Life Lately && Marathon Recap! 10.5.2017

I did it, you guys! My fourth marathon is actually over. And you know, I’m really sad about it. I LOVED training this time around. Every long distance run was like a new event for me to plan with Patrick (obviously, as my sherpa), and now, it’s all done. You better believe I’ll be finding another one to sign up for soon 😉

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As I probably alluded in my last blog, the month of September was wildly busy for us. We had a wedding every single weekend (and we were in two of them) – but I really cannot complain because WEDDINGS ARE AWESOME and LOVE IS AMAZING. ❤

Our friends Kristin and Tony started off the month with a beautiful wedding, sprinkled with refreshing and heartwarming touches of their time they’ve lived in Hawaii together.

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Then our friends Nicole and Scott tied the knot in good ol’ Iowa – and that was the weekend I ran my longest build-up run. It was gorgeous!!

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The third weekend, our friends Alex and Alexandra got married and had a wild party afterwards! Loved seeing you two again!

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And lastly, but certainly not least, our close friends Blair and John said incredibly beautiful vows, and I was so grateful to be part of that ceremony. Such a beautiful couple.

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All that being said, September was over before we knew it, and all of a sudden, it was the week before my big race. And ya know what? We had ZERO plans that whole week (probably intentionally on my part – yasssss). We stayed in every night, watched movies, and Patrick cooked incredible home-cooked foods. I stayed away from sugar and alcohol that week too, just to make sure my body was in top condition and that I would sleep well 😉

I should take that back…. reverse reverse! I attended my first 108 sun salutation yoga class the Sunday before my marathon, where we literally complete 108 sun salutations in the 60 minute class. It was beautiful. Motivating. Invigorating. All the students were breathing in sync and I cannot wait to experience that feeling of community and one breath again. ❤

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We were lucky enough to get invited by a couple friends to go see the Packers play at Lambeau the weekend before my race. I know this is crazy, but THAT WAS MY FIRST PACKERS GAME EVER. It was absolutely a blast and I can’t wait to go to more! It was also SWELTERING outside, which I couldn’t complain about, AND the Packers pulled through with a victory! All the best things. 🙂

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The weekend of my race, we went to the expo and got my packet and Patrick bought me a new running hat! That night, my sister, her boyfriend Erik and their sweet (crazy) puppy Benny came to visit and had dinner with us because #carboloading. Oh, and my sister made her famous Pumpkin Bread that totally is addicting (I secretly hope she doesn’t make it again because I have been INHALING it all week!). And the morning of my race, it was absolutely perfect. The weather was on point for long-distance Fall running, I had a great breakfast, and we got to the start in plenty of time for me to warm up and even wait in the massive bathroom line HA. Baymax was with us too of course ❤ And all of a sudden, they were counting down to the start!! 🙂

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I chose to stay with the 4:40 pace group for the beginning of the race, in the hopes that I would make it at least to the halfway point with them (and then of course, I naturally slow down) so that would prime me for a PR. And I did that! I stayed with the group until about mile 15, which was a blast! The pacers were so friendly and talkative, and they both loved Harry Potter, so we had plenty to talk about 😉 I’m in the blue, with the hat, super excited, arms up – you get it 🙂

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At about mile 15 I saw Patrick and he jogged with me for a bit. He was FILLED with encouraging words and affirmations, and I just couldn’t stop smiling while I saw him. But this is really when I felt like I started to slow down. I knew this would happen and I wasn’t worried at all. I was feeling strong and didn’t even need to listen to music at this point either! (I ended up not needing music for the entire race actually!). However, around mile 20 is when I really started to slowwwww downnnnnn. My head was tired, my right hip was killing me, but I dredged on! I knew the finish was SO CLOSE, and since I have done the Lakefront Marathon before, I knew that my favorite part of the course was coming up. I ended up walking at some point almost every mile, which of course blew the buffer time that I had built up.

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At the finish, I heard and FELT the energy from the crowd. My sisters and my dad were with me towards the finish and they were cheering and encouraging me to PUSH through to the finish. I saw my Mom (hi Mom!) and she had her homemade sign that’s so filled with love and I just about cried when I saw it! I picked up my pace and finished the race at a sub 10-minute pace (which is wicked for me after that amount of mileage!).

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Did I get a PR, you ask? I will be honest and tell you. No. I was off by ONE. MINUTE. At first I was slightly bummed- more than slightly… but you know what? I don’t care now. That marathon was one of the best long-distance runs (let alone races) that I’ve ever run and I enjoyed every single step of it. I don’t regret a thing (aside from walking so much at the end LOL). But here’s to new goals and 2018 for a new PR, right!? 😀

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My whole family was at the finish. WHOLE family. Both sisters, Manda’s boyfriend, my dad, mom, step dad, step mom, ALL THREE DOGS, and of course the love of my life Patrick. This was definitely a race to remember. And today, Thursday, I already am feeling almost back to normal aside from some right hip pain (which is usual for me). I am so so so grateful. Our bodies are incredible, aren’t they?

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Aside from my marathon completion, we have just been enjoying this beautiful Fall weather just starting to poke its head through in Wisconsin. I LOVE IT. However, I’m realizing I may need some more sweaters and layers for work 😉 Any excuse to shop, eh?

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SUPER EXCITED though because we are flying off to EUROPE tomorrow afternoon! Me, Patrick, my sister, her boyfriend, and her best friend Hannah. We booked this trip monthsssss ago and the day is finally almost here!!! We are flying to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin, and I seriously cannot wait for some actual vacation time. It’s been too long, and now with my marathon done, we can celebrate!! Cheers to that!

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Thank you for reading about my experience with this marathon and I can’t wait to share another journey with you next time around! If you have tips, tricks or tools I can use going forward, I’m all ears – you fellow experienced runners, you!

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Have an amazing beginning of October, friends. It’s definitely my favorite month, aside from July (birthday month, #duh). I’ll touch base again soon with a Europe blog, you better believe it! In the meantime, follow me on snapchat or Instagram for daily updates!

xoxo, Shannon

Instagram: @fitnessbyshannon

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Living the Happy Life 9.14.2017

Hey y’all 🙂 How is everybody? Enjoying this space between summer and fall?Screenshot_20170914-084624

This transition is always always my favorite time of the year. If we could just pause the temperature/ weather/ outdoor feel, with cool nights and slightly warmer days, I would be just peachy happy with that! It’s perfect for literally everything: running, watching sports, swimming, sleeping at night, HARRY POTTER SEASON… I’ll take permanent Summer-to-Fall weather thanks!

I’m not sure if you remember, but at the beginning of this calendar year, January 2017, I dedicated myself to a new life, free of negativity/stress/judgment… and I renamed my blog and Instagram Fitness By Shannon. I am finally here to update you on this journey so far – it has been astoundingly beautiful. If you’d have told me that it was possible to live without unnecessary negativity and stress, obviously I would not have believed you – stress comes with life, everyone has it, it’s natural. Where that is true in some cases, I now know that if you let go of worry and sadness and insecurity (as much as you possibly can), then life really does seem… easier. Full of life and positive people and happy experiences.patrick shannon

 

That is what I’ve been experiencing over the last several months in 2017. I have been eating healthier than ever, and yet still indulging in ice cream and beer if the time comes. I don’t feel bad about it, I don’t let negative emotions affect me when I imbibe, and ya know what, I only have a limited time on this Earth – so I sure as hell am not going to worry about having a cupcake or glass of Sangria here and there! (Especially with 4 weddings in September on top of my peak marathon training miles, you BET I’m going to enjoy that cake and wine!)

One of my biggest stresses used to be time management. I am a very organized, need-to-plan-everything-out, “I’ll just hold the tickets for everybody” person, so that’s not really the issue. The issue is the straight amount of events and tasks and opportunities and dates that were booked in my calendar. There was something happening every single day and night, and since June, balancing all of that with marathon training?? It was a new challenge to say the least. With the busy schedule (that I fully commit to and yes, it’s my fault for saying yes to so many things), we are obviously flyin’ from one place to the next constantly, and that used to stress me out to the max. I HATE being late – I am usually the girl who’s there exactly on time, or 5 minutes early.sugarcaneBut I now remind myself that, in whatever situation I find myself, there is nothing more that I can do except my absolute best. I needed to focus more on the “right now” instead of “I should’ve, we should’ve, why didn’t we…” ideas. As my mom always tells me, we can’t go back in time, so let’s learn from the current situation, get through it, and plan better next time. ❤ (She’s brilliant). And my dad always reminds me to remember THIS moment, because 85% of life is just showing up. Get there, and do what you can right then and there.walking

Another incredible change for me has been shutting out any relationship or negative person in my life. This easy change was a weight off my shoulders. I only associate with people whom I love and love me back. It’s as easy as that. I spend the majority of my time with my amazing/ selfless/ adventurous/hilarious/handsome AF boyfriend Patrick and our puppy Baymax. Whenever I can be with them, even if it’s lounging on the couch all day on a Sunday, I feel my energy fill back up to the brim. My heart bursts with love for them. My family is incredible in so many ways; they support me more than I ever could ask them to, and they each have such a special place in my heart. My sister is my best friend, and without her advice, comic relief, support, and straight up love and honesty, I wouldn’t be as put together as I think I am 😉gagaOne last relief for me has been my rest days. Ironically, as much as I love getting to the gym with weights, on my mat to do yoga, and in my shoes to run outside, I cherish the days after work when I can come home and do nothing on the couch. The Sundays where we have literally ZERO plans (rare). Where we can just pick a show on Netflix and cruise (or snooze) through all of it. My body and my energy levels need those days, since my mind essentially refuses to stop thinking and processing and planning 🙂 Everybody close to me knows my couch time IS MY COUCH TIME. No, I won’t leave the house or put real clothes on. Yes, I will probably continue to clean and cook and organize. But I will be sleeping/napping/in and out of consciousness because that’s what my body needs right meow. 🙂IMG_20170810_170331My point in this long explanation is…  DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Really, make the TIME to get outside in the sunshine, travel even if it’s just a weekend getaway, and laugh your head off at stupid jokes and adorable corgi puppy videos. Spend the MONEY on special sushi dinners and exciting new yoga workshops (it’s just money). See those who you LOVE, because we really are all busy, so just make it happen if it’s important to you. That is literally all that matters. I dress how I want to feel good, I eat what I want to fuel my body as thoroughly as I can, I lift/run/do yoga every day to strengthen my heart, mind, and body. This is the life that I have chosen to live. If you simply change your mind, you can change your life. I firmly believe that now. I don’t even believe in stress taking over; because whatever comes my way, I will handle it. I have a support system, I have the tools needed to cope with anything, and I know that life will continue on. chin standThank you for reading ❤ Stay tuned for more from this new lens. 🙂

xoxo, Shannon

Instagram: @fitnessbyshannonme smiling

Happy May! Sunday Links 5.1.16

Happy May!! We are so excited for this month; we have so much planned, including obviously one of the most important events this year, our marathon! This is the start to our exciting summer, with running and biking events, concerts, weddings, and lots of awesome travel! May is always a great month 🙂

imageThis past weekend, we left for Dubuque after work Friday for our friends’ wedding Saturday night!

imageWe also happened to run 20 miles yesterday morning, ending just minutes before we needed to get ready for the wedding. It was cold, super rainy, and the wind just beat us around the whole time, BUT we did it! It was pretty hilarious, we were pretty exhausted, but it was a fantastic weekend and we feel great about everything we accomplished!

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imageAnd of course, we are so excited for our friends Megan and Andrew for their beautiful marriage! The ceremony and reception was gorgeous, and they even had a CANDY BAR at the end of dinner for us to partake in! I was a big fan of the caramels and plain M&M’s, as always 🙂

We are so excited to be home now, with our own food and watching Bones again 🙂 How was your weekend?? Do you have any weddings coming up? Any fun events this month?

imageHere are some links I found this week! 🙂

8 Ways to Eat Intuitively.

Tempo Runs are the Key To Running Faster.

Homemade Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner.

Plank Jacks are the best combo of Core work and Cardio.

5 Simple Ways to Simplify your Life and Home.

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Easy Chicken Parmesan Soup.

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Zucchini Banana Bread – No Flour Required!

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Garlic Chicken Mushroom and Asparagus Penne.

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Baked Lemon Butter Tilapia.

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Crockpot Mexican Chili Lime Chicken.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Cake.

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And I’m off to meal-prep and clean the apartment! 🙂

Hope you all have a beautiful week; we should have awesome weather this week! I can’t wait! ❤ 🙂

Peace, xoxo.

#MIMM 7 – Great Wedding and Looong Runs

Pardon the delay in this morning’s post. It’s Monday, though, soooo delaying is acceptable, right?

This last weekend was a perfect combination of busy-busy and rest time. We got to see great friends, experience a wonderful wedding ceremony, run loooooong, and relax on Sunday (for once). 🙂 Here’s my Marvelous in my Monday post!

Friday night, we headed north to my mom’s house to see her for her birthday! We gave her her presents, exchanged about 10,000 hugs, and hung out with my puppy Buddy for awhile before heading out to meet some friends for a late app/drink date! 🙂

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Blair and John are such awesome friends and we had a slightly belated birthday celebration for me (again!) and checked out a new bar called Plum Lounge downtown Milwaukee. It was pretty cool! We sat around a bar that had fire in the center of it, and purple (plum) lights shining down on us. Very sassy 😉

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We headed home for a SOLID night’s sleep before my 16 mile run Saturday morning. Guys, it was TOUGH. But it felt SO good to finish! Patrick even ran the whole thing with me! What a guy, what a guy 😉 ❤

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My favorite “stretch” after a long run.

Then we quickly got ready and SLAMMED breakfast before we headed to one of my oldest friend’s WEDDING started!! She’s been with her boyfriend for over 8 years now, so we knew it was inevitable, but I can’t believe the day actually came! I’ve known Brittany since I was SEVEN, and she’s been one of my sweetest and closest friends, even though lately we haven’t seen each other as much as we’d like. That’s going to change! 🙂 Marking my words now…

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Oh and they had a POPCORN bar for snacking! How fun!!

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My favorite wedding date ever ❤
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It was a gorgeous ceremony and a really great reception! The food was spot on (and we ate ALL OF IT and then some! After our run, we were ravenous!). So glad I was able to see her and Jake celebrate their special day ❤

Sunday, we CHILLED. Yeah, I said it. We biked to the lakefront to see the USA Triathlon happening, which was pretty AWESOME and that’s a #goal of mine now!

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We got brunch with some friends, and headed home for movies and cards. 🙂photo 3 (2)

Oh, and we devoured some more of that leftover duck from last week. YUMM!

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It was seriously a fabulous weekend, and couldn’t have ended on a better note! Shoutout: Patrick starts his new job today! So excited for him!! ❤ ❤ 🙂

This morning, I ran 3 miles, did upper body work, and loooots of handstands and headstands.

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Talk about draining your shoulders to the last drop of energy with handstand work after lifting!

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Hope you all have an amazing Monday! And make it Marvelous! 🙂 ❤

Peace, xoxo.

Instagram: @apples2abs.fitness

MIMM #2: A Weekend Recap

Good morning world! Latest blog today, from the girl who slept an hour past her alarm clock and got over TEN hours of sleep last night. YAY energy! BOO less time to workout! We’ll just have to transition into an “after-hours” workout instead.

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This last weekend was filled with spending time with friends allllllll over the place! Celebrating friendships, love and new marriages, and just life overall. Let’s recap, linking up with this Marvelous in My Monday post; thanks Katie! ❤ #mimm

Friday night after I work, I headed up to my best lady friend Stefani’s house, to spend dinnertime with her and her sweet pup Winston! Such a fun relaxing night. Always goes by so fast, since we talk-talk-talk! ❤

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A late Friday night turned into an early Saturday morning, when I got up to run 9 miles for my marathon build-up training! Ran 8 of them with my dad and friend/running-partner Sarah! It was the PERFECT morning to run, and we all had such a great time chatting and catching up!

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After the run was done, Patrick and I met up and got ready for the wedding we were attending that night, one of his really good friends Joel and Alison. Very fun wedding, and I’m so glad we got to see some friends who live in Chicago we don’t get to see too often!

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Cassie and Leke are such AWESOME friends, and we were so excited to spend time with them before, during and after the wedding!

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Cassie is ADORABLE and pregnant, and is seriously the cutest mom-to-be ever.

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Weddings that have photo boots ALWAYS are fun. The last picture is the best, in my opinion, HAHA. ❤

Oh, and below is Justin 🙂

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We had such a wonderful night, and had so much fun dancing and celebrating love! ❤

On Sunday, we got to visit with our awesome friends Ashlie and Jon who drove in from about 3 hours away. I totally forgot to take a picture, but we all ate at the AMAZING Smoke Shack in Milwaukee – all barbeque delicacies. HOLY CATS DELICIOUS! I got a Montecristo breakfast sandwich with BBQ pulled pork in the middle, and Patrick got Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict. Ahhh! #heaven

Afterwards (and beforehand), we went on a lovely leisurely walk down the lakefront, passing Summerfest and enjoying the cool lakeside breeze. A fantastic end to the long, busy, fun-filled weekend!

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My yoga pose for Saturday. ❤

Patrick and I spent the rest of Sunday afternoon relaaaaaxing and watching Harry Potter 1. I seriously can’t think of a better way to end the weekend ❤

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What was the highlight of your weekend?? Are you training for anything?? What is your FAVORITE kind of Barbeque?

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Much love, from us ❤

Peace, xoxo.

MIMM: Cher concert. And Mr. and Mrs. Prada’s Wedding!

Sooo much fabulocity in one weekend (fabulocity is a word right?), leaving me feeling incredibly marvelous

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Friday. Cher. AHHH, guys my lifelong dream has come true, and yes that is such a serious statement. I have loved her music since I heard my mom working out to it when I was a kid, and when I heard she was coming to Milwaukee, I immediately bought tickets. I brought my step-mom with me, as these were her birthday gift last November 🙂

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 Mexican for dinner, followed by flourless chocolate cake.

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The one. The only.

Seriously one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. This woman KNOWS she’s an icon, and KNOWS how fierce she is. Every single song had a costume and hair change, and she rocked them all. She even sang “I Got You Babe” with a piped in video of Sonny. THAT was so moving.

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Singing “Believe,” in a remix version. Just incredible.

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Obligatory cheesin’ selfie.

Saturday. My mom and I ran some errands and picked up some awesome tomato plants for her garden, and a really awesome wooden wind chime for my new apartment! I so love the relaxing sounds of it blowing in the wind…ahhh.

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The main focus of this weekend was the special, special wedding of my dearest and oldest friend Stefani to her man Michael. The ceremony was beautiful, and when Stefani walked down that aisle with her dad… I can’t even tell you how big the smile was on her face. Michael had me in tears at his reaction too ❤

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The beautiful couple.

After the ceremony, we all went to the hotel for her reception, and I was able to catch up with some childhood friends during their social hour! Stefani and Michael took this time as their “receiving line” and we all were able to catch up and hug her and tell her how GORGEOUS her dress is.

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Oh hayyy Kaylin.

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Their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Prada!

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Obviously needed a Prada sandwich moment.

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I am a giant. And Stefani is such a gorgeous bride. Seriously glowing.

I had an incredible time celebrating their life together and journey of love that is to come. Love you guys so much! ❤

Sunday. Obbbviously after recovering from a night filled with dancing and amazing gourmet cupcakes (kudos to your aunt, Stefani!), I stubbornly woke up Sunday morning, full knowing that I needed to get a long-run in before my half marathon next Saturday.

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Eight killer miles later. I was spent.

I couldn’t have asked for a weekend filled with more dancing, more laughing til my sides hurt, and spilling over with love love love.

Did I mention how much I love life? ❤ 🙂