All the Goodbyes

Hi friends! I’m blogging from my bed in California now! I am officially home for Thanksgiving!

I wanted to pop in and share a little bit from my very last day in St. Louis.

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What a freaking goof.

The cold came in Friday night, so I bundled up for Crossfit. My last one! Thankfully, the gym is heated. For the workout, we worked on hang cleans. The WOD was killer on the shoulders.

10 rounds:

10 push press (65 lb)

10 UNBROKEN double unders

10 weighted sit ups (25 lb)

I knew right away the push presses would be the hard part of this since 65 is a little heavy for me for a WOD. It was. Ouch. For the double unders, if they were broken (aka you messed up) you had to start over. Surprisingly, I only did this one set. It was a good workout to end on, and I said my goodbyes.

I went straight from Crossfit to The Mud House, a coffeeshop I visited once before, for some food and study time.

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Kombucha and cheddar chive grits. Why are grits more of a thing in California??

The place was absolutely packed for brunch, but I was able to snag a spot at the counter. But the line was smooched up against the counter, so I felt especially awkward pulling up my anthrax research for microbio.

I didn’t do too much that afternoon other than squeeze in some last kittie snuggles.

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Around dinnertime, I bundled up for one final outing.


Me and a couple of zoo buddies went to Seoul Taco in the loop. I had my last chocolate milk stout.


Plus a bowl with chicken and a very jiggly egg.


Next was our main event on the agenda, visiting Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It was a big light display set up in the gardens, and I was really excited to see it! With lows in the 20s and wind, I was nervous for the weather. I finally made use of my winter coat, and the temperatures were only low 40s so it wasn’t too bad! Check out the lights though:

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I had such a great time, and it was a great way to welcome the holiday season.

Afterwards, we stopped at The Cup in Central West End to pick up cupcakes. They had 3 GF options! I got a chocolate cupcake with vanilla ice cream and it was SUPER delicious and fudgy.


We ate these while watching Insidious 2 back at my place, and Scooby kept us company (and Yoyo wandered around making sure to creak every floorboard in the dark old house!)


And then it was time to say goodbye. I’m really going to miss these people. It’s amazing the relationships you can form in 3 short months. I can’t bear to get to sappy here, but I’ll leave it by saying it’s not goodbye forever, because I WILL come visit.


Sunday morning I woke up to this:


29, feels like 25. Yeah. I decided my run could wait until the “feels like” was at least above freezing. What did I do instead?

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Finally I got out the door and did my normal 3 mile route. I had planned on running in Forest Park but didn’t want to spend the time driving there.


And then finally I said goodbye.


But with every goodbye comes a hello.


Oh, and I had my first cranberry orange bread of the season. This had warm spices which made it feel extra holiday-y.


As hard as it is to leave, I try to look forward as much as possible, because I’ve enjoyed my life at every stage lately and know that I will be just fine. (That doesn’t mean leaving people in the past though!)

How do you say goodbye?

End of a Journey: St. Louis Lasts

It’s my last FULL weekend in St. Louis! Where the heck did the time go?? I’m both excited to go home for the holidays and sad to leave this city.

The title of this post (the journey) refers mainly to the thing I planned my entire Satuday around. But we’ll get there.

First on the agenda? A morning run. I’ve been wanted to run along the river but never got around to it, so today was the day! I went to bed super early the night before, so I was wide awake and ready to face the day at 6am.


Brrrr. Hard to imagine how hot it was last time I was down around there, my very first weekend in St. Louis.

I did my usual 3 miles, enjoying the sights of this city I’ve called home for the past few months.

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Then, it was time to hit up my final coffeeshop of the list. Mississippi Mud House. I’ve been putting this one off since it’s downtown and that seemed like it required more effort. But like I said, I made a day of it. I ended up parking about half a mile from the coffeeshop, near where I was going to get lunch. I love walking around cities, on during the chilly early morning (like 8:45am).

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The place had a cool vibe. It was in the front of an art gallery.

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Of course, I got a decaf cappuccino.


This was probably the one of the best milk foams. I could tell the milk used was really high quality. The cappuccino was a little milky, which was what I was in the mood for, but I do have to dock a few points for style. I would maybe rank this just under Rise? The flavor wasn’t super deep.

But as I’ve finished my coffee tour of St. Louis, expect a full recap coming up! My Tuesday studying will be a little victory lap.

It felt good to start my morning with some productivity though!


My caffeine tolerance is sad. I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been feeling the caffeine even with decaf (and I’m sure it’s decaf). I can’t go through more than half a cup before feeling it.

After coffee I walked through the city to lunch. It was chilly so I decided to go back a block over in the sun, and ran into City Park!

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Lunch on that chilly day was hot soup from Bread Co. (Panera in St. Louis). I got the Autumn Squash soup.



While I was downtown, it did occur to me that I should probably visit Anheuser-Busch before I leave St. Louis. I went home and showered and then arrived at the brewery.


They offer complimentary 45 minutes tours of the facilities and the production process, complete with free sampling.

We even got to see the Clydesdales! I love them.

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From there, we started touring the facilities and learning about beer making.

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We had the option of tasting Budweiser Select or Bud Light. Why would you ever choose Bud Light?? I think it’s a step up from Coors Light though.

I won’t pretend like I understand beer making, so enjoy some pictures!

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At the end of the tour we got to choose any beer on tap to “sample” (I use quotes because it was a full glass). I went with Spaten. Not bad, but I like the dark Spaten better.


TO be honest, Budweiser isn’t my favorite beer. It seems a little bit water to me. That being said, at the Crossfit night out last weekend, I talked to a fellow Crossfitter who worked for Anheuser-Busch, and he brought up the point that Budweisser is really good for its style. And I’ve decided that that’s fair. It’s crisp, and not bad for a ballgame, but I personally like a little more complexity.

My next stop was to pick up some GF cannoli. Right??? I stopped by Piccone Pastry. They have tons of flavors, and they’ll fill the GF shell with whatever you want! I got a sea salt caramel and a chocolate chip.


I also picked up some tea at Blueprint across the street.


For dinner, I kept it on the light side because I fully intended on filling up on cannoli. I made avocado toast and cooked up my honeynut squash from Trader Joe’s. I bought this a few weeks ago because I thought it was cute and since it was small, it seemed like the perfect single girl’s squash. I was planning on microwaving it to soften it enough to cut, and then roast, but apparently 5 minutes was enough to make it totally soft. And then for some reason just turning on the janky oven here was enough to set off the fire alarm so that was out. I ended up finishing it up by sautéing it in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper.


I cut my cannoli in half in case I actually felt like using portion control but you better believe I devoured them.


I spent the first part of the evening watching Clueless, curled up with Scooby.


Then I went to watch a horror movie (Insidious) with my zoo buddy. I brought the last of my Oktoberfest beer. I had it in my bag with my wallet, keys, etc, and as I was getting out of my car, I dropped my bag and one of the bottles exploded. I was literally pouring beer out of my wallet. My bag was dripping and full of glass shards. Luckily, 2 of the 3 were spared, but my wallet and everything in it was a sloppy mess. I actually got a new wallet today, which was probably needed anyways! But everything smells like Oktoberfest (which thankfully is more pleasant than average beer).


Sunday morning I went to an Olympic Lifting class at Crossfit. They just got a new coach to teach it! I’ve been Olympic Lifting for over 6 years now, and in that time my focus on it has come and gone. I don’t work on my lifts as consistently with Crossfit (which I’ve been doing for over 3 years now) because we have so many other focuses, but I did work with my original trainer again last summer, and I got really strong and my technique improved greatly. I PRed all my Oly lifts last summer. Between my shoulder and my foot injuries, these lifts have kind of fallen by the wayside.That being said, I have pretty good technique. One thing the coach helped me on a lot was the position out of the bottom of my snatch, which is my weak point. I’m actually easy stronger from the hang than the ground, just because my position isn’t where it should be. He instructed me to arch my back more at the bottom, start with my hips a little higher, and bring the bar in closer to my shins. This worked to created a straight plane for the bar to move in, and it felt like it was flying up! My clean and jerk is definitely stronger for me (technique and weight-wise) so there were fewer comments for that!

I ran some errands afterwards including getting a flu shot, and made a quick lunch of avocado toast and pizza eggs (marina+cheese). img_0390

After lunch, I picked up my coworker and we drove out to Defiance, Missouri’s wine country. img_0392

We went to Sugar Creek Winery.


We did a $4 tasting, which included 4 samples and a wine glass. I went with all whites, plus the blackberry.

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I sampled the Vidal, the Boone Country, the peach, and the blackberry. All were delicious, with light flavors. Plus, the company wasn’t too bad!

We got a bottle of the Boone Country to share while chatting and enjoying the scenery.


This was on the sweeter side and it was pretty easy to drink. So, how does MO wine compare to CA wine? I talked to a wine distributer about this at the Crossfit night out, and I think I agree with his assessment that CA is better for the price. These were also all lighter flavors than a lot of CA wines. I’m going wine tasting in Napa over Thanksgiving so I guess I’ll have a direct comparison!
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And now I’m on the couch. I wasn’t planning on being here for the rest of the night BUT i’m currently under 2 kitties. Yoyo decided to join me halfway through this post. He really wanted to settle on my laptop, which was a problem. Now he’s on my belly and my laptop is lodged in the space between 2 kitties. I’ll miss these boys.


That’s all for now! I’ll catch you guys later!

Well That Was Interesting—Gluten Experiment

Hi friends! I’m currently in quite a good mood. I got some very unexpected good news today, and I had an awesome fall run after work in Forrest Park! It was my fast casual run post stress fracture!

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It’s nice to see some 8:xx back in there! I just signed up for my annual Turkey Trot as well. In the past, I’ve done the 10k, but decided to actually use good judgment and just do the 5k this year. As much as I wanted to do the longer distance, it just wouldn’t be smart to run twice as much as my normal with a sketchy foot.

I wanted to share some tidbits from my Wednesday with you. Spoiler alert: I had my first actual gluten (minus tiny amounts accidentally 2x) in 14 months. Whatt??

I woke up pretty hungry on Wednesday morning thanks to a full day of travel and had my usual Cinnamon Apple Cheerios pre-workout. The workout of the day was a Crossfit shoulder killer. I basically trashed my creaky shoulder, but it’s fine because that’s how it is going to get stronger. I just need a few days off from overhead! We did 8×3 push jerks, which I used 85 pounds for. Technically we were supposed to do 70% but my 155 lb one rep max was pre-shoulder injury when I was a whole lot stronger. Then, we did an EMOM for 14 minutes of 5 strict presses on the even minutes and 5 strict pull ups on the odd. I did the pull ups with a band. Immediately following this we did 2 minutes of max burpees. My shoulders are feeling it today, that’s for sure!

Post-workout I had the best breakfast. Cottage cheese with pumpkin butter, sunflower seed butter, and a side of strangely delicious blueberries.


For lunch, I made a hummus, egg (microwaved), and goat cheese salad with some Glutino crackers on the side.


For snack I had a small berry granola bar.

Before the moment of truth, I have some obligatory zoo pictures. Because I only have 2 weeks left.

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Bae <3 <3 <3

I’m going to miss my girls!


For my gluten of choice, my friend who works at Panera brought me an M&M cookie. Free food=instantly more delicious.


And then it was time.

*insert jaws theme*


I nervously took a bite. And waited. Then another. I had 1/4 of this large cookie to start, and another bite about 20 minutes later when I felt ok.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was hard to imagine it would cause a vicious flare up because I haven’t had anything like that in a while.

If I had to guess what would happen, it would have been what did happen.

My stomach felt ok. My brain stopped working. That was interesting. I had my part of the cookie about an hour before I was off work, and I was inputting data into an excel sheet. And suddenly I kept messing up. I was in this weird fog. I was so incredibly tired that I felt like I needed to fall asleep on the spot. My brian was moving in slow motion, and I couldn’t quite get my brain to communicate with my fingers.

Does this surprise me? Not really? If you look way back into the depths of my blog, you’ll see posts from freshman year of me wondering if I had a problem with gluten because I’d eat pancakes for breakfast and then in class afterwards suddenly feel overwhelmingly and all-consumingly tired.

But I didn’t flare. That being said, I literally had less than half a cookie. At a point when my stomach was 100% perfect to start. I still don’t totally trust it in all situations, and right now it’s not worth risking the fear of a flare. Plus the brain fog? I think I’ll keep avoiding it. But this means I don’t have to worry about small amounts/contamination in things like soy sauce. And if we’re being 100% real here, I really just wanted to do this trial now to know if I can eat the top off pumpkin cheesecake at Thanksgiving without worrying about any crumbs from the crust sneaking their way in. And I think that will be ok!

Because priorities.

For dinner, I made cheesy polenta with an egg that I seriously messed up flipping, and mushrooms with spinach sautéed in garlic and soy sauce.


And of course I needed baseball watching snacks.

I had a little bit of vanilla Halo Top with a GF snicker doodle and some Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s.


As for baseball? I just wanted a good game, and this certainly delivered. The fact that I have no investment to either team and yet I’m crazy nervous about the game is why baseball is the greatest sport ever. I’m happy for the Cubs. I really disagreed with some of Joe Maddon’s (the coach of the Cubs) decisions, and I’m glad that the questionable decisions came back to bite him despite the final outcome!

Did you watch the World Series? Thoughts?

DC/Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

It’s Monday night, and I recently returned from a whirlwind adventure to the East Coast. I got back Sunday night, and being home and going to classes all day made the experience even more surreal. But let’s back up, shall we?

I’ve talked about the fact I was doing the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, but training details seemed to get lost in the hubbub of every day life. But training happened. I kind of made my own training plan, which included long runs of 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 miles.

So, let’s back up. On Monday, I started having horrible allergies. I get them the same week every year, so that was nothing new. But then Thursday morning I go to Crossfit and feel like I have zero energy. I napped the rest of the morning before subbing a noon spin class. After spin, I really felt like I was hit by a truck. Everything ached and I was chilled so I took my temperature, and sure enough, I had a fever. Great, the day before I was supposed to fly across the country to run 10 miles in 30 degree weather, I was sick.

Friday morning, I woke up feeling a tad better, but still with a fever. I took Tylenol and went to my one mandatory class (despite it being a big pet peeve of mine to go to class while sick), and then headed to the airport.


I was feeling pretty decent with Tylenol, but I was worried about when it would wear off! Luckily, the hours on the plan ticked by since I had had my Tylenol, and the fever never came back! For the record, I was committed to not being stupid. If I had still felt lousy come race day, I planned to drop down to the 5k race.

Saturday morning, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, it was time for our first event: cat cafe! When I found out that Georgetown now has a cat cafe a few months ago, I immediately booked an appointment for our trip. What’s super crazy is that the location is literally 2 blocks from where I lived in Georgetown a couple of summers ago, but it didn’t exist then!

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We signed wavers, and then came in to meet the kitties! The ones by the front windows were especially sweet.

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The upstairs kitties were more playful.

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For anyone interested, the way it works is you can reserve a 75 minute session for a small fee, and then have the option of ordering coffee and/or macarons upon arrival, which they fetch from offsite for you. We ended up not getting anything, since we were kind of distracted!


Batman and I fell in love. He climbed happily into my lap, and was there for quite a while until it was time to go.

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All the kitties are from a local shelter and are available for adoption. I follow Crumbs and Whiskers on Instagram, so I’ll know when Batman finds a home!

Next on the agenda was Sweetgreen, because 1. I love it and 2. My parents had never been there! Crazy since I went about 1x/week that summer.


I got the Beets Don’t Kale my Vibe, a seasonal salad. Beets, grilled chicken, goat cheese, wild rice, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.

After wandering around Georgetown a bit, we hopped on the Silver Line and headed out to Tyson’s Corner. My parents used to work in that area many years ago, and my great-grandpa once owned a grocery store out there. Plus, I wasn’t 100% health-wise and a movie sounded perfect.

As we entered the mall, we found a Shake Shack, and after I raved about their frozen custard, we of course had to stop. I had the vanilla custard with fudge sauce mixed in. SO delicious.


Our movie of the day was Zootopia. I’m in a class that talks about animal behavior, and it was recommended that we see this movie because apparently a lot of the behavior portrayed in the movie is pretty accurate.

After the movie, which I liked!, it was dinner time. I was excited to try Le Pain Quotidien.

I started out with an interesting drink: warm lemon honey ginger. Although I was feeling better, the air there was pretty dry and I had zero voice so this helped a bit.

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For my main dish, I had a chicken and smoked mozzarella tartine on seedy, gluten free bread. It had sundried tomato spread and basil oil. Delicious! The bread was chew, dense, and delicious.


At this point in the day, we had walked about 6 hours and my still sort of sick self was tired! We went to bed early, but I was too excited to fall asleep quickly!

Sidenote: I actually realized that I went to a Le Pain Quotidien in Alexandria that summer without making the connection!

So, Sunday. As a California girl, let me lay it out for you. Friday: 70 degrees when we landed at 11pm. Saturday: rainy, sort of chilly, but nice. Sunday: temperatures in the 30s, 20-30 mph wind with gusts up to 50 mph (they decided to not use any signs during the course due to this), wind chill in the 20s. Luckily is a thing, and I was prepared for this, but jeez. Seriously?

The good news was, I woke up Sunday morning feeling really good, and much better! I woke up at 5:30am, aka 2:30am CA time. I ate my Luna bar, got ready, and then it was time to begin the layering and head to the metro.

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I really think the amount of marshmallowing speaks to how much I am a CA girl. But I did feel properly dressed. My outfit consisted of long pants (only one layer though—legs were definitely going numb at the start), fleece-ish lined shirt (well, minus one sleeve because the shirt is faulty…it’s weird), leg warmers on my arms, a sweatshirt, and then my north face. Plus gloves, ear warmers, and hand warmers.

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And then we were there, freezing our butts off, with 10k people just as crazy as I was! Despite the temperatures, it was a beautiful morning. I anxiously awaiting the start, excited to get moving!

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Sadly, the cherry blossoms peaked a week early this year, so there weren’t many on the course. Here’s a lone one!


At the start, I handed off my north face to my parents and got ready to go! It was weird because there was no flag indicating the start/finish line, so I didn’t know how close I was to the start!

And then we were off! I had a blast, I quickly stripped my arm warmers (which was interesting: they were under my sweatshirt so I did this really cute thing were I ran with my iPod in my teeth and yanked with all my might). It was surreal to be running here, in this place. Where I spent so many hours running. A place filled with history. I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.

I was expecting crazy winds crossing the bridge into Arlington, but it wasn’t too bad. Plus, the sun was coming out and it was warming up! I tossed my sweatshirt (bought from the thrift store for this race) coming back across the bridge.

During the race, I felt really good. I’ve definitely gotten faster. I was determined not to push the pace, to stay comfortable and enjoy the scenery, but I still wore my watch to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid like come out at an 8:00 pace (which it turns out would not have been possible; it was super crowded). As I was running, it struck me how much faster and fitter I am now than a couple of summers ago when I was running these same roads. And I thought I was in good shape then! I feel like I’ve come really far since then.

I ran about a 9:30 pace the whole race (my old long run pace was 10:00), but unfortunately lost 7-8 minutes during a porta potty stop due to a huge line. Overall, there were not enough of them, but to add to that, about half of them had tipped over in the wind! Crazy!

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(Cherry Blossoms as seen from the car later in the day).

This race flew by. Seriously, 10 miles has never passed so quickly! I ran past the Washington Monument to the finish line with the biggest smile on my face. I love it here!


After meeting up with my parents, we went back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to brunch! Being the exciting person I am, I chose the Georgetown Le Pain Quotidien. I get really nervous with my stomach when traveling, and I knew it was a same, solid, and delicious option. Being the even more exciting person I am, I got the same thing. Well, sort of. I got the ginger drink about because #30degrees, and then split the chicken and mozzarella and avocado toast with my mom.


After eating, we walked around a bit, headed for the main event.

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CUPCAKES. Seriously, you can’t come to DC without getting some. My cupcake of choice was Baked and Wired, where I got the gluten free option. It was a chocolate cake with cherries folded into the icing, and subtle cherry frosting. In honor of cherry blossoms!


We walked along the waterfront before heading out, then drove the sights a bit.

We were at the airport with plenty of time, and after the longest day ever, I made it home! In SFO on the way out to DC, I got an amazing GF snickerdoodle. We passed the same place on the way back in, and it was open, so of course I had to snag a chocolate chip GF cookie. SO amazing.

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Check out that thick, gooey cookie! And the sea salt. Ahh. I looked it up and it turns out the little market only exists in the SFO airport.

I was surprisingly doing pretty well energy-wise until I made it back to my dorm and totally crashed. Longest day ever, but what an amazing weekend.


I’m knee deep (more like chest deep) in Biochem studying and my eyes are threatening to snap shut, but I wanted to pop in for a quick weekend/16.1 recap.

Friday Highlights:


Coffee with my long lost sister+lunch with my sister and mom for parent’s weekend. Tomato basil soup with cheddar plus GF bread with some butter and some cranberry spread.


Cat sitting for the cat my sister is cat sitting (it’s quite complicated). He’s a sweetie! I did an ear cleaning while I was there.

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SMITTEN! AKA ice cream made with liquid Nitrogen. There’s now one attached to the local Whole Foods. My friends and I squashed into my tiny car for the drive. Sadly my stomach was not 100% so I only got through half of this, but it was amazing! Also for some reason I’ve been crazy sensitive to the caffeine in dark chocolate lately….



I joined a big group for the 10am workout. I ended up actually signing up for the open at the last minute. For this workout, I did the scaled version because chest to bar pull ups are not a thing.

The scaled was all about speed, since the weight was light, but since the workout was long, pacing was key. Here’s scaled 16.1:

20 minute AMRAP:

25ft walking lunge with 35# bar

8 bar facing burpees

25ft walking lunge with 35# bar

8 jumping pull ups

One thing I really pride myself on is my ability to pace, and my decent endurance (thanks to running). People were quickly passing me, but I held steady and passed them by the end. The worst part of this was the lunges coming off the burpees. This was a quad burner for sure! Burpees have actually gotten a little bit better for me lately, so it wasn’t terrible. Plus, jumping over a bar with no plates is 1000x easier.

The surprise: the jumping pull ups were a major quad burner as well! Jumping after all those lunges? Yeesh.

I held a steady pace until my very last 1.5 rounds when I floored it. I got through 9 and a half rounds—I almost finished the last set of lunges but got no-repped on the 5 feet. I’m really proud of my score though—251!

This was SUCH a fun morning. This right here is the Crossfit community. I stayed for the next heat as a judge, and my scoree did awesome—she did Rx and crushed her goal! Unfortunately, I had to leave after that to clean up and grab a quick lunch.


New favorite thing: microwave hash with sweet potato (I got a purple one!), spinach, eggs, and fancy cheese. This is my cheese of the month!

I had to rush off because at the last minute, I got called in on to work at the vet. I was only there for about 3 hours, but they had been pretty short staffed. I really enjoy working there, and hope to find a more regular time next quarter! Luckily I spent most of Friday night finishing my take-home test so I had the hours to spare, although as I said before, now I’m knee deep in Biochem!

I spent some of the evening reading my textbook with a lonely kitty.



Doing my long run is not ideal the day after the Open workouts, but it is what it is. I thought I would be sore from the lunges, but I basically wasn’t. What was sore though were my jumping muscles in my calves; probably a combo of the burpees and jumping pull ups. I spent the time to drive to my favorite place ever to run. It is SO pretty there.


I mentioned this last week, but I’ve gotten spontaneously faster, even with an easy (in terms of effort) pace. I had my watch set to only show distance, so I wasn’t focused on pace. I’ll take it! My legs were a bit tired at the end, but everything felt good!

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The rest of the day has been spent studying, plus a short break to go to a sorority alumni event.

And back to Biochem.

Anyone out there do 16.1?