Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

When my coach, Matt, told me I better eat my Wheaties because we’d be climbing hills on our ride the next day, I was both humored and shaking in my boots flip-flops. Hills often bite me in the butt, so I know I need to work on them A LOT. At least he warned me though, so I could get mentally pumped for this one.

After shaking off my cobwebs and my grumpies from lack of sleep and logistical challenges the next morning, we set out on a 2 1/2 hour ride in the cool, gray marine layer. It was perfect climbing weather, although Matt quickly corrected me: “All weather is perfect climbing weather.” Bam. LOL. Love this guy.

I followed him up and down hills, zigging and zagging through a maze of back roads in Montecito, all the while trying to push it, yet keep my heart rate below a certain number. It wasn’t speedy by any stretch of the imagination (except the downhills), but that wasn’t the point. It was to steadily gobble up hills and build strength.

It was by far my favorite ride so far on this journey to Ironman Arizona. I can’t even explain why, but I found singular joy in the process, sucking air BIG TIME up all those hills and being surrounded by Santa Barbara’s natural beauty in the hills behind Montecito. I was grateful to be pushed, especially by somebody whose passion is cycling. I didn’t stop to take any pictures this time. Sorry, I was too busy pedaling, trying to keep up with Matt. Perhaps next time.

When I got home, I was whooped, which is always a great feeling. Mission accomplished. At least until the 5-mile run scheduled for later in the day.

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Whenever I’m feeling wobbly from training, this is the place I go–my workout wall. I look at all the training days I’ve put in this year and remind myself that each workout has added another drop of strength in my Ironman bucket. This simple act helps to bolster my “Hell YES I CAN” attitude, even on the toughest days.

After my hilly morning ride, my evening run was slated for a course with rolling hills (are getting the theme this week), so I chose Mountain Drive, a gorgeous road on the hillside relatively close to my house. Here are a few snaps.

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Love this mailbox. The butt opens for mail delivery.

Matt also had me doing hill repeats on one of my runs last weekend. Booyah! Bring. It. On.

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In the midst of my 7+mile run., I did 5 x 2 minutes hill repeats up Rodeo Road off of Turnpike, pushing hard up and jogging back down. Then I finished with a couple miles on a flatter road. That was after a 25-mile bike ride. Seriously fun stuff.

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I needed a little energy gel for that one, although more and more I’m starting wonder, “What the hell is in all this stuff I’m putting into my body?” Ack!

Swimming this week has been up and down. Some days it has felt smooth, other days…well…sigh…The only thing to do is to keep at it. Relentlessness has a way of quashing weaknesses and solidifying strength. I have to give a shout out to my daughter who came to the pool with me earlier this week to swim laps. After she was done, she photographed and videotaped me swimming, which was extremely helpful. I’m still working on not crossing over, keeping my head down and elbows up. I think I can. I think I can. As soon as I publish this blog post I’ll be heading back to the pool. Send me some good swim vibes! 🙂

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Inspiration: if you’re on the hunt for an inspiring read this summer, I highly recommend Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography, A Life Without Limits. At the end of the book, she sums up her thoughts: “If there is one thing I have learned, particularly in my life as an athlete, it is that our limits may not be where we think they are. And, even when we think we’ve finally reached them, the next time we go there exploring we often find that they’ve moved again.”

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Okay, I’m off to the pool to keep at it. I hope you enjoy your day in every way, my fabulous friends. Thanks for your relentless support and enthusiasm. It means everything. Like so many of you, I continually strive to be a person who doesn’t know how to quit.

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Until next time…

xo Becky

PS: Exciting things are happening next week with my training and another fun summer adventure. Stay tuned…

PSS: As always, if you missed any of my previous posts about my Ironman journey, you can click on any of the links below.

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week Eleven of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain
Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges

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Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges

I’m now well into my sixth month of training for Ironman Arizona, and the one thing that remains constant is that every week there’s a new challenge to embrace. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes mental, sometimes logistical. Figuring out ways to take on these challenges head on and overcome them is one of the many reasons this Ironman journey is so gratifying.

This week my biggest challenge was staying consistent with my training while doing a road trip to Palm Springs where we visited Jeffrey’s parents for Father’s Day weekend. On the surface that might not sound terribly difficult, but between heat, sleep deprivation, and battling to maintain healthy nutrition, it all added up to being a whopper.

We packed up Saturday morning and hit the road, only to be stuck in horrible traffic from the get-go. After about an hour we realized that at the rate we were going it would take us 6-7 hours to get there instead of 3 1/2 to 4, so we turned around and came home.

Sunday morning we got up super early and tried again, hitting the road before most people were awake. I had a short 40 minute run on my training schedule, so I got that done at 5:30 before loading up the car.

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After the initial pain of getting up, I love early morning runs. They stretch me in all the best ways.

It was wonderful to spend time with Jeffrey’s parents, but like many parts of the country, Palm Springs was in the middle of an insane heatwave the entire time we were there…

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Although frying our noggins in the heat was often unpleasant , it gave me the perfect opportunity to do some warm weather training (cup is always half full, right?). Absurd, I know, but I do believe it was good for me. If it happens to be hot in Arizona on race day, I’ll know I have at least trained a little in those conditions. And of course, it’s also important to embrace the challenge of being uncomfortable during this whole process. After all, going 140.6 miles in one day is bound to be uncomfortable at times.

Here are a few snaps from my sizzling morning run. It was already 95 degrees at 6:30 am.

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Sucking it up, Buttercup, and getting it done with a little 6.2-mile jaunt.

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This was my reward…a “special delivery” iced latte from my peeps and a dip in the pool.

After my morning run, a few hours later it was time to hit the pool for my swim workout. Palm Springs has a beautiful Olympic-size pool, and I had the luxury of having an entire lane to myself. So nice, even if it had reached 118 degrees by then.

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I swam 3275m with a 1000m time trial and 10 x 50 m with hand paddles…actually 11 because I lost count. My pace was a tiny bit slower than usual, but I’m chalking it up to the affects of my morning run and perhaps being a little dehydrated. There are no bad training days though. I got it done, enjoyed much of the process, and feel fortunate that this awesome pool was available; otherwise I’d be swimming endless laps in my in-laws’ backyard kidney shaped pool. And yes, I’m sporting 5,000 lbs. of sunscreen. I also wore a protective sun shirt a bit later too.

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The last night we were there, when we returned from a delish dinner at LuLu’s, the skies grew smoky, an eerie reminder of wildfire potential. We had just left a wildfire near Santa Barbara and now there were some burning near LA. It’s going to be a long summer.

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After packing up and heading home the next day, I was never so grateful to run in our cooler coastal weather when we arrived home. As the fog started rolling in, I logged 5 miles blissful miles along the beach. Aaaaaah.

I was also extremely happy to eat “normal,” healthy food again. My husband spoils me terribly, making me a Breakfast of Champions every morning: oatmeal with fresh fruit, almonds and peanut butter. How did I get so lucky?

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Yesterday’s new challenge was doing a blood lactate threshold test on the bike. You may remember I did one on the treadmill at The Lab in early March (click HERE if you missed it). This new test is meant to help assess where I’m at with my fitness and indicate what heart rate zones I should aim to train in on the bike and run. The test comprised a 10-minute warm-up, then while keeping my cadence consistent at 85 rpms, increasing resistance every three minutes, pedaling until I could no longer keep the pace. At the same time my heart rate was logged, my finger was pricked to draw a blood sample, and I was asked to express my perceived rate of exertion on a scale of 6-20. It was all very cool, and tough at the end when my mind wanted to keep going, but my legs and lungs were screaming to stop. Thanks to Bentley Nunes from The Lab and Bruce Davis and Matt Tague from Hazard’s for making this a great experience, even when it became a sufferfest.

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Bentley taking a blood sample while I spin.

After my test, I went for a half hour jaunt along the waterfront…a little shake-out run…so nice…I love this town.

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Running in my rabbit duds. Love my “bunny hop” tank. www.runinrabbit.com #borntorunfree

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Here’s what this week’s training schedule looks like:
Monday: Run 1 hour, Swim 3275 m
Tuesday: Core, Run 45 minutes
Wednesday: Bike 75 minutes
Thursday: Lactate threshold test, Run 30 minutes
Friday: Swim 3100y, Bike 1 hour
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes, Run 75 minutes
Sunday: Bike 4 hours with climbs, Run 25 minutes

It’s hard to believe it’s Friday already! I’m looking forward to some longer workouts this weekend, ones that will continue to challenge me and push me to grow. And in case you think all I do is train, here are a couple snaps from the week that prove otherwise. It’s all about balance. My daughter and her friend begged me to go boogie boarding with them on Wednesday. How could I resist these two?

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And yesterday my husband I celebrated our wedding anniversary with some bubbles and a picnic at the Rose Garden. It’s the little things. Seriously.

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Parting thought…as I sign off, I wanted to share something I saw the other day on the Women for Tri Facebook page. This just made me laugh. I think we can all apply this as we get pumped up for the day . 🙂

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Thanks to all of you, my adorable badass friends and family, for coming along on this Ironman journey with me. Your support is like the caffeine in my morning cup of joe. It doesn’t get any better.

xo Becky

As always, if you missed any of my previous posts, you can click on any of the links below:

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week Eleven of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain
Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key

Week 24 of Ironman Training: The Key is Consistency

On Friday as I pushed through my training ride, my tired body struggled to keep it together and stay focused on all things positive. It was my tenth day in a row of training without a day off and when my alarm went off, I had to give myself a serious pep talk to drag my weary ass out of bed. Fortunately, I’d made a commitment to meet my coach, Matt, for a ride, so I knew I couldn’t bail. Even though my legs felt like bricks, it was worth every minute. Time in the saddle is the only way I’m going to get stronger on the bike, so even on mornings when I might like to lay in bed, read and sip coffee, I know I have to stay consistent. No excuses. No matter what.

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One of two rides with Matt this week. Accountability (showing up when you say you will) is the perfect fuel for consistency and motivation. Thanks coach! Matt’s cycling jersey may be RANDOM, but his training program is anything but.

In addition to being consistent with the physical aspects of training, it’s necessary to be consistent with all other facets of training too while navigating the road to Ironman Arizona–from nutrition and recovery to flexibility and mental toughness. If I slack on one thing, it affects everything else. What I’ve discovered is that it’s possible to get away with a lot when you train for shorter events, but you definitely pay the price if you ignore even one of these things in longer endurance events. Sleep has been my big challenge, and it has come around to bite me in the gluteus maximus more than a few times. That’s one piece of the equation I continue to work on, especially knowing that’s when our bodies repair themselves after a hard workout so they can adapt and grow stronger.

Here’s a peek at this week’s training schedule:
Monday: Swim 1500y, core pm
Tuesday: Bike 60 min, Run 30 min, Pilates
Wednesday: Run 2 miles, Bike 2h45, Run 1.5 miles, Swim 2225y with a 1000y TT
Thursday: Run 60 min, Pilates
Friday: Bike 90 minutes, Swim 1075y, core pm
Saturday: Rest…some much-needed aaaaah!
Sunday: Run 40 minutes

Here a few snaps from the week…

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Bike ride through Hope Ranch

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Morning Pilates class at the Y with my sweet girl.  So proud of her for rocking it.

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This view along Chase Palm Park never gets old. The soft grass is where I do many of my runs.
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Thursday’s run overlooking Butterfly Beach in Montecito was pretty, but smoky from the nearby Sherpa wildfire.

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Stretching at the Bird Refuge after my run, utterly beat, but keeping it all in perspective thinking about all the firefighters battling the gnarly nearby wildfire.

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And finally, a rest day at the beach. Aaaah! This does wonders for the body and soul.

My personal key to consistency…There’s no way I could make my training a priority consistently and still be a good mom without the love and support of my rock star husband, Jeffrey (AKA Husband and Father of the Year). I am insanely lucky, and I know it, and I do not take my guy for granted for a second. Even though he’s always in the middle of a million projects himself, he’s there for my daughter and me 110% every day. That’s Every. Single. Day. Consistency is his middle name. Whether it’s cooking us healthy, delicious meals, taking Olivia to school so I can get my workouts in or doing a 911 emergency coffee run for me…the list goes on and on…big and small, his thoughtfulness knows no bounds. Sorry to gush, but Ironman training does not happen without a support crew. So thank you dear hubs for all that you do! The way you wear you Super Dad/Husband cape every day fills my heart.

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Next week we’ll be celebrating our 14th official wedding anniversary and 28 years of being head-over-heels for each other. I’m so glad the universe brought us together so long ago. There’s no other person I’d rather share this outrageous life adventure with than this guy.

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Happy weekend everyone, and Happy Father’s Day to all the Super Daddy-Os out there! Put your capes away for the day and enjoy some much-deserved pampering.

Thank you once again everyone, for all your support on this Ironman journey. Every time I train, I carry your unwavering enthusiasm with me. Knowing I have my friends and family behind me always adds wind in my sails….

xo Becky

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This guy…although I didn’t have him long, my dad made me feel invincible and embraced all my tomboy notions. Notice the cast on my arm from jumping out of a swing as I was having a competition with a boy in my class to see who could fly the farthest (on an asphalt playground).

As always,if you missed any of my previous posts, you can click on any of the links here:

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week Eleven of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain
Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss

It has been an epic couple weeks around here, both in training and on the home front. It’s enough to lift a girl ten feet off the ground then lay her out flat, exhausted. That’s the life of Ironman training, it seems. Highs and lows. The trick is to try your damnedest to stay consistent in the midst of life’s rollercoaster. And that, my friends, is where I’m at right now. Blurry eyed, but keeping on track and still having fun, thanks to the huge support of my family and coach.

Epic Inspiration: Last night I had the honor of meeting Ironman legend, Julie Moss. Listening to her inspiring talk, which she presented to the SB Tri Club meeting, was one of the big “highs” of this week. You see, Julie Moss is the very reason I am doing an Ironman.

For those of you who do not immediately recognize her name, let me take you back…

It’s 1982 and ABC’s Wide World of Sports is broadcasting the Ironman World Championships in Kona. In the women’s division, a 23-year old unknown college student is leading the race much of the way. It’s the ultimate underdog story. That is until her legs give out with just a couple miles to go. Severely dehydrated, she falls down, gets up, falls down, gets up, and falls down while viewers around the world are on the edge of their seats cheering for her, fighting back tears. I’m 16 years old and completely riveted, yelling at the TV, “Get up, Julie! You can do it! Come on, you can do it! You’re almost there!” Her grit is awe-inspiring. She gets up again, staggering, then with just a few yards to go, she falls one last time. Our hearts collectively sink as the 2nd place woman, Kathleen McCartney, passes her. What never ever leaves us though, is the image of this warrior, Julie Moss, crawling across the finish line in the most dramatic Ironman finish ever. Pure epic-ness! I still get goosebumps when I see the clips. (click HERE if you want to watch it).

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After witnessing that moment on television, I knew one day I HAD to attempt an Ironman myself. I never thought it would take me 34 years to get to this point, but the point is that I never gave up on that dream, or pushed it aside thinking it was too late. Hopefully I won’t be crawling across the finish line, but whatever race day brings, I’ll be happy because I let that seed up inspiration grow inside until it blossomed into something I could no longer “not do.”

As you can imagine, it gave me tremendous joy last night to be able to pay homage to Julie and tell her what an impact she made on me, along with so many others. #fangirlforlife

Epic swim: If you’ve been following along on my Ironman journey, you know that swimming has always been a challenge for me. When I started training back in January 500 y was agonizingly hard. I had to stop every 50-100 y to catch my breath and I loathed the process. Well, I’m here to tell you that anything is possible with enough hard work. Just a few days ago I swam 2.5 miles (4400 y) without stopping, and I didn’t even feel like I was going to die! This was HUGE for me because it finally got me over the mental hurdle of knowing I can get through this part of the race. Woot! Now it’s time to take it to the ocean where I’ll be practicing swimming in the mix of others and working on my speed.

Epic ride: Sunday I completed a solid 65-mile ride with a some hills and intervals mixed in along the way. This is the longest ride I’ve done to date (with the exception of my accidental century back in March–click HERE if you missed it). I won’t lie, the last 5-10 miles weren’t easy, mostly on my cranky knee, but after focusing on my recovery–icing, foam rolling, stretching, good nutrition and rest–I’m back in business and heading out the door for another ride this morning.

Here’s what my training schedule looked like these past couple week:

May 30-June 5
Monday: Bike 45 minutes
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 60 minutes, Pilates
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes with hills, yoga
Thursday: Swim 3100y, Run 60 minutes, Pilates
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Bike the SB Tri course (34 miles with hills), run 15 minutes off the bike
Sunday: State Street Mile with our Coyotes (jog the course–2 miles), 50 minute trail run, stretch class

June 6-12
Monday: Swim 2450y, Bike 60 minutes, Killer Kate’s strength class
Tuesday: Off (family day)
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Bike 90 minutes on a hilly course, Run 40 minutes
Friday: Swim 4400 y
Saturday: Run 60 minutes on trails
Sunday: Bike 4+ hours (65 miles) with intervals

A few epic snaps from the past couple weeks…

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More inspiration from Julie Moss.

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Bike hill repeats and a view from a ride on Mountain Drive

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Trail run at Lake Los Carneros

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Runshine along Chase Palm Park! And a little rehydration after a brick workout.

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Trail run on Jesusita Trail…aaaah nature always reinvigorates the soul.

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Sushi lunch! And granola balls my daughter made for my training. Seriously delish!

Epic moments: Continue reading