I’m Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity…

Warning: There may be some use of “language” that you may not associate with my writing. Sorry but I’m a little pissed off.

I really couldn’t decide on a title for this post, which is reflected I guess, in the weirdness of what I chose. Well, once you read on, you’ll understand why I’m burning bridges.

Just short of a year since I lost my job, I heard those words again. You’re fired. Well, he didn’t actually say that (because he doesn’t have the cajones to do that). No, it was much more cowardly than that.

First of all, don’t worry. I still have my personal training job (even though my clients have all left for the summer). No, I lost a job that paid a whole lot less, but was an important part of who I am.

On Monday I was at home, working on a blog post. When my phone rang I saw that it was the Athletic Director at the high school where I’ve coached cross country for the last 13 years. So, of course, I answered.

Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity

I thought he was going to ask for the schedule for our upcoming season, which I’d been working on pending the agreement of the boys’ coach. Within a couple sentences, it became clear that was not what this call was about.

He told me they’d (meaning the principal, who didn’t have the balls to call me himself, and instead made the mealy-mouthed AD take over the job) decided that they wanted to weed out “walk-on” coaches like me, and give the coaching jobs to full-time teaching staff.

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Which, I’ve decided, is a load of bullshit. Last year they “weeded out” Alan, brought in another coach for the boys, let her learn for a season what was going on, then fired me. I’m about 99% sure this was planned since last year.

For 13 years I’ve been coaching cross country. We’ve been to CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) semi-finals a half dozen times, including the last three years in a row.

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I have poured my heart and soul into cross country. It is a huge commitment: five days a week, from July through October. All my Saturdays in September and October have been spent on a school bus traveling to various invitationals in Southern California for the last 13 years. I have spent my own money to travel to some of the meets, given up vacations, my own running plans, and even skipped a lot of weekend getaways (that are such a relief during the desert summer). Speaking of summer, I have been at those practices at 5:30 every morning, been at the school to catch a bus as early as 4:00 am, traveled in those hot, uncomfortable buses from San Diego to Valencia. And I loved every minute of it.

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I’ve kept in touch with many of my former athletes. They tell me how important we (Alan and I) were to them. How the lessons they learned from cross country, and from their coaches, have helped them become successful adults.

I was a cross country coach. And that was really important to me. It was a part of my identity. Until a principal on a power trip and a wimpy athletic director took it all away. I was going to say they took a part of my soul, but that gives them too much importance. I won’t let those losers touch my soul.

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I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m pissed off, I’m aching for some kind of revenge. Actually, revenge is too strong a word. (Quick thesaurus check: I want (pick one) vengeance, payback, retribution, reprisal.) As the saying goes, don’t get mad, get even. I’m simply working on how to do it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to knock anybody off. I’m thinking more along the lines of a summer coaching camp for high school athletes who will not get proper coaching from the hired staff.

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That’s another thing. It’s not like they’re getting rid of me and putting in someone more qualified, or even somewhat qualified. They will hire a teacher, who probably runs, and therefore thinks they know how to coach. That works really well. Just ask the boys cross country team from last year. Or the entire track team from this year, where not a single athlete went on to post-season play. They would complain that their coaches didn’t have a plan, didn’t push them enough, didn’t really know what they were doing.

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I, on the other hand, am certified by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America as a running coach. I’m also a personal trainer with more than 15 years experience. Not one of their potential replacement coaches have that kind of background. I’m sure they’re good at what they teach. They don’t teach running. The proof is in the pudding.

image_1I’m a crazily optimistic glass half full type of person, so I prefer to look for the positives in situations like this. Actually, there are many. My time is my own. I’m free to travel without regard to the practice schedule. I don’t have to be up at an ungodly hour for practice (unless I choose to for my own run). Nor more dealing with weak school administrators. Or parents. Or other incompetent coaches.

In fact, the only real downside is the loss that that lovely stipend right before Christmas. And that piece of my identity.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud and Kathleen for the Blog Booster Party! Hop on over to their sites to read all the awesomeness!

Weekly Recap: SLO Marathon Training & Yoga

This whole work thing is taking its toll on my marathon training.

SLO Marathon Training, Week 7

While I’m happy overall with how my training is going, I still keep having to cut some of my weekday morning runs short because, well, money. If I have a client that wants to see me at 7:00 in the morning (or even 6:00, but that hasn’t happened yet), I really need to take them. Because in about three months they’ll be gone for the summer. It’s called making hay while the sun shines.

So, while I’m getting in the runs, they are shorter than I have on my schedule. In the coming week I’m going to work on getting out a little earlier, but I don’t like to go too early because I’m running by myself and, well, I’m scared of the dark. Here’s why…

This was a cutback week though, with my long run scheduled for 10 miles with five at marathon pace. That went well, though I did four at MP pace instead of five. I was running with my neighbor Christina, who is a new runner, but tough as nails. She did the whole run with me and kept me going during the faster parts. She even challenged me as we approached the end to pick it up to the corner. Bitch! I keep reminding myself she’s young enough to be my daughter. That helps.

run 3The picture above is from a couple weeks ago. Same crew though. Alan was with us but he had a steady pace 10 mile run on his schedule.

Here’s my post-run selfie. Mostly because I like taking pictures of our wind-kitties.

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So I ran four times, 19 miles total. I’m still not happy with my total weekly mileage, but I’ll be working on that this week. I started off this week with a three mile run, and I managed eight 1/4 mile intervals, so I’m pretty happy with that.

The countdown to the SLO Marathon is on! Two months from today! Yikes, better get going. I have a 16 miles run on the schedule for the weekend, which is good, but I think the key is to get in my mid-week mileage.

By the way, the price will be going up on February 28, so if you’re planning to join me in San Luis Obispo on April 23 now is the time to register! You can save an extra $10 with my code WOODAMB. Do it!

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Take the Leap Challenge

At least my yoga is going well. I have managed to practice a little yoga every day since February 2. I haven’t made it to as many classes as I’d like, but I’ll do a few sun salutations to warm up, some hip opening and hamstring stretching poses to cool down, and take the time daily for a pose-of-the-day.

We working on a warrior series this week. Here are my first three days:

Week 3Warrior I

Humble WarriorHumble Warrior

Warrior 2

Warrior II

I’m so happy with this Take the Leap Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink. The support of the other participants is amazing, and I love working with prAna. Not only do they make amazing clothing, but they care about creating a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. My goal, once the challenge is over, is to continue on with my practice, maybe not daily, but several times a week. Yoga is good for my soul.

Random Stuff: Movies & #Vegan Food

Alan and I went to see McFarland, USA on Saturday. In a nutshell, we loved it! As a cross country coach I appreciated everything about the story of how running (and a good coach) helped to change the lives of the children of migrant workers in Central California in 1987. It was based on a true story, so even though it seemed a little formulaic, I didn’t care. I believe in the power of running and high school sports to help develop successful and confident adults.

We headed to lunch at Whole Foods on Sunday. We had their vegan Artisanal Cheese platter again. It was so good! And we shared the Taro Burger. Sadly, they no longer have the Jackfruit Crab Cakes on the menu {sad face}, but we did enjoy our meal.

lunchI also cooked up a great Tofu Scramble this week. In fact I’m still enjoying the leftovers!

Tofu ScrambleHave you seen McFarland, USA? What did you think? How was your training week? Any events, races, or great meals? Share!

Starting with a Bang…

Starting with a Bang…

Well, you know what comes after that phrase.

As I began MY Season last week, I built great momentum.  As planned I started my base training runs in preparation for the SLO Marathon in April.

That part was fine, but I also plunged right into yoga, going to three classes in four days.  The classes were great, challenging but not too hard, and I held myself back knowing that I really can’t start back in where I left off about a year ago. I was a little sore, but not too bad.

I even had a short Pilates workout, which was really a refresher before training a client on the reformer.

So, all was good. I’d embarked on MY Season, ready to take advantage of the extra time after cross country.  Here’s my training log for the week:

Monday:  Yoga. 90 minute Vinyasa Class
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Running. 5 miles Yoga. 90 mnute Vinyasa Class
Thursday: Pilates. 30 minutes
Friday: Running. 3 miles

Ending with a Whimper

Then, Friday afternoon happened.

I noticed in the early afternoon that my legs just felt really tired and sore. Not a definable sore, just an all-over achy feeling. I also was tired. I felt like I’d been put through a wringer. I couldn’t even stop and rest. With working all morning, chores and errands in the afternoon, then my cross country banquet in the evening, I needed to channel the Energizer bunny just to keep going.

I made it through the evening. It was fun, our awards banquet, which we do potluck-style every year at one of our athlete’s homes. Of course, my food choices were limited, which I expected. A salad (lettuce), a veggie platter, fresh salsa, and the salad dressing that I brought with me. So I had fun, but I was hungry. The boys entertained us:

 

I had a hard time sleeping on Friday night because of my tired, jumpy legs. Then I woke up Saturday morning and I literally hurt all over. My back, hips, left arm, and a general achy feeling in every other part of my body. I’m not sure exactly why, but my gung-ho return to yoga and Pilates may have had something to do with it.

I decided to take the day off. Instead I embarked on my annual “oh my God, it’s the holidays, people might visit!” cleaning project. I don’t think that was helpful for my back either, so when I woke up on Sunday still hurting, I wasn’t surprised. I did a little running/walking with my dogs, took another day off yoga, and resumed my cleaning project.

Today, with a clean house, reduced pain in my back and hips, I think I can start the day with  short run without problems. I have a client now on Monday mornings, so I’ll get back on my mat with a YogaDownload.com workout, taking it easy, but at least keeping up with my commitment to my yoga practice.

Other fun things this week. I was able to purchase almost $300 in fitness fashion, without spending a dollar of my own. I wrote about my Lorna Jane shopping spree, but I also had a $100 Lululemon gift card that I won from a Fitfluential giveaway. I am so ready to look good for fall and winter workouts now! Though I confess that I bought a new pair of black tights. So boring, but so awesome!

Pictures from the week (originally posted on Instagram (are you following?)).

YogaAfter my third yoga class. Tired but triumphant. It feel so good to be back on my mat.

Tribesports5It’s getting a little chilly for my morning runs. It was 39 degrees on Wednesday! That’s pretty cold for anywhere, but exceptionally cold for the desert (in November!). I was happy to wear my Tribesports Half Zip, which kept me warm and dry.

LilyLily also discovered my briefcase. I think she wants to go to IHRSA 2015 with me too!

Banquet

I am assuming that my body aches were from doing a little much too soon, so I expect I’ll feel better next week. So while my week one training ended with a whimper,  I will continue to add my base mileage, fit in my yoga practice, and Pilates training. I already feel better tonight as I write this, so I’m sure I’ll feel even better tomorrow. I guess I just sometimes forget that I’m not 50, 40, 30, 20 any more. I need to remember that and honor what my body really needs.

I feel bad taking extra days off, but I keep telling myself that it is the better choice to stay strong, reduce chance of injury, and enjoy my training.

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon

Join me in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

How was your week/weekend? Did you reach your training goals, run a race, are participate in another fitness activity. Spend extra time with family? Lick your workout wounds like me? I’d love to hear it all!

My Life on Instagram and Other Updates

I have been very prolific on Instagram this week. Between cross country, Whole Foods, dog running, and Huntington Beach (and a new job…yay!), I’ve been uploading a lot of photographs. I thought it would be fun to update my life from Instagram from this week. (Do you follow me?)

Let’s start off with the best. I was in Huntington Beach this week with the cross country team (more on that below). After our meet, we headed to the beach, where the waves were, as Alan would say, pretty gnarly. In fact, I was so nervous watching the kids with no lifeguard on duty that I didn’t take my eyes off the water and was relieved when most of them chose to go grab some food after about a half hour.

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Some pretty gnarly waves, as my husband would say. At Huntington Beach yesterday.

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Whole Foods

The week started off with a visit to Whole Foods. After attending the pre-opening party last week I had some coupons that were set to expire, so I went there to stock up on some vegan essentials. Note: You know you’re in line behind a blogger when she does this to her grocery items on the belt:
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There were a few things I didn’t buy while I was at Whole Foods, including vegan doughnuts, vegan sushi, and vegan chick’n salad (sense a theme here?).

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I don’t even know if these are vegan, but they reminded me of my friends Alexandra and Kymberly, the Boom Chicka Boomers.

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Truth be told, I’ve already been to Whole Foods three times, twice since the grand opening. The third time was just to pick up some lunch. Unbelievably, it didn’t make it to Instagram.

Whole Foods

New Job

The reason I stopped at Whole Foods for lunch was because I started a new job!! As I mentioned in my jobless update post, I will be working as a personal trainer at a country club in Palm Desert. Even though I won’t really start until November, I had orientation on Wednesday

, plus met with my first client! I’m really excited. I already know some of my co-workers (and my boss), the fitness center is beautiful, and I’ll get a chance to really work with clients again. To prepare for my first day I did this:

Instagram 2Because a mani and pedi is just what I needed to feel confident and ready to go. Also to prep for my new job (and to make sure I get paid for my cross country coaching) I renewed my CPR/AED certification. I’ve done it for so many years (I actually used to teach CPR for the Red Cross), but I love that things are always changing because of research into what works the best. My class was held at the Weil Institute of Critical Care, whose founder, Dr. Max Weil was instrumental in the research and development of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) devices.

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Team Eleven by Venus

As you know, I am an Ambassador for Eleven by Venus. Always known for her fashion flair on the courts, Venus Williams now makes her unique style available to all of us. EleVen by Venus goes beyond clothing and encompasses a healthy, fit, and confident lifestyle. This week our Ambassador pages went up! Here’s mine (check out all the other amazing Ambassadors):

Team Eleven

 Dogs and Sunglasses

You know I like to post pictures of my dogs on Instagram. I can’t help it, they’re just so cute! Even if they are just sleeping to recharge their batteries so that they Johnny can destroy another pair of sunglasses (this week alone, besides the sunglasses, two of Alan’s Giant’s hats, my only pair of “interview” shoes, my favorite running skirt (he ate the crotch out! So embarassing!)). This in spite of our trying to put things out of reach and behind closed doors when we leave. Good thing we love him.

Instagram 8Sunday is run day with all the dogs, but Lily and Olivia were the only ones that got their pictures taken.

Lily OliviaHow can you not love that face? He seems to be blind in his left eye, which makes him all the more endearing.

JohnnyFortunately, the $16 sunglasses are easy to replace at Target.

Sunglasses

 

This skirt!

 

RnR18Speaking of Running

Did you participate in Lorna Jane Active Nation Day? It has come and gone (can’t wait until next year!), but the one thing that was missing arrived this week. I just love the Lorna Jane bracelet, with the little active living heart.

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I was sent these Airia Running shoes to try out and review. They are specifically designed to make you run faster. The jury is still out (I’ve just had a couple runs in them and it’s been so hot, it’s hard to be fast no matter what shoes you’re wearing), but they look cool and the concept is very original.

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Just another day out on the beautiful trails near my home in La Quinta!

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Cross Country

This week our invitational meet was in Huntington Beach. My girls did great, finishing fourth in our division. It was very hot, about 90 degrees at race time, and a lot more humid than we’re used to in the desert. Still, they ran well even though we were missing our number five runner, who was sick. Here they do some positive visualization before their race.

Cross CountryThis was the boys junior varsity race.

Cross Country 2Seen at the park. I just don’t get it. As my cousin said on Facebook, people should know the difference between their dogs and their dolls.

Instagram 13Even though it was late when we finished, we let the kids have a little time at the beach. As I said above, the waves were pretty huge for So. Cal., but they still had a good time.

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HB 2We left just as the sun was setting, meaning we didn’t get home until after 9:00. A long day, but fun and satisfying.

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Food of Instagram

Of course I shared a few photos of my food of the week, starting off with dinner at Chipotle. I love their vegan Sofritas, but please, please, please Chipotle, can’t you separate your onion and green pepper veggie mixture? I love onions, hate green peppers. Fortunately, our server was really efficient at giving us mostly onions!

InstagramYum, shawarma!

Instagram 3After my shopping trip to Whole Foods I enjoyed trying out some of my bounty. Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausage, Earth Balance mac and cheese, and, topping my salad, Follow Your Heart blue cheese dressing. All vegan of course. And delicious!

Instagram 10And for desert…So Delicious Almond Milk Minis, mocha almond fudge. They were, well, so delicious.

Instagram 6How was your week? Any fun events, competitions, or new jobs? If you posted a favorite Instagram picture, go ahead and share it in the comments. And follow me!

I Don’t Feel Like Writing. The Weekend in Pictures

After a long, busy weekend, it is hard to settle down and write. Though once I get started I usually start rambling. In any case, busy weekend. Cross country meet, grandson time. All good stuff.

One reminder! This is the last day to enter the Armour39 Performance Monitor giveaway! Seriously, this is one cool heart rate monitor and training system. It will actually rate you based on how hard you’re working! Who doesn’t want your phone telling you “work harder!”

Armour39

Now back at it. Here’s the weekend in pictures.

Weekend

I didn’t get a lot of time to run with all that was going on, but I was out on the trails on Friday. It was a beautiful day, but I’m still waiting for that moment when I walk out the door, pause, and say, “ooh, it’s a little chilly this morning.”

29 Palms 2

The girls requested this pose, not sure why. It’s okay with me, I prefer to show them from the back or from a distance. They ran so well at our invitational on Saturday! They came in second overall! Among the teams that they beat were two from our own league who were also at the meet.

29 Palms

As I said, I don’t usually post close ups but this is such a beautiful picture. Look at her form! She’s literally flying! In only her second three mile race ever, she finished 19th and helped our team finish second. Side note: She is a sprinter, a good one, who hopes to break the school record in the 100.

29 Palms 3

Okay, another exception to my rule. Where my young lady looks graceful, this young man looks, well, painful. Still, he ran well. We do enjoy giving him a hard time about his form and facial expressions.

Weekend 2

I allowed myself to be talked into participating in the teams’ Secret Sisters exchange and this is what I received. Raw, vegan brownies! They are delicious and the young lady who gave them to me was so proud that she had made them herself. (sneaking away for a moment to get another one out of the fridge)

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The expression is more from exhaustion than my glass of wine, but I did want to show off the shirt that one of the parents gave to our girls team.

Weekend 4On Sunday we got to see Samuel. And his parents of course. The first of many grandson selfies.

Weekend 13The kids (ha! my 37 year old son may not call himself a kid but I do) are building a new home near Temecula. It is so much closer than before so I am really excited. They are having a great time following the process, customizing their choices, and overseeing the construction. About five more weeks until it is ready and they move in!

Weekend 8I love their open concept kitchen/living area (can you tell I watch all the real estate shows on HGTV?). The door on the right will be their walk-in pantry and the door will have a glass panel.

Weekend 7This will be Sarah’s room, where she can have her sewing and crafts, and still look out onto the living area.

Weekend 9The “en suite.” Is that how it is spelled? I usually just hear it on television. Right now, the tub is in the bedroom.

Weekend12 Big open living/dining area.

Weekend 5He’s a handful!

Weekend 6

Weekend 10I can look at a gazillion of these pictures, but I realize that not everyone is related, so I condensed most of them into this collage. The back yard, playing with grandpa, and climbing hills.

Weekend 11

The chose the upgraded solar panels, so when they are installed, they will take up that open space on the roof. It will save them a lot of money over time.Weekend 14

The Temecula area is really growing, but they overlook a flood plain (or something like that), so they will always have this view.

Weekend 16

It was too early for lunch, so we stopped at Starbucks. Briefly, because this young man needs to run free, not be stuck on dad’s lap.

Weekend 15

More selfies because Samuel knows how to make the camera work, so I probably have about 100 of similar shots.

Weekend 17Nice park near where the kids will be moving. A small lake, jogging path, and playgrounds.

Instagram of the day. Samuel actually sliding down that slide! Follow me!

How was your weekend? Any events, races, or fun family time? I’d love to hear about it!

Vegan MoFo Day 4: Vegan on the Go

Whew! What a day. It’s about 5:00 pm and I’m sitting at Starbucks taking a few moments to catch up before my parents’ meeting in an hour. I’ve been on the go since about 5:00 this morning. I thought I’d tie in to Vegan MoFo by discussing fueling for a day like today.

Mofo Graphic_3

We didn’t have a cross country practice this morning, so that gave me an opportunity to run on my own. Before I even ran though, I took a trip to Walmart to pick up a few things that I would need for the day. The only time to go to Walmart is 5:00 in the morning!

I kept the run short, because I knew the day would be long. A banana always gets me off on the right foot for my run.

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I ate breakfast as soon as I got home. I kept it simple, cereal with almond milk, and rye toast. Then into the shower (after coloring my hair), dress, make up and out the door because I had an interview today! That meant I needed to get my nails done, something I’ve been neglecting since I’ve not been working.

I didn’t leave myself enough time to grab a second bite to eat, so I tossed a Clif Bar in my bag, which I gulped down after my nails. I hoped that would hold me over. It would be embarrassing to have one of my low-sugar shaky attacks at my interview.

Fortunately I didn’t. I was interviewing for a fitness director position at a country club in Rancho Mirage. Ironically, it is right across the street from my former place of employment. They have a brand new, beautiful fitness center, all new equipment, a spa with three treatment rooms, a small Pilates studio, very similar to what I managed before (but a lot newer!). We’ll see. It would be an exciting opportunity.

Of course I was starving when I was finished. By then it was about 12:30, and I just had time to grab a bite to eat, rush home and change, then head back out for cross country practice. I need to get to the school before school lets out, because it is absolutely crazy when the bell rings. So I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home, picked up three fresca bean burritos (one for as soon as I got home, one for right after practice to hold me over until dinner, and one just in case Alan wanted one).

As you can probably see, today is not shaping up to be the healthiest of vegan days! Good thing yesterday was much better.

It was about 108 for cross country practice. Believe it or not, I had given the girls the option of morning or afternoon practice and they decided they wanted to sleep in. It was tough, but they survived.

Next up is the parents’ meeting. It’s at 6:00, so pretty soon I’ll be heading back to the high school. It gives us a chance to meet the parents and let them know what we expect from their children. Amazingly our first meet is this Saturday!

ZPizza

Since it will probably be after 7:00 when we finish, I plan to pick up a pizza on the way home. Fortunately, ZPizza is on my way, and they make an amazing vegan pizza. Actually most of their pizzas can be made vegan with just a few changes. I’ll be sure to have some veggies on my pizza to bring up the health quotient on my eating for today.

I’m sure that I could have planned better and eaten healthier on the go, but I did stay fueled through the day. Tomorrow’s another day, and it’s all about balance, right? Oh, and one of the best parts of being home? Doggy snuggles.

Buddy

How do you stay fueled on the go? Are you a better planner than I?