Running is the REWARD + Not Okay

Hello:)

My Monday morning included 6 miles @ an 8:22 pace.  Even though I slept 84% of Sunday, I still woke up Monday feeling so tired.  Thank you running for always waking me up and making me feel like a person starting half-way through the run.

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ANDREW SAW THIS ON HIS RUN.  Not okay.  I am very glad that I did not see this on my run.  Add this to the list of reasons why treadmill running is awesome too—> You don’t (hopefully) come across one of these mid-stride while on the treadmill.

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Rewind to Sunday morning, Brooke gave me some major cash in the Mother’s Day card that she gave me so I took that straight to Target yesterday.

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Okay, I didn’t go just to spend the $1.33 but I did leave with this shirt.  I felt it was very fitting for me.

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Came home and made a bltatp (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, turkey, pepper—> try this combo) sandwich.  Brooke had a friend over for awhile and then it was time to go to gymnastics.  Brooke takes her goodbyes to Beretta very seriously,

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In the one hour period of time watching gymnastics, Skye experienced every emotion possible including exhaustion and

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pure happiness.

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Andrew is doing his long run for the week today so we had pasta to carb load last night with ground turkey and roasted broccoli.

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It was delicious.

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How long is it going to last that she actually WANTS to do the dishes?  Hopefully this is a life-long love for her. Or at least until she is 18.

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Andrew headed out for his softball game.  We stayed home since it was raining and windy.

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Pretty thrilling evening along with some yoga with Andrew once he got home.  Chocolate chips= dessert when you can’t find anything else in your kitchen.

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PS I am BEYOND excited about this… I am going to be able to go to the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle this summer!  I’ll be able to volunteer and have an incredible experience there, I can’t wait to share it all with you too!

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Another rewind to Sunday—>  Skye was pretty freaked out by this face mask that I used that night (PS putting it on evenly is hard one-handed).  I won’t recommend it because it left my skin BRIGHT red and blotchy once I took it off but I’ll continue trying every face mask out there until I find the perfect one.

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Random thought of the day, I saw this the other day and didn’t know people cut their toast any other way than #1;)  I think I used to cut it differently but the kids have convinced me that #1 is the only proper way.

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Let’s play I spy—>  can you see me running?

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The other day in the comments one of you mentioned how when you were growing up, running used to be the punishment for your sport.  When I was in high school I was on the tennis team for all three years (PS high school here is usually 10th-12th grade… I know it is different in other states) and running was definitely the ‘punishment.’  If we were late to practice or off-task or not following through with the drills—>  we were sent to run around the tennis courts a few times.   I was running at that point with my sister and on my own at times so it wasn’t a big deal but it was used as the ‘punishment’ for doing something wrong.  I remember running the timed mile in 7th grade and feeling like my teacher was punishing me for the one time I rolled my eyes at her (ps I was a pro at rolling my eyes for a good chunk of my life… Karma has already been visiting me because of this).  Not only do I remember different teachers/coaches using running as a punishment but I used it as my own form of punishment in my early twenties as well.  Ate too much at my roommates bday party = you better run x amount of miles.  Feeling bad about gaining 10 ounces over the weekend= well, I better run harder this week.  Too much candy (ps is too much candy even a thing?;) while studying for finals = I better burn off all of those calories at the gym and think about burning the calories the entire time and how I better NEVER do that again.

Exercise (the elliptical especially during college) and running was my form of ‘punishment’ for eating something on my ‘NO’ list or too many calories.  PS if you are a new reader you can read more about my struggles with disordered eating (really, it was an eating disorder) here, here and here.

Therapy, getting older, scary injuries, getting pregnant with Brooke (which is what I think really changed my eating/exercise habits), having great coaches and LOVING letting my competitive side out for a race really helped me to realize that exercise is not a punishment.

Over the years running has become my reward and it is a whole lot more fun that way.  It’s the way I treat myself to a little bit of me-time where I can be as selfish as I want for a few miles:)  It’s my favorite way to treat myself to de-stressing and some relaxation (isn’t it crazy how sometimes the higher our heart rate gets on a run the more relaxed we feel?).  I see running as this thing that gives me time to feel gratitude in nature or to catch up with my best girlfriends for an hour or to fill up on endorphins to help me out with my perspective on problems in life.

So, treat yourself to some good runs this week.  Reward your body to some type of movement that makes you feel strong and alive.  Celebrate the fact that you can run up that crazy hill in your neighborhood or run 4 miles without stopping.  Do it because you love yourself and want to do something good for your body!

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PS please note I am not a professional in anything but taking 1000s of pictures of my children each day.  PLEASE seek help if you are struggling with disordered eating/exercise.  Just remember the above is my personal experience but you do you:)

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Has running ever been a punishment for you?  In other sports that you played or your own personal punishment?

What grades were at your high school?  9-12, 10-12?

What animals have you seen on the run?  

How do you cut your toast?  #1, #2, #3 or you don’t cut it? Also, favorite toast toppings?

-The best is avocado toast then toast with homemade jam followed by toast with butter and cinnamon sugar.

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55 comments

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You have to try this one! It smells incredible and it actually warms up on your skin. Plus it’s all natural. https://www.albabotanica.com/en/products/hawaiian-detox-warming-mud-mask/

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That looks AMAZING and the warming up part.. yes, please. I will be trying this. THANK YOU Mollie!

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Totally agree. When you get injured you really truly feel that running is such a gift!

Also, have you heard about the movie Skid Row Marathon. Check it out! It’s about a judge in LA helping homeless people by starting a running club. It’s beyond moving! Be great for more people to hear about it because it’s such an inspirational story.

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Wow. Wow. Wow. I have not heard about this until you shared it with me. This is incredible. Thank you. I will be sharing this on Friday on the blog. Thank you Anna!

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Cutting toast in general is weird but #1 seems like the best option.

I hate snakes! I’ve seen a deer but I mostly stick to roads and not trails because of the snakes. I should be brave and go out there but they just freak me out!

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What if one of those sneaks in to the gym? I can only imagine the scare….

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HAHA yeah.. that would be awful!! I hope you have a wonderful day Madhu!

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This was such a great reminder today Janae! I was really really into running a few years ago and I got WAY too skinny and I kept doing it because I thought I was “happy” being that skinny– fast forward to now and I am about 15-20 lbs heavier and not running as much and I find myself punishing myself even more when I eat bad or constantly having negative thoughts about my body when truthfully I don’t look all that different than before? Of course some things don’t fit the way they used to or might be a little tighter but all in all I’m not that different (I think because I’m tall- I’m 5’10”), but it’s just the negative talk in my head that is the issue. I’m trying so hard to change that and this was a really good reminder today to change the mindset of exercise as punishment and just go enjoy it! Thank you!

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Blaire, I am so sorry with what you are dealing with right now. It is not fun. Start small. Sometimes when my negative talk gets back I just focus on small increments of time doing better. Like for the next ten minutes… and then with time, you will find yourself talking better to yourself more and more. You can do this, keep me updated with how you are doing!

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I love looking at running as the reward instead of the punishment. I played soccer and basketball for years, and even though there is a lot of running involved in each, it was still used as a punishment. I remember in basketball, anytime our coach yelled “baseline!” it was because she was not happy with us, and we were about to line up on the baseline and run sprints. For me now, running is definitely a privilege, and I love being able to escape and feel all of those endorphins.

I don’t cut my toast because I am the worst cutter in the world. I end up just tearing, anyway, so I leave it all as one piece. Avocado toast with ketchup and a little pepper definitely wins for toppings, but I also love to top some toast with peanut butter and banana slices. :)

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I tried avocado toast for the first time about a week ago – free sample at Costco!! It’s is so YUMMY! My new favorite kind of toast for sure! and #1 is really the only way to cut toast if you must cut it!

I hated running in school, really I hated the idea of anything that required any kind of effort at all! I was a cheerleader in school and our coach definitely used running as a punishment. I wish I would have given it a chance when I was younger, I love it so much now and I feel like I’ve missed out on so many miles I could have run in my teens and 20’s that would have been so much less painful than they are now!

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Just dropping by to say I love your blog! I so enjoy reading everyday! I also love the running tank you have on in the first picture!

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Marley!! Thank you so much for your comment… you are so nice. I love the tank too! It’s from Lululemon and it is still there… let me know if you want the link if you want to treat yourself;)

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#1 is my chosen toast cutting method. I like to have peanut butter and sliced bananas on my toast with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Pure and simple deliciousness!

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I did the whole I ate too much of something I better go for a run, but it was not a punishment. It was because it was the only way to just relax my mind after eating x, y, or z. Yes, that is still disordered, but it was not punishment but rather freedom, confidence, strength, and peace from the irrational thoughts in my head.

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Mmmmm…. avocado toast is the BEST!! And, always cut your toast like #1 ;) The other ways just look weird!
I don’t ever remember running as a form of punishment for me as a kid. I didn’t actually start running running, until I was 38, but I did always like running when I was in school.
Our high schools here are 9-12, but for my older siblings it was 10-12. I think the districts changed when I was in jr. high. It does strike me as odd at times, that middle school/jr. high and then high school can be so different throughout the country…
Where we live, especially this time of year, we see a ton of coyotes! It is not uncommon for me to encounter 1 or 2 on my morning runs. It is always startling! But, I know they’re more afraid of me, and looking for food. So if I come around a corner and see one close, I usually pause a moment, watch to see which way it’s going, then head in the opposite direction ;)
And oh my gosh, I love the t-shirts at Target right now! I was going to get the Avocado-holic one, but they didn’t have my size, so I got the one that says, “She believed she could so she did” They are so super soft!
Have a great Tuesday :)

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My husband gave me a tech shirt for my birthday a few years ago that said “My sport is your sport’s punishment.” Definitely my favorite shirt to wear to races!

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HAHAH THAT IS AMAZING… I need! Hope you are having a great day Rachael!

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Try the bliss marshmallow whip face mask! I love it. Target carries it now.

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Done and done… I will be getting that. Thanks Jessica, I’m sure I’ll be at Target today;)

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Yay! I have crazy sensitive skin, and this mask is brightening, gentle, and smells like a delicious marshmallow. If I could swim in it, i would!

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Ahhh wahooo!! So is this the right stuff?

https://www.amazon.com/Marshmallow-Radiant-Whipped-Straight-Paraben/dp/B079QQR8F2

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First, the picture of the girls together! Oh my heart!
But also, toast/sandwich cutting gets out of control at our house!
Especially grilled cheese! Not only are there the options you previously showed but cut into 4ths both diagonally and square, cut into thirds to make strips (the most popular grilled cheese option to make it easy for dipping), and cut outs – using cookie cutters to make shapes. I know…we have a problem!
Have a joyous day!

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I used to hate running so much because I wasn’t very good at it but I loved how accomplished I felt afterwards and what a great exercise it was. Now that I’ve been dealing with back issues and scheduled for another spinal shot, I really wish I had the ability to run, and jump, and do more active things with my kids besides biking. Funny how you start to see things differently when you experience different struggles in your life. :) Mine was 9-12. We’ve seen a tiny turtle! :) I always cut it #1, but have done #3 for kids sometimes. Have a great day, Janae!

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I didn’t even know cutting toast was a thing. Cinnamon and Sugar or PB and honey.

Running was a punishment on drill team too. I would even cut corners around the track because I hated it so bad. Ha! How times have changed.

That shirt IS very fitting. Cause it’s a shirt ;) I’m a 60 year old dad. It’s fine.

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The funny thing is that I knew you would say this if you saw this post today. That’s how well I know you.

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This may sound silly, but whenever I see a red bird–a cardinal or some such beautiful creation–I always feel like the universe is conspiring in the right ways and telling me that I am doing the right things. I don’t quite know how this came about, but since I began running in 2011, red birds have been my thing.

OH–since you’re on the quest for the PERFECT face mask, this is my absolute favorite. I have been using it since, quite literally, 1998 and even now, 20 years later, it still makes my skin feel pretty amazing: https://www.origins.com/product/15346/11588/skincare/treat/face-masks/clear-improvement/active-charcoal-mask-to-clear-pores

I want that avocado t-shirt! I *do* need to go to Target later today…hmm… ;)

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this comment made me smile! my grandparents, my mima and pap pap, LOVED cardinals! like, my grandma had hundreds of them…quite the collection. so needless to say they hold a special place in my heart. yes, they are telling you all the good things! whenever i see one while running, i blow a kiss to Heaven :)

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That is so cool!!!!! I hope you have a good day! :)

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I was never involved in any sports other than track and cross country so all I knew was running! But that’s because I have terrible hand-eye coordination so I had to play to my strengths. I definitely have had that mindset before about running or working out to counteract food I ate or overindulging. It can be a real trap to fall into so I try my best to remind myself that one meal or even one day of lots of “bad” food isn’t going to undo all the work I do to keep myself fit.
I really like those shoes you have in that picture with the special olympics shirt. They are so pretty!!
Speaking of animals… can we talk about people who don’t keep their dogs tied up or don’t hold onto them properly so they get all up in your way on a run?! Drives me crazy! And I know it’s not the dogs fault because they don’t know any better.

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I see a lot of cool birds now that we’re in FL. Fortunately the only snakes I saw were back in NH where they aren’t poisonous.
I’ve seen cute turtles in both places. I did see a gator once and an armadillo once. The gator was far enough away not to be scary.
The tiny garter snake was not.

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Will Brooke come over and do our dishes too?? ;) Just kidding!
I always secretly loved when we had to run when playing other sports as a punishment (like soccer or field hockey)…the running came so easily to me!
I prefer avocado toast topped with slices of garden tomatoes! With lots of salt and pepper….but I love just butter on toast too!

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HAHA I’m sure she would love to! Your avocado toast is making me drool:) I hope you are having a great day Erinn!

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I was also blissfully unaware that toast cutting was a thing.
My favorite breakfast toast is made on semolina golden raisin and fennel bread from a bakery here, topped with fresh ricotta and honey.
Like everyone else in the world, I like avocado toast, but I prefer to slice the avocado, rather than smashing it up like guacamole. It’s a little harder to eat neatly, though.

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I NEED THAT TOAST RIGHT NOW… that sounds incredible. I hope you get some delicious avocado toast asp! Enjoy the rest of your day Emily!

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Having been sidelined from running for 4 months with a stress fracture in my foot, I definitely saw my first run back yesterday as a reward :) the injury was actually more of a gift than anything. I was beginning to take running for granted, and it started to feel like a chore. Although some days are harder than others, we are all so lucky to be able to do something so FUN!

I love a good avocado toast with lemon, pink salt and some red chili flakes, but I recently discovered the amazing-ness of hummus toast!!! Add a slab of butter + your favorite hummus and you’re good to go!

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YOU ARE BACK MARIA!! Congrats on your first run back yesterday… I’m so happy that you are back. I totally agree, some of my injuries have really been huge gifts. Please keep me updated with your training and come back! That avocado toast combo is amazing and your hummus toast might make me like hummus:)

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Aww, thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Janae! I’ll definitely keep you posted. No doubt I turned to your blog during the toughest times of recovery – it is so uplifting. Keep being amazing.

P.S. Cedar’s Balsamic Caramelized Onion hummus might just convert you ;)

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We had grades 9-12 for high school. I’ve seen deer, snakes, owls, geese, pheasant, road runners (California), ducks, and a mountain lion. I usually stop and take pictures because it’s so cool to see them in their natural habitat.

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A MOUNTAIN LION… I would have been so afraid. You have seen so many things Ali! I hope your Tuesday is a great one!

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I bought the Avocado -aholic shirt at Target too! LOVE IT

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Great minds think alike! I’m wearing mine today:)

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Between the transitional period of running turning from punishment into reward, did you find yourself taking a really long hiatus from it? How did you move from exercise as punishment to reward with grace? The transitional period can be hard!

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I talked about it a bit above but therapy, aging, hitting rock bottom with injuries, pregnancy… al things that helped me to transition. I would HIGHLY recommend seeking therapy if this is a problem for you. You are amazing Linda!

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I just wanted to let you know that you MIGHT be safe with Brooke being a life-long lover of dish washing :) I used to LOVE playing with the dishes in the sink (but actually helping washing too…). My father would say to my mother “she’s wasting so much water!” And my mother would say “It’s cheaper than a baby sitter and it keeps her happy.” To this day , even though I have a dishwasher, I do NOT mind at all washing dishes. It is relaxing ! Ha

Now, taking out the trash… my #1 LEAST favorite household chore :)

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THIS IS SO GOOD TO HEAR:) I hope Brooke is like you! I hope you are having a great day Amanda!

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Your girls are so beautiful! Enjoy these days – they go way too fast. My own girls are 12 and 14 and I have those moments where I would give anything to go back in time just for an hour or so and soak up their little girl selves.

I think I had a love/hate relationship with running for years, and would often force myself to run extra miles if I felt like I overate. As much as it sucked to go through hip surgery last fall, I really think that during that time I learned to clean up my eating habits, enjoy sweets in moderation, and most importantly, to really view running as a gift. Depending on the outcome of surgery I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to run again, so honestly every run at this point still feels like the most amazing thing. I’m truly grateful l that my body has been able to heal so well and that I get to enjoy the privilege of running again!

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HIP SURGERY… that does not sound fun but I’m glad that it was able to help you so much with eating habits and gratitude for running. SO happy that you are running again, that is incredible Steph. Thank you for sharing… it seriously is going by so fast. Your girls are so lucky to have you!

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Nope. I don’t like it when people cut sandwiches. How am I supposed to eat the crust first?? I’ve done that since I was a kid!
Elementary school was Kindergarten-6. Jr. High (in the same building as the High School) 7-8 and High School was 9-12!

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HAHA good point Kelsey… crust first, always! That’s interesting that your jr high was in the same building as the HS! Hope you are having a great day!

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Ha. My aunt always made “toast fingers” when I was a kid.

I was just telling a friend that’s it’s nice to hike here (KY) and not worry about seeing alligators. It’s totally a thing in my home state of SC.

I get my face masks (and many other products from Lavender Anne’s. She’s based in NC but ships everywhere. She’s a new mama and a runner…she’s the best :)

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Well now I need to check out Lavender Anne’s… gotta support our community! I need to try out toast fingers for the kids. Also, I think I would die if I saw an alligator while running! Have a beautiful day Steph!

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Love the avocado shirt. I think I need that too. Haha I played basketball in high school, and running was used as a punishment for a lot of things we did wrong. Funny that my two favorite sports now (running followed by golf) I disliked or had no interest in until after college. Thanks for the reminder about running as a reward. As much as I do look at it as a reward, I also find myself saying you need to run after eating such and such. It is so true and is one of the only things I find myself making me time for. I think once you have had an injury and not able to run for a certain period of time, you never look at it the same again. I’ve been rediculously more thankful for the ability to run and a healthy body after having times of not having one. Loved what you said about the higher the heart rate the more relaxed. I’d add to that the more you sweat too the more relaxed you feel. Haha

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We are twins! My daughters bought me that same avocado t-shirt for Valentine’s Day. :-)

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Love that you are sending this message that punishing yourself for what you have eaten or going to eat, is not a healthy lifestyle. Disordered eating and eating disorders are really dangerous for one’s mind and body. Please know that I am an eating disorder professional and do counseling and coaching virtually. Please use me as a resource if you’d like : ) Would love to help spread the word about these struggles, specifically in the running world.

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