Hey, hey. It’s Tuesday. But I haven’t had the chance to recap last week…so here we go!

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Monday was a fabulous day/night at the Nike Track Club. See recap here!

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Tuesday, after work, Erin and I treated ourselves to some fresh pedis and new shoes. Originally I was going to exchange my Mizuno Wave Riders for a larger size (8 to 8.5), but ended up trying on a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost (in lavender), and they felt almost too good to be true. I decided to switch it up and try these for a bit.

On Wednesday London convinced me to get my first Vitamin B(utt) shot. So in between Yoga Sculpt and running, I met up with her and Kelli (who just spectated) at Spark Health for some “Be Happy” vitamin shots. Normally, I HATE shots, to the point where I pass out. But the benefits and the effects convinced me so much – that, and the fact I’m always looking for more ways to gain energy.  Afterwards, I proceeded to my running workout, and although it was very tough, afterwards I didn’t feel like it was that bad (although I definitely felt it throughout).  I’ll attribute that to the “Be Happy.”

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On Thursday, even after working in Del Mar for the past 2 years, I went to my first Opening Day at the Races! I am thankful to Jen (my “bossosciate – just kidding!), Tyler and Papa Coppo who allowed me to tag along with them, in style! It was such a fun day as we bet, drank and watched the races from a table in the Turf Club directly in line with the finish line!

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Saturday we had a long and hilly 14 miles. Although it was physically hard, mentally it was a breeze running with our newly formed trio – Erin, Andy and me. Afterwards we hit up Naked Cafe and I surprisingly changed it up from my usual Plate of Prosperity to the Naked Crossanwich. It was HEAVEN.

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Then I took an Epsom salt bath, got my nails done (aka tried to stay awake in the chair), grocery shopped, got coffee and attempted to make a movie after picking up my bf who Uber-ed to the racetrack (yes. Uber. p.s. we live over 30 miles away). Unfortunately a movie didn’t happen, but a bomb-ass dinner at True Foods Kitchen did. Later I tried to pick up dessert from Extraordinary Desserts to continue the “I did a long run today” celebration. However, the take-out line was even longer than the dining line, and it was 9:30pm. So instead, I ended up going to 7/11….

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Sunday I went to my first Pilates class ever! It was a free class at Core40 sponsored by Lululemon.  And it was so challenging! It engaged muscles in a different way from how I normally use them. I also liked that it wasn’t super intensive like a bootcamp or HIIT, but really refined and focused. It worked my muscles to the point of shaking and made me break a minor sweat.

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Then we BBQed and grabbed some afternoon iced coffee, and the BEST chocolate chip-pecan-shortbread bar. Later I finished up the day with some Sunday meal prep.

How’s your week going?

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – Yoga Sculpt + 6 mi
Tues – Rest
Wed – Yoga Sculpt + 7.5 mi
Thurs – 6.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 14.3 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 34.3 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 3 mi
Hours cross-training: 2 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 845.3 mi

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It’s official. I’ll be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco this October!

Let me back track now.

On Monday night, Andy and I made the 2 hour drive over to Torrance to participate in the “14 Ladies Night at Nike Track Club.” The Nike Track Club store is an extension of the Finish Line Store at the Del Amo Fashion Center. It’s a really cool concept, totally geared towards the LA Runner.

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We left San Diego at 3pm and only hit a slight amount of traffic. We had no idea what to expect for the Nike Track Club event. We arrived early, but luckily the event was at a mall so it wasn’t too hard to kill time ;-).

We checked in around 6:30pm, got taped up with Muscle Aid Tape, and waited for the event to officially begin at 7pm. All of the attendees were able to try on a pair of the new Nike Lunarglide 6’s for our 2-3 mile run.

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The run was intended to be easy, at a conversational pace, but that quickly changed as we hit the ground running at a 7 min, sometimes sub-7 minute pace.

It was hot and humid, and what most likely was supposed to be a light jog turned into a total 2.85 mile sweat-fest! The Lunarglide 6’s worked really well, and I completely forgot I was wearing a brand new pair of shoes!

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As we returned to the store, we ran into a table filled with Nuun (YES! – grape), Nuun bottles, brownie brittle and Suja smoothies. If this wasn’t enough, we were told the real surprises were about to begin. My first thought was that we would be able to keep the shoes on our feet. However, the surprise ended up being even bigger and better than that.

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In true Nike style, guys in suits came out with the new Lunar Max 1 on silver platters…that would soon be shipped to each of us!  Next flutes of Suja Spark were delivered to toast what would soon be revealed as the big celebration…

We got entries into the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon!

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Ecstatic, Andy and I spent the rest of the night on Cloud 9. With massages that made us fall asleep, and other special gifts like swag bags and Nike outfit styling, the night was a complete treat.

We ended up leaving around 9:30pm, and honestly, I was so hyped on excitement and adrenaline I could’ve easily stayed there until midnight! I keep reliving Monday night in my head, it almost seems too surreal!

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A big thank you to Nike and Finish Line for an amazing event and for letting me be a part of it!

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Happy Sunday night! I’m behind in everything else I need to blog – week in review, Nike Track Club event, etc., so bear with me!

Right now I’m finishing up my meal prep for the week so I just decided to share what’s on this week’s menu.

One of my goals this week is to eat less carbs. I feel like lately, everything I eat is just laden with carbs – oatmeal, bananas, english muffins, potatoes, etc. To achieve my goal, my first idea was to replace my breakfast/snack 1 (usually oatmeal with bananas, pb and walnuts) with an egg dish. Another idea was to have my snack 2 be something other than the usual bananas with pb (I have an obsession with this combo!). Instead, I’m going to have greek yogurt with fruit (because I think I forgot this option even existed).

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Alright, here’s the meal plan (see below for recipes for everything!):
Breakfast – Green smoothie + iced coffee (not pictured)
Snack 1 – Scrambled cottage cheese eggs with spinach and smoked salmon
Lunch – Grapefruit and avocado salad with baked BBQ chicken thighs
Snack 2 – Greek yogurt with frozen berries
Dinner – TBD

Green Smoothie – my go to as of lately.
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1-2 big handfuls of spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen tropical fruit
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.

Scrambled Cottage Cheese Eggs with Spinach and Smoked Salmon
INGREDIENTS:
Non-stick cooking spray
3 egg whites
1 extra-large whole egg
1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 big handful spinach
2 oz smoked salmon
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole egg and cottage cheese.
  2. Over medium heat, prepare a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Pour the egg and cottage cheese mixture on the pan. Let it sit until it begins to set.
  4. Once it sets, mix around with a spatula, making sure that the cottage cheese doesn’t over-cook.
  5. Once it looks about done, add a handful of spinach to the mixture. Stir around until it begins to wilt.
  6. Remove from heat and top with smoked salmon.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup barley
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 heart of romaine, chopped
1/2 ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 avocado, cubed
handful of walnuts
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Follow the instructions to cook the barley (I use Trader Joe’s semi-cooked barley).
  2. In a tupperware, layer barley and pour in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil*.
  3. Top with romaine, grapefruit, cucumber, avocado and walnuts.
  4. Cover and store in fridge. When ready to eat, mix everything well to coat the lettuce with the dressed barley.

*Adding the dressing to the bottom ensures that the lettuce does not become wilted over the course of the week.

Baked BBQ Thighs
INGREDIENTS:
10 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 cup BBQ Sauce (more or less)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Toss chicken thighs in a ziploc bag with BBQ sauce. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Once the oven has heated, lay out the chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side up.
  4. Cook for 1 hour. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside or serve.

Greek Yogurt with Frozen Berries
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen berries
Honey, amount desired
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Layer greek yogurt with berries and drizzle honey to your desired amount.

What’s your meal plan for this week?

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If you know me, you know, I am not a morning person.  As hard as I try, and as much as I want to be, it’s nearly impossible.

I will try anything to get me going in the morning.  That includes adding a new (to me) supplement into my daily routine, Sol Raiz Organics Maca.  Maca is a Peruvian superfood that comes from a root (that looks similar to a radish) and has a slightly earthy yet nutty flavor.

Because maca provides a good source of natural energy, I’ve been playing around adding it to anything I might encounter in the morning.  So far, it’s been a great addition to oatmeal, iced coffee, and smoothies.

I think this shake is perfect for breakfast or whenever you might need a little boost of energy.  Plus, the flavors are mild and complimentary so it’s a subtle way to introduce maca into your diet!

Have you ever tried maca before?
My first experience was a Whole Foods “Mighty Maca Malt” from their smoothie bar.

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Naturally Nutty Maca Shake
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 banana, frozen
1 Tbsp. natural crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp. Sol Raiz Organics Maca powder
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.

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Today’s Fit Chick is Katie Yip, a 24-year-old Pilates instructor and Master’s candidate at Columbia University studying Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology.

I know Katie, because once upon a lifetime ago, were both DG’s at UCSD.

Exciting things have been happening for her ever since she moved from San Diego to NYC to pursue her training in Pilates as well as further her education. After Katie moved to New York, she held her second apprenticeship at re:AB under Brooke Siler, a celebrity trainer associated with names like Kirsten Dunst, Zooey Deschanel, Liv Tyler and Madonna, just to name a few.

 

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If that’s not cool enough, Katie’s also in the running for Women’s Health Next Fitness Star (<— go vote for her!) You might have also seen her if you’ve ever looked through the Women’s Health Big Book of Pilates.

Although I have yet to try Pilates, I learned a lot through this interview with Katie, and will hopefully go into it a lot less intimidated!

Introduce yourself:  My background is in Pilates – to me Pilates is a solid foundation of movement. Teaches you how to find your core, or “powerhouse,” and use it in different kinds of movement. Pilates provides a fundamental base in any exercise you do and helps to keep you injury free.

Tell me about all of the different types of equipment in Pilates:  There is not just one piece of equipment…there is a whole system! Different pieces of apparatus have different exercises you perform on them. Your teacher should watch how you move, see where you have problems, and take you to another piece of apparatus to work on that specific area.

There’s the reformer, the carriage with springs. The Cadillac, the bed, that was created when Joe Pilates (founder of Pilates) would attach springs to military bedposts. The Wunda Chair actually flips over into an actual chair. It is considered the “most advanced piece of apparatus.” Joe wanted people to exercise no matter where they were so he made this piece of equipment that could function as a chair and also for exercise. The foot corrector teaches you how to connect your foot to your bottom (e.g. for runners, really teaches you to connect your foot to your glutes).

And a lot of them sound like torture devices: electric chair, guillitone, pedi pole.

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How did you first get into Pilates? My first teacher was in San Diego (Chris Robinson). I decided to try it out, since all the models were doing Pilates and getting amazing bodies in just a couple weeks.

What was your workout history prior to Pilates? I have always been pretty athletic, I used to do soccer and track. I’ve always exercised, and it was never really hard for me.

However, I was incredibly humble after my first Pilates lesson. My first thought was, “god I can’t do anything.” Because it was such a challenge, and I wasn’t used to being challenged in exercise, it got me hooked.

Weekly workout schedule? I really believe in doing everything and not limiting yourself to one exercise. However, with my background in Pilates, I try to do some kind of it everyday. It gets my body back into alignment. It’s also a good warm up. Before I do weight lifting or before I go running, it helps me find my core and apply it to different kinds of movement.

A typical week looks like:
Monday – Pilates and Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesday – Strength Training and Pilates
Wednesday – Pilates and Vinyasa Yoga
Thursday – Strength Training and Pilates
Friday – Pilates and Vinyasa Yoga
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Restorative Yoga or Rest

What’s your favorite go-to healthy meal? Right now it’s roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled salmon, avocado and butternut squash.

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When I wake up I… turn my alarm off. Make a protein shake. Lately I’ve been using hemp protein (an acquired taste). I usually like to workout in the mornings but I don’t like having something really heavy before. A protein shake is perfect for this.

What are your goals for this year?  Finish my masters and thesis. And every day I try to be better than I was the day before, in terms of goal. Also, read more books by the end of the year (hopefully 3 more!).

Biggest struggle in living a healthy lifestyle? For other people – it’s being consistent. A lot of people have a tendency to make a lot of changes at once. If you make too many changes at once, it sets you up for failure. If you’re going to try and change, you’ll have a better success rate of making 1 change instead of 10.
For me – It’s not really a struggle because it’s something I enjoy and it really makes me feel good. I feel good when I eat well and get in exercise. I feel like I have control over my life.

Best tip for leading a healthy lifestyle? It’s hard to actually do it. Everyone knows to eat your fruits and your vegetables. My advice, similar to above, is make one small change at a time. And make it a positive change rather than negative (instead of don’t eat donuts, make it eat 5 servings of vegetables a day).

Something you want everyone to know about Pilates?  Pilates isn’t intimidating, it’s a great system of exercise. More often, we try to jump into technical activities – for example, cross fit, intense weight training, running marathons -without a solid foundation of fitness. People neglect the fundamentals, such as basic core strength, moving without pain and having a full range of motion. And I think Pilates will give you that.

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I hope Katie’s interview was informative to you as it was for me! For more of Katie, you can check out her blog and instagram, and don’t forget to vote for her for Women’s Health Next Fitness Star here!

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Seriously, last week I was on a unique-dinners kick. And this dish was seriously addictive.  Like, take-one-bite-and-can’t-stop-eating addictive.  I don’t know what it was, the texture of the noodles, the subtle asian-flavor of the dish, the saltiness of the salmon balanced with the toasted sesame oil…whatever it was, it just worked!  This chilled noodle salad is perfect for summer, make-ahead for lunch, dinners, etc.  You’ll never want to stop eating it.

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Smoked Salmon and Soba Noodle Salad
Adapted from Wholesome Cook
INGREDIENTS:
3 cups cooked soba noodles
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds + extra for garnish
1/2 hot house cucumber, sliced
1 medium hass avocado, cubed
Smoked salmon, to taste
Spinach, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook soba noodles according to directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Refrigerate overnight (or until chilled)
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the noodles with sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds.
  3. Cut the cucumber into half moons and cube the avocado. Toss with the noodles.
  4. Over a bed of spinach (optional), plate 1-2 cups of the soba noodle mixture. Top with desired amount of smoked salmon.

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photo 2photo credit: Anna Johnson Photography

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the Practice of Leadership panel at the Yoga Journal LIVE! Conference in San Diego. The Practice of Leadership is an ongoing discussion, first originating at the Yoga Journal LIVE! NYC conference. That session had an emphasis on social responsibility and corporate leadership while Saturday’s session was primarily on body image in current yoga culture.

The panel was made up a variety of speakers, creating a dialogue between Yoga Journal, Lululemon and the community.

The first question of the day set the intention for the rest of the discussion: “what is body image?” Body image was defined as not our actual bodies, but rather a psychological blueprint, an image we’ve conjured up about ourselves based on experiences we’ve had. Our bodies are reality, whereas body image is subjective.

A particular ideal that is perpetuated by yoga culture is the image of a “healthy body”: the skinny, flexible caucasian woman. This is what we are taught “health looks like.” But you can be healthy (active, happy, free of disease) without fitting this ideal image of “health.”

We’re constantly being pressed with certain ideals (namely the tiny, chiseled athletic woman who stands as the definition of health), whether its through magazines, tv, advertising, apparel, social media (primarily Instagram).

This discussion reminded me of a post I had written earlier this year in January titled, “Letting Everything Go on The Mat,” where I talked about negative thoughts and self-loathing that entered my mind while on the yoga mat.

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For the longest time, one of my goals was to “do yoga in a sports bra,” meaning being skinny enough that yoga bends and forward folds wouldn’t cause unsightly stomach rolls. I’ve also been guilty of having thoughts like, maybe if I do 30 consecutive days of yoga, I’ll look like a “yogi.” Maybe if I only focus on yoga (instead of other activities), I’ll look like a “yogi.”

However, even in the months since this was written, I’ve come a long way in loving my body. Even though I exercise and eat clean, I’m striving for positive change and improvements, rather than hating my body.

I used to think people were lucky if they didn’t carry an ounce of body issues. However, I’ve realized everyone has body image issues, they’re just formed in a variety of ways. I’ve learned over time that everyone is so involved with themselves — what they look like, what others think they look like — that they hardly place judgement on other people. They’re too busy placing judgement on themselves to be judging you.

So breathe. Relax. Be active. Be happy. And be your own kind of healthy.

What are your thoughts on body image and what’s perpetuated by yoga culture?

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For some reason I keep telling myself, the next week is going to be less busy, but so far, the fun hasn’t slowed down (and I’m not complaining).  Here’s what I was up to last week…

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Every Monday night at 6pm I attend a free run out of Seaside Market (organized by my running coach). However, during the summer time, sponsors participate and we’re hooked up with free swag, new products to try out and a raffle.  This past week I tried out Altra shoes and walked away with a tonnnn of sporty beans x_x.

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On Tuesday London and I got together for a healthy happy hour complete with sangria slushies (so easy and refreshing) and a horrendous new TV show called Botched. If you know me, you know I don’t like blood.  But for some reason, these plastic surgeries had gone so wrong they were so intriguing.

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Thursday after work I stopped by Alternative Strategies office for their open house/anniversary/remodel party. I’ve had a great relationship working with Christina on a variety of projects so it was great to finally meet in person.

Friday after work I spent around an hour and a half meeting with Kevin from Sol Raiz.  While sipping on Mighty Maca Malts I learned the benefits of Maca, and what makes Sol Raiz so unique and special. I think it’s so amazing that companies (specifically this one!) will go out of their way to make a personable connection and can be truly passionate about their product.

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Saturday after my long run and amaaaaazing breakfast sandwich from Cafe Ipe I met up with Kelli and Gina at the Sheraton for the Yoga Journal LIVE! Conference. We attended the leadership panel (more tomorrow) and then Kelli and I participated in some yoga matless-yoga.  I also cracked my own coconut with the Coco Jack (a nifty tool that safely helps you open coconuts) at the yoga marketplace (like a big yogi-expo).

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Kelli, London, Avery, Jess and Andy

Sunday was a fun-filled day starting with brunch at Sea and Smoke with our “bloggin’ boss crew.”  It was a great way to start the day, especially with the CINNAMON ROLL BAR! (meaning: do it yourself toppings bar),  oat milk (not goat milk) for their coffee drinks, and all of the fresh breakfast options.

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Afterwards, we followed it up with some pre-gaming bubbly style before we made our way over to Polo, in VIP (thanks SD Polo)!  Although I didn’t exactly know what was going on during the game, it was fun to hang out and socialize while feeling very sophisticated!

Cheers to a new and exciting week!

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – Yoga Sculpt + 6 mi
Tues – 4.75 mi
Wed – Yoga Sculpt + 7 mi
Thurs – 4.2 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 13.2 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 35.15 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 0
Hours cross-training: 2 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 811 mi

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On a Tuesday night, not so long ago, I received a fresh new pair of Reebok Z Jet Run running shoes to test out. So naturally, on Wednesday morning, I took them out for an 8 mile run.

The first thing I noticed was that these were very comfortable right out of the box.  Although these are different from what I usually wear,  I have been looking to change up my shoe game and incorporate some different styles for different types of runs.  These were very plush and provided a good source of stability.

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Let’s break it down now:

What do they feel like?
The fit is very cush and the the inside is very soft — so soft, I wish I could wear them without socks.  The seamless, lightweight no sew upper provides a smooth fit.  And the nanoweb upper creates a very secure fit, so your foot stays centered and doesn’t move around inside the shoe.

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How do they fit?
I wear a size 8 for running shoes and felt these fit true-to-size, if not a tiny smidge bigger, which works well for my ever-expanding feet.

What would I use them for?
Longer runs when I might need a thicker, more cushioned shoe, for padding and protection.

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Unique features?
Max Cushioning Speed Channels - pressure changes created by your unique foot struck force air heel to toe providing cushioning where you need it. Results in a soft and responsive underfoot feel to propel you forward.

The Reebok Z Jet Run running shoe is now available at FinishLine.com.

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Disclaimer: I received the Reebok Z Jet Run running shoe from Finish Line in exchange for this review.  However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This burger was inspired by the burger my bf ordered (and I was soooo tempted to) at Nick’s Laguna Beach. I thought it was so inventive to put a burger on an English muffin! Although their English muffin was homemade, this one really hit the spot in my opinion.

English Muffin Burgers
Makes 4
INGREDIENTS:
1 lb of ground beef
4 English muffins
4 slices of
1 hass avocado
2 romaine leaves
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce (I used Carolina’s Gold BBQ sauce from Trader Joes)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Divide the meat into 4 sections. Form patties and season.
  2. Over medium heat, cook the burger patties until desired done-ness is achieved. Top each burger with a slice of cheddar cheese.
  3. Toast the English muffin “buns.”
  4. Spread 1/2 Tbsp. of barbecue sauce on the top side of each of the English muffins.
  5. Cut the romaine leaves in half, and the avocado into fourths (then slice).
  6. On the bottom English muffin, layer the lettuce, burger patty with cheese, and avocado.
  7. Top with BBQ sauced English muffin.

These Cajun fries were inspired by the fries they apparently have at Five Guys. I wouldn’t know, but it was put in as a request by my bf for “a healthy version of Five Guys fries.”

Cajun Baked Fries
INGREDIENTS:
1 lb golden potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Cajun seasoning salt
Old Bay seasoning
Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut potatoes in length-wise, and then into thin matchsticks.
  3. Toss with olive oil and then coat with a heavy hand all of the seasonings.
  4. Spread across baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

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