Mermaid Duathlon recap, 2014

Yesterday I participated in the Mermaid Duathlon in beautiful Capitola, CA. It’s an adorable beach town just south of Santa Cruz.

After being on the injured list all summer, I knew going into this race there was no way I could compete. So I took it easy and enjoyed every second of it. #bestdecisionever

This was my 3rd year participating and is still my absolute favorite race course in the history of ever.

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It starts on a pier overlooking the gorgeous October sunrise, goes through a charming residential street, on the beach and the ride takes you through wooded areas so you get a little of everything.

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I met up with my friend Brittany and her husband Troy, before the race to pick up our packets. Capitola is about a 40 minute drive from Monterey so I opted to get it race day. It was easy peasy,

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After racking our bikes and setting up our transition area, we walked down to the beach to hang out before the start. It was so fun to watch the triathletes head into the ocean for their swim. Brittany and I agreed they are hardcore and we were pretty darn happy to stay on land. #wussmeisterstatus

First leg: Run 1.5 miles

Then it was our turn to start the first run. The beginning is uphill but the views are so incredible, I forgot all about the hard work it took to get there.

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(pic from last year)

Then we ran on the beach and into transition. It flew by!

Leg 2, Ride 11.5 miles:

Oh dear lawd this ride was all about embrace the suck. Since I was injured for so long, I choose to focus my training on running. That was not a very wise life decision, but I did it and now I know I can!

I met Toren along the way. She had a Mizuno logo on her tank and I struck up a quick conversation. Turns out she reads this dumb ole blog. Hi Toren!!

The course description said it was “predominately flat”. Maybe it’s true for more advanced riders, which in my case is anyone BUT me. Ha! It was not flat. However they did warn us about a climb before the turnaround point which almost took the fight right out of me, but I turned the Britney station on Pandora and peddled through most of it. Hey, at this rate I’m just happy I didn’t get lost.

On the bright side going down that sucker was one heck of a ride!!

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Leg 3, run 2.5 miles:

I was so pumped to do what I love most, jello legs and all. It was getting hot, and I remembered my mental note from last year to grab a bottle of water. That was a brilliant decision, though it would have even been better if I  tossed a Nuun tab in. I shall remember that for next year.

I ran/walked this though I ran more than I thought I would. Woohoo!

We ran up that dang hill and into the residential area, but other than that the course is flat. Then onto the beach where Toren and I met up again. We ended up finishing together. How cool is that!?

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Toren’s goal was to make it under 2 hours and she did. Congrats girl!

The race bling:

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Gotta love a race that gives you a cute necklace you can rock every day. It has “Mermaid” engraved on one side, and “Athlete” on the other. The race shirts are super cute as well.

After crossing the finish line and taking sweaty pics we hit up the Whole Foods booth for a couple snacks. I usually have Mike with me and we opt to go out to lunch, so it was fun to participate in the post race festivities.

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We also grubbed at Pizza My Heart for some salty goodness.

My advise for future participants:

  • Please do this race!! Then feel free to send me love notes and coffee.
  • Get there early. I got there about an hour early, so I easily found a parking spot. But if you need to pick up your packet on race day morning, it’s a bit of a hike from the transition area. It’s easier to just ride your bike there.
  • Bring water + fuel. There was a water station at transition and another one at the turn around point on the 2nd run but that’s all I remember seeing. I carried a bottle of water for the 2nd run and it turned out to be a brilliant life decision.
  • Train for the race. Duh. I was injured all summer and off + on the month leading up to the race. It was a bit more difficult than it should have been had I trained. That being said, I think the race distances are perfect for an entry level duathlon participant. It’s enough you have to train for, but not overwhelming.

A HUGE thank you to the folks at the Mermaid Triathlon + Duathlon for the bib in exchange for this post. Please don’t ever stop putting on a fantastic race!

You may read my other Mermaid race recaps here and here.

Has anyone ever done a duathlon?

What is your favorite race course ever?

What does your significant other do while your racing?

Mike is my photographer, but other than that the boy get’s board. I think it would be awesome if the race directors put together a beer/coffee and food booth and maybe a tv to watch a game to keep them occupied. Ha!

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The 10% rule & the worst day ever according to Bam

Happy Thursday friends!! I hope October is off to a great start. I am still enjoying this gorgeous weather. This no fog thing rocks. Here is last nights sunset from my backyard.

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I usually throw out that whole ‘increase your running mileage by 10% a week’ rule, but since I am soooo sick of being on the broken runner list, I decided to actually follow it for like the first time ever.

I know there is some controversy about this golden running rule, but I feel comfortable training by it for now. We’ll see how it goes.

Since I am comfortable running a 5K, earlier this week I did 3.5 miles. I know it’s not exactly 10% but it made the Type A in me happy.

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It wasn’t easy, but now I know I can do it.

I had another follow up with my PT ninja yesterday for a hip adjustment. Turns out these things take time to work out, but today I’m feeling great. As I was leaving, he said I want to see more miles out of you.

Best day ever!

The other day Heather invited me to the gym for a round of strength training. I am pretty sure she was trying to kill me. In the best way possible of course. I mean, who really needs to lift their arms to do their hair anyway, right?

That girl can plank for 10 solid minutes. I swear she is super human.

In other news, Bam had a bath the other night and thinks it is the worst day ever. I mean, why would his humans not know he would rather roll in the mud? So rude.

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Don’t worry, I made up for it.

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And this should be Mike’s new shirt!

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What running rule{s} do you follow?

Have you set some October goals?

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Giveaway: close your eyes, find your happy place

This post and giveaway is sponsored by SpringHill Suites.

SpringHill Suites recently contacted me to write about my happy place. This is going to sound funny, but since I love where we live and really enjoy the simple things in life, I couldn’t choose just one.

Lately I realized my happiness stems from several things, not just one place. This guy makes me incredibly happy. Just don’t tell him or he will get a big head. Winking smile

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The ability to live in such a beautiful place by the sea. I am thankful for it every single day. I even ask Mike for reassurance that we are not ever moving. Yep, I am ‘that’ chick.

Over the last year I have realized how important quality of life really is to me. The weather is usually incredible, I can run and go to the farmers market year round, it’s walkable, and an overall happy, fantastic community. #simplethings

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This guy!! Oh man does Mr. Bam make me one happy girl! Taking him to the off leash beach in Carmel makes him so happy my heart can’t even stand it. I swear he smiles the entire time.

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My little grandma. She is my favorite person on the planet. Yes, you can have favorites. She has the biggest heart, is independent, stubborn, pushes her car into the garage at 86 year of age {no lie}, is tough as nails and hilarious without even trying.

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Traveling. This is something I have never really done much of, but would love to see a lot more. Now I just need to figure out how to become independently wealthy.

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I am most happy with things money can’t buy. Friends + family, great health, waking up to the sun shining, the ability to walk, run and workout, playing with Bam, having a job that I love, helping others who want to help themselves, a hike with a good friend. I could go on.

It took awhile to find my happy place, but now that I’m here…..

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Now it’s your turn!!

Wanna win a $50 VISA gift card and/or one of eight uber cool prizes like designer shades or a tablet from SpringHill Suites? Sure ya do!

Here’s how:

  • Enter on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ArtIsEverywhere and tagging @SpringHillSuite and @SpringHillSuites.
  • Hop on over to ArtIsEverywhereGallery.com and upload your favorite pictures – {there’s no limit!}. I entered my Eiffel Tower shot from Vegas above and it was super easy. Crossing my fingers!
  • Leave a comment below telling me where you happy place is.
  • Extra entries if you upload you pictures to the Art Is Everywhere site, Tweet, FB, Insta, blog, etc about the giveaway. Just be sure to hop back over here and leave a comment telling me you did.

Giveaway is open to US shipping addresses only and will run until Sunday, October 5. I will announce the winner in Monday mornings post.

Good luck!!!!

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An apology + a rookie chicken noodle soup recipe

Yesterday Bam and I celebrated National Coffee Day by walking around Carmel. Yes, I was totally ‘that’ person.

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For those who are not familiar to Carmel, let me explain the…demographic might I say, with a few words.

  • Eclectic.
  • Affluent. I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
  • One of the most dog friendly cities. Most restaurants have a dog menu.

You see, I am not pretentious at all. Okay, maybe when it comes to coffee and running shoes, but that’s about it. Bam on the other hand is not at tall. With anything. He has no sense of personal space or manners. He also has no idea how to walk like a normal dog on a leash.

While I was enjoying my iced coffee, little knucklehead here jumped into a beautifully manicured church garden probably out of boredom or hunting a butterfly. There was a sign clearly marked ‘no dogs’. This guy was even on leash.

Dog owner of the year, right here.

He sincerely apologized and then I took him shopping for a treat.

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File that under #reasonsIcanthavekids and #iamasucker

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Moving on, I did some grocery shopping and decided to be Suzi freaking homemaker and make a chicken noodle soup from scratch. Full disclosure: Mike helped with the flavors since I am kinda inept in that area.

It turned out better than I expected. Hey, even a blind squirrel can get a nut every now + then, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of chicken broth
  • 1 of those cans of water
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Chopped carrots-as much as you’d like
  • Chopped celery-as much as you’d like
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 T parsley
  • Sea salt + lots of pepper

Directions:

Season the chicken with garlic powder, parsley, S+P, then boil it in chicken broth + water until it shreds.

Add the veggies and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add noodles. I am impatient so I went with egg noodles that only take 5-6 minutes to cook, but any kind will work.

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Eat.

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I can’t be a loner on this one, what did your pet do that embarrassed you?

How did you celebrate National Coffee Day? Crossing my fingers you did.

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Our first trail run + one of the best days of the year

Happy National Coffee Day!! This is like the best day ever! I will be sure to celebrate all day.

Running shoes + coffee. Is there a better pair? I hope you are nodding your head yes to this. Winking smile

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I convinced the boys to hit up the trail with me so I could throw down some miles. Remember I’m a chicken? I think a snake or mountain lion is going to stalk me.

The boys walked while I ran a couple loops.

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As I was passing them, Bam started running after me. I was stoked he wanted to be my running buddy, but a little worried he would see a butterfly or squirrel and chase after it. You see, he has the attention span of a gnat. But to my surprise he kept up. He did stop a couple times to sniff, but quickly caught up when I called him.

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He even led the way a couple times.

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I freaking loved trail running, and can’t wait to log some more miles with the Bamstagram!

I did a 5K in a little over 30 minutes. From what I hear, you don’t really focus on splits or time while trail running because the terrain is so varied. That is perfect because lately I’ve just been focusing on loving the run. Though next time I will be smart and wear my Pro Compression socks as my legs were itchy the rest of the day.

Any trail runners out there?

What are your best tips for a new trail runners?

How are you celebrating National Coffee Day?

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Saturday happenings + places you don’t recommend

I usually take Sunday off from blogging, but I have a little extra time. Mike + Bam are still snoozing, I’m still off work and I’ve probably had way too much coffee. So here I am, hanging out with you guys. Good morning!

This random week off has been so incredible, I have done many new things, and have truly enjoyed life to the fullest.

Yesterday we explored the beach by Spanish Bay golf course. We walked through the hotel lobby, onto the pedestrian trail from the golf course to the beach boardwalk.

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Spanish Bay is owned + operated by Pebble Beach company. A lot of folks who play Pebble, stay here because I think it’s a bit cheaper. To be guaranteed a tee time at Pebble, they require a minimum of 2 nights stay at one of their resorts. Pebble Beach Company owns 3 golf courses, Spy Glass is the third one in case you are wondering.

You are welcome for the fruitless information. Winking smile

I was surprised at how long the boardwalk went on, which made for a really cool adventure.

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After days of sun, the fog refused to lift, which made for a cozy afternoon. It was still in the 60’s. Perfect coffee weather if you ask me. So we tried a new to us coffee shop, Book Works in Pacific Grove.

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When visiting a new coffee shop, I always ask what their ‘claim to fame’ or most popular dink is and order it. This one happened to be Sweet Italian and another one I can’t remember. We got both to try and loved the one I can’t remember the name of. Oops.

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Because I am a chicken and don’t want to go by myself, I convinced Mike to check out a trail we drive by all the time. That was a great life decision.

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It was beautiful, I can’t wait to introduce Em + my trail running shoes to it.

The redwood trees were a pleasant surprise.

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We ended the day roaming Fisherman’s Wharf. Where we had a late lunch at Peter B’s {I do not recommend} and climbed rocks until someone got his feet wet and cried. Ha, not really but that boy does NOT like getting his shoes wet.

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I hear the boy stirring around, better wrap this up. We have some friends coming over for smoked ribs-a Mike specialty and I want to run and get the house in order before then.

I hope you have a fantastic Sunday with friends + family!!

How did you spend your Saturday?

We always talk about places we recommend, is there anywhere you don’t recommend? A restaurant or touristy place you feel it’s overpriced?

I feel like Fisherman’s Wharf is a bit overpriced and not too exciting. I would recommend walking through, {it really is a must see when coming to Monterey} and then finding someplace else to eat. Like Cannery Row or La Bicyclette in Carmel. Just my 2 cents fo free though.

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Bam is training for his first 5K

Yesterday I set out to take Bam for a long walk. He LOVES being active and outside so we are quite the pair.

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Bam was full of energy and not interested in walking {that’s a JRT for ya}, so we ran like somebody left the gate open.

He doesn’t know it, but he is training for his first 5K. Dude is more of a sprinter so I am working with him on slowing down a little and building endurance. I don’t have any experience training with a dog, so we are taking it easy.

Now I just have to find a dog friendly race.

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In other news, Mike and I went to brunch and it had to be the most simplistic meal I’ve had in years. No fancy pants ingredients or spices or ketchup or hot sauce {though I LOVE sauces}, just sea salt and coarse cracked pepper. It was so perfect. Real food is so good.

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Late afternoon I met with Michele for 40 minutes of pool running which made for a very active day around here. I am loving my fitbit so much I kinda want to marry it. Not really, but I get really excited when it buzzes when I hit 10,000 steps. I am constantly amazed at how much I underestimated my activity level before. Nerd alert.

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{calories burned are not accurate}

Better get ready, Mike and I have a super fun weekend planned.

Do you run with your furry friend?

If so, what’s your best advise?

Do you like simplistic meals or prefer lots of flavor + sauce?

Both, but I really love sauces.

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Finding my running mojo + a Friday favorite

Looks like I am finding my running mojo again. I’ve been feeling like the characters in the movie Robots. Every time I think my body mechanics are all in order, I’m sidelined with a new issue. Which of course slows my training down and creates a snowball effect.

It took some confidence building, but I finally did my first post injury punks 5K yesterday. I was quickly reminded about how running does not come naturally or easy for me, which is probably why I love it so much.

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Pretty sure I saw a turtle pass me but I only stopped twice. Once for a light and another for horrible heartburn. I’m still confused at that since I took Tums before. I’ll take it though!

I celebrated with a pedi. Not really, my Flintstone feet needed it.

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The heartburn continued even after lunch, a Zantac + more Tums so I did the logical thing and got a coffee. Told ya I wasn’t a smart one.

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I snuggled with Bam on the couch until I felt a lot better and got a second wind. So I went pool running. Maybe that has some redeeming value from the coffee logic earlier.

Doubt it.

A 30 minute therapy sesh later, I was feeling like a million bucks.

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On the way home I saw the sun was setting so I pulled over to snap some pics.

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Usually the fog rolls in and we don’t get to see them that often. But when we do, it’s kinda special.

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A little Friday favorite love <3

I recently found Jenn on Instagram. She is an ultra runner who got bit by a rattle snake twice about a month ago. Her courage and resilience is incredible! Go check out her page and send some positive thoughts her way.

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How do you find your running or workout mojo?

Any fun plans this weekend?

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Mizuno Wave Rider 18 preview + fun stuff with Pro Compression

I woke up to some liquid stuff falling from the sky. Not sure what it is since it hasn’t happened in a long time but I am enjoying it.

This week Bam and I tag teamed 30 minutes of running/walking/sniffing. He is quite the running partner! Maybe we can find a 5K to run together.

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Good news, Bam finally got off the soap Mizuno box so I could share the new Wave Rider 18’s. He expects treats and belly rubs just so ya know.

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I will be sure to do a full review after I throw down some more miles. But so far, I am in love.

We finally found our new local Mediterranean restaurant after a year. Something so simple made us incredibly happy! I had the chicken kebob with rice and a salad. The raw onions were quickly pushed aside. Yuck.

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After lunch Mike had an appointment, so I wandered around City Hall and not gonna lie, to get in some more steps on my fitbit. Winking smile

Monterey is rich in history and beauty.

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Indian Summer is bringing it this year!

I have made good on my promise to fill my days with a bunch of stuff I want to do but find excuses for. Cooking isn’t usually something I enjoy, but I do enjoy a nice home cooked meal, so I made a Shepherds Pie. I used lean ground beef and no lamb because homie over here does not eat poor little lamb chop.

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I’ve made it before so it’s a pretty safe bet for my non existent cooking abilities. Mike liked it and we didn’t die, so I’m calling it a win.

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Now for some fun stuff with Pro Compression!!

Give ‘em a follow on Instagram and use coupon code INSTA for 40% off and free US shipping.

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For those of you running the Chicago Marathon, Lauren has partnered with Pro to put together a shake out run through Millennium Park. Deets are below if you are interested.

foodie_runner on Instagram

One thing you want to do soon that you keep finding excuses for?

Share your fail proof recipe.

What colors/pattern/design would you like to see Pro Compression come out with?

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PUMA: Performance + Comfort

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA Fitness.

Recently I have shared my new found passion for making small, healthy changes which has pretty much been the complete opposite of my stubborn all or nothing approach. Hey, I never claimed to be smart.

I have also focused on living and doing things I have always wanted to, but somehow come up with excuses not to.

skinnychickblog on Instagram

Yesterday I recruited the boys to soak up the morning sunshine and climb rocks on the beach. We don’t do this often enough.

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Well, some of us tried to dig through rocks for crabs. Turns out that didn’t work out so well, but thanks for giving yourself a free pawdicure buddy.

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We don’t see the sun this early in the morning every day, so it’s a treat when we wake up to it!

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After we climbed rocks, walked along the beach and one of us (not gonna rat him out) rolled around in seaweed and smelled like dead sea life, a nice fluffy cappuccino sounded amazing. So we stopped into a little café in Pacific Grove to get our fix.

My view:

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His view:

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My view was better. Smile

Now, let’s talk about this uber schweet PUMA gear I’ve been rocking lately.

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PUMA sent me two outfits to try out. The first one is all about performance.

Gym Tank is comfortable and stylish. I’m a huge fan of racer backs – I rock them on the daily, so the criss cross style get’s two thumbs up for mobility. Plus it’s super cute and I’m not even going to pretend that isn’t a factor with workout gear.

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3/4 tights are my first pair with a pattern and I am definitely digging them. They have a wide waistband, which I love because I like to wear pants super low and always roll them down. Major bonus points for not digging into my sides or giving me muffin top.

Mobium XT shoes were a fun change to hike in. They are lightweight but still felt comfortable and stable. Plus you can’t go wrong with the loud color scheme.

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The next look is fashion comfort. Muhahaha my favorite!

I’m gonna be real honest here, when I opened the package and saw these wide Capsule Pants, I thought there was no way in heck I would like them. But then Emily told me to try scrunching the ankle bands up. Girlfriends a genius! Turns out I am totally into them.

They have an extra wide waist band with a draw string for extra comfort. Is it weird that I really like the large front pockets? Yah, don’t answer that.

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Narita V2 shoes are comfortable and flexible which made it fun for climbing rocks and walking on the beach. I think they would be a great ‘kicking it on the weekend’ shoe as well.

Gym Loose Tank is a definite winner! It’s on the see-thru side but a fun colored sports bra really takes it up a notch. I would also feel comfortable wearing it with a loud tank and yoga pants to grab coffee or green juice with a friend.

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Have you ever worn PUMA gear?

If you could wear whatever you wanted all the time, what would it be?

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