Things Happen For a Reason

I’ve had quite the last few interesting months. At one point I was working 3 jobs a day, planning a weekend for my sister and her friends to celebrate her upcoming wedding, and not to mention trying to find the time to run or even just workout.

Coaching ended so I got some of my nights back, but I was still getting up early to work at the fitness studio 3 days a week so I could have my Sunday back. That was amazing. To have one of my weekend days back, YES! I could attempt to get things done after Church. But then I did the crazy (and some may even say stupid) thing of signing up for 2 marathons that are 14 days apart. Um, say what? Yes, I signed up for 2 marathons that are 14 days apart. You can read about that craziness here. So I knew that I had to really reign in my training knowing that I didn’t want to slack and have the possibility of getting injured so that I then couldn’t participate in the second marathon. I want my Marathon Maniac status!

So I did the only sensible thing, and turned in my resignation to the fitness studio. It was a sad day, I didn’t want to do it but knew that it had to be done. But I gave them a month to find someone to take my shifts. Lucky me, they found someone sooner and so I’ve been able to start running again in the mornings. It’s been a wonderful thing.

I also think that me signing up for these 2 marathons were telling me to stop and to slow down a little. I was packing my days so full that I didn’t have time to breathe. With me now training properly, I am able to sleep, eat, talk to friends and relax when I need to.

Everything happens for a reason, even those difficult decisions to take a leap of faith and know that everything will be fine on the other side.

Insta Friends to Real Life Friends

So I started this blog over a year ago and last year the post went a lot better than this year. I don’t know, I just feel I’m not as interesting. I promise to change that as the year goes on. 🙂

We all have those friends that we know by their user name and come to look for interaction with. I have met some really awesome and wonderful friends, who I have not met yet because we met on social media but I hope that changes sooner rather than later.

I don’t know exactly when we became friends, friends, but I do know this past January I was IG stalking one of my most come to be known awesome friends as she was getting ready to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World. Stlrunnergirl! I feel like that’s a superhero name! Anyways, I direct messaged her for her last name asking for her last name so I could track her during her races. I know, stalker right? But by this point I had followed her training and told her that she had this, and all of this too! She kindly obliged and I tracked all of her races. Not to mention, she did phenomenal! And I’m totally jealous that she has done Dopey! It’s on my bucket list. Not to mention we found out that we have the SAME first name spelled exactly the same way!!! That NEVER happens!

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A few weeks later here in Virginia, we got SLAMMED with snow. I was dog sitting so I had to clear the driveway and sidewalks so the family didn’t get hit with some fines. Mind you we got 36ish inches of snow. And yes, you read that right, 36ish. While I was over at this house we were talking constantly through the direct message from IG. We quickly learned that neither one of us were harmful and I shared my number with her. I shared lots of pictures of the snow, and boy there was lots of it to share. It literally took weeks to melt and took several days for some roads to see plows. But I still talked to my friend @stlrunnergirl.

It’s been a few months and since then and we continue to text daily! And by daily I mean that we are talking throughout the day. From sun up to past sun down. I know right. I even somehow convinced her to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon Lottery. Which we both got in, and that will be the first time that we actually meet in person! I’m so excited for that. Kristin has been an amazing encourager and supporter for all of my events throughout the year so far. I mean she event told me that she was going to run 10 miles virtually while I ran my 10 mile race without training!!!! Who does that?

I’m so grateful that I’ve met Kristin. She’s been one in a million with encouraging me and helping me through my tough running times. I’m so grateful that she agreed to come out and run the Marine Corps Marathon with me. She’s a true friend and I can’t wait to meet her in person.

Do any of you all have a friend from social media that you can’t wait to meet?

 

Whole New Level of Crazy

I know it’s been a few weeks, months, maybe years (kidding) since I’ve written. My life has been pretty crazy so I needed to take a step back and work through the stress and then jump  back here to fill you all in. So don’t hate me too bad! 😀

You all know that I’m having this awesome adventure this November and running the Original Marathon in Athens, Greece. You can read all about that here. I can’t wait for that and to be over there and running. I know I’m going to get tears when I finish because the finish line is in the 1896 Olympic Stadium. How cool is that?!

Well this is where the crazy comes in. I was talking with my friend K who had signed up for the NYC Marathon lottery. She was looking for a fall marathon that was a stand alone event to see what she could do without having other races around that day. So we waited and waited and sadly she did not get into NYC. Big Bummer! As we were texting back and forth she came to the decision to register for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. I kept telling her to try because even if she did not get in, then there was the bib transfer process (Love this about the Marine Corps Marathon!). So she should just decide to come on out and stay with me and run the Marine Corps Marathon!

After much decision, she decided to do it. So that got me thinking. I have Athens on 13 November. Awesome right? Well Marine Corps Marathon is 30 October. Ok perfect, no problem. Never done a marathon 2 weeks apart. No problem, new challenge, Great. Well that would also qualify me for Marathon Maniacs! So yes, I totally entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery too! Luckily the lottery is only open for a week and they let us know on 31 March if we were going to be running with the Marines or not. Whoop Whoop…I made it. I was selected to run with the Marines!! My friend K was also selected! Double Whoop!

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I qualified for half fanatics last year. Go me! So if I complete this years challenge and run the 2 marathons 2 weeks apart, I’ll get my Marathon Maniacs AND Double Agent status. Now I’m not winning any races, I just want to finish! get those medals and have awesome experiences.

So here’s to the training, and entering a new level of crazy!

Race Recap – Reston 10 Miler

Sunday was a fantastic day for a run. It was nice and cool in the morning and the sun was out towards mid morning. Little did I know that I would be struggling through a 10 mile run. Well ok, I DID know I was going to struggle through my 10 mile run. I haven’t been training since I’ve been working 3 jobs finding the time to get a run in was dang near impossible. Being up at 4am and working until almost 11pm, yeah…where’s the time? I’m totally blaming my sister for the peer pressure on this one. She told me that she wasn’t going to sign up unless I did. So naturally the pressure was put on and I did sign up. You can tell me how stupid that was later. HAHA

Saturday my sister and I jetted down to Reston PR to pick up our packets since we don’t like picking up our packets before hand. We prefer having everything we need so we don’t have to worry about it that morning. She and I got to Potomac River Running in Reston and it was seamless getting our packets as it usually is. There were lots of people in the store and so we jetted out pretty quickly. I laid out my race outfit the night before and of course had to post to IG. I of course had to wear all the colors with the upcoming holiday of St. Patrick’s Day.

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My 10 Miler Outfit

 

Sunday came and she and I headed down to South Lakes High School. I totally wanted to bail. I knew I hadn’t been running so this was not going to be a stellar run by any means. But I also knew I was going to be really, really sore the next day. We got down there to South Lakes with plenty of time and picked a parking spot. We were just hanging out in the car until about 7:30 before heading into the school to find restrooms and to hang out some more. I knew lots of people running and would find them at some point. I wasn’t ready to head out into the cold, and it wasn’t too bad that morning, but standing out there just wasn’t my idea of fun.

I was hoping to meet up with a running buddy but we crossed paths and totally missed each other! Big Bummer! The race started and I was hoping to finish in under 2 hours since I just haven’t put in the work. Oops! Don’t recommend running long distances without training but that’s exactly what happened to me. I started off running 4 minutes and walking a minute which quickly turned into running 3 walking 2. Add in the dreaded hills. (Who knew Reston was built on hills?!) I was walking up the hills because I just wasn’t running them. Yup, not doing it.IMG_9077

I did ok through mile 5. After mile 5 it all went downhill with an uphill climb. Ugh. My splits tell you exactly how I was feeling. HAHA. I kept turning around to see if I could see my friends. I didn’t know if they were in front of me or behind me. So I kept trudging along to the finish line. Oddly enough this race was mostly right hand turns. HAHA. There’s 1 or 2 left hand turns on the race course and so when I hit that first one, I knew we were almost done. YAY!

I finished in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 54 seconds! Just under the 2 hour mark. Thanks goodness! I freaking survived. Woohoo! That was something to celebrate! It wasn’t a pretty 10 miles, maybe pretty for 5 miles, but the Reston 10 miler is always a great course with great race support.

Thanks to Potomac River Running for another great event. I’ll surely be back.

I’m Feeling a Little Nutty!

A few weeks ago, I got a delivery from Manitoba Harvest that included 2 of their new protein bars for me to review. What I’m about to tell you is completely and 100% my opinion. 🙂

I have the bag of hemp hearts that I use in my smoothies every so often and on salads and in some heavy winter soup like butternut squash. Anyways, I wanted to try their new protein bars. I was skeptical but why not. I received the apple cinnamon and chocolate. Yum! I’m not a huge chocolate fan, I know weird right! Any who, I decided to chomp in on the apple cinnamon right away. YUMMY! It definitely has a nutty taste but extremely good with the hints of cinnamon and sweet apples.

Each bar has 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omega 3 & 6. How awesome is that?! Not to mention you can actually say the names of each of the ingredients. Another plus!

The chocolate is just as good and still has the same nutty taste that comes from the hemp hearts. It’s not overly sweet either. Think semi-sweet chocolate. It’s still another great option to have.

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In all, I’ll keep these around the house for my go to when I need to take something quick and don’t have time to whip something up fast. I would recommend these bars to others if they are looking for a good plant based option.

Manitoba Harvest is running a photo contest. (Details here). Make sure you tag the following: @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach

for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!

A winner will be chosen each month!

Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents

Manitoba Harvest also gave us a special discount code to pass along to all of you. The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016

So…what’s your go to protein bar??

Marathon #3 – Athens, Greece

I have super huge news! My sister, uncle and I had been discussing this for quite some time. And some time being around a year or so. We started last year talking about signing up for the Original Marathon. The one that started it all! Athens, Greece!!!!!!

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Serious discussions started when we were at my Grandmother’s funeral in August. I kept thinking that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and how exciting that it would be. I’ve never run any races with my uncle. My sister and I have done a handful of half marathons, a decent amount of 5ks together and a handful of other races. But this will be the first time we are all running a marathon together. My uncle and my sister are going to blow me out of the water. They are amazing runners and I can’t wait to experience this with them. It’s going to be one pretty awesome experience.

If you don’t know the history behind the marathon here is a mini recap for you. The original marathon started after the Battle of Marathon when Pheidippides ran from Marathon, Greece to Athens, Greece to relay the victory to the citizens. Unfortunately he was only able to exclaim, “We were victorious!” before he collapsed and died. Now, I don’t want that to happen to us that are running that marathon. And it’s hard to believe that us runners still compete in the marathon event after such a horrible start.

Last night we booked our trip and I’m so glad that my Mom is going with us to experience this with us. She won’t be running but she’ll be there with open arms and our official photographer (She doesn’t know that yet). To say that I’m geeking out about where the finish line is would be an understatement. I’m super excited to be finishing (fingers crossed) in the 1896 Olympic Stadium. Any athlete’s dream, well at least mine!

2016 Goals

Have you ever stared off the new year with big goals? And I mean REALLY BIG GOALS?!

This year I have and the biggest one has been to train for my 3rd marathon which happens to be outside of the US and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s the original marathon, the one that started it all. The Athens, Greece Marathon! The one that ends in the 1896 Olympic stadium!

As a former swimmer and collegiate swimmer this is bigger than you realize! Just running in that stadium will be a fan-freaking-tastic memory but the fact that I will be there with my sister, cousin, and uncle will be an unmemorable memory!!

I can’t wait to make this happen and this will definitely be one of the highlights of 2016! I can’t wait to show you pictures and to make it happen! This is going be one fantastic year!

2015 In Review

Happy New Years Eve! This year seems to have flown by. There’s been a lot of things that have happened. Some really awesome and amazing experiences and then some not so great ones. I think that happens in everyone’s life and just how you deal with it and make the best of every situation.

January 2015 started out amazing. My swimmers were determined to have a great rest of the winter season and we certainly did. By the time conferences happened, they made it known they wanted to make it to states and still love every second. Which they did. January 16th also brought one of the most exciting “OMGsh” moments of the year, I decided to sign up for the NYC Marathon lottery knowing that my chances were slim to none about getting in. More on that later. I didn’t run too much in January. In fact I only ran 6 times for a total of 23.14 miles! I had made my goal of 1000 miles in 2015 and yeah not off to a great start.

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On the pool deck coaching my swimmers!

February came around and it was just as fun as January. I was still coaching and we got some snow. My swimmers did amazing at regions and states and we saw some of our seniors graduate. February brought back memories of my very first ever half marathon from 2012, the Disney Princess half. I will never forget running down Main Street in Magic Kingdom and it will always hold a special place in my heart. February didn’t bring lots of running either and I had 2 half marathons to prepare for in March. I did complete a 5k, a 10k and a virtual half marathon. My monthly total for February was 26.54 miles, still a long way from my 1000 mile goal.

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March blew in with a vengeance. I had a very ambitious goal of 2 half marathons 8 days apart. Who ever thought this was a fantastic idea, me, was crazy. I ran the DC Rock ‘n Roll half with 2 great friends and had a great time even though it RAINED the entire time! It was fine when I was running but after I was sooooo cold. Then just 8 days later, I ran the VA Beach Shamrock Half which was so much fun. It was flat and a great course and great people along the route. My plantar fasciitis was really killing me but I survived and completed my 8th half marathon. The other HUGE thing that happened in March was the lottery results of the NYC Marathon, and yes I GOT IN! My first try and I was accepted! I was in total shock but in awe of the year I was going to have. I was super excited. My total mileage for March was 35.69. Better but still a long way off.

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Me and my new friends…the racing Presidents!

April brought in spring and my marathon training started. I decided to opt for a long training plan because I had not been running the entire first 3 months like I would have liked. So I figured I would start slow and steady and get to the end. I also ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which turned into 9.5 miles due to some unforeseen circumstances on the race course and we all had to be diverted. That was a fun race, and we had a FANTASTIC day for it. I would run that race again in the future, it would just be hard to beat the full blooms of the cherry blossom trees and the great weather. April brought 39.88 miles for me.

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Obligatory Selfie with the Cherry Blossom Trees

May, couldn’t believe it was May already. May brought on 10 training runs, with 3 of those being races. So it was defiantly not my month. I got to run the color run for the 5th time, think I enjoy that race? I also got to run Carter’s Walk 5k to support Dandy-Walker Syndrome and then the DC Wine Country Half at the end of may. Did someone say wine? It was a great race. It was my slowest ever half marathon since I had not trained for it, but I did finish and had a blast with my 2 friends who were training for their first marathon and ran it was well! I had 40.37 miles. Getting there but still not quite where I should be.

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Enjoying all the colors in May!

June was a an ok month. My training started to slide for the NYC Marathon and I was still in the low mileage month. I traveled to Jekyll Island for a work trip and had an absolute blast, although we did get diverted to Pittsburgh on the way home which then ended up in a car for 4 hours and getting back to DC around 4:30am. I did go into work that day around 11am and I was in my comfy clothes for sure. June also brought me admitting to myself that I was not as healthy as I assumed I was. You can read about that post here. I got to see 34.45 miles during June which brought my 2015 total to 200.07 miles! Do you think I’m going to hit my 1000 miles for 2015 goal?

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A very brutal 3.88 Miles on Jekyll Island

July was a quick month which had the anticipation for our family vacation to Cape Cod. We always love going to the Cape and enjoy the early mornings and how serene it can be. July also had impromptu trips to Swarthmore, PA to visit my grandmother and needing to do a 7 mile training run while up there. Also I got to really hang out with my cousin who is 10 years older than me and that really was the first time we had to talk and get to know each other and that was fun. At the end of July I had a very low 28.92 miles. Yikes, but I do love running on the Cape!

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Running on the Cape with my Sister!

August was the heat of the summer and also saw some somber times. My grandmother died on her 97th birthday! I was so glad to have gone up the month before to see her. My cousin that is living in Hong Kong came back over for the funeral and my cousin and his wife from Iowa drove out for the funeral. It was great to have everyone there and to really spend time with them. I think we were up until midnight or later talking and drinking and having fun. Something we have never done. There were not a lot of miles for August. OOPS. Even with the NYC Marathon looming, oh well. I had a total of 23.78 miles. Yeah, not hitting my 1000 mile goal. I’ll save that for another year.

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My amazing Uncle, Sister and I getting ready to go for a morning run!

September was amazing. I got a new boss at work (thank the Lord) and it saved me a lot of stress. September was also dreadful since the lump in my breast that I found last year and got tested (everything turned out ok) grew. New worry. So there were a lot of unknowns. I also was still training for my marathon and well that just was not going well. At this point I didn’t know what to expect for my marathon and it brought on a lot of anxiety. I got to run the Color Run again! Time number 6! What really helped in September was a friend of mine who would text me on Friday and ask if I wanted to go on a long run with her. It’s always better when you run with friends. Even though I didn’t want to a few times, I knew I needed to and I am forever grateful to her for having me along for the run! I had a total of 43.57 miles in September.

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October brought on the 30 day countdown to the NYC Marathon and my sister’s Marine Corps Marathon and a goal that she has been working towards for the majority of the year. I ran the Marine Corps 10k as my last long run before my marathon the week after hers and I discovered a little gem in covering my watch and just going by the feel of it when it vibrates to tell me when I needed to run or walk. Huge for the following week when I went to NYC. We had a blast and I’m a proud sister to have her achieve her goal of being able to apply for the Boston Marathon! She’s amazing and tells everyone that I got her into run, which I did. So next September she gets to apply! My fingers are crossed for her! This was my taper month, YAY! Who doesn’t love taper? October was also filled with doctor appointments to figure out why my lump grew and what to do about it. Ultimately, the doctor decided that removal and surgery was the best option and luckily I could postpone that until after the marathon. I had 51.46 miles for the month! Best month to the year!

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Getting ready to run one of my last long runs on the C&O Canal

 

November was my marathon month! The NYC Marathon!!!! I was super stoked and scared all at the same time. We had a great day for it, great weather and I couldn’t ask for a better experience. The people that lined the race course to the messages of encouragement I got on Facebook and text messages were amazing. You can read my race recap here. Soon after that was my surgery to remove my lump in my breast. It went better than expected and I was home at my mom’s house by 10 the morning of surgery. I stayed off my legs and running until December 6th when I had a 5k scheduled. It was good so I could let myself heal and not pull the stitches out. I had a total of 26.78 miles for the month of November. Just the marathon.

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My medal! It’s beautiful!

The year went by so quickly and December was here before I knew it. I had a 5k scheduled for December 6th. I did great for just having surgery a few weeks before. I finished and had a good time. Coaching started again and therefore we had our meets as well. I didn’t run in December besides the 5k since the 3 jobs and my swim meets were getting in the way and I would need sleep at some point. December is also my birthday month! YAY! Happy Birthday to me! So I only had 3.16 miles in December and 177.68 for the second half of 2015!

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2015 has been a fun year especially when I look back on it and think of all my friends that I have made in different states and friends here in Virginia. I can’t ask for better running friends and better friends period. Ones that text me and ask to go running or to figure out what races we all are doing. It has been an amazing year full of 377.75 miles! Way less miles than what I wanted and shooting for but miles are still miles. Lets see if I can beat 377.75 miles in 2016. Seems doable. HAHA.

2016 will bring on lots of new adventures and my first international race! I can’t wait! I hope you all have had a spectacular 2015! Cheers to 2016!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a little different in my house this year. Last year, my mom, sister and I all went up to my grandmothers house to spend Christmas with her and my mom’s side of the family. At the time, we didn’t know it would be the last Christmas that we would get to spend with my Grandmother. She loved every second of having her family there with her that day as much as she grumbled.

This year, we are doing Christmas differently. We are spending it with others that won’t have family around. It’s also 70℉ which is just not right.

Thank you to our men and women who courageously fight for us to have special days like this. Thank you to our police, firefighters, and EMTs who are there when things go awry. I hope everyone gets to spend this day with people they love and enjoy being around.

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Let’s talk Inner Age and Blood Tests

A few months ago I took the plunge and took the Ultimate Test from Inside Tracker, www.insidetracker.com. I was scared of the results but also wanted to better myself and be ready to make the change. The results I got back were definitely not the results I thought and they were much worse than I expected. You can read about it here, I’ve Been in Denial.

Well, about a week ago, I took the plunge for another round of tests. Lots of things have changed in my personal life since the first test was taken. New boss at work, another job (adding to what I already have on my plate), surgery, a marathon, you name it there was lots of changes. I was able to get an early morning appointment so I didn’t have to go long without food. YAY! I was nervous about the results and I actually forgot about them until the email showed up in my inbox early last Friday morning.

I anxiously opened it and totally forgot my password since I was not on my normal computer. But I got in! That’s all that matters. I took a look at my results and starting going through them like a champ. There was lots that I needed to work on from the first round. This time through when I just logged in I could see that I had 4 that were at risk, 9 that need work, and 15 that were optimal. Compared to last time, I had 5 at risk, 11 needed work, and 13 that were optimal. Scary right! I was relieved that I was able to improve and that there is always room for improvement.

The biggest difference from the last test to this one, was my liver functions. I was able to get out of the at risk zone! Before I had 1 marker that was at risk, 2 that needed work and 1 that was optimal. This time, I had 3 optimal and 1 that needed work. This was such a huge relief to see. I did try hard to not drink as much as I had been before. I still have my wine from time to time.

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Another area that saw another huge improvement was the oxygen transfer and blood function. Before I had 1 at risk, 3 that needed work and 1 that was optimal. This time around I was able to improve to where I had 1 that needed work and 3 that were optimal! Great news right?!

The biggest shock to me last time was my Inner Age. I was a shocking 52.7. I was 31.5 at the time I took that test. Can you imagine what went through my mind when I got those results. 52.7!!!!! Holy heck something was really wrong. I was nervous getting these results back this time. I knew that I could have eaten better, could have done more workouts, and taken vitamins to make it better. But I hadn’t. Go figure. So when I got to this page of the results I was so happy and excited to see that I was now a 45.4 year old. I’ll be 32 next week so I’m getting there! I was able to add some years to my life! YAY! Now to bring it down a wee bit more and to make me 32 or younger, now that would be awesome. Raspberries, blackberries, avocado, and spinach better watch out. I’m coming for you!

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I still need to work on my Vitamin D. That did not fair any better than last time and is still at risk. OOPS! Other markers that still need work is the strength and endurance ones. I hope that I’m able to get those in check the next time around.

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What’s great about Inside Tracker is that they recommend foods to help counteract the results if they need work (as you can see in my examples above). It is so helpful to have that information. Most often, you are told that something just isn’t right and then here take this pill to help. Well that pill may help in one area but defeat another. What good does that do? I was able to take their recommendation and get some Vitamin D3 and Vitamin E to help with some of the markers along with eating the foods that they recommend. Now, I will indulge every once in awhile and sure have those wings or pizza. But I need to make better conscience choices about what I’m getting ready to put in my mouth to fuel my body.

I would definitely recommend Inside Tracker. Lots of people use it for different things and to optimize their training, weight loss/management, and everything in between. Contact them and they can help you determine what the best type of test is for you. I’m really glad that I’ve taken this step this year and can’t wait to see what next year’s results bring.