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The was my last trail run with Kate before the SOB 50k.  After a lazy and overcast morning in Encinitas, we grabbed coffee from Ironsmith and headed down to Alpine.  After an hour of driving, we arrived at our destination, or so we hoped/thought.

We parked in the apparent lot and spotted the sign “Espinosa Trail –> Secret Canyon rail.”  By the time we made it out east to the trailhead, the temperatures had risen.  No need for an outer- or wind-layer and we both stripped to tanks and shorts.  We headed out with the intention of running 10 miles.  The trail was wide and evident, and we followed along this main trail for 5 miles.

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At this point, we had never reached Secret Canyon.  I guess the big indicator should have been the fact that we continued to gradually climb and never dropped down into a canyon.  In our defense though, the climb was very gradual and we didn’t realize it until we turned around to run back.  We did take some walking breaks on the way up, but I just assumed that I was out of shape/getting my bearings back (not the greatest feeling the week before the race).

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On our way back we also realized we clearly missed the split off for Secret Canyon.  It was maybe a mile or so in, but at a quick glance, the small wooden sign was misleading.  It clearly said “trail –>” but since I didn’t read it and the wooden sign was kind of shaped like an arrow in the opposite direction, we just stayed on the Espinosa Trail the whole time.

The Espinosa Trail extends 7 miles out.  Kate was obsessed with how green it was and kept exclaiming “it looks like Ireland!”

Although we ran the wrong trail, it just gives us another one to try the next time!

Espinosa Trail

Entrance: 21697 Lyons Valley Rd, Alpine, CA
Route: From the trailhead parking lot walk to the trail.  Espinosa is the main trail and will take you out 7+ miles.
Miles: 10 miles +

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San Diego Restaurant Week returns tomorrow, January 17th for 8 days of dining!

On Thursday night, Kevin and I ventured down to Mission Hills (near Hillcrest and Downtown San Diego) to sample Brooklyn Girl’s San Diego Restaurant Week menu.

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Stuffed Pink Baquetta Sea Bass — Oven roasted and stuffed with crab meat, served with Forbidden black rice, organic broccolini and finished with a stone ground mustard sauce.

We entered the expansive building with exposed ceilings and were gestured to our table against the wall adorned with vintage trinkets and unique light fixtures. The interior of Brooklyn Girl has an urban and loft-like feel, while still maintaining a warm and welcoming communal vibe. Old P.S. chairs are used in combination with rustic wooden tables. There’s a bit of artistic glam mixed in (for example chandeliers enclosed in bird cages) to contrast the coolness of the steel.

During our visit I had the opportunity to sit down with Brooklyn Girl’s proprietor, Michael McGeath, to discuss the restaurant, the menu and the inspiration. Not only did he show us incredible hospitality, but his story of how Brooklyn Girl came to be was interesting and insightful.

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Cajun style shellfish étouffée — Shrimp, crab, crawfish and andouille sausage stew with white rice.  Mushroom and truffle risotto — Wild mushrooms, black truffles, parmigiana cheese and chili oil.

With 40 years in the restaurant industry, and an extensive background in opening 15 different restaurants (5 of his own, 10 for other people), Brooklyn Girl is the most recent project (going on 5 years in the location) for husband and wife duo, Michael and Victoria McGeath.

The name Brooklyn Girl is an homage to his wife who is originally from Brooklyn. But it’s also a tribute to the creative food scene that Brooklyn Girl brings from the East to West.

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Carlsbad Black Mussels — Thai basil, coconut, chiles, lemograss, fries, grilled baguette.  Bacon Wrapped Vietnamese Meatballs — Shrimp & pork meatballs, quick tiger slaw, sweet ginger glaze.

With the more recent gentrification of Brooklyn, this New York neighborhood is now known as a hip, trending foodie spot, with an anti-corporate attitude. Immigration to this area has also created a melting pot of multicultural flavors. All of these aspects are carried across and transplanted into this San Diego restaurant, with the aspect of fusion playing a big role in the Brooklyn Girl menu (e.g. Vietnamese meatballs, étouffée, risotto, etc.).

In addition to fusion, the menu is also innovative and fresh. Michael states that Brooklyn Girl is not just following the trends, because they’ve always been devoted to using local, organic and sustainably farmed ingredients. With eating at the restaurant 6 nights a week, Michael serves food and quality he would (and does) eat.

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Chocolate chip bread pudding — Bourbon creme anglaise and whipped cream. Caramel Budino — Salted caramel, custard, crumbled chocolate cookies. 

Without a current executive chef, the couple is fully embracing the unassuming style of Brooklyn restaurants, such as the whole do-it-yourself approach, coming up with the latest menu items on their own. Scouring food blogs and utilizing their personal collection of over 200 cookbooks they seek inspiration that gives way to their unique menu items and ideas. With rotating weekly specials, they are always looking for the next and new thing without trying to replicate anyone else.

For San Diego Restaurant Week, Brooklyn Girl is offering a 3-course dinner menu for $30. This is an absolute value, considering the quality and price of the individual dishes on their own. Ordering off the San Diego Restaurant Week provides a wide range of tastes from the regular menu. With over 6 options for each course, there’s ample opportunity to see why people flock and gather at the Brooklyn Girl!

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My recommendation of the perfect Brooklyn Girl San Diego Restaurant Week order would be:

First Course: Carlsbad Black Mussels — the coconut broth was the best thing ever. We found ourselves soaking the mussels…and dipping the bread…and dunking the fries

Second Course: Mushroom and truffle risotto — perfectly cooked, super creamy, and when can you ever go wrong with truffles in a dish??

Third Course: Caramel Budino — buttery and rich with a velvety texture, nicely contrasted by the subtle crunch from the cookie crumbs.

Brooklyn Girl
4033 Goldfinch Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Thank you to Brooklyn Girl for hosting me! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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On Sunday I completed my last race of 2015…the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon. The San Diego Holiday Half Marathon starts in Rancho Penasquitos and ends near Torrey Pines State Beach, with a net drop of 714 feet.

This was not a race I was expecting. In a good way.

The morning started off FREEZING —below 40 degrees (very cold for San Diego)! My dad and brother dropped me off near the start, I used the porta-potty and then lined up with around 8 minutes to spare.

I had forgotten my gloves but was wearing a tank, long sleeve, throwaway sweatshirt, compression socks and shorts. Right before the start I threw off my sweatshirt and kept my long sleeve layer on until around mile 4.

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I lined up and ran into Jen and Tyler. We started off together but within the first tenth mile I was already pulling ahead. I just decided to run my own race and see where it would take me.

Around 1.5 you encounter “the hill” which wasn’t too bad. Due to my trail running (and beating up my quads), I let my legs roll on the downhills, which ended up being pretty fast. I was worried I was going to blow up, especially trying to deal with the gradual uphill during the rolling hills because I am so used to walking all hills now. I just told myself to keep it at or under an 8 minute pace.

I just tried to really focus on feel. I checked my watch briefly to make sure I was in the range, but I tried to not focus wholeheartedly on it. I knew if I saw a fast pace I would freak myself out. I already had enough self-doubt with running an ultra 2 weeks before and a 12 miler 2 days prior. The only time I saw my time was around mile 6 when I realized I was at 43 minutes and I could potentially have a good time.

At mile 6 I started to take a Gu. However, it took me a while to finish it and I ended up not finishing it because it was so cold it started to harden up.

Once I got to mile 11 I knew I had this. My favorite part of any race has increasingly become the last 2 miles because I know I can do anything for 2 miles (and that includes cranking it).

I count this as my first legit half marathon PR in a while (the last one was in Fontana, 1:32, with a 2,125 ft net downill, and before that Nike Women’s Half in DC with a 1:40).

It was a nice course with a smaller number of runners (limited to 3,500 max) because it runs on the bike path next to the 56 freeway. I liked being on the bike path because it kept the race very small and focused vs. being on expansive and wide streets.

I ended up running a 1:35:01 and getting 6th in the age group. It’s funny, I didn’t realize what pace I was running (what was my fastest and what was my slowest mile) until the next day when I reviewed my watch and checked my splits.

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:35:04):
1 – 7:31
2 – 7:04
3 – 7:35
4 – 6:44
5 – 7:19
6 – 7:11
7 – 7:33
8 – 7:19
9 – 7:13
10 – 7:25
11 – 7:06
12 – 7:13
13 – 7:01
Last .13 – 0:44

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Thanks to RACEPLACE for the opportunity to run this race!

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Back and at the trails!! One week after my 50k, Elisa and I took to Iron Mountain + Ellie Lane. Iron Mountain is a very popular hike in San Diego, however this was my first time visiting the trail. Elisa suggested we take the offshoot of the Ellie Lane loop because it’s less trafficked and it adds a little distance to the run/hike.

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Even pre-holiday weekend, it was still pretty busy, especially when we reached the top. My legs were still tired from the weekend before and were definitely feeling it. We took the casual approach of walking the uphills, and running the downhills. However, in general it was really nice to get out. I couldn’t imagine running if it had to be on the road, but the trail was exactly the freedom and diversity I needed.

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And because PB&J sandwiches are my FAVORITE (and such a large staple in my diet now) this post is filled with pictures of me stuffing my face!!!

Iron Mountain + Ellie Lane Loop

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Entrance: Hwy 67 & Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92074
Route: Follow the Iron Mountain Trail until it comes to a split. Head left for Ellie Lane. Continue on this until you meet back up with the main Iron Mountain Trail.
Miles: 10 miles

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Elisa and I ran this trail probably 2 weeks before my 50k.  This trail run ended up being a lot more hiking than running.  However, I think it ended up being good preparation!  With over 4,000 feet of elevation gain, there were some good, steep sections of climbing.  It also allowed for a lot downhill.  Meaning, getting those legs used to rolling, feeling the impact and dodging stones.

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It was warm at the start, however, once we got to the highest point, we realized we were severely underdressed compared to everyone else (donning full pants, jackets, etc. while I was merely wearing a tank and shorts).   Our favorite part of any trail run are the breaks at the top (to eat our PB&J sandwiches, always).  However, after we scarfed down our snacks, we were quickly on our way, experiencing huge goosebumps from the settled sweat and cool breeze.

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We ended up running all the way down.  I don’t think I’ve been this sore in a long time!  This run definitely took a toll on my calves on the uphill, and for sure my quads on the downhill.

El Cajon Mountain in the El Capitan Open Preserve

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Entrance: 12777 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Route: Begin at the staging area just off Wildcat Canyon Road and walk .5 mile uphill to the proper trailhead. Continue along the main trail to the summit.
Miles: 11 miles

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With days that turn into nights waaaaay too early, I found myself without running. My scheduled workouts fell by the wayside and I unintentionally missed runs. Night running is pretty much limited to one path (the only street in Encinitas with lighting). And sometimes incessant (week long) hunger makes dinner sound waaaay better than yoga.

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Monday night Kendall and I attended the reveal of the Seasons 52 winter menu at a special blogger preview.

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Tuesday night I squeezed in a run with Kate before the girls and I gathered at London’s neighbor’s house for a homey, warm fall dinner — Cardiff Crack, grilled asparagus and Kendall’s vegan tomato soup :-)

Wednesday I suffered from an on-and-off eye twitch (which I’m pretty sure signifies my impending death :-P) all day. So when it came to get my eyelashes done, I COULD NOT RELAX. All I could think about was how much my eyeball must be moving under my eyelid, and how I could not control it or get it to stop. Afterwards I easily easily easily could have done nothing. Luckily I had Kate to coerce me into another week run, and then I was able to go over to Kendall’s where she fed me a nice salmon dinner she had already made #blessedwiththebest.

Thursday night Kendall and I planned to go to yoga. But lately, I’ve been having hunger issues. Like, can’t eat enough I’m legitimately hungry, to the point where I just want to be able to stop eating! So it didn’t take much convincing to get dinner instead of a workout (East Village Asian Diner again if you were wondering 😉 ).

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Early Friday morning I stuffed 3 dozen balloons into my car  and then set up our Breast Cancer Walk cheering station for work. With a short day at work, I left late morning for an exciting photoshoot downtown with Fit Andy and Kate. Definitely felt paparazzi style, strolling downtown trying to look candid in our sporty chic attire. After a good number of hours shooting, snacking on goldfish, gummies and granola bars, Kate and I were ravenous (because, please feed the models!!!). We ended up staying downtown and chowing at The Neighborhood, devouring THE BEST burgers, and some unique one-offs of beer for the passing San Diego Beer Week.

Once the weekend hit, I realized that I failed to have any mornings to myself all week.  Every day was an earlier one, so on Saturday I tried to capitalize on getting just a little more sleep. Elisa and I met later (around 8:30am) for a run, but little did I know it would rise back up to 80+ degrees in late November – __ – After our run we baked these muffins. And then I spent the rest of my evening, having the most bizarre blogging environment/experience at Better Buzz until Jen and her daughter, Tyler, swooped me up for a dinner at Solace :-)

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Sunday morning was BY FAR the best trail run out at Noble Canyon. You bet a full review is coming soon!!! Eventually, the 5+ hours of running this past weekend definitely caught up to me, and I snuck in a nap that I eventually woke up from just to go to sleep.

This new week I’m feeling especially thankful, I suppose just in time for Thanksgiving :)

Weekly Workout Recap (11/15-11/21):
Sun – Sandstone Peak Hike
Mon – Rest
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 12.5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 22.5 mi
2015 miles: 1301.45 mi

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I might be a freak of nature because for some reason, post-marathon I wasn’t sore. However, I felt the repercussions with overly tired and twitching eyes for most of the week, with 6pm’s that feel like 9pm’s (especially due to the time change).

Wednesday night I went for a brisk jog with Kate, my first run back after the marathon. With 5 miles at an 8:25 pace, I was feeling good, although it was probably a little faster than I should’ve run.

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The next day my back felt a little tweaked, like I had created an S shape in my spine. So I decided to take it easy and went to my first deep stretch class at Yoga Six. It was exactly what I needed and fit my mood perfectly — lazy and too tired to actually perform a physically intense workout.

Friday night London and I enjoyed the best Thai aroma massage from Pure Life Thai Spa in Cardiff. 2 hours for only $99! With knees in our butts and intense but needed pressure, it was definitely a relaxing way to cap off the week.

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I’ve been craving getting outdoors and out of our immediate San Diego area.  So Saturday I woke up excited to venture somewhere new. I grabbed my adventure buddy and headed out for what we thought would be Devil’s Punch Bowl. However, Google Maps led us to a very familiar hike/entrance. One so familiar, we spent the entire time trying to convince ourselves it wasn’t Three Sisters but instead Devil’s Punch Bowl. However, as we entered the valley and saw the dried falls in the distance, encountered the rope climb and other distinct characteristics of the hike, we finally accepted we were on the wrong hike!!

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As if one hike wasn’t enough for the weekend, on Sunday Elisa and I spent the afternoon running and hiking the real Devil’s Punch Bowl during the peak of the day. Since trails are the consistent theme lately, expect more on this run, and other trails soon!

Weekly Workout Recap (11/1-11/7):
Sun – 26.5 mi NYC Marathon
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 5 mi
Thurs – Deep Stretch yoga
Fri – Rest
Sat – Three Sisters Hike (6 mi)
Total Weekly Mileage: 31.5 mi 
2015 miles: 1241.95 mi

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I’m on that running hype. I thought I would’ve taken a break from running after the half marathon, but trail runs with friends are so much fun! Plus I think the half came just at the right time, to reignite my love and obsession for running.

After I got back from SF on Monday I met up with Elisa and ran a little too late after sunset. The same night that my headlamp decided to crap out and we found ourselves sharing the light of one lamp. I started to question Elisa about seeing a Facebook post about mountain lions in North County, and at that moment she told me we might see deer, rattlesnakes….and a rattlesnake appeared out of nowhere. We quickly darted straight into a foreign residential neighborhood, deciding it would be better to figure our way out of there than in the middle of a dark, dark animal-infested lagoon!

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On Tuesday, Kate, Elisa and I took our little (future ultra) running booties out to run Encinitas Ranch. With a couple loops around the trail, we caught the sunset and ran back in with (again) the light of only one headlamp.

Wednesday I finally took a break from running and this is when the serious runger started to kick in. Like ravenous, I know I’m starting to overeat but can’t help it hunger.

And Thursday I kept the trail thing going and met up with my running group friend, Graham, to catch up and run some miles in the Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

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Friday I ended up running some miles again in Encinitas Ranch and then kept it pretty low-key because I was super excited to meet up with Kate the next morning for a new trail run/power hike. Not too early on Saturday we went out to Elfin Forest and completed the Equine Incline trail. I’m pretty sure Kate is starting to hate running with me because I always underestimate the mileage, and maybeee we end up running a little extra?! 😛 Afterwards we split the most perfect runners brunch at Honey’s— eggs, sausage, potatoes, avocado toast and a little pitaya.

As you can see, even just from this week a majority (if not 100%) of my runs were on trail. And to think, I used to hate running on it. This week is taper week as I get into the last few days of my shortened NYC training! Keep posted!

Weekly Workout Recap (10/18-10/24):
Sun – 13.25 mi Nike Women’s Half Marathon
Mon – 5.75 mi
Tues – 6.25 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – 5 mi
Sat – 6 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 42.25 mi
2015 miles: 1198.95 mi

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Earlier this week, So Cal Runner Gal and I went out for a run, and afterwards we proceeded to jump in the ocean and shower in the public beach showers.  Now…mid-October…in the ocean…let me tell you, this is completely plausible because it’s been blazing hot.  Like I’ve said many times before (and everyone already seems to know) San Diego has no seasons.  So for this reason, owning 100+ bikinis is completely viable and necessary!

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My newest bikini is from DESPI Beachwear.  DESPI Beachwear is based out of Miami and made in Brazil.  It’s different from my other bikinis because 1. it’s not as cheeky (aka family friendly), 2. it’s more sophisticated, and 3. it’s fashion-forward/#trending.

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Expanding on my statements above…

  1. it’s not as cheeky — this suit is the Macrame Set in Royal with full cut bottoms.  However, since the style and influence is still Brazilian, it still offers a tiny bit of cheekiness.
  2. it’s more sophisticated — the fabric of this suit feels high-quality and is very substantial.  This strapless style offers nice support and shape, making this suit fit-to-flatter.
  3. it’s fashion-forward/#trending — this macrame style was a common theme found throughout Miami Swim Week earlier this year.  I love how vibrant the blue is with pops of neon yellow in the macrame details.

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What’s your favorite bikini style?

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This week you’ll see the reoccurring theme of going out to eat. A lot. Even right now, I’m sitting in Better Buzzed, blogging and eating an acai bowl that I obviously didn’t make.

My fridge is completely empty and I finally threw away all of the food that expired (yet I let sit in there until I was ready to take out the trash). My goal was to make a meal plan for the week, but I have no inspiration for cooking or for planning lunch. I want something healthy, yet filling, low-carb, yet satiating. Why is this so hard?!

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After a very long weekend (Labor Day), it was time to get back to reality. My intentions were to hit the week hard with a good workout. However, I ended up stopping at Kendall’s house before she left for her week-long vacation, where she ended up convincing me to ditch my workout and eat pizza instead. London joined us and we continued to hang at the house, watch the sunset, bike for popsicles and mob around. In the span of 20 minutes London managed to: run her bike into a parked truck, drop her popsicle on the ground *insert crying-laughing emoji face*

Wednesday night I went to my favorite yoga sculpt teacher’s class (Zac at YogaSix if you go). I feel like if I’m able to make 2 of his classes a week, I’ll be set. They are so intense, and it’s one of the only classes that makes me completely drenched and feeling 100x better (and more fit, especially when I start to question my fitness) after I leave. London and I were going to meet up for a “skinny girl dinner” (which basically means smoothies), but after we hung up the phone with each other, we both knew that wasn’t going to happen and instead decided on Fish 101 (for tacos and seaweed salad).

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Thursday morning I slept in a little later than I should’ve to go on a run. But I knew my nighttime plans of my photoshoot with Danny would not allot for a workout, so I hit the trails running at 8am (and already at 85 degrees…). After work I met Danny in the San Elijo Lagoon where we were eaten alive by mosquitos. Our tradition after shoots is to always go out to eat, so I took him to The Fish Shop for tacos and seaweed salads (…my latest obsession).

Friday morning I met up with Elisa for another warm run. Luckily the sun didn’t break through while we were out, so it just felt like the warmer part of a cool fall morning (if that makes sense). I think my thirst (and the heat) caught up with me this day because I felt like I could not replenish my body with enough water or electrolytes. My head went into a daze and after work it only seemed appropriate to rehydrate with some beer from Culture Brewing. Later my boyfriend and I went out to “our spot,” aka Bangkok Bay, for our favorite date night location.

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Saturday morning I slept in too late after not too much activity Friday, picked up London and headed down to Chronic Smoothies Blazin Grill in PB for a little blogger babes lunch. It’s been a while since we’ve all met up so it was great to try a new place (to us) with refreshing acai and pitaya bowls. Later London and I went to The Fish Shop for an early dinner (lolol 2 times per week is my usual) before stopping by Said Space for a photography show. I called it an early night with my sights set on an early morning weekend run (really trying to make these happen now).

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This morning (Sunday) I successfully managed a run that ended up being pretty enjoyable. I went a familiar yet new route (including some miles on the beach) and found myself just trying to chase the shade. My reward on the way home was to stop at 7/11 and pick up some ICE COLD WATER!!! I met up with London for breakfast at Mozy’s Cafe (plantain breakfast burritos…mmm) before hitting the beach, BBQing at Kendall’s house, and now working at Better Buzzed.

My goals for this week: BUY GROCERIES. Make all my planned workouts. And try and stay cool.

My question for you: What should I make for lunch this week?

Weekly Workout Recap (9/6-9/12):
Sun – Rest
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – Yoga Sculpt
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – 8 mi
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 14 mi
Hours cross-training: 1 hour
2015 miles: 1004 mi

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