We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman {Book Review}

we are all made of starsTitle: We Are All Made of Stars
Author: Rowan Coleman
Publisher: Ballantine Books

I received an advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

From Goodreads:

What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love? 

What would you write?

Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as her husband Vincent, locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients containing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and usually she delivers each letter to the recipient he or she has died.

That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time to give her patient one final chance of redemption…


MY THOUGHTS

I read Rowan Coleman’s first book – The Day We Met – and I still remember it.  I was entranced.So I was all too willing to check this one out.

But I’m having a hard time coming up with a review for We Are All Made of Stars.  It didn’t have an effect on me either way. I enjoyed the unique way the story was written. I did find it easy to connect with the three main characters who deeply influenced by the closeness of death in their lives and how their stories intertwine. I also thought that the last letters written to loved ones before dying was a nice touch to break up the story. It added a reflective level. If you knew you were dying, is there something you wish you said to someone? Is it best to do that now rather than regret that you didn’t? What if you don’t have the chance for the last-minute confession or opportunity to share love or adulation?

We all have the chance to live our lives to the fullest and not carry any regrets with us to the end. I think this book was a great reminder of that. Whether I would recommend it to others to read, I guess I’d say to pick it up if you have nothing else to read but between the two – choose The Day We Met instead.

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Weekend Update (Kerry)-Lots of Fun Stuff

This weekend flew by. We were pretty busy all weekend and that’s probably why I feel that way but it was tons of fun and well worth it. Friday night started with a glass of wine when I got home. Certainly needed and well deserved. It was a very long week.

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Saturday morning started with an 8 mile run. I wasn’t 100% positive I really wanted to do 8 miles but I passed Lara about 1.5 miles in and she convinced me that I should keep going. So I did.

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After the run, it was time for Jada’s gymnastics.

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After gymnastics we ran some errands and then took the kids to the park. It was absolutely gorgeous out. It was great to enjoy the sunshine without the humidity.

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Saturday night I got to hang with Lara. We went to see Bad Moms.

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Then after the movies, we grabbed a bite to eat.

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Sunday was Jay’s birthday. The morning started with me making him his favorite breakfast-banana fritters.

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The kids enjoyed playing together in the morning. I love how they are really started to enjoy playing with each other.

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Jada and I met Lara and Ben for a morning walk around the lake. After the walk, Jay and I decided to take the kids to the zoo.

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After the zoo, we went out to dinner for Jay’s birthday. It was absolutely delicious!

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Then it was back home to enjoy birthday cake.

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Overall, a great weekend!

Weekend Update – Weekends with No Plans are the Best

For a weekend that started out with little plans, it sure filled in nicely.

Friday started with a normal work day. But then Ben picked me up a little bit early so that we could head up to Maine to celebrate his parent’s birthdays with his family.image

It was supposed to be an early night (with no alcohol), but that didn’t happen and 4:45am came really early Saturday morning.image

I started off my 11 miles slow and steady.  At about 4.5 miles in, I knew I saw someone familiar heading toward me.  Kerry and I never have crossed paths during our runs even though we live less than 2 miles away from each other.  This little meet up gave us the little extra burst to help us finish up our runs.image

And then I found this guy around 6.5 miles.  His leg was hurting and we were kind of close to home. So he slowed down his pace to run with me until we had to head separate ways.  The .5 mile he did at my pace was a bit therapeutic to his leg. It stopped hurting and he decided he was going to finish my 11 with me at my pace. Who knew!image

After showers and errands, I made a very important purchase.  Kerry and I were going to see Bad Moms.image

And then have some drinks and apps while we watched the Olympics track events.  Sounds like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night to me.image image

One of the items that wasn’t on the shopping list, but somehow made it into the cart was a little bit of pumpkin spice? Too premature? I really didn’t care. I wanted to try it. I had it for breakfast Sunday morning and they were pretty good.  The spice flavor isn’t too overpowering. I liked them.image

Walking the lake Sunday morning with Kerry, Jada and Ben is becoming one of my favorite weekend activities. The weather was perfect for a walk.  As evidenced by all of the other people doing the same exact thing.image

Ben and I didn’t have Kayley for the day and no other plans.  We just got in the car and decided to walk around Boston.  He wanted to walk up and down Newbury and Boylston Streets and I wanted to head into the Common.  We compromised and did both.imageimage

And because we were out for a lot longer than we expected, we were hungry.  We ate at a bar that had tables along that windows that opened into the street.  It was perfect.  A beer, some good food and even better people watching.image

We did a little shopping too.  This item on clearance was a bargain at 82% off. Costing a whopping $214.99.  For a pair of pants! WHAT? The original price was something like $1,250.  I did end up buying a pair of pants.  But they only cost $12.50.  That’s more my price point.image

The day was supposed to end with Jamba Juice for dinner. But they were unfortunately closed for training.  So ice cream it was. image

For a weekend with not much scheduled, we sure did pack it in.  It was a weekend that was made for summer.  Exactly how it was supposed to be.

Weekly Workout Recap-8/21

Another hot week in the books. I know we will be wishing this weather back in the middle of the winter, but really, it is getting brutal.

MONDAY

Kerry: I finally got back at it today after a week of vacation. Lucky for me, I took one extra day off work so I could decompress. I decided I had to get out for a run to start the week of right. I got 3 miles in. I actually wanted to go a bit further, but honestly, I just didn’t have it in me. It was another hot and humid day.

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Lara: I’m still recovering from a fabulous weekend with families.  My body is in an extra long recovery mode so I opted to sleep longer to recover than anything else.  And I did see this photo today as an important reminder.
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TUESDAY

Kerry: I have no boot camp this week because we have a scheduled break so I decided to head out for another run today. Today I got 4 in. Felt good to know that I got out 2 days in a row. The weather wasn’t so bad this morning either.

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Lara: Back at it today.  I went down to the gym with the lunch time crew. But I opted to do my stretches while they lifted weights. I’m still not comfortable with core workouts because my ribs are still healing.  The stretching actually got me a little sore, but I can’t keep putting it off, The rest of my body needs attention too right.
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And speaking of, I shook off the nerves and got back out to the track tonight.  There was a storm rolling in, so we only got a good 20 minutes on the track before it was too brutal to be out there.  I got 3 400 laps. I was shooting for 4, but I’ll take it.  It was fast and I have a feeling I’ll be feeling it later.
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WEDNESDAY

Kerry: I went to bed Tuesday with a headache and unfortunately woke up with the same headache Wednesday morning. I decided to take a rest today.

Lara: I got up for my run today and I wasn’t expecting the humidity. Or the dark! I had lights and a reflective vest.  Adding the extra layer just made the humidity that much more annoying.  I managed 6 miles and it wasn’t easy. But it’s my longest run since I took a little running break so I was glad to be back out there. Just sad that the sun wasn’t ready for me.
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THURSDAY

Kerry: I headed out to the track this morning for a speed workout. I haven’t done one of these in sometime and my body definitely felt it. I wasn’t as fast as I normally am but I wasn’t too worried about it. The only way to get faster is to keep at it.

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Lara: Training called for 5 easy miles.  I probably should have decided to run less because I was just getting back into it, but I expected to do it.  I didn’t.  About 1.5 miles in, I was ready to end. My body just wasn’t in to it.  I called Ben for a pickup at about 2.5 miles.  I finished 3.5 and I’m ok with that.  I chose to listen to my body and I hope I listened right.
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FRIDAY

Kerry: I decided to take a rest day today. I feel like my schedule is all off because I don’t have boot camp this week. I am hoping to get out for a long-ish run tomorrow.

Lara: Today is normally my weight training day, but my rib still get sore.  I decided to take a rest day today too.  Plus I am planning on running 11 miles tomorrow.  I haven’t done that in a little bit, so I wanted to make sure my body really was ready. Especially after yesterday.

SATURDAY

Kerry: I knew I wanted to get a long-ish run in this morning but was unsure on the distance. I settled on 8 but even as I got started, I wasn’t fully convinced I would do the whole 8 miles. About 1.5 miles in, Lara and I passed each other. She convinced me I could do it so off I went.

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Lara: I was a little nervous going out there today to get 11 miles in.  As I got 4.5 miles in, I crossed paths with Kerry. That actually never happens.  Then when I got to 6.5 miles I saw Ben. He was actually heading home because his leg was bothering him.  He ran with me to the cross street where he would head home.  Then realized that he wasn’t hurting while running my pace. He actually ended up finishing the 11 miles with me and had no pain.  My hamstrings were really feeling it by the end.  Stairs were trouble today.  Definitely need to spend extra time stretching them out.
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SUNDAY

We met up again today to walk the lake.  Perfect weather to be outside enjoying it.  The lake was pretty crowded, so clearly others had the same idea.
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Weekend Update (Kerry)-Vacation Recap

The weekend is coming to an end and with that, it also brings my week long vacation to an end. Lucky for me, I took Monday off too so I could play catch up and have a little rest (without the kiddos) before the work week begins. Our vacation was awesome and I plan on telling you all about it.

It started last Saturday with our long car ride to New Jersey. It’s always a hit or miss on how the kids will behave in the car but they did pretty well. How cute are they?

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We started the vacation off at my mom’s house for a few days to break up the trip to the shore. My mom has a pool so it was a perfect time to visit, considering how hot it was.

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Jay’s birthday is this week  but since my mom isn’t going to see him, she got him a cake to celebrate. I think Jada was more excited than he was.

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Sunday we went to a local park by my mom’s house that has a splash pad. The kids loved it!

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Then it was back to the pool for the afternoon.

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Monday morning it was off to the beach. But before the beach, I actually got out for a run.

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Finally, beach time! Our hotel was awesome. Right on the beach.

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The kids love the beach.

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After the beach, it was back to the pool for a bit.

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Tuesday I actually got up and went for a run. It was so hot and humid but I did it.

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After my run, it was off to get donuts. This place was awesome—the donuts are made to order. They make them and ice them right in front of you. So good!

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It was back to beach after our donut run.

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Tuesday night we met up with one of my roommates from college and her family. It was so good to see them. The girls loved playing together.

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Wednesday it was another beach day.

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Then back to the pool.

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It wore Jalen out.

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While Jalen was napping, Jada and I ordered some yummy beverages (hers without alcohol).

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Wednesday night we headed to the local amusement park. Jada had fun on the rides.

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Jalen loved playing games with daddy.

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Thursday it was time to head back home. It was my dad’s birthday so we spent the day with him. Friday we met up with extended family and celebrated my dad’s birthday.

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Saturday was another day spent at my mom’s pool and then I met up with some friends. Sunday we headed back to Massachusetts. I was sad to leave my family and friends but it was nice to be back home. Now I have tons of laundry and unpacking to do.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

 

 

Weekend Update – Almost too hot to function

Happy Monday people. I just crawled back into bed to write up today’s post.  I am not ready to start off Monday yet, or the work week, or to plain start adulting. I’ll wait until maybe 7am for that.  Until then, let me finally get a chance to recap the weekend.

My ribs are starting to feel much better.  This is the wrap I use to sleep in.  It really adds a certain quality to my pajama attire each night.image

Friday was a pretty normal run of the mill work day. Until I was walking out of the office and got this alert on our Instagram feed.  I think we are BFFs now because she interrupted her Olympic marathon prep to like our photo!
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After such excitement, it’s only normal to hit up the mall food court with your daughter and her friends.  So many different food choices at one table.  We stayed at the mall until it closed.  Don’t be jealous.image

The mail was delivered late, so I arrived back home to this delivery.  I picked up a pair of these Nike Vomeros for $40.  I’m pretty excited to try them.
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Although I am still skipping my long run this weekend, i was still awake when Ben got up for his 17 mile run.  It’s getting darker earlier and it’s depressing.
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While I was scrolling through Facebook after I woke up. I came across this quote.  It actually made me tear up. I am so impressed with her confidence.imageIt took me awhile to get ready. But I decided to give running a try this morning.   I wasn’t expecting anything. I really just wanted to see how my ribs would react.  So I was pleasantly surprised to get 4 solid miles in.image

It was brutally hot.  Ben only managed 12 outside miles before I picked him up and drove him to the gym to finish up.  I tried to run more but my body just wasn’t having it.  I actually think it was a bit more mental than anything.  I can’t even remember the last time I jumped on a treadmill for a run.
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After showers and some packing, we hit the road for the weekend.  How adorable is this puppy Moose. He is totally going to live up to his name.  HIs paws are enormous.
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There was also a pig involved.  It was a pig roast party to celebrate the summer and a 30 birthday.  I don’t know how the guys stood by the fire to cook and cut up this thing.  It was so freaking hot out.
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But at least there was ice cream cake.  I made sure to get myself a piece before it started to melt.
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We headed back to my cousins for the night.  It was a super fun night that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.  I didn’t crawl into bed until almost 4am.  Which I am now realizing that I was nearly up for 24 hours straight.

So obviously it only made sense to celebrate with a mimosa Sunday morning.  (or 2 or 3…)image

We spent the day outside, on the water, hanging with family and just soaking it all in.
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It was definitely another winner of a weekend. Even if the sweat was dripping off of us even in the shade.  I’m all about making lasting family memories that will never fade and the summer is the best time to accomplish this in my opinion!

Weekly Workout Recap – 8/14

This week’s workout accomplishments are not from our normal routines.  We are both off schedule this week. Kerry is on vacation and still attempting workouts.  Lara is trying to repair her injured ribs and taking it easy.  We still have stuff to report so read on…

MONDAY

Kerry: I didn’t get a run in all weekend so decided I really should get out there this morning. It was hot and humid but I braved it anyway. I love running when I am in NJ. I especially love running along the water and enjoying the view of NYC. I got 4 miles in. That was enough for me.

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Lara: I decided after sleeping atrociously last night that I was going to let my ribs repair. I was told rest and a splint is what is used to heal either broken or bruised ribs, so rest and splint it is.  I’m not even attempting yoga today.  The motion of using my core for even the simplest of movements is uncomfortable.  So instead I spent time re-acquainting myself with Pinterest.  Time well spent.
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TUESDAY

Kerry: We got to the Jersey Shore yesterday. I was up bright and early this morning so I decided to take advantage of running along the beach. It was another really hot and humid day. It was 75 when I got up at 6am. I took it slow and got 4 miles in.

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Lara: Ben was still planning in a track workout.  Since it’s our date night, I tagged along. Back to the scene of the incident. I walked while he did his speed work.  The fire hose was still there. As it has been for the 2 months we have been going there. But it didn’t get me this time.
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WEDNESDAY

Kerry:  I didn’t get a workout in this morning. It was 80 degrees at 6am and I decided I wasn’t battling the heat. I would much rather hit the beach.

Lara: Although I’m still not doing anything fitness related, I did do the next best thing. I signed up for a half marathon to add into to my marathon training.  It’s the Smuttynose Rockiest.  Kerry and I ran it together in 2014 and I signed up to run it in 2015 but didn’t because I was injured and had to DNS.  Maybe this is my redemption.  If my body heals probably this time around.
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THURSDAY

Kerry: You are going to start finding a theme with me. No workout for me. Enjoying my vacation and not worrying about it.

Lara: I have absolute fitness related to report today.  It downpoured today and I left my driver’s side window open.  My car was soaked. It was so awesome to drive home sitting in.  We did watch The Peanuts Movie when I got home.  So that’s something.
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FRIDAY

Kerry: Nothing to report today. Still really hot and I decided to sit in the pool instead of sweating it out.

Lara: So…still nothing. Except, I received the new sneakers I received in the mail yesterday.  I got them for $40.  I’m excited about them because the toe box is wide and there is not stitching of embellishments to interfere with my bunions and stupid wide feet.  I’m looking forward to giving them a spin to see if they will work in my rotation.
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SATURDAY

Kerry: Nothing for today. Enjoying my last moments of vacation.

Lara: I was up at 4:30 because Ben was planning on running 17.  I felt the need to be awake then too. I can’t let myself get too settled into staying in bed beyond normal workout time.  I decided I was going to put my sneakers on and give it the old college try after he left.  I went out with no expectations at all. I just wanted to run and try it out.  I doubled up on the sports bra for extra wrapping.  The bounce motion was annoying for the first .25 mile.  I used my hand to add extra pressure.  Once I started to get into a groove, and not a fast one, I knew my legs just wanted to go.  I pulled off 4 miles successfully.  I really think I could have easily doubled it but it was really hot and I wanted to be running smart.  Hopefully this is the positive road to recovery.
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SUNDAY

Kerry: I am currently in the car heading back home from our vacation. We left bright and early and I know I won’t get a workout in when I get home. Next week, I am back on track.

Lara: We went away for the night with no intentions of working out today.  Just soaking up some of the last summer moments we can spend with my family and loving every second.

Weekend Update (Kerry)-Vacation…..More to Come

If I haven’t mentioned it a hundred times already, I am on vacation this week. I have been taking lots of pictures but on my camera, not my iPhone, so I haven’t uploaded them yet. I promise a full recap (since I am sure you are at the edge of your seat waiting) but it will have to wait until next week.

Enjoy the week and I will fill you all in next week.

Weekend Updates – Cousins, Casinos, and Concerts

So Monday is almost nearly over and I am just now sitting at the computer to post my weekend update.  It was quite a fun-filled and memorable weekend. In case you hadn’t already determined that.

I’m going to make it quick and let the pictures tell the story.

Half day at work = early trip into Boston with Ben.image

To my happy place.  I adore Fenway Park.  And we had tickets to see Pearl Jam at the stadium.image

This is my second concert at Fenway.  First was Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z with Kerry.  Both equally as awesome.image

These tickets had us on the out field.  I was completely overcome with the fact that just under that flooring was the green of center field grass.image

Weather – Perfect. Legs – stretched, loose and ready to go. Ribs – not wanting any part of it. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t do my long run Saturday morning.image

I had my family to help me get over my sadness.  I drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut shortly after my failed run to meet up with some of my favorite ladies.image

Clearly we were ready for some partying to happen.
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First time wearing hair down in over a month! After exploring the casino floor and deciding on where to have dinner, we all go ready for our night out. image

Seems to be some kind of a theme going on.image

Cotton candy was served at the end of our dinner. How awesome is that?image

And another concert. Matt Nathanson & Philip Philips.  Matt Nathanson stole the show! We actually looked up his tour schedule for the rest of the year to try to see him again.image

Ice cream over gambling? Best best we made all night!
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After a fantastic night, it only seemed fitting to eat at the casino’s breakfast buffet.image

Only time gambling and we did not win a golden ticket.image

Detour to my cousin’s house on the pond on my way home.image

A little visit turned into hours on the water hanging out. 6pm came so fast. Wish that happened more often at work instead of on the weekends.image

If I could do this weekend all over again, I totally would in a heartbeat!

Weekly Workout Recap-8/7

We finally got a break with the heat. The heat and humidity have been so brutal these past few weeks.

MONDAY

Kerry: Boot camp day for me today. Today we did a little bit of everything. Running, strength work, and core work. The weather seemed a little cooler than normal but as I started working out, the humidity really set in and I was sweating buckets.

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Lara: Ughhh. I had last week off from work and today was back to reality. So sad.  And the kicker – I only managed 4 hours of sleep last night.  Awesome.  So it was all too perfect for stretch and yoga today.
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TUESDAY

Kerry: Today was a running day for me. In all honesty, it was a tough run for me. I totally felt like I had two left feet the whole run. It was awful. I finished the run with a decent pace but it took a lot out of me.

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Lara: Oh boy! It’s Track Tuesday.  It’s been two weeks since I did a track workout. Do you think I was looking forward to it?  Uh no, but I sucked it up.  It was only 5 x 400s, so I figured I could handle it.  Until one lap into my warm up, I took a gigantic spill.  Like flew through the air.  I landed on my hip and my knee.  One hand got a tiny tore up.  I had the wind knocked out of me. I eventually shook it off and finished my workout.  Let’s just say, it didn’t help my attitude towards speed workouts…
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WEDNESDAY

Kerry: Boot camp day today. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a pic today–oops! Today’s workout started with 10 reps of the following exercises: Jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, full body extensions, and burpees. Once we completed 10 reps of each, we ran 50 yards and back and then completed 9 reps of each. We did this all the way down to one rep of each. Once we were done with that, we did some core exercises. Overall great workout. Felt like we worked every muscle.

Lara: So, I hurt myself more than I thought from yesterday’s fall.  Every part of me that hid the track does not hurt at all.  What hurts are my ribs.  I’m thinking when I landed, my elbow went into my ribs as I landed.  When I reenact it, it’s like a bullseye on the spot where my elbow hits. And it hurts!! I have so much sympathy for anyone who has broken ribs. OUCH.

Anyway, my midweek mileage has started to increase.  It’s a 5 mile day.  I really just wanted it to be over, so I tried to be fast.  But being fast meant my breathing was labored.  Which means I need to take exaggerated deep breaths.  It hurt.  I hated my run today. I’m so glad it’s over.
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THURSDAY

Kerry: My plan was to go on a 4-6 mile run this morning. I was heading out of the house a little later than normal and Jada decided she wanted to come with me. I couldn’t say no so off we went. On Sunday, Lara had pointed out to me that the tires on my BOB stroller seemed low. Well–she was right. I started running and it was just completely off. I only got 1.5 miles in. I was going to head back out after I dropped Jada off at the house but time didn’t permit it. Oh well!

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Lara: It’s another 5 mile day.  And my ribs still hurt.  If anything, they are more sore.  I actually got tangled up in my sheet this morning and couldn’t get out. I’m sure it would have been comical if it wasn’t 4:45am. My run was slow. It kept me from bouncing and kept my breathing steady.  I was ok with that because again, I just wanted it to be over.
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Oh and i took a picture with a stop sign because I was annoyed with the drivers I was sharing the road with.  Just because you are taking a right at a stop sign, it doesn’t mean you get to just slow down, look left and speed off.  Stop. Look right too because I’m standing there watching you wanting to cross and I have no interest in being hit by you. Thanks.

FRIDAY

Kerry: Boot camp day for me.  Today is the last day of the session and we have a 2 week break. Decided to end on a high note with a hill workout. I was a little nervous since I injured my hip last time we did these but I felt good and really strong through the workout. All in all, it ended up being almost 3 miles.

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Lara:  Today is supposed to be cross training day but since my ribs are being mean to me, I’m letting my body rest.  I did jump right back into running after beating myself up, so I guess it’s only fair.  Plus tonight Ben and I are heading into Fenway Park to see Pearl Jam perform. We are both pretty excited and heading in early.  I’m just going to assume I’ll walk lots.

SATURDAY

Kerry: Today officially starts vacation for me. I had every intention of getting up and getting a long run in but the kids had other ideas for me. Oh well. I don’t feel as much pressure since I am not training for a race but I still want to keep logging the miles so once I do decide on something, it makes it a little easier to keep up with.

Lara: This week’s long run is actually a medium-ish run.  7 miles.  I wasn’t complaining about it.  Until I was.  I only got down the street before I decided to call it quits.  Everything was in my favor – the weather was perfection.  My legs were ready.  But my ribs were feeling really bad.  I just couldn’t go further and I was, and still am, completely frustrated.
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SUNDAY

Kerry: Another morning where I planned on running but never got that far. Oh well! It is vacation!

Lara: If you read through this whole post, I’m sure you can guess that today is another rest day.