Mystery Blogger Award

Blogger award time! I have not participated in one of these before, but my blogging buddy thedancingrunner nominated me and thought it looked fun. You should check out her site, she has some great posts. Thanks for nominating me! I will also nominate three more bloggers that deserve recognition and to pass on the love after I answer some questions.

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Here are the rules…

-Thank whomever nominated you and include a link to their blog
-Tell your readers three things about yourself
-Nominate bloggers you feel deserve the award
-Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
-Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny one
-Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

Soooo, following the rules of the “Mystery Blogger Award,” I need to tell you you three things about myself. Here it goes:

I travel to eat good food. That may not be the only reason, but it is a major reason. I mean, getting to know a culture through their food…yes! Street food is my favorite. You know if the locals are lined up and eating the cheap, fresh street food, it has gotta be good. Go where the locals go.

I am an ambivert. Yep, that is a thing. Depending on the situation, the people around me, the mood I am in, I can be an introvert or an extrovert. Sometimes, I just need to be alone or with my family to recharge, and other times I want to be in a crowd of people, socializing. I’m weird like that.

I was raised to be fiercely independent. I am certain this is a big reason I love running. I feel a lot of independence when I am out there, which I need and thrive on. No one can do a run for you. A runner has to rely completely on themselves to get it done, whether that is through a foreign country on unknown streets or trails, extreme weather conditions, or diving into a new race distance. I dig that. I feel like running is something I do completely on my own.

Q & A:

-What is your proudest moment in your life thus far?

My proudest moment so far is bringing my two children into the world and thus far, not screwing them up too badly. They seem relatively happy and adjusted, so that makes me super proud. It was not easy getting them here, especially our daughter, but those little people make my heart swell more than anything else in the world. They are the definition of good.

-If you had to post one more picture on social media and then never post again for the rest of your life, what would it be a picture of?

I should say this one:

But, I would probably choose this one:

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-What is your favorite summer beverage (alcoholic or non alcoholic) besides water?

Coffee is my breakfast. It may be my favorite part of the day, the combination of drinking coffee and reading my book.

But specifically for summer, I would say soda water. Those LaCroix flavors are ammaaazing. I am currently in love with the coconut one. It is like summer in a can.

Red wine for the end of the day when it is time to kick back.
-How long have you been blogging?

I am a newbie. I have only been blogging for two months. What a learning curve this has been! Any and all blogging advice is welcome. Some of you are veterans when compared to my measly two months. I am really enjoying it though. It gives me a place to voice my ideas. I am a somewhat quiet person, depending on whom surrounds me, so this is a good place for me to get some things I have learned about running, traveling, and including my family in on those things.
-What is the best blog post that you’ve ever posted?

People shared this one quite a bit and drove traffic to my site. I think I timed it right as it was the beginning of warmer weather and people were wanting to start a running routine.

10 Tips for Running in the Morning: As Told by GIFs

Here are some bloggers I would like to learn more about!

Trevor–Rubber Ankle Running

Nat–This Vet Runs

Cat–cat h. bradley

And here are my five questions for my nominees:

1. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

2. You all are impressive runners, so this applies to all of you–how long have you been running and what was your proudest moment in running?

3. What are some things that make your day better? 

4. What is the best book you have read? 

5. What job would you be terrible at? 

Until next time, my friends.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Two years ago, I hadn’t even heard of plantar fasciitis. Now it feels like I only purchase shoes based on this. I also feel like I went half mad and half broke trying to cure myself. If you don’t know what it is, it probably means you are lucky enough to not suffer from it. Basically, what it is a bunch of micro tears to the plantar, a ligament that attaches to the heel bone. It becomes inflamed and super painful. It is a common running injury. Mine actually started during pregnancy with increased progesterone caused all the ligaments loosen up.

For a year, it was really bad. I limped around, I taped every day, I massaged, I wore a medical boot, I rolled out on a tennis ball, I saw a sports therapist, and even tried acupuncture. I’m going to let you know what worked for me, but everyone is different. I am also not a doctor, nor trained in any sports medicine. I just scowered every corner of the internet researching plantar fasciitis. I am not 99% okay, but I do not believe it will ever go away completely. There will be things on this list that I will always need to use and do.

Plantar Fasciitis Tips

Magnesium: I wish I had started with this as soon as I found out I had plantar fasciitis. I firmly believe it is what finally made it livable. I can tell that if I forget it for even a day, it hurts more. When I first started using it, I would take one 400 mg dose in the morning and one at night, spreading out the amount due to it causing stomach distress. I was willing to deal with the stomach troubles, because it made my foot feel better. I tried glycinate magnesium because read that it was better on the stomach, but it also did less for my foot. There are many kinds out there, most have worked for me. I am currently using magnesium oxide and it works great for me. After being on it for a few months, my stomach adjusted and causes no problems now. I listed both below so you can decide what would work better for you (I use the first one).

Taping: I had to use the below taping method to run or walk every day. I used plain white medical tape and found it worked MUCH better than the expensive KT Tape for this particular type of taping. Keep it taut, but do not pull too tight while taping.

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Spiky ball: I found the spiky ball made for plantar worked better than a tennis ball, but when I was in the midst of severe pain, a harder ball like a golf ball or a racquetball worked best to break up the damaged scar tissue.

Hokas: Once I discovered Hokas, I didn’t need to tape anymore. I cannot suggest these enough. They are great for the injured runner or walker.

Inserts: I do put the PowerStep insert into my running shoes still. I think it is a necessity for anyone with plantar fasciitis, but even if you aren’t injured, they are just more comfortable.

Birkenstocks: Wear these from the moment you get out of bed until you go to sleep. Your feet need them. For two years, they were all I could wear. They are ugly as sin, but have recently come back into fashion as a tongue-in-cheek style statement. Just pretend you are in on the trend when really you are just luxuriating in the Birk. Anyone raised in the 90s know that a ‘cute Birkenstock’ is an oxymoron, but who cares if your feet don’t hurt.

Lacing shoes: Don’t mind the mud. Check out the lacing. Basically, you lace the first holes normally and then skip over middle ones, lacing normally again on the last few holes. Works to alleviate pressure on your arch. I still have to do this with my shoes, and probably always will.

Medical boot: I had to sleep in a medical boot like the one below for quite a few months and will still pull it out when my plantar fasciitis feels like it is making itself known again. It is a little uncomfortable to sleep in all night, so try to start with a few hours at first, then increase the hours as you get more used to it. It helps quite a bit to stretch the plantar all night. I can tell that the first step out of bed doesn’t hurt as much after wearing this, and then proceeds to be better the rest of the day. It certainly didn’t cure it, but improved it.


Foam rolling: I personally roll out on the back of my calf and the tibialis anterior, the muscle to the side of the shin bone. I included a video on how to foam roll your shins. It starts the technique around 1 minute into the video. It helped a fair bit, but again did not cure it.

Other things that others said to try that did not work for me:

Frozen water bottle to roll your foot on.

Stretching your calf

Stretching your toes

Massage

Night sock that stretches your foot

It is really hard not to get depressed when you are injured and lead an active lifestyle. I know how frustrating it was for me, which I don’t think is unique. Keep trying different things and be patient. Adjust what you need to. Know I sympathize with you.

Stay rad, my friends.

Bogus Basin Stack Rock Family Hike

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. -Ralph W. Emerson

Hiking is a great way to spend a day off from running. It is also really good for our kids to get outside and into nature. Both of them love it. Their imaginations run wild and they find endless entertainment in the rocks, sticks, dirt, butterflies, chipmunks, and whatever else they discover along the way. They learn to get back up when they fall and scrape their knees, both of which did this on our 13.7 kilometer (8.5 mile) hike through the trails of Bogus Basin.

This is another annual hike we do. It is about an hour drive from our house and is one of the greener places to be found in the desert city of Boise. Driving up Bogus Basin Road, you can see the terrain change from dry, dusty, brown to green, muddy, pine trees. It makes me reminiscent of the greener Northern Idaho, where I was born and bred.

The hike has a fair bit of elevation gain throughout, but the kids did great. Lady H was packed for most of it, but insisted on getting out and walking parts herself, which is wonderful to see her exerting her love of nature like the rest of us. B hiked nearly the whole thing, with an occasional piggy back ride from me. It took us a little under four hours, but very little complaining. The break at Stack Rock helped B regain his energy. As for Mr. G, he was pretty tired from doing most of the packing of Lady H.

There is no place in the world that brings the same feeling as the wilderness of Idaho. You can feel and see the patience of nature in every direction. Stress evaporates. There is something instinctual in being in the woods. It feels like it is a place we are supposed to be. I spend a lot of my life feeling foreign and stretching my learning, which is wonderful and I am grateful for all of the opportunities, but places like this are places where I can just be.

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My 6-year-old is my photographer.

Dad strength

Rachael Anderson: Ultrarunner Taking on Vol State 500km

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I have gotten to meet some really great runners from around the world, all of whom inspire me in different ways. This is Rachael Anderson. She will be taking on Vol State 500km…for a second time.

I met Rachael when we both showed up to run with Bangkok Runners in Khao Mai Keow, Thailand. This awesome group would organize meet ups to run in the jungle occasionally, because we liked to torture ourselves with heat and humidity, in good company of course.

Neither one of us is in Thailand anymore, but I have been following her running and it is most impressive. Check out what she has to say:

1. What is your everyday occupation?

I’m a high school calculus teacher at an international school in Pakistan.

2. How many ultras have you done? What was your favorite or most memorable?

I’ve actually only done three races that qualify as ultras – two 50km races and the 2017 Last Annual Vol State (LAVS) 500km race. I’ve also done the Camino de Santiago – a 500 mile hike across Spain – twice.

My favorite race has to be LAVS just because of the sheer difficultly of the undertaking and the camaraderie I experienced during and after the race. When you’re put in a situation like that with other people, you quickly become a family.

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3. What is your next big race you have been training for?

I’ve spent the past 10 months training for the 2018 LAVS, which will be held from July 12-22. The course starts in Dorena Landing, Missouri and ends in Castle Rock, Georgia, crossing the state of Tennessee.

4. Where do you live and does it impact training?

I live in Pakistan, so I’m limited to my compound when it comes to training. Luckily, I have access to a nice weight room, a 25m pool, a 400m track, and a 1km loop around the school. My training is largely solitary and I have to work hard to keep up my motivation.  I rely on podcasts and audiobooks to keep my mind occupied on long runs.

Another issue with training in Pakistan is the heat. The temperature in Karachi, where I live, is above 80 degrees for the majority of the year and can get up to 120 degrees in the summer. This isn’t a dry heat either. Due to our proximity to the Indian Ocean, it is quite humid throughout the year. This makes training brutal, but I know that it will be worth it when I’m running through Tennessee in the middle of the summer.

5. How do you prepare for a 500 kilometer (314 mile) unaided race?

This is really a difficult question, and I think the answer heavily depends on the person. A lot of my fellow runners do back to back runs on the weekend. So, perhaps 30 miles on Saturday and another 20 miles on Sunday. This is a fairly typical staple of ultra training but, under the direction of my coach, I did something a bit different this year.

My training generally consists of 9-10 workouts spread over six days, with one rest day per week. These include swimming, cycling (I use an indoor trainer and Zwift), weightlifting, and running (15-20 miles a week). My entire training plan has been built around heart rate zones, in order to improve my endurance and aerobic capacity. I also do journey runs/walks when I’m outside of Pakistan. For these, I take a small pack with a bit of food and water, and then just head out on 20 or 30 mile walk to the next town. It gets me comfortable with navigation, walking next to traffic, and dealing with unforeseen issues like a lack of water (because I dropped a bottle without realizing it).

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6. What are your expectations of Vol State?

Last year I finished in 7 days, 18 hours by mainly walking and getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night in a hotel. This year, I hope to finish in under 6 days by sleeping less and running more.

 7. How long do you expect recovery to take?

After last year’s race, I was able to run again within a few days, although it took about 3 weeks for me to feel 100% again. I expect this year to be about the same in terms of recovery.

8. Do you have any pre-race routines or advice to offer runners considering doing an ultra?

The biggest piece of advice I have is to understand that there is no one way to do an ultra and that a linear progression through race distances is largely unnecessary. I get asked often about how many half marathons and marathons I did before I started running ultras. The answer is none. In fact, the first marathon I did was this year, which is a solid 5 years after I ran my first ultramarathon. This goes for training as well. What works for other people may not work for you – it’s a learning process. So, have fun, talk to other ultrarunners, and figure out what does work for you.

9. The big runner question–why do you do ultras of this magnitude?

Running 500km was the first time in my life where I felt like I had been stripped down to my core both emotionally and physically and actually got a glimpse of who I really was. It was both terrifying and exhilarating and, now that I’ve seen it, I have an unquenchable desire to figure out just how far I can push myself.

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Rachael also has a UMDF page that she has been updating. This page is for collecting donations that go directly to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation and help to fund much needed research into these illnesses.

Consider donating to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation

Weekly Running Log Rundown

How I felt this week:

Sunday: Sunny Sunday here in Boise. Saw my first snake of the season, some natural artwork left by a fellow Idahoan, and even ran into a friend biking the path with her crew.

Monday: Mondays are supposed to be my day off from running, but I decided to get the family out. They rode bikes and I ran along beside them. It was hot, but fun was had by all (most of the time). I am proud of B–9.5 kilometers on a bike in mid-day sun isn’t easy and he is only six. We took a break at the turn around point to get artisan fries at the Boise Fry Company. Check out the sauce collection!

Tuesday: A quiet morning out on the greenbelt listening to my audiobook. Not many people out on this Tuesday sunny morning. I slept 9.5 hours last night and I think that is why I was able to do a 5:14/km pace. Hope I can keep this pace going!

Wednesday: I was feeling the fresh air and sunshine. I took it somewhat easy as I can feel my body may need to take a day off soon. I am on a two week streak currently.

Thursday: Hit the trails today. It is always good for me to do hill work. I can tell my legs aren’t as used to going up hill so it challenges me in all the right ways. The morning was quiet and peaceful–grateful to be in Idaho this summer.

Friday: I have been putting off taking a day off. However, today was that day. On my rest day, we went on a family hike up into the pine trees of Bogus.

Saturday: I upped the challenge today and brought Lady H along. She loved it, and I got my heart rate up. It was also a great bonding experience.

Foothills Family Hike

Top of the hill, shoes full of cheatgrass.

Every summer, we do a family hike into the Foothills behind our house. We have done this since we first built our house and it was vast open space. It was once on the edge of town, but now it has started to blend into the rest of Boise. We have watched houses be built in our neighborhood, then the next neighborhood over, and so on. We sit at the top of the hill and contemplate what it will look like in ten years time.

Our annual tradition involves cheatgrass and local beers. We always go in the afternoon, after naps and early dinner. The wind is always blowing and the hot sun beats down. As the years have gone by, B has gotten stronger and more capable of hiking longer portions on his own. It is now Lady H’s turn to go through the slow release of independence as she goes in and out of the pack, taking turns with running and running out of energy.

Ready to go!

Sunglasses and trucker hats.

 

My little trail runners. My mama heart is proud!

Chasing after her brother.
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Caught him.
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Keep it rad, all day.

 

My sweet Lady H.

Go outside and stay rad!

 

Interview with Mr. G: Running Told by My Other Half

Often, we run to become become better people. Hopefully, we become better people not only for ourselves, but for those that have to interact with us.

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An example of Mr. G holding down the fort, while I am racing in Romania.

Mr. G gets asked a lot how he feels about my running, so I decided to throw some questions at him for the curious.

Here are his thoughts:

1. The classic question–what do you do while Tara runs?

Try to keep the children from getting injured.  Make sure the house doesn’t burn down.  Sneak in some recording/editing time for YouTube.  Check my watch and make sure that you aren’t coming in way later than you should.

2. How does my running impact your life? 

It makes my marriage much better, because it makes you happy.  Running keeps you sane, and that has been really good for our relationship.

3. Do you run with her?

I have chased after Tara a few times. In particular in airports. If we have a tight connection to make you’re on your own for speed.  So, I’ve gotten some really good cardio in packing Baby G across airports at full speed. That’s about it for running. I will also do an occasional 5k, for the kids.

4. How do you feel about Tara’s running? 

She is really good at it.  It’s something she enjoys that brings her pleasure.  Everyone needs a passion.  Everyone needs one thing separate from work, or even family.  Something that is just for them.  For Tara that is running.  For me it’s YouTube.  We support one another in both of these endeavors and our relationship is stronger for it.

5. Tell about a time or two that stand out as memorable.

The most memorable time for me ever was when Tara had a trail run in Bosnia in the mountains.  The day of the run there was a particularly bad, unexpected blizzard up in the mountains.  It was the first time I ever saw my wife ask a race director if she could switch to a shorter distance.  We were both worried, but I know that if I tell Tara she shouldn’t do something, then she is more likely to dig in her heels and do it.  So, whenever she asks me if she should do a race, I always answer with this:

“Will you regret not having done this?  Which feels better to you, staying home and sitting this one out, or signing up and going for it?”

Long story short, she completed the race.  She got lost a few times, her phone nearly died, there were scares about mine fields, I called search and rescue, and had a speedy drive to the finish line.  However, that story deserves it’s own telling from start to finish, so I’ll save my side of that one for another time.

My “Why” Behind Ultrarunning. — thedancingrunner

So I was watching this awesome Billy Yang documentary about THE WHY…why many runners venture off into the amazing sport of ultrarunning. It’s actually a great video and I am posting it here so you should take some time out of your day and watch it if you have not seen it. I thought today […]

via My “Why” Behind Ultrarunning. — thedancingrunner

Favorite Podcasts

When I feel like learning something new, I listen to a good podcast. I find a lot of motivation in learning, so podcasts have been great for that. I have also discovered that I personally learn and listen better when I am running.

I put together a list of podcasts, which I broke into three categories–Educational, Running, and Ones to Try Soon.

 

Educational:

 

This American Life This is probably the most popular podcast of all time. You probably already know about it. If you don’t, you should. It is so, so good.

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Invisibilia Invisiblia is about the things we cannot see, but shape us–science and medicine told in interesting, attainable clips that come in under an hour.

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Hidden Brain Like the title suggests, it talks about how our unconscious dictates human behavior, without us even realizing it. Most are about half an hour long.

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Radiolab One of my favorites, Radiolab connects science and storytelling. You will learn something new and be captivated the entire episode, no matter which episode you choose.

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Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History I absolutely love Malcolm Gladwell, so I am excited to dig into Season 3. The first two were great. He takes a closer look at some event in the past and analyzes it to see if we really understood it the first time. He makes the listener want to be better at thinking about what we have always been told.

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Stuff You Should Know This is another one that you can’t really go wrong with. From Genghis Khan to anarchy to bullfighting, you find out how pretty much anything you are interested in works. They do go on slight side tangents, which end up being rather funny to listen to.

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Criminal This one is great. My only beef is that they aren’t long enough at about 20 minutes an episode. They go back and look at crime that has happened in the past, some recent past some going back centuries, and discuss what happened, who was involved, and why it happened. They do a great job keeping it human, as opposed to sterile. I cannot recommend this one enough.

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Freakonomics Radio If you liked the books, you will like the podcast. It talks about current topics that you most likely don’t know enough about, like the Trump tax cut and smart cities. They also discuss age-old debates, like does doing good give us license to do bad or the hot gluten conversation that just won’t die.

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Serial (season 1 only) I seriously locked myself in my room and said don’t talk to me, the new Serial episode just came out. You will now have the luxury of binge listening to this because season 1 has been out a while. It follows a murder and the man accused of her murder.

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99% Invisible This one is about how various things were actually created, like the fortune cookie or churches. You will learn something new with this one.

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Love + Radio This one is winning awards for unique audio. It talks about the arts and sciences. It covers people and ideas. It is good, but a bit difficult to define because of its broad range of topics.

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Running:

Another Mother Runner  This running podcast is geared toward women, as you could probably glean from the title. They cover all kinds of interesting running topics and seem like genuine people.

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The Runner’s World Show This one doesn’t run anymore (see what I did there), but it is still good to go back and listen. They feature a lot of great runners on their show to hear their perspectives, but they also cover various running topics.

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MoJo for Running Mojo for Running covers practical running tips and advice for all running abilities. It seems to have motivation at its core.

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Run to the Top They are also for varying abilities. They interview experts in psychology, running, nutrition, science, and everyday runners to get advice and knowledge.

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Ones to Try Soon:

RFK Tapes This one reexamines the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

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Ear Hustle Stories from inside prison–sounds fascinating.

 

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The Joe Rogan Experience I have been promised this is funny.

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Trail Talk Examines ideas around running for both regular runners and ultra runners, with a focus on ultras, I think. Lots of training advice that appears to be for people who already know about running. I am putting it in my queue!

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What is your favorite podcast?

No-Bake Energy Bites

There has been an energy bite craze in recent history. I myself, have been susceptible to this craze. They are perfect for dense energy that you can eat before or during your run. They are easy to make, simple to switch up ingredients for when you want a change, small but full of fairly good calories, taste awesome, and are easy to take with you on a long run. I wrap mine up in a piece of plastic wrap to fuel my long training runs or for trail races where I have my hydration pack.

Ingredients that I already had in the house.

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Final product. Pairs nicely with black coffee.

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

*I included cinnamon and chia seeds in mine today.

Optional: cinnamon, cocoa powder, dried fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, Stevia, even a little protein powder
Cream together the honey and peanut butter Then mix the rolled oats into the sticky goodness. Lastly, add the chocolate chips. Eat a few bites for good measure before rolling into balls. You won’t regret it.

You can also freeze them to reduce any stickiness that might occur when running in the heat. I wrap mine in a little bit of plastic wrap, stick them in the freezer, and then am good to go for my run.

Stay energized, rad, and happy!

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