Faith

I’m not a religious person. I’ll get that out of the way right now. Faith is often associated with religion, but that’s or what I mean here. I’m thinking of the other meanings, more specifically that to have faith is to have trust.

Confidence in a person or thing

The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.

The observance of this obligation, fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.

Dictionary.com

How does this fit into health and fitness? In lots of ways. Wellbeing encompasses both the body and the mind. When the mind and the body are in alignment there is health. Mind and body working together. There is trust in the process, that what you’re doing is for your greater good. 

Conversely when mind and body are at odds you have an internal struggle: “I want to lose weight so I’ll stop eating. Or I’ll make myself throw up”. That’s an extreme example. For me it is much more subtle: “I want to lose weight. But I want that beer and that ice cream. And I want to sit on the couch and watch Netflix”. 

That’s where I am right now. I’m on my second week of school vacation and I’ve gotten out to run once. I’ve spent a lot of time doing other things, so I haven’t been a total sloth, but I have been doing a lot of relaxing. And thinking that I should be working out and eating better. 

And then this morning this word popped into my head. Faith. Trust yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. 


This is not easy for me. I lean more towards “no” than “yes”. But I’m finding comfort in putting faith into something bigger than just me. I mean trusting that things will work out even when we can’t predict the outcome. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do our best anyway. We put our trust in ourselves and each other. We learn to open up instead of close off. We move past fear and realize our goals for ourselves. 

I signed up for a race this fall. I’m looking forward to it because it’s right in my own backyard and my cousin is running it too. She’s faster than I am, which is fine. I’m not interested in competing with her time-wise. What I do want for this race is to do the best I can. And that means the work starts now. Time to put my faith in the process. Overcome my fear (and couch potato tendencies). 

I’m in a time of transition. From a school year full of stress-filled work weeks to 8 weeks with a whole lot of not much planned. It can be a recipe for laziness and wasted time. And yes every vacation should have a little bit of that. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity that I don’t intend to squander. 

There are a lot of unknowns out there. Plenty of reason to be afraid. Change is difficult (and it doesn’t get easier the older you get). But it’s not impossible. Have some faith in yourself, the process, a Higher Power if that’s your thing, but don’t let fear hold you back. If not now, when?

ROTH

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Currently…

 

Currently I am winding down another school year. I’m feeling tired and stressed and also hopeful and excited. My to-do list at home keeps getting longer as I say to myself “I’ll get to that after the school year is over”. The problem with that procrastinator mentality is that it doesn’t help me feel better and means that I might not get anything done at all.

Currently I have a dog who injured his paw and requires a lot of care. This has been an ongoing saga for a couple of weeks or so, but worsened yesterday. He started limping and seemed like he was in pain. So back to the vet he went and returned home with antibiotics, pain pills, and no more bandage. He needs extra TLC now and I hate that I’m in school all day and can’t keep my boy company.

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Dio playing coy with the camera
Currently I have another dog whose new favorite thing is licking a spot on her leg. So she’s wrapped up and tied with a bow as well. And yes, her little sock does have kitties on it.

lotus paw

Currently I am eating soup and a bagel with cream cheese for lunch. And have been for a week. For weeks prior to this I was bringing yummy salads full of protein and colorful veggies, but have turned to comfort food while I try to manage all this stress in my life.

Currently I am not running. I’m also not swimming or riding my bike. Currently I am getting through this last week of work and then I will swim/bike/run. Really. I promise. I’ve got a rough plan for summer vacation. Last weekend I basically stayed close to my couch and my quilt. I know myself well enough to know that I need down time. The week before I was in Newport only to return home to dog injuries and STRESS. I also know that running is a wonderful stress reliever, but being away from my boy for any time longer than necessary would be more stressful. I feel this way even though I have a wonderful, caring, capable, husband at home who cares just as much as I do for our pups. Puppy guilt is real, people.

Currently I have a giant bag of iris plants and hostas from a co-worker pal. I’m not a gardener even though I fantasize about having a beautiful yard. I don’t want to do the work mostly because I don’t really know what I’m doing. I will put those plants in the ground this weekend though and hope for the best.


Currently I am giving myself a big ol’ break on all of this. I’m trying to figure out how to be kind to myself during this period of upheaval and transition. Sometimes everything feels like an uphill climb, but with every up there is also the easy downhill coast. I know I’m heading into that and I look forward to feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face.
Catch you on the flip side,

ROTH

Things I Learned in Newport

 

 1. I can watch a sail boat race and not have a clue what’s going on.

2. Don’t eat at a restaurant where the menu is full of spelling errors.

3. Be careful if you leave your car with a valet. You probably won’t get it quickly and end up stuck in traffic trying to get to your race on time. 

4. Don’t cram your bagel and peanut butter down your sauce box while stuck in traffic. It will not make your tummy happy.

5. Don’t tell yourself not to crap your pants during the race. That’s a sure-fire way to end up with a big turdy mess. (I did not crap my pants because I kept telling myself I was fine. Even though I was not fine). Mind over matter. Thinking positively really works in a a long run situation. Or any situation, really. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about pants-crapping, but never experienced it before. Not. Fun.

6. I so love running long distances. This race course was beautiful: miles of ocean, then mansions, then more ocean, then Fort Adams. There was a lot to keep me distracted from what was happening “down below”. 

7. I don’t have any other races on my calendar, so while distracting myself from my digestive issues I decided to spend my summer focusing on my new running group and building speed. Having fun. Meeting new people. Getting out of my comfort zone a little bit more.

8. I love being near the ocean. 

9. I will probably never find a race photo that I’m happy with. Why can’t I look like I’m flying through the air with an expression of determination and fire? Instead I look like I’m walking slowly and ready to fall over from exhaustion. 

10. Every time I go away I miss my family. And I’m always always always happy to be home again.
Til next time,

ROTH

10 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Here are 10 random facts about me.

  1. Right now I have 2 dogs at home both with injured paws. lotusndio
  2. I also have 4 hens, 1 of whom is broody and is currently sitting in broody jail. #jailbirdbroody
  3. I am an introvert by nature. I don’t put myself out there, like ever. Except for now, on this blog, which is quite terrifying by the way. magic
  4. I just joined a local running group. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while but I’m a bit shy (see #3). Honestly I’ve become bored with my same old routes and running by myself. So it’s time to shake things up a little and this group will be great motivation to keep running this summer.
  5. I am running the Newport 10 miler on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to it. The course looks awesome. I’m not expecting anything spectacular performance-wise. My plan is to go out there and have a blast. Enjoy the sights and sounds. Take lots of photos and enjoy every minute of being at the ocean this weekend. newport10miler
  6. After Newport, I have no races scheduled. Like bought and paid for and on my calendar. I have lots of ideas but I haven’t jumped in and signed up for anything yet. I’m currently thinking about doing the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) Distance Medley: 5k Blindfold Challenge, 10k on June 26th, and a half marathon October 9th. And/or a sprint triathlon July 24th and another one on my 46th birthday, and a Bike and Fly race August 20th. Or something else…Dang. I hate it when I’m indecisive. Perhaps I’ll find some races to do with my new running group…
  7. I love crunchy salty snacks more than sweets. If given a choice I will pick the chips or crackers over a doughnut or Danish or brownie any day.
  8. I am not good at gardening. I long for beautiful flower beds and herbs and home-grown veggies, but I basically suck at it. I tried growing herbs from seeds this spring and it didn’t really work out. But I won’t give up! I’ll keep trying and hopefully I’ll get something to grow that won’t get trampled by the dogs or eaten by the chickens. Whomp whomp.

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    Dill and tarragon – aka chicken food
  9. I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series again. I read them as they were released way back in the day, but not since then. I’ve let the movies take over my memory of the story, but the books are different (and way better) in really wonderful ways. I’m so glad I’m reading them again. I’m currently finishing up Prisoner of Azkaban. Next week: Goblet of Fire!
  10. I usually make a summer reading list then completely ignore it. I think that is kind of like my race “schedule” -lots of ideas but then I like to see what pops up that looks interesting. Currently on my list: the rest of the Harry Potter books plus The Cursed Child (out in July), We Are Water by Wally Lamb, The Versions of Us by Laura Bennett, Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben, Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams, and probably some stuff for work (counseling, adolescents, deafness, transition, etc.), and maybe a good book about running and or nutrition.

Off to pack for Newport!!

xoxo

ROTH

Happy Birthday To Me

And to you. Because it is someone’s birthday today. Loads of people. But not me. This is from a song by a 90’s band called Cracker. My husband is a fan. When I came home from work the other day complaining about everything and just generally miserable, he played this song for me. And it made me feel better.

It’s about remembering the little things. Being grateful. Appreciating all that you have.

I’m feeling thankful for the small things, today

I’m feeling thankful for the small things, today

  • Seeing a giant rainbow in the sky
  • Sitting outside with a steaming hot cup of coffee, my dogs and my chickens
  • Taking everything out of my bag, organizing it, and putting everything back.
  • Painting my nails
  • Running on a nice cool day
  • Any time with Bobby
  • Finding folding money in a random pocket

I’m also grateful today for the big things: life, health, love, family, work, food and water. Life is short. Sometimes too short. I don’t want to waste my time dwelling on the negative. Yes, life is tough sometimes. But we persevere. We have to be tougher than the problems we have. Know and believe that our problems are temporary. We ask for help if we need it. Reach out to family and friends when we feel lost and lonely. But one thing we ought not to do is give up. Never give up. So Happy Birthday to you, to me, and here’s to many many more.

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Peace out.

ROTH

 

Quotes I Love Right Now

I have been a collector of quotes for a very long time. These are the quotes that caught my eye this week:

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.

Edward Stanley

I love this quote because it speaks to why I started running and signing up for races in the first place. Growing up, I was never what anyone would call an athlete. I played soccer on a team once and hated (hated. HATED. hated.) it. I also played basketball for a season when I was 11, and called it quits after I broke my finger on the ball. That is not to say that I was not active. I took dance lessons from the age of 4 to about 17. From college and through my 20’s I was active too, but really just coasted by on my genetic fortune: no significant health problems, no surgeries, no injuries. Just enjoying myself, indulging in whatever food and booze I wanted with little repercussion to my health (that I was aware of anyway). I exercised some, but very sporadically. A little yoga here, Pilates there, dabble in a bit of tai chi, maybe join a gym for a few months…you get the idea. As I got into my 30’s, I started paying more attention to my health. I became grateful that I didn’t have any health issues even though I was eating a lot of fast food and sitting on the couch enjoying a cocktail or three (or four). I knew if I wanted to have health and longevity in my future, my habits would have to change.

Enter the Couch to 5K program around the age of 38. Better late than never. It totally worked for me, and provided the basis of  years of running and regular exercise. Sometimes I get down on myself for running so slowly or wonder why I still bother with this… and then this quote reminds me why this still needs to matter. Slowly is still better than not at all.

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Life is for participating, not for spectating.

Kathrine Switzer

I love this quote because what started out as a way to lose weight became something much more than that. It’s a hobby and an outlet for my stress, sure, but it’s also been such a fantastic way to learn more about myself and to push the limits of what I think I can do. Like I said, I’ve never considered myself an athlete, so to sign up for a half marathon or a triathlon is crazy-scary. But then to be able to do all the months of training for it and cross the finish lines of those races is unbelievably fulfilling for me. I’m not just sitting on my couch wishing I was doing something interesting and exciting, I am pushing myself to do those things. And I really do love that feeling.

Plus, I get to see things I would normally miss: a beautiful view, random wildlife (I swear a pair of cardinals followed me on a run one day), visiting a new city for a race (Boston, Hartford, Hampton Beach, next up – Newport)…and then experience the satisfaction of completing something difficult for no other reason than because it is important to me.

And the added bonus? I have the blood pressure of a young kid. What’s not to love about any of that??

See you on the trails,

ROTH

Flexible Body/Flexible Brain

What’s going on this week?

Growing some herbs from seeds. It’s a first and I’m so proud! This little chicken seems to like them too.

 

Getting some exercise. A 6 mile run in the rain on Sunday. And a visit to the pool on Monday.

 

My plan Tuesday was to go for a run after school and sign language class, but I neglected to check in with my other half regarding his plans. He had baseball practice after school, which meant I had to get home to take care of the dogs. Ok, Plan B it is! Workout at home – strength circuit from Betty Rocker (squat jumps, single leg squats, push ups, jumping lunges and tricep dips – for 15 minutes), and a 15 minute yoga stretch video. The dogs “helped” by licking my ears and going between my arms in downward dog. Laying down in corpse pose and looking up at the beautiful blue sky and leafy trees was the highlight of my day. I loved that I took the time to see something I normally would not have probably bothered to appreciate.

This was my original plan for the week:

Monday – swim

Tuesday – run

Wednesday – strength

Thursday – run

Friday – rest (out to dinner)

Saturday – bike ride

Sunday – long run (7 miles)

And then life happens. Plans change. It’s important to be flexible and be prepared in case something comes up. In my case, Tuesday’s plans changed; I had to get home. Ok reshuffle the workouts.

Wednesday was up in the air – do I need to get right home after school or can I stay and run then get home later? I packed a running bag in case I can stay  and run at school, but if I have to get home then I’ll put my bike trainer in the yard and catch up on some Netflix. Either way works for me.

It’s important to have both a flexible body and a flexible brain. Sometimes Plan A works out, sometimes you have to consider a Plan B, C, or D. The one thing I’m trying not to do is use my schedule snafus as an excuse to skip working out. And of course communicate with my better half so we know each other’s plans. Annnd write my schedule in pencil.

See you on the trails,

ROTH

 

Blindfold Challenge

Hello!

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On April 16th I did something I’ve never done before. I ran a 5k blindfolded. It was quite an undertaking, but honestly running blindfolded was the easiest part of the whole endeavor. First, I had to find a guide willing to go through the process with me, which I did (thanks Dulce!!). I was required to raise a significant amount of money ($1,000.00), attend a training session in Boston a week prior to the race, find hotel accommodations the weekend of the Boston Marathon (due to a 7:15 photo shoot at the Boston Common), and then attend a pretty swanky breakfast after the race. It was quite a big undertaking. And a pretty big deal.

The race itself was pretty cool – it took place the Saturday before the Boston Marathon, starting on the Common and actually crossing the marathon finish line. It’s a part of the Boston Athletic Association, which puts on a great race. Well organized, lots of volunteers, swag tents, finisher medals, timed start waves, and security. Lots of security. Overall there were about 10,000 runners and 30 of us were blindfolded.

What I learned from this experience is that it’s not that difficult to run without the use of vision. It helps to have a guide, obviously. And from there it was pretty simple: I just ran until Dulce told me to stop. Actually I think it might have been easier because I couldn’t check my watch for my time. I I didn’t have the scenery to distract me, but I found it easier to get into the flow of running. Instead of feeling tense and scared I felt calm and meditative. I trusted my guide as we’ve run many, many races together and I knew she’d get me safely across the finish line.

blindfold run
My guide and I running through Boston

The goal was not to set a personal record. The goal was to raise $1,000.00 as required by agreeing to do this. That was the real challenge. I don’t like fundraising, but I have very generous family and friends. Thankfully. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me do this. I also wanted to help my sister’s school and the other associations that help the blind in Massachusetts. I’m really proud to say altogether altogether the Blindfold Challengers raised $31,000.00 for Perkins School for the Blind, MA Association of the Blind, and the National Braille Press. That’s going to help a lot of people.

My sister and I are pretty close. Even though there’s 80 miles between us we spend a lot of time together. And I’m always searching for ways to understand her experience in the world a little more. I know I can’t, really, but I don’t think that’s a good reason not to try. A long time ago I learned American Sign Language (ASL) so we can communicate. I’ve been working with deaf students for the past 13 years or so, and my interest in the field is the result of growing up with my sister. I’ve always focused on her deafness and not so much on her blindness. But how she sees the world is just as important to understanding her as how she communicates in the world.

And since I’m sharing, the other big reason I chose to do this is that my grandmother died a few months ago at the age of 99 1/2. Right before Christmas actually. She was immensely important to me and to so many who were lucky enough to know her. She and my sister were incredibly close. That’s an understatement. They had a bond. When the opportunity arose to run blindfolded to help my sister’s school, I knew participating in it would make my Gram so proud.

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My grandmother and sister

 

So thank you to my family, friends, mom, sister, grandmother, and Dulce my sighted guide for helping me to achieve this goal. It was quite an undertaking and I never could have done it without the support from all these wonderful people. I am grateful to everyone and so humbled by the experience. And thank you to my grandmother. I heard you cheering from heaven.

xoxo

What Gets You Moving?

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I love technology. I am a fan of using social media to connect with friends and like-minded fitness folks. I love my phone and my tablet. Not too long ago running meant lacing up my  shoes and heading out the door. But now I must have my phone and my Road ID bracelet, and my heart rate monitor, my watch, my earbuds, etc. etc. But technology is also a useful tool for staying motivated and on track with your goals. And anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution or tried to make a change knows the importance of keeping the motivation going.

Some people have an inner drive to be the best, or just feel the need to get out and run everyday. They’re internally motivated. That’s not me. I need accountability. That can mean paying money for a big, scary race that I haven’t done before, or having a buddy I check in with regularly, or even having a coach. Without a goal or someone to check in with, I will likely be found on my couch rather than the trail. I’m definitely externally motivated.

If you’re like me, here are a few ideas I’ve tried (and still use) with some success:

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Facebook. I belong to a bunch of groups: Run JunkEes, Hogwarts Running Club (Proud Hufflepuff. Go Badgers!), Tri-Fecta: Family, Life, & Tri, Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and Run with the Sisterhood. I also started a private group with co-workers. Any time I feel my motivation lag, or I just don’t want to get dressed and get out the door, I just have to look to one of these groups for some fantastic inspiration. Each of these groups has runners and walkers of every ability so if you’re a newbie and want to join a group I’m sure you will fit right in. I also love the support and positive attitudes that (most) people have. And it feels good to provide support when someone asks for help with their own lagging motivation.

Apps: Charity Miles (free) is a great one. I use this for Hogwarts Running Club as we earn points for our House with each mile we run, walk or cycle. They have about 37 different charities, so pick something close to your heart and get moving. Your miles get converted into dollars by company sponsors, so it’s a win-win. The only downside is that the app really doesn’t work well inside on a treadmill. But hey, it’s spring so go outside!

Map My Run or My Fitness Pal (free). These 2 apps connect with each other if you’re looking for a food diary and fitness tracker. I know people use lots of other running apps such as: Strava, Run Keeper, Rock My Run, Nike +, etc. So you can definitely find one to match your needs.

Road ID (free). This is a must for anyone who goes out alone. It gives you a home screen with an emergency contact, sends a text to your contact person (people) and lets them know where you are in real time. And if you stop moving it sends an alarm out from your phone. So if you stand around chatting with someone, or spend too much time fiddling with your shoes, Road ID will blast an alarm from your phone and will text your emergency contact. Trust me, this works incredibly well. I activated that system once and got a frantic call from my husband wondering what had happened to me. Luckily I was just taking a break and forgot to pause it.

My Yoga Studio ($5.00). Yes I am one of those people who actually bought a yoga app, but I use it every week. It has a variety of classes. I especially like to use a 15 minute stretch video after a run. YouTube is another great resource for yoga and strength videos. Of course nothing beats going to an actual class, but this is great when I’m home and want to get some stretching and movement into my day.

Skimble (free but unlocks more workouts when you pay). This is a strength workout app and I use it when I’m bored or need to change things up a bit. I like to do balance exercises or a quick strength workout while Bob cooks dinner. The workouts tend to be 15-20 minutes each. No special equipment required. Most use hand weights and/or body weight. Easy breezy.

Fitness Trackers ($100.-$200. and up).  Lots of my co-worker friends got Fit Bits for Christmas and using it really brought them together for some healthy competition.  I use something else. I have a Garmin Vivoactive (with a heart rate monitor), which is a big step up from my old Polar heart rate watch and monitor. The Vivoactive tracks my steps, my sleep, my runs, walks, cycling, swimming. It also tracks golf, but I don’t golf so I have no experience with how well that works. I wear it all the time and sync it to the Garmin Connect app for details about my various activities. It also automatically posts to My Fitness Pal and Map My Run saving me from that extra step.  I can’t really say anything negative about it. This watch does everything but actually run for me. I mean, it even pushes me out the door. If you are committing to walking, running, triathlons or other activities, and you have some extra cash, then consider getting one of these fitness trackers. Connect with your friends and cheer each other on. You can still connect with your non-Fit Bit pals using Map My Run or some other running app.

Coaches. (Free – $the sky’s the limit). Coaches are a great resource and good ones can be found online. The coach I found to help me with my sprint triathlon last summer was $35.00 for 3 months. And she was awesome. The. Best. Deal. She provided personalized coaching plans with a training app and a private Facebook group. I was in the best shape of my life when I crossed that finish line, thanks in large part to Coach Kim. I’ve tried other online coaches and haven’t been as satisfied; there is some trial and error. What works for one may not work for another. I like a coach that checks in and helps me through the rough patches. Coach Kim (PowerofRun.com) totally helped me through a mini self confidence crisis with my swimming. The plan was personalized and that’s what you want when you’re paying real money.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, but this is a sample of what I’ve found that works for me. The important things for me are being safe when I’m out running, keeping my motivation as consistent as possible and switching things up when I’m bored.
 

What’s up next:

  • Blindfold Challenge training
  • Working on my nutrition
  • 15K training

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Road Race 2016

The 41st annual Holyoke Road Race 10k was held Saturday March 19th. This was my second time running it and my husband’s first. It’s a very hilly course (341 feet of elevation according to my Garmin). But the weather cooperated with abundant sunshine, a slight breeze, and temps around 40 degrees. A perfect day to be outside. I was feeling good, calm, not nervous at all. I just figured I’d go out there and do my best. Whatever that means on any particular day. That’s all any of us can do, right?

 

race bibs and t shirts

 

There were almost 6,000 runners, which is about 2,000 more than last year. It. was. bananas. Oh the humanity! There was just a sea of people running, walking, drinking, cheering. It was incredible. I wish I had more photos of race day, but I honestly didn’t take any. Most of the pictures here are thanks to my friends who are way more organized than I am.  Rather than go into every gory detail about each mile, I think I’ll just summarize with a Top 6.2 List:

1. Running with Bob. Or at least we both ran the race even though we didn’t stay together. I loved that he was out there running his race while I was running mine.

 

 

2. Our friends made us a sign! It was a total surprise and it made me so happy to see them out around mile 2.5 and then at the finish line. Fantastic!

Bob, Carol, and me

 

3. One of my friends has an apartment at the finish line. Warm, dry, clean. Food, water, potty, friends. All awesome. Hanging out with my running buddies before and after the race was the best.

 

warming up before the race

4. Running all the hills. Oh, yes. Those hills were mine. I walked them last year, but I reminded myself that I decided to do my best, and on race day that meant running. As I said in Attitudes, hills are where the growth happens, and after this race my confidence grew by leaps and bounds.

5. I averaged 11 minute miles, which I’m proud of considering how challenging the course is. I’m really happy with my results.

6. Along with the decision to do my best, I also decided not to drink at the insanely crowded after party. Such a good decision for me. And I’m so proud of myself for my self control. It would have been so easy to grab a beer and start to booze-face, but I didn’t want to. So I didn’t. And the next day the only ache I had was in my muscles. My head was clear and that was a pretty great feeling.

And last but not least:

.2 – Bonus! You can put Apple earbuds through the wash and they will work just fine. I left mine in my shirt pocket accidentally. Now they’re clean and ready for my next run. Derp.

 

Up next:

  • Planning out my spring and summer race and training schedules!
  • Waiting on my new shoes! Just ordered the Brooks Launch 3 and I can’t wait to try them out.

#racewire #holyokeroadrace2016