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Nevertheless She Persisted, but Seriously Didn’t Want To.

Oh man. Okay. I know this is an old recap, but it’s super important that i write about it. I’m coming to terms that blogging is a dying animal, but I still use archived blog posts for help with training, mental training and remembering all the sweaty bad details to help with future races and training cycles. So as long as it’s helping me, I’m gonna keep writing. I hope this stuff is still helping some of you out there.

The Brokebabes Marathon was a last ditch effort to try and PR and see if my potential, my peak, had passed for the Boston Marathon training cycle. I’m still bitter about Boston. I’m still cold from April. Literally and figuratively. Even now, running in the east coast winter wind, it takes me back to some awful memories of Boston. It still makes me angry that my time didn’t reflect the training. Even Des Linden, winner of that race, said the conditions made the race equivalent to running 30 miles, not a marathon. As in, we couldn’t “race” a marathon, it was about survival, like during an ultra marathon. Those conditions shook the best of the best. As bitter as I am, that race has carved me into a much more resilient runner and I learned a ton about myself that day. I have a TON more to get out of these 33 year old legs.

Two weeks after Boston I won a 10 Miler race in southern Maryland at a blazing fast (for me) pace. I thought that I could possibly try and hit another marathon hard and the PR I’d worked so freaking hard for, would appear on a time clock. I found a local marathon where my extended relatives live, asked for a place to stay and signed up. The race was exactly a month later than Boston, if I had anything left in my legs this was the last shot.

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I made it to Ohio. Carbed up with Emmeline (we suck at taking pictures together btw). Did my normal night before race rituals while stuffing my face full of chips and candy, drinking a ton of Nuun and laying out a flat racer.

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Eating brunch leftovers

The course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops on generally flat, paved asphalt with a bit of dirt trail. However… dun Dun DUN!!! Thunderstorms in the forecast led to a last minute course change. Runners would be doing shortened loops around the park closer to covered shelter if needed.

I was mentally prepped for a 13.1 mile loop, the course change ended up being NINE 2.8 mile loops. Nine. 9. I’m not speaking German. Regardless of the change, I stayed calm about the whole situation and race morning went smooth as ever. I drove myself to the start of the small, local running event.  I warmed up on what started off as great weather, cloudy and cool. I felt good, strong and ready to work. I was excited!

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We all lined up, I set myself up at the front, and the race started. I followed directly behind the bike that was leading runners on the first loop so no one would get lost. My first miles were about 7:10/pace and felt easy. I remember hitting the first 3 miles, holding back and thinking, “Today is my day. I can do this.”

Very quickly after the 3rd loop, 6-ish miles in, things started feeling hard out of nowhere. My breathing was labored and it scared me a bit, so I slowed down, thinking I had plenty of time so early on. But nothing changed. Mile 7 and 8 came.  I stopped at my cousin’s stake out point with her husband and kids where I found myself hyperventilating. Becky told me to put my hands up over my head and try to relax. I didn’t realize it, but she told me a huge fog rolled in and it was extremely humid.

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Below is a snapshot of the race loop, the temperature and the humidity. I wasn’t imagining anything, 100% humidity. I’ve never raced in 100% before.

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Once I could talk to Becky between the wheezing, I told her I might drop out. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever said out loud during a race. It made me tear up, and my cousin did her best to keep me calm and moving. After her pep talk,  I continued. I slowed quite a bit, and even with that adjustment to pace, I still had to take walk breaks to catch my breath and stop wheezing.

The time goal was no longer on my mind. I just wanted to finish. But let me tell you something, when you start walk/running a marathon at mile 8, you’re not going to have a good time. I felt like I hit a wall over and over again, yet I willingly kept slamming my body into it. As runners, we are taught that there are easy miles and hard miles, you just don’t know what order they’re gonna come. I stayed positive, thinking I was just going through a rough patch, and hopefully I’d be able to run (albeit not at my racing pace) but I’d be able to enjoy myself and do an easy long run. I didn’t drive all the way to Ohio, have my family watching me do an insane amount of circles just to be like “eh, I’m done.” So again, I continued on. Or should I say, “I persisted.”

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Zone 5 for the majority of the race is no bueno.

This marathon was about staying present and putting one foot in front of the other, whether i was running or walking. Just continuing on, quarter mile after quarter mile. (yes, i was checking my watch that often.) Every several minutes felt like an eternity, seeing the same course turns, markers, the water fountain on the left, the metal sculptures on the right, were driving me insane. The thing that kept me going was Becky, Josh, Gabby & Pierce cheering for me. I kept apologizing for how long this was going to take (must be that weird Midwestern, Catholic, probably should be Canadian problem I can’t shake).

Each loop they cheered me on like I was winning the race. Like I was the best runner they’d ever seen. The fun thing was… I was winning the race. If I’m not mistaken, there were 5 women in the marathon and most of the event were half marathoners. I received cheers and “keep going” “you’re looking awesome” etc, from a ton of people. And that, quite honestly, kept me mentally in it. I didn’t check out, I wasn’t giving up. Marathons are hard and humbling. Somehow through it all, I was having fun and enjoying a very long Sunday run.

32375957_10216865221525576_3702312416751648768_nI finished in 3:47:44, the course was short (25.7 miles) but I just didn’t have it in me to go beyond the finish line.  Just tack on the excess mileage from all the other marathons and we’ll call it even. I’m proud I was able to finish. Proud I can walk/run a sub 4:00 marathon. And proud of my first ever marathon win!

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The biggest takeaway from this? I set a positive example for some awesome young kiddos. My second cousins, Pierce & Gabby won’t forget the day I ran a marathon and for that I don’t regret pushing on for a second.

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The nicest FB post, from my cousin ❤

The second learning experience, especially as I start to dip my road weathered toes in the ultra world is that during longer endurance races “the wall” isn’t predictable. It won’t always come between miles 18-22 as it often does during a marathon. And sometimes, it won’t be a bad couple miles, it might end up being a bad 20 miles. I scored a lot of mental points, knowing I can still go on and move forward, even when the body rebels and conditions aren’t ideal.

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And if all else fails, Ohio has some great places to stock up on beer.

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What are your big plans for 2019?

Any races on the schedule?


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The Tale of Two Ten Milers

(Okay not so much of a tale, but more of a few humble brags and fun running pictures.)

Soon after Boston the questions, “Are you taking time off running?” and “When’s your next race?” pop up. Friends and co-workers all kinda laughed when I said Steve and I already signed up for two back to back 10-Miler weekends.

Six days after the marathon we had the Columbia 10 Miler on the schedule. I was using this as a shake out run and didn’t want to push hard so soon after Boston. And Steve hadn’t been running more than a few 5k’s each week. He sacrificed time out on the road to be sure I got in all my marathon training miles. (If I haven’t said thank you, Thank You Stephen.) Our Columbia 10 Miler goal was to finish in 1:30-1:40 which breaks down to 9-10:00 minute per mile pace. We thought that would be doable for the day.

If you can spot us below, I’m pretty sure we were chatting about pace, downhill felt awesome!

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I had to wear my Boston shirt, but I didn’t know we’d be matching… oops.

We cruised. Hitting much faster paces than we had talked about, and working hard without over doing it. That’s key for distances over the 10k.

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We took a gel at Mile 5 and later learned that Steve needs more nutrition for that type of duration. We maintained a good pace, slowed just a bit, but there was a point around mile 8 where he just felt out of energy. He needed more fuel. Lesson learned!

We crossed the line in 1:22:41 (8:16/pace)

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Steve is a lot like me with running and fitness, he’s a workhorse. Even low on energy he never lost steam. It’s the part of running where your mind takes over and you ignore the body. You can do anything for a mile or two. I broke down the end of the race in minutes instead of distance. So i’d tell him, “We have about 5 minutes left to run.” To me, minutes are easier to wrap the mind around than distance. Time goes down, distance seems far. I’ve been using this trick for the last year, especially during the final miles of a marathon.

Stephen PR’d his 10 Mile and I finished feeling pretty good. I was so proud of him, but little did I know a week later he’d do it again…

The following weekend we headed south to St. Mary’s for the next ten. Last year this race was a half marathon and we ran it the day after completing a Ragnar Trail event. I will never forget how it felt waking up that morning, like a truck had run us over and we were about to go run another 13 miles in the heat. Haha.

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We both don’t normally run in compression socks, but we were brutally sore and thought it was a good idea, even in the heat and humidity.

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Anywho, we headed down, settled into a Comfort Inn, grabbed dinner and relaxed in the hotel. I knew I wanted to run this ten miler hard. I wanted to see if the training I had put in for Boston was still there. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t and still don’t feel like I got to use the training because the weather in Boston held me back that day. I was still hungry to see the Garmin flash numbers that showed the training.

It was a cold breezy morning and both of us seemed ready to work. We warmed up, stretched and soon after some encouraging words to each other, we took off.

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I went to work immediately. I knew the 10 mile tempo workouts I had been doing once a week since January were paced between 7:10-7:20s. My goal was to do a normal for me tempo and try to stay near those paces, hopefully finishing between 1:10-1:15.

The picture below is me thinking “oh god, wind.”

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I tried not to think about the wind. I kept reminding myself that Boston’s weather was 10000x worse and it was sunny and mild out. I could deal with wind.

I could also deal with the pace. 7:05s were showing up on my watch and it didn’t feel too bad. I knew it was going to hurt for a bit until I settled into the pace, and I was right.

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Below: notice the wind in my hair haha. We had it at our sides on some roads, but on the open country roads it was head on terrible wind.

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There were a couple out-n-back turnarounds where I got to see Stephen and get a few high fives in passing. It definitely helped my morale. I was running even paces, I felt good, but like any race, it’s hard to run hard for extended periods of time. And almost every turn was into headwind, which I was so over.

Can you spot Steve below? These are the open, flat, boring, windy roads I was talking about.

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A left turn happened and the wind died finally. The camera guy caught the moment of sweet relief going into mile 7. About 21 more minutes of work.

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I chased the few guys in front of me, never letting anyone pass. My pace started hitting 6:45s, I just had to push for a few more minutes.

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I finished in 1:09:13 (6:55/pace) 1st Female

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Steve finished in 1:19:57 (7:59/pace) 3rd in his age group! He absolutely crushed the Columbia 10 Miler, PR’d AGAIN and if post race memory serves me correctly he said to me,  “I’m coming for ya.” That’s my man.

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We had two very good races back to back which were great practice for the future. Stephen’s 2nd gel at St. Mary’s obviously helped his energy and finishing speed and I learned that my Boston speed wasn’t a fluke.

Neither was this picture I took. Always happy to catch the fun moments.

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Have you ever raced a 10 Miler?

What’s your favorite race distance?


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A Better Whey, Organic Protein Review!

Monday: 6m fartlek 8:54/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9m easy 9:25/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 8.6m 8:19/pace

Disclaimer: I was given A Better Whey Protein in December and have been using it consistently. I offered to do a review based on my own personal opinions and was not compensated (other than free sample) for this review. I am not a licensed nutritionist, these are my opinions. Please consult with your doctor before changing your diet.

I posted an article regarding dairy intake to Facebook recently and oh man, did it cause a scene. I tend to see nutrition articles as a whole, not one part. The big takeaway, is that dairy is in (and hidden in) a LOT of products the same way wheat and sugars are. Which means generally people are getting dairy in their diets without even trying.

The problem is you don’t know where the dairy source is coming from, whether the dairy is organic or if it’s from a farm that pumped their cows full of hormones. This is the big reason i’m picky with dairy, try not to eat packaged products, and preach to clients about consuming high quality dairy (and meat products).

After being a person that over the years has tried plenty of diets, shakes, and bars I am a firm believer that a well rounded, balanced, high quality everything included nutritional diet is the best. I try to choose quality over quantity to get as many nutrients packed into meals as possible in order to recover workout to workout, race to race and day to day.

Doesn’t mean i’m not gonna eat junk, let’s not get too crazy. Just means that 80-90% of the time, my meals are on point. Which brings me to something I’ve been crazy happy about. An organic, grass fed protein powder. I was given A Better Whey organic protein to try, and i’m in love with it.

 

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The texture of the powder is phenomenal, super fine and mixes well. The flavor is perfect (and i’m picky with chocolate flavor anything) and it’s been an easy way to up my protein intake which has been crucial after my heavier lifting days for recovery.

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chocolate protein, almond milk, chocolate chips. boom.

I like blending protein powders with ice and milk to make it creamy. This powder tastes excellent blended with just almond milk.

Favorite shake recipes:

8 ounces Silk Almond Milk, 1 scoop A Better Whey Vanilla, 4 ice cubes (tastes like vanilla ice cream)

8 ounces Silk Almond Milk, 1 scoop ABW Chocolate, 1 tbs Peanut Butter, 1 banana, cinnamon, 3-4 ice cubes (thank me later)

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drinking it plain in the shaker post wo

Another thing I’ve been proud of are my protein ball creations. I don’t have perfect recipes down yet, but it’s been fun trying different flavors to keep my sweet tooth and protein needs satisfied.

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some ingredients I use for the protein balls

I first add dry ingredients, A Better Whey protein powder (1 scoop), steel cut oats (1/4 cup), sometimes coconut flour (1 tbsp) then start adding in peanut butter until you get some texture (about 3/4 cup). Slowly and little at a time (very little) add wet ingredients to bind the mixture. I use almond milk (1 tsp), sometimes honey or vanilla extract depending on what flavors i’m going for. The combined ingredients should still be somewhat dry before you start rolling them into balls.

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chocolate pb protein balls

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vanilla honey pb protein balls

If i do the vanilla Better Whey protein with vanilla extract, they come out tasting like cookie dough. It’s been a big hit around the gym and in my house. The treats taste incredible because of the high quality protein I’m using. Plus it makes me feel good knowing the main ingredient is giving me nutrients my body needs to recover and get ready for the next workout!

You can read more about why organic protein is important here and you can purchase A Better Whey at https://www.proteinorganicwhey.com/ 

Have a great weekend!

Last Week

Monday: 8.4m easy 9:00/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 3.2m trail run 

Wednesday: 9m easy 9:11/pace, Push Presses + Overhead Squats

Thursday: Crossfit, 6m easy 8:19/pace

Friday: 4m easy 8:51/pace

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 30.6

How do you recover post workout?

What kind of running or other workouts are you planning for the weekend?

 

 

 


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Cupid’s Undie Run!

Monday: 9.5m interval ( 3 x 2m @ 6:44/pace)

This weekend flew by. I had way too much fun, with too many cool people. Our box ended up raising over $18,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation! Big thanks to my friends and family who donated! screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-7-10-52-pm

Before I headed to DC for the Cupid’s fundraising event, i started Saturday with a 14.1 mile run. And I can honestly say, it was the first in a string of really crappy runs that felt somewhat normal. Normal easy pace, normal tired, but not too beat up legs, normal weather, etc. Normal, I needed that. Let’s hope the last month of this training cycle goes well!

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The rest of the day went by quickly. Got home, showered, ate breakfast, hopped on the train to meet up with Yomery (one of my very strong 6AM Crossfit friends) and met up with the rest of the CF Silver Spring peeps.

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me and Yomery

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We had a table. And open bar… so lots of fun ensued!

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I don’t believe I was part of the dancing…

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Josh, Marcos & Katie (my coaches!)

A couple hours into our open bar, we flooded the streets and ran.. what seemed like a half mile. I found out the night before it wasn’t a 5k (i can’t remember why i thought it was) I don’t even think it was an actual mile or anywhere near one, but it didn’t matter, everyone was having a blast & raising money for a good cause. Plus the alcohol helped us stay warm ;).

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Left: Shaved heart Right: Pearl necklace. Gotta love these guys.

Till next year. Guess it’s time to start thinking about breaking my Beer Mile record. ❤

Last Week

Monday: 7m easy 8:59/pace, shoulders + handstand practice

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.2 interval (6 x 1m @ 6:55 pace)

Wednesday: 6m easy 9:20/pace

Thursday: Crossfit, 5m easy 10:00/pace

Friday: 9.5m tempo (7 @ 6:55/pace)

Saturday: 14.1m long 9:04/pace 

Sunday: 1hr strength/barbell skill work

Total Miles: 51.8

How was your weekend?

Ever done a Cupid’s Undie Run?


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Instead of…

Monday: 7m easy 8:59, shoulders + handstand practice
Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.2m interval (6 x 1m repeats- watch died. 6:55-ish pace)
Wednesday: 6m easy 9:20/pace
Thursday: Crossfit, 5m easy 10:00/pace

I am not an extremely vocal person regarding politics or religious beliefs especially on Facebook or my blog. I hope it doesn’t come off as being indifferent, I am anything but. I have very strong views on what is happening down the road from me in DC, however I don’t feel like these forums generate a lot of positivity and there’s SO much negative talk and hate online right now. It’s overwhelming and exhausting. I want to say that all people are welcome in my home, my gym, my blog. I do not discriminate. If running has taught me anything it’s that runners and people come in all shapes and sizes, different cultural backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyles. It doesn’t matter the pace at which you travel, it’s that we all cross the finish line together in the end.

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So, I’m having another physically tough week over here. I’ll get into the nitty gritty of what is working and what will be changing over the next 4 weeks leading into the Rock n’ Roll DC half marathon, but for now I want to take time to work on gratitude again. If I sound like a broken record that’s good! It means I’m still extremely humbled and grateful that the body and mind i’m working at, gives back to me. (Even if it’s not giving at the rate I want!)

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It was 65 degrees the other day and I I stopped on the run a few times to type out notes on and thought i’d share them. One of these might resonate and help get you to think a little differently about our day to day struggles with fitness, life in general, or just a plain training slump.

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Instead of saying, “I have to” start saying, “I get to.”

Instead of setting goals, write down your accomplishments and be proud.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t have (food especially!), focus on what foods nourish your body most.

Instead of complaining about traffic/work/life etc, listen to music or do an activity (running?) that puts you in a good mood. Be productive, not destructive.

Instead of worrying about what others think of you, ask yourself if you’re happy with who you are.

Instead of waking up on “the wrong side of the bed” wake up, start making choices to be the person you want to become so you can live the life you want.

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sky’s been showing off in MD

Is this all a little too deep for a Friday post? Maybe, but I am running a 5K in my underwear tomorrow morning, so how about that? If you’d like to donate- visit my page HERE or click the picture below! Have an excellent weekend!

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Last Week 1/30- 2/5

Monday: 9.5m interval (3 x 2m @ 6:58/pace)

Tuesday: Crossfit, 5.5m easy 9:39/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Crossfit, 9m tempo (6m @ 6:55/pace)

Friday: 8m easy 8:38/pace

Saturday: 10.6m 8:32/pace, 25min circuit training

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 42.6

How do you turn a negative into a positive?

Talk to me about your training! Hopefully it’s going well! 

 


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Phone Dump Friday: 1 Year Anniversary Edition!

Wednesday: 8.4m easy 8:58/p

Thursday: 6m easy 9:40/p

I know 3 posts from me in one week is not normal, but hey it’s our 1 year wedding anniversary and can’t miss this! We’ve been together for 8.5 years, married one year. It feels like we’ve been together forever in the best way and marriage is still super new and feels different in a much deeper, much more loving way. I’m not going to get too gooey on you though, i just wanted to share some pictures of us, old and new, some from the wedding and some from my personal stash. Enjoy!

First family trip to NC, been kickin’ it with Kyle and Elise for almost a decade…

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same trip!

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we dated long distance for the first 4 years of our relationship- so a lot of skypeing happened!

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Colorado trip 2015

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The time we got married

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Colorado shananagins, the time we lost Patrick.

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we go to plenty of baseball games…

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sometimes we even run together..

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and make faces together…

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and vacation to Jamaica together…

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and make faces together without knowing we’re making crazy faces together…

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our first thanksgiving as a married couple!

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our first Christmas as a married couple!

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our first hug as a married couple!

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the butt squeeze was pre-wedding…consider it the bachelor party !

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We’re heading out for an anniversary dinner with my in-laws and then off to Shenandoah National Park to hike for 2 days this weekend, keeping our camping tradition alive!

Married couples out there- how did you celebrate your first (or if it’s been too long, the most recent anniversary?)

Singles- do you camp?

ALSO- Shout out to my sister, it’s her 27th birthday today and now shares her b-day with our a-day!

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