Girls Night Out in Annapolis with the Loews Annapolis Hotel

Last week I was invited to a night at the Loews Annapolis to have a holiday night out. It was Midnight Madness in downtown Annapolis and the perfect excuse to have a fun, festive, casual night out. I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

The evening/afternoon started with Glam Sessions – I got my hair curled (of which I am now obsessed with but haven’t quite figured out how to replicate it). They also had makeup (mainly eyes with some false lashes!) and nails that you could get done as well. I did my own makeup though my nails look like garbage but I replied late so was only able to score a hair appointment.

GNO with Loews Annapolis

I left shortly after my hair was done to get changed into my cozy, festive casual outfit for the evening – ready to hit the town. (As much as a 30 something working mom can and wants to hit the town…)

holiday casual outfit

{Pants | Sweater (old, similar) | Plaid Shirt | Necklace | Shoes (old, similar)}

Prior to heading out to Midnight Madness, we started with cocktails and appetizers at Baroak – Teddy Folkman’s restaurant in Annapolis – which is DELICIOUS. We had mussels, flatbread pizza and some charcuterie on the appetizer side…

Baroak annapolis cocktails

…and some (delicious) specialty cocktails – a white sangria with cranberries and a white rum punch (that I did not try but heard delicious things about!). They have an exceptional menu (mussels and frites anyone?!) and the beer menu isn’t terrible either. If you have not been, I highly recommend.

After cocktail hour, I headed downtown with Liz to check out a couple of the shops, snowflake alley and meet up with some other Naptown pals of hers. We ended up at Dry 85 and had a couple of drinks before Ubering back to the hotel because holy crap was it FRIGID to walk the four or five blocks back (even though we walked down there).

The night ended back in the Presidential suite at the Loew’s with gift wrapping. I got the couple of gifts that I picked up wrapped, I’m a good wrapper generally, but this lady was AMAZING. I’ve got enough to wrap at home, so it was nice having a couple to get wrapped fo’ freesies.

I was back in my room at a halfway decent hour and crashed watching HGTV. It was a really fun night for sure. Thanks to Loews Annapolis for hosting and for putting on such a fantastic evening.

FTC disclosure: I was provided an overnight stay, however, I was not compensated for my honest review. All opinions here are my own. 

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Race Recap: Zooma Annapolis 10k

Better late than never right? How was the Zooma Annapolis 10k race nearly a month ago already!? #bloggerfail. Here’s my recap: 

Hubs had National Guard drill so we got a sitter for the race – though I did love seeing a few dads out on the course running with their littles – one of these years, maybe we’ll run it as a family.  Tackling the Naval Academy Bridge with a dualie? That’s no joke yo. I ran that bridge a few times with Ethan when I was training with the Fleet Feet group for the ATB 10k.

Anyhoozle, I swung by to get my bib Friday night. Said hello to a few ambassadors at the cocktail party (mmmm Barefoot wines). Got home, gathered my gear. Could not find my singlet that I got as an ambassador despite searching relentlessly at 10pm Friday night. Knowing I had to be up early, I gave up around 11pm. 

Race Day

I got there just in time to do the ambassador picture, kind of hidden in my non-Zooma Singlet. Intentional-ish. Have I mentioned how incredible the Ambassador group is this year? Seriously, there are some amazing runners in the pack and I am constantly inspired by all of them!

zooma ambassadors annapolis

I’m in there. Just in the middle and the back. You can see my navy blue strap. 

The race started, looped around the parking lot onto Farragut drive, back around to Taylor ave with some rolling hills. We headed downtown – it was… to say the least. Soupy. Not super hot but just really grossly humid. That type of weather is common for this race though and even more common for this time of year in Annapolis.

zooma annapolis 10k

After making our way up King George, we headed up to the bridge. I like the 10k because we only go over the bridge ONCE and we don’t have to go up the nasty hills on 450 headed up towards Route 50 like the half marathon does. 

 

My legs were getting a bit stiff by mile 5.5 and I was losing gas – I didn’t fuel very well and felt a bit dehydrated so the last half mile once we were in the final stretch was a real push for me. It certainly wasn’t my best 10k time, but wasn’t my worst by far.

zooma annapolis 10k finish

Given that my training was kind of m’eh (thanks shitty commute and shitty job for stealing all of my motivation), and the humidity was terrible that day, I was okay with this time. Year number three, in the books. See you next year Zooma!!! 

 

(Stay tuned for my update on the Zooma Summer Challenge!) 

Time: 1:13:35

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Getting Pretty with Bubbles in Annapolis

Right before Christmas, my coworker took me to get my first blow-out. It was quite possibly one of the best things I’ve done – and not just because I didn’t have to wash my hair for like three days but it made me feel quite pretty.

I rarely get my hair done – cut, colored – it’s just one of those things that I loathe spending money on.

Thankfully for me, blowouts aren’t pricey. And even more thankfully for me, there’s a new place to visit to see if I can find the perfect stylist.

You see, once upon a time, I had the same stylist for years. Like went home to Vermont from college to visit her same stylist. Same stylist who did my hair for my high school formals and did the last cut for me before I moved to DC. And then I’d even visit her during the once or twice a year I’d pop up to Vermont to visit.

Alas, I stopped being able to justify getting my hair done by her when I went home. It stopped being a priority for me.

Then I found Bubbles. And a great network of stylists – they were my Capitol Hill go to when I didn’t want to spend $80 on a cut and dry. And now, they’re opening a new location in Annapolis right next to Trader Joes and Home Goods (perfect to pop in for a

BUBBLES FB image

I am so grateful that this Friday I get spend an evening with some of the coolest people I know getting pretty while we celebrate the Blowout Opening of Bubbles in Annapolis Plaza at 150 Jennifer Road.. They’ll have a DJ, free blowouts (!!!), food and drinks. What a fun way to spend a Friday night no? More details and RSVP details here.

 

This post was sponsored by BUBBLES salons, however, all thoughts and opinions here are strictly my own. 

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Ladies Night Out with Fleet Feet Annapolis

The other night Fleet Feet of Greater Annapolis held a pretty awesome event at their Severna Park location launching the Brooks Pure Project line via a fashion show. Fleet Feet is known around town for hosting some pretty amazing group runs, ladies nights for bra fittings, and the like so I was pretty stoked to be able to attend this event.

Pure Project Fleet Feet Annapolis

The event came with a swag bag filled with sweet gear from Brooks. They also had food and beverages for attendees. Fleet Feet knows how to host a good party.

After everyone socialized and looked around at the sweet gear (I lusted after new Newtons), the Fashion show began.

Brooks Pure project fashion show fleet feet annapolis

Pure Project is for those who live for the run and want simplicity of their apparel to transition…off the run. It’s versatile, and fashionable and fits perfectly into a workout and then into every day. It’s fashionable, and functional.

They showed us the men’s and women’s lines and while the collection is small, it’s certainly just what it intends to be – running/workout gear that’s fashionable and functional. Taking you from your run to errands. Workout to brunch. You name it.

pure project brooks women

Thumbholes for the win y’all!

For the women’s line they showcased a pair of 4 way stretch crops, long sleeve/short sleeve tops, a pair of shorts, and a jacket.

Needless to say, I’m a big fan. I didn’t have time to try it on, but I’m pretty stoked to check this line out for myself in the coming months. Essentially, Brooks found a demand for people who want gear that’s functional on and off the track and they listened.

If you’re a big fan of Brooks, or looking for some new functional workout gear that works in and out of the gym – definitely check this line out! Thanks so much for hosting this awesome event Fleet Feet!

{disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this post, the event was free and open to the public and I wanted to share my thoughts on this awesome product to my readers. Neither Fleet Feet nor Brooks asked me to write about this event}

 

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Weekend Recap & Weekly Workouts

We had a great weekend this weekend.

Saturday I went to a very packed Body Pump class and then to throw in the towel and join a gym. I had put my stroller strides membership on hold because we traveled so much in December and I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of working out in the mall. Plus, as a lifestyle/healthy living blogger, I like to change up my workouts every now and then. It gives me more foder for not just here but also my articles for Chesapeake Inspired – gotta stay fresh right?

While I love the Stroller Strides instructors, I felt that my fitness level was plateauing. So, it was time for a change, if only temporarily until the classes go back outside and I can start running down to classes again, I loved that in the fall.

For now though, you can find me at Premier Fitness in Annapolis taking any class with Keri – though preferably Spin or Body Pump.

So back to Saturday.

After class and Ethan’s naptime, we trekked over to Crofton and hit up Wegman’s to get our healthy eating focus this new year off to a good start. I had a list, I had a menu planned out, and we were doing so well at not adding random crap to the cart…but now…we have another problem.

Someone likes to grab at veggies. We ended up buying the potato after he drooled all over it. (Adam showed it to him, then tried to put it away but then Ethan started to cry. So Adam gave it to him. Commense…drooling and gnawing)

No matter the dining ware (nice china, nice toasting flutes) it’s hard to have a romantic dinner in with our favorite third wheel. This was our date night in Saturday night – BBQ pizza and an unopened bottle of prosecco from New Years Eve that we never got around to.

Last night we had a great dinner of soy maple glazed salmon with roasted brussel sprouts and a rice pilaf. Ethan was not a fan of any of this, however. Baby Led Weaning…for the loss.

He was…not a fan. Exhibit B. A noble Baby Led Weaning effort, but we’ll have to attempt again later.  At least our efforts to make sure all 3 of us get balanced meals are succeeding with 2 of 3 of us. Number 3 just needs a bit more…coaxing.

Anyhow, onto what matters.

This is my first week back really working out – December was really a wash and I definitely feel it. Never mind that I was sick for 5 days, then we traveled for 10 days then we were getting readjusted to life so half the month was a wash. Back to holding myself accountable!

This week’s workouts…

Monday – Body Pump (i got my times mixed up)
Tuesday – Body Pump
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Body Pump
Friday – Spin
Saturday – short run (pending weather)
Sunday – rest

We’ll be trying two new recipes this week: sausage zucchini boats (inspiration) and quinoa stuffed peppers (inspiration), I’ve made stuffed peppers before so I’m excited to try a new take on them! Stay tuned for recipe reviews! 

This week, aside from workouts, I want to focus on drinking more water.

What healthy habits are you focused on lately? 

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Giving Back

I could have gone out shopping with my sister last night. But decided not to. The principle of the matter. I used to work on Thanksgiving way back in the day and no matter what age you are, it still sucks. I am so against shopping on Thanksgiving for so many reasons.

I get the other side of the argument, but as I heard on the news which I think sums up why it’s not the best way to increase retail sales – my Christmas shopping list doesn’t grow just because stores are open up on Thanksgiving day. This doesn’t magically change how much money I’m going to spend over the next three weeks. Give people the day off, it’s one day, no one needs performance fleece or a flat screen television so bad they can’t wait another eight hours.

So while you’re out shopping for your loved ones, try to give back this holiday season.

I’ve been doing some form of community service since I was a young girl in the Girl Scouts, and later National Honor Society when I had the privilege of dropping off donated boxes filled with Thanksgiving dinner to half a dozen families in my hometown who otherwise wouldn’t have had a dinner. Talk about humbling.

Fast forward to now a days with  my work with the Junior League and as a coach for Girls on the Run.

I love giving back to my community – teaching young girls to be confident in themselves and how to always look for the best in people. I love being a part of the Junior League – an organization that has such a profound impact in our community – teaching women how to be self sufficient, and working with high school students form non-English speaking backgrounds and giving them fun opportunities they may not otherwise have.

This holiday season, give back.

Donate to a food pantry. It’s so easy – bring $15 to the grocery store and see what you can buy – that’s like skipping Starbucks for three days and you can pick up a few items (even healthy ones!) at your local trader joes to drop off.

Find a jacket drive. We recently held a coat drive at our recent Junior League GMM, one that goes to helping out a shelter provide for those who would otherwise be cold in the winter. Hubs and i hadn’t worn most of these jackets in a few years so it felt good to give something warm to someone needy while also freeing up space in our closets.

Donate to Toys for Tots. Toys for tots are everywhere around the holidays and it’s super easy to pick up an inexpensive gift for a kiddo that would otherwise not have anything. Or, find out what toys your local hospital’s children’s ward needs – I bought a lego set on sale for a Lego drive for the children at the pediatric cancer ward at Hopkins when I saw someone was collecting for them in our weekly league email blast.

Find a family. A lot of churches do angel trees where you can adopt a family and pick up gifts for them for the holidays. It’s an easy way to give back with lots of reward – especially when little kiddos are involved.

These are just a few ways – but there are so many ways. Make a meal for a local shelter. Donate blankets to the local NICU. Give money to your favorite local non-profit. There are so many ways – so many little things you can do that have such a big, big impact.

How do you give back to your local community around the holidays?  What organizations do you support?

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Fall Bucket List: Navy Game Tailgate

Last weekend i knocked another item off my fall bucket list – one of a few, and probably one of the only ones I’ll get around to since my weekends have been jam packed.

But my pal Kelly invited us to a tailgate with her, her husband and a couple of their friends. The tailgate was organized by the Knights of Columbus  – it just so happens that Adam is a knight, but he’s been a bit MIA with his MBA classes that happen to fall on the nights they meet.

The tailgate was tons of fun. The KoC had a tent right on Taylor Avenue and the Mids marched past as they walked into the stadium.

navy football midshipmen

We scored pretty awesome seats for the game – right in the end zone about two rows back from the field.

Navy football game No zoom here!

We stayed until half time but Ethan was starting to get too chilly and cranky so we bailed early and finished watching the game at home. It didn’t help that he didn’t have much of an afternoon nap but Adam and i were getting too cold too so we were happy to skee-daddle.

navy football game

Here are my tips to surviving an outdoor sporting event with a baby

Dress for the weather. We were all bundled up but we should have brought a blanket – as the sun started to go down it got chillier than any of us were prepared for. Ethan had a onesie, a sweater and a fleece. He had on a hat and a hood, and jeans and socks. He’s prone to pulling off socks so next time we might put him in shoes – but I read somewhere that shoes are bad for babies not actually standing yet which he’s just kind of sort of starting to do…so it might be almost time but wasn’t as of this past weekend.

Use a carrier. Strollers are not stadium friendly. I don’t care what type of stroller you have. Between stairs, and narrow rows. There’s no room for it. We used the Tula and it worked awesome.

Be mindful of where you’re sitting. Our section – though a great view – had some pretty obnoxious dudes behind us. Definitely not kiddo friendly. Next time I’d get Standing room tickets for the grassy knolls on the other end of the field and bring a blanket. Also, if your babe gets cranky, just take them out of the stands for a minute. My pal’s baby girl got a bit cranky so she walked with her, and when Ethan got cranky, we decided to bow out.

Have your gear accessible. Bottles, diapers, blankets, hats. Make sure you don’t leave it in the car. I left something in the car, I don’t remember what it was, but even though we parked across the street it was still a pain going back for it. We had a bottle in the bag, and plenty o’ diapers as per usual. My bad habit is stuffing my diaper bag so full that I have to pull everything out just to find the formula. Fail mama bear. Faiiilll.

Ethan was a bit more interested in the game or at least thats what I tell myself. Well, him and I both were more so than hubs so there’s that. I love football games, I’m trying to get Hubs on board to be a Navy Football fan (what? They’re the home team!!!) but he’s National Guard which means he’s all Army. Even though quite frankly he’s not really into football. It’s cool though, Ethan and I will be Navy fans (except when they play Army). Any other sport though, it’s all Northeastern. Hockey. Basketball. No questions asked – my Huskies are my number 1.

Mission: baby’s first sporting event overall? Huge success.

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Fall Bucket List: Visit a Pumpkin Patch(ish)

Autumn Bucket ListVisit a pumpkin patch

I had been on the prowl for a pumpkin patch/apple orchard for a while because it’s one of those autumny things I grew up doing, but haven’t done in quite a few years. Now that we have Ethan, we’re more likely to go do more family friendly things (never mind the fact that he’s barely seven months old and has no idea what’s going on) than say, go to Rehoboth to drink all day at Dogfish Head which would have likely been the case a few years ago. So, a couple weekends ago one of my mama pals was rounding up the troops to make a trip to a pumpkin patch. We picked Larriland Farms out in Howard County and met up after morning nap times were through. Even though there was fewer of us than we anticipated it was still a really fun day.

Despite the hour long trek from Annapolis, it was so worth it.

Larriland Farms is a vast farm that allows you to pick your own of whatever is in season – this particular weekend they had tomatoes, beets, apples, pumpkins, and a few other things. However, we did not pick our own because:

1. The pumpkin patch is actually up the road. By the time we were done kicking around, feeding babies, changing explosions, and feeding ourselves (they had a fantastic food bar and apple fritters cooked right in front of you) we didn’t want to risk melt downs. We’ll be going back for that.

2. The apples were over the river and through the woods. Okay that’s an exaggeration but we did have to drive to the far side of the farm (a good couple of miles), repark, get baby out of the car seat again, reattach him to the Tula, and blah blah blah. You get it. #alloftheparentingwoes. (I kid. I kid.) That being said, one of the moms who met up with us hit up the apples and said a lot of them were relatively picked over or something like that. So we decided to skip.

3. We didn’t feel like it. There. We just didn’t feel like it. I mean I did. Kind of. But Hubs was concerned about hitting Ethan’s limit and being out in a field and then having him become like a bear which he does if he does not get a nap right at the moment he needs it and making our hour long drive home hellish because he’d be screaming the entire way. It’s happened before – I’m looking at you MommyCon.

That being said, they did have plenty of pumpkins, apples, and other gourds and fruits pre-picked that we grabbed at the end of our excursion.

I really loved that the farms had fresh food – we had apple fritters – delicious and omg. So much powdered sugar. One of the mamas with us is dairy free and they even whipped up a special batch for her on the spot which was super awesome of them. Kudos to the bakery!

We hung around, contemplated where to go next but then the babies needed to eat.

Then we got food – they had a little stand set up with some bratwurst, hot dogs, and the like – I had a hot dog and Adam and I shared some sweet potato fries that I’m fairly certain were among the best that I’ve had.

ethan goat

 Ethan saw a goat. So that was fun.

Then like I mentioned, I bought allofthegourds. Seriously – acorn squash, spaghetti squash, baking pumpkins, and mini pumpkins. All of them. Adam had to stop me from buying more/any jams/jellies/apples/allofthethings since lord knows it takes me two weeks to follow through on recipes I want to try. My only complaint – and this is the Vermonter in me because I grew up in a town that had a place called the Apple Barn – is that this autumny day trip was missing cider doughnuts (though we did get a half gallon of apple cider that was ahhhh-mazing).

Alas. It was a fun day out at the farm. It’s a perfect day trip from Annapolis/Baltimore or DC. Free to visit, plenty of parking and if you want to pick your own pumpkins – they’re up the road on the left when you’re heading back to the highway. Check the website to see what’s good (I wish I had known that before we went out there) and be prepared for farm awesomeness.

Larriland Farms
2415 Woodbine Road
Woodbine, MD
http://www.pickyourown.com/

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MNO: 1747 Pub

A couple weeks ago right after I got back from South Carolina, the Plum Moms Group rocked my world again with another amazing Mom’s Night Out.

This time, it was at 1747 Pub, formerly known as Sly Fox Pub, in downtown Annapolis. I was always a huge fan of Sly Fox prior to it closing shop. The outdoor space is really the best in Annapolis in my opinion, so while I’m bummed that Sly Fox shut down, I’m so glad Reynolds Tavern kept it up with 1747 Pub

Since I had had dinner before going out, I ordered an appetizer – Fried Green Tomatoes. Really, you can’t go wrong with fried green tomatoes – one of these days I need to get my nana’s recipe that I pray she has written down somewhere. These were pretty amazing – they were topped with shrimp and corn. The shrimp was cooked in a chipotle cream sauce that was perfectly complementary by adding a touch of spice to this Southern classic dish.

fried green tomatoes 1747 pub annapolis

They had a small, but decent beer list but the wine list seemed a bit more comprehensive than beers.

A few nights later, I wanted to enjoy the outdoor seating while we still could. The happy hour at 1747 is from 3-7p so Adam and I popped over on a friday night for a cheapie dinner off the apps menu and a couple of drinks. We were pretty pleased with our finds – including the bratwurst and Natty Boh for $6.

Another awesome find? Grilled, buffalo corn on the cob. Granted you only get one ear for $4 which is absolutely a rip off considering you can get ten ears of corn for $4 at whole foods (Cheaper at Giant!) but trust, this was well worth it.

Was so yummy. I don’t even like buffalo flavoring since I find it often has too much of a kick for my liking (I’m so anti- super spicy it’s not even funny.). I ordered the fried green tomatoes again, because I stick with what I know and while the happy hour menu is tasty, it’s not super expansive.

The thing that I loved most was the laid back vibe – just like it was when it was formerly Sly Fox, the laid back atmosphere was just perfect for the perfect fall evenings I was out during. Monday night with the mom’s group there was trivia (I so want to go back for that) and Friday night when Adam and I went (much earlier) there was live music on tap (as well as a beer stein holding contest sponsored by Sam Adams….random).

1747 is also awesomely baby friendly especially if you go earlier – happy hour, not busy, and plenty of room for strollers to be rolled up. Ethan was in a surprisingly good mood and even made some suggestions off the craft beer list.

So if you’re in Annapolis – definitely stop by 1747 Pub – they have heaters keeping the outdoor space going into the colder months (well, since they’re new who knows but Sly Fox used to keep them going and threw a baller New Years Eve party…so I heard). In the winter months, they have the indoors pub downstairs from Reynolds Tavern which has fireplaces and hidden back bars. I haven’t been during the week but on the weekends, it’s a raucous good time!

1747 Pub
7 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD

{Curious about Reynolds Tavern? My book club previously went there for tea one afternoon!}

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Race Recap: Annapolis 9/11 Heroes 5k

This weekend was perfect running weather. I really should have gotten more miles in but I didn’t and I’m kicking myself now but we did get a lot done around the house and we ran our first family 5k. I was so excited to get Adam and Ethan running with me in this race – we ran the 9/11 Heroes Run in Annapolis at the Naval Academy stadium.

I chose this race as our first family 5k for two reasons – close to home and it was the day after Adam’s 2 year enlistment anniversary. Not to mention the Travis Manion Foundation is a great organization and half the funds go directly back into the community. For Annapolis they went back to the Annapolis Fire Department to fund some scholarships.

The race it self was great. They had a great presence and it was so awesome seeing all the midshipmen and other military families. I sometimes have a hard time saying we’re a military family but even though the National Guard isn’t Adam’s full time job, there’s always that chance that he could be called up to deploy and then we’ll be just as military as the Navy or Air Force families that live down the road from us.

We stayed toward the back since the first 3/4 mile or so was a bit narrow on the Naval Academy Stadium trail. There was a lot of people for a narrow space and it was definitely a bit bottle necked – even towards the back of the pack.

The course was a bit hilly as we hit mile 1 in Admiral Heights neighborhood – there was a decent chunk of shade to be had here and there through the next couple miles which helped considering it was 85 degrees outside but there were no water stations which seemed a bit short sighted on the race organizers.

We finished strong though. Adam pushed the stroller through the first half and we switched off around mile 1.5 and I pushed the rest of the way.

They did have a solid after party with some bbq sandwhiches from Mission BBQ (yum!), tons of water, bagels from Naval Bagels, and beer from Dos Equis. Thanks to my pal who was manning the booth and hooked me up with two beers. I needed those carbs.

time: 36:03
age group: 22/41
overall: 392/527

Not too shabby for pushing 50 lbs of stroller in 85 degree heat. Definitely not my fastest race but Ethan and I will be setting our own 5k PR’s separate from my solo 5ks.

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