of bar that doesn’t have whey protein in them. I’m currently loving the Lenny and Larry’s protein cookies. They’re delicious and high in sugar. The perfect pre-run snack.

The key workout for me and my running are planks. They give me so much strength and I feel way stronger when I do then consistently.

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Okay, that strawberry shortcake looks AMAZING!!!

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I haven’t tried a fast finish run but I should! I don’t really have a go to snack at the moment but I always love teddy grahams and graham crackers. And I would say brownies all the time for dessert! So good! For me, long slow runs are my favorite-i can listen to music and build mental strength so I am confident I can handle the race distance.

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If I was only able to eat one dessert for the rest of my life, it would be ICE CREAM!!!!!!

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Love the family shot! You sure do have a beautiful family.

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Beautiful photo. 23 years since a family photo with all of you- wow! Were you just not all together, even at weddings or did you just forget to get this shot?

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Training for my 1st marathon last year I had a few runs that called for pace miles in the middle of some long runs, but no fast finishes. Training for the Chicago Marathon this year, and I think I’ll be adding in some fast finishes! I’d really like to kick my training up a notch.

If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life I think it would be a chocolate lava cake with some vanilla ice cream and strawberries or raspberries on top!
PS – I finally found Halo Top Ice Cream! I got the s’mores flavor and added a scoop of peanut butter and it was AHmazing!!

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Awesome information, I am definitely saving this post.

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