Day in the Life: Study Abroad

You knew this post had to come sooner or later.

Here’s a day in the life of a student (me) studying abroad in Ireland.

7:50 AM — Wake up, mostly because I need to pee. Roll out of bed and stumble down the long hallway to go to the bathroom. Come back to the room to brush teeth and change.

8:20 AM — Pray.

8:30 AM — 8 minute abs.

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lol

8:38 AM — Change into longer pants, put on makeup, and gather my stuff to go.

8:55 AM — Breakfast! I finished up my tub of Greek yogurt with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and golden syrup (doesn’t taste like anything special), and I ate a sweet potato breakfast bowl that I prepared the night before, following Jen’s recipe. It was a nice change from oatmeal!

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baked microwaved sweet potato (mashed) + mashed banana + cinnamon + nutmeg + almond milk + peanut butter

9:15 AM — Head off on a long walk to the National Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks for our sociology field trip! ‘Twas a gorgeous day to walk.

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10:15 AM — Arrive at the museum. We are assigned a worksheet to fill out as we go through the museum.

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11:30 AM — Finish the worksheet and feel like I didn’t really learn that much, since we were all kinda rushing to finish and head back for lunch. #badstudents. It was fun though!

11:45 AM — Walk back to the dorms with Megan. Snack on an orange as we’re walking.

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in case you forgot what an orange looked like

12:35 PM — Stop by the grocery store for some essentials.

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12:55 PM — Make it back to the dorms on the verge of ravenous. We had already walked 6 miles by lunch! Prepare a quick and easy lunch.

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two slices of buttered soda bread + two eggs + so many carrots with hummus

1:30 PM — Hang out in the kitchen and talk with people while washing dishes. Listen to a friend practice her ethics presentation.

1:45 PM — Walk to class.

2:00 PM — Sit back and relax as I listen to all my peers’ ethics presentations for 2.5 hours. (I got mine over with last week 😀 )

4:30 PM — Class is over. Walk back to the dorms and spend some time catching up on emails, but mostly wasting time on social media.

5:00 PM — Snack on salad that my friend gave me since she doesn’t like arugula. With the last of my carrots, as if I hadn’t eaten enough beta carotene in the day. I ate the equivalent of three small, whole carrots that day.

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5:15 PM — Work on my sociology essay.

5:50 PM — Walk over to the chapel on the campus across the street for the first student Mass of the semester! I meet Megan there.

6:10 PM — Mass (with people under the age of 25, hallelujah).

7:00 PM — Pizza and socializing (after many minutes of awkwardly waiting to see if any Irish students would approach us. We learned that Irish people are not super confrontational and are “afraid of American confidence,” as our sociology professor explained to us).

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plus one more slice (“they’re tiny slices!”) + a piece of intensely sweet chocolate orange creme candy

7:50 PM — Head over to the library to finish my essay.

8:15 PM — Finish essay, type up the references (DEATH), read, edit.

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9:40 PM— PRINT IT.

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9:45 PM — Walk back to my dorm.

10:00 PM — Chat with some friends on Facebook, answer emails, do some other random things that are obviously not important enough for me to remember.

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decided to check the health app since I knew I walked a lot that day— wooohoo!

11:30 PM — Practice handstands and realize that my head position needs to be tucked a little more to help my body stay stacked (gotta love late night revelations).

11:45 PM — Get ready for bed and pray.

12:00 AM — Try to read an article for ethics class but cannot for the life of me process any of it. So I go have a snack instead.

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12:30 AM— Brush teeth again and go to sleep.

I need to be better about having more order to my nights.

So tell me:

What did you eat for breakfast yesterday?

Two things you do in your “day in the life”! 

What is your nighttime routine? 

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Nothing Like A Little Friendly Competition

Everything huuuuurts.

This weekend was packed with good and fun things (at the expense of sleep and my safety at times), which explains why I’m posting this today instead of yesterday. What’s been happenin’!?

Friday

‘Twas a pretty standard day— class, bible study, gym (two rounds of this workout— another one of my faves @Jo), work, “trying” to do homework in my dorm on a Friday night.

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I was actually in a good mood

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they had avocado! *praise hands*

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very much wanted to eat the chicken I cooked at work

Saturday

Are you ever up in the middle of the night and tired enough that you can’t read a book but “on” enough that your brain can’t shut up? That was me this day.

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I must keep telling myself that I am indeed thankful for functioning kidneys.

Saturday was a big day because some folks at the Catholic Center (myself included) participated in a fun, athletic competition called the “St. Sebastian Cup”. My friend Lauren sent me a snapchat of herself that morning making a protein shake with the caption: “Are you scared?”

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I had overnight oats, so no, I was not scared.

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The competition consisted of three games of Ultimate Frisbee…

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

My team didn’t score a single point in all three games… but we had HEART. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t get you points.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

But then there was this banana relay race. We all had to jump across a field and back with a banana between our knees, then run with the banana between partners without using our hands, and finally eat the banana.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

EXPERT. But only good enough for second place.

Next came the painful part. We played two games of capture the flag, and I may or may not have been plowed over by one of my teammates when we were both sprinting to tag the same person. It all happened in slow motion, and before I knew it, we were both eating dirt and my right hip was talkin’ to me.

But as any elite athlete would, we carried on with the competition.

Lastly, we had tug o’ war with a thin, slippery nylon strap. Safe? Not at all. Blood was shed. Maybe it helps that St. Sebastian is a martyr? (Too dark?)

Anyway, my team got fourth (aka last), and Rachel’s team got first.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

(*cough* stacked team *cough* what?)

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It was a mighty fun time though, and we all went to the dining hall to feast on good food, including some bomb bread pudding.

At night, I attended a Women’s Retreat about being uniquely made. It was a lovely, heartwarming way to end a hard day of “friendly” competition (things got pretty spicy at some points!).

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The lovely ladies running the retreat made us vegan sweet potato chili! I un-veganized it with cheese and sour cream 🙂

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freshly baked chocolate banana bread ♥︎ 

I did some reading for class back at home afterwards, and I kept falling asleep. Rachel kept waking me up and motivating me to finish my homework like a good friend. But I wanted to sleep.

Sunday

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in the St. Sebastian Cup woke up moaning in pain on Sunday morning. Convo with my girl, Lauren:

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The pain was even worse two days later.

But Sunday was a beautiful day for productivity, Mass, and National Siblings Day!

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banana oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast

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not a cloud in the sky

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finding places to stand and do work outside

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took the siblings out for dinner (Rachel is the “adopted sister”)

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roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic pizza

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berry + vanilla creme crepe

And then there was Monday, which was a solid day all around. We had stretch and massage day in dance class, so that was GREAT.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Play outside and get into some friendly competition (just be careful).

So tell me:

What is your favorite competitive athletic activity?

Is there something that you get very competitive about?

What did you do this weekend? 

Fancy Food + Weekly Moves and Grooves

Thank you to everyone who recommended a bunch of podcasts on yesterday’s post! I’m looking forward to listening to all of them and perpetuating my dependence on technology to keep me from feeling lonely.

I love that podcasts can make me laugh out loud. I like laughing. 😀

Since I started my internship at 3pm yesterday, I had a little bit of extra free time in the morning to make some more “fancy” food. Fancy = takes more time.

Breakfast was Frrrreeeench tooooast (said in my pitiful, wannabe-hardy French accent). I dipped Dave’s Killer Bread in a mixture of: 1 egg, a splash of 2% milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then I plopped the battered bread into a skillet sizzling with butter.

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Served with a pool of peanut butter and bananas sautéed in a little more butter. Plus the last of a plain yogurt container with more cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia (yeah, I used it) and the sweetest of mangoes.

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For lunch, I had another English muffin sandwich with an egg, avocado, and goat cheese + salad + an unknown number of white cheddar Popcorners + a plum!

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Around 11AM I whipped out the crockpot and almost 6 lbs of boneless pork ribs, compliments of Costco. After practically sawing off the excess fat (I left plenty on, but I took off the 2 inch strips and chunks o’ fat), I seasoned the ribs with Bobby’s rib rub and then threw them into the crockpot with some garlic and onion.

8 hours later…

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Glamour shots.

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You can see my first taste of the ribs on Snapchat.

For dinner I served the ribs on microwave-steamed sweet potatoes with kale sautéed in avocado oil, salt, pepper, a little maple syrup, and spicy brown mustard (<— do this!). Plus a dollop of Greek yogurt because the ribs were kinda spicyyy.

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What a blesséd meal.

Since I haven’t shared my weekly moves and grooves in a couple weeks, I thought it was a good time to share again! Still keeping things pretty low impact/intensity and feeling great about it.

I’ve been working on gaining some flexibility and mobility back in some (all) of my tight joints with yoga and stretching. Physical therapy interning has me inspired to stay as mobile in my joints as possible!

weekly moves and grooves

  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: lower body barre
  • Sunday: 8 min abs
  • Monday: 60 min yoga
  • Tuesday: gymnastics warmup + handstands + lower body exercises
  • Wednesday: 3 mile walk
  • Thursday: 8 min abs + 60 min yoga

Hip hip hooray for Friday!

So tell me:

What did you eat for dinner last night?

Do you consider yourself flexible?

Last Colorado Things

We are back to the mother ship!

But first, one more picture from Blend thanks to mom, who showed up as the guest photographer.

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After traveling from Boston to New York, New York to Colorado, Colorado to New York, I am done wandering for a while. (My mom and bro are still trekking along to Florida for my brother’s internship!)

Blend swag made travel snacking so easy.

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Madre loves these Quest protein chips. Look at that protein!

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Colorado was an epic vacation with my mom and brother, but I’m also happy to be home with my dad. Poor guy was eating leftovers from the fridge all week while we were eating fresh new foods in Colorado (and then posting them on social media where he could see). I’m also excited to be all domestic again this summer— mostly for the cooking, not as much for the cleaning and errands… Such is life.

Domesticity started early this morning with dropping off Pop at the train station, going grocery shopping (at 6AM when I can pace the aisles freely without judgement), and breakfast.

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Arman’s cake batter oatmeal is life-changing // sprinkles just because it’s “cake batter”

We left Colorado with a bang by going to Flagstaff House for a super splurge dinner on Sunday night. My mom insisted on taking me out to an early birthday dinner, since she and Ben would be away for my real birthday. I definitely didn’t need a fancy dinner, but I think my mom really wanted dinner with a view to treat me to something special. It’s not like it was difficult to accept either. 😉

The meal was rich (food-wise and moolah-wise), but we savored every bite, as well as the unbeatable mountain view.

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The service was excellent, and the food was outstanding. They even served complimentary amuse bouche  and palate cleansers throughout the meal.

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bottom left is our appetizer order: yellowfin tuna tartare and steak tartare with brioche toasts

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my entree: New Zealand salmon (cooked medium rare, OMG) with lump crab meat // Ben’s: pork tenderloin // Mom’s: natural Colorado chicken breast

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desserts: chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream // trio of vanilla bean, vegan vanilla bean, and salted caramel house-spun ice cream // tiny complimentary French toast with vanilla creme anglaise and candied pecans

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early birthday complimentary dessert platter

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complimentary mini blueberry poppyseed loaves to take home!

Incredible all around. The value is awesome when you account for the view, service, quality and taste of food, and amount of complimentary food!

I got some moves in at the hotel before we headed to the airport yesterday, and it was probably the last intense workout I’ll be doing in a while. (I’ll talk more about all that another day.) It was a good one though!

  • dynamic warmup
  • circuit workout // 3 rounds of each
    • 15 weighted step-ups each leg // 20 squat jumps
    • 5 reps of 5 bent over row+ 5 frog plank jumps // 15 leg lift crunches
    • 20 hamstring ball curls // 10 burpee tuck jumps
    • 12 sit-ups to shoulder press // 20 spiderman planks
  • tabata // 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x8
    • burpees
    • high knees

I’m not a workout selfie person, but I thought my last gym workout for a while warranted one.

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Hashtag grind, hashtag muscles, hashtag gym. Did I nail it?

I followed it up with more Blend swag food: half a Quest bar + a sweet potato with a chocolate Nuttzo sample packet and a power fuel Nuttzo sample packet.

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And then an Asian chicken salad later in the afternoon.

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I went to bed late and woke up early this morning, so I’m about to take a nap before my eye doc appointment and then my first day at physical therapy internship!

Hope you all have a wonderful day! Take weird selfies today.

So tell me:

Have you gone to a splurge restaurant that was totally worth it?

What do you like to eat on airplanes?

Do you like gym selfies (seeing them or taking them)? I don’t mind seeing others’ gym selfies every once in a while, but I don’t really like taking them myself.

What are you doing today?

Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately?