Week #20 and New Hydration Gear!


I think I can honestly say I’ve run through any kind of weather you can imagine, short of  a hurricane, during this training!  Blizzards, pouring rain, sunny cold days, sunny hot days, freezing rain, knee-high snow drifts, mud, puddles up to my knees…you name it, I’ve run it.  There were training runs in single digits with 40 mph winds, and 95 degree temps with high humidity.  I feel ready to run 50 in whatever nature throws my way on June 3rd.  Until then, I’m logging my taper miles, eating healthy foods, and trying to catch up on sleep and core/strength workouts.

Here’s how this week went down:

Monday:  rest

Tuesday:  10 trail miles (I was going to do my 8 on this day because Wednesday was supposed to be even hotter, but I only got in 6 on my normal trails in the time I had.  I decided to run some more while my son was at Power Train since I didn’t need to do any grocery shopping, so I went to an Appalachian Trail parking lot and had a fun evening run!)

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I ran a new to me, NOBO AT section of 2 miles out and back.  Saw 8 deer and almost as many bunnies.  Also saw a thru-hiker who had pitched a tent to rest on the edge of the trail.  

Wednesday:  3 evening road miles  (I was busy making cupcakes for a luncheon at school, so I decided not to drive to the trails for a short run.  Took the pup and he was pretty tired by the end. )  It was over 95 degrees!

 

 

Thursday:  5 trail miles, 90 degrees

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My new crew socks that I got for Mother’s Day.  They keep trail debris from getting in between my socks and feet and have been great so far!  

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  10 trail miles (Started early Saturday morning so that I could by home by 9:30 to make breakfast for the boys.  It was a nice run and felt good to feel strong for a 10 miler.  Most of my 10 – 12 milers this training cycle have been the day after a 20 + mile run when my legs are tired!)

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No pic of the trails, but here is my breakfast after the run.  It was so good that I’m still thinking about it!  3 scrambled eggs with some mozzarella, avocado, sauteed onions, chipotle salsa, and sriracha…all on a whole wheat pita.  Definitely making this again!

Sunday:  8 trail miles (Seems SO weird to be running without tired legs all this week.  Although….I did not get into a good groove until mile 7.  Hahahaha…..good thing this is a long race!

New Gear:  UltrAspire Collapsible Soft Flask with Tube

I always fill my hydration bladder with plain water and keep a bottle in my vest pocket for Nuun.  The problem is, I was using a handheld 12 oz Nathan bottle and it was leaking down my leg and all over the vest pocket during my runs (for at least the first few miles). Also, Nuun tablets are for 16 oz of water and I was drinking some pretty strong Nuun since it didn’t hold that much!   I didn’t mind the flavor too much, but the leaking was getting annoying so I ordered this soft flask and it’s working well so far.

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I’ve used it 3 times already and will definitely be using it during the Cayuga Trail 50. The soft flask is easy to fill, does not make a sloshing sound when I’m running, fits perfectly in my vest pocket, and most importantly does not leak!  I love that I don’t have to take it out to drink and that it holds exactly 16 ounces.  Also, you can trim the bottom of the straw to whatever length to fit your needs.  I trimmed off about 3/4″ and it was the perfect height to be able to secure it into the yellow loop you can see in the picture near the top of the straw.  The straw is out in the picture because I was done running and had a drink, but it stayed secure in that loop while I was running. I’ll only have to take it out of the loop when I’m refilling it at aide stations.  I also like the soft flask better than my hard bottle I was using for the fact that the more I drink the smaller it gets, which means less weight/ bulk to carry around on the trails.

You can check it out here:

Ultraspire Collapsible Soft Flask with Tube

What new gear are you loving right now?

Any races coming up soon?

 

 

 

Week #19 of Training and My Absolute Favorite Day of the Year


Mother’s Day!

It was a day for waking up to breakfast in bed, extra hugs, and laughter with my boys.  They truly outdid themselves this year with blueberry pancakes made by Hunter, and “Toad in a Hole” made by Eli.  In case you don’t know what that is (because I didn’t!)….Eli used a glass to cut a circle out of bread slices, then he cooked an egg inside and wrapped bacon around it.  YUM!  They even got me some new trail running crew socks and an Under Armor bag to use to when I go to the gym or take my running clothes to school.

After breakfast we went to the gym where I did some cycling and lifting. Hunter spotted me in bench presses!  Then we had lunch and went to Kings Gap for a family hike up to Scenic Vista.  The boys treated me to ice cream afterwards, and Jeff did all the laundry and cooking today…..EXXX hot chicken barbecue and a chipotle butternut squash and black bean mix.   Now do you see why it’s my favorite day of the year?  I am feeling so lucky to have these boys and my hubby in my life.

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Love my boys!  Being a Mom is the best thing ever.

This Week’s Training

This was my last hard week of training.  I will slowly taper the miles down until race day in less than 3 weeks!

Monday:  REST

Tuesday: 3 miles with the pup

Wednesday:  10 miles

Thursday:  7 miles and final chiro visit!

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  17 HARD miles

Sunday:  3 mile hike with the fam + core + arms and upper body + stretching

Pics from my Runs this Week

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Sunset Rocks on Wednesday.   Ran with a running buddy from work.  We saw a porcupine, amazing views, a man in a hammock taking a nap at the edge of the mountain…and later I saw a deer and ground hog.  Quite an exciting run!
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View from Flat Rock at Colonel Denning on Saturday.  3 mountain repeats, then a longer 6 mile loop on Tuscarora, and Wildcat Run, and Cider Path back to my car made for over 5,000 ft elevation for the day.  Rocky, muddy, high creek crossings, and overall pretty technical.  
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When the rain finally let up 3 hours into my run it started getting humid and I stopped to put my jacket in my pack.  

 

 

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This was a pretty and fun downhill section of my route.  Not too steep (which cannot be said for the rest of my downhills on Saturday), just perfect!
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It only took 4 hours into my run for the sun to try and make an appearance!
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Last mile of Saturday’s run was sunny and flat around this lake.  Perfect ending!

 

It’s Taper Time!

This coming week I’ll start to cut down on my mileage.  Aiming for low 30’s per week.  Then the following week only 20 miles.  How will I stay sane during that 20 mile week, you ask?  I plan to continue cycling, lifting, and working on core….and I’ll probably also be taking the dog for some short walks for the trail time that I just NEED!   After that it will be race week and I will have a lot of preparations to keep me busy, but I’ll get more into that in a later post.

The hard work is done.  Months of training is winding down.  My job now is to get to the start line strong and healthy!

How do you stay sane during taper time?

What is your favorite day of the year?

Ultra Training Week #18


And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. ~John Muir

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Happy, hungry, tired, and sore.  That pretty much sums up how I am feeling at the end of this week.  I had so much fun spending so many hours on the trails this weekend, admiring the beauty that was all around me.   My training this week has been empowering, captivating, and humbling.  I am proud of how far I have come, but most importantly, my soul is happy.

Monday:  rest

Tuesday:  4 miles on the xc course

Wednesday:  12 trail miles (double run 7, then chiro, then 5 more)

Thursday:  6 trail miles

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  26 miles (rained the entire time)

Ran from Pine Plantation at Kings Gap to Pole Steeple, played around on some other trails at Pine Grove, then ran back.

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A quick stop at Pole Steeple to refill my Nuun and eat a banana.  

 

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It literally stopped raining just for my arrival at Pole Steeple.  When I started back down for the AT, it picked back up again. 

Sunday:  7 miles cycling, upper body, and 10 miles hike/run

I ended up hiking the majority of the first 6 miles because my knees were just not ready to run again.  I was fine hiking but running was a killer.  My legs literally felt exactly like they did in the last 5 miles of Ironmaster’s 50K last year.  By mile 6 they started to feel better and by mile 7 I was 100% running, no hiking at all.  I planned to stop at 8.5 but a huge trail blocked my path when I was 0.1 miles from the parking lot.  I always climb over or through trees to keep going but this one had poison oak all over it so I turned around and went back the other way.  My legs actually felt springy so I ended up getting to 10 miles.  I was even leaping over some of the trees by the end of this run!

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Why do the most beautiful things only last a short time?

 

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They say that color is nature smiling 🙂
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These I could do without though.  Gypsy moths are back.  EWWW!   If they get on me I break out in an itchy red rash.  Good thing they are spraying for them in the park soon.  We had a ton of them in the Poconos.  

The Big Mystery This Week

What happened between Thursday and Friday to all the trees in Kings Gap?  Especially around Pine Plantation.  Thursday night I finished my run and talked with the park ranger who was warning me abut a bear sighting.  I even mentioned to him how nice the park was looking because all the down trees from the winter had been cleared off the trail.  Then by Saturday morning it looked like a war zone!  I counted 5 trees down in the first half mile of my run that day.  We had pouring rain Friday and I guess we must have had some wind too because the damage is crazy!  The pics below are just two of the twelve or more I encountered this weekend.

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One more quote to leave you with. . .

“No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.”

-Jack Kerouac

 

 

Week #16…Playing it Smart by Listening to My Body


This week my patience has certainly been put to the test!  It was supposed to be another 50+ mile week, but that was clearly not going to help me meet my goals.  With the combination of racing the Buck Ridge Burn faster than I had planned, and then a solid week of 56 miles last week (which included a 10, 11, and 23 miler), my body began to tell me it needed rest in the form of a nagging weakness in my right hip that was causing my IT Band to let me know of it’s presence every time I had to exert force on that side.   I’ve been through enough training cycles to know how this goes.  Could I have logged a decent amount of miles this week?  Absolutely.  Would I have been running weak and actually caused a “nagging tightness” to turn into a full blown injury?  Definitely.  So I had to ask myself what was more important.  Sticking rigidly to a training plan and modifying my runs here and there so that I could say I ran this week….or giving my body the rest it was demanding so I could meet my overarching goal of arriving to the start line of Cayuga strong as hell and ready to kick ass.  I choose ass kicking every time 😉

The decision to rest extra days when your training plan tells you otherwise is NOT an easy one.  However, I have complete confidence in the training I have done so far.  I have gotten in many solid long runs backed up by a second long run the following day, mountain repeats with decent vert, and some faster runs that were on both road and trail as well.   This was the first time I had any type of signal during the past 16 weeks that my body could possibly break down if I continued to hammer on as per my training schedule.  In the past (Gettysburg Marathon training & Ironmaster’s training) I pushed through potential injuries I started to feel about 10 weeks into training and ended up with an actual injury that put me out of running for 3-4 weeks.  So playing it safe and resting this week, given my past experiences, was definitely necessary to help me meet my goals.  An extra week of rest, a regular cutback week next week to ease back in…and then two more hard weeks before taper is the plan for now.

This is life, you know?  Roll with the punches.  Play it smart.  Stay positive.  Focus on your goals.  Things hardly ever go as planned.  So you problem solve, create an alternate path, and work your ass off in new ways to continue moving forward.

So what did I do this week?

I rested, saw my chiropractor, did my chiropractic homework (dynamic “cobra pose” stretches to open up my hip muscles more), stretched, foam rolled, ate fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, replaced runs with cycling, and lifted and worked on core like a boss.

Monday: 8 mile cycle, upper body, core, foam rolling, stretching, tennis ball for myofacial release in hip (works wonders!)

Tuesday:   rest

Wednesday:  3 mile trial on trails with dog (run/walk to test the extra rest day).  It was clear I needed more than one extra rest day so we stopped @ 3 miles and I went to the gym), 7 mile cycle, upper body, core

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The forest is coming to life with the colors of spring!

Thursday:  6 mile cycle, core, weights

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  10.2 mile cycle, stretching, strength, upper body, core

Sunday:  stretching, foam rolling, core

How to Maintain your Sanity when you Can’t Run

Besides getting frustrations out during weight lifting, here’s how you can to stay sane during time off from running. . .

  • Read a good book!  (Never have time for that!)
  • Go to a good sports chiropractor.  For anyone in my area, Dr. Lenny at Align Chiropractic is amazing.  The boys have gone there for wrestling related injuries, and I went during my Gettysburg Training.  Dr. Lenny takes the time to assess what is going and figures out the root of the problem.  He does not just treat the symptoms.  He is pretty confident I will not be sidelined over this, just a little bump in the road.  I go back tomorrow.  I love getting an expert’s point of view during a critical time in my training and am thinking that I should probably make it a regular thing when my training gets more demanding.
  • Catch up on work or chores to stay busy.  (Not exactly fun or stress relieving, but good to know something can be crossed off the to-do list).  My students will be amazed that their tests are graded and entered so fast!
  • Talk to your friends or text them to see how their trail runs went.  You might think that would be like rubbing salt in your wounds, but NOT AT ALL!  I am living vicariously through them.  If I can’t run in the woods I want to hear all about someone else doing it 🙂
  • Discover an obsession for something new….like sriracha.
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Egg whites with spinach, onion, and cheese topped with sriracha?  Don’t mind if I do!
  • Watch trail or ultra running videos on You Tube while you are cycling.  Here’s one I watched this week.  Crazy race!

The High

  • Have your family over for lunch and build some new hayfeeders for your goats.
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Happy goats in your backyard are the solution to all problems.
  • Heck, just cuddle up with your goats while they take a nap.  LOL
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This picture says it all.  

How do you stay sane when you aren’t running?

Long Run Cravings & Week #15 in the Books!


When I finally arrived back at my car today, after over four hours of running in mostly 80 + degrees and sunny weather, I couldn’t wait to grab a nice cold water bottle from the small cooler I had packed earlier that morning.  Thoughts of tortilla chips, salsa, ice cold lemonade, and popsicles had plagued my thoughts for the past hour.  My tired legs ready to be done, but my mind stronger than them, pushing myself as I ran the last 5 miles down the rocky technical trail to the Pine Plantation Parking lot.   I took my water over to the bench under the shady pines.  They beckoned me to lay there for a moment and reflect on my run.

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My view from the bench!  Perfect blue skies today.  57 degrees when I started and 85 when I finished.

I had decided to start at Kings Gap and work my to Buck Ridge and then explore some of the trails that intersect it.  I had fun exploring!

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Morning sun coming through the trees.  I have no idea what the blue speck is?
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A new-to-me trail off of Sage Run.  

Just before the trail above, I crossed paths with a lost trail runner trying to scout out the Ironmaster’s 50K.   I directed him to the spot he was looking for and headed on.   I ended up seeing him again later when I stopped under the pavilions by the furnace stack to refill my Nuun bottle at mile 14.   There were a few hikers out today as well.

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A rare less technical trail!

 

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A view of the mountain through the logging on my way back up Buck Ridge to Kings Gap.  If there isn’t anything I can do about the logging tearing up the land near my trail I guess I can at least appreciate the view.

As I got in the car to drive home, I decided the lemonade craving had to be settled immediately.   I found this at Sheetz and it satisfied my craving perfectly!

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I always want lemonade on hot runs.  I need to buy a few of these for my family to hand me during Cayuga or at least at the finish line!

When I got home, my husband asked what happened to me.  I guess I did look like a mess.  I had salt everywhere, dirt caked on my legs from my calves to the top of my socks, small red bumps on my arms, scratches on my legs and arms, and a two inch chafe spot on my back from where my tank didn’t cover the skin under my hydration pack. (Lesson learned there!).  The bumps and scratches were from my arms rubbing against brush and pricker bushes I think.

Other than tired legs, I feel really good. Especially after downing some tortilla chips and chipole lime salsa!  ‘m not overly tired like I was after yesterday’s run.  I’m glad I took it easier in the heat.   It was hard but there was a nice breeze for some of the time that helped.

Today’s Run Fueled by. . .

I fueled my run today with two bottles of Nuun, water, salted peanut butter pretzels, mini golden Oreos, Honey Stinger fruit smoothie chews, and a banana.  I had just enough hydration to get me through but it looks like a stop at the car for more water is going to be necessary if I run anything longer than this in these temps.  I also need to add more salty snacks.  A bag of crushed up tortilla or potato chips sounds perfect!

Week #15 Recap

Monday:  REST!

Tuesday: 4 trail miles with Irish, core 7 arms at home

Wednesday: 12 trail miles

Thursday:  6.2 trail miles with a buddy

Friday:  REST!

Saturday:  11 trail miles with group

Sunday:  23 trail miles

Lacking in the cycling and strength/weights/core this week, but . . . 56 trail miles is a little time consuming!

What do you crave on hot runs?

 

 

 

12 Miles and …hmmm…this doesn’t look familiar!


I couldn’t wait for the work day to end so that I could head out to the trails this afternoon!   My training plan has upped the midweek run to double digits and I was feeling ready for some much needed time among the leaves, rocks, roots, and trees.  I was especially excited because I figured this distance would allow me to explore the new-to-me section of trail out near Hammonds Rocks that we ran on Sunday during the Buck Ridge Burn.  I absolutely loved the baby pine section that ended up going to the Ravine Trail, which takes you down a steep and rocky descent along the creek.

I parked at the Scenic Vista trailhead in Kings Gap and took Buck Ridge Trail to Hammonds Rocks.  As I ran on the new trail off of Buck Ridge, I had a pretty easy time figuring out where to turn to take the loop around the rocks like we did in the race.  I was able to take some pics that I had thought about taking during the race (but didn’t want to stop then to do it!).  It’s so pretty back there.

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Then when my loop came to an end I turned right onto the grassy trail that lead to the long-awaited baby pines.

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I’m not sure why this part makes me so happy, but it does!  Maybe it’s the new growth and the fact that the branches brush your arms as you run by as if to welcome you!
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Another one just because.  It’s just so different from everything else.  Like another world!

 

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End of baby pines just before heading down the ravine.  

I was too busy running the downhill, but did get some pics of the creek when I got near the bottom.

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I continued to run until I had 5 miles out and the plan was to reverse and head back to the car. This meant another loop around the Hammonds Rocks section.  Somehow I got turned around and ended up unsure of where I was after the second loop.  I say “turned around” because I knew how to get back to familiar trail.  I wasn’t necessarily lost…yet! None of the trail in this particular area are marked and there are many intersections of trail that look similar in spots.   I knew if I turned around and retraced my steps I could figure it out, but the trail was leading me to some amazing overlooks so I couldn’t help but check them out and I still had enough daylight.

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This picture doesn’t even do it justice.  None of them do really but it’s still pretty awesome.  The feeling you get from being in a place like this is impossible to convey.  
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Same spot, different view.  I guess you just had to be there.  
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Same spot looking down and to the left.  The spray paint I could do without, but I wanted to capture it because I plan to get more familiar with this area!

After checking out the overlooks, I continued on and realized the terrain and mountains definitely did not look right.  I knew I was heading in the wrong direction for sure, so I turned around and found this tree farther down the trail.  I knew I still had plenty of daylight left and I had extra water with me, so I was good!

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Does this mean north?  That’s what I was hoping.  LOL  I didn’t see any others so I don’t think it is a trail marker.  I headed that direction and it ended up being the way I needed to go, but I’ve never seen this marked on a tree before! 

When I got to another intersection, I decided to take a small log and block off the direction I didn’t want to go so that if I ended up back here again I would be able to familiarize my self more easily.  Thankfully,  the direction I picked got me back to the grassy road that led to the small unmarked Hammonds Rocks parking area and I knew exactly where I was. Ten miles turned into twelve but extra miles are always a blessing in disguise!

This exact situation is why I always take my phone, extra water, and extra snacks on a longer run. Especially if I know I plan to explore new trails.  You can never be too prepared!

 

 

Have you ever gotten “turned around” on a trail run?

Are you also addicted to any wilderness survival shows?

Another Month Closer to Cayuga Trail 50!


Just taking a moment to soak it all in.

The more miles I run each week, the less time I have for blogging!  But…it feels amazing to look back at a full year of running.  You can see the drop off in miles after my first 50K in April.  Since I went into it under-trained coming off of an injury, I did not train for anything during the months that followed.  I just ran a few trail half marathons and then started base building for 50 mile training in the fall.  This is truly the most fun, and most well-balanced training cycle I’ve ever attempted.  Feeling proud of the work I’ve been putting to make this goal a reality!   Looking at the difference between February and March makes my increase in hunger seem totally logical now.  Haha!

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Raising the bar every month.  It isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.  

What you don’t see on that bar graph are my cycling miles.  I did 34 this month and plan to ramp that up slowly along with my running miles for this race.  It’s a great way to flush out the legs….plus I like to watch running videos or healthy eating videos while I’m on the bike to pass the time.

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Speaking of healthy food, it was grocery shopping day. I went to the discount grocery store, BB’s,  since I haven’t been in awhile and the produce selection was awesome!   It feels good to have a basket full of healthy fruits and veggies (and this is just the counter top!).  I also bought a ton of grapes, strawberries, and oranges.  I feel some food prep coming on this weekend 😉  Still eating a healthy diet, but definitely splurging more now that I’m running over 45 miles per week and having some serious cravings.  (That could be another post in itself!)

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I’ve been really into oatmeal lately and have been wanting to try this Irish Oatmeal.  I couldn’t pass it up at this price.  It’s always good to try something new and mix it up a little bit!

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Found these too @ $2 a box.  When you have two teenage boys, protein bars are a hot commodity.  I’m guessing they will get us through to at least next weekend…hopefully!

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My current favorite way to make sweet potatoes.   Cut in cubes and roast in the oven with sesame oil.  Top with sesame seeds and you won’t be sorry!  They are seriously addicting.

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And now I just have to leave you with this pic. . .

 

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Doyle says, “RUN ALL THE MILES!”  He is a super fast sprinter but has no endurance 😉

Here’s to a weekend full of miles & smiles!