THAT Kind of Runner

Hi all and welcome to Thursday! Just a warning, I have absolutely no exciting pictures for you today, so you will have to use your imagination:)

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Here is a scene for you to imagine concerning last night’s run:

I get home from work and throw my bag on the floor. I trudge upstairs and change into my running clothes – tank, shorts (note: I only wear shorts when I do short or speed runs, because chaffing is a SERIOUS thing), socks, watch, iPod and hat. I stomp back down the stairs.

Mom asks, “Grace, how far are you running today?”

“I dunno,” I say grumpily, because all I want to do is lay on my bed. And eat. And sleep.

But instead, I head out the door with no real plan, mostly expecting to run 2.5km out and then run home for a total of 5km but with the looming shadow of what my training plan really says: 60 minutes at moderate speed.

I start off slow. And then I start to feel great. Then I speed up, and I start to feel even better than great. “Defying Gravity” from Wicked the Musical comes on my iPod and I feel like I’m flying.

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(Thanks Pinterest! To see the entire picture, follow me on Pinterest and read my Running Board!)

I decide to run through my favourite part of the city: Westboro Village. It is a downtown-esque neighbourhood not too far from my own with cute little shops, delicious cafes and restaurants that let off such amazing smells that my stomach growled multiple times passing through.

The weather was cool (23oC, but it felt so much cooler compared to the 40oC we had the past couple weeks) and there was a light drizzle of rain. On this run I saw: a dog shaved like Chewbacca, a hiring sign in our favourite gelato restaurant (Hope, hint hint), three running groups, tons of smiling passer-by’s, plants growing out of puddles, 2 new restaurants I really want to try, 4 new cafes I really want to try, a Barre studio I never knew existed and need to try, cute couples carrying groceries home together and my dream contemporary-style condo.

It was not necessarily a fast run, but it was a good run. I ended up running 10km in 56 minutes, which is a 5:36/km pace and right on goal pace. I never understood how runners could “accidentally” run a longer distance than they intended, but last night I did. Last night I realized I must really be THAT kind of runner – somebody I never imagined I would become (and I don’t hate it). 

And the funniest thing was, it was the first time that I actually thought: hey, I think I really want to run marathon. 

When I got home I foam rolled like CRAZY because my IT Band was super extra tight and there is no way I am going to deal with ITBS again. Heck no.

Later that night my mom and I hit up our favourite yin yoga class and I felt AMAZING afterwards . Yin is so great after a hard workout because it deeply stretches everything and then relaxes your entire body. Really. I felt like I had just gotten a massage.

Ironically, I felt so great after the 10km/yoga pairing that I was chock-full of endorphins and couldn’t fall asleep for two hours. And that’s the way that the world goes ’round.

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Have you ever had an experience that really made you feel like a runner?

How do you get your butt out the door on days you REALLY don’t want to?

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Reality Check Wednesday & Workout Recap Thus Far

Hello all (again?) and welcome to my Reality Check Wednesday! As always, thanks to Teresa for hosting:)

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I woke up late this morning, and since I prioritize breakfast over hygiene, a shower did not happen tho morning. So I am rocking this cute little bow in my ponytail today. I promise I’m 21 and not 12:)

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Today is my last Wednesday of work so I just had to continue the coffee tradition. There’s something about the middle of the week that just screams COFFEE (with caramel and a Lara Bar)!

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I will admit that I still do not know how to properly cut an avocado. I slice it vertically down the middle, remove the pit and squeeze the avocado out of the peel. I know there is a more efficient way but I have yet to find it.

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I had a really delicious lunch today. Mixed bean salad (3 bean mixture, corn, chopped tomatoes and green onions, olive oil and Smokey BBQ seasoning) with avocado. I ended up mixing it all together and eating it on corn tortilla chips like salsa. Delicious and super filling.

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Oh yes, and the best green stuff Starbucks has to offer.

Not pictured: the 35$ I spent getting pictures of the kids I nanny for printed out. I have three more days left with these kiddos and thought they might like some pictures to remember the summer by. I just didn’t think it would cost me quite so much!

Like I said, my reality is not usually all that exciting – but I guess that’s what makes it REAL. The rest of my Wednesday will include a long drive home in rush hour, a speed workout (or maybe a moderate run instead), school supply shopping with my dad (because I am a broke student who still needs her dad to buy her highlighters and pens) and a yin class with my mom later tonight.

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Workout Recap

Since my posts have been pretty sporadic and all over the place this week, I thought I would do a quick recap of my workouts so far this week. I decided to push myself to include more strength training (at home) to really kick my training into gear. I am convinced that the strength training I did all winter and spring last year was the reason I was able to attain a half marathon PR by 13 minutes at the beginning of the summer, so I figure a little more strength training will hopefully push me under 2:00 hours on October 11!

Monday
1. A rest day from running
2. An upper body workout consisting of (all exercises done for 3 sets):
-15 pushups
-15 tricep dips
-15 pike pushups
-15 bent over reverse row
-20 bicep curls (per arm)
-20 tricep extensions (per arm)
-10 dolphin pushups
-30 sec. plank
3. Power Yoga class

Needless to say, my arms are still sore today.

Tuesday
1. Full Body workout including (again, I did 3 sets of each):
-10 single leg deadliest (no weight) per leg
-10 side plank with knee to chest per side
-40 mountain climbers
-10 forward lunges per leg
-10 clamshells per leg
-10 donkey kicks per leg
-10 single leg squats
-30 sec. plank

2. 6km run with Terry. I am not 100% sure where in my scheduled runs this run fits, but Terry wanted to run, so I jumped at the opportunity to 1. Spend quality time with my love and 2. Not run alone! We ended up finishing this run pretty quickly: it took us only 28 minutes which is an average pace of 4:49/km and a pretty unheard of pace for me. But Terry is an incredible athlete and although he doesn’t love to run, he is an AMAZING runner and really pushes me. My legs were fried by the end but I wasn’t as winded as I thought I would be. I was so surprised by our pace and felt pretty darn proud for the rest of the night.

Today calls for a speed workout, but I think I will trade it in for a longer, steadier run due to my unexpected speed last night!

Happy Wednesday to all!

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What is something “real” that happened to you today?

Any tips for how to properly slice an avocado?

If you are in training mode, do you ever stray from your plan for an unplanned run?

Tuesday Intros & 7 Things That Brought Me Joy

Note: I actually wrote this post on Tuesday (since it is Tuesday’s post!) and somehow managed to click “save draft” instead of “post” (does this happen to anybody else ever?!). So for the past 24+ hours I have been wallowing around in self-pity because I was convinced everybody hated my post, my writing, my blog and that I should stop blogging all together… And then I realized my Tuesday post was never actually posted:) Would you look at that! So, I have two posts for you today! Enjoy!!

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I recently stumbled across Tara’s blog – Running ‘n’ Reading and fell in love. A running/reading blog?! How could there possibly be anything better?! Through her blog, I stumbled across Diane’s blog Bibliophile By The Sea (and fell in love again) and learned that she hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. Every Tuesday, she posts the first paragraph of a book she is reading or thinking about reading. I decided to jump on the bandwagon because I am also a huge bookworm.

Thanks for hosting, Diane! You rock! (And thanks to Tara for passing the idea along:)

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I am currently rereading Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (because God-forbid I read a new book I’m dying to read or start on my long list of school readings for this year). Jodi is my number 1 favourite author. I have read all of her books and am slowly making my way through them again. Leaving Time is currently my favourite book by her, but I just finished it last fall so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind. Change of Heart has been a long-time favourite so I thought I’d dive in before I got weighted down by all the mandatory school readings.

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Here is the first paragraph:

“Shay Bourne was nothing like I expected. I had prepared myself for a hulking brute of a man, one with hammy fists and no neck and eyes narrowed into slits. This was, after all, the crime of the century – a double murder that had captured the attention of people from Nashua to Dixville Notch; a crime that seemed all the worse because of its victims: a little girl, and a police officer who happened to be her stepfather. It was the kind of crime that made you wonder if you were safe in your own house, if the people you trusted could turn on you at any moment – and maybe because of this, New Hampshire prosecutors sought the death penalty for the first time in fifty-eight years” (Picoult 4).

So… would you continue to read?

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Yesterday was Monday and no matter how hard we all try, we can never seem to shake the injustice that is the first day of the week. But in my pursuit for more optimism in all that I do, I really try to highlight and focus on the little (and big!) joys of each and EVERY day, even if it means writing them down to really see and appreciate them. I think this is an important exercise that we could all get used to doing. It only takes moments, but it could drastically improve your mood and perspective.

So here are 8 little things that made me smile on Monday:

  1. Starting work later in the day, so I had time to eat breakfast, drink coffee and do all things blog before work.

2. Starting Lena Dunham’s (audio)book Not That Kind of Girl on my drive in to (and drive home from) work. She is such a cool woman.

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3. Going to yoga and talking with the studio owners who were genuinely concerned with the fact that I have been to significantly less classes lately. I explained my annoying cold, and they assured me that I was far from annoying:)

4. Learning two new arm balances in this yoga class.

5. Hope got all things tea for her birthday (including the coolest steeper ever)  and had this cup of peach mango tea waiting for me when I got home. Best sister ever award goes to…

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6. Going to a random bar with Terry afterwards and having life talks over beers. Nothing in the world compares to moments like these.

7. Finding this song. I know I am so behind on the music times, but every time I hear this song on the radio, I can’t help but dance and smile. I never knew what it was called (and thought Lorde sang it) so I could never find it. Until today:)

8. This video. Ikea puns. I died. SO funny.

I hope all of you were able to find some joy in your Monday:)

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What are you reading right now? Any Jodi fans out there?

What is your favourite song right now?

What is something that made you smile on Monday? Or today?

Weekend Things & The Coolest Experience Ever

Happy Monday to everybody! Here I am writing another Weekend Recap because I can’t seem to get my act together on the weekends. But that’s what weekends are for right? RIGHT?!

FRIDAY

Work –> Home from work –> finished up the other half of the 6 mile run I had on my schedule –> birthday things with my mom for Hope and Jake –> party with all my bestest high school friends. It’s so fun how some things never change:)

SATURDAY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOPE AND JAKE!!!!

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Sorry for the terrible iPhone quality. My sister got a pink and black perfume set from Victoria’s Secret and my brother got red and black Adidas pants… so the balloons match their gifts because my mom and I are cute like that:)

I can’t believe my baby sibs are 17… mostly because I still feel like I’m 17 sometimes. They’re going into grade 12 in two weeks and then they’ll be off into the real world. Crazy.  I really hope they enjoy 17 because it is a great year full of exciting firsts and lasts. I am super lucky that I have grown really close to both of them – they are easily my two best friends. They are turning into such AMAZING and GENUINE people and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes them. LOVE YOU GUYS.

After cinnamon buns and muffins and orange juice for breaky, Terry, Hope and I headed out to do the COOLEST THING EVER. We went on a helicopter ride! (Jake had other plans).

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It was a very spur of the moment decision, but Terry and I decided we needed a little oomph in our summer and it was only necessary to take the birthday girl herself!

The pilot took us up 15,000 feet for a tour around the Gatineau Hills and downtown Ottawa. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience.

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It’s crazy how a little change in perspective can remind us all how tiny we really are, and how vast this world really is. I felt like I was looking at massive pieces of the world, until I was reminded that this beauty was only one PIECE of Ottawa.

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It was a perfect mix of city and country. It was also a great reminder of how stunningly beautiful and underestimated Ottawa really is.

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Literally breathtaking. I can’t even compare this experience to anything else. It was much more intimate than an airplane since there were only 3 of us. And the way it elevates, turns and lands really makes you feel like you are flying.

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(Side note: how similar do Hope and I look in this picture?! People mistake us for twins or for each other all the time!)

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What an experience!!!

Fast forward to later in the day, because it’s not a birthday without all the indulgences.

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(For those of age of course)

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Everyone needs to go to The Works at some point in their lives. Just look up their menu and you will probably die of over-salivating. There are so many burger combos to choose from that I took at least 20 minutes to decide on my order. There is something for everybody AND tons of vegetarian/vegan options as well!

I got the Sk8r Boy – beef burger with jack cheese, bacon and PEANUT BUTTER. Yup. And it was incredible.

We finished off the night with gelato (coconut… always) and a vegan cake for Hope from the cutest little bakery I ever did see.

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(Strawberry Blonde Bakery, Ottawa, ON)

SUNDAY

Long run – 9 miles/14.5km at about 5:45/km average pace. I think I’m starting to get the hang of a faster pace and am starting to feel confident that I really be able to run a 5:35/km pace on race day.

The weather was beautiful and cool and everything I could ever want in life. It was a great run fuelled with half a white bagel with peanut butter and Undisclosed podcast (couldn’t get enough of Serial! If you loved Serial, listen to Undisclosed!)

I felt a little pain and tightness in my IT Band during the run but I stretched and foam rolled later that day so my fingers are crossed that I stay pain free! I will admit to a few tears during my run after feeling the pain, imagining myself out for another month with ITBS (which actually happened after my last race HERE) but the pain was so much weaker than it had been, so I continued my run and promised myself lots of foam rolling and TLC.

I also went to a Gentle Power yoga class with my favourite instructor (see her mantra HERE) and ended up being the ONLY PERSON IN THE CLASS, so I had a private lesson for an entire hour! Dream come true!

We worked a lot on our core and opening up our hips (mine were a little sore from my long run as well) and then worked only arm balances. So cool and so fun. I will write an entire post on arm balances later this week – but first – LOTS of practice!!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend as well! Can’t wait to go read about them righhhhhtttt now;)

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Have you ever been in a helicopter before? Do you want to?

What is an item on your bucket list?

How was your long run this weekend?

Can anybody do any cool yoga poses?

Any vegans out there?

A SHOUTOUT and Egg White Oats

I just wanted to give a shoutout to all the mother runners out there who run with their kiddos!!

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Stroller running is NO JOKE. My legs were aching after 2km and my pace was at least 45 seconds slower/km than my goal pace. Let me just say that this run was a lot slower than I would have liked, but I definitely got in an extra leg workout – that’s for sure. So all the mamas that run with the extra (what seems like) million pounds of child and stroller, you are rock stars! I cannot even imagine a long run… Phew.

I ran this morning with the little munchkin because my plan calls for 6 miles at moderate pace, but I knew I wouldn’t have that much time after work. I decided to split up my run. I did 5km (3.10miles) at 6:15 pace and after work I will finish off the 2.9 miles and head over to a Power Yoga class before dinner with Terry and a little party tonight – yippee!

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I have been meaning to post this recipe for a loooong time so HERE IT IS, Egg White Oats is probably the weirdest breakfast ever, but I swear by it and eat it usually 6/7 days a week. I love it because it is packed with nutrients and keeps me full for hours.

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Egg White Oats (1 serving)

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup of oats

1/4 cup egg whites

I cook my oats with 1/2 cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Add egg whites, microwave for 30 seconds.

Remove, whisk and microwave for another 30 seconds.

And voila!

NOW, you can add all the extras your heart desires. When I remove the bowl after microwaving the egg whites for the first 30 seconds, I add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for flavour.

After it is all cooked up, I usually add about 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to make it more creamy.

I also add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 tablespoon of hemp hearts. Lastly, I always cut up a banana on top – because every breakfast needs a banana!

Other add-in ideas:

-cook your oats with fresh brewed coffee instead of water

-flax seeds

-mixed nuts

-granola or dry cereal

-berries (fresh or frozen)

– cocoa powder (add in when you add the peanut butter to make it extra yummy)

The possibilities are endless! And with all the protein and fibre in this meal, I am always full until lunch. Yum!

And no, they do not taste like eggs at all, I promise:)

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What is your go-to breakfast?

Have you ever run with a stroller?

How do you feel about splitting up longer runs?

Reality Check Wednesday

Thanks again to Teresa at Eat. Drink & Be Skinny for the amazing Wednesday theme:)

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The good, the bad, the raw, the ugly.

The boring.

Like Teresa said in her original post, some days are boring. Some days have no exciting moments whatsoever and you even begin to question if your life is really interesting enough to write about and for people to read (or is that just me?)

Sometimes, showering just doesn’t happen in the morning (oops).

Sometimes you’re out of banana and have a minor attack. What is breakfast without a banana?!

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Still fighting that cold.

There’s something about Wednesdays and Starbucks Venti coffees.

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And sometimes my job forces me to make myself a little more at home at Starbucks than I should. Sorry for the mess!

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Working out at nap time because I need more strength training these days. While watching Dance Moms. No shame. But I look like Sporty Spice with my high ponytail so that was fun.

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Leftover sandwich from last night and a spinach/tomato/cucumber/pear/mixed nuts salad for lunch. I win.

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I spend a lot of time in my car “commuting” to work. Traffic is brutal. But this is my favourite part of the drive. And the sky was pretty nice! I also accidentally finished Serial and I don’t know what to think. If you finish the podcast, you’ll understand.

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My hill work after work was hard. And hot. There is still a heat advisory but I had done my last two runs on the treadmill and didn’t want to throw another day in there.

Running outside ended up being SO WORTH IT because there was a rainbow:) I tried to get a picture after my run but it had already faded.

My Workout
(Naptime)
10 single leg deadlifts x 3 sets
10 lunges (frontx1 and back x1 = 1) x  3 sets
10 clamshells per leg x3 sets
10 donkey kick backs per leg x3 sets
10 knee crunch side plank per side x 3 sets
20 mountain climbers per leg x 3 sets
10 squat pulses x 3 sets
10 side lunges per leg x3 sets

(Hills)
2km warm up
10 x 100m uphill/100m downhill
2km cool down
Total: 6km

And that’s the reality of my Wednesday. Nothing too crazy! Really really really looking forward to the weekend because I have a HUGE surprise for Terry. But more on that this weekend:)

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Do you ever plan any little surprises for your significant other? (or best friend, or sibling?)

How was your Wednesday?

Any podcasts to recommend? (I’m addicted)

Favourite Spice Girl? (I used to always love Baby Spice growing up but I think I would kill to be as sexy as Posh Spice now;)

What I’m Trying to Figure Out

(A late post for Tuesday)
(Warning: this post contains little to no mention of running)

Last night, I met up with two friends of mine who I have known since the fourth grade. We were best friends up until high school when we all went to different schools and just drifted apart. It was so nice getting together with them after nearly – what? 7 years? I loved hearing about their adventures, plans for the future and of course we did tons of reminiscing!

There is just something so rejuvenating about reconnecting with old friends. It’s especially rewarding when you can just pick up right where you had left off, no matter how much time has passed.
My favourite part about last night (excluding the delicious and cheap food we scored downtown) were the truly soul-searching, mind-reeling, life-questioning topics we discussed. As a summer nanny, I very very very rarely get any actual adult conversation lately, so I embraced our 4 hours of real life talk.

One of my friends is an empowered, self-confident and self-loving woman. I admire her in so many ways and wish I could have half the confidence she has. My other friend is a complete wildflower who does everything on a whim in attempt to discover the world, its people and herself. Both shook their heads at the thought of really planning our their lives or having it all figured out.

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And then there’s me. I plan everything. I anticipate everything. I dream of my future 9-5 job as a teacher and of decorating my someday home. I love thinking of cooking dinner every night with Terry and going to family holidays. I love the thought of watching Hope and Jake grow up and getting a dog and reading all the books I possibly can. Of course I would love to travel, but probably after saving for a few months and definitely not a whim or with a few dollars in my pocket. Of course I would love to see the world, but again, after I’ve established myself in the working world and made some money. So, how boring do I sound now in comparison?

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So with all the thinking and conversing we did last night (where are we going? Why? With who? When? Does it even matter if we know? Why doesn’t everybody love themselves? What can we do to love ourselves more? How can we change the world?) I started questioning my own choices and dreams.
Am I on the right path? is there a right path or even a path at all?

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Then I realized, no. That’s not it at all. There isn’t anything you “should” be doing. There are no rules to life. There is only your outlook on life and how you choose to interpret it. There’s no specific order the events in your life need to happen. There’s no saying they even need to happen at all.

Dreams and the direction you take in life should be unique to you. They should be what you look forward to. When you look into the horizon, you smile because you’re excited, jump up and down because it’s so thrilling. Give you goosebumps because you’re ready.

Now, I know this is a running blog and I know this revelation doesn’t 100% pertain to running, but I still think it’s important for anybody to reflect on, whether you’re 18 trying to decide where you will go after high school, whether you’re 21, about to graduate and go off into the world, or 70 and feeling like you missed out. I think the important message, in life and in running, is to follow your own journey and not compare yours to somebody else’s. That person isn’t necessarily more successful because she has a car and a full time job. And that person isn’t more accomplished because he has travelled to all the continents. She is not a better person because she can double your weekly mileage no problem.

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Your journey, in running or in life, is only your own and if where you are going does not make you as giddy as a kid in a toy store, then change your direction.

(My Reality Check Wednesday will be up later tonight:)

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I am not exactly sure what I hope to get back from this post, but I would love to hear what you think.

Have you ever questioned your own journey?

Do you find yourself comparing where you are in life to where somebody else is?

Are you ever “right where you should be” or is there no destination?