Tuesday, February 21, 2017

7 BENEFITS OF A HOME GYM & CARDIO INTERVAL WORKOUT FROM MATRIX FITNESS

This post is sponsored by Matrix Fitness. All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I'd tell you. 

I love my home gym, better known as the ShredShed. It is quite literally a shed remodeled into a gym in my backyard. If you have some extra room in your garage or a spare room in your home you can enjoy the benefits of a home gym too.


The Benefits of a Home Gym


SHORT COMMUTE


If you have trouble finding the time to go the gym, part of the problem may be the commute. If your gym is even just 10 minutes away, you need at least 20 minutes to get there and back. When you have a home gym you have a short commute. With just a quick walk to the garage or spare room you can knock out a quick workout. The cardio Sprint 8® workout from Matrix Fitness I share below can be completed in the same amount of time you would have spent in your car. 

NO WAITING


With a home gym you never have to wait for a treadmill again. You have a life. Your workout needs to be as quick and efficient as possible so you can get back to the business of living your life, aka scrolling Pinterest. Maybe it's the middle child in me but I'm tired of sharing, I like to have my own things.

NO SHARING SWEAT


Speaking of sharing...When you have your own gym equipment at home you never have to wipe other people's sweat off the machines and equipment. I never want to wipe a stranger's sweat off of a treadmill console again.

PRIVACY


In my home gym I never have to worry about other people. I am comfortable enough to get in and do my workout on my own terms without worrying about who may be watching. I can take unlimited mirror selfies without fear of judgement. (See:Instagram)

NO RULES


When you have your own gym, you make the rules. You can wear what you want, drop the weights and grunt as loud as you want (not that I do that, as far as you know). I might show up in my home gym with no shoes, in a sports bra and my music way too loud. As long as my neighbors aren't complaining, I'm good.

YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT


I think of having a home gym is like living in an apartment or owning a home. When you go to the gym and pay a monthly membership fee you are essentially renting the equipment. You can buy the specific equipment that you need one time and use it forever or you can pay a monthly fee to to have access to equipment in the gym. We built the ShredShed a couple years ago and have been enjoying the freedom of not paying a monthly gym membership. It's not for everyone and sure, there is some up-front investment required, but in the long run we are enjoying the benefits of having our own home gym. Now I just need to install a pool and sauna. Hah.

I believe in investing in quality equipment that is built to last. Check out Matrix Fitness to see the newest line up of home gym equipment. Matrix Fitness is the fastest growing commercial fitness equipment provider and they have now launched a line of luxury home gym equipment designed to give you the best possible workout at home. They're the best in durability, performance and functionality. 


YOUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT


In your home gym you can put on any show you want to watch and play any music. You can check in on Facebook during your recovery intervals to tell all 700 of your friends know how hard you are working. Matrix Fitness believes that if you are entertained while you are working out you are more likely to stick with it and achieve your goals. These treadmills have apps on the console that are available to use while working out.

SPRINT 8 CARDIO WORKOUT FROM MATRIX FITNESS TREADMILLS


Take your High Intensity Interval Training to the next level. As a personal trainer and a running coach I recommend that runners include 1-2 HIIT workouts in their weekly training plan. You can use this short and effective workout from Matrix Fitness to increase your fitness. Sprint 8 is available on Matrix treadmills to help you lose fat and boost energy. Try this 1-2 times a week for 8 weeks to help with your fat loss goals as well as improvements in running speed and efficiency. 



Always warm up before beginning a high intensity workout. This workout calls for three minutes, take longer if needed. 

Following the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) chart below your 30 second sprint intervals should be between a 7-9 RPE depending on your fitness level. The 90 second active recovery interval should be a brisk walk or slow jog at a RPE of 4-6. 




Do you have a home gym or are you considering it? Check out Matrix Fitness for their line of luxury home treadmills with all the bells and whistles. In the meantime, try out this HIIT Sprint 8 workout and let me know what you think! 


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Keep Running,

Lea


I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

Are you a Dallas/Fort Worth local? Join us for my free Saturday morning bootcamps

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

6 Week Macro Cycling Shred

I just finished up Cori Lefkowith's Redefining Strength 6 week macro cycling shred program. Before I tell you how I did (spoiler alert: I could have done so much better) I'll explain macro cycling.

But first...this post contains affiliate links. That means if you decide to purchase Cori's program using the links in this blog I make a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the running (pun intended) of this blog. I purchased Cori's program with my own cold hard cash (OK, I used a credit card). All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I'd tell you. 

Macros or macronutrients are the fats, proteins and carbohydrates that make up our food. All foods are made up of some combination of these macronutrients. Macro cycling is varying the % of calories that come from each these macronutrients so that some weeks you will have moderate protein, fat and carbs and other weeks higher protein and fat and lower carbs. I like macro cycling because you get some of the benefits of a lower carb diet (never extremely low on this plan) without the drawbacks of low carb, because you never stay in a cycle for more than two weeks.

Here is an example with just one food item for illustrative purposes. I ate three eggs this morning and entered them into MyFitnessPal. Just looking at the eggs I entered, you can see that 2% of the calories from my eggs came from carbohydrates, 70% from fat and 28% from protein.



Remember this is just one food item. When you enter all the food you eat in the MyFitnessPal app it will calculate the total daily macros for you. The goals listed in the image are from the final lowest carb phase with only 20% from carbohydrates. If you run a lot or do any kind of endurance exercise you may find this too low even for a two week period. Since my shoulder injury, I am not doing a lot of high intensity or endurance workouts so I was able to maintain this number relatively easily before cycling back to a higher carb intake. This phase is not intended to last more than two weeks. Always listen to your body first.

Let me tell you how I did on the macro cycling shred program.

The Good


I lost 8 lbs in six weeks and honestly, I didn't really have 8 pounds to lose. I gained a few vanity pounds over the holidays and I lost those and more. I'm good.

There may be other factors at play here in addition to the macro cycling: I stopped drinking wine and eating out. I didn't do either of those things excessively beforehand, just a few glasses of wine over the weekends and would eat out 1-3 times per week. I am sure these changes also played some role in my success.

But I will also point out that I hurt my shoulder eons ago so I haven't been exercising as much or as intensely as usual. In addition, during those 6 weeks I went out of town for a wedding and ate out every meal for one day. Everything seems to have balanced out nicely regardless.

The Bad


I didn't do a great job in hitting the targeted macros at all. I thought I would just be able to make a few tweaks to my normally healthy meals and I would magically hit the numbers. Turns out I actually have to work at it. Go figure.

I was shocked in the first two weeks at how few calories were coming from protein, even though I eat protein-centric meals three times a day like eggs, chicken, fish, etc. It seemed like during the whole program I was always over my percentages on fats (I love my morning eggs) and under on protein. I was pretty good at hitting the carbohydrates through the cycles.

I am a Premier Protein ambassador, so in addition to adding plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as snacks for additional protein, I started using more of the Premier Protein ready-made and powdered protein drinks to help hit my numbers.

Afternoon snack of banana Premier Protein, plain Greek yogurt and strawberries YUM.


During every two week cycle it would take me 3-4 days just to get even close to in-range. It took me a few days to kind of figure out where I would land for the day and then I would make adjustments the next day. I am pretty sure I never hit the macros exactly. I can do much better.


Lessons Learned


My big takeaway for success in the program: Plan ahead.

Enter what you plan to eat into MyFitnessPal the day before. Plan out every meal and go ahead and enter them all in as if you already ate them. Where did the macro percentages fall? Did you hit the targets? Make adjustments as needed. My mistake was that I was entering as I ate throughout the day, but then if my macros were off it was too late to do anything about it. I don't know why this didn't occur to me until the very end of the six week program even though Cori repeatedly said, "PLAN AHEAD!" I thought I was planning ahead because I had an idea in my head what I would probably eat that day. Wrong.

My husband is the cook in the family, Chef Boy Russ G, as he likes to be called (hah). He plans and cooks dinner every night. While he is super supportive in whatever I am doing, I can't expect him to cook me special dinners every night to make sure I hit my macro goals (that would be a whole new level of spoiled. I am pushing it as it is). I ask my husband what we are having for dinner, I enter into MyFitnessPal the day before and then I plan the rest of my meals and snacks around it so I can still meet my numbers. Brilliant! (If I do say so myself.)

I, for one, have to be very careful when tracking because I have a tendency to fall into an "all-or-nothing" mindset. I work very hard at moderation. I can easily swing from one extreme to the other if I am not aware and careful.

While tracking meals, calories and macros can be helpful, I also have to check myself that I am not getting obsessed or carried away. I find that tracking helps a lot with mindless or boredom eating because it forces me to think about it when I know I will have to log it later, but I try not to go crazy.

I go at least one day a week where I eat whatever I want (Sundays are for waffles!) and don't enter anything into MyFitnessPal. It helps me mentally and physically maintain sanity. If I am off on my calculations or have a bad day, I simply move on. This is life. You do the best you can when you can. #wycwyc (look it up). As with anything all we can do when life doesn't go as expected is learn lessons, move on and try to do better next time.

What's Next?


I am repeating the six week macro cycle shred, this time with a focus on body composition. Since I do not want to lose any more weight, I will increase my calorie intake a bit and work on some strength and cardio around my shoulder injury. 

This time I am going to track my body fat percentage, body measurements and scale weight because the scale doesn't tell the whole story, especially when we are talking about body composition. I am even going to take a "before" picture in my shorts and sports bra (that I will be keeping to myself for now). I fully expect to have great results after six weeks. Repeat after me. 

"I fully expect to have fantastic results after six weeks!" 

You have to believe it first. Then put in the work. 

If you are interested in trying Cori Lefkowith's Redefining Strength Macro Cycling Shred program with me you can learn more here. I respect Cori and her nutrition and fitness programs. With so much misinformation out there, she is one of the voices in the fitness industry that I trust to give it to me straight. I wouldn't stand behind and promote a program that I didn't personally believe in.




I'll keep you posted on how it all goes! I wrote about macro cycling a little more over on Lea Genders Fitness.

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Keep Running,

Lea


I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 
Are you a Dallas/Fort Worth local? Join us for our free Saturday morning bootcamps

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Furry Friday Feature: Running on Happy with Rachel & Trixie

Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature! This month I am thrilled to introduce you to Rachel from Running on Happy and her favorite four-legged running partner, Trixie.



Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.


Trixie is a terrier/poodle mutt. We rescued her when she was 4 months old. Now she's a year and is still learning the ropes of running.

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?

We haven't gotten too many miles in together yet since she's still learning. So far we enjoy running in our neighborhood.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

Every time I take Trixie out on the run I'm a little more proud. The first few times we went running together she would run as fast as she could and I had a hard time keeping up. It was frustrating for both of us. But the more we've run together, the more she stays right by my side. She weaves very little and there's a lot of slack in the leash (which is how it's supposed to be!). It makes running together a lot more pleasant and we have a blast.





What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?

To always have fun! If running isn't fun, what's the point?

Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?

When we first got her, she was not the breed I wanted to run with. I had a completely different dog in mind. But I'm glad I gave her a chance because as it turns out, she's quite a great running partner! My advice if you get a dog to run with: don't give up! Puppies are hard to run with. Wait until they're older and their bones have hardened and their attention span is longer. They'll love running with you!





Any parting thoughts?

If I let her off the leash at the end of our run, her favorite thing to do is run as fast as she can. Even if we just ran four miles together and she's fairly tired, she still has enough energy to run, run, run! She runs to the neighborhood dogs' houses to see if they're available to play. And if they're not, she explores the woods behind the homes on our street. It's really cute.

You can follow Rachel and Trixie on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for sharing Trixie with us, Rachel!

Do you run with your dog? Want to be featured with your favorite four-legged running partner? Fill out this form for a chance to be featured in a future blog post. 



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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day with a Premier Protein Giveaway

I am a 2017 Premier Protein Ambassador. Premier Protein has provided the prize in this giveaway. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! I love these made-up holidays, not only do they provide an endless amount of blog content to add to my editorial calendar, they are a fun way to connect on social media. I even made up my own holiday once or twice with National Hug a Blogger Day and National Run with Your Dog Day.

I am a 2017 Premier Protein ambassador so when I saw that Premier Protein had a delicious hot chocolate recipe, I wanted to share it with you it to celebrate this holiday! Premier Protein is generously offering my readers a chance to win a 4-pack of chocolate shakes so you can try it for yourself.



In our kitchen at work they have an assortment of coffee, tea and hot chocolate packs. I was having a chocolate craving one afternoon and felt tempted to drink a cup of hot chocolate made from the packet. I am mindful of the foods that I eat and I try to make healthful choices most of the time, but that is not to say I don't enjoy a treat when the cravings strike. I am a big believer in balance. One indulgence will never hurt my progress as long as most of the time I make better choices.

I turned over the hot chocolate packet to take a look at the nutritional content. The calories, fat and carbs did not phase me but when I read the ingredients on the package, I immediately put it away. The first ingredient (the largest ingredient comes first) was corn syrup and it went downhill from there. While I know that consuming a couple hundred of less-than-nutritious calories will not make any difference, it just became unappealing to me. Yuck.

I was thrilled to try out this recipe from Premier Protein because it is a healthier protein-rich version of the hot chocolate I was craving. With 160 calories and 30 grams of protein it is a much healthier treat than those hot chocolate packets from my office. I made mine a little differently than the recipe because I didn't have half and half, so I just used 2% milk. It turned out amazing.



1 Premier Protein chocolate shake
1/4 cup of 2% milk
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter

I heated the shake, milk and powder in the microwave for one minute until it was warm, then I added the peanut butter and stirred until it was melted and blended.

If you want to save some calories and fat from the peanut butter another option would be to use a (affiliate link) peanut butter powder like this one instead of whole peanut butter.



I invite you to enter the giveaway to win a 4-pack of chocolate protein shakes. You can choose one of the entry options listed below or do them all for the best chance of winning.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


GIVEAWAY RULES:  
Contest runs 1/31/17 - 2/7/17
No purchase necessary
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older
Must have a shipping address in the US
Winner will notified via email and will have three business days to claim prize
If original winner does not claim prize within three business days an alternate winner will be selected
Winner will be drawn randomly from all registered contestants in the US
Prize will ship within 30 days on contest end from Fort Worth, TX

Ollie says good luck but his eyes say "are you really making me do this?"



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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tunes Tuesday Linkup: Alternative Rock Songs to Add to Your Running Playlist

My big three big passions in life are running, writing and rock 'n' roll, so when I have the opportunity to write about running and music it gets me all fired up. Some of my blogger friends are hosting a Tunes Tuesday linkup and they are inviting other bloggers to share their favorite music and playlists. I'm in!



I am a huge Jack White fan (of the White Stripes fame). Besides his work in the White Stripes, he is (was?) also in the Raconteurs, he's the drummer in the Dead Weather and has several solo albums. I'll warn you in advance my playlist is Jack White heavy, because it is what I love the most. I used to even have a blog dedicated to my Jack White love, but who can keep up with three blogs? Certainly not me. Two blogs are enough..

I'm a vinyl-lover, but since a record player isn't conducive to running outdoors, I'll settle for iTunes or Spotify for my running songs.

 (affiliate -->)Audio Technica AT-LP60WH-BT Fully Automatic Bluetooth Wireless Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, White 


Without further ado, I invite you to check out my Alternative Rock 'n' Roll Running Playlist on Spotify. These are the songs that get me moving across the finish line a little faster.





What are your favorite running songs?

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Keep Running,

Lea


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

10 PODCASTS FOR FITNESS & BUSINESS

I discovered PodCasts out of necessity. I know they've been around for a decade or more, but I just never took the time to look into them. Until one day we moved offices around at work and all of a sudden there was nothing but a cubicle wall separating me and a Chatty Cathy. The talking never stops. I hear about what's for dinner, her complaint about her cell phone service, her husband's medical bills, how many steps she got on her FitBit... She doesn't stop talking for eight hours a day. I just couldn't take it anymore. Not only was it distracting, it was annoying. I needed an escape.

I love my music but I know if I put all my favorite albums on repeat for eight hours a day, I would quickly wear them out. Enter PodCasts. I looked online for recommendations, asked friends and searched iTunes for my interests: fitness, business, entrepreneurs, blogging, etc. I opened up a whole new world. With a little experimenting over the last few months these are the 10 PodCasts that resonate me with me so far.



Business & Biceps


Two guys who run a fitness (supplement) business together talk all things fitness and business. They do an occasional interview but it is usually just the guys bantering. I told my husband I felt a little like I was listening in on bro-talk at the gym, but not in a bad way. They have one long PodCast and two short motivational speech types during the week. I enjoy listening on my way into work on Monday mornings.


Mind Pump | Raw Fitness Truth


Raw is right. If you're easily offended by strong language or real bro-talk this probably isn't the PodCast for you. This Podcast does a great job of mixing entertainment with information. While the guys make inappropriate jokes and have fun, I learn so much about the science of training, coaching and nutrition. These guys really know their stuff. It's great for trainers, but even if you are not a trainer, you can learn a lot about your own training and nutrition by listening in on their weekly conversations.



Fitness Hacks PodCast


I freakin' love Cori Lefkowith. She has an online business and presence, as well as fitness studio in Costa Mesa. This PodCast is Cori and Ryan Heenan interviewing successful fitness business owners and coaches. I learn a lot about fitness, business and marketing. It's so inspiring to learn from the people who are a farther ahead of me on the fitness business path.



The Strength Running PodCast


This PodCast is right up my alley. It is Jason Fitzgerald interviewing and sometimes coaching runners on their training. Since Jason is a running coach after my own heart (focus on strength training) I learn a lot from hearing his advice and listening in on his interviews with runners.




The Side Hustle Show


The side hustle show is another fabulous interview format show. The host interviews people who are successfully side hustlin' (aka part-time entrepreneurs). It is so inspiring to hear the stories and takeaways from the people who are making success happen on the side: from internet businesses, blogs, freelance businesses, service businesses and everything in between. I walk away every week with new actionable tips and ideas. This is one of my favorites, When a new episode drops it goes to the top of the playlist.



You Need to Hear This


Leigh Peele is amazing. This PodCast is her thoughts on fitness, psychology and health. She is a trainer, researcher and writer. She hasn't released a new PodCast since November, but she said on Facebook she had a new series coming up in 2017. Hurry up already! You can get caught up before the new episodes come out.



The FitCast


This PodCast has been running for over 10 years. I've listened to much of the back catalog but there will probably never be enough hours in the day to get through 10 years of the FitCast. The host interviews fitness experts and leaders in the field. This is where I was first was introduced to Leigh Peele, she was once a co-host on this show. It's always entertaining and informative.


Online Trainers PodCast


Linh Trinh gives quick tips and actionable items for personal trainers making the transition to online training. The daily PodCasts are short and to the point chalk full or marketing and motivation, I walk away with a new idea every single day.



Fitnesspreneur's Life


Vito is a motivational speaker. I really enjoy listening to his Podcast, he gets me fired up! He's a trainer and a BeachBody coach so there is a lot of talk of Beachbody. Even though I am not interested in Beachbody, there are a ton of great business and marketing takeaways that apply to any business.


Lift Heavy Run Long (LHRL) PodCast


This show is purely entertainment. I like listening in on this crew of ultra runners who also do CrossFit. It's a unique combination, the love of strength training and marathon running, so I was hooked with their positive message of fitness and acceptance. You don't have to choose between running and lifting weights, these good 'ol southern boys (and girl) prove you can do both.


What am I missing? I realized when putting together my list that I am mostly listening to men. What female led PodCasts will inspire and educate me on fitness and business?

Do you listen to any of these PodCasts? Do you agree? Any other recommendations?



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Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Note to Self: Grow Thicker Skin

When you have a blog (or two) you put yourself out there in a way that sometimes can be scary. I've been blogging seriously since 2011 and I have been extremely lucky that my contact with internet trolls has been few and far between. Some people got mad a few years ago when I posted about how the Paleo diet wasn't for me (gasp!) and someone once lambasted me for suggesting going to a running store to get your foot strike analyzed (how dare me!). Other than a creepy guy here and there, that has been the extent of it. I've been lucky. The internet can be cruel.

It's weird how it doesn't matter that 100s of people tell me they love my blog, when one person calls me a narcissist and a snob, I can't get it out of my mind. Even when those two particular insults are so far away from truth that if you know me at all or ever read my blogs, I think you'd know that. I can't image how i'd feel if someone called me something that I was actually insecure about.

So I wrote a blog post on LGF that sort of went Pinterest-viral called, Things to Never Say to a Runner. Now the article itself was categorized under humor and intended to be tongue-in-cheek, as a runner's inside joke. The article wasn't really directed at non-runners because let's face it, non-runners probably aren't reading a running blog in the first place.

I am thoughtful of the things I write and how people will perceive them. It occurred to me when I was writing it that it might come off a little snarky, so I went out of my way to soften it by starting the article with a story about how I don't know the first thing about golf and I asked my golfer friend a really stupid question. Self-depreciating humor to reemphasize that I understand that you don't know what you don't know.

I also wrote in the article that I realized when when people say stupid or silly things to runners their intention is really just to show an interest and I certainly don't expect all my non-runner friends to brush up on all things running just so they can talk to me, but I guess this commenter skimmed over all that.

She told me not to take myself so seriously (it was categorized under humor!) and that I sounded like a narcissist and a snob. She also went on a rant about how she perceived that I said running on a treadmill means that you are not a real runner, something that I would never say and certainly don't believe, especially since I run on a treadmill too. In fact, my often-cited favorite running quote is:


“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” - John Bingham


There were two similar comments within five minutes of each other on a blog post from four months ago, so I assume the commenters knew each other. I left one comment up because it at least tried to be civil about the difference of opinion but I deleted the snob comment because while I am open to constructive feedback, I don't have to stand for people insulting me on my own blog.

This has been swirling around in my head for about a week and writing about things that bother me help me get them out of my head so I can move on from them emotionally. Thanks for listening.

My blog is largely focused on helping runners find the courage and strength to start and continue a healthy running journey, something that is neither narcissistic or snobby. Right? Quick. Someone tell me i'm nice.

Note to self: Grow Thicker Skin.






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Keep Running,

Lea

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