Fitness Challenge + Getting Back to a Healthy Diet

Hey guys! I felt like writing about what’s going on right now so here I am! 🙂

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Monday started a 3 week fitness challenge with my favorite gym, FASTER. From their website:

“At FASTER we specialize in customized small group personal training, metabolic conditioning classes, as well as nutrition consulting. If you are looking to lose body fat, increase strength, elevate your energy and fitness levels in an empowering environment with knowledgeable motivating trainers then FASTER is for you.”

I can’t say enough good things about this place. And no, they didn’t give me anything to write this. It’s the truth. If you’re local to Pittsburgh, check them out.. I promise you’ll be hooked like the rest of us.

Anyways – they do challenges frequently. Most of the time the timing doesn’t work out for me to join, but this go around it just made sense. School is over & I get a 4 week break. Plus, I’ve gained weight in the last 5 or 6 months & I really need to get back to a healthy routine.  With their challenge, you get unlimited access to their fitness classes & you get 6 personal training sessions. They weighed me on Saturday at their meeting (164, YIKES. I was wearing my shoes though. And I had eaten breakfast.. so that knocks off a pound or two, right? In November I was 155. #shame)

My schedule for the next 3 weeks looks something like this:

Monday, Wednesday – EFX

Tuesday, Thursday – Personal training

I don’t have any weekends open from now through the 2nd week of June, so I have to pack it all in like that. This is the first week, so I’m going to see how I feel at the end of 4 days in a row & adjust accordingly. If I need to drop something, I’ll drop the 2nd EFX class.  Monday was EFX & I’m feeling a little sore today.. but I’m really looking forward to personal training after work. I swear the hardest part of the next 3 weeks will be completely changing my eating habits. FASTER gives you nutrition tips & some recipes when you buy the challenge – you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Eating 4 meals a day with a couple of snacks if necessary is what will keep your body in top shape to burn fat during your workouts. It’s only day 2 & I’m craving junk food like nobody’s business. In the beginning of my weight loss journey, I broke the junk food habit eventually & over a couple of years I was able to lost 50 lbs. I know I can do it, but boy when you fall off the healthy eating wagon for 5+ months, it’s really hard to get back on. The cravings are REAL.

On Sunday, I made egg + turkey cups for breakfasts this week. So easy to make & super delicious. I snack on greek yogurt, fruit, string cheese & unsalted trail mix (almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds are among some of the trail mix options I have.) I’ve also been eating tuna, avocado & I just remembered I still didn’t take the chicken out of the freezer. Damn. As a post recovery meal/snack yesterday, I got a PB&J protein shake from FASTER’s Build Bar.    I need to train my brain (and my stomach) to remember what it’s like to be FULL & SATISFIED. I swear I’m always hungry. And I’ve been trying to stay as hydrated as possible.

Check back as the next few weeks go on, I’d like to update here & there with how things are going! Even though I’m hungry & craving junk food, I have huge faith in myself that over the next 3 weeks I can get myself feeling back to normal! I am motivated & committed! I’ve joined up with the best gym around & I know they can help me get started on where I want to be.

❤ C

Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Recap

This past weekend was highly anticipated by so many Pittsburgh-ers, as well as thousands of other people coming from the 20 countries that were represented at the race.

Pittsburgh was never going to be “my race”. Raleigh was. And I had a great race at Raleigh. I knew no matter what, I’d finish this race, & that was going to be enough for me. I figured I’d finish around my usual 12 minute mile, about a 2:37, or last year’s 2:38.

I hit up the expo a total of 3 times. I took the BF over on our lunch break on Friday & I may have overwhelmed him a bit, but it was great letting him in on a little bit of my life. After work on Friday, I met up with my friend Jen for a real walk around & we both spent too much money.

Saturday morning was the 5k. A “We Run Social” meet-up was schedule for 7:30am & it was FREEZING & raining. It was so nice to catch up with a few of the girls I hadn’t seen since the last meet-up at Just a Short Run! I lined up with a few friends & we planned to take it easy. I lost a few of them when we went over a little bridge thing near CCAC campus – but Jen & I were able to stick together. We took it easy & we were SO glad it was only a 5k! It was just way too cold & we hoped that the weather wouldn’t be anything like that!

After the 5k, I went home & got a hot shower & took a nap until my BFF Rachael’s bus got in at 3:30pm. It was so good to see her. We hit up the expo so she could pick up her stuff & walked around. She’s never ran a race this big so I was excited to show off my city’s big event.

After the expo, we head over to park at the First Ave garage & took the T over to our hotel for the evening, the Wyndham. We had a great view of the Point!

We grabbed some dinner, stuffed ourselves full & came back to the hotel to watch the Pens game. Unfortunately, not a win.. & since then, they’ve forced a Game 7, which I can never watch because it makes me physically ill with nerves.

Sunday morning, the alarm went off around 5:40am. We all got an update from the race to layer up. Local weatherman was calling for 25 MPH wind gusts & real feel temp of 33. YIKES. For me: short, compression socks, ALS singlet, arm warmers, my mentor jacket & a hat. I ate my breakfast, a bagel + PB, around 6:30am, which ended up being too early… I found a few of the girls in the lobby & we waited until the last possible minute to head outside.

The race was supposed to start at 7am. There are 4 corrals, & I was in D, the last one. I knew that I probably wouldn’t cross the start line until 7:25 or so. This year, I didn’t cross the start line until 7:45!

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The first half of the race went well. Spectators were great as always. The sun came out strong & I took my jacket off within the first mile. I swear I’m an oven when I run. Once we hit the West End & turned onto Carson St (miles 7-11 on the Birmingham bridge) the sun was getting a little relentless. I’m so sensitive to the sun & it was draining me.  Carson St is such a long stretch of nothing. At least until you get into Southside, so it was a struggle. I was falling apart pretty quickly. I hit the wall somewhere during this time & I literally thought I might not finish. Thank God for Rachael, if not for her continuing to run, I would have stopped & walked the remaining 3 miles. Truly – she is the only thing that kept me going & had me finish this race.

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The last 2 miles were terrible. It felt like a death march. Coming down the finishing chute, I couldn’t even smile. I was just glad it was over. The medals were so beautiful this year – I loved that they put the incline on it. The BF was at the finish area waiting for me & I was so happy to see him. I had spent 2 hours + 44 minutes slogging through the city + all I wanted to do was give him a big hug!

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Since I ran the 5k on Saturday & the half marathon on Sunday, I got a 3rd medal for completing the Steel Challenge! Such a great medal this year. Although this race didn’t turn out to be anything I’m happy about – I’ve finally moved on after a day or two of moping. Now that my long distance training is officially over (for now, but not forever), I can finally look forward to EFX, biking, & staying in 10k shape. Time to get strong!

currently + goals | may

I’m sorry, what? It’s May already? I almost completely forgot about this currently post.  I’m a bad blogger!

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Planning: Pittsburgh Half Marathon weekend! T-minus 2 days, since the expo starts Friday! I’m excited, but not excited at the same time. After my first time last year, I realized how much of an amazing weekend it really is, & the entire weekend is a bunch of fun.

Listening to: A lot of “Focus” playlists on Spotify. At work & while studying for finals. I like “Study vibes” “Ambient Chill” and “Peaceful Guitar” in case anyone wanted to check it out.

Drinking: Coffee & water. As always. I should change this part of the survey, because it never changes.

Watching: I found a link on FB of the 12 scariest documentaries to watch on Netflix. First, I watched “The Imposter” which was just downright weird. And I started watching “Interview with a Serial Killer”. I’m a weird true crime fan.

Eating: Trying to eat healthy. So, I’m eating mostly salads.

Looking forward to: I have a PACKED May! Racing, Jessie’s wedding, weekend in my hometown with my Mom, & DC for Memorial Day with the BF. I can’t wait 🙂

Loving: sunny days. My parents gave me their bike a couple of weeks ago & I can’t wait to take it out for it’s first spin.

April goals:

Consistent work-outs: MEH. I tried, but school + appointments + such just completely sucked the life out of me. And my time.
Consistent runs: Wish I could say YES. I ran a total of 24 miles the month of April – but 13 of those were from Raleigh. Zero runs in the last 2 weeks of April 😦
Finish spring semester strong Trying!! Once this posts, I’ll have taken my Anatomy final, so I hope I did well

May goals:

Enjoy my busy weekends! Be present in them!

Now that school is over, EFX classes 2-3x a week.

Put $200 in savings

Here we go May! Let’s see what it brings. What are you most looking forward to this month?

Linking up with Gretchen & Kristen

Weekend Highlights + Ramblings

Happppyyy Monday friends =)  How was everyone’s weekend? Too fast as usual, right? Yeah, mine too.

I had a rough week at work & was so happy when Friday rolled around. Friday evening after work I spent a much needed relaxing evening in w/ the BF (oh yeah, I guess I should note: my love life does exist. & I’m very happy + excited about it!). We cooked dinner, watched a movie + I promptly fell asleep half way through the movie. I know, I know, I’m an old lady & can barely stay awake past 10pm.

Saturday morning I woke up around 7am – I was making the trip to cheer on Jessie at the Boston Trail Half Marathon which was about 40 minutes from the BF’s house. The morning was chilly, but perfect race weather for the runners. The race started around 9am, so while Jessie was out running, I got to spend time with her fiancé, Mr. Sass. We drove to the turn-around point to see Jessie + we saw a waterfall on the way!

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Once Jessie finished, I had to get on the road to my Dad’s near DC. My step-mom was having a big family reunion & she wanted me to be a part of it. The 3.5 hour drive was long – it rained a lot of the time & just felt boring in general, but I ended up getting there around 3pm. I immediately took a nap because I knew I was in for a long night!

My step-mom’s Uncle had an 85th birthday & we all gathered at Ardeo in DC for dinner around 6pm. Cocktail hour was from 6-7pm so I opted for Sauvignon blanc which was really good. There was so many people there & everyone welcomed me with open arms when meeting me for the first time. My step-mom’s family is a group of characters & there is never a dull moment when hanging out with them. Dinner was served after cocktail hour & I chose caeser salad, grilled chicken, and trio of sorbets for dessert. The sorbet was sub-par, unfortunately, but the rest was good. Very large portions, I couldn’t even eat everything! The night was spent laughing, drinking, + listening to the family tell fond stories of their Dad/Uncle. It was a very loving + wonderful evening. At one point, one of the daughters gave the man of the hour a huge headdress, as he was the head of the tribe, + then passed out feather headbands to the rest of us. Such a cute idea!  It was so nice visiting with my Dad, who I don’t see nearly enough.

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I headed back yesterday afternoon around 2-ish, so it was a quick trip! Although much needed to see my family. My parents gave me a bike of theirs that they weren’t using so I was very excited to bring it home! I haven’t ridden a bike since I was kid, but really wanted to do more biking this summer. Once I get a helmet, I’ll be all set to hit the trails!

Countdowns: 8 days ’til Anatomy 2 is OVER! 13 days ’til Pittsburgh Half! 16 days ’til Public Speaking is OVER! 33 days ’til Memorial Day weekend! (BF + I planned a DC trip :)) 39 days ’til Ragnar PA!

Got some exciting times coming up! How was your weekend? I hear Pittsburgh is supposed to have a crazy heat wave this week/weekend – I hope it doesn’t rain so we can enjoy it!

What’s Next?

Hi all =)

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I wanted to update everyone with “what’s next?” for me. I’m about to finish up my last semester at community college & I’ll finally be starting my Bachelors program in June for Sports Management. It’s 100% online & I’ll be considered full time. They split the semesters into 8 wk increments, so I’ll be taking 2 classes every 8 weeks – so as you can imagine, I’m going to be pretty busy.

As far as official training goes, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in 3 weeks & Ragnar Relay PA is in a little less than 7 weeks. At this point, I’m no longer following a specific plan, but I’m just trying to stay consistent with running + keep up with some decent long runs. My legs for Ragnar will total 17 miles – 6.2, 6.5, 4.? – so I want to make sure I simulate some work outs in the weeks before then.

I’ll be honest – I’m not sure how much blogging I’m going to be doing. But, I absolutely will when I feel I want to recap an amazing weekend – or a race – I’ll for sure be recapping Pittsburgh + Ragnar.

Please keep up with me over on Instagram + don’t forget me on here =)

Happy Easter, all & I hope you have a blessed week!

currently | april

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Happy April, my friends 🙂 It’s finally spring which means we’re that much closer to SUMMER. The next couple of months are going to be pretty crazy – I can’t promise I’ll always be here to update you guys but I will do my BEST. Don’t fret – my own personal journal over on my Instagram will always be updated if you need your Ciara fix 🙂

Planning: Nothing at the moment! Although I would really love to plan a trip down to see my brother in Tampa.

Listening to: As I’m writing this: “Independent Woman Pt 1” – Destiny’s Child. Such a classic

Drinking: Coffee, water, & nuun.

Watching: I just finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. It was raw, real, & sometimes really difficult to watch. I remember being bullied a lot in middle/high school & some parts of the show really hit home for me. Bullying is a major issue still & I fear for my future children…. Regardless, everyone should watch this show including kids who are currently in high school. It’s a pretty big eye-opener & it’s very powerful.

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Eating: all the junk food lately, it seems. Getting back on the healthy horse for April.

Looking forward to: Pittsburgh marathon weekend! My best friend from back home is coming in to run with me & I can’t wait! She is in for a REAL treat.

Loving: life! I have a lot of happy things going on. 🙂

March goals recap:

  • Put at least $200 in savings NOPE
  • Stay consistent with running mileage (I’d like to get in 55 miles!) NOPE

March ended up being a harder month than I anticipated. A lot of trips & things that needed paid for + some pretty low mileage when it came to running. I plan to make April better.

April goals:

  • Consistent work-outs
  • Consistent runs
  • Finish spring semester strong

 

What have you been currently up to?

RnR Raleigh Half Marathon Recap! 

What an amazing little getaway this past weekend was! On Saturday morning, my friend Kristin + I flew to Raleigh, NC to run the Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh half marathon!

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We arrived Saturday afternoon & took an Uber to our AirBnB in the beautiful neighborhood of ‘Historic Oakwood’. This neighborhood was so adorable. Gorgeous homes with sidewalks, families every where & beautiful gardens. I was in love! Our hosts, Steve & Tricia were fantastic. We had a private entrance to our own room complete with everything you could ever need while you’re away from home.
Once we checked into our room, we walked about a mile to the Convention Center for the expo. Downtown Raleigh surprised me in the best way. It was clean, quiet,  & the people were so friendly. I also didn’t see a homeless person the entire weekend. A real difference from Pittsburgh. The expo was great – we both picked up the same navy blue tank which they only had XL in, but we figured we’d take the chance. We lucked out!

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Once we left the expo, we headed out for an early lunch. The food we ate during our weekend was mediocre at best – it seems that all of the notorious delicious restaurants were closed on the weekend, especially Sunday. Our airbnb hosts told us Raleigh is in the Bible belt, so most places are closed on Sundays.  After an early lunch, we got an Uber to a local grocery store so we could pick up breakfast before the race. This was the only time we Uber’d – we were able to walk everywhere else! We picked up a few snacks & decided on a bagel & peanut butter for our breakfast. We were able to relax the rest of the evening since we had an early call time in the AM! The first picture below is looking out from the patio our airbnb had – Kristin & I sat out there & had a beer & enjoyed the beautiful weather.

 

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Race morning came early! We woke up around 5:40 to leave by 6:10. The race officially started at 7am – but anyone who races knows to get there early to accommodate for long bathroom lines – which we didn’t even use.

Kristin + I were both in Corral 10 & it took us about 10 minutes to cross the start line. It was so fun waiting to start! The music was loud, the announcers were so professional & they got everyone excited & ready to race!

Kristin took off like a bat out of hell & I kept a steady pace. The weather was perfect! Low 50s & the sun hadn’t quite come out from behind the clouds yet. Yes, the race was hilly – but truly nothing that my Pittsburgh-living self couldn’t handle. The bands at every mile were great & the spectators.. WOW. They were everywhere! I absolutely loved it. I didn’t start interacting much til towards the middle because I really just wanted to focus on getting in the right mindset to keep a good pace.

I had a plan to run the first 10 miles, then run/walk the last 5k. Well, I felt pretty good around mile 9 so I decided to scrap my run/walk idea. I was doing so well keeping a sub 12min pace average that I didn’t want to risk blowing a good finishing time. After mile 10 though, the hills were more frequent & there wasn’t much shade on the course. I was starting to get warm & was running out of the water I was carrying. At each water stop, I was slowing down to throw water on myself. The paces of my last 3 miles were pretty slow, but as I made the last turn & saw the finish line, my heart just about exploded with joy.

Guys, nothing beats running down the finishing chute.. especially when it’s a long one & it’s lined with people cheering for you (think Pittsburgh’s finish). It was incredible. I couldn’t stop smiling – & I was booking it. My last .2 was sub 10 minute miles. I was ecstatic. The pictures below show it —
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Kristin finished a little bit before me & after getting all the finish line goodies – we sat in the lawn & listened to music for a while. The finishing party was AWESOME! I even saw Tricia! It was so random that I saw her walking by – but I’m definitely glad I awkwardly called her by her blog name & said HEY! It was great to meet a blog buddy. After that, we headed to the beer area & grabbed our free beer. YUM!  Overall – I absolutely LOVED this race. The Rock ‘n Roll series is so great! This was my first race with them & I was super impressed – I will for sure be back. Everything was so organized & smooth + I had a great time. PS: Check out the elevation chart below! WHOA.

 

 

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We finished the day eating + drinking + we went back to the room to relax. Naps were needed + we were pretty sore, so we basically just laid around the rest of the day.

Monday morning we got up & checked out of our room & headed directly to Krispy Kreme for breakfast! The coffee was pretty disgusting, but the donuts were good! I’m a HUGE donut fan, & these didn’t disappoint!

I had such an amazing weekend in Raleigh. I was so impressed by the city, the people, the race, & the adorable puppies I seemed to see at every corner I turned. I will absolutely be back.

I spent 13 weeks getting ready for this race + I am super proud of how I performed. 2:37 on a super hilly course?! I did way better than I even imagined.

My next half is Pittsburgh – in 1 month exactly! I can’t wait to celebrate that weekend & everyone’s accomplishments 🙂

JASR + Raleigh week

Helloooo strangers! I’m sorry for falling off the map since last week. I have a feeling it’s going to continue in the near future. In order for me to write, I need to be inspired. And I guess the month of March has taken a toll on my inspiration. I’ve been busy with school, work + truthfully just life in general. Don’t take it personal, I love you guys. I just may be here less frequently than I had originally hoped. I hope you don’t forget about me in the meantime.

This past Saturday was my last long run of training, the Just a Short Run 8.1 miler. I ran this race last year, with plans on completing the half, but had to drop down to the 8.1 mile distance due to a knee injury. So I already knew what to expect course wise. As far as my performance, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that the weather was going to be in the 60s, which I wasn’t a super fan of.

 

Showing off my mentor status!

Myself, Jessie & Steff hosted a #WeRunSocial meet up before the race & I got to meet some of the other ladies in the Pittsburgh running social community! Loved meeting all of you ladies, hope to see you around in the future!

 

My family. ❤

The race started at 8:35am. I’ll keep this short & sweet, but the first 3 miles were great: 11:56 (huge uphill), 11:16, 11:15.

The next 3 miles were still good: 11:45, 12:01, 11:42

The last 2 miles I slowly broke down: 12:29, 12:32

Disappointed is an understatement. I wasn’t planning on racing, but the paces in the first half of the race felt good, so I wanted to continue with those paces. But the sun came out & the humidity completely got to me. I thought I was going to vomit at multiple moments during those last 2 miles. When I saw Jessie & Rachel right before the finish line, I truly didn’t even think I was going to be able to run myself in. But I gathered up some good vibes from the girls & finished.

 

For sure wasn’t what I was expecting, but oh well. On to the next one.

After the race, Jessie & I caught up over coffee.

 

So all – it’s Raleigh week. I fly out to Raleigh on Saturday & the race in Sunday morning, starting at 7am. The weather doesn’t look good on Sunday running wise. The high is 74, mostly sunny skies. As far as what it’ll be at 7am, I’m not sure. I’m not going to lie – I’m incredibly worried. After how I performed in the weather at JASR, I don’t know what to expect for this. I guess I’m just going to have to do the best I can – which means upping my water intake this week + packing some salt tabs to take before the race. Wish me luck. Can’t wait to update you when I get back.

Enjoy your week, friends!

Linked up with Steff & Tricia!

Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Training – Week 11

I can’t say this is much of a “training” recap as it is just a weekly recap. I only work-out once during the week… But this training recap series is shortly coming to an end because my race is in 13 days! After that – I will try to stick to regularly weekly recaps & some other fun posts as well.

WEEK 11

March has been totally slow in the fitness department. At least in my opinion. I know I seem to talk about this every week, but it’s something I’m mentally struggling with. When essentially I only have 2 days to run, it kind of works on my brain a little.

Monday – EFX as usual. I came home to a package from Legend Compression Wear – a pair of compression socks & they are super comfy! I couldn’t wait to try them out on a run.

Tues + Weds – Class

Thursday – Although I needed to run on Thursday evening, I needed to take my Anatomy exam. As I’ve always said, school comes first. Thanks to Jessie, she gave me the idea of making up a little workout while I took my exam. Here it is below:

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It actually turned into a half decent exercise. There was 60 questions in the exam, so I got in a decent amount of squats & jumping jacks! Also noteworthy: a couple of months ago I couldn’t even do a 30 second plank. I was shaking & my lower back was always killing me by second 20. Well, guess who can do a 1 minute plank no problem now? Your girl. Thanks to EFX for getting me stronger!

Friday – Happy St. Paddy’s day! Who had green beer? I opted for a green margarita + tacos!

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Saturday – I had 10 miles on the schedule since Raleigh is so close. I hadn’t done a long run in a couple weeks so I knew this probably wasn’t going to be great. The first 8 miles went fine! It was a slightly humid but nothing horrible. After the 8th mile, I was definitely getting sore. My hips, my hamstrings & my glutes were killing me! I’m hoping that in between now & Raleigh I can get some good consistent runs in so that I can feel a little better come race day. I tried out the compression socks I got earlier in the week & loved them! They’ll be coming with me to Raleigh.

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Saturday evening was my Painting with a Twist fundraiser for the ALS Association. I had 33+ people come out to support & it was SUCH a fun night! I did a 50/50 raffle & I raffled off two pairs of Pirates tickets. In raffle ticket sales, I raised $198! I’m waiting on the final headcount from Painting with a Twist, but if I had 33 people, I will have raised $165! Estimated total raised: $363!! Totally thrilled.

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Sunday – I had every intention of waking up early & running a short recovery run, but I was exhausted & I was a little sore from my long run. I decided to give my body the rest it needed. In the afternoon, I headed to my friend Jenn’s bridal shower where I ate way too much & got to celebrate her wedding which is in just over a month! I got home sometime in the late afternoon & couldn’t do anything else but lay on the couch the rest of the day!

How was everyone else’s week? I’m sorry these recaps aren’t on point this training season! I truly am doing the best I can with what I got!

 

I have a dream…

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… to never “work” a day in my life

… to help others who struggle

… to continuously better myself

… to always be the bright light

… to be someone’s bright light

… to own a home someday soon

… to graduate college

… to wear workout clothes every day

… to help someone who is just starting their journey

… to find peace within myself

… to keep and form only positive, fulfilling relationships

… to be a good sister, daughter, & friend

… to be a personal training wellness and fitness coach

… to make a lasting impression

… to be a motivational speaker & share my story

… to be financially stable

… to be more patient , with life & others

… to consistently create goals

… to live & love with purpose

❤ C